Workplace Violence: Understanding, Preventing & Responding

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates 2 million employees per year are victims of workplace violence.

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other dangerously disruptive behavior that occurs at a place of business. It can affect employees, clients, and/or customers. Workplace violence is a complex and widespread issue, steadily gaining attention from the public, mental health experts, and law enforcement professionals.

Several types of workplace violence events have emerged over the past few years including: incidents involving offenders who have no relationship with the victims or the establishment, those where the offenders currently receive services from the establishment, episodes involving current or former employees acting out toward their present or past place of employment, or when domestic disputes between an employee and the perpetrator spill over into the workplace.prevent-workplace-violence.jpg

Proper training and preparedness is the first step to preventing workplace violence in your place of business. Many corporations throughout the United States have instituted programs to help prevent violence in the workplace. These efforts can go a long way toward minimizing the threat at your place of business.

Business owners and managers should incorporate the following items in their workplace to create a safer environment for their staff and those who come to their place of business:

  • Teach staff what is considered unacceptable conduct from co-workers and visitors to the business.
  • Teach staff what actions to take if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence including the early warning signs of potentially violent situations.
  • Create effective steps to follow in response to a workplace violence incident the same way you would teach staff to respond to fires, natural disasters and the like
  • Encourage staff to report all incidents that appear to be workplace violence
  • Build a crisis procedure for responding to workplace violence and practice with drills on a regular basis the same way you practice fire drills, earthquake drills and such
  • Pre-screen potential employees thoroughly (including background checks)
  • Enforce workplace rules and review regularly with staff
  • Offer an employee assistance program that includes mental health care
  • Require that all visitors and vendors who come to the establishment are registered by photo copying their ID before being allowed access
  • Use bright, effective lighting
  • Have an adequate amount of staff on site at all times
  • Establish clear internal and/or external lines of communication to avert and respond effectively to a crisis
  • Change business routines – criminals and ex-employees study or are already aware of the daily routines of your business – which enables them to know when best to strike. Changing routines on a regular basis will make this harder for someone to plan an attack.
  • Provide drop safes when large amounts of cash are exchanged throughout the day and train staff to use the safe continuously leaving only a minimal amount of cash accessible and apply signage indicating that staff on duty does not have access to safe
  • Immediately file a restraining order against any person(s) who have posed a threat to persons or property at your place of business – even if it was just a verbal threat
  • Some additional items to consider if possible are; hiring security staff, adding security cameras and/or alarms, installing panic buttons in discrete (but easily accessible) locations, and entries protected by codes, cards or keys only
  • If your staff does delivery work, running any type of errands or visits to clients/customers’ homes you should also implement the following; Instruct your employees not to enter any situation they feel is unsafe, equip your employees with cell phones or radios to be able to contact you or seek help if necessary, allow at least 2 staff members to travel together whenever possible, and to carry minimum money.WPV Shot.jpg

To make Workplace Violence Prevention effective in your place of business; learn the key elements to prevention in your particular field of business and thoroughly investigate your business’ weaknesses and strengths in regards to any possible threats.  Understand that if  an employee/coworker begins acting differently;  determining the frequency, duration, and intensity of the new behavior can be helpful.

Specific behaviors of concern that should increase awareness include depression, threats, menacing or erratic behavior, aggressive outbursts, references to weaponry, verbal abuse, hypersensitivity, diminished work performance and offensive commentary or jokes referring to violence.

Not surprisingly, relationship or personal problems can carry over from home to the workplace. Certain signs that may help determine if an employee/coworker is experiencing such difficulties include disruptive phone calls or texts, anxiety, poor concentration, unexplained bruises or injuries, frequent absences and tardiness, and disruptive visits from current or former partners.

Given that human behavior is not always predictable, no absolute way exists to gauge where an individual may be on the pathway toward violence. If the individuals display potentially threatening behaviors of concern, vigilant employees should report these directly to a supervisor or vigilant supervisors should take notice.  Employees generally do not want to be viewed as undermining their peers and, therefore, wait until they are certain that a situation is serious before reporting it. Unfortunately, at this point, it may be too late. This stresses the importance of awareness on the part of employees. Staff must be trained so that when behaviors of concern occur, a “red flag” is raised and appropriate action is taken. Creating a climate of trust is the key element of employers and business owners to preventing workplace violence.

What is Situational Awareness and Why Should I Practice it?

Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening around you.

You may think the elements around you are not critical, but at any moment they could become meaningful to the situation at hand if things turn in a negative direction.  As a comparison, think about driving and how quickly accidents occur – which is why defensive driving is so important. Situational Awareness is much like defensive driving but applied to your everyday life.

PayAttention.jpg

None of us want to think about the possibility of a hostage situation when we go to the bank to cash our check or a gunman opening fire at the grocery store, but these things happen and practicing situational awareness is a key element to keeping you safe in dangerous situations.

Stay-Alert.jpg

Here are 5 Steps to practicing situational awareness in your day to day life:

OBSERVE – What we view is what we typically think of when we think of observation yet what our mind sees may not always be accurate.  Our vision does not work in the way a camera does when a photo captures every element.  Our vision, instead, only sees what is of interest or in action.  For example, if you are at a baseball game you are only viewing the players in action even though the people around you are all doing things as well.  2 rows in front of you a guy may pick – pocket the gentlemen in front of him right before your eyes but at the same time as a historic home run that you were focused on. For this reason, true observation takes practice! 

Put yourself in a position for optimal observation. So whenever you enter an environment, put yourself in a position that will allow you to see as much as you can without obstructions. Locate all exit possibilities.  Take a mental note of the people around you to the best of your ability.  Try to memorize their sex, race, attire, build, and behaviors as well as the quantity of people (the brunette in the pink dress is busy on her phone, the bald guy third in line in a black hoodie looks antsy, there were about 10 people in line with me). Take a mental note in the parking lot to the best of your ability, for example: the parking lot was about 50% full, the car parked to my left was a black van with a NV license plate and to my right was a red hatchback with a CA license plate and there was a yellow truck parked at the loading dock running without a driver.  The take away point in observing is to try to absorb as much as possible that could be relevant to your situation – people, vehicles, exits, signs, issues, etc.

LISTEN – Our hearing is attuned to our surroundings and functions as our brain’s first response system by notifying us of things to pay attention to and fundamentally shaping our perception of what’s happening around us. The quickness and sharpness of our hearing evolved from its survival advantage. (Think about when you are in darkness, what senses do you rely on first: Hearing, feeling and smelling) But just like with sight, your ears can be listening to tons of sounds without your brain really registering them.  You can tune into more sounds than you usually hear by concentrating and trying to distinguish and pull out noises you’re usually “ear-blind” to.

Practice training your hearing by closing your eyes to isolate your senses to sounds and play an active video you are not familiar with.  Make a mental note of the sounds you heard while listening.  Open your eyes and note all of the sounds you heard and try to note what you believe was happening then watch the video to determine how well you did.  Keep practicing until you realize you have picked up all of the sounds. When you learn to isolate your senses, your senses become more in tune.

SMELL – In comparison to our senses, smell doesn’t get much attention but when you think of wild animals this sense is usually the key to their survival.  Granted we do not rely on smell to survive the way animals in the wild do, we have likely all encountered moments that our sense of smell may have saved us from danger – think of smelling smoke or a gas leak for example. As you know, your sense of smell has a memory.  You automatically recognize the scents of your favorite meals as well as fire.  These key memories can aid you in times of trouble.  When you smell something that alerts you, trust that instinct! 

TOUCH – This is the last sense required for situational awareness and truly only useful after you’ve observed and are suddenly in the dark or find yourself in the dark. So, when you are observing take note of textures and surfaces – particularly ones that could lead you to the exit.  For instance, if the floor changes from tile to carpet before the exit or if there is a glass top table near the exit.  Use these memories to aid you in feeling your way around should you find yourself in the same location but in darkness at any point. 

RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS – Once you’ve followed the first 4 steps it’s time to ask yourself some questions; What is going on? What is the general atmosphere or mood surrounding me? Does everything seem to be the natural activity and scenery for this place? Are people conducting themselves normally or is someone standing out?  

Some key behavioral signs to recognize are:

  • Most people are walking with purpose, have keys in their hands, are carrying items to and from somewhere. When none of that is going on, question the person’s presence and actions.
  • Look for people shifting their vision around the room or area. They could be determining target value, looking for police or anyone who might intervene, CCTV cameras and where their escape route is.
  • Watch for unnatural movements such as hidden hands or quick motions that appear unusual such as reaching behind one’s back, into their book, into their waist band etc.
  • Recognize predatory movements or actions used to gain a dominant position. For instance, if two people approach you apparently to ask you where something is and one steps to your side that’s a predatory move. If someone hovers at your 4-8 o’clock relative to you, question it. Be sensitive to any positioning that makes you feel vulnerable. If you’re walking and someone impedes your movement, take a quick step back to keep the person in sight and check your surroundings.

1379975831637.png

Situational awareness is a mindset that you have to purposefully harvest. The goal is to reach the point that it’s a natural behavior. To get to that point, you have to practice it regularly. Starting today, remind yourself to look for entry/exit points whenever you enter a new building. Begin observing people and settings in public places and asking yourself the important questions for recognizing what stands out. Also, start creating action plans on what you would do if you see a possible threat. Don’t be paranoid, just conscious.

Practicing situational awareness goes a long way in keeping you from appearing like or becoming an easy target. So, pay attention, stay alert and be prepared!

To learn more about Situational Awareness, check out professional situational awareness trainer Patrick Van Horne’s blog here: http://www.cp-journal.com/blog/ 

Is Your Home Safe for Small Children?

When we hear the term “child proof” it seems to exclude babies.  Once your little one is able to crawl, it’s time to be sure your home is 100% baby and child proof.

According to KidsHealth.org an average of 35% of children’s deaths and injuries in the U.S. occur at home for children 3 years old and under.

Current statistics reveal suffocation as the leading cause of death for small children while drowning is very close as the second leading cause. These are just two of many preventable deaths and injuries that account for these statistics.child-proof.jpg

It is always best to be armed with knowledge in the event of any health emergency, so we begin by recommending you receive First Aid, CPR and AED training to assist infants as well as adults.  (You can learn more about available training here). But we’d also like to offer some simple safety tips you can begin immediately in your home to eliminate any unsafe circumstances:

  • Do not leave standing water in your bathtub or sink.  News reports have shown us, infants have incredible climbing abilities and can easily get to these places before you have a chance to notice. (Never leave a child in a bath without an adult present.)
  • Never leave a child unattended near a swimming pool.  This means pay close attention and do not be distracted by your cell phone, chatting with a friend or anything that has you looking away from your child longer than 5 seconds.
  • Cover your hot tub at all times when it is not in use.  Otherwise, treat it as you would the items listed above because any standing water – even the smallest amount – is enough to drown a person of any age under ce circumstances.
  • Toxic substances should be completely inaccessible to anyone who is not and adult.  They can be a catch all phrase for anything from cleaning supplies to medicines to cooking supplies.  In fact, some things that aren’t toxic to adults can be toxic to small children (and pets). The best way to block easy access is, of course, cabinet locks.  Though there are many cabinet locks available on the market, studies have shown not all have been reliable.  For a list of the top rated Child Proof Cabinet Locks of 2016 click here.
  • Keep your purse, brief case, or any baggage you use out of reach.  Your baggage is generally filled with chocking hazards, toxic items, sharp items and much more.  The cap of an ink pen can easily be swallowed while an ink pen itself can result in the loss of an eye.
  • Always use electrical outlet covers. Electrical outlets are well known to be appealing to small children.  They want toScreen-Shot-2016-06-25-at-1.44.32-PM-492x323.png touch them or stick items inside of them which can leak to shock, electrocution or even a house fire. Electrical outlet covers are cheap and easy to find and install.  You can find them at just about any department store, hardware store or online.
  • Keep your tool chest and tool shed locked any time it is not in use and when in use, do not allow children to be present.  Children are curious and relate to touch and actions.  Your tools will appear as enticing as toys to them but are obviously extremely dangerous in the hands of children.
  • Prevent trip and fall hazards by keeping all electrical cords against baseboards, under carpets or inside walls.  Make sure all rugs are completely flat and not curling up at any edges. Block staircases with child and baby gates.  (The top 5 gates available are listed here.) Make sure open windows have screen protection and open doors are blocked by gates as well.
  •  ANY item small enough for a child to grab and put into his/her mouth is a choke hazard. Choking hazards are pretty much any item a baby can grab and put into his/her mouth.  This can range from coins, or rings, or candy, or pen caps and so on.  Also, sometimes things that aren’t on the loose can be choke hazards – for instance, plastic eyes on a stuffed animal can be ripped off and swallowed or buttons on coat.  It’s a lot to consider, but you have to be constantly mindful to prevent exposure of these things to a small child or baby.
  • Consider serious dangers such as heavy items on shelves or tables that can be pulled down by a child.  For instance, one of the largest causes of children’s injuries is the child pulling a television cord or stand causing the television to topple over on top of him/her.
  • Be mindful of sharp furniture corners that can also cause injuries to roaming babies who are trying to maneuver around the home.  They may grab hold of a table to lift themselves, only to catch their eye on a sharp corner resulting in injury. Furniture edge corner guards are sold at most department stores, home furnishing stores and online.
  • Cordless window covers prevent strangulation.  Both pets and small children have accidentally gotten caught in the hanging cords of blinds before resulting in death.  If you currently have cords hanging from your window treatments or blinds, tie them up high and out of reach of children (and pets).
  • Be aware of burn hazards. Burns happen faster that you realize.  A child can easily approach the stove, oven or BBQ Grill while you’re busy handling the food.  Even if the item is not currently in use, it is likely still hot from when you had it turned on.  As a parent, you may be juggling many things trying to cook and manage your child at the same time. While you’re cooking, however, it is one of the most dangerous times to juggle.  A child can crawl under you while you’re holding a pot of boiling water, for example.  If at all possible, keep children away from cooking areas but in view while you cook or have someone assist you with attending to both at the same time.
  • Cover your knobs!! This means door knobs, oven controller knobs, and any knobs youchild-dishwasher_blog.jpg can to prevent your child escaping, going where he/she shouldn’t, or turning on a dangerous appliance.  Knob covers are another item that’s easily available to you via shopping at any hardware store, baby supplies store or online.
  • If you own a firearms, keep it locked away! Even the smallest of children can accidentally get a hold of and shoot a gun. We’ve all heard the horror stories of a child accidentally shooting him/herself or a sibling.  Please read our previous blog about gun safety at home to learn how to prevent such a tragedy.

There are several tips to prevent your child from suffocating while sleeping and the safest ways to put your child to bed.  Specialists advise it is safer to sleep without your baby in the bed with you, even though it seems like the best way to protect your child for many reasons it is not. However, if you follow these guidelines it will help your baby to remain safe.  For more tips on cribs that prevent injury and how to put your child safely to be without hazards, click here.

While this seems like a lot of reading, the truth is we’ve only scratched the surface.  Being a parent is a very detailed but rewarding responsibility.  It can be challenging at times, especially if you are a first time parent.  We hope this information is helpful to you but we also urge you to learn more about what you can do to protect your child on the National Safety Council’s Website here.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for safety tips that can help you and your family and remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

baby-parent-and-baby-slider_1.jpg

Safeguard Your Home with These Organizational Tips for a Secure 2017

Among all the resolutions we make for a new year, keeping a safe home for our loved ones and ourselves should be a priority. These simple tips will help prevent accidents that occur every day in homes across America.  

Vector illustration of the house (cross section of the house)

Many of us tend to forget recommended seasonal responsibilities, but often want to start fresh and more organized in the new year. It’s easy to overlook basic household items so reminders are always a great way to refresh your memory. We recommend you print this list of tips and refer to it every three months to keep your home safe and happy in the new year.

  • Verify that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries.
  • Change any outside lights that have burned out.
  • Look around for anything broken — and fix it or get rid of it!
  • Review all medications and discard anything that is out of date.
  • Verify that your fire extinguisher(s) is up to date and working; replace if necessary.
  • Prevent fires by removing any empty air fresheners that are used in electrical sockets.
  • Review your Family Escape Plan with all family members (including the furry ones)— might be a good idea to practice it too.  Include at least 2 ways to escape from each room and define a specific meeting place outside.
  • Update your first aid kit with any missing items.  Be sure to have bandages, gloves, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic treatment, a cold pack, disposable bags, and a first aid manual.
  • Are there any trip hazards in your home? Move cables, electrical cords and similar items out of the way by placing them inside your walls, against your baseboards or under your carpet.
  • Check your home for mold (in and around your bathtubs, underneath your faucets, and your attic and basement) – if you locate mold, contact a professional service to have it removed.
  • Check your home for rodents or droppings (in cabinets, closets, attics and basements).  Not only are rodents a burden, but their droppings can be toxic to the air you breathe.
  • Your air quality also depends on your furnace and air conditioning filters as well as the ducts that circulate the air throughout your home – be sure to check the condition of these important items and make necessary replacements.
  • Verify that all your computers have up-to-date anti-virus and identity theft protection software active.
  • If there are small children in your household, make sure all dangerous items (such as chemical cleaning supplies) are in child proof/locked cabinets.
  • Make sure windows are locked when not opened and when opened be sure a screen is in place to protect you from outdoor rodents from entering your home and to protect small children and animals from escaping
  • Also, if you use blinds on your windows did you know the cords can cause strangulation in small children and pets? Be sure the cords are tied and placed out of reach.

The National Safety Council reminds us to be certain you update your safety plan and make sure all of your safety equipment is functioning seasonally. 


Be sure to follow us for more safety tips and information throughout the year! 

happy-new-year-bright

🎁⚠️Last-Minute Holiday Shopping?⚠️🎁 Safety Tips to Escape the Cons, the Frauds, and the Headaches…

The last-minute holiday shopping season is upon us…

…and while the Holiday Season is a very special time of year, it is also a time when people are stressed, rushed and as a result become careless and vulnerable to holiday crimes.

 

Here are some useful tips to make your Holiday Season safer while shopping or doing your day to day activities that become a bit more stressful in this busy time.

holiday-shopping-safety-tips

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member
  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • Park in a well-lighted area, avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows and park as close as you can to your destination.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
  • When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
  • Dress casual and comfortable and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • If possible, carry your cash and credit cards on your person instead of carrying a purse or wallet. Be sure to carry your ID as well and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Purses and Wallets are prime targets for thieves in crowded situations.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers (recommended: photograph the front and back of each) and notify your credit card issuer immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Avoid carrying more packages than you can easily handle to your car when leaving your shopping trip. If you have to make multiple trips to your vehicle to carefully store these packages in your trunk that is better than the distraction of handling multiple packages alone when unlocking your vehicle.
  • Beware of any strangers approaching you. Con-artists thrive during the holiday season working together with methods of distracting you while taking your money or belongings.
  • If you must use an ATM machine choose one indoors and preferably with a security guard nearby. If there is a line of people waiting to use the machine, offer them the opportunity to go before you so that no one is able to look over your shoulder while entering your personal information and if someone approaches be sure to shield your PIN number when entering it. Also, keep your ATM receipt on your person instead of disposing of it publicly.

toddler-mall-trips-article

Shopping with your children is an additional challenge and we recommend you leave small children at home with a loved one or trusted sitter. Here are some important tips for parents that are useful throughout the year but especially at this busy time:

  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
  • Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
  • Teach your child to stay close to you at all times while shopping and to go to a store clerk and ask for help if separated from you.
  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom, food court, or to the car.

We wish you a safe and blessed Holiday Season filled with amazing memories and experiences to last a lifetime!

✍️☑️ Your New Years Resolution Solution! 12 Tips to Beat the Stats in 2017…✍️☑️

A little more than half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but roughly 8% actually succeed in meeting their goals.

istock_000027067672_large-760x503

Come the first of January, hoards of enthusiastic resolutioners account for the spiking sales of gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, diet programs and many other self-help programs. By the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolutioners are facing remorse and disappointment in themselves for falling out of line. Why is it that such good intentions seem so elusive?

NY Rez Stats.jpg

“Change entails some degree of emotional friction, which in turn generates stress”, states clinical psychologist Joe Luciani. “Essentially, you build self-discipline by willfully enduring the transient discomfort of changing who and what you are”. Whether you’re feeling anxious, depressed, frustrated, fatigued, or simply bored, stress becomes the fuel of failure. “Like a muscle, you need to develop your self-discipline muscle, one challenge at a time. Starting today, instead of reflexively feeling a need to minimize or escape the friction involved in change, recognize instead the need to endure it.”

John C. Norcross, of the University of Scranton, agrees with the endurance theory stating “It’s not so much the resolution as it is how realistic the goal is. Someone says I’m going to lose 50 pounds and keep it off this year versus I think I’ll struggle to keep 10 off — that’s a little more realistic.”

Changing your behavior, whether it’s eating less, exercising more, quitting smoking, etc., is very difficult. Dr. David Wagner, a sleep expert at the University of Oregon, has identified a deeper cause of why we lack the self control to follow through. “When you’re tired you lack the self-control to eat healthy and the focus to be productive,” said Dr. Wagner. Keeping New Year’s resolutions requires self-control, energy, and focus and if you’re sleep-deprived you’re likely lacking in all of these departments. “With goals, we tend to want to want to rush straightforward,” Wagner said. “So slowing down to take a break and sleep seems wrong.” But there’s a lot to be said for a sleep-focused approach to goals. Research has repeatedly proven the ways in which exhaustion depletes our willpower and generates an unavoidable state of stress. A well-rested person will have a much easier time resisting that cookie than a sleepy one. And studies have also shown that people who don’t get enough sleep aren’t just more tired, but are also more distracted.

landscape-1451509923-bridget-jones-diary-renee-hiding-under-the-covers.jpg

With this valuable information in mind, here are 12 useful tips to help you create, maintain, and succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. It’s about you! Make it something you actually want, not something you should want or what everyone tells you it should be.
  2. Make it count! Avoid a knee-jerk decision on a resolution in the moment.  Pick something that is meaningful to you.
  3. Think small.  Take a look at the habits that are holding you back in life. Find one that’s simple, like, “When I finish this meal, I’m going to wash my dish.” Make a contract with yourself that that dish must be washed. No ifs, &s or buts! Throughout the day, find simple challenges that you make happen. The better you are at achieving small changes, the easier it will be for you to keep going.
  4. Limit yourself with care.  Don’t pile several challenging resolutions on your plate and expect to achieve them all.  When you reach a list of resolutions, evaluate it to the top 3 and focus on those.  Should you achieve them within 6 months, you’ve learned what you’re capable of and you can have a seasonal evaluation of Summer resolutions too! “Once you understand that you have only a limited amount of willpower, it’s easy to understand why multiple resolutions aren’t likely to work,” says Ian Newby-Clark, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Guelph in Canada.
  5. Build self-trust. Once you get used to making small things happen, begin to recognize and embrace the truth:What I say to myself is what I do.  In order to guarantee success, don’t challenge yourself with a pledge that you’re not sure you can handle.  According to psychologist Connie Stapleton, Ph.D. it’s to better to  give your willpower some wiggle. “Absolutes like ‘I’m giving up all sweets’ or ‘I’ll never use my credit card again’ set you up to try to get around your own overly strict rules,” says Stapleton. Instead, try drafting more limited restrictions like “I’ll have sweets only when I’m in a fancy restaurant.”
  6. Invent challenges. Invent various challenges throughout the day to strengthen your ability to believe and to do. Don’t allow yourself to procrastinate. This falls in line with Dr. Luciani’s idea that you face building self control as you would face building your muscles.  Just as you would do repetitions at the gym to develop a muscle, you must you get your challenges in each day.
  7. Get proper rest! Without a good night’s sleep, the next day is challenging enough on it’s own without the added challenge of self control when you’re feeling week.  When you’re tired you fall victim to stress easily, and when you fall victim to stress you crave those comforting habits like a cigarette or candy bar that had brought you so much satisfaction in previous times of stress.  (Click here for other ways to manage stress too!)
  8. Refill your fuel tank! Did you know that self restraint can reduce your blood glucose? Your brain relies on glucose for energy.  Natural sugars, such as a glass of orange juice or a bowl fresh fruit can help you replenish the glucose you are actually burning just by over-thinking your resolution.
  9. Cultivate optimism. Positivity may be blocked by habitual pessimism, but if you are determined to stop complaining (to yourself and others) you can prevail. Pessimism is an instinctive habit most of us have and should be considered when making your resolution as a by-product of your resolution.  For example; “I will quit smoking and I will not complain to others about how much I miss it when the mood strikes, instead I will focus on how much healthier I feel.”
  10. Keep spirits high. Sometimes it feels impossible to cultivate optimism.  At those times, try a different approach.  Do something that makes you happy like watching your favorite movie, listening to your favorite song or doing something creative. Maybe this is a good time to catch up with an old friend and have a few laughs.
  11. Develop critical awareness. With critical awareness, you shed light on your destructive, reflexive habits and thinking and on any self-sabotaging mental roller coaster rides. When it comes to self-sabotage, destructive impulses is your number one enemy. (Click here to learn more about critical awareness and how to develop it!)
  12. Account and reward. Don’t focus on the goals as much as the achievements.  For instance, by quitting smoking you can save an average of $35 per week or cutting back on meals may save you an average of $80 per week.  This adds up.  If you keep a running tally of your your savings you can promise yourself a reward like a $200 spa day each month or a new wardrobe each quarter or even a nice vacation at the end of the year. Draw on the strength of images by putting a photo of those new clothes or that dream vacation on the fridge or PC desktop, or a picture of a Caribbean beach in your wallet near your credit cards to remind yourself of the vacation that you’re saving for.

high_five_friday_-_435-1.jpg

Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up! Everyone has ups and downs. Resolve to recover from your mistakes, get back on track and make 2017 your year!

⛔ Don’t Invite a Burglar into Your Home for the Holidays! ⛔

 

Are you unknowingly enticing potential thieves to damage your property or break into your home?

While you want your home to be a welcoming environment for family and friends, you might be surprised how common habits might be inviting to criminals, too.

Home Alone 2 Battle Plan Google Search Patient Access X Mas

Whether you are going away for the Holiday Season or simply going to work, you can deter burglars from choosing your home with these tips:

Make It a Point to Keep Everything Locked Up

While you probably lock your vehicle and the main points of entry into your home, you may overlook locking your windows, fence gates, garage or garden shed from time to time. An unlocked gate allows a thief access to your backyard, away from the view of your neighbors. Once inside your yard, a thief has more freedom to peer through windows and patio doors. Access to garages and garden sheds also gives a thief more tools to use to break into your home. For example, a ladder in your backyard could make it much easier for a criminal to enter your home from the second story—where windows are more likely to be unlocked. Tools such as drills, hammers, and crowbars are also kept in many sheds and garages and can be used to break windows and open doors. Even if a thief is unable to get into your home, your backyard likely has valuable items such as a barbeque grill or bicycle.

Maintain Your Landscape

The way in which your home is landscaped and maintained affects your risk for theft. For example, large, untrimmed shrubs and bushes can give criminals a place to hide—especially at night. Be sure to keep hedges and bushes cut back so that the majority of your yard can be easily seen from a number of vantage points. On the other hand, shrubs and bushes can deter theft as well. Thieves are less likely to attempt to break into windows with landscaping underneath. Small bushes can provide an obstruction to otherwise easily accessible windows.

Light Up Your Property

Hiding under the cloak of darkness makes sneaking around someone’s home much easier. Keep your home’s exterior well illuminated with motion sensor lighting. This type of lighting can be easily found in hardware stores or ordered online. Because the lights are activated by movement, you don’t have to worry about lights staying on night and day. If you choose to install motion sensor lights, make sure they illuminate your backyard, the sides of your property, and driveways or pathways. When installing this type of lighting, the higher the light is mounted the better, so that criminals cannot reach them to damage them.

Consider Using a Security Alarm

Security systems come with a variety of features to suit almost any budget. From basic systems that sound off loud alerts when an armed point of entry or window is breached to high-tech systems that allow for surveillance from a tablet or smart phone, there is likely a system that offers the best features for your needs. Not only is the loud sound of a security alarm a major deterrent, many systems alert your local police department that your security has been compromised in some way. Furthermore, signage such as picket signs and window or door decals from your security system company can deter criminals as well. Many homeowners and renters insurance policies offer discounts for homes armed with security systems.

Be Mindful of Your Trash

Even what you throw away for curbside pickup can make you a target for theft. Perhaps you took advantage of Black Friday deals after Thanksgiving and scored a great price on a large  flat-screen television. After unpacking a television, gaming console, or computer, many people leave the boxes at the curb for recycling or trash pickup. Unfortunately, most packaging for expensive electronics shows pictures, brand names and specifications of the products in plain view. Placing boxes at the curb makes your home a target for thieves looking for electronics to steal. When unpacking electronics, break down the boxes and packaging instead and place them in black trash bags.

Make your home look occupied

When you will be away for a long time, set timers on lights in your house to turn off/on at the normal times you would use them when you are home. Timers are sold at hardware stores or online for usually under $20 each. Also, be sure to have someone collect your mail, news papers, packages or any items that are normally delivered to your home. A pile of items at your front door or in your mailbox indicates you are away.

LegLamp.jpg

Other Precautions

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver’s license number, phone number, or birthdate with an engraver. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
  • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group and work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.

We wish you safe travels this season and a very Happy Holiday!

635839394150113264-1445374584_ChristmasVacation.jpg