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The Catalyst

Employee Wellness

Mindfulness has been described as a psychological concept involving the focusing of attention and awareness on the present moment.

Applying mindfulness strategies to behavior change has shown promise, particularly in regards to healthy habits. Several factors influence successful behavioral change, one of them being intention. A person must possess the desire to make a change before behavioral change can occur. However, many people with strong intentions still fail to act on them. Research suggests that enhanced attention to present experiences and events (mindfulness) may influence the ability to control thoughts and emotions that conflict with a current intention. This means that mindful people have a better sense of self–control related to health behaviors.

One area in particular that has shown improved success in behavioral outcomes related to the practice of mindfulness is healthy eating.  As part of a strong commitment to health and wellness, Sodexo is introducing an exciting new approach to wellness called “Mindful by Sodexo”. Mindful is a wellness program designed to promote a healthy lifestyle by offering a variety of healthy menu choices. Most people want good health but often struggle to make it a natural part of each day. The mindful approach is about making healthy choices become second nature. Sodexo believes that when customers are presented with delicious, healthy options and choose those foods on their own terms, they are more likely to enjoy them and realize the benefits that come along with a healthier lifestyle - and consequently, more likely to repeat those good choices.

In alignment with Sodexo’s Mindful program, MUSC’s Office of Health Promotion and Employee Wellness Program are offering a year of mindful wellness challenges to support healthy behaviors at work.

Each month a health behavior will be featured and employees will be asked to engage in that activity throughout the month. Challenge participants will be eligible for prizes by completing a short survey at the beginning and end of the month.

One employee will be featured each month in our “spotlight on wellness” feature in The Catalyst. The February challenge, in conjunction with Heart Health month, is Exercising Your Heart: Take the stairs or the long way round to your workplace, and during the day be sure to get up from the desk hourly to decrease the risk of heart disease.

To begin, take the first February Monthly Mindful Challenge survey at

The final survey will be sent via email at the end of the month.

Wellness Events

  • Go Red Day at MUSC: Help MUSC Go Red from 12 to 2 p.m., Feb. 7, Ashley River Tower for this free event featuring free blood pressure screenings, freebies, heart health info, hands–free CPR demonstrations, chair massages and more. Help form a “human heart” at 12:30 p.m. on the stairs.
  • Worksite screening: The next worksite screening will be held Feb. 14, Gazes Building Auditorium, room 125, valued at about $350, is available to employees of the State Health Plan (including the MUSC Health Plan) for only  $15 (covered spouses also can participate for $15). Employees and spouses without this insurance can participate for $42. To register, go to
  • MUSC Employee Wellness Fitness Series — Join Katie Blaylock for a free Cardio Power class from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m., Feb. 19 at the Wellness Center. Register via email to
  • Mindful by Sodexo — Offered at Main and ART cafeterias. Throughout February, diners may enter a chance to win two first place prizes ($50 meal card) or two seconhe entrees (a winner from each cafeteria). Purchase any of the daily Mindful entrees in the cafeteria, write your name on the back of the receipt and drop it into the contest box. Multiple entries are allowed.
  • Chair massages: Free massages are offered to employees on Tuesday nights and midday Wednesdays. Look for broadcast messages for locations and times.
  • Farmers Markets: Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers on Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Harborview); Wednesday sand Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ART); and Fridays, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Horseshoe).

MUSC Urban Farm

  • Lunch and Learn: 12 to 1 p.m., Topic: Cultivating Heart Health; email to get the Farm Newsletter
  • Sunset Work & Learn:  4 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13
  • Early bird maintenance:  Wednesday,  7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Feb. 12.

For information, contact or

February 7, 2014

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