Spring Training

Spring Training

Recruit fellow coworkers and form a team for a six-week activity program. Incentives and tips for success will be offered throughout the program. This program is great for people of all fitness levels. Invite friends and family to join in the fun.

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Find out how UWHC vending has changed

Find out how UWHC vending has changed

Good nutrition is a building block to your overall health. Follow the Green, Yellow, Red concept when buying food or beverages from UWHC snack vending machines.

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Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture

Enrollment is now open! For the past several years, Wellness Options at Work has brought shares of organic, locally grown produce to multiple sites across UW Health.

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Welcome to Spring Training!

Spring Training begins Monday, April 21,2014!

Welcome to Spring Training.  This year 188 teams are competing with a total of 1435 employees, family members and friends participating simultaneously.  This great participation makes Spring Training the most popular program offered by Wellness Options at Work.  Last year, every team completed the challenge.  Let’s meet that benchmark again this year!

It won’t be easy.  Each and every one of us must try every day to incorporate the challenge into our day.  Remember, you choose your own activity goal.  If you pick an aerobic activity, you can break down your goal into 10 minute increments, as long as you maintain that moderate intensity aerobic activity throughout that 10 minute segment.  Try to challenge yourself to improve your overall health.  This is a cardiovascular challenge.  Many of us forget the importance of exercising our hearts and tuning up our whole vascular system.  It is critical to our long term health.  Frankly, heart disease is the biggest killer of both men and women.  So don’t delay.  Get moving.  Work together as a team!

Last year we had 12 teams who finished on top with a PERFECT SCORE!  They were:

Teri’s Titan’s of Patient Resources, Fitter Critters, The Unsinkables, Team Mustang, Fast Trackers, Road Warriors, Jean’s East Team, Klassy Kidney Kleaners, Practice What you Preach, RX Pain Relievers, We Got Sole and Genrich DiAnne.

Who will claim victory for 2014???

Just the facts, Ma’am:

1. Get started Monday!  Plan exercise into your day.

2. Let your captain know by Tuesday noon, April 29th how many days you met your goal for the week of 4/21. (Remember 5 is the max you can report)

3. Start looking for an exercise buddy for the Week 3 challenge.

4. Check out the weekly blog for additional information, connections between participants, and all that is happening with Wellness Options at Work!  Questions? Contact us at wellness@uwhealth.org



The Happiness Advantage Book Club Discussion FINAL WEEK

Welcome to week 4, our final week in the book club!

First, thank you to all who have contributed to our online conversations the past three weeks. I look forward to continuing our online discussions this week as well our two in-person sessions.

For our final week together, we’re focusing on the last principle (“Social Investment”) as well as wrapping up the book.

Just like before, feel free to answer one or both of the following questions. Or feel free to post general comments/questions you may have about the concepts presented.

Question 1: Achor states that principle 7, investing in social support and relationships, is our “single greatest asset” and “…the single greatest investment [one] can make in the Happiness Advantage.” Do you feel like you have a solid social support system? What is one thing that you can do to build a connection or strengthen a relationship in either your professional or personal life?

Question 2: To wrap up the book, which principle(s) resonated most with you and why? Did you find this book helpful?

And last but not least…

Optional follow-up: Back in week 1, I gave the exercise to “put thought in to action” with instructions to choose an activity or strategy from one (or more) of the seven principles to work on over the period of the book club. If you did that, please share any insights you may have on this, such as: was it difficult to implement said activity/strategy? Do you feel you’ve changed from employing it? What was your experience like?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


The Happiness Advantage Book Club Discussion Week 3

Welcome to week 3!

Thank you all for the great and thought-provoking discussion last week. This week we’re focusing on principles 5 (“The Zorro Circle”) and 6 (“The 20-Second Rule”).

Just like before, feel free to answer one or both of the following questions. Or feel free to post general comments/questions you may have about the concepts presented.

Question 1: Do you agree or disagree with Achor when he argues “you can’t sprint your way to a marathon” or “no matter what you may have heard from motivational speakers, coaches, and the like, reaching for the stars is a recipe for failure” (pages 138 and 139)? Do you agree or disagree with his approach of smaller “Zorro Circles”? Why?

Question 2: Does Achor’s claim in principle 6 that willpower is not the answer and that willpower weakens with time resonate with you? Why or why not?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts,


The Happiness Advantage Book Club Discussion Week 2

Welcome to week 2!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion last week. This week we’re focusing on principles 3 (“The Tetris Effect”) and 4 (“Falling Up”).

Just like last week, feel free to answer one or both of the following questions. Or feel free to post general comments/questions you may have about the concepts presented.

Question 1: Have you ever gotten stuck in a negative Tetris Effect? How did that affect your life and work? How could you avoid this in the future?

Question 2: What resonated most with you in principle 4 and why? (For example, the idea of post-traumatic growth, the Third Path, etc.)

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


The Happiness Advantage Book Club Discussion Week 1

If you haven’t read How the Book Club Works yet, please do so.

First, before you begin your discussion, if you don’t mind sharing, please tell us your name and why you chose to read the book.

Second, some discussion questions about principles 1 and 2. You can answer any, all or none of them – your choice. The questions for this week are:

Question 1: On page 50 in principle 1, Achor posits “…happiness is not just a mood—it’s a work ethic.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Question 2: In principles 1 and 2, Achor discusses ways to prime one’s self to be more positive in daily life as well as before and during stressful events (see the example of the hotel staff on pages 70-71). Do you ever prime yourself with positivity? If so, what things do you do to get yourself into a more positive state of mind?

Question 3: In principle 2, Achor talks about moving the fulcrum in his own life with an example about how an activity he usually viewed as fun became work (reading psychology textbooks). He then went on to discuss how he moved the fulcrum to view that activity as fun again (pages 72-73). Can you describe a time where you did something similar and moved the fulcrum to your benefit?

Finally, because this book acts as a guide to being happier, I’d like you to put thought into action and choose one strategy/activity (or more) that Achor lists in the book (I’ve compiled a list below) from any of the principles to work on over the next four weeks. Integrate it into your daily life; during week 4 we will discuss your results. Remember, this is voluntary.

Turning Thoughts into Action: Stratagies and Activities List

I look forward to our discussion!


Happiness Advantage Welcome

Next week marks the beginning of our 4-week virtual book club.

Our book club host is Lia Vellardita. Here is a brief introductory statement from Lia.

“I’m a Health Sciences Librarian at Ebling Library, where I work with both students and staff. This is my second year at Ebling but I’ve worked at other libraries in Madison for several years. In my non-professional life, my husband and I just had our first child, a healthy 3 month old girl, and call Madison our home.

Reading the Happiness Advantage has been an eye-opener for me; Achor has succinctly articulated things I’d heard before as well as introduced me to concepts and ideas I hadn’t. I’m excited to discuss this book and look forward to hearing what others think about it.

On a weekly basis you will receive an email from Wellness Options at Work. In this email, Lia will highlight a segment of the book and ask thought-provoking questions. You will be able to respond, view other people’s comments and hold on-line discussions via the wellness blog .

During Health and Healing Week, March 10 – 14 we will be hosting two discussion sessions:

March 10

CSC, Room G5/142, 12:30–1:15pm

Small Group Discussion


March 12

HSLC, Room 1248, 12:00-12:45pm

Small Group Discussion. A live feed will be available via the VIDEO LIBRARY. Access instructions will be emailed to all registered book club participants.

Books are for sale at the HSLC, State Street and Hilldale University Bookstores. A 20% discount coupon can be found on the blog page.


Stairs for Wellness Celebration at the CSC

More information on Stairs for Wellness

The Story Behind Stairs for Wellness

Friday, March 14th, 2014        


CSC, G5/142

Please join Wellness Options at Work for a brief ceremony to learn about the history of the Stairs for Wellness project and recognize the staff who teamed up to implement Stairs for Wellness. This will be followed by an expedition and climb of the E4 and/or E6 Stairs.

Wellness Health Fair    Stairs for Wellness Logo Circle


Four Lakes Cafeteria Vendor Area

  • Join the Stair Walking Challenge
  • Climb the stairs and win a prize
  • Learn more about other Spring Wellness Programs
  • Meet Vermont Valley CSA Farmers

We hope to see you there!


“Research suggests that individuals who feel grateful experience: lower blood pressure; improved immune functions; recover more quickly from illness; and can more effectively cope with stress.  The first step”, explains Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, a health psychologist with UW Health, “is to begin creating an awareness of what you are grateful for in life.” 

UW Health Wellness Options at Work is thankful for the faculty and staff who strive to improve their personal wellness. Wellness is very personal. We respect each and every one of you. We are proud of all the changes, big and small, that you experience because you choose to take care of yourself. Your stories motivate us to continue to do our work. Thank you.

“Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things…Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” — Marelisa Fábrega

Gratitude Meditation

This meditation lasts close to ten minutes.  Be sure to have the time and the quiet to enjoy this thoughtful journey.

Tame your Sweet Tooth

mdg sweet email

Well, how times have changed!  Did you know? In 1900, the U.S. consumed about 5 pounds of sugar per person per year.  Today, the average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar annually! That extra added sugar is ‘hiding’ in regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles). AHA, Sugars 101.

Could you become a sugar detective and find out where to trim back on added sugar?

Try it!

  • Choose cereal with eight grams of sugar (or less)
  • Add fruit to sweeten your meal or snack
  • Choose unsweetened beverages (sparkling water or iced tea).  Limit your sugar alternatives which tend to be ultra-sweet.
  • Eat sweets and treats in two to three bite-only servings and with a meal 
  • Choose quality over quantity. Enjoy your favorite sweet treat without tasting six others before going back to what you really love.
  • Most important – eat regularly.  The mid-day slump in blood sugar can often be the trigger to grab something sweet.  Avoid this by eating a nourishing meal three times each day.

Is your support system making you healthier?

Many people agree that social interaction dominates human life. As adults we spend our career interacting with others, creating relationships with friends and family and engaging in social activities during our free time. We are constantly forming support systems with people in all aspects of our lives.  Social support systems appear to be very beneficial to a person’s health and have been greatly researched in the past decade. Positive social support systems correlate with a longer lifespan because it promotes healthy behaviors. For, example, these healthy behaviors can include increasing exercise, improved nutrition and smoking cessation.

You may be wondering why positive social support increases healthy behaviors, so think of it this way. Have you ever gone to see a movie that you were not interested in seeing, but went anyways because your friend wanted to see it? Think of exercising in the same way. You may not want to exercise today, but the inspiration from your friend can be the deciding factor of you going or not going. There is even research that shows that the likelihood of a person staying motivated during exercise actually increases when a group of friends are engaged in the same exercise activities. The behaviors of our friends greatly influence our own behaviors and we are likely to mimic the behaviors of people who are around us. We feel the need to participate in accepted behaviors, like exercising, because we see our friends around us exercising.

Take a minute to evaluate your social support systems.  Do you have a social support system that is promoting healthy behaviors?  Are you using social support to assist you with the Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday challenge? Each week throughout the challenge you can earn one additional point for interacting with a co-worker, friend or family member about your progress with the Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday challenge.

Written by Jessica O’Connor Health Promotions student at UW Stevens Point

APA Reference

Plante, T.G., M., Mann, S., Lee, G., Hardesty, A., Gable, N., et al. (2010). Effects of perceived fitness levels of exercise partner on intensity of exertion. Social Sciences, 50-54.