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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

It happens every New Year: you say you’re going to pay off your debt, gossip less and exercise more. But, after a month or so, you realize you aren’t sticking to your guns.

If you want to keep your resolutions this year, consider these tips from Cosmopolitan.com.

Focus on one resolution. Committing to more than one thing can be overwhelming, and limits your chance at success. Pick the one habit or behavior you truly want to change and make that your project for the year.

Be specific. “I’m going to save a lot of money” is a nice thought, but it’s impossible to stick to. Consider a more specific goal, like “I’m going to put $100 in my savings account each month.”

Get others on board. Tell your friends and family about your resolutions. They’ll protect you from potential setbacks and hold you accountable. Plus, you’ll try harder to stick to your resolution so you don’t disappoint the people you care about.

Write it down. Putting your goal down on paper and keeping it in constant view will make it feel tangible. Try a post-it note on your computer monitor or car dashboard.

Remember that it’s okay to mess up. If you get derailed from your objective, reframe it as a learning experience and get right back on track.

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Why Giving is Good for You

If you hate holiday shopping, this might make you feel just a little bit better about it. Research suggests that giving has multiple benefits, for both the recipient and the giver.

Consider this:

Giving makes you happy. A Harvard Business School study found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves. Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, saw similar results when she asked people to perform five acts of kindness each week for six weeks.

Similarly, a study conducted at the National Institute of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

Giving is good for your health. Significant research has linked generosity to better health, even among the sick and elderly. Studies have shown that one reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is that it helps decrease stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. In a study by Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee, people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t.

Giving leads to social connection. Several studies have shown that when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line—sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else. According to research, having positive social interactions is central to good mental and physical health. Additionally, when we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them. “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably,” writes Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness, and this “fosters a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in your social community.”

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Home Works Painting Donation

On Friday December 4th 2015, Brain Injury Services was presented with a check for $5,055 from Home Works Painting president and founder Mike Katounas. During the month of December, the company initiated a campaign which would give back 5% of all interior residential signed contracts to the Brain Injury Services Pediatric Department.

“We were very surprised and overwhelmed by the generous offer from Home Works Painting to donate a portion of their proceeds to our Pediatric Program” says Brooke Annessa who is a pediatric case manager at Brain Injury Services. “It is so wonderful to form a new partnership with a local business in our community that can help us meet the needs of the families we serve.”

The Pediatric Program serves over 80 children and their family every year. Some of their clients have experienced traumatic, non-accidental injuries, while others have survived traumatic brain injury, strokes, and AVM bleeds. The program supports clients in every aspect of their lives – including educational, medical, recreation, family, mental health, and more.

Director of the Pediatric Program Jo Thompson said, “The donation from Home Works Painting will help us be better able to assist children with brain injuries in so many ways. The funds will enable us to help cover medical expenses, provide educational support services, as well as recreational and social activities for the children we serve. It will make a huge difference to the families in our program!”

This donation from Home Works Painting is deeply appreciated and comes during Brain Injury Services’ annual appeal campaign to raise money from local donors and organizations. In the end, the campaign actually raised $5,454.72! Thank you so much to Home Works Painting and their amazing contribution.

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Keep Your Children Safe This Winter

Winter officially begins on December 22, but frigid temps have already impacted many parts of the country. Keep your children safe and warm this winter with these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  • Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment because they are associated with suffocation deaths. One-piece sleepers or wearable blankets are preferred.
  • If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.
  • If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum jelly may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
  • Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
  • Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.

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December 10 is Human Rights Day

In 1950, The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December Human Rights Day as a way to “bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

Last year’s slogan was Human Rights 365, which encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurred on 10 December 2008, and the UN Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign leading up to this anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document (except for the Bible), organizations around the globe used the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.

Human Rights Day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, it is typically when the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. Many organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day.

The idea of human rights is something we often take for granted in the United States. Elsewhere, freedom and basic human rights are not a given.

You can participate in this day by learning more about human rights issues around the globe. Consider offering your time and money in support of a human rights issue that is important to you. Visit the United Nations’ website (un.org) for further information.

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December 1 is Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday, now in its fourth year, is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Created by 92nd Street Y (92y.org), a cultural center in New York City, #GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Here are some simple things you can do this Giving Tuesday:

Volunteer at the soup kitchen. While you and your family are enjoying your holiday meals, just think about others who don’t have the same luxury. Dedicate some time to volunteer at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter to help those in need. Invite family and friends to spread goodwill.

Host a food pantry drive. Ask your friends, family and holiday visitors to bring at least one food item when they come to your house. Then, you can donate those items to your local pantry.

Donate winter clothing and blankets. If you’ve got extra blankets or winter coats, don’t let them pile up in the closet. Take them to your local shelter or donation center.

For more information on Giving Tuesday, visit givingtuesday.org.