How Yoga Affects Your Brain

Author: Piper McIntosh

Yoga has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. Even with endless studies and proven research, some still haven’t realized the true potential and positive health effects yoga has on your overall health and wellbeing. Sure we know that yoga helps with flexibility, balance, and strength but did you know it also has countless benefits that help your brain?

This is why we emphasis that yoga truly aids your mind, body, and soul. Yoga does affect our brains in a variety of ways and these effects can last long after you’ve completed your session. These positive effects can be seen at a variety of levels from beginners to intermediate yogis.

Both yoga and meditation have been proven to decrease stress, depression, anxiety, and more, which in turn, leads to an increase in happiness and overall quality of life. New studies and scientific research show that yoga also provides several neurological benefits and can even assist with neurological and cognitive disorders. Other benefits of yoga practice include improved immune function, reduced risk for migraines and heart disease, improved sexual performance and better sleep. 

With the growing list of benefits that yoga practice can provide for both weight loss and improved brain function, it’s no wonder this practice is growing more and more popular each day. Yoga has effects on the mind, body, and soul - which have amazing abilities that literally rewire our brains

Scientists continue to support their findings that yoga can change your brain. Working yoga into your daily routine will provide quick and noticeable results. This could also be the reason we are seeing an increased demand in yoga teaching programs. So, it’s no wonder over 2 billion people practice yoga around the world—the mental and physical benefits are abundantly clear to everyone immediately after their first session.

In addition to yoga practices being part of your overall health lifestyle, if you want to keep your mind, body, and soul at peace, don’t be afraid to utilize additional stress relievers. We suggest utilizing hemp oils, incense, and post-yoga massages since they’re great for days you are feeling overwhelmed or want to revive your muscles after a workout. With seemingly endless benefits, incorporating these suggestions into your post-yoga routine can assist in further relaxation, mindfulness, and stress-relief.

As we stated, yoga is becoming more and more popular and there’s no better time than now to start practicing this ancient routine. Professionals do recommend practicing yoga for at least 40 minutes a day a couple times a week to see more prominent and lasting results. Although, even just one yoga session can alter your mood and decrease stress levels. 

The continued practice of yoga will only increase your chances of improvements in your brain and overall mental wellbeing. Which is why we find yoga to be so important. There really are no bad outcomes from yoga if you practice safely and follow proper instructions. So, if you aren’t practicing yoga already, now is a better time than any to start.

Pursue Your Interests

Author: Reeya Patel

As a middle child, I was always interested in hanging out with my sister and playing with Barbies and Bratz. However, I was also in awe of how cool my older brother was. Anytime I hung out with him, he would let me use his PlayStation and we would play many different games; WWF, Rugrats, Spyro, and countless others. As I got older, my interest in gaming grew and I stayed on top of the latest game releases. The one thing that kept me from pushing forward with gaming was that almost everyone I knew would say, “you can’t play games, you’re a girl.” Over time I became affected by the words, so when I did play, I made sure to play games which appealed more to my sister. I remember playing a Bratz game on my Gameboy and hating it but continued to play because it was still a game. Ignoring what others had to say about my interest in games allowed me to listen to my self and push for my own happiness.

After coming to college, I realized it does not matter that I love to play games. I always had a brother who would support me and point out games I would enjoy. Gaming has always been a way to create time for myself and explore an interest which most Indian girls generally do not have. College really changed my perspective on gaming because I met friends who love playing games as much as me. Meeting these friends really helped me love a part of myself I had kept hidden from others. Connecting with people who share similar interests can be a confidence-booster because you find a community to interact and share gaming experiences with. Playing games allows me to think about moments in my own life where I have felt content because of the freedom to explore an interest. Gaming is also an outlet to de-stress. School and work take up most of my time, and there are days when all I want to do is go home and play games for an hour or two.

Almost 50% of the adult population plays videogames and when I meet someone who shares similar interest as me, there is a deeper connection made. From personal experience, meeting other women of color who are avid gamers has really kept me motivated to continue playing games because gaming should not be attached to dominant gender or sex identities. Games also provide for people who are quieter in group settings to become more involved and feel included. Consoles like the Nintendo Switch have party games and I have been in spaces where even the quietest people have the most serious, here to win attitude while playing party games.

Gaming has been an important aspect in my life especially because of the awareness of self-love and self-growth. Excessive gaming can become harmful to a person’s life, but when played in limits, it is a good way to relieve stress and connect with people.


Take A Walk

Author: Lyle Lasala

I used to just brush off the stories my dad would talk about when he was in school- how he “had to walk miles, mountains” just to get to school or work. I’ve always just rolled my eyes, shrugged it off, and nodded my head with a “okay dad, uh huh”. I guess the proof is there since my dad’s calves are slightly disproportional to the rest of his 5’8’’ figure. However, I’ve noticed and appreciate the clearness and mindfulness my dad has whenever he does go on a daily stroll around the local park. That sense of clarity is what I’ve come to admire from his generation, a generation that didn’t have a lot of alerting distractions, which is something I do somewhat agree on whenever he talks about how our current generation is so distracted.

With school, work, friends, internships, clubs, adventures, and everything else in our lives we walk all the time. Walking to get to our destination is second nature, we learn to stay balanced on our two feet and move from the early couple of years of infancy. With it being second nature, we don’t think about the motion plain by itself and add on to this ability whether by listening to music, conversing on the go, eating a quick snack, or worrying about an exam we clearly didn’t study enough for before heading to class. We never focus on just walking. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s kind of hard nowadays to just focus on one thing from point A to point B, or even have one focus at all since the hectic hustle and bustle of our busy lives makes us multitask. Even if we’re all cleared up, we have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and everything else on our phones to distract us. It has become innate to check on our devices every now and then while we venture out to reach a location.

Since I was little, I always loved just wandering and taking the long way. Whether it’s opting for the stairs, taking the road less traveled, or walking home from school, I just appreciate the journey of whatever I have done. Breathing, being mindful, and nothing else. I’ve come to appreciate this more than ever since beginning college. Walking aimlessly around campus, a local neighborhood, or taking the lightrail downtown. Walking makes me reflect on things that come up organically, things that aren’t force or pre-set. Big realizations have come up just strolling through the Burke Gilman Trail or Green lake. Letting yourself just be and taking 30 minutes out of your day, turning off the distractions, and venturing to anywhere is elementary.

Before the information era, this was life. Walking upright, glancing at people and respectfully smiling as they passed by, not crouching over and having our eyes glued down to our phones and just having things come as they are. I’ve had to relearn this since my reliability and loyalty to my iPhone has been at an all-time high. I can’t fully remember what I did 10 years ago without an electronic device by me. Did I just look off to the distance aimlessly? In reality this is pretty pitiful to me. With the health benefits of walking like getting a dosage of endorphins, reduced levels of stress, more oxygen being inhaled, along with psychological benefits, I do remember 10 years ago this was the time I was more creative, active, and optimistic. Again, even though walking is second nature and basically so small of a thought to think of while going through the motions of our lives, I definitely don’t want to take this ability for granted.


Tips and Benefits of Cleaning

Author: Kelsey Fukuda

Up until college I never really had a space just for myself. Throughout both elementary and middle school I always shared a room with my sister and although she went off to college while I was in high school, my room still had many of her belongings. So when I moved out into the dorms and eventually into an apartment with a room all to myself, I decided I wanted to start cleaning my room more. I’ll admit that it was easy before to not clean because I had the excuse of “it’s not really all of my stuff”, but after finally getting my own space, I decided to try and get in the habit of regularly tidying up.

A couple years ago there was a popular book that came out called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. In the book, she details a Japanese style of simplifying and organizing your home. Although I did not actually read the book, my coworkers mentioned some of the main ideas to me. Marie Kondo suggests to go through your belongings and ask yourself “does this bring me joy?” to determine what stays and goes in your house. I don’t do this with all my items, but it’s a thought that pops up whenever I try to tidy up. Since graduating, I’ve temporarily moved back home and quickly realized that many of the items I left behind during college are unnecessary for me to keep. I’ve been working with my mom to find items throughout the house for us to donate and clear up space.

I also quickly learned that the level of tidiness in my room seems to impact my workflow. Having and “excess [of] things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information”. Surrounding clutter competes for attention, thus decreasing performance and increasing stress. Although it can be difficult to stay organized, it pays off to focus on maintaining constructive habits that enforce cleanliness in your habits. Messy spaces can make it difficult to focus on particular tasks or to achieve goals throughout the day. Messy spaces (especially our rooms where we are usually trying to relax) can lead to restlessness. It is difficult to feel relaxed in a space that is less tidy.

Now that I’ve mentioned the drawbacks of clutter, here are some of the tips that I have for people wanting to make tidying up a consistent habit:

  1. Find your rhythm. Some people are better at constantly cleaning and maintaining their room while others prefer to wait until a specific day to do it all at once. Find the rhythm of cleaning that works best for you! Personally, I prefer to choose one or two days a week to clean for about an hour. I designate specific days in my google calendar to clean my room. However, I do also have friends that will clean up things constantly in little five minute bursts.

  2. Listen to something. Cleaning for more than 30 minutes can be quite boring, so I highly recommend to listen to something (either music or a podcast) to help pass the time better. Rather than feeling bored by tidying up, you could be enjoying a nice song or learning something new from a podcast.

  3. Use containers. Having a defined space or location for your items instantly helps with making things look tidier. By putting things into storage or containers, it helps to compartmentalize where items should go.

  4. Consider donating. Many times I will feel bad for throwing away something associated with certain memories or I will feel guilty for getting rid of an expensive item. However, I need to constantly remind myself that sometimes things would be more beneficial to others. Donating is a great way to get rid of items without feeling completely wasteful.



Author: Rachel Mills

Easier said than done. Ever since I even started looking at colleges, the question “what do you want to do?” has always been an integral part of all my conversations. From family members, to my guidance counselor, to new friends at school, the question always eventually comes up. And while extremely repetitive, the question can also be equally terrifying.

“What do you want to do?” What does that even mean? Do people mean tomorrow, this week, this month, this year? For the rest of my life? I always struggled with picking a major that would define my next four years of studies, but more importantly guide me towards what I would end up doing for the rest of my life. I used to live in fear that I would pick the wrong major, go down the wrong path, and mess up my career. I just wanted to do something that made me happy, but I had no idea what that was.

When I got to the University of Washington, I was a declared direct admission business major. So many people told me how lucky I was that I decided to check that business major box on my college application when I was senior in high school. I had no idea what I was doing or what being in the business school even meant, so instead of feeling fortunate for my major, I felt an overwhelming sense of being trapped. Even my orientation was separate from non-business major students; I was told I already had my major, so I needn’t look elsewhere. My options felt slim for even trying to discover what else was there for me at UW.

In an attempt to feel like my business career was going somewhere, I attached myself to the thought that I could really like Investment Banking and the grind that it requires. I picked a career that, although extremely difficult (especially for women in the workplace), I felt would make my business degree worth all the trouble. I learned about their 90 hour work weeks, the career’s competitive nature, what a Superday was, and pretended to like the thought of triple-leveraging an ETF although volatile could be exciting and profitable (huh?). I declared my concentration in the business school as Finance and convinced myself that all of it’s technical tools and analytical concepts would help me in the long run.

And I’m still not wrong. Finance has valuable technical tools and it can be very exciting. I remember sitting in a UW Finance Association meeting believing that one day I would get as excited as some of the officers and members about financial breakthroughs and news (and maybe one day I would actually understand what they were talking about too). I wondered if it would just take time for me to understand why they all like it so much, why they got excited, and why I didn’t. I thought it was something I could fix.

I got so caught up in what I thought I should like and should want, that I kept putting something I really got excited about on the back burner. I always found myself looking forward to my drama and dance classes, although they were just supposed to be fulfilling my general education requirements. Because, how can you make money as an actor? Not everyone makes it. Not everyone can make it work either.

So I started asking myself, if I really don’t want to let theatre go, how can I make this work? I started looking at options: what is a realistic career in theatre with the things I am learning now? How can I do what I want? And that’s where my business major, the one I had felt so trapped in at the beginning of my Freshman year, suddenly gave me so many opportunities. Why not combine the two? I can use the things I spent my last two years learning in the business school and work for a theatre company that I care about.

And that’s a big reason why I work with Plus One Foundation. Ever since this realization in the middle of my sophomore year, I have learned so much about the power of non-profit companies. I believe in their mission and the work they do, while asking for so little in return. But also!! I learned to finally do what I want, not what everyone else tells me makes the most money, is the ‘best’ option, or what ‘might’ work for me. I learned to choose a career for myself, and make a choice that best fits what I want to pursue for the rest of my life. It can be scary to do what you want, but I’d much rather say I tried than wonder what my life would look like if I had actually gone for what I wanted.


Why am I still stressed out?

Author: Francesca Flamini

As a high school student I tend to get stressed out a lot. It seems like every time I have all my work under control one of my teachers decides to throw in a ten page essay just for kicks. After multiple experiments with procrastinating until the last minute, throwing papers together right before school, and freaking out in between class periods, I knew my stress was getting bad. Not only was it affecting my grades, but it was impacting my mental health and emotional state. I knew I had to do something about it.

I’m the kind of person who wants to fix all my problems in the easiest, quickest way possible. So naturally I browsed Amazon. I got color coded folders, a planner, colorful pens, anything I thought would help me stay organized and focused. My complicated system was working perfectly, until end of the year finals rolled around. Over the course of the following weeks my classmates and I were handed packets upon packets of studying material and worksheets. My carefully color coded folders were overflowing with papers, spilling into my backpack. I found myself frantically shoving papers from the red folder into the blue and listening to my french textbook PDF at lunch instead of eating. Needless to say, I was more stressed out than ever. And I realized all my “solutions” to my stress were reliant on me being an organized person (which I’m not). I wanted to look into deeper solutions to stress management, so maybe next year I wouldn’t have to rely on folders to keep my sanity at school. If you’ve ever looked up how to deal with stress, you probably know how disappointed I felt when I saw some of the leading hospitals and medical programs in the nation telling me that it was as simple as getting more sleep, or managing my time. I wanted to know more about the science behind stress. From my thorough google searches, I learned that stress happens when your body feels like it's under attack. This triggers your body's fight or flight response which then causes it to release hormones and chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol.

After learning this I didn’t feel any better about handling my stress (except for maybe being able to answer a question on my next chemistry final). I was feeling pretty defeated. I had searched every question I had about stress and found nothing to help me. While I was searching my many questions, google must have felt my struggle because in my Youtube recommended section, I found Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and Stanford lecturers' Ted Talk. The talk is called “How to make stress your friend”. I skeptically clicked on the video expecting her to tell me to start a stress diary or drink more water, but what I got instead was an actual understanding of my stress and what to do about it. I highly recommend watching the talk because it explains it much better than I can, but here are the main things I took away from it. The stigma that stress is bad for you is just that: a stigma. Stress is not bad for you, stress is your body preparing you to handle the things you’re stressed about. By viewing your stress as helpful and not a sign that you are overwhelmed, your body believes it too and you stay calmer. I know, I just told you one of the things you least wanted to hear- "it's all in your head". But studies have found that stress only affects you negatively when you think that it will. This changed my whole entire outlook on stress. I was so captivated by this that the next day I asked some friends what they thought of stress being a good thing. One of my friends put it very eloquently. She said that whenever she felt stress about something, instead of giving in to the negative nature of stress, she worked through that feeling. She said some of her best work is done in her most stressed state.

After watching the TED Talk and hearing some of my friend’s thoughts, I decided to try to work through my stress instead of getting wrapped up in it. So while I was studying for my last final I decided every time I was feeling stressed, I would channel those emotions into focus and think of it as a positive. I ended up studying for three hours straight (something that was very rare for me). I ended up getting my best score on that final (in a subject I’m not the best at).  Now that I have a positive connotation with stress, I don’t get it as much. I also get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time. Although this has been a great solution for me, I’m still keeping my color coded folders just in case.



TEDtalksDirector. YouTube, YouTube, 4 Sept. 2013,

“What Is Stress? Symptoms, Signs & More.” Cleveland Clinic,

Taking a Step Outdoors

Author: Emily Kargl

Summer is in full swing here in Seattle. With the lack of AC and the almost unbearable heat indoors, why not embrace the warm weather and go outside? Growing up in the Cascade foothills, I took the accessibility of nature for granted - hiking trails just minutes away and an abundance of forests to explore. Now living downtown, it can be hard to take a step back from the bustling city life and enjoy all of the natural beauty Washington has to offer. But even while balancing a busy schedule, the weekends are an excellent time to get some fresh air and soak up those sunrays.

My favorite outdoor activity - especially during the summer months - is hiking. Washington is home to over 3,500 hikes; the perfect playground for an outdoor enthusiast. And other than clearing your mind by being surrounded by nature, hiking is an intense cardio workout, as well. On the Washington Trails Association website (see references below), users can browse thousands of hikes ranging in mileage, scenery, and intensity. Here are five hikes I recommend you try this summer:

  1. Rachel Lake: Located in the Snoqualmie Region, this hike is 8.0 miles roundtrip and ends with a cool dip into an Alpine Lake!

  2. Snow Lake: Another frequently visited Alpine Lake in the Snoqualmie Region, this hike is 7.2 miles roundtrip.

  3. Twin Falls: At just 2.6 miles roundtrip, this hike is great for families with young children, and dog friendly.

  4. Rattlesnake Ledge: At 4.0 miles roundtrip, this popular hike boosts stunning views from the ledge overlooking Rattlesnake Lake and beyond.

  5. Hidden Lake: Located in the North Cascades National Park, the trail is 8.0 miles roundtrip and winds through lush forest scenery and meadows.

Now just pick a hike, venture outdoors and get started!



A Personal Story

Author: Billy Hao

About a year ago, I lived in an orange and blue apartment building near the University of Washington Seattle campus. It was a warm, spring afternoon as I walked back to my room after class. As soon as I entered the room, I put my backpack on the floor and lay down on my bed. Bored, I opened the YouTube app on my iPhone and started watching some videos. After a few minutes, I became aware that closing the blinds would help keep the room cool. I immediately got up and started adjusting them. The next thing I remember is waking up next to a pool of blood. Confused, I started to clean up the mess. I wasn’t sure where the blood was coming from, but eventually discovered that there was a cut on the back of my head. I called a friend over to examine the severity of the wound and he convinced me to call my parents. They made the 30-minute drive from my childhood home to my apartment building and sent me to the emergency room. After asking a few questions to test my memory and cognition, the doctor stapled the cut together. It turns out that I had gotten up too fast and blacked out as I was adjusting the blinds. I fell backward and hit my head against the edge of a wall. It’s been about a year since the incident, but the scar is still visible today.

In the immediate aftermath of the injury, I had no problems with memory and no decrease in cognitive ability. As far as I know, my brain is working fine. However, there was a brief period of time when the fear of permanent brain damage kept me up at night. Watching the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith as doctor Omalu (IMDb, 2015) convinced me that I may suffer from CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Of course, this is far from the truth. After a few days of paranoia, I did some research and found that “CTE is not caused by any single injury, but rather it is caused by years of regular, repetitive brain trauma” (Concussion Legacy Foundation). Still, my injury taught me the importance of good health and the fragility of life. Life is dependent on being able to move and think clearly, and one head injury can take that all away.

My experience with a mild traumatic brain injury has inspired me to help others who have not been as lucky. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), neurological disorders affect up to one billion people worldwide (Bertolote & Medialine, 2007). Others in the world suffer from concussions and neurological disorders that are far more severe than my own. Reading the testimonials of recipients of Plus One grants compelled me to intern here at this company and share my story. Throughout my life, I plan to support non-profit organizations like this one in order to help the victims of such unfortunate circumstances.



"Neurological Disorders Affect Millions Globally: WHO Report." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 08 Dec. 2010. Web. 25 July 2018.

"What Is CTE?" Concussion Legacy Foundation. N.p., 20 June 2018. Web. 25 July 2018.

"Concussion (2015)." IMDb., n.d. Web. 25 July 2018.

Go to Sleep

Author: Daniel Nguyen

I love sleeping, but like most people I sometimes have difficulty going to sleep. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and making sure you get a sufficient amount of sleep is much more important than you think. Have you ever find yourself staying up at 3am because you just can’t go to sleep? I know it sucks, I’ve been there. But I personally have several methods that have worked for me to get myself to sleep. One method is exercise. Not only is exercise alone good for your health, but I found that moderate exercise in the evening helps me go to sleep because it helps me feel tired. Having a 30 minute jog never fails to make me have the urge to sleep. Another method is resetting your sleeping schedule. What I mean by this is that if you find yourself waking up super late because you stayed up late, set an alarm early such as 8:00, and FORCE yourself to wake up at that time. Don’t take any naps that day, and by the time your bedtime rolls around, you’ll feel very tired and will very likely fall asleep easily. One of the last methods I use to fall asleep is to avoid caffeine. I don’t mean avoid it entirely, but refrain from drinking it in the evening. Coffee in the morning is okay, but as a college student I know many others who use caffeine to help stay up late to study. Caffeine prevents you from falling asleep easily, and you also shouldn’t put off sleep. Sleep is way more important than you may realize.

This year in spring quarter I took an applied mathematics class, and before the midterm my professor gave a short speech in class about sleep. He mentioned how important it is for us to sleep and that he would rather have us get a good sleep than spend the whole night studying. Based on my experiences, I very much agree with him. If you don’t think sleeping is that important, a news article published by the Perspectives on Psychological Science has Christopher Barnes (from the University of Washington) and Christopher Drake (from Henry Ford Hospital) explained how sleep deprived workers will likely make more mistakes, lose creativity, lose self awareness, and an overall negative impact on self-control. So sleep as a whole is very important to our brain because depriving yourself with sleep with impact your thinking and cognitive function. So if you have something important tomorrow such as a test or interview, I would highly suggest to think twice if you’re thinking about staying up. You will perform at best if you get a good night sleep!



"The Working World Has a Sleep Crisis." Association for Psychological Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2018.

Social Media: Redirecting the Message Behind the Post

By: Natalie Andrewski

When the social media aspect of the internet began to develop with outlets such as Myspace and Tumblr, the issues surrounding online bullying began to become the focus of parents and schools alike. People could hide behind the anonymity of fake accounts to perpetuate their cruel comments and opinions. These technological insults initially seemed innocent and without consequences, but the reality of this issue has come to fruition with “cyberbullying strongly related suicidal ideation in comparison with traditional bullying”. On a less severe note, it has been determined that overall the explosion of platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook that rely highly on the factor of “likes” and “comments”, has led to a sadder society. The ideas of instant gratification and the hunger for constant positive feedback have become overwhelming triggers within our daily lives. It has been found that these ideas “can lead users to constantly compare themselves to others and think less of their own lives, potentially leading to negative feelings such as jealousy or low self esteem”.

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I recently read the book The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover by M.D. Robert Lustig, in which the author discusses why our society has gradually become more and more (reportedly in the use of anti-depressants and increase in the obesity epidemic) unhappy over the years. He uses a scientific approach to conceptualize the chemical imbalances the growing majority of our society faces. Rather than stimulating our serotonin reuptake (elongated contentment), we (as a nation) are continuously utilizing our dopamine reward pathways through the stimulation of sugar, social media, and other instantly gratifying triggers. Our ability to achieve high peaks of temporary and instantaneous happiness has led us to be continuously searching for the next peak, but does this lead to lower and lower valleys between each peak?

As the social media craze continues to captivate our nation, organizations and individuals are attempting to counter our current internet climate through identifying ways in which to achieve inner-happiness and enforce self-care. My best friend Brynnen recently launched the “Self-Care Project” through an Instagram account, as well as a blog linked to the Instagram account. Her project’s mission is to interview athletes, activists, and other inspirational people about their struggles, as well as successes, involving their journey with mental and physical health. After struggling with severe depression, Brynnen hopes to use social media for good by perpetuating the message of positive self-care techniques and creating a supportive community for those struggling with their holistic health. She describes her goal within the project as to “share with you that we all struggle, but we all have ways to get through it to maintain our mental health”. Follow Brynnen’s project @selfcareprojects for more information!



“Suicide.” Megan Meier Foundation. Cyberbullying.
Fuller , Kristen. “Are We Allowing Social Media to Dictate Our Happiness?” Psychology Today,
Sussex Publisher.
Beierle, Brynnen. The Self Care Project,

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Blindness Brain Adaptations

Author: Olivia Tang

Hi all, hope you all are doing well with the Seattle sunshine. Enjoy this segue to my speal about how millennials like me are best absorbing information nowadays through the internet.

So recently, I’ve been exploring the YouTube community in my free time, to find more content I can watch. I came across a blind YouTuber, Molly Burke, a content creator, and inspirational speaker about her life as a blind person who lost her sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Her channel was interesting and inspiring to me, because she emphasizes how people who are blind can do things and live life like any other person can. She has a video on her channel on how blind people use technology, and I think it is a very informative and eye-opening video about how universal accessibility impacts the sensory disabled community. After visiting her channel, I looked more into how a person’s sensory functions adapt to their vision loss.

I’m amazed at blind person’s ability to hone their other four sensory functions, hearing, touch,smell, taste to accomplish anything. My late grandfather, who was blind, was able to tell me details about the construction of a room after tapping his walking stick on the floor. According to this study about the structural changes on the brain from blindness, the portion of the brain that accounts for sight shrinks, but the portions that do not account for vision increase in size(University). Researchers found that in the blind groups involved in the study, the frontal lobe which is responsible for working memory, was abnormally enlarged, most likely because blind people rely on memory to know the placement of things they can’t see.

I’m happy to have discovered Molly Burke on YouTube. I’ve learned a lot through her videos and through internet research, and I think her story and her message is very inspiring to anyone who comes across her. I highly suggest checking out her channel!



University of California - Los Angeles. "Blindness causes structural brain changes, implying brain can re-organize itself to adapt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2009. <>.

I Tried Bullet Journaling: A Popular Creative Outlet

Author: Kelsey Fukuda

I recently picked up a new habit that’s been both fun and has helped me with organizing my thoughts. Bullet journaling is a fairly new trend that’s been appearing in a lot of my YouTube recommended videos, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. Bullet journals use “rapid logging”, which is quicker to jot down than other types of journals. The fun thing about bullet journals is that you can really customize it to be whatever you need it to be. In my case, I use my bullet journal as a planner, to-do list, and inspiration board. The format of my bullet journal is fairly similar to others out there. Each month has a cover page, each week has a weekly spread, and then there are extra pages used to write down ideas that I have.

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Not only has bullet journaling helped me organize my time, it has provided me with a creative outlet. Doodling and journaling are also proven to have cognitive benefits as well! Doodling is known to help with memory, stress relief, and improved focus. One researcher suggests that a reason why doodling is beneficial to us is the idea that doodles are similar to stress-relieving motor acts that alleviate impatience, boredom, and indecision. In some cases, doodling also helps with “affective attention”, which leads to increased watchfulness and concentration. On the other hand, journaling has its own benefits for your mental health and your brain. Journaling is known to help with managing anxiety and reducing stress by facilitating people to prioritize their problems and concerns, track their daily thoughts, and identify positive and negative thoughts or behaviors. Combining journaling and doodling creates a perfect pair.

Every week I try to sit down and plan my upcoming weekly spread. This helps me to organize my schedule and think about any important events I have coming up. At the start of every month, I like to think of a theme that I can stick with when designing my pages. Depending on the goals I have that month, I will sometimes create different visuals for tracking certain things such as habits, mood, sleep, and budget. I sometimes leave pages blank in case I want to create lists or have ideas to write down. For example, before traveling I like to list out places to see and things to eat in that area. Or sometimes I will have a list of recipes that I want to try. Even some gift idea lists are helpful to look back at. The great thing about bullet journals is that you can add whatever you need to it and make it your own. Personally, I like to look at Pinterest for ideas and then adjust them to my preferences and needs. I would definitely recommend trying out bullet journaling! You get to decide how much time and effort you want to put into designing it, so it doesn’t have to be a chore to write down your schedule anymore. .gif



Schott, GD. "Doodling and the Default Network of the Brain." The Lancet. N.p., n.d. Web.

Pillay, Srini. "The "thinking" Benefits of Doodling." Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 11 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 May 2018.

"Journaling for Mental Health." Eastman Institute for Oral Health - University of Rochester Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2018.


Author: Catherine Bennion

As spring has arrived and summer is on its way, hiking is a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon with friends and family, or just by yourself enjoying nature. Living in Seattle with so many trails nearby, I love to spend afternoons with my family hiking. While sometimes it may be hard to find the motivation to get out and hike, as I find motivation is often hard to find when it comes to exercise, the views and feeling of accomplishment at the top will ultimately be more than worth while.

Not only is hiking a fun and active way to spend a day, but studies show that hiking is also very good for your brain and mental health as well. Studies show an increased amount of outdoor time can increase attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent. Being in nature, surrounded by beauty and away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, allows for a great opportunity to reflect, think, and enjoy the beauty of the world that we live in. It also provides an opportunity to unplug from technology for a while to just be with nature and have genuine time with friends and family, or time to reflect and think by yourself.

My mom, my two sisters, and I recently climbed Mt. Si, a mountain in the Cascades just over an hour outside of Seattle. My sisters and I begrudgingly put on our running shoes in the morning and pleaded to stay home that morning. In response to all of our complaining my mom exclaimed that this was going to be “forced family fun” and promised that we would have a good time. The hike up Mt. Si is about four miles to the top, much farther than I imagined I could hike. While the hike was long, and sometimes painful, the time I got to spend with my family laughing and playing games made the long trek up the mountain fun, even though we all complained about it in the beginning. When we finally reached the top, the views were incredible and the time and effort spent going up the hill seemed to not matter anymore compared to the feeling of accomplishment and gratitude to be able to be so in touch with nature. By the time we got back down to the bottom, my thighs were burning my legs felt like Jell-o but I felt great about myself and felt great about getting out of the house and being active for the day! While it may be hard to find the time or energy, a short hike or walk through a park, is always worth it for the feeling of peace and accomplishment when it’s finished.



Wise, Abigail. “Proof That Hiking Makes You Happier And Healthier.” The Huffington Post,, 7 Dec. 2017

Want to Improve Your Performance Even Though You Have Anxiety? Don't Stay Calm, Get Excited!

Author: Daniel Nguyen

As a college student, I constantly fall into situations and activities that lead to anxiety and stress. Whether I'm taking a final, heading to a job interview, or doing a presentation in front of my class, anxiety always seems to get the best of me. Most of the time my anxiety cripples down to the point where it can negatively impact how I present myself in these situations. If you find yourself in an anxiety-inducing activity, you may have tried to tell yourself to calm down and relax. Many of us have probably been told that doing this will help, but I am here to tell you that this is the complete opposite of what you should do. Believe it or not, if you want to perform better and help dampen the effects of anxiety, get excited! If you tell yourself to get excited, you may find that you will do much better in these situations than if you focused on relaxation!

Studies on college students at Harvard University has shown getting yourself to become excited helps with performance on activities that trigger anxiety.  In the study, they had 140 participants prepare a public speech. They randomly told people to say either, "I am excited!" or "I am calm." before they begin. It was found that those who said they were excited gave longer, persuasive, and relaxed speeches than those who said they were calm.

If you are unsure on how to get yourself to become excited, try saying out loud a simple statement on excitement! Telling yourself, "I am excited!" can lead you to adopt a more opportunistic mindset which can help bring you to feel more excited about your performance! On the other hand, telling yourself to calm down is ineffective and will most likely produce unwanted effects because you will start thinking about all the things that can go wrong in the performance. You want to instead tell yourself about how things can go really well in your performance, and getting yourself excited will help a lot with this.

I've always struggled with presentations and interviews, and fighting against anxiety makes it twice as worse. But gradually I became better at managing it. It used to be the case where even knowing that I'm about to present next will cause my heart to race and my body to get all sweaty and itchy. My voice would sound weak and at this point I would start messing up my sentences when I speak. Thankfully, near the end of high school I adopted the excitement method to try to help with my anxiety, and I would say it helped a ton! It's hard to explain, but if I'm getting excited for something, my thought process changes as a whole. It makes me feel like I'm showing the class something amazing rather than feeling like the class will be judging every move I make.

Being excited helps drift my focus away from irrational thoughts. Whenever I get anxiety, I start thinking negatively about how other people might perceive my actions. This would always cause me to lose my train of thought during a presentation or interview because I would think to myself, "Wait…are people understanding what I am saying right now?" and I would proceed to ponder about what my next word choices should be. All of this contributes to an overwhelming feeling of doom. Gratefully, getting myself to be excited helps clear this mindset because it shifts my attention from how people perceive me to how exciting the subject is!

In a nutshell, anxiety can be a big influence in the choices we make and how we act. Feeling excited about what you're about to dive into will highly improve your performance. While this did help me a ton, I wouldn't say this got rid of all of my anxiety. I still get nervousness and irrational thoughts from time to time, but this method has helped calm my anxiety down immensely. And to whomever is still reading this and needs help with anxiety, please don't try to calm yourself, instead become enthusiastic! Be thrilled that you have the chance to perform! Be inspired that you can finally do your presentation! Be eager to take that test and ace it! It's all about populating your mindset with positive attitude and thoughts!



American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2018.

Food for the Brain


Author: Laura Freeman

Spring is a stressful time for many of us, whether it’s because we’re finalizing taxes, planning a big trip for the summer, or applying for jobs or internships. Overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, and everything we want to do, we tend to overlook one of our basic needs – healthy eating. Too often, I find myself stopping by the Jack in the Box across the street for a quick meal and an Oreo milkshake, or ordering Italian from Postmates on the days I feel like spending a bit more. Besides contributing to the United States’ obesity epidemic, unhealthy eating can intensify the effects of a brain injury (Wolpert).

Studies also show that diets high in saturated fats and trans fats can hinder cognition. In particular, the consumption junk food and fast food has shown adverse effects on learning and memory (Wolpert). Fortunately, just as there are bad foods for the brain, there are also good foods! Folic acid, found in various foods such as spinach and oranges, is critical for brain function. Likewise, omega-3 fatty acids have been used to treat Alzheimers, as well as other memory deficits (Wolpert). Other healthy foods include whole grains, beans, seeds, and tea (Sorgen).

This got me thinking about how healthy eating may help me feel less stressed and more energetic. It isn’t that I enjoy eating fast food or ordering from Postmates every night – it’s just more convenient and cheaper (or so I thought). What could I make that is quick and healthy?

And then, it hit me: grain bowls! Grain bowls, like Mason jar salads and avocado toast have been all the rage lately, but they usually use expensive “superfoods”, like chia seeds, quinoa, and out-of-season avocados. Even though I can’t afford to use those ingredients regularly, I could still make grain bowls with cheaper alternatives!

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With those healthy brain foods in mind, I make a quick stop at Trader Joe’s and discover, to my delight, that the ingredients for five portions amounted to only $11.93 – cheaper than my average Postmates order! I begin peeling sweet potatoes, grinding spices, sautéing chickpeas, roasting tofu, boiling farro, and cubing feta cheese. Soon enough, it all comes together as a stunning, aromatic cornucopia of healthy foods. In just one hour of prepping and cooking, I managed to make enough food for the whole week’s lunches. In my mind, it’s a win-win-win situation; I pay less for healthier food that makes me feel energized and focused on the busy season to come.



Sorgen, C. (2006). Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain. Retrieved April 10, 2018

Wolpert, S. (2008, July 09). Scientists learn how what you eat affects your brain - and those of your kids. Retrieved April 10, 2018

On Board: one Plus One staffer's personal experiences

Living with a brain or a body that doesn't work the same as other people's is hard. It's hard physically, and mentally; socially, as the world expects things that your brain and body can't deliver. One of my family members grew up with and lives with Autism. She was born in 1944, so Autism and the spectrum weren't commonly understood diagnoses. She was held to a standard which she could not reach and then punished for her differences. She's had a hard life. She's hyper focused, prone to paranoia, and full of fear but her life is not all darkness. The things that bring her joy light her face up and make such a difference in her life. Her laugh is so cute. As a caretaker, it's important for me to maximize those joy-related activities as much as possible.

Getting her active and out of her care facility is one of the things that brings her the most balance and happiness. Having access to physical activity in a caring environment is so important to her. For people like her who have limited access, who have perhaps fallen through the cracks in the system for most of their life, the opportunities Plus One provides can make the difference between good brain chemistry and depression, between isolation and a full life. I've seen personally the difference that swim therapy can make, that exercise can have for people like her.  I'm now on the board of Plus One and I'm so proud of the things that we're doing. I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to work on a program that grants access to people who've never been considered or prioritized before in their lives. Some of my family member's life stories break my heart, but the program's she's participating in now, and the help that she's receiving gives me hope. 

Thank you Plus One, for all the people you prioritize, for all the brain changing services you enable, and for all your care.

Passion Over Pressure

Author: Siena Helland

I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember, and I probably learned to kick a ball
before I learned to walk. The sport has been a large part of my life and has shaped me into the
person I am today. My dad introduced me to the sport at a young age, and my love for the game led me to playing for a club team. From there, I traveled across the United States competing against some of the top teams in the country, and I had my sights set on playing in college. As I was nearing the end of my high school years and preparing for college, I had realized that playing soccer was no longer fun. I no longer was excited to go to practice, compete in games, or wanted to play in college. My passion for the game was replaced by anxiety, and I was forced to outplay my friends so the college scouts would want me and not them. The pressure got to me, and by the end of my junior year of high school, I left my competitive team and lost my favoritesport.

After seeing the sadness from losing one of my favorite pass times, my dad had found a co-ed
adult team that I could join. My senior year of high school I had a trial run and they immediately invited me to join their team. It's now been three years and I continue to play every week with this team. This league is competitive and we play against good teams, but there is no pressure to be perfect, no one to impress, and no one subbing you out if you miss hit a ball. I finally found an atmosphere that allowed me to play soccer in a relaxed and pressure-free environment, providing me the happiness I'd been searching for.

Every week I look forward to my Thursday night games and being able to exercise, clear my
mind, and participate in an activity that I love. There are so many of us that exercise and play
sports in negative environments or under conditions that do not give us happiness, but instead
cause us stress. Exercise is supposed to be a stress reliever and provide us happiness along with good health. By finding joy in exercising, you create a healthy environment for yourself, not only physically, but mentally as well. Exercising can help you clear your mind of stressors and think about what's important to you. It can also help you find a positive attitude, boost your self-esteem, and bring happiness into your life. Exercising and playing a sport is one thing, but if you can do this while reducing stress and pressure and incorporating more passion and joy, the benefits of exercising will increase, and your well-being will thank you.


Organic Facts. "Surprising Benefits of Playing Sports" Organic Facts. benefits-of- playing-sports.html.
Published February 14, 2018.

The Secret to Seasonal Sadness

Author: Natalie Andrewski

As the winter season blossoms into spring, it is almost impossible to notice a change of environment here in Seattle. Not only are flowers blooming and the sun is beginning to make more adamant appearances, but the people of this city seem to begin transitioning as well. During the winter months, the “Seattle Freeze”, as the often passive aggressive and not-so-welcoming demeanor of local Seattleites has been labeled by transplants, is very apparent. Groups of friends prefer to remain exclusive, and the activities they participate in may usually occur inside. However, once Spring has sprung, the frozen attitudes of Seattleites appears to defrost. Parks all over the city are filled with groups of people attempting the ever-tricky slack line, running with unexpected zeal, and hiking to new ascents. Rather than avoiding eye contact, members of the city are engaging in conversations with new people in attempt to try a new activity or finally say hello to a familiar face. I began to question why a singular season transition could have such a stark contrast in an entire city’s demeanor, and I believe my answer lies in the notion of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Growing up in Southern California, I was surrounded by sunshine basically 365 days a year. Most days were glorious enough to be spent outside, and my mom often referred to me as her “sunflower”. When I was in the 6th grade, my family migrated from California to the Pacific Northwest. Of course, the year we moved to Washington was recorded as having record rain fall in the Olympia area, and my days of playing outside were replaced with indoor entertainment. Even in my younger days, I knew my energy levels and happiness was positively correlated with my time spent in the sunshine. I began to struggle with depression, even though I didn’t quite understand that concept yet, and I would suffer from stress that would effect my quality of health poorly. After all these years, I have finally made the connection between the weather and my mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a “mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter”. It is quite an extraordinary event that people can maintain a stable mental health pattern for the majority of the year, but then be so affected by light levels that an imbalance occurs in the brain. These imbalances can lead to depression, hopelessness, and suicide. The main chemical involved in the brain during this process is serotonin, which is recorded as being in lower than average levels in patients suffering from the disorder. It appears that the brain becomes incapable of converting serotonin into N-acetylserotonin, which involves the enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase. In certain cases, antidepressants function by increasing levels of the enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase in order to increase levels of conversion and a reduction of depression-like symptoms. It has been discovered that patients that suffer from this disorder often have a delay in their circadian rhythm, which is a delay in their sleep patterns. The relation to sleep patterns also promotes the idea that the hormone melatonin is affected by this disorder. There are a variety of other factors that can contribute to suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, including a person’s predisposition to personality traits, such as agreeableness and an avoidance-orientated coping style (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

In order to begin alleviating the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, the interventions of light therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and supplementation of the hormone melatonin have been utilized, but I will focus on light therapy. In terms of light therapy, the use of a lightbox that emits an elevated level of lumens is necessary. The lights of the lamps can range in wavelength and lumen levels, usually depending on the light of the lamp: bright white “full spectrum” lights at 10,000 lux, blue light at a wavelength of 480 nm at 2,500 lux, or green-blue light at a wavelength of 500 nm at 350 lux. The process of light therapy usually lasts 30-60 minutes of being exposed to the light consistently.



Seasonal Affective Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

Tommy Manning Act

Author: Aimee Garcia

Seattle has a relatively new initiative to help people with traumatic brain injury named The Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council, commonly known as the Tommy Manning Act. It was created through House Bill 2055 by the Washington State Legislature in 2007. It is to “recognize the current programs and services are not funded or designed to address the diverse needs of individuals with traumatic brain injuries.”  Its creation is to close the gap in knowledge by collecting the expertise from both the public and private sector. Membership includes twenty two people from both sectors that includes medical professionals, human service providers, family members of individuals, state agency representatives, and many more that can provide useful information to advance their agenda.

The Tommy Manning Act has taken upon itself to work in unison with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to address some of their goals. Unfortunately, the Manning Act has not posted their own goals on their website but directs the reader to the DSHS website, where they do not explicitly have goals that directly affect people with brain injuries.

Though the act is still fairly, new it could potentially have the momentum to change the lives and the families of those who have been affected by traumatic brain injuries. Yet, they have not stated their own goals and rely heavily on DSHS without any visible momentum to directly address the concerns of people with brain injuries. Yes, the program are only eleven years old but in those years, there has not been noticeable change for the people most in need.


“Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council.” Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council | DSHS,

“About Us.” About Us | DSHS,


What Licensed Naturopaths Say About MS

Author: Catherine Waterbury

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is “an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.” MS effects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for MS. Common treatments for MS include: teaming up with a healthcare provider, taking pharmaceutical medication, and participating in physical therapy.


Other treatment options for MS are referred to as “Commentary or Alternative Medicines” (CAM). These treatments include exercise, alternative diet, and the addition of supplements. In a study done by members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, 52% of the naturopaths being surveyed suggested dietary changes to treat MS. The study also indicated that 45% of the naturopaths suggested essential fatty acid supplementation and 33% suggested vitamin/mineral supplementation. At the end of the study, 59% of patients claimed they experienced an improved quality of life by using a CAM system.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society advises those with MS to not “abandon conventional therapy” and be sure to “keep your physician informed about everything you are taking”. With that being said, if you are interested in adding elements of CAM system to your treatment, you should! There are a large variety of therapies you could try, including: acupuncture, nutrition lessons, exercise, cooking classes, and many more!


If you have MS and are interested in an CAM style therapy, The Plus One Foundation may be able to help you fund your therapy. Please look over our website for more information!


"Home." National Multiple Sclerosis Society. N.p., 16 Feb. 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

"All IssuesUp Arrow In This IssueDown Arrow Left ArrowPrevious Article Next ArticleRight Arrow The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine About This Journal... Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Multiple Sclerosis: Survey of Licensed Naturopaths." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web.