1) A loving family boosts a child’s intelligence, physical and emotional development and mental well-being!  Burgeoning research suggests that parental warmth and love correlates with the development of neural circuits in children that positively influence learning and mental and physical well-being throughout the lifespan. On the downside, lack of parental nurturing and affection takes a mental and physical toll on children that increases their risk for morbidity and mortality in adulthood. In fact, love is so powerful that research findings show the capacity of positive relationships to offset the known negative effects of adverse or traumatic experiences on childhood development. Positive relationships may also prevent or reduce biomarkers that indicate increased disease risk--often seen with early life adversities. Bottom line:  To thrive, children need secure attachments, or a sense of being loved and supported by a dependable adult who consistently attends to their physical, emotional and developmental needs no matter what.

2) Loving Social Relationships boost the adoption of healthy habits!  Individuals with a loving support network, which can made up of friends, family, coworkers, or members of shared communities, are healthier and live longer than their more isolated peers. Lack of social support may contribute to poor health, psychological distress and reduced lifespan. A wealth of evidence now indicates that social support buffers the effects of stressful life events and helps to prevent the onset of mental illness, particularly depression. Social support is also linked to better prognoses and survival rates following major illnesses, such as heart attacks, stroke, and certain types of cancer. If you are working to implement healthier habits it is important to assess the support you have in making these behavior changes.  Both healthy and unhealthy habits are contagious. It’s no surprise that the most effective environment to adopt new habits is one with others who have similar health characteristics or desires. Bottom line:  Keep in touch with and carve out time for the positive relationships that offer reciprocal support for all aspects of well-being.  If you are looking to meet more people and build more supportive relationships, consider volunteering for a local organization or join a group that shares an interest or hobby you enjoy or might enjoy.

3) Loving yourself boosts happiness and resilience!  Research shows that practicing more self-love results in better physical and mental health and builds resilience in the face of adversity-- helping people to recover more quickly from trauma or loss.  On the flip side, perfectionists with harsh persecutory inner voices have greater rates of irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, depression, suicidal tendencies and overall shorter lifespans. So, what exactly is self-love? It entails offering compassion and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than letting our inner bully beat us up over every little mistake—which leads to diminished happiness and sense of self-worth. Self-compassion requires mindfulness and an awareness of our self-talk. Practicing mindful exercises such as meditation or the repeating of mantras have been proven to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and significantly increase self-compassion levels.  Bottom line: Mind your mindset. Become aware and familiar with unhealthy, fixed-mindsets versus healthy, growth-mindsets in order to recognize and challenge impossibly high standards and expectations. You’ll need to engage in mindfulness to reframe those setbacks or mistakes and change negative mind chatter.

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These materials are provided to you by Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s
Eat Well, Be Well Nutrition Outreach Program.
For more tips and information, please visit www.blythedale.org/kohls.

Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well Program

Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.

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