Cultivating Optimism: 7 Ways to Embrace the Bright Side

As we head into the holiday season, it’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed on occasion. While we often have little to no control over stressful life events, like finals, meals with relatives we may not get along with, and bills that keep piling up, we can control how we react to those situations that stress us out.

One way we can control our reactions to stressful life events is to cultivate an optimistic attitude. Research has proven the benefits of optimism.


  • live longer
  • have stronger immune systems
  • suffer less stress and pain
  • enjoy better cardiovascular health
  • achieve a better quality of life
  • have better survival rates after diagnoses of cancer, diabetes, and HIV
  • get more and better sleep
  • exercise more
  • have more friends and stronger social support networks

But the question is, do optimists enjoy all those benefits because of their rosy, outlook on life or do healthier people have more optimism because of the benefits they enjoy?

Experts tend to believe the former is true. Optimistic people see the glass half-full regardless of their life circumstances.

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Optimists are not born that way. Optimism is a skill you can develop over the course of your lifetime.

Optimists don’t see only the bright side all the time. They are realistic and honest. When something negative happens in their lives, they don’t just ignore the negative feelings or deny them; they allow themselves to fully experience the sadness or anger of those negative emotions and then think of a plan to change their circumstances. In other words, they are resilient.

How do you cultivate optimism?

Here are 7 things you can do:

1. Focus more on the problem itself rather than on reducing or managing emotions associated with the problem.

If an exam does not go well, analyze your approach to studying the material and make changes in your study habits.

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2. Change your expectations.

If you know a certain aunt will loudly ask you why you don’t have a boyfriend in front of everyone at every holiday gathering, lose the burden of expecting her to be different. Anticipate instead how you will be different by not reacting to her insensitive comment.

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3. Develop a worry-later list.

If a worry disrupts your day, jot it down and allot 15 minutes at the end of your day to ponder your list of worries.

Just making that to-do list takes it off your radar for the time being and allows you to focus on the more important task at hand. At the end of your day, you may find those worries are not as big as you thought.

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4. Keep things in perspective.

Instead of generalizing that all is lost, step back and look at the big picture. You may have bombed the presentation but that doesn’t mean you have failed the class. You will have another chance to improve your performance.

Keep in mind there’s a big difference between thinking I feel unhappy versus I am unhappy.

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5. Look at history, not headlines.

Bad news comes to us instantly through our phones and social media but checking history takes effort.

“According to just about every indicator of human well-being, we’re better off than any other time in history,” says Marian Tupy, editor of

In fact, if you want to see just how much the world has changed for the better since you were born, go to and plug in the year of your birth.

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6. Think of things you are looking forward to.

Reminisce. Just thinking good thoughts whether they be from past memories or future expectations creates positive feelings, and boosts confidence which in turns leads to optimism.

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7. Get enough sleep.

Getting enough sleep alone will help you feel more optimistic about life and improve the quality of your life.

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Finally, practice makes perfect. Optimism is a skill you can learn and develop. It’s like a muscle. The more you practice optimism, the stronger it becomes in your life.


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Keep in mind that the Family Health Clinic is here to help with health and mental health issues.

Please call us at 468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 to find out more about ways we can help you. We are open for students, faculty, staff and the general public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


8 Lies You Tell Your Doctor (and why you shouldn’t)

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When we see our Health Care Provider, we are tempted to stretch the truth, sugar-coat the facts, or outright lie about our health but the truth is we are only hurting ourselves.

Your healthcare provider needs to know the facts about your health and cannot help you to the best of her ability if she does not know what you may be concealing from her.

Here are the 8 most common lies we tell our doctors (and why we should be telling the truth).

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1. I never binge drink.

Alcohol consumption can skew test results and can lead to disease.  Being honest with your healthcare provider can prompt her to monitor your liver function, cholesterol, and be aware of your additional health risks.

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2. I no longer smoke.

Lying to your doctor about your smoking habits may seem like a good way to avoid a lecture but your health care provider needs to know that you use tobacco or nicotine.  These drugs interact with other medications and your smoking habits affect pregnancy, lung disease, etc. Besides, she can help you quit smoking by prescribing medication to help you quit.

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3. I eat healthily.

I eat healthy….except on the days ending in “Y”.  Being honest about your weakness for a daily donut helps your doctor manage your cholesterol more effectively. Your health care provider is only human and may have her own dietary weaknesses.  Your diet matters to her and she can help you manage your eating habits if you are honest.

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4. I work out every day.

Tell the truth about your exercise habits.  It will help your medical provider develop a strategy to keep you active and healthy.

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5. I have sex with only one person.

Your medical provider’s job is to help guard your health not pass judgment on your morals.  Being honest about the number of sex partners you have might help explain some of the diseases you have and alerts your provider to tests you may need.

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6. I don’t take drugs.

If you use illicit drugs, it can be dangerous for you to withhold this information from your medical provider.  Illicit drugs often interfere and interact with your prescribed medications not to mention the problems of addiction and the resulting consequences to your health.  Your healthcare provider can help you get treatment for an addiction.

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7. I don’t use supplements or take Over the Counter medications.

Even vitamins and natural supplements can interfere with medications your health care provider has prescribed.  Some can be dangerous to mix with medications.  It is always best to share any information about OTC medications.

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8. I take my medication as prescribed.

Almost half of all chronically ill patients do not take their medications as prescribed.  If you are having problems with the medication, tell your doctor, and perhaps she can change your prescription.  If the problem is the cost, your health care provider can help you find an affordable alternative or locate financial resources to help pay for your prescription.

The bottom line

Talk to your healthcare provider.  Be honest.  It’s in your best interest.  The Family Health Clinic is available to help you meet your healthcare needs.  We are open Monday—Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.  Please call (618) 468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 for more information.


Web MD


Stay Away from Tobacco: The Great American Smokeout

The Great American Smokeout
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Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.  Half of all smokers will die from the habit.

Yet, 40 million American adults still smoke.

The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.

Smoking is one of the strongest and deadliest addictions one can have.  It’s easy to say Quit Smoking.  It’s easy to quit for a day, but quitting is a process.  It starts with a plan; it takes time, and it requires a lot of support.  But, the benefits are immediate and they last a lifetime not only for yourself but for those around you.

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The Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society is today, Thursday, November 16.

It’s an opportunity for everyone to commit to healthy, tobacco-free lives—not just for a day, but year round.

Lewis and Clark Community College is proud to participate in the Great American Smokeout.  We encourage our staff, faculty, students, and our partners to commit or recommit to healthy, tobacco-free lives.

The Family Health Clinic is here to support you in your efforts to lead a long, healthy tobacco-free life. We have support resources and pharmaceutical resources to assist you to kick this habit for good.

Please let us help. Your life depends on it. Call 468-6800 or come by the Family Health Clinic in Fobes 1525.  We are available Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

A World with More Bdays
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7 Ways to Make it out of This Semester Alive

Take a Deep Breath
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By L&C Fourth Semester Nursing Students Kayla Cram and Nikita

1. Take deep breaths and relax.

Deep breathing is the most basic exercise you can do to help relieve stress. Plus, you can deep breathe whenever you want, where you want, for however long you want. Take a break from your studies for a few minutes, take a few deep breaths, and let some of that stress leave your system.

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2. Make time for YOU.

If you want to be more successful or even be sane at the end of the semester, you need to make time for you. Take one day of a weekend or two a month and do what makes you happy. Go out for a night on the town with your friends; visit with your family; go to the zoo. Do whatever it takes to get your mind a break from processing information so you can get back in the groove of shoving more information into it. DO YOU.

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3. Stay away from fast food.

Fast food may taste delicious, but you have to admit, it never makes you feel good after you eat it. You definitely don’t feel like studying or reading more material after binging on junk food. You’re probably too busy to take hours out of your day to make a nice family meal, but there are plenty of quick snacks or healthy foods you can choose. Invest in a crockpot. Buy fresh fruits you can just grab out of the pantry and snack on. Prep food the night before for the next day.

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4. Buy a planner.

The first thing I bought after my first day of nursing school was a planner. I walked out of class my first day stressed and thinking there was no way I was going to make it out of this alive. Getting a planner and entering in all my test dates, quiz dates, class dates, clinical dates, and even my work schedule made me feel so much more organized and less stressed. Such a cheap object made a huge difference in my education.

Stay Positive
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5. Stay positive.

This may seem like the hardest part of this list sometimes, but it’s crucial. The more positive and upbeat you are about things, the more you will get done. School can be hard, but just keep your eyes on the prize and remind yourself of what you accomplished so far. You got this!

Get Enough Sleep
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6. Get a healthy amount of sleep.

Okay, I lied. This may seem like the hardest part of this list sometimes, but again, it’s extremely crucial. You can’t put your all into something if you’re yawning and thinking about how great your bed is going to feel tonight. Your body is working to support healthy brain function and fighting off sickness when you’re asleep. I know you have a busy life, you’re a college student. But, you have to take care of yourself first.

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7. Eat breakfast.

I know you’ve heard it, but I’m going to say it anyway. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is what’s going to give you the energy you need to survive and the brain function to cram in all that reading material. Grab a banana and some milk. Anything to get your juices flowing.

Clean Hands Count – The Proper Steps to Hand Hygiene

By Nursing Students Eric Lancaster and Miranda Willi

We all know germs are everywhere and that our hands touch everything, even our faces!

So, it’s no surprise that our hands are reservoirs and modes of transportation for harmful bacteria.

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should wash your hands:

  • Before preparing or eating food
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • After using the restroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching surfaces such as computers, phones, tables, doorknobs, or remote controls.

The two ways you can clean your hands are using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or the traditional washing with soap and water.


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The CDC says hand sanitizers REDUCE the number of microbes but do not ELIMINATE all types of germs.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should ONLY be used if your hands are not visibly soiled. To properly use alcohol-based hand sanitizer you should:

  • Put use enough product to cover all surface area on hands and rub hands together
  • Rub vigorously for 20 seconds until hands feel dry
Dry Soap
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It is BEST to wash and dry your hands with soap and water if possible. Proper hand washing technique include:

  • Wetting your hands with warm water. Use liquid soap if possible. Apply a nickel- or quarter-sized amount of soap to your hands.
  • Rubbing your hands together until the soap forms a lather and then rub all over the top of your hands, in between your fingers and the area around and under the fingernails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 15 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Rinsing your hands well under running water.
  • Drying your hands using a paper towel if possible. Then use your paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door if needed.
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The important thing to remember whether using hand sanitizer or soap and water is:

Just do it.
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Washing your hands is the NUMBER ONE way to prevent the spread of disease.

Clean Hands Count
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For more information, drop by or call the Family Health Clinic on the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College in Fobes 1525. The Clinic is open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also call us at 618-468-6800.

It’s Time For Your Flu Shot

It’s that time of year again – time to get your flu shot!

Did You Know?

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in your body that protect against flu, so it’s important to get vaccinated NOW before flu season begins. Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads easily by coughing, sneezing and direct contact with an infected person.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

Can the flu shot make you sick?


Since there is no live flu virus in the flu vaccine, it cannot cause you to get sick with the flu.

The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the flu less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading the flu to your family and friends.

What can happen if I get the flu?

Symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Each year, thousands of people in the United States die from the flu and many more are hospitalized.

I’m ready. Where can I get vaccinated?

Flu shots are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Lewis and Clark Community College Family Health Clinic. Community members as well as anyone on campus can come in and see us. No appointment is necessary and there is no co-pay with most insurances. If you do not have insurance, the cost is $25.

Please call (618) 468-6800 for more information. Don’t forget to bring a photo ID and your insurance card.

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Practice Proper Body Mechanics – 5 Steps to Proper Sitting

By Nursing Students Chelsea Harmon and Erin Goebel

Studies have shown that incorrect sitting posture can lead to fatigue, neck and back strain, and a decline in focus and comfort. Yikes!

Studies have shown that incorrect sitting posture can lead to fatigue, neck and back strain, and a decline in focus and comfort. Yikes!

As students, we do a lot of studying, and we need all the help we can get.

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Ever notice when you stand tall with your shoulders back you get a bit of a confidence boost?

The same applies to sitting up nice and tall in your chair. Good posture also helps the body relax because the muscles are not straining to stay upright and changes the way the hormones are working to make you also be more positive.

Could you imagine sitting down to your next test relaxed, with a positive attitude, and confident?

Also, if you are more positive and relaxed, you are more likely to sit and study for longer periods of time.

Don’t like to constantly sit while you study? No problem! They now make standing desks, ball chairs, stability balls, kneeling chairs, and much more.

As long as you remember your proper posture you can use any kind of chair. Plus if you get up and change positions you are less likely to get tired while studying.

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5 Steps to Sitting Properly

  1. Place your buttock at the back of the seat, knees spread apart, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Pull shoulders back and lift the chest.
  3. Make sure armrests and the table are at a comfortable height that supports the weight of your arms.
  4. If you are sitting for a prolonged length of time, use a lumbar roll or the lumbar support on your chair.
  5. Don’t forget to get up every 20-40 minutes to move around and stretch.

Did you know when you sit with proper posture your cognitive functions, such as problem-solving, perception, attention span, and memory are greatly increased than when you are slouching in a chair?

Time for a Check-Up

Physicals are often required prior to starting a new job, playing a sport, or starting a program of study.  However, physicals are also important for health maintenance.

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The reasons we need physicals are to:

  • screen for medical issues
  • assess our risk for future disease
  • encourage us to adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • update our vaccines
  • give us a chance to get to know your provider in advance of illness

Even if you think you are healthy, you still need to be screened for various diseases. Some diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol often have no symptoms and the only way to tell you have these diseases is by tests and check-ups.

It is recommended that adults be screened for:

Blood Pressure
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Hypertension – (high blood pressure) every 3-5 years.

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High Cholesterol – every 5 years.

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Diabetes – if your blood pressure is more than 135/80 or your BMI (Body Mass Index) is more than 25.

Eye Exam
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Additionally, an eye exam is recommended every two years.

Dental Exam
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A dental exam is recommended twice per year for healthy adults.

At your exam, your medical provider should check your height, weight, and Body Mass Index.  She may also ask you about depression; diet and exercise; your sexual health; and alcohol, tobacco and drug use. She may remind you about safety issues such as wearing a seat belt and not texting while driving. These are important components of maintaining your health.

Here’s a helpful check list of things to do before your next check-up.

The Family Health Clinic offers school and sport physicals, camp physicals, work physicals, DOT physicals, program physicals and general wellness exams. We want to help you maintain your health, and we are here to treat you when you are ill. Please call 618-468-6800 or stop by today to see our medical providers.

Busting 6 Sunscreen Myths

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As we prepare to celebrate the total solar eclipse on August 21, we are reminded of the power of the sun and the importance of wearing sunscreen daily to protect the skin we’re living in.

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For some, applying sunscreen is a daily habit like brushing your teeth. Sadly, for most of us, it’s something we often neglect unless we’re spending a day at a water park or the baseball stadium.

Not applying sunscreen can cause your skin to prematurely age. Check out the Aging Booth App (iOS, Android) to see what premature aging could do to you.

Let’s bust six common sunscreen myths we tell ourselves:

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen. I stay indoors most of the time.

Keyword is MOST of the time. Even if you only have a ten-minute commute to school or work, you still need sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful UVA rays which can penetrate through the windows of a vehicle. Furthermore, even ten minutes of exposure to the sun can cause hours’ worth of damage to your skin, including permanent damage. According to Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University, “Sunlight activates a chemical reaction in the skin cells, triggering DNA mutations that continue in the dark.”

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen. I wear makeup every day that covers my face and has an SPF.

Really? You apply makeup to the tips of your ears, the part in your hair, your lips and your eyelids? Do you also apply makeup to the rest of your body, such as your neck, arms, and legs? Even if your makeup has the recommended SPF (Sun Protection Factor), it is not likely that you apply as much makeup as you would sunscreen so you aren’t getting the protection you may think.

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen if it’s cloudy or raining.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80% of the sun’s UVA rays can pass through clouds.  That means your skin is still subjected to the damaging rays of the sun even when you cannot see it.

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen. I have a base tan.

Dermatologists agree: There. Is. NO. Such. Thing. As. A. Safe. Tan. “A tan is literally your body’s response to being injured by UV exposure,” says Darrell Rigel, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. Even if you tan and never burn, or even if you have a strong base tan, the damage from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays still occur. A base tan provides only an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 4, according to Steve Rotter, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in Virginia.

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen. I am a person of color.

The CDC reports that 30% of people of darker skinned ethnic groups experienced at least one sunburn the previous year. Unfortunately, skin cancer is diagnosed later in persons of color when it is harder to treat, perhaps because of the misperception that they are not at risk. The fact is that sunscreen is needed for all persons, regardless of skin color.

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I don’t need to wear sunscreen because I am allergic to the chemicals in sunscreen and those chemicals are more dangerous than having skin cancer. 

While some people may experience irritation or sensitivity to certain sunscreens, very few people are truly allergic to the chemicals in sunscreen.  It is very important to find a sunscreen that works for you.  Some people find sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide less irritating.

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The bottom line…

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen with an SPF 30 daily. Did you know the Family Health Clinic on campus treats all kinds of skin ailments from rashes to infections to bites? Our staff is here to help you Monday—Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please call (618) 468-6800 or drop by for more information.

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