Approximately 80 percent of the general public is actively engaged in pursuing goals such as getting fit, eating healthier, managing stress and improving relationships. Many of us are also trying to help someone else achieve such goals. Two HealthyCultureNow podcast series teach skills for providing effective peer support and for creating a household environment that supports well-being.

Bringing Well-being Home Series

A supportive home environment is crucial to achieving positive lifestyle practices such as healthy eating, good sleep, and physical activity. This series addresses ways the home environment can better support well-being. It also teaches how housemates can join together to create a culture of well-being at home. It examines ways that social influences, such as traditions, can support well-being.

The ideas incorporated in this series first appeared in three books by Judd Allen, Ph.D.: Bringing Wellness Home, A Family Guide to Wellness, and Kitchen Table Talks for Wellness. The concepts have been incorporated into a classroom and online training formats.

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Mobilizing Peer Support for Well-being

Family, friends and coworkers are in an excellent position to help each other make lasting and positive lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, managing stress, stopping smoking, and becoming physically active. Mobilizing Peer Support for Well-being series features eight skills that increase the quality and quantity of mutual support for achieving healthy lifestyle goals. The episodes on peer support teach many of the techniques used by health and well-being coaches.

The Peer Support approach has been applied in many well-being program contexts. It is particularly well suited to organizations with remote work settings and to workforces that are primarily male. (In many work cultures, men are more open to buddy systems than support groups.) The flexibility of a support system that only requires two participants is particularly versatile.

The ideas incorporated in this series first appeared in the book, Healthy Habits, Helpful Friends, by Judd Allen, Ph.D., and the subsequent video, With a Little Help from my Friends. The peer support approach has been used in live peer support training and in an online format. Several hundred Peer Coaches were trained in a community-wide initiative based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Chevron used the peer support approach in a game format called “The Game of Lifestyle Change.” Union Pacific Railroad trained their safety captains to be Wellness Mentors. Several universities integrated the peer support curriculum into their first-year coursework. A Brazilian movie series featuring peer support for specific goals, such as eating healthier and becoming physically active, was popular in several hundred companies.

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