Wanda Gilbert, division chief for the Army Substance Abuse Program, teaches her course “Gratitude Attitude: Embracing Joy and Well-being Through Thankfulness.
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Olivia Pierce, financial readiness program manager, teaches a workshop on “The Life-Altering Checkup: Accessing Your Financial Well-Being.”
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Ivan Taylor, military life family counselor, answers a question during her workshop “Let’s Talk Stress: Don’t Lose It, Handle It!” at the Wellness Summit on Sept. 20.
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Dozens of people attended the Wellness Summit at Redstone Arsenal to get a “checkup” on their happiness, financial health and more Sept. 20.

Attendees were able to listen to the speakers of their choice on such topics as gratitude, stress reduction and meal planning during the daylong event sponsored by Army Community Service.

Carolyn White, employee assistance program coordinator, spoke about happiness, advising participants to create their own and ask themselves “What am I doing today to make choices and to act on my happiness?”

Slowing down, being flexible, and prioritizing are all key elements to happiness, White said.

“Happiness isn’t something you attain,” she said. “You have to learn to see it when it’s there.”

Ivan Taylor, military life family counselor, discussed stress and the importance of caring for ourselves by taking mini-breaks, daily walks or journaling.

“Do one good thing for yourself just one time a week,” she said. “You deserve it.”

Other tips for reducing stress include resisting unhealthy food, stimulants or other short-term fixes, and “remember to smile,” Taylor said. “Laugh a lot. Whatever works for you.”

Heather Hough, clinicaldietitian at FoxArmy Health Center, asked for audience participation as she wrote ingredients for a healthy dinner on a chart in her session on meal planning.

“Cheese does not feel as friendly to this meal,” she said.

A participant piped in, “but cheesecake might.”

Wanda Gilbert, division chief for the Army Substance Abuse Program, talked about gratitude and gave tips for mental strengthening and regulating emotions.

“Gratitude enhances memory,” she said, noting that it also improves relationships and provides better physical, psychological and mental health.

Olivia Pierce, the financial readiness program manager, offered attendees a “life-altering checkup” on financial well-being.

“The doctor is in,” she said. “I am your financial doctor today.”

She reminded attendees that managing finances and saving for the future is a deliberate action for everyone, regardless of their past or their upbringing.

“It’s not your background that defines your future. It’s your behavior,” she said, adding that motivation is key to saving money.

“Once you get about 10 grand in savings? Wow,” she said, inviting participants to imagine what it would be like to have that much in their savings account.

Other speakers at the summit included Valerie Francis, health program manager at Army Materiel Command, who discussed the power of our thoughts, and Francheska Hall, certified fitness instructor, with tips on the benefits of exercise.

Attendees enjoyed a free lunch, courtesy of the Civilian Welfare Fund.

Karen Rogers of Arab, an executive assistant for the Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles office at Redstone, found the wellness summit “very informative and thought-provoking.”

“I just needed a recharge to get some good feedback,” she said. “I just needed a good ‘counseling session,’ I guess.”

Tim Rolfe, family advocacy program manager, coordinated the event and said the feedback from attendees was positive.

“They shared their ‘aha’ moments and their key takeaways,” he said. “The primary focus is simply meeting the various wellness needs within the community.”