Feeling Good Using New Tools

Cheri Gray
Sustainability and Wellness
Professor Krista Baily
24 April 2016
Blog 3 of 3

I am feeling good about reconnecting with my sister. I have talked with her a couple of times since last week and this feels great! My family is mired in dysfunction with many of us not talking for years. I realize that no one has a “normal” family but sometimes I really crave normal. Reconnecting with my sister has helped very much with Right Tribe and wanting to make the effort to stay connected with my friends and reconnect with my friends who I have disappeared from their lives.UntitledCG1
Today, I reconnected with a friend who I have not seen in a year and we discussed walking together. Both of us discussed supporting each other on our path to a healthier way of life. Sometimes what you cannot have with your family you can build in relationships with your friends.  It’s time for me to unlearn my detachment behavior and reattach to my friends. Relationships are work and I have to work at them in order to allow my friendships to flourish and not keep restarting the relationships over and over again. This has been an eye-opening experience which I have taken to heart. I am feeling a bit more grounded…like I have a bit of a foundation to build upon. Right Tribe has grabbed a hold of my heart.

Both the reaction I am getting from my family and friends are pretty much the same. I feel good and am getting good reactions. Although, I am still struggling with trying not to drive as much and taking my walk to the Garden Patch (which I haven’t done yet). I am pleased I have not put myself down for not achieving my goal of walking to the Garden Patch. I realize that the store isn’t going anywhere and I will be there when I take my walk.UntitledCG2
Also, I am quite pleased that I have not freaked out too much about all the projects I have due in my classes. Last week, I had a huge project due, and I was able to calm myself down and get the project done long before the 11:59 p.m. due date.
Most of my friends don’t realize the pressure that school brings to your life and have no conception of what the final’s week means. Downshifting has been critical in the area of keeping calm related to my school projects. I am hoping that I will be able to call upon these new tools next week in the middle of final’s week.

My feelings are inspiring me the most. UntitledCG3I don’t know if this is because I don’t really count upon my family and friends for support or because I feel like I have a foundation to grow upon in the Right Tribe area. Either way, I feel good and am inspired to keep on the Right Tribe path. Maybe I will be able to learn to be vulnerable and let my friends support me when I need it.


Right Tribe, Downshift and Moving Naturally

Cheri Gray
Sustainability and Wellness
Professor Krista Baily
17 April 2016
Blog Two of Three

This past week I reconnected with my sister. I talked with my sister on the phone for two hours discussing our family and life in general. We had been estranged for three years and it has been nice reconnecting with her. We are taking small steps but this long conversation was a little bit of a bigger step because we actually discussed the trigger for the estrangement. UntitledWhen I have had issues with my family in the past, we have a tendency to not discuss what triggered the estrangement and this makes it difficult to move past the issue we have had. This time my sister and I had a level-headed discussion and resolved the issue. Also, I spent the weekend driving my niece around town for her softball training. We had a nice talk about teenage life which I confess is quite foreign to me. Since I have been blue zoning, I am making the effort to stay connected with my friends and get to know some new people. I have trouble staying connected with people, and the Right Tribe has been the most difficult area for me for me to make changes.

To Downshift I continue to use the “Stop, Breath, Think” app at bedtime, and I have also started to use the app while I am walking. There is walking mediation that makes you aware of the nature around you. Untitled2This is quite nice because it keeps you in tune with the sounds and sights of nature.
This week when I was studying and became overwhelmed, I left my apartment and took a 20-30 minute walk. It was a great weekend for walks! I am trying to stay in tuned with the stress signals my body is giving me which is something I have never been able to do (so far I’ve been able to do this four times). In addition, I found that on my phone I have a function that tracks stress via my heart rate. So, this weekend, I started tracking my stress.

I planned to walk to the Garden Patch but was not able to make this goal as I helped my brother transport my niece around town for her softball training. I will say that I was a little relieved that I didn’t have to walk to the store as I have been very nervous about this goal. I may have to rethink my moving naturally goals or at least add another goal until I can walk to the Garden Patch which is totally out of the box for me. Untitled3I have started to make a conscious effort to walk more by tracking my steps, time and miles on my phone. My goal is 60 minutes a day and 7,000 steps. I used to easily walk 10,000 steps a day but right now I need to work back up to 10,000 steps. My goal is to take a walk twice a day and move more the rest of the day. I will say that I have been walking around my apartment more in the evening to make the 7,000 steps. I am keeping the habits that I already have by parking further away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Overall, I have been quite proud of the changes I have been making especially in the Right Tribe area as everything I have done in this area has been different for me. Untitled4To keep developing the Blue Zone habits I believe I will have to keep myself focused on changing my behavior and make conscious decisions to keep on track toward my Blue Zone goals.  Also, I believe that after I have one change down, I will need to start working on a new change. I think I need to make slow, gradual changes and concentrate on making these changes into habits. If I try too many things at once, I have a tendency to shut down and stop. With slow, gradual cognitive behavioral changes, I believe my Blue Zone goals will become habits.



Sustainability and Wellness

Sustainability and Wellness
Professor Krista Bailey
11 April 2016
Power 9 Blog 1 of 3
by Cheri Gray

To move in the directions of Right Tribe, I started reconnecting with one of my friends this past week to catch up on what’s been going on in her life.  Right now, I am reconnecting with conversations on the phone.  Also, I went to a conference with a large group of women from IU South Bend and made an effort to converse with people I did not know.


It was nice to connect with other WGS majors and find out about their research.  My roommate was someone I never met, and I took the time to find out about her life and how she came back to college later in life.  I was proud of myself that I took time to make connections with this group of women.  Right Tribe means I need to be in a community so I need to make sure I interface with people.  April is going to be a very busy month school-wise for me and a little bit on the crazy side.  I am going to have to make a concerted effort to keep connections open with my friends and not use my busy school schedule as an excuse.  It is important for me to keep working on making connections so this develops into a habit.  Hopefully, some of this connection making will start becoming a habit and won’t take so much thinking.

To Downshift I have started using the App, “Stop, Breath, Think” I have been using this app right before I go to bed at night (while lying in bed).  This is a guided mediation app that I am practicing alone because I don’t feel I would be able to mediate in a group.  I am actually able to mediate and downshift.  I know the more I practice mediation using this app that I will be able to relearn how to let stress leave my body.


I haven’t made any new habits in the moving naturally area.  I am keeping the habits that I already have by parking further away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  I talked with a classmate this past week about what I could do to decrease the use of my car and she thought that perhaps buying a bicycle would help me in this endeavor.  Until I make a decision to buy a bike, this weekend I am going to walk to the Garden Patch as it is close to my house and has some sidewalks that I can use so I don’t end up smashed on the pavement.  I believe if I can walk to the Garden Patch without incident that I will get over the fear of the traffic.  Walking to the Garden Patch would be the start of a good habit and I could get some of my grocery shopping done in the process. I know I will be doing this alone as I don’t think I could get any of my friends to walk with me down Main Street much less Edison Road (which has no sidewalks).


This past week, I focused on trying to make new habits and not let my busy schedule be used as an excuse for stopping my path to a healthier, happier me.

A Celebratory End to the Power 9 Challenge

A Celebratory End: The Power 9 Challenge
Blog 4 of 4
By Stella Drepin

I have come to the end of this challenge feeling mostly victorious, and have gained new tools in my lifelong pursuit of living a healthy, whole, and well life. A few weeks ago, I was challenged to make three lifestyle changes: to move naturally, downshift daily, and engage in my community. I am happy to announce that I now know what it takes to put these habits into practice, and have begun to do so. I am feeling really good about moving naturally, especially since it is now much warmer outside and it is easier to be motivated to move and take walks and ride bikes and dig in the garden. But even in the winter time, I think I will find myself using the Stand Up! app to keep myself moving when it’s cold and dreary. This habit will be a solid habit because I feel that I have the tools that I need to implement it. Furthermore, these four weeks have made me aware of how much I do sit, and I want to change that.


As far as downshifting goes, I still have room for improvement, but I do love the way I feel when I have taken the necessary time to be still and focus. I am much more optimistic and peaceful. And this result makes me very happy. Engaging in community has been more successful for me than I thought it would be too. This week, I had the opportunity to play volleyball with a group of young people in my community. It was a great time, and I look forward to other such opportunities in the future.

The three habits that I chose to incorporate into my life have been mostly personal and not dramatic enough to where my family would really notice that I have been making changes. The most reaction that I have had was to moving naturally. I told them about the app and that it was for a challenge at school, but they didn’t seem to have many comments or reactions. My family is very health-minded and it probably didn’t seem like too much of an adjustment to them. However, I haven’t really experienced any support for my new changes either. I feel like I have accomplished something by making these changes, but those around me don’t seem to think it’s all that big of a deal.

Peaceful Contemplation

Also, the downshifting has mostly been on my own time, alone, so there hasn’t been support or reactions to that either. I think that I will have more of a reaction in the future from them concerning engaging in community since my family knows me to be more of an introvert. What is inspiring me to move forward with these changes is not the way others are reacting to them, but the way they make me feel about myself and my surroundings. That is why I will keep these new habits, and possibly move on to other power nine challenges and try those as well.

Practice Makes Perfect in the Power 9 Challenge

Practice Makes Perfect: The Power 9 Challenge
Blog 3 of 4
By Stella Drepin

OK, so, practice makes perfect. And this week, I am making real progress and finding out what works for me. I have been on this power 9 challenge where I am supposed to adopt 3 of the Power 9 habits of Blue-Zone individuals who live very full and healthy lives. The three that I chose to follow are move naturally, downshift, and engaging in community.

Last week, I downloaded an app to help me remember to move naturally, especially while I type up these last, end-of-the-semester papers. I really like it because it is a friendly reminder that sounds off every 45 minutes and tells me to just get up and move. I’ve set it to only go off on days that I am at home and am more likely to sit for long periods of time. On top of that, this week’s weather has been heavenly and I took a leisurely  bike ride with my fiance! I look forward to more activities such as this in the days to come. I feel great about my progress in this area, and to continue to improve, I will start digging in my garden very soon!


I have also made progress in the category of downshifting this week. I found a time slot for this habit. My commute to school is about 25 to 30 minutes and I have recently started listening to inspiring podcasts on my way to and from school. It helps me relax and be reflective about my life and it also helps me be much more optimistic. I am feeling great about my progress in this area, and to continue to develop this habit, I think that I can set time aside when I am at home to just have some quiet time and listen to a good song and pray, maybe after lunch.

driving car listening to phone

Engaging in community is going to continue to be a challenge for me, but last Sunday, I had the privilege of supporting a member of my small group by rejoicing with her as she got baptized! And later that day, my fiance and I also went to our small group. I feel hopeful in my progress for this week, because I am meeting new people at church and becoming more involved. I think I might sign up to volunteer in the children’s department this summer as well. But to develop this habit further, I think I should engage in my community outside of church as well.  I am still looking for ways that I can do this.

Systematic or Stalled Progress in The Power 9 Challenge?

Progress…? The Power 9 Challenge
Blog 2 of 4
By Stella Drepin

In last week’s blog post, I addressed the challenge that I was accepting to choose three of the power nine habits of long-living people to adapt for myself and to see how it goes. I chose to adapt the concepts of moving naturally, downshifting, and engaging in community. My idea of how to incorporate moving naturally was to periodically get up and move when I am doing school work. This is the time when I have the greatest difficulty with sitting for too long at one time.

female student typing laptop

In the last week I have tried to remember to periodically get up and do something that requires more movement. For example, one day while doing homework, I got up and did a few squats every so often. I did a few in the living room too which garnered some quizzical glances from my family. So far, all of my movement has been done alone. But to make my new habit more systematic, I have downloaded an app called Stand Up!


It is supposed to help remind me to get up and move while I’m at work. You can set the timer and what days of the week you want it to operate. You can look forward to my comments on the effectiveness of this in next week’s blog. I anticipate looking forward to this alarm going off so that I can get up and move.

My next challenge was to commit to downshifting once a day. That is more challenging than it seems. It is very difficult to set aside time each day to just refocus and slow down. I have pursued this habit on my own as well. There are a lot of things that need to be accomplished each day! However, I have been making more of an effort to be quiet and pray every day. I need to keep brainstorming new ways to make this habit stick for the long haul. I think that once this becomes a habit, my attitude will have positive changes.

Finally, the habit that I have committed the least attention to is engaging in community. This one seems to be incredibly tricky during the school year, and when it’s snowing in April. It is very hard to want to go be social when the weather is not friendly. I did go to church this week, but I didn’t go to my small group, or reach out in any other way. I haven’t done much of anything different to develop this habit. I haven’t done anything different on my own or with anyone else. I anticipate that to change.  My actions will have to become more intentional to make sure that I incorporate changes in this category.

Moving, Downshifting and Engaging with Community Using the Power 9!

Blue Zones: The Power 9 Challenge
Blog 1 of 4
By Stella Drepin

The Blue Zones are areas around the world where people are living long, well, healthy, fulfilling lives.


I have been challenged to choose three of the nine healthy habits that the people living in these communities seem to all do and incorporate them into my life. I will also write about my experience. So, without further ado, my selection is as follows: move naturally, downshift, and be involved in community.


My idea of moving naturally is that I will not stay seated for too long of a time, I will find ways to get up and move while I do homework or watch TV, and that I will engage in more activities that involve movement and increasing my heart rate. I’m choosing this healthy habit because it seems to be pretty simple to me. Even now as I am sitting here and typing this blog post, I’m imagining different ways I can incorporate this habit today!

The challenging part for me will be being motivated to move when I’m at the computer. I might have to be creative and come up with something I can do while I am doing my work at the computer, or take breaks every so often to get up and move. To develop this habit, I may have to set a timer to move every 20 minutes or something.

Downshifting has to do with dealing with daily stress. I am choosing this one because who wouldn’t want to develop a better way to deal with stress? If I can figure this out young, I can avoid all the nasty side effects of stress. The challenging part here will be setting the time aside each day just to remember to downshift. The plan at the moment is that I will take time every day to take all my worries and stresses to my heavenly Father in prayer. It is something that I already do, but not as faithfully as I would like. In the Bible, it says to cast all my cares on Jesus, and I need to take that seriously and take the time to do that daily.

Lastly, I have chosen to be involved in community. The key here is to feel that belonging and support from those around you. The example from the book has to do with faith-based communities. And I already happen to be a part of one! What I think I can be more intentional in this category with is actually engaging more in my church. The challenge for me is the fact that I am an introvert. That makes things complex. I really have to push myself to meet new people and engage in small talk. So, we shall see how this challenge works out. I’m not making any promises. Hopefully though, this challenge helps me learn a few things about myself, encourages other people to try some new healthy habits, and helps me improve my life and well being.

Feeling Great About the Power 9 Results

Moving Naturally, 80% Rule, & Family First
Blog 4 of 4
-by Seth Glingle

About a month ago I started focusing and developing three of the Power 9 life style habits. Throughout the month there have been some ups and down developing these habits. Today I feel great about how well I’m doing and how people have felt about these changes.

Moving Naturally

My friends and family have noticed how much more I’ve been off the couch and moving around. They are impressed and proud that I am getting out and doing productive and healthy things. Overall I feel like I’m in a lot better physical shape as well as a mental state. The more I move the less tired I am, and I’m in a better, more engaging mood throughout the day. I hope my family and friends will also start moving more naturally after observing me. It’s overall how much better I feel that keeps me inspired about developing this habit. Continuing to move naturally is very important as I want to keep improving on living a healthier lifestyle.


80% Rule

The 80% rule is what I’ve had the toughest time developing the last month. Although sometimes it has been tough, overall I feel pretty happy and healthy. Whenever I eat until I’m 80% full I always feel so much better afterwards. I’m not bloated and can continue on with my day feeling great.  Almost every meal each week I’m able to eat until I’m 80% full. Maybe 3 meals a week out of 21 I lose focus and might overeat. This is a huge improvement from where I was a month ago. My family and friends have both noticed and I have some people who say it’s a great thing I am eating this healthy, and others say they don’t get why I’m only eating so much. It’s how I’m feeling that keeps me inspired and wanting to keep up with this lifestyle habit. I also want to continue this habit to show the people who don’t get it how much healthier I’m getting.


Family First

My family has definitely noticed and love that I have put more time into visiting and keeping in touch with them. My grandparents are especially glad I have been including them more in my life. I feel great about putting my family first as I’m a very family oriented person. My family has always been there for me so I should be there for them. The way my grandparents react to seeing and hearing from me is an amazing feeling and will make it a lot easier to keep this lifestyle as it means a lot to them.

family first snoopy

Developing the Power 9

Power 9 Development
Blog 3 of 4
-by Seth Glingle

Over the last couple week’s development of my three Power 9 choices, Moving Naturally, 80% Rule, and Family First there has been highs and some lows. Sometimes I do really well on developing these habits, and other times I take a step back. With that said, I feel I have greatly improved on developing these lifestyle habits from the time I started until now.

Moving Naturally

I feel great about how well I have improved upon Moving Naturally. It’s starting to become a lot more natural habit instead of having to focus on doing it. I have been walking a lot more and bike to most places around South Bend. Also, I have been going to Rum Village to mountain bike, walk the trails, and take my dog for walks. To continue developing this habit I need to keep finding stuff I enjoy doing that gets me moving. In a couple weeks church league softball starts so that’s something that will continue to help develop Moving Naturally in my lifestyle.


80% Rule

80% Rule is something I did well for the most part, but there were a couple missteps as well. The last week I focused almost every meal on taking my time. For all those meals I did a great job at only eating till I was 80% full. Once the weekend hit it was a different story. I had a very busy weekend so I often found myself in a hurry and didn’t focus on slowing down. I ate quickly and that led me to eating more than I should have. Something I need to work on in the future is slowing down completely, not just when I eat. This will help me focus on slowing down as I ate and eating only till I’m 80% full. I do feel really great about the progress I am making though as I know I can correct where I have misstep.

Family First

Family First is something I have done alright in the last week. I wasn’t able to go back go back home but I did give both my parents and grandparents a call. Once school ends and I’m back to living at home I will be able to visit my grandparents and help them around the house more often as they live close by. My progress has definitely improved since I started, but the last week wasn’t the greatest.

cell phone

Reflecting on the Power 9

Reflecting on the Power 9
Blog 2 of 4
-by Seth Glingle

The three life style habits of the Power 9  I thought were most important are Moving Naturally, the 80% Rule, and Family First. The last week I have been doing my best to put these habits into practice. For the most part I feel like I have gotten off to a good start in making these life style changes.  Here is a reflection about the different steps I’ve taken the last week, and different ways these steps may change as I continue to develop some of these Power 9 lifestyle habits.

Moving Naturally

Moving naturally has been the toughest habit to focus on this week. The biggest road block stopping me from working on moving naturally was the weather. It was often rainy and snowy most days of the week, and everything I said I would work on was outside. Although the weather was bad I still found a couple other ways to move naturally. The first was playing ping pong. Because of the bad weather my roommates and I often found ourselves playing a lot of ping pong inside. One day we even had some friends over and had a little tournament. This was something done in community with other people and got everyone moving.  One thing I did by myself was ride my bike to the grocery store. It was on one of the few nice days I was able to ride my bike. Riding my bike to get groceries was a first for me and is something I’m going to continue doing. Hopefully in the future as I ride my bike more often I won’t drive my car unless it is necessary.

Table Tennis

80% Rule

The 80% Rule is something I did both well and bad on.  This is because I went home for the weekend for my grandmother’s birthday and ate a lot in celebration. But during the week I did really well in eating only until I’m 80% full. There were a couple of steps I took to stop eating once I’m at 80%.  The first was eat salad for a meal or a small salad right before the meal. Salads before a meal helped a lot as I didn’t eat nearly as much as I normally would with the main meal. Another step was to drink a lot of water throughout the day and during meals. By drinking a lot of water I seemed full so I wouldn’t snack on other foods. Lastly and what I found to be most the most helpful was to take time during a meal. I focused on eating slowly and by doing so I knew when to stop. Sometimes if I eat too fast I can’t tell if I’m full until after the fact, let alone at 80%. All these were done alone, but I would like to include more people in the future. I would like to include more people in my learning how to cook and prepare healthier foods with and for them.

Eat Slowly

Family First

Family first was easy for me to implement last week as I went home for the weekend to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. I saw my whole family a couple of days and enjoyed it. Something I did do different was call my grandparents during the week just to talk to them and see how they were doing. This is something I would like to continue doing as well as make more visits to see them.  This change was done alone but I’m going to try and influence my brother to call and visit more often.  As I continue to put Family First into practice I may find myself occasionally going to church with them or going to other activities they are involved in.