News

Hints for managing the holidays when someone you love has Alzheimer’s

By Christine M Moynihan
December 19th, 2016 in Elder Care.

This time of year can be tough on people who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  The National Institutes of Health has some helpful care-giving tips on their website here: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/holiday-hints.

Seats are still available for “Coping with Holiday Stress” Workshop Dec 14th!

By Christine M Moynihan
December 12th, 2016 in BU Charles River Campus.

There is a lot going on during the holiday season!  If you work at BU and would like to learn how to cope with holiday stress, there are currently seats still available for the “Coping with Holiday Stress” Workshop (CRC) on Wednesday, December 14th . Click here to sign up for this workshop and see other great wellness resources at BU.

Cultivating Gratitude During the Holidays

By Christine M Moynihan
December 5th, 2016 in Resilience, Stress.

The holiday season is upon us.  Beginning with Thanksgiving, we’re entering the time of year when we’re encouraged to stop and consider all we have to be grateful for in our lives.  And doing so is good for us.  Research has demonstrated that feelings of gratitude are associated with better health, sounder sleep, greater happiness and kinder actions toward others.  Holiday gatherings provide useful opportunities to cultivate feelings of gratitude.  We often come together with family and friends, many of whom have been important influences in our life.  Take a moment to acknowledge and give thanks for each of them.  Let them know how they’ve guided, inspired or supported you and how much they mean to you.  Even our most difficult relatives usually have some redeeming qualities.  Choosing to focus our attention on what’s positive about them, no matter how small, rather than dwelling on their annoying habits can improve your state of mind.

Remembering to be grateful takes practice for most of us.  The holidays may be a good time to begin practices such as keeping a gratitude journal.  Taking time each day to identify a few things you feel grateful for has been proven to improve mood and feelings of well-being.  A version of this, which has been studied at Duke University Medical Center, is called Bite Sized Resilience: Three Good Things. This practice involves writing down three positive things at the end of the day.  Not only has this helped to reduce the rates of burnout among healthcare providers, but it has been shown to improve resilience, sleep quality, work-life balance, and even depression.

“Gratitude visits” can be another useful practice.  Recommended by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, this exercise begins with writing a 300-word letter to someone who has changed your life for the better.  Be specific about what the person did and how it affected you.  Then deliver it in person, preferably without telling the person in advance.  Read the whole letter to her or him slowly, allowing time for both of you to savor the feelings of warmth and connection.  Research suggests you’ll feel happier and less depressed for weeks afterward.

At times holiday rituals intended to be expressions of gratitude interfere with the experience for some people.  As Kira Newman from the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center writes in The Trouble with Thanksgiving Gratitude, “For the shy adult or the grumpy teen, expressing gratitude around the Thanksgiving table can seem awkward and trite.”   These forced “grateful motions” can feel more like a burden than a blessing.  Newman suggests four exercises that can help everyone feel less pressured and more authentically grateful.

Our culture’s consumerism can be another obstacle.  Giving holiday gifts to show thanks and appreciation to loved ones can become bogged down in materialism.  In Cultivating Gratitude in a Consumerist Society, Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University discusses research that shows experiential gifts give greater satisfaction than material ones and that experiential gifts lead to higher levels of gratitude.

To help you get in the mindset of gratitude, take a few minutes to watch Louie Schwartzberg’s TED Talk on the subject.  You’ll be reminded of all we have to be grateful for each day of our lives.   Additional resources to support your gratitude practice are listed below.

 

Articles and Videos on Gratitude

Holiday Gratitude Traditions for Fostering Gratitude in Children, Christine Carter, Ph.D., sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center who blogs on science-based parenting advice.

Turn Holiday Resentment into Gratitude by Meg Selig

Six Habits of Highly Grateful People, by Jeremy Adam Smith

Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal, by Jason Marsh

 

Gratitude Apps

Happier by Happier, Inc.  – Free for iOS

Attitudes of Gratitude Journal – free for Android

Gratitude 365 – $1.99 – iOS

Making Cognitive Behavioral Therapy More Effective

By Christine M Moynihan
November 30th, 2016 in BU Charles River Campus, BU Med Campus.

There is a great article (paywall) in the Wall Street Journal today that discusses recent ideas on how to improve cognitive behavioral therapy. The WSJ interviewed Dr. David H. Barlow of the BU Center for Anxiety Related Disorders.

The Faculty & Staff Assistance Office is available for anyone who works at BU and would like to talk to someone about personal or work- related issues.  We can also help you find a referral for a therapist.  Contact us through our web form, email us at fsao@bu.edu, or give us a call at 617-353-5381.

Dealing with Family and Friends after the Election

By Christine M Moynihan
November 15th, 2016 in BU Charles River Campus, BU Med Campus, Faculty, Staff.

You might find yourself trying to navigate conversations with family and friends after the election. There is a good article about this issue in the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

The Faculty & Staff Assistance Office continues to be available for anyone who works at BU and would like to talk to someone. Contact us through our web form, email us at fsao@bu.edu, or give us a call at 617-353-5381.

Resources for Instructors on Navigating the Classroom Post-Election

By Christine M Moynihan
November 15th, 2016 in BU Charles River Campus, BU Med Campus, Faculty, Staff.

Some of you may find yourselves trying to figure out how to address the election in your classes. The Center for Teaching and Learning at BU has compiled a list of online resources to help guide you: http://www.bu.edu/ctl/2016/11/12/returning-to-the-classroom-after-the-election-resources/.

The Faculty & Staff Assistance Office continues to be available for anyone who works at BU and would like to talk to someone. Contact us through our web form, email us at fsao@bu.edu, or give us a call at 617-353-5381.

Register for Fall Mindfulness Workshops

By Christine M Moynihan
September 7th, 2016 in BU Med Campus, Faculty, Minfdulness, Staff.

mindfulness

 

The schedule for our Fall Mindfulness Workshops it out! Check out our offerings and many other great wellness workshops on the Charles River and the Med Campus, and register on the newly revamped BU Employee Wellness website: http://www.bu.edu/wellness/resources-2/mindfulness-and-resilience/

 

Fall Mindfulness Workshops

By Christine M Moynihan
July 21st, 2016 in BU Med Campus, Burnout, Minfdulness, Resilience, Staff, Stress.

Stay tuned for upcoming mindfulness workshops conducted by FSAO counselor Karen Brouhard! The workshops will be held in the fall and will be on both the Charles River Campus and the Med Campus.

If you would like to discuss with Karen how to practice mindfulness in your life, contact us to set up a free confidential appointment: http://www.bu.edu/fsao/contact/.

 

Our Med Campus Office Has Moved!

By Christine M Moynihan
September 9th, 2015 in BU Med Campus.

The Faculty & Staff Assistance Office on the Medical Campus has moved to a new floor in the same building. Our new office is located in room 818b on the 8th floor of the Dr. S. C. Fuller Mental Health Center (85 East Newton Street). The phone number for the Medical Campus Office is remains the same: 617-638-5381.

Our Charles River Campus Office location has not changed.We are still located at 270 Bay State Road in the basement, room B-30. The phone number for the Charles River Campus Office has not changed: 617-353-5381.

If you would like to make an appointment to see us on either campus, please contact us .

Try out the Stretch and Breathe Class at FitRec

By Christine M Moynihan
July 1st, 2015 in Minfdulness.

Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center is offering a great (and free!) 30 minute stretching class for all BU Faculty and Staff at 12:15 pm on Thursdays until August 13th . No registration is needed, and the workout is gentle enough that you don’t need workout clothes.  Fore more info about the class, go to the FitRec website here