Tag Archives: Heidi Stevenson

Life-Work with Dr. Stevenson: Your Fact-Finding Mission, by Heidi Stevenson, PhD

Welcome back! In my last column, your life-work assignment was to learn about a group of people to which you did not belong. I encouraged you to learn about a group with which you felt at odds.

The submissions I received were fascinating. I learned that ski jumpers are sometimes afraid of heights (there goes my excuse for not ski jumping!), and that there are people who contract with butterfly houses to procure the wings of the deceased for artistic purposes.

Another participant wrote this: “I read about DACA and the application process because it was being discussed a lot in the news and some are angry. I learned they are held to high standards and am still reading to understand this program better. I now want to understand its history and current status better. Thanks for the push.”

I feature this response at length because it got my gears turning, thinking about our relationships with the media and how it colors our relationships with each other. In short, it got me thinking about Facebook fights.

Many of us have felt pulled into an argument in an online space like Facebook. Sociolinguistic norms shift when we’re not face-to-face. It’s easier to be meaner, to feel attacked, and to easily lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is—or at least should be—greater understanding of a wider variety of views for all involved.

A common ploy in these bloodbaths masquerading as discussions is dismissing a source of information wholesale that someone has used to back a claim. It can feel like an efficient way to shut the whole thing down and get back to the rest of your life.

But here’s the rub: Any time you make a blanket statement discrediting an entire media outlet instead of the ideas it has expressed, you’re employing a logical fallacy called an ad hominem attack. You’re foregoing sound logic.

Let’s try an example: Your friend has posted something about the threat of nuclear war between the USA and North Korea. And then your friend’s Uncle Al adds a link to a Fox News article titled something like “Opinion: Ridiculous Snowflakes Fear Nonexistent Threat of Nuclear War with North Korea.” Please switch out the word “Fox” for “Mother Jones” above and the word “Snowflakes” for “Deplorables” if it helps you better engage with this scenario.

You know how the next part goes. Everyone—you included—piles on Uncle Al to tell him he’s an idiot for believing anything from Fox News/Mother Jones, that Fox News/Mother Jones is ill-informed, sensationalist trash.

Here’s what you’re all really trying to say to Uncle Al: “I don’t believe the content of this article is objectively accurate.”

Here’s what Uncle Al is likely hearing, though: “I don’t believe you are capable of reading through bias or fact-checking sources.”

We can all read through bias and fact check our sources, Uncle Al included. Over time spent consuming media from many different outlets, we may come to respect some more and others less. We are entitled to our preferences. We are allowed to frequent news sites that make that reading through bias and fact checking easy for us.

But we don’t get to eliminate other media outlets for other people. If we tell Uncle Al we won’t accept any information from Fox News/MJ, we are also insinuating that we are incapable of reading through bias and fact checking, and that we cannot read a Fox News/MJ article for accurate information while noting what additions, omissions, and language choices might be misleading.

Here’s what we might do instead, if we do not think Uncle Al’s Fox News/MJ article is accurate:

—Find an article disputing it from a credible source. Assume other members of the conversation are unfamiliar with the source. Explain why you find it trustworthy.

—If you don’t have a single source that compellingly refutes the Fox/MJ piece, find and present several.

—In your presentation of this information, consider establishing some common ground with Uncle Al. We all want the same big things; we just disagree about how we should achieve them. It does not take much for any of us to feel attacked. Uncle Al might be more receptive to your contribution if you don’t lead with insults.

When you are ready to begin your life-work assignment, find just this kind of conversation happening on Facebook or in an online space like it.

1. Write down a quick summary—just a sentence or two—of what you are observing. Leave names and any other identifying information out as best you can.

2. Write down what you would do to help turn it into a productive discussion. Lean as hard on my suggestions above as you’d like. Share any of your own tips. The more tools we all have, the better.

3. Lastly, and this is optional: Take your own advice from #2 above and jump in. Write down a few sentences about what happened from there. Just maybe, to paraphrase a hockey idiom, a conversation will break out during a Facebook fight.

Then submit your writing to heidi.ann.stevenson@gmail.com with the subject line “Life-work #2 submission” for a chance to be featured in the next column. Designate whether you’re comfortable with your writing being shared under your name or you’d prefer anonymity.

Heidi Stevenson is a lifelong Yooper, save for two years earning a PhD in Pennsylvania. She is a former NMU professor, writing center director, group fitness and yoga instructor, and a current wrangler of house cats, autoimmune diseases, and ideas.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2018 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Celebrating Our Fifth Anniversary!

by Roslyn McGrath

Anniversaries can be a great opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate what got you there, as well as what is and what can be, and refine and recommit to your vision of what you’re celebrating as you move forward.

Five years ago, I recognized the need for a truly local wellness publication, one where community members share their expertise and insight with us, increasing our understanding of the many ways we can increase our health and happiness and the many wellness resources available locally to support us in this

A big thank you to each of our writers –regular column writers Barb Dupras, Victoria Jungwirth, Jenny Magli, Miriam Moeller, Jessica Nagelkirk, Heidi Stevenson, Steve Waller and Val Wilson, as well as all those who’ve contributed articles and photographs along the way, (see full list on p.3), who so impress me with the quality and care they bring to each article. I and our many readers get to learn so much every time!

A big thank you to all our advertisers, whose passion and purpose are a big part of what makes our community tick, and who help make presenting this wealth of wellness information possible. I think you’ll enjoy discovering more about what their big hearts and expertise gift our community on pages 10 and 11 of this issue! And please consider letting them know how much you appreciate all they do.

A big thank you to proofreader Tyler Tichelaaar for his expert eyes and mind, kind heart and helpfulness, Curtis Kyllonen for his years of cheerfully and faithfully getting over a quarter of our many copies to where they need to go, to Tom O’Connell for making our early covers beautiful, to the various photographers whose eyes for local scenes have also helped create beautiful covers, to all our print shop helpers who’ve assisted me in getting the job done right, the many businesses and organizations who’ve made a place for Health & Happiness to be easily picked up, and to my husband, Kevin McGrath, for always pitching in with whatever’s needed, whether it’s a warm hug and smile, sound advice, listening ears, great ideas, timely deliveries, inspiring, light-hearted articles or encouraging words.

And a big thank you to YOU, our readers, for all your support and appreciation. You make it all worthwhile!

It’s the support of all of you that has made it possible to cover topics ranging from cooking with rutabaga to traditional Chinese medicine, child rearing tips to overcoming writer’s block, mortgage and energy-saving advice to mindfulness practices, pet treat recipes to U.P. kayaking, long distance elder care to wild crafting and so much more; increase our distribution to 7,500 copies at over 250 locations, five times where we started five years ago, (and there are still places where we run out of copies!); and further invest in our community with donations to the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center, Devos Art Museum, Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Hiawatha Music Festival, Huron Mountain Club Gallery, Lake Superior Hospice, Marquette Arts & Culture Center, Marquette County Health Department, Marquette Maritime Museum, Marquette Regional History Center, Medical Care Access Coalition, Northern Initiatives, Oasis Gallery, UPAWS, Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, and Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Celebrate the U.P.

Below are a few excerpts of the congratulations I’ve received on our fifth anniversary. Thank you so much to all those who’ve made a point of expressing their appreciation, whether in person or in writing!

I look forward to continuing to serve our community’s wellness information needs with high quality and creativity, as well as launching our five year commitment to supporting a different area of community life each year through increased coverage and donations, starting this year with the increasingly important issue of elder care.

So fittingly, this issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine is dedicated to the topics of celebration, age and “fives” – enjoy!

Roslyn Elena McGrath, Publisher, Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine

 I want to congratulate you on your fifth anniversary of Health & Happiness. Every cover has been beautiful and the wide array of articles has provided a wealth of information and insight to readers. Your vision of a need and your willingness and excitement to fill that need has been remarkable. Here’s to many more issues! – Gareth Zellmer 

Congratulations on the 5th anniversary of Health and Happiness!  It’s some of the best reading to come out of our “far northern outpost” community.  May the coming year be the best yet; here’s to five more! – Sue Schenk Drobny 

Congratulations from Natural Connections!  We celebrate you for your commitment and passion in providing a wonderfully effective information connection between our holistic community and U.P. residents through your beautiful magazine, Health & Happiness!

Happy 5th Anniversary from Lake Superior Holistic Connection!   Your magazine is a bright light in our community!  It’s a beacon illuminating paths of possibility to those seeking natural ways to align their body, mind, spirit!  Congrats! – Diana Oman

It’s a joy, truly an inspiration to witness this evolution of Health & Happiness, how you have brought this brilliant idea, an idea that lit you up and lit us up as well, into manifestation.  I look forward to receiving this uplifting publication with its focus on our possibilities and potential, and the labor of love that you as creator, as bridge-maker, as editor, as publisher, as marketer have put into each and every issue.  It is a template for all of us, the way that you have taken a dream and made it reality, learning the next step and the next step as you’ve walked this creative path.  And look how we all benefit, what you have brought to all of us!  – Helen Haskell Remien

Health & Happiness’s Contributing Writers & Photographers, 2007 – 2012:

Leslie Allen, Linda Andriacchi, Stuart Baker, Leslie Bek, Gina Brown, Audra Campbell, Lisa Cerasoli, Joan Chadde, Pam Christenson, Amy Clickner, Stuart Cooper, Patty Cornish, Martha Crenshaw, Kim Danielson, Sarah Dean, Chuck Delpier, Sara DeFrancesco, Melinda Dollhopf, Barb Dupras, Cindy Engle, Sydney Giovenco, Lee Goodwin, Genean Granger, Kathy Harsch, Victoria Jungwirth, Kristen Karls, Kim Kee, Mick Kiaros, Virginia Kleaver, Amanda Klein, Tammy Krassick, Lucy LaFaive, Jamie LaFreniere, Betsy Little, Jeaneen Luokkala, Alanna Luttenton, Dawn Lundin, Jenny Magli, Karen Mallinger, Amy Mattson, Kevin McGrath, Roslyn McGrath, Lisa McKenzie, Brian McMillan, Kristine McPeak, Miriam Moeller, Neil Moran, Mohey Mowafy, Jessica Nagelkirk, Kim Nixon, Colleen O’Hara, Valerie Olson, Diana Oman, Marissa Palomaki, Kris Harris Pfaffle, Phil Poutinen, Gretchen Preston, Diane Raven, Robert Regis, Helen Haskell Remien, Carol Rose, Sherri Rule, Christine Saari, Jon Saari, Diane Sautter, Deb Sergey, Dar Shepherd, Mary Soper, Jennifer Stelly, Heidi Stevenson, Tyler Tichelaar, Lynn Vanwelsenaers, Cassandra Vore, Steve Waller, Nicole Walton, Fran Walters, Cynthia Whitehouse, Val Wilson, Gareth Zellmer, & Joseph Zyble.

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2012 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2012.

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Why Crunches Alone Don’t Make Your Middle Smaller

by Heidi Stevenson
It’s a common reaction. You decide a certain body part—your stomach, the back of your arms, the inside of your upper legs—is too big, and you seek out exercises to make it smaller. You do endless crunches, tricep kickbacks, and inner thigh lifts, only to find that said body part is stubbornly retaining its size. Why is this so? Why can’t that fabulous ab machine on TV eliminate abdominal fat as it promises to do?

 

When you attempt to change an isolated area of your body like your abdominal region, your triceps, (the muscle running along the back of your arms), or your adductors, (the muscle running along the inside of your upper legs), by targeting it with strength training exercises like crunches, tricep kickbacks, or inner thigh lifts alone, it’s called spot training, or spot reduction. And alone, it doesn’t work. If you are unhappy with the size of your stomach, you cannot attempt to change the shape alone and hope the problem will go away. You may already have strong muscles in that area. You might already really like the shape of those muscles.

 

Often though, those muscles are underneath accumulated body fat. In order to change this, you need to burn body fat. You need to focus on making your body smaller and leaner overall. If you are interested in “whittling your middle,” getting rid of the little thing swinging on the back of your arms, attacking that inner thigh jiggle, and if it is safe for you to lose weight, you need to combine the exercises targeting those areas with two things: sensible eating, and ample cardiovascular activity, which increases your heart rate—like running, biking, or swimming. In a very basic sense, taking in more calories than you burn results in accumulated body fat. Burning more calories than you take in results in loss of body fat.

 

Determining how many calories you should eat, and of what sort, as well as how much and what kind of activity is appropriate for you, is a complex task. You should consult professionals for help in these areas: physicians, nutritionists, personal trainers, etc. Once you have determined that your eating plan is sensible and your activity is ample for weight loss, then yes, go ahead and include those exercises to strengthen your muscles.

 

But make sure you are also strength training in a balanced, healthy way. Work opposing muscle groups: work your back muscles along with your abdominal muscles, your biceps along with your triceps, and your abductors along with your adductors. Work your upper body, if you’re working your lower body. Consider trying a discipline like Pilates, which includes a lot of integrative strength training (exercises in which you work a lot of muscles at once). Gaining balanced muscular strength and endurance will not only help change the shape of those underlying muscles. You’ll also be bringing that stronger body into your cardiovascular activity, making it easier to do more.

 

So now you are eating sensibly, including an appropriate amount of cardiovascular activity in your life, and including balanced strength training. Once you have done these things, the rest is up to your body’s natural shape and tendencies. We all have to accept that with which we are born. But you will see your body change. You will feel healthier and stronger. And really, that’s the most beautiful and perfect any of us need to be.

 

Heidi Stevenson is a certified group fitness instructor, currently teaching yoga, Pilates, and aquatics for the HPER Department and Recreational Sports program at Northern Michigan University. She has taught a wide variety of group fitness classes in Michigan and Pennsylvania over the last 14 years.
 
Reprinted from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2010. Copyright Heidi Stevenson, 2010.
 

 

 

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