Stress and the Mighty Trio: Immunity, Mental Clarity and Mobility

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”1

When working properly, the stress response protects us and allows us to stay focused and alert. For example, to avoid a car accident, we might slam on the brakes as our stress response. In this way, stress is a positive part of our lives.

Too much stress, however, can cause major damage to our bodies and minds—not only to health, but also to mood, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. Stress can definitely put a damper on the pursuit of an Active Wellness lifestyle.

The varying levels of stress can be likened to a spectrum. At one end is “eustress,” the manageable levels of stress that help tackle challenges at work, school, or in relationships. Eustress does not necessarily feel comfortable, but it is useful and can help us succeed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is “distress.” This is the type of stress that is destructive—it disrupts sleep and creates undesired tension, mood disorders and a negative outlook. Distress can occur when we are too busy at work, owe money, are grieving or suffering any type of painful loss.

Our personalities and perspectives on how we work, compete or play can affect whether stress takes the form of eustress or distress. For example, if there is a looming deadline and it worries or overwhelms us, we are going to experience distress. If that same deadline creates a sense of excitement about the ensuing outcome, we would experience eustress. We therefore are somewhat in control of the stress we live with, but we cannot foresee the future or the unknown.

When we get stressed out frequently, the body exists in a heightened state of anxiety most of the time. That can lead to serious health problems, since chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in the body and its functions. It can suppress the immune system, upset the digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.2

Chronic stress occurs because stress is sneaky. It can creep up on us and we get so used to feeling stressed out that we don’t even notice its ill effects until they manifest in disturbing ways. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms that chronic stress can cause.

The three main areas that stress impacts are immunity, mental clarity and mobility. We need a strong immune system to fight disease, but stress weakens the body’s defenses. Stress can reduce the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body, which are needed to fight viruses, according to the American Psychological Association. It makes us catch colds or the flu more easily, for example.

Chronic stress can produce higher-than-normal levels of the hormone cortisol. This can hamper the body’s anti-inflammatory response and cause continual infections, according to recent immunology research studies.3

Issues with mental clarity include memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgment, persistent anxiety, runaway thoughts, constant worrying, moodiness, irritability and depression.

Mobility is affected when stress causes pain, tightness, soreness or spasms in the muscles. According to the American Psychological Association, muscles tense up during stress. When the stress is gone, the muscles then relax and release the built-up tension.

Other physical symptoms include skin breakouts, irregular heartbeats, fluctuating weight, trouble sleeping, indigestion and other digestive issues. If inflammation is persistent and widespread, it can contribute to chronic diseases, including the buildup of plaque on the arterial walls. This is just one of the many factors at play in the complex relationship between stress and the heart.  Stress is related to heart rhythm abnormalities, high blood pressure, stroke and asthma. Lung conditions include shortness of breath and rapid breathing.

Knowing our stress triggers can help us deal with them more effectively. Here are a few ways to cope with stress:

Exercise: Regular exercise is known to improve moods and relieve stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially when focusing attention on the physical sensations of each movement.

Make human contact: In this day and age of electronic devices, we often spend more time with screens than with people. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress. Even a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe the nervous system.

Use the senses: Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. The key is to find the sensory input that works best for each individual. Does listening to an uplifting song produce calmness? Is the scent of a favorite flower soothing? Research has shown that the act of petting a dog or cat not only comforts the animal, but also the human.  Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so finding the best use of any of the five senses can be a fun experiment.

Relax. Some people are good at letting go of stress at the end of the day and can relax. Others need to consciously practice the art of relaxation. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities can help reduce everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity. They also may increase the ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Eat healthy food. “You are what you eat” doesn’t need to be taken literally, but it holds truth. Food can improve or worsen moods and affect how we cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help us cope with life’s ups and downs.

Get enough sleep. Feeling tired can magnify stress. Getting restful sleep can be tricky because chronic stress can disrupt sleep. Making the sleep environment as comfortable as possible and adhering to a sleep cycle that allows for 6-8 hours can be helpful.

The pursuit of Active Wellness includes finding adequate ways to cope with stress. At Nikken, we have three nutritionals that may help in the “mighty trio”: Kenzen® Immunity, Clarity and Joint. From now until March 23, 2023, each purchase of a PiMag Waterfall® will be accompanied by a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Immunity; each purchase of a KenkoAir Purifier® will have a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Clarity; and each purchase of a Kenko Sleep Pack will contain a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Joint.

1, 2  https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes

3, 4  https://health.umms.org/2020/11/10/stress-immune-system/

A Healthy Start for 2023

Wipe the slate clean each day! In life, we begin every day anew, but somehow the start of each year is when many of us decide to make resolutions or set goals. The reality is that without good health, we cannot do anything else, so total body wellness has to be an annual goal in one way or another.

We all know the ABCs for good health: restful sleep, clean air, fresh water, nourishing nutrition, adequate exercise and refraining from smoking, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages and overusing medications and other addictive substances. All of this can be achieved, but consistency is the key. If we “fall off the wagon” in any area, wipe the slate clean, don’t beat yourself up and start fresh the next day.

Here are half a dozen things that may help make 2023 our healthiest ever:

1.         Pay attention to how your body feels. Are you constantly tired? Do you wake up in the morning feeling as if you never even slept? Commit to making changes, so that you have energy. It’s simple to say, “get enough sleep,” but so many of us don’t. It may require going to bed earlier or later than what you are currently doing. Striving for eight hours is fine, but be content to start with six or seven restful hours. Quality sleep not only makes us feel energized, but it also helps manage weight and cardiovascular health. Adequate sleep even helps us to think more clearly and accomplish daily tasks.

2.         Reach out to someone you care about but haven’t been in touch with regularly. Even if you don’t continue to reconnect consistently, you may be surprised what happens as a result of a simple phone call or “miss you” card in the mail. Remember that mental health is as important as physical health, and staying in touch with those we care about gives us a boost in multiple ways.

3.         We often forget to check important areas of our bodies, as many of us avoid going to the health practitioner unless we actually feel ill. This year, vow to get eyes, ears and teeth checked. Letting these three areas go untended can lead to problems down the road.

4.         Set aside time to read. Reading has different effects on our brains. Although studies largely focus on children, it is reasonable to believe reading vs. screen time has similar effects on adults. A 2020 study of 47 healthy children, aged three to five, found those who spent more than an hour daily on screens performed worse on cognitive tests than those who frequently read books with their parents or caregivers.1 Whereas screen time may produce a hypnotic effect, reading triggers thought. Regardless of age, retention of information and cognitive reasoning are precious.

5.         Make a conscious effort to be kinder to yourself. Sometimes we are kind to everyone else but we tend to be our own worst critics. The effect of being kind to ourselves has big health ramifications, all good ones! We really can help ourselves be happier!

6.         Weight loss is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions. It is also one that quickly fails and can even lead to depression. One alternative healthy habit to pursue is to simply ditch the sodas. Diet sodas with artificial sweeteners are even worse than the high-calorie sugary ones, because the chemicals added for flavoring may actually be health hazards.2 It’s not as big of a change as going on a special diet; it’s eliminating one item, but the positive results can be inspiring.

Nikken is committed to helping our Global Wellness Community live a healthy lifestyle, and our products reflect that. We are proud of our PiMag® water filters, Kenko Sleep System, KenkoAir Purifier®, Kenzen® nutritionals and True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care as well as our vast array of magnetic support products. These products give you the power to take your health into your own hands, to sleep well, eat and drink well, breathe easily and obtain optimal hydration. They enable you to maintain the healthy lifestyle that gives you energy and ultimately, more joy.

1 https://sparktutoringservices.com/reading-time-vs-screen-time/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198517/

Cultivating a Growth Mindset: The Road to “Yet”

As we near the beginning of a new year, we tend to think of what we’ve accomplished in the past year and what we want to achieve next. One key factor that can make the difference between personal success or defeat is our mindset.

The dictionary defines mindset as “the established set of attitudes held by someone.” Putting this into a personal perspective, a mindset is composed of beliefs about oneself, which create one’s self-perception. This self-perception can be fixed or flexible. Another term for a flexible mindset is growth mindset. Each one of us has our personal mindset that is a composite of a fixed and a growth mindset, but whichever one is more dominant makes a difference in how we plan, act and move forward.

A fixed mindset comes from the belief that who we are and what we are capable of, is a direct result of our birth. In other words, our capabilities are innate, we are born a certain way and that dictates what we do and can do. Those with a fixed mindset believe that each person inherits qualities such as intelligence, talents, and personality characteristics. Those who feel that their qualities are unique to their genetics believe these characteristics generally remain stable throughout their lives.

Growth mindset is a term that was coined by Carol Dweck, an American psychologist and professor who authored Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She posited that with a growth mindset, a person could develop skills and talents through hard work, by learning from others and by using specific strategies to improve. In a way, she positioned the debate of nature vs. nurture as fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. Just as we are a product of our genes as well as our environment and upbringing, so are we composed of both types of mindsets—what we inherited genetically and how we are educated and brought up. Whichever mindset dominates our thinking is the one that dictates what we ultimately believe about ourselves.

Professor Dwek found in her research that those with a growth mindset see opportunities instead of obstacles, choosing to challenge themselves to learn more rather than sticking in their comfort zones. Put another way, those with a growth mindset are more likely to step out of their boxes.

You may ask yourself, “Am I someone who is comfortable risking an unknown outcome or do I need to have a guarantee of sorts before undertaking something new or different?” There really is no right answer, because it takes so many different types of people to make things work. What Professor Dwek advocates for is a way to teach children to be openminded and receptive to the myriad possibilities they have in life. In one of her YouTube presentations, she speaks about elementary aged children who already seem to have developed their mindsets. Some were naturally open to problem-solving and even were excited by challenges, while others were worried and nervous. Correlatively, those who were excited by problem-solving were not defeated when they made mistakes and naturally seemed to be upbeat about having learned something new, while the tentative and tense children were visibly upset by their self-perceived “failures” and fearful of trying again.

Children’s mindsets have a lot to do with how they are parented and the type of lifestyles they live among. This self-perception tends to carry into adulthood, so if it’s a fixed mindset, it may be somewhat limiting. That’s why self-development and self-awareness as we mature is so important. It helps us grow and cultivate a mindset that allows us to do more. This is exactly the foundation on which Humans Being More is built, and why Nikken urges one an all to participate in the continuing evolution of self.

The phrase that helps each of us look forward to something better or someone better (namely a better version of ourself) is “not yet.” When we feel less than adequate or at least not completely successful, rather than perceive our shortcomings as negative, Professor Dweck urges us to think of being in the space of “not yet.” In other words, we may not be exactly where we want, we may not have achieved what we specifically set out to do, we may even have totally bombed, but rather than think of it as a failure and berate ourself, we can perceive the task as “not yet” accomplished. This slight shift in thinking makes way for endless possibilities and hopeful probabilities.

As Professor Dweck explains it, “This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Although a fixed mindset has its own advantages—for example, those who play it safe in the stock market rarely lose their fortunes—they also are not the ones who make the “killing.” People with a fixed mindset can miss out on opportunities and chances to learn and grow. Acknowledging this might be half the battle.

Just because someone has a growth mindset does not guarantee success. Not everyone is capable of doing great things, but everyone is capable of doing better things—and that incremental improvement or change is what matters personally, as we are our own worst critics.

How can we develop more of a growth mindset?

1. Try to see challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles. This does not come naturally to everyone, and is a thought pattern that may require practice. It is a process.

2. Take time to review the day once you have a moment to be still. What went well and what didn’t? What is the overall takeaway and what are the smaller details to learn from?

3. Be kind to yourself and do not judge or label anything a failure. Every successful person says the same thing, “Mistakes are the stepping stones to success.”

4. Recognize why you are tackling a goal. Is it a step toward a further achievement? Is it simply something you’ve always wanted to do? Is it part of a big lesson? Whatever it is, do it for yourself, not to gain someone else’s approval. When we involve someone else in our mindset, it is no longer our mindset.

5. Surround yourself whenever possible with people who are positive-minded and successful. Ask them how they accomplished what they did or how they got to where they are. If lucky, your sincere interest may land you a mentor!

6. Train yourself to separate your actions from your talents. In other words, when you reach a goal, think about what you did to reach it, not how your personality or intelligence helped you along. Did something in your Active Wellness lifestyle propel you onward?

7. As stated previously, add “yet” into your stream of consciousness so that anything not reached is simply difficult, challenging and yet to be reached, but you’re getting there.

8. Pat yourself on the back. As Chancellor of Nikken University Jeff Isom says, “Compliments make connections.” So, compliment yourself and connect with your growth mindset.

9. Be realistic. Set small, reachable goals as you head to larger, harder ones.

10. The growth mindset has no end. It’s a lifelong process, so let’s make it fun!

Sources:

https://readingraphics.com/book-summary-mindset/#:~:text=Your%20mindset%E2%80%94how%20you%20see,all%20aspects%20of%20your%20life.

https://www.futurelearn.com/info/blog/general/develop-growth-mindset

Why Do Grounding and Magnetics Make Such Great Partners?

When we describe someone as “being grounded,” it means he or she is steadfast, centered and balanced. Grounded people are not “up in the air”; they are strong and focused, regardless of the chaos that may be around them. Their feet are planted on terra firma.

Being grounded is not just a metaphor. It’s a physical fact. Before civilization, homo sapiens actually lived on the ground: walking, sleeping and sitting all took place on the Earth itself with nothing in between—no furniture, no shoes.

“Only recently has the knowledge and significance of this connection been explored and explained by scientific experts. From them, we are learning that the Earth’s electrical energy maintains the order of our own bodily frequencies. We all live and function electrically on an electrical planet. We are each of us a collection of dynamic electrical circuits in which trillions of cells constantly transmit and receive energy in the course of their programmed biochemical reactions. Your heart, brain, nervous system, muscles and immune system are prime examples of electrical subsystems operating within your bioelectrical body. The fact is, all of your movements, behaviors and actions are energized by electricity.1

Most people are totally unaware of their bioelectrical nature or the energetic connection between their bodies and the earth’s surface. Many of us don’t even realize that we’re disconnected from Mother Nature. Our feet and the rest of our bodies rarely touch real ground. We keep insulated with layers of clothing, rubber soles, mattresses, any assortment of chairs and accessories.

Science informs us that the Earth’s electrons contain a natural, negative charge. Maintaining contact with the ground allows our bodies to naturally receive and become charged with these electrons. When we are “grounded,” we absorb these beneficial electrons that “reduce electrical imbalances in the body.”2 Since our bodies are composed of mostly water and minerals—just like the Earth—we are mutually electrically conductive.

Then there’s massage. Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. Some common types include:

  • Swedish— gentle with long strokes and deep circular movements
  • Deep—slow forceful strokes to target deep layers of muscle and connective tissue
  • Sports—similar to Swedish but geared toward athletes to help loosen muscles and to prevent or treat sport injuries
  • Acupressure or trigger point—focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that also converge with nerves

Offered more and more often as a standard treatment for a wide range of muscular conditions and situations, massage has proven to be effective for reducing and managing stress, for soothing aches and pains and for decreasing muscle tension. Practitioners have also found massage to be helpful in dealing with anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches, insomnia related to stress, soft tissue injuries and aching joints.

As soothing and relaxing a massage can be, another person is generally required. You go to a spa or a massage therapist and have a “hands on” experience. The human touch of another often has a therapeutic result, because it gives a feeling of connectedness and warmth.

But what if you don’t have the time, energy or resources to go to a massage therapist? What if you desire immediate relief? Now more than ever, there are products for self-massage and grounding indoors. Nikken is at the forefront in the development of these products.

Numerous products that provide a massaging effect include permanent magnets that generally work slowly and gently. They are especially appropriate for long-term self-administration. Fixed magnetic therapy is usually applied for longer periods to be optimally effective. Permanent magnets come in great variety. There are magnets of various sizes and pulsating magnets work by mimicking the kneading sensation produced by human fingers. Pulsating magnets allow you to feel the sensations that are similar to a regular massage, while reaping the benefits of magnetic penetration.

When you practice indoor grounding and magnetic massage, you essentially are blending two easy-to-use modalities, to achieve double the benefits for Active Wellness. These include:

• Helping to relieve stress

• Maintaining overall wellness

• Stimulating local blood flow

• Reducing muscle tension and discomfort

• Reducing stiffness and fatigue.

• Creating an overall sense of relaxation

When you combine grounding and magnetic massage in the comfort of your own home, you are really taking mind and body balance to a higher level. Nikken makes it easy for you with the Kenko Precision Magnetic Grounding and Massage Set!

1 Ober, Clinton etal, Earthing, Basic Health Publications, Columbus, OH, 2014, p.8.

2 Ibid, p. 9.

We Have the Right to Be Humans Being More

The year 2022 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the theme is “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for all.” This theme recognizes the inherent dignity and the right of all members of the family of human beings to the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on December 10th. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out a broad range of fundamental rights and freedoms to which all of us are entitled. It guarantees the rights of every individual everywhere, without distinction based on nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status.

Although this Universal Declaration is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments to be created. Together, they make up an international standard of human rights.

Intentionally or not, December is certainly an apt month to celebrate or aspire to human rights for one and all as it’s a time of gifting and the holiday spirit for many. At Nikken, we join this celebration by congratulating all the members of our community who, year after year, contribute to different causes to make this world a better place for thousands of people. We join this celebration carrying a message of being better human beings, ceasing to see our differences, to strengthen ourselves in our circumstances.

It is the right time to reinforce and reflect on our Society Pillar, which is all about contributions. Let’s make this world a better place by practicing Humans Being More.

We have the right to become Humans Being More. At Nikken, Human Rights are more than basic rights. We are about evolving into better versions of ourselves. We are about the greater good, the right to help others less fortunate and the right to share what we have and what we know. We have the right to give and receive, the right to live our personal truths.

During this holiday season of giving, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

Source: https://www.ohchr.org/en/about_us/human_rights_day#:~:text=Human%20Rights%20Day%20is%20observed,Universal%20Declaration%20of%20Human%20Rights.

Introducing the Kenko Precision Magnetic Grounding and Massage Set

Nikken has done it again—come up with a new product in the burgeoning areas of self-care and Active Wellness!

Studies have shown that when the human body is in direct contact with the Earth’s natural electrical change, it produces positive effects on overall well-being. This phenomenon is called grounding. Examples of grounding include outdoor activities, such as walking barefooted on grass or swimming in the ocean or a lake. When indoors, you can experience grounding by using specially designed equipment such as the KenkoGround® mat.

Magnetic massage is a non-invasive way to activate our body’s “qi” or energy. A simple way to experience some relaxation is by placing a magnetic massager directly on specifically tense or uncomfortably tight muscles or joints. The magnetic massaging pressure helps to activate the body’s natural electrical circuit to promote increased blood circulation.

Based on the discovery that grounding can lead to Active Wellness, Nikken has put together the Kenko Precision Set, which combines grounding with magnetic massage. Both connect the body to Nature and to amplify our natural electrical flow. Researchers believe that when magnetic massage is paired with grounding, positive health effects are intensified. This is an area where awareness is growing globally and Nikken is at the forefront.

Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to provide relief for stress and physical tension. Nikken takes it further with grounding and magnetic massage, which uses natural modalities to help relieve stress and maintain overall wellness. It’s shown to stimulate local blood flow, reduce muscle tension and discomfort as well as stiffness and fatigue. It’s a great way to produce an overall sense of wellness and relaxation

The Kenko Precision Set is composed of a sphere and a wand. Each piece can be plugged into a USB port. All you have to do is make sure your USB device is plugged into a grounded outlet. When the sphere or the wand makes contact with the skin, the indicator light will glow to let you know you have successfully grounded.

The Precision Sphere has 2,500+ gauss plated neodymium magnets, two pieces of black ceramic reflective tourmaline resin and a ceramic reflective silicone cup. The magnets allow for depth of penetration while the ceramic reflective silicone allows ambient energy to create a warming, soothing and relaxing effect. Tourmaline resin gives off electrons when exposed to heat or motion, which creates a calming effect similar to those found in natural environments.

The Precision Wand has a ceramic reflective silicone sleeve and a 1,500 gauss plated neodymium magnet tip. The Wand allows you to pinpoint exactly where you want to focus magnetic energy and help break up tightness or tension. In other words, point and zap.

Virtually any part of the outer body can be massaged. If it is a small, deep or precise area such as an elbow joint, hands, toes, etc., we recommend using the Wand. If it is a larger, flatter area such as the calf, biceps, hamstring, etc., we recommend using the Sphere.

Once properly plugged in, simply roll the sphere on any part of the body you choose, or aim the wand on specific areas that require attention. Apply a comfortable amount of pressure to the desired area with either device and continue massaging for as long as you want. You may experience reduced muscle tension, stiffness and fatigue. An overall sense of relaxation may help dispel feelings of stress, anxiety and discomfort.

Here are just a few comments from our test group:

“The Precision Wand helped release trigger point spasms in my neck almost immediately. I kept trying it because I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily it helped calm the muscle spasm. After a week, I found that my upper trapezoid muscles and neck felt more relaxed. I was able to move my neck without discomfort.” K. Monath

“Within five minutes, both devices gave tremendous relief.”W. Cottle

“It helped relieve the discomforts of my knees.”        T. McDonald

“I got relief from the massagers. Muscles relaxed. Discomfort minimized.” S. Danzig

The Kenko Precision Set is compact, portable, unique and effective. Experience balanced energy as you connect to the Earth.  Only from Nikken.

We Give Thanks

We often take for granted the most basic things in life even though they really are the most important. Without them, we would not be able to live in good health and Active Wellness. This Thanksgiving, let’s pause, inhale deeply our thanks for the essentials we are blessed with and exhale any resentments or negativity.

We give thanks for Clean Air. To breathe is to live, but so many in the world do not live with clear air. The World Health Organization cites 99% of the world breathing air that exceeds guidelines for pollutants.1

We give thanks for Clean Water. We humans are composed of 55 to 60% water and our blood is 90% water. We need to keep the tank filled. Clean water renews and invigorates us.

We give thanks for Food that feeds us. The more natural the food, the better it nourishes us. We give thanks for the soil, the water and seeds that grow food.

We give thanks for Shelter. Globally, there are more than 154 million people who are homeless.2 We give thanks for the roof over our heads.

We give thanks for warm Clothes. With winter’s beauty comes winter cold.

We give thanks for Family. For many, this is one of the few times of the year that family connects and comes together physically. We give thanks for the Family Presence.

We give thanks for Friends. As the saying goes, you can’t choose your family, but you definitely choose your friends. We give thanks for our Friends who choose us back.

We give thanks for the health and longevity of our Pets. The older they are, the more precious they become. We give thanks for each year they continue to live with us.

We give thanks for the good Health of body, mind and spirit. Without good Health, there is little else that matters.

We give thanks for Hugs. Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.3

We give thanks for Love in all its magical forms.

We give thanks to all of You.

Let the people you care about know how much you appreciate them and say thank you. Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1 https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

2 https://newstorycharity.org/homelessness-statistics/

3 https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#4.-Hugs-can-make-you-happier

What is Altruism?

Altruism is the unselfish concern for other people—doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated to out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons. It involves acting out of concern for the well-being of other people.1

Altruistic people help others without expectations of rewards or personal benefits. On the contrary, some altruistic acts may even come at some personal risk or costs. For example, when you see a homeless person sharing food with a pet, that is altruism and love in the form of sharing in the face of scarcity. Another example of altruism that can come at a cost is when a person takes off a coat in freezing weather and puts it on someone else to give them warmth and bears the cold instead.

There several types of altruistic behavior:

  • Genetic altruism involves acts that benefit close family members. For example, in many cultures, the tastiest delicacies are reserved for the eldest family member—a matriarch or patriarch—who then may turn around and give it to the youngest of the family. These are acts of affection but stem from genetic altruism.
  • Reciprocal altruism is based on a give-and-take relationship. One person may help the other but there is an understanding that in the future, the kind act will be reciprocated. For example, a worker who takes someone else’s shift as a favor, will likely expect the same in return at a later date.
  • Group-selected altruism involves a group affiliation. Altruistic acts are directed toward people who are part of their social group or supporting social causes that benefit them. If you are a member of PETA or Greenpeace or even the YWCA, you are part of group-selected altruism.
  • Pure altruism is also known as moral altruism. This form involves helping someone else, even when it is risky, without any reward. It is motivated by a person’s values and morals. For example, if an error is made on the job, but one person on the team stands up and takes the blame for everyone, that is pure altruism.

Altruism can be straightforward or it can be a bit more complicated. It is one aspect of what is known as prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior refers to any action that benefits other people, no matter what the motive or how the giver benefits from the action.2

While all altruistic acts are prosocial, not all prosocial behaviors are completely altruistic—because altruism might be the result of feelings of guilt, obligation, debt, atonement or for rewards. For instance, if a student tutors a fellow classmate in order to receive extra credit points for doing so, that is prosocial behavior, but it may not be wholly altruistic.

Why are some people so altruistic?

• Psychologists have studied whether some people are innately more altruistic than others. In other words, are some of us born with a genetic tendency to help others? Known as kin selection, this evolutionary theory posits that people are more likely to help blood relatives because it will ensure the longevity of the line and the continuation of shared genes.3

• Neurobiologists have found that altruistic behaviors activate the pleasure centers of the brain. Simply put, doing good makes us feel good! The better we feel, the more likely we are to repeat the behaviors that produce pleasure.

• The environment also factors into whether someone behaves altruistically. In one study, children who observed simple reciprocal acts of altruism were far more likely to exhibit altruistic actions. On the other hand, friendly but non-altruistic actions did not inspire the same results.4

• Society’s rules, norms, and expectations can also influence whether or not people engage in altruistic behavior. For example, we may feel pressured to help others if they have already done something for us and we feel indebted.

• Sometimes doing something kind helps relieve our feelings of distress. When “donors” hand out money to panhandlers with handwritten signs that say, “Out of work, family needs food,” it may not be pure altruism. There may be feelings of guilt for one’s own unearned good fortune or a sense of obligation, but it is definitely an act of compassion to help alleviate someone else’s despair.

Regardless of why any of us may choose to behave in an altruistic manner, the kindness comes back to us one way or another. Altruism may benefit our health, state of mind and even our relationships with others. Performing kind deeds helps create a positive state of well-being, especially giving us good feelings about ourselves.

Some people come by altruistic tendencies naturally, but there are things you can do to help foster helpful behaviors in yourself and others. You can practice empathy by building connections and finding meaning in what you do in relation to others. Perform random acts of kindness—small things every day—such as holding doors open for others, assisting the elderly, letting someone go before you in a queue, volunteering in your community, etc.

Gift-giving is generally not considered altruism, but think about it. When you give someone a gift of Active Wellness without an expectation of something in return, aren’t you practicing a form of altruism? This season, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1,2,3,4 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-altruism-2794828

Connecting with Nature in Autumn

Forest bathing may not be that familiar to the western world, but connecting with nature is universally known as a way to attain physical, mental and even spiritual well-being.

As the weather gets colder in the autumn months leading into winter, we may have the impulse to disconnect with nature by staying indoors 24/7. What we should do, is bundle up and embrace the outdoors—in a way, to embrace the Nordic way! The Mental Health Foundation in the UK did a survey recently that showed 75% of adults experienced an improvement in their mood after being close to green spaces!So let’s make an effort to keep summer outdoor habits going through autumn and into winter! We just have to take the right precautions!

Here are some ways to reconnect with nature through autumn:

•          Go foraging for leaves, pebbles, wild berries and anything that catches your eye. Create an art project, such as a collage or a miniature terrarium, with items such as feathers, bark, pine cones, acorns and anything natural. Take advantage of the most colorful season of the year!

•          Take photos as you go on a walk around your neighborhood or take a hike on a trail.

•          The UK is the leader of “green social prescribing,” which links people to nature-based activities to help reduce stress and other mental health issues.2 The US, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand also have government programs that help people find non-medical ways to address health, especially mental health. Continuing research shows reconnecting with Mother Nature is the way to less stress and therefore fewer challenges both physically and mentally!

•          Guided walks in the UK, or nature walks as they’re known in North America, encourage the benefits of breathing fresh air while learning about the natural environment, ecology and your local ecosystem. Search for these types of educational walks (or hikes) in your local area, as they have grown in popularity over the last decade.

•          Do you live where a bit of a drive can take you to an orchard or a berry patch? Autumn is apple and berry season! Many local areas allow you to go pick your own for a small fee, and you’re even allowed to eat as you pick!

•          Do you like the introspective hobbies, such as reading, knitting or painting? Take it all outdoors! Find a comfy bench or a scenic spot and enjoy yourself with the benefit of fresh air.

•          Many shelters allow people to volunteer as dog walkers. Some will require that you undergo some training first. You’d be helping a homeless dog for sure, but you’d also feel a sense of giving. And if everything aligns, you may have found a best friend and end up giving that dog you bond with through repeated walks, a new home!

•          Are you a morning person? How about going outside to watch the sun rise? And if you’re more of a night person, watching the sun set is just as breathtaking.

•          When you’re indoors, use the KenkoGround® to keep you connected to nature. All you need is a grounded outlet.

Use your imagination, put on a sweater or a warm coat and head outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. You’ll find it invigorating and easily start a wonderful Active Wellness habit. To make it more fun, invite a friend or someone you’d like to befriend, to join you. The buddy system helps good habits stick. Time spent with someone can be a gift in and of itself.

As we enter the season of giving, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1,2 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-connect-nature-boost-your-mental-health-during-autumn-wright?trk=public_profile_article_view

Kindness Helps You Live Longer

World Kindness Day, celebrated annually on November 13, was first introduced as a day of observation by the World Kindness Movement. World Kindness Day came into being when several humanitarian groups came together at a Tokyo-based convention in 1997 and made a Declaration of Kindness. Diverse institutions and associations joined from countries around the world, including Australia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and many more.

What started as World Kindness Day turned into World Kindness Week, where everyone is encouraged to make a similar declaration of kindness and charity. World Kindness Week begins on November 7th and runs through the 13th. The week is celebrated by donating books, food, or clothes to local communities and pledging to empathize with other people. World Kindness Week aims to create a society where everyone can live a dignified life.

In 2019, the organization was registered as an official NGO under Swiss law. This means that it is a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government. Now recognized and celebrated almost everywhere in the world, participants unite to perform acts of kindness. The single unifying purpose of this week is to focus on positivity and how it impacts us daily.

This week of kindness is observed with activities like dance mobs, concerts, distributing kindness-themed cards and performing random acts of kindness. At the moment, World Kindness Week is an unofficial celebration; however, enthusiasts hope that the World Kindness Movement will soon achieve official recognition status by the United Nations. Should the group be successful in their efforts, World Kindness Day would join the ranks of recognized days of observance such as International Day of Peace, Human Rights Day, and World Health Day.

Here are some discoveries about kindness:

  1. Kindness is teachable: We are psychologically wired to help someone in need.
  2. It’s contagious: Witnessing an act of kindness improves our mood, making us more likely to pay it forward.
  3. Serotonin source: Like a natural antidepressant, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin.
  4. Kindness makes you live longer: There is a 44% less chance of an early death if you are kind! (This is the theme for World Kindness Week this year.)
  5. Kindness has anti-aging effects: Perpetually kind people have 23% less stress hormone and age slower than the average population.
  6. Oxytocin source: Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone.” Oxytocin helps lower blood pressure and may improve overall heart health. Oxytocin also helps increase our self-esteem, creates an optimistic outlook and can help ease anxiety or shyness.

As we approach the season of gratitude, giving and celebration, Nikken is happy to provide gift ideas of Active Wellness, balance, mindfulness and beauty. We call it the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through the end of 2022: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022

Source: https://nationaltoday.com/world-kindness-week/