Video: Finishing the Race: Sustainability for the Self​

Video Transcript:

[Georgeann Moss]: My name is Georgeann Moss and I'm the executive administrator of sustainability outreach and initiatives for the Dallas College. And on behalf of Dallas College, our sustainability team and our partner and sponsor EarthX would like to welcome, sustainable u, to this webinar today. For those of you who have never participated with us on one of these before, there are a couple of different ways that you can communicate with us. One is q&a, and one is chat. Chat you use if you just kinda want to give us a little update or what you're, what you're thinking about what's being said. If you want an actual answer to a question, it's best to put it in q&a; but that's all right, we'll take questions out of chat as well. After the webinar ends, you're going to be asked to fill out an evaluation form that pops up on your screen after you leave the webinar. And if you would please fill that out for us; we really appreciate it, that's how we continue to improve these webinars as we go forward. This webinar will be recorded. (and Freddie, if you could go ahead and hit record now we'll get started with the recording.) And it will be put up on our website, our sustainable Dallas College website, in about two weeks after it's been transcripted, and after we have checked all the accessibility things. We have to make sure everything complies with ADA accessibility guidelines. So with that, I am delighted to introduce our speaker for today. 

Our speaker is Karen Cuttill. She is a licensed professional counselor at the Richland college of Dallas College, Richland campus of Dallas College, where she has worked since 2005. Karen helps students overcome challenges so that they are successful in their educational goals. She is highly engaged on her home campus, as well as actively involved in promoting mental health and wellness across Dallas College. She's often asked to speak on stress management, positivity, and mental well-being. She's passionate about the benefits of community college, building sustainable communities and the environment. So, Karen, we're so delighted to have you. Thank you for joining us today.

[Karen Cuttill]: Well, I am absolutely excited to be here. I'd love to do more of these in the future. But today we are going to talk about the united nations sustainability goal, number 3. If you're familiar with the 17 sustainable development goals there's, down here you'll see them, there's like one through 17 and then the sustainability development goal, little logo. So all of these are actually interconnected. And what really interconnects all of these is the human element. And when we look at number three, the title of it is "good health and well-being." a lot of people don't realize that we do need good health and well-being. They know that you need to go to the doctor and you need to take care of yourself; you don't need to be sick. We don't need to get covid. There's a lot of things we recognize, but sometimes we don't recognize the impact of stress or the impact of just daily lives have on our emotional well-being. And we know we get stressed out, but we don't really sometimes recognize what happens to us long-term when we're under chronic stress. So the un sustainability goal, number 3, by 2030 the goal is to reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and to promote mental health and well-being. So you can go online, i don't think any of my links are going to work today, but you can go online and look at that. Just search "sustainable development goal #3," and you will find it. Now, right now, since they started these, 2030 is our target date to do a lot of really awesome things globally. I will say that covid-19 has set back, particularly goal number three, because it's impacted the world, the entire globe. Everyone's dealing with this and sometimes i think about that and it just kind of overwhelms me. I'm thinking, "oh my gosh, this is a global event." it's not just here, it's not just me, it's not just the us, but it really is a global event. And people all over the world are trying to figure out how they can deal with covid, the stress, the health concerns, the financial concerns. All of those impact us and they all impact us in our mental health well-being. (slide.) So target 3.4, so each goal has some targets in it. And target 3.4 is the area of emphasis on non-communicable diseases, mental health, and environmental risks.

(slide, next)

So on that, if you took that 3.4 and you, you see the arrow. So it's a cycle. They all interconnect with each other, just like all of the sustainability goals, they have one thing in common, and it's human beings. And so we have to be sustainable and we have to finish the race. And in order to do that, we have to figure out the best way to have sustainability for us- for us as individuals, for us as humankind. Just, we're the ones that have to take the action, and so we're the ones that have to be sustainable; then we can replicate it in whatever goal that we're looking at. So on the target number 3.4, you see this round circle and you see that the arrows connect each one. One at each area connects to the other and it's separated in three pies: it's physical, mental, and environmental.

(next slide)

So when we look, when we pull the physical out and just look at it, we're talking about non-communicable diseases. They are really talking here, up until December and January, they were speaking to non-communicable diseases because it is really hard to control or to impact those diseases that are contagious, that run viral like covid-19. Now, this same target has covid-19 as one of the things that we have to look at and we have to, we have to respond to and we have to respect that it is something that is going to sit on top of all of our goals, and maybe even delay the ability of us to reach our target at 2030. So it's going to take a lot of extra help in different areas, but particularly in area number three. So when we look at non-communicable diseases, we are actually talking about...can you go back one? Can you go back one? Okay. When we're talking about things like cardiovascular disease, you can't catch a heart attack; or we're talking about cancers. And even though some of us, you know, kind of feel like we don't want to be around cancer, it's actually just in you. You can't, you know, you can't catch it from somebody else. It's what's happening in your body and your cells. Chronic respiratory diseases- asthma, allergies. Some of those things we hear about late night when all the lawyers are talking on tv, wanting us to sign up, if we have something that has happened to us. Those chronic respiratory diseases are really not contagious. They are normally the result of some thing that has come into the lungs and have impacted the lungs in some way, and you know, has left people with a breathing or a respiratory issue. The last one i want to talk, and really talk about, is about diabetes. You can't catch diabetes from somebody else. And right now, our nation alone is in an epidemic level of diabetes. And that says a lot because what happens in  our country that makes us more prone to diabetes than a lot of other countries? And we really have to look at that because what the difference is, is really lifestyle. So if you know something about diabetes, you know that there's two kinds of diabetes. There's what used to be called juvenile diabetes or early onset diabetes. And that's when the pancreas just stops working. And it usually happens in childhood or early adulthood. It can happen at any point, but it is where the pancreas just stops producing insulin. This is an acute problem, it has to be dealt with insulin very quickly. And they don't really do pancreas transplants. So you're really kind of stuck in that situation, but there's actually no real way to prevent that. It just happens to people, and if it happens, it happens. But type two diabetes is something really different. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. It starts when we eat more carbohydrates, we gain weight, we don't exercise, all of the things our culture does. So if you look at us, we love fast food, we love not good food. We love to sit around and play video games. We, a lot of us don't want to go out and exercise because it's stressful and there's just a lot of things we complain about and we don't do as a culture. And we also eat a lot of high sugar, sugar added foods. And this has been going on for quite a while and there's a lot of politics behind that. And i encourage you to go out and look how sugar has been introduced to us and how the government and the farmers and the food producers and all of those kind of work together. I'm not saying it was intentional, but they all did things in our culture, in our laws and our rules, that kind of set us up to have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is different from regular diabetes because we can change it. When you first get type 2 diabetes, most people can, they can slow it down. They can actually reverse it, then go into a type of remission. Now technically, once you develop type 2 diabetes, you never don't have type 2 diabetes. You always have that condition laying, basically, in remission but you might never have to deal with it with the rest of your life, if you take those preventative or those those steps that we can do to reverse it. And those steps are actually easy. I think I've just named them. They are diet and exercise, which we hear all about. But it's true- if we eat more natural food, more organic food, less grains and wheats, those high carb things, we can do a lot for our health. And what we eat is really important because it's the fuel for our bodies. What we put into our bodies helps our immune system. It helps our brain function, it  helps everything in our body...think of a car, right? If you have a high-end car,

it's going to tell you, like I have a Mini Cooper and my mini, much to my surprise when I got it, I realized it wants to eat premium gas. Now I'm used to the cheapest gas on the market. All my cars are trained from the get-go you're going to get cheap gas, that's just the way you're going to live. But my mini wants premium. So it gets premium. But that's because it has a lot of high-end movable parts. It has things that rely on a high quality fuel, to keep it functioning like a Mini Cooper should function. We're just like Mini Coopers or Ferraris. We need to treat our bodies the best that we can, put the right kind of fuel in them so that we are sustainable, so that we don't, somewhere 20 or 30 years from now, have the impact of what we do now can come back and impact us later and leave us to, you know, finding some of these diseases that are not communicable. Basically we did it to ourselves. And that's really sad. And when we think about the epidemic of diabetes in our nation, it's bad enough that it's in adults. It's really bad that it's really increasing in young adults, like from 20 to 40. But what's really concerning is that our children are in an epidemic stage of Type 2 diabetes. And these are children. And if you develop Type 2 diabetes when you're young, there's a good chance that you may never be able to reverse it or overcome it. It may be with you forever. Just as weight, when children carry a lot of extra weight, and I'm talking about obesity. I'm not talking about what some of us think is overweight. I'm talking about real obesity. And we have an epidemic of obesity in our nation, particularly in our children right now. And it's going to lead them into all of these types of non-communicable diseases in our country. The rest of the world, not so much, but in our culture it is. So I just wanted to really bring to those, to bring, to note how our country really needs to do more to help our country, our people, our humans, be more sustainable. The probability of dying from any of the four main non-communicable diseases... well, in 2016, you know we run a couple of years later. We go out and we get all this research and all this data, and it takes us a while to crunch it down. So right now I'm working with 2016 on the screen. The probability of dying from any of the four non-communicable diseases between the ages of 30 and 70, were 18% in 2016. Now the risk remains remarkably higher for men globally, at 21.6% compared with 15% for women. And I am going to add this. I wish I had the stats for you to share and I will put them in the next time I do this presentation. But for people of color, it is much higher. Just like with COVID, people of color have a higher, higher risk of catching COVID, and they also have a higher risk of getting a more complicated case or even dying from COVID. And a lot of that, I believe, and I think the research and what's being said out there is going to support that, it's because it's a lot, a lot of social implications, but a lot of people don't have good physical conditions. And we see that diabetes is often higher in people of color or people in lower socioeconomic classes. And that's mainly because the cheap food is not so good for us and it costs more money to eat better. And so people tend to, especially if they don't have a lot of money, they don't want to starve to death. So they put their money where they can. And it's another one of these things that we need to think is, I think right now we're talking about a different sustainability goal. But it's one that's going to work together with sustainability, number three. And on the other side, I will tell you that... well, I'll get to that, here, in just a second... mental health. Mental health is not usually thought of as being intertwined. We think we have mental health, we have dental health, and we have physical health. But most of our research showing now, when you look at integrated health, most of that research says, the way that we think about things, the way we manage our stress, the way our mental attitude, our mental capacities are, is going to impact our physical bodies. Now, if you have a bad back or you have bad knees or arthritis, you have something going on that's causing you pain, that's going to also impact your outlook on life. It's going to impact your anxiety or depression, it's going to impact your mental health. So again, this is just evidence that we are just people and we're all integrated into our mental and physical and dental, because dentists are out there on their own also, but we're all, all of these things work together inside of us. And we have to be cognizant of that if we're going to be sustainable in ourselves.

(Next slide.)

So there are some steps to take, and that's the good news. And I've just really harped on one of them- it's nutrition. Eat the best you can, right? If you're on a tight budget, well, try to eat more lettuce, it's not too expensive. But try to really limit the carbs, limit the pounds in what's going into your body so that you are getting the maximum amount of nutrition for whatever you're eating. So nutrition's important. It's the fuel of our bodies. We're going to end up going through a lot of these. I'm just going to go through them very quickly right now. This again, if you notice the arrows, they all link together, they all impact each other and they all help us to have better health. And all of these actually not only impact our physical health, but they heavily impact our emotional health, our mental well-being. So we have nutrition, we have exercise, we have self-care. That's all of this. Plus, we need a better response to stress, especially during COVID because we're under a lot of stresses we didn't have a year ago. I don't think many of us were confined month, after month, after month, being home in a virtual world where we are with our spouses, our parents, our children, 24-7. It gets old after a while. And we are social beings, so we really need social connections. And all of this just makes it more stressful to go through everyday life. It also accentuates anything that we're already dealing with in our lives. So we need to develop a better response to stress. And one of those things where we really need to start is good sleep. Now if you're worried and anxious, I know you might not be able to sleep. If you're a student, you've got some big exam coming up, maybe you get to cram for it or whatever, do that two days before the test. You'll find you'll have better results. But um, it takes two sleep cycles to move information from short-term to long-term memory. So if you cram a lot for your tests and you notice if two months later you don't really remember anything, that's because it got stuck in short-term memory. And you were able to pull it from there because you really studied it in the night before. But if you start studying two nights before you have those two sleep cycles and you kind of briefly review, you'll find that afterwards you're able to retain that information and access it later. So it's just food for thought, for all of you students out there. But good sleep is important. And sleep hygiene, we'll talk a little bit about it in a few minutes, but it's really important.

(So next slide.)

So now we're going to pull out that mental well-being. I approached a lot of it because again, I believe it's integrated. I believe that what we do physically impacts us emotionally or mentally, and vice versa. But when we pull the mental piece out, we are now talking about depression, anxiety, substance use and abuse (two different things), and suicide. And what I do want to stop here and make a note is, so we're talking about my field- mental health and well-being is my field. It's kind of like a cardiologist says, "Yeah, we're gonna tell you how to run those tests, stress tests"- I'll get it out in a second. So a cardiologist might tell you how to do these things and, you know, keep your heart healthy. But on the very serious end of that cardiologist's work, may very well be those massive heart attacks that people get sometimes, and part of them are fatal. And people don't realize that depression sometimes is fatal. It is a disease, it is a biological disease. It comes from your body. It may be, it may be impacted by your viewpoint, your thoughts, those things that are happening to you. But depression, if left untreated can become fatal. And that's called suicide. And we want to stop that. We don't want people dying too early or dying because they have a mental health issue, a mental illness. We want to be able to cure those, be able to set them back just like all of those other diseases, we really want to help people with depression get better and not choose suicide or not complete a suicide. Because sometimes the idea is maybe people don't have the choices that we think they do at that particular moment in time. I want to step back and when we're talking about mental well-being, I want to go back to that stress note. So we're all a little bit about stress, but chronic stress impacts us differently. And if we're really stressed out and we don't have a lot of solutions we're going to get more anxious. Anxiety is kind of a next step down the rabbit hole. And if you've got a lot of anxiety and it goes on a long time, we have a physical reaction to all of that. And eventually, if we can't do anything about anxiety, it will lead us to depression. And unfortunately, some of us will end up not taking good steps. And maybe a small percentage of us will end up being a victim of suicide. And that, that is really, really sad.

(Next slide.)

(Can we advance? Thank you.)

Boy it goes so fast, I don't see that it's changed. So fatal thoughts addressing stress, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Progress has been made in reducing the global suicide rate from 12.9 per 100,000 in 2000, to 10.6 per 100,000 in 2016. That is really great. We are making roads, we're making inroads in mental health, mental well-being, right? And I just want to stop. I do have some, here, I do have something actually from 2018. In the United States in 2018, there were 48,344 recorded suicides. Now, those are deaths that pretty much they know are suicides. It's not accounting for that gray area of people that MAY have completed a suicide, but yeah, there's not a lot of evidence or it just isn't recorded that way, and that still happens a lot. So we do believe that that number is probably higher. But 48,344- that's about the same amount of daily fatalities or daily, not fatalities, daily COVID cases that we're reporting right now. It's kind of interesting, but we had that many people complete suicides in the year 2018. According to the CDC's National Center for Health Studies, on average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 24% between 1999 and 2014, from 10.5 to 13 suicides per 100,000, the highest rate recorded in 28 years. Depression is at, anxiety and depression is at epidemic rates in our country. And it also is impacting the world. But it is impacting us. It's at epidemic rates. I'm not sure it's not pandemic, but we don't do that right? We only study COVID right now because all the focus is on COVID. But you can learn a lot about suicide and preventing it and helping people.

(So next slide.)

I want to add about suicide. The rate of teenage suicide is growing astronomically every year. We have more teens and young adults reflecting, calling, they're saying they're anxious, they're depressed. That rate is skyrocketing. COVID has done nothing but expand that and increase it. So we really have to look at this because things that kill us is really important. Things that keep us from being able to be healthy, happy, and proactive, and make changes in the world, they're very serious, we need to stop that and reverse that. So when we're talking about prolonged stress, eventually, if you live where you are in high stress... let's say you've lost your job and you're worried about your rent and now your relationships, just ongoing stress. One thing leads to another. Let's say you don't do really well in one class and that's got you so worried you don't do well in another class. And then just like, wow, suddenly everything is stressed out. So stress does that. It grows and it explodes at different times. And what is the prolonged stress that we are all experiencing? I know if you're in school, you're probably thinking, "Oh, it's all those, you know, it's the impact of going virtual." Maybe you didn't have all these virtual classes. Maybe you're one of those students that do better, you're a social student, you're an extrovert and you do much better in an in-class situation. But now all of your classes are virtual. Maybe, there's just a lot of things that are going on right now with COVID that make it especially challenging for you as a student or for you as a worker. A lot of us think, "I don't have to go to work. That's great! I'm gonna save all this time when I don't have to drive to school, drive to work!" That's like two hours for some people, Some people, it's even more. But what happens to us is we get home, we learn that our work begins, the boundaries on it begin to seep like spilt milk and it begins to invade everything. A lot of people think people at home in shelter-in-place, that they really don't do anything. They don't really work very hard. They don't do their studying very hard, blah, blah, blah. That's kind of this idea. The truth is, most people work harder when they work from home because their work is accessible to them. It's not off in where they work, it's there in their house. So those boundaries are really stressful for a lot of people that are still working remote, and on those people that are sheltering for other reasons, health reasons, family reasons, whatever. Maybe they're sheltering because they don't have a job anymore. So the stress is amazingly high. (Okay. Next slide.) The cumulative effect of chronic, low-grade stresses can have a greater impact on health and well-being than acute or extreme events that occur at infrequent intervals. So it's kind of, compare a hurricane or a tornado, tornado is probably even better. It's going to come in, it's going to impact people's lives for a period of time. It's going to come and it's going to be gone and then we're going to have recovery. But with chronic low-grade stress, it doesn't. It stays and it builds and impacts us over a long period of time. And it's always there. We don't get a kind of relief and then it comes back. It's always there. And humans are able to manage moderate and high stress levels for short periods of time, we're designed to do that. Our bodies and our minds are actually designed to do that pretty well. But chronic stress with little opportunity for recovery can lead to unhealthy levels of psychological and physiological reaction.

(Next slide.)

So stop and think about, how does your body reacts to stress? And normally it's, we have a lot of questions and answering, but I'm going to think right now that a lot of people, what might come to their mind is headaches, right? Maybe you get irritated when you're on a lot of stress. Maybe you can't sleep well. Maybe you lose your appetite and can't eat, or maybe you eat everything that's in sight. So we have lots of different reactions personally, individually, but our body does react to stress.

(Next slide.)

(Can we advance? Thank you.)

So what kinds of stress can you name? So just sit there and think about, for a minute, what kinds of stress can you name? What are the stressful things in your life?

[Georgeann]: They can put it in the chat.

[Karen]: They can, absolutely. That's a good place to do it. You know what, what kind of stress? And then I want you to think, is there, we often think of stress as being negative. But is there a positive stress too? And what might those things be? Do we have some ideas of positive stress out there?

[Georgeann]: I'm not seeing any yet.

[Karen]: Okay. I'm going to think, there's there's two things that come to mind when I think, three things that come to mind when I think of positive stress. One of them is getting a new job. So when you get a new job, it's kind of stressful, but we're usually pretty excited. But we have to go and figure how it works. We have to meet people, we have to worry about letting them know who we really are. So there's a stress with getting a new job. There's another, then, that would be positive. Winning an award might be a positive stress too, because you might have to go up in front of a lot of people make a speech or something like that, that can be stressful. But there's two more kinds in our culture that are highly stressful. And one of them is getting married. Now, everyone's heard the stories of bridezilla. But getting married, especially with a large like a church or large, you know, a large wedding, we're inviting a lot of people, we have a lot of moving parts to it, is very stressful. It's great. You're getting married, you're in love, you're going to have happiness the rest of your life, but it is one of the most stressful things people can do. I'm sorry. [clears throat] The other thing that comes to mind as positive stress is having a baby. If you've ever had a baby or been around someone that has a baby, they're really excited. They're going to be parents, they're going to have a baby and babies are wonderful and they're amazing. And nine months later you have this baby and you bring this bundle of joy home. And suddenly the sleep goes out the window, the stress goes up. There's a lot of crying. There's just a lot of things you can't control. And although it's a very positive thing, babies are wonderful at the right time and the right place. Babies are wonderful. But they are really a lot of stress, especially newborns. So there's positive stress and then there's negative stress.

[Georgeann]: Karen, Martha said she agrees with you about married. She said getting married during COVID-19 is especially stressful. And then Marge, has a mixed example. She said remodeling or buying a house can be positive and negative.

[Karen Cuttill]: I've heard that remodeling your kitchen is one of the most stressful things a homeowner can go through, particularly the kitchen. But I think that's because you have to do so many things differently. But I agree. I agree those are stressful.

[Attendee]: We also have the suggestion of exercise and vacation.

[Karen Cuttill]: Yeah. Exercise is good for stress and we'll talk about that in a minute. But vacations can be very, very stressful, especially if you work and no one picks up the slack while you're gone. You know, a lot of people don't want to take a long vacation because they don't want to deal with what happens when they get back. So the whole time they're on vacation, they're thinking. They're thinking work, they're thinking work. Maybe they're getting emails, maybe they're, you know, they're doing these things. My advice is when you're on vacation, you should really be on vacation. If you're not some sort of a surgeon that's on-call for, you know, like a brain surgeon, the only one in the world, you really need to take vacations when you can, including school vacations. Try to get all that school work done before the vacation so you can really have some fun.

(Let's go on to the next slide.)

So when we look at that stress, our bodies are designed to deal with it. We are designed with something that's called a sympathetic response. And it is like when we were cavemen, we would look at the saber tooth tiger and we would say, "Oh, I've got to do something about that tiger. If I don't do something, if I engage it and I win, this is great. If I engage that tiger and it wins, I'm lunch." You know, so it's like I can feed the village or I'm the lunch. So we have to figure out how to do that and our bodies are designed to help us in a stressful state begin to look at something negative and decide if we need to engage it or if we need to run like crazy. Or sometimes there's a third one. Sometimes we act like possums. We just freeze because we can't really do anything. And, like, the possum is really good at that, right? It's really good at laying there and playing dead. So good that other animals will come and sniff it and they won't do anything to it because they think it's already dead. It's no fun, it's spoiled or something. But people also get into those places. They can't do anything, they can't take action because they're totally overwhelmed. So we do have a body, a physical reaction to our stress.

(Next slide.)

Chronic stress, the same life-saving responses in your body, can suppress our immune system, our digestive system, our sleep, and our reproductive systems. Which sometimes, if you think about couples, they may want a baby and they've tried, and they've tried, and they've tried and nothing seems to be wrong. They've gone to all the doctors, but they still can't have a baby. So they give up. They finally go through the long process of adopting a baby and then suddenly within a year or so, they have their own baby. But that's because chronic stress can actually impact their fertility, their reproductive systems. And most of women know that if they get really stressed, their monthly cycle can be impacted on that. And probably the other half of the population says, "Yeah it can impact me also." But it can impact those other things, which is why the stress becomes mixed in with the physical, the emotional and the physical become together. Over time continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression and anxiety. And all of these have a physical base. All of these, something happens to you physically when you get one of these illnesses. And you can look to the National Institute for Mental Health and get a lot of information there and see a lot of research, because that's where all the research kind of ends up.

(Next slide.)

So what can we do? If we're in this COVID situation, which is high stress, even before that, if we were having lots of high stress and we have very little control of it, what can we do in this kind of situation? You can put some ideas in the chat or in the Q&A. And I'm going to continue to go on so that I can wrap us through this pretty quickly. So is this you, too much to do? Stress overwhelmed, learned helplessness, leads to depression. So if you've got too much to do, if there's too much going on and you can't get all to it and you're having this negative reaction to all the stuff that you've got going, all of that over time can lead to depression. And so what we have to do is...(next slide) we have to begin to think about how much are we doing? Do we need to simplify things? The first thing I think in our culture, and a lot of people brag, I can do this really, really well. Because the truth is there's only so much your brain can do. There are really, truly limits to multi tasking. The truth is the brain can't multitask. It can focus on one thing and it can focus on the other thing. Now I know there's a part of your brain that keeps you alive all the time, but that's different. But our executive functioning of our brain, it can look at one thing, it can look at another thing, so it can do two things, kind of, simultaneously. But what really happens is switch tasking. So you leave one task and you look at the other task and you do it, then you leave it and you go back. Switch tasking actually causes us to lose time and to lose quality, not only productivity, but quality in our end result. So my suggestion is if you need to multitask, just separate the tasks. work on one task for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, however long you can, and then stop that one and then input your entire focus on the other one. So I'm not saying don't do one of them. I'm just saying stay on one long enough and then go to the other one and work on it, and you will find that you get much more done. Your accuracy rate and your productivity rate will increase. (Next slide.) So when we're talking about multitasking and too much to do, the answer of course is to simplify, to try to do less, not more. Because the quantity of what you do, if you've got a lot of stuff on the burner, it's going to affect the quality. And then, oftentimes, we get mad at ourselves and we get kind of upset and we get stressed because we're not doing what we know we could do better, but we're simply doing too much. We're doing too much. If we just step back and try to do less... kind of like picking the classes you take each semester. You know, you don't want ones that are going to require 10 books. You don't want to take four or five classes that you have to read 10 books and write papers for each one of them. That just sends me into hysterics to begin with. But you don't wanna do that. You plan that and you figure out what classes. Well, when you're looking at your regular life, pick and choose, and then concentrate on one more than the other. Because when you reduce multitasking, you're going to increase the quantity of what you get done and the quality of that. It doesn't sound like it, but you really will. The last thing I want to briefly talk about is we think about money as being affluence, right? We think, "Oh, I'm rich and wealthy because I have all this money and I can buy these things." So yeah, money's pretty cool. It can buy a lot of things that we enjoy. I'm not so sure it can buy happiness, but it can fool us for awhile. But time affluence, so when you take a job or when you take a class, what you're doing is you're selling your time or you're trading part of your time for the benefit, either for a paycheck or for credit and a grade on a transcript. But you're actually offering your time for something else. So begin to think about your time as the value. Time affluence versus material affluence. And I think our younger generation right now, our 20-year-olds and our 30-year-olds are really getting a grasp on this. I think it's us older generations that really struggle with this. But I think our younger generations are really getting a handle on this and, go ya'll! (Next slide.) So what happens when we get really stressed? I'll let you know here what happens when you're stressed. And so when we have that stress reaction, that fight or flight, our body, our brain goes, "Oh my gosh, this is something really bad. I've got to react to it. Oh, I better tell the heart to start pumping adrenaline and cortisol," and a bunch of other hormones out in your body. So the brain says, "Hey, heart!" Because the heart, we now know, has receptors and it can, choose to reduce...I mean to produce these hormones when the brain tells it to. And the heart goes, "Oh, I gotcha, we're in danger, something's stressful, I'm going to start pumping." And so it starts pumping to make sure that all of those chemicals get all through our body. So if we have to run, it gets to our legs in our muscles. If we have to fight, it gets to our arms. So that, you know, the whole body can respond to this threat. So when the heart starts pumping, if you know anything about biology and I bet a lot of y'all do, the heart and the lungs work in tandem. You don't have this heartbeating over here and these lungs breathing over here, what they do actually impacts each other. So when your heart starts beating really quickly, your breathing starts getting more rapid and shallow. Which unfortunately, if you're really stressed, may send the signal to your brain that you don't have enough oxygen. And if it thinks you don't have enough oxygen, it's going to think you're going to die, and it's going to dump a whole bunch of more stress hormones in your body, which is not going to help the stress situation. But the cool thing is...(Next slide.) the cool thing is that, if we look at our breathing and slow that breathing down, guess what it does? On the other side, it slows our heart rate down, which is really good for us, because it makes us more sustainable. It makes us be able to last longer if something's coming after us, or something's stressful. It keeps us from being overwhelmed with stress. It keeps our bodies healthier. It keeps us more immune. It does all those great things. And we can do it by 15 minutes of mindful breathing a day. Ten minutes, five minutes, start wherever you can. But when you're talking about mindful breathing, you're talking about sitting down and trying to just focus on the breathing. So people think, "Oh when I try to meditate I can't keep my mind [still]." That's fine. The brain, the mind, is supposed to venture off. That's what it's supposed to do, is think about this and think about the other. So if you're trying to be quiet and focused and, you know, you're focusing on your breath and you're trying to relax those muscles, and your brain starts thinking about this or thinking about that, just acknowledge the thought and then bring it back to whatever, you know, whatever you're focusing on- your breath, your focal point, a picture in your brain. And you will find if you just do that every day for even ten minutes, even five minutes, you'll start to find out that this really impacts your overall stress. And you're able to do things that you might not have thought were possible before.

(Next slide.)

So here's the other part. So when our heart and our brain's telling our heart to pump all of those hormones into our body, all of those hormones, particularly the cortisol is like acid running through your system. It is the lighter fuel that you put on the fire to make it really fluff out, right? It is the, the jet fuel in your body that gives you that extra, oh my gosh, an extra boost to your adrenaline. The problem with cortisol, if it's running constantly through your body, it is like acid in your blood vessels. It's what helps contribute to cholesterol, to hardened arteries and to a lot of other damage physically. We don't want that cortisol. We don't need that cortisol or all that adrenaline, except in those very important situations. We don't need them all the time. And the cool thing is, is that that brain and that heart, it sends all of those to your large muscles, like your thigh muscles, your leg muscles. Again, your neck, back and arm muscles- that's where we stored that body chemistry. That's why when you go to a massage, you feel really good because they make all those muscles relax. And then they give you a whole bunch of water and tell you to drink a whole bunch of water, because you can have all that free flowing chemistry that you need to, you know, pee out, actually. So the truth is that exercise, when we move those muscles, we actually use up that hormone, all those, chemistry that's stored in those muscles. And that's why exercise is important. And exercise doesn't have to be, you know, go to the gym and beat yourself up or run ten miles a day. It can just start with getting up and moving, just walking around, standing at a desk instead of sitting. Maybe taking the stairs instead of the elevator, maybe parking at the first parking lot, first parking spot you come to rather than circling and wasting fuel, which is another sustainability goal. But wasting fuel while you're going around looking for that perfect spot, and the frustration involved. Pick the first one, walk the other way, and slowly you'll start building extra steps and extra activity. And when you get this as a lifestyle change, in a couple of weeks or so, you're going to figure out that when it's paired to healthy nutrition, the best you can do, and good sleep, you're going to feel like a different person. And you're going to have the ability to look at that stress and really think about it and really deal with it well. Learn those things in school, take those tests, learn the new job, whatever it is. Exercise releases the stored chemistry from muscles. It relaxes the body. You don't have to pay the $80 to go to the massage; all you really have to do is move the muscles yourself. It improves your cardiovascular health. It reduces blood glucose. That means it fights Type 2 diabetes. It's extremely important. Get up and move. We are meant to move around. We're not meant to be stagnant and sit all day. It reduces frustration, it reduces blood pressure, and it improves your cognitive processes.

And (next slide)...this is one of the last slides that we'll probably get to today but it's really, really important. When we talk about depression as being an illness, as being a physical biological illness, something that we can actually do something about and change, I want to talk about one of the most amazing research studies that was ever done.

(Can, can you click one more time on the slide?)

Duke University Medical School Study- this was several years ago, but they did this study.

(Click again.)

hey did this study with 156 patients with a major depressive disorder. Okay, they did this in their medical school and they took those 156 patients...(Click please.)

(Go ahead and click down until like two more times)...

okay. They took these 156 patients with a diagnosis of major depression and they separated them into three groups plus the control group. The control group they told, "Well, you know, we don't have room for you, but we'll catch you the next time around." And they gave them pre and post tests to see how just sitting there doing nothing changes them. So they had a good foundation, they had a good study going. One part they gave psychiatric medication loan. So they gave them, I don't know, they gave them, you know, I don't know, Wellbutrin or something to help them deal with their, to help them deal with depression. And there is a place for medication in depression, but I would never start with that. Anyway. There's a place for it. Other people they gave psychiatric medication and exercise. They thought, yeah, this is probably pretty good. Make them move a little bit. It'll help them medicine, right? The last one, they did exercise alone and they thought that one's going to end up just about like those people that were doing nothing, they didn't expect very much.

(Next slide please. Thank you.)

(And you can just click a couple of times so we can get, because I'll talk through these pretty fast.)

So they they did this for 16 weeks. In 16 weeks they went back and they looked at the results. Now, all the groups, all three groups improved about- (Can you hold for a second? Can you go back one, I'm sorry.)

All three groups, they all improved about 60%. There was no significant difference between the groups. There wasn't a lot of difference between them and their control group. So everybody kind of did the same, but it was better when they got to do something as opposed to just sitting there doing nothing.

(So now next slide.)


So the final results... so they did a 10-month follow-up because in our line of work we don't want to just make you feel better for now. We want to make sure that we give you the tools to fight these illnesses, these depressions and anxieties longterm. Okay. So they did a 10-month follow-up. And this is relapse. This is when they're looking at relapse. So they're looking at what happens when you don't have these things in 10 months. So they looked at the relapse and medication, 38% of the people receiving medication got depressed again. If they added exercise, it dropped down to 31%. And that's actually close to significant in research studies. They were excited and thought, "Oh, that's right. We've go to check the exercise alone." And if you look at these statistics- 9% relapse. That is amazing. Just from exercise, regular exercise; it wasn't mind gripping, body killing exercise. It was basically walking, maybe some aerobics, getting your heartbeat up a little bit. But relapse, exercise alone was 9%, that is astounding. They repeated this research study at least once, and it's consistent. Exercise is the number one way to fight depression and anxiety. The problem is, is when you're depressed you don't have any energy. But the thing is if you start exercising, you'll build the energy.

(Next slide.)

Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it's about self-preservation. And that's what I really want you to leave this, is when we're talking about being sustainable, the most important thing you can do is start with yourself. It's about self-preservation. We can't save the world if we can't be in the position to do it, and we can't be in the position if we don't have good physical and emotional well-being. It is basic. That's why it's number three. It is basic, it is important. And we live in a culture that doesn't give it the honor and the respect that it needs to have. Self-care is the good nutrition, the restful sleep, fun, spirituality, community, mindfulness, active lifestyle and a positive focus. And yes, people, I said fun. Fun is really important. You should have fun all the time. You should be doing stuff at least once a week that you really enjoy. It is really important to have fun.

(Next slide.)

Kindness is the most important superpower. I saw something on like yesterday, or the day before, I was in another training webinar and the speaker said, "If you want to help humankind, then be a kind human." If you want to help humankind, be kind to humans. Just be kind. It is the most important superpower.

(Next. Next slide.)

Random acts of kindness that can reduce pain... when you actually do something kind for someone else, you get more dopamine, serotonin, and indigenous opioids are released by kind behavior. So when you're kind to someone else, you get a boost- and you're supposed to! That's the way you're designed, to be kind and feel good about it. Here's what's interesting, if you do volunteer work with someone else, like you partner to do the volunteer work, your body does something else. It actually releases oxytocin. Now, if you know what oxytocin is, it is the chemical, the hormone that is released at childbirth, so mothers don't kill the baby that just caused them a lot of pain. It makes them forget the pain and bond with the baby. Oxytocin is considered the "love" hormone. But it's released when you engage in kindness behavior like volunteering, but it really needs to be partnered with someone else. When you do it with someone else, it gives you more bang for your buck.

(Next one.)

Volunteer services significantly predict, predict better mental and physical health. It's just there. Your UN has lots of research worldwide that when you help other people, when you volunteer, when your sustainable, when you recycle, when you care about trees, when you care about poverty, when you take action on these things that you really care about, it makes you healthier. We're designed to care and support one another, not to fight, not to hate, not to be divisive. We are designed to be helpful and to care about one another. It's important, especially for ethnic minorities, people of color, those with little education, single people and unemployed people who generally have poor health, unless they participate in volunteering. We need to get them involved. Do what you do, help them out, get them involved.

(Next, slide.)

Plant a tree. I'm going to go through this, if you have never been to lives, it's amazing. I can't click on it and show you, but you can go there and find out all the cool physical things, biological things, stress relieving things, emotional, well-being things that trees do for us. It's all researched, it's all documented. Try there.

(Next slide.)

[Georgeann]: Karen, I just want to give you a time check. We have 5 minutes and at least one question.

[Karen]: Okay, we're good because I just want to point everyone to "Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives." You can search that. You're gonna get there, you're going to learn more about urban forests. And so if you're about sustainable, you're about forest and you're about that sort of nature thing, and one of those SDGs, because they're all over the place. Look at that one. Look how our nature and our environment actually blend in with our mental, emotional, and physical health, it is important.

(Next slide.)

Where to find...if anyone wants these, if you'll shoot me an email I will send this to you. But there's a lot of places to help you find green space; will help you get to any park, any forest, any, anything close to you that you can get to nature. And there's a lot of other ones, but go ahead. University of Washington, (, they have a huge whole study on nature, environment and mental health. It's down here, it's Green Cities: Good Health, and a lot of my research comes from that website.

(Next slide.)

Remember that physical, mental, and environmental health are together. They all impact each other and they're all important for your sustainability and our sustainability.

(Next slide.)

So now those questions...I know, I ran really close. I'm so sorry. There's just, I get excited.

[Georgeann]: We've still got four minutes; Andy do you have questions?

[Andie]: I just see one that came in through the Q&A and it refers back to when you were discussing mental well-being. Is there evidence that social media plays a role in teen and young adult suicides?

[Karen Cuttill]: I don't think it's cause and effect. I don't think just because they play, they get, they become suicidal. All right. I think children with depression and maybe anxiety, and the inability to handle stress maybe that's led to over time, has lead to depression because a lot of people don't recognize it in children and teens. But I think what happens is they get depressed and then they don't have the energy to be social. Because some of those, those symptoms of depression that people start being, they stop going places, they stop seeing their friends, they begin to isolate. They begin to have poor mood. Maybe they become irritable or maybe they become sad. So there's lots of symptoms to depression. And when you have a teen that's all of these things, they want to fit in some place. I believe that's why a lot of teens go to drugs, is they want to fit in because that's what they're doing in that stage of their life. And they may not feel like they're good enough or they are capable of fitting into some groups. So they go into, you know, it's easy if you do drugs or if you drink alcohol. That's the qualifier, right? It's kind of the same thing with gaming. It's a qualifier, but the interesting thing about gaming is you don't have to go anywhere. You don't have to know anybody. You can actually do it like I do on my phone, I play Scrabble but that's knowing people. But I play that snake game. My family won't let me play Tetris because I lose hours on Tetris; I've been banned from Tetris for probably ten years now. And I came back a little while ago and suddenly I had found that I'm just lost. It takes your focus, it takes your brain away from all of this stuff. And so no, I don't think that playing games causes that, but if you have teens or children that are playing too much, you need to get them out and get them physical. You need to get them going because if it's depression, they're trying to avoid or anxiety, that they're trying to avoid, it's going to increase with social isolation. It's going to decrease with physical exercise and counseling. Does that help? Does that answer your question?

[Georgeann Moss]: Thank you so much, Karen. We appreciate that, your whole presentation, excellent advice. And if anyone has questions for Karen after this webinar, you can reach her via email at So that's

[Karen Cuttill]: I would love to answer any questions and give you more information, if that's possible. This was like a 90 minutes squished down into an hour or so.

[Georgeann Moss]: You did an excellent job of getting everything in. And so, I did want to mention again to everyone who's still online with us that this webinar will be posted on our sustainable Dallas College website in about two weeks, after it is transcripted and we make sure everything is accessible. And we hope you join us next week for the Natural Pest Management webinar with Dr. Kara Casey from our El Centro campus, and her friend Darciea Houston. They're back by popular demand. And so once again, when you log out of the webinar an evaluation's going to pop up, so please fill that out for us. And thank you to Karen Cuttill and thank you, all of you, for joining us. We hope to see you next time. And thank you to our sponsor Earthx. Bye bye ya'll!