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Living Well

Health and wellness tips from Indiana University

Living Well for June discusses the following topics:

Feeding the spirit
Bed bugs
Avoiding contentious litigation with mediation

IU Contemporary Dance Program

A prescription for art. In today's high-speed society, art can provide a way for people to step back, if only briefly, and gain a deeper perspective on their lives. It can help consumers tap feelings often tossed in the back seat as they race through their days juggling family and job responsibilities. Elizabeth Shea, coordinator of the Contemporary Dance Program at Indiana University, said a well-fed spirit is critical to overall well-being. "If we really look at the tripartite of mind, body and spirit, what's feeding our spirit? What do we do that helps us develop as complete individuals?" Art can be beautiful. It can be controversial. Art allows consumers to empathize with people from different cultures, mindsets and situations. Modern dance, for example, often addresses difficult social and political issues, such as homelessness, AIDS and race. Shea said art appreciation is not limited to the connoisseur. It can be experienced in a variety of venues with a variety of ticket prices -- including free. Museums, local arts groups, galleries and universities are good sources for artistic performances and exhibits. "Art lets you feel," Shea said. "It's an expression of our humanity."

Shea can be reached at 812-855-7020 and Top

bed bug image

bed bug

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite -- seriously. In the past five years, bed bugs have become more prevalent in the United States. Unfortunately, they are hard to detect and virtually painless when feeding. "If you've gotten to the point that you can observe the bugs and bloodstains on your sheets, you probably have a fairly hefty infestation," said Marc Lame, a pest control expert who teaches at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. American households are still not common areas of infestations. However, bedbugs have become a more common occurrence in hotels, hostels and dorm rooms nationwide. Because of the increase in travel among Americans, more bed bugs are jumping from hotel to hotel on the clothing of unsuspecting guests. You'll probably be fine in a nicer place, but cheap motels tend to buy used mattresses that have worked their way down the hotel food chain, picking up bed bugs along the way, so make a quick check before you hop into bed for the night. If you suspect bed bugs are sleeping in your bed, check the room for any signs of adult bugs or eggs, starting with the headboard on your bed or the box spring below your mattress. If you see something, break down the room and treat the area. "There are a number of chemical and non-chemical options including vacuuming, commercial steaming units, and certain synthetic pesticides labeled for use, but defer to your licensed professional for those," Lame said. If you find bed bugs in one bedroom of your home, you should at least check the other bedrooms, but that doesn't necessarily mean they've gone on a tour of your home. "Bedbugs normally do not travel very far from their host," he said. "They'll stay in the same area as the host until they are transported to another area via infested clothes, bedding or furniture."

To speak with Lame, contact Jenny Cohen at 812-855-6802 and Top

Mediation isn't just for demolition divorces or custody agreements. Mediators can help many divorcing couples save money and time by helping them move through the legal process more quickly and by avoiding contentious lawsuits. Most cases involving divorce or child custody issues should be settled out of court -- and usually are, said Amy G. Applegate, a long-time litigator who directs the Family and Children Mediation Clinic at the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. However, the divorcing or already divorced parties can make cruel accusations before it gets to that point. "One major problem is that the kids are caught in the middle," Applegate said. "It's very difficult for children. Over and over you hear from children that they want their parents to stop fighting, that they want their parents to let them love both of them. Mediation encourages people to look for non-litigation solutions. Litigation can take a real toll on individuals and families -- emotionally, financially and with their time." Because of their training and neutrality, mediators often can help divorcing couples reach more effective divorce agreements without as much animosity, benefiting the divorcees and their children. "They can lower the emotional volume tremendously," said Robert Billingham, an associate professor in Indiana University Bloomington's Department of Applied Health Science. In addition to his research on the long-term effects of divorce on children, his research interests include parent/child interactions and interpersonal relationships. Billingham recommends that any divorcing couple with children consider mediation because it can help avoid the unnecessary harsh accusations and hostility. Couples attempting a "good divorce" also should consider mediators because of the time and cost savings and because good mediators can help the couples consider perspectives and issues they might otherwise miss. Divorce, said Applegate, can make people behave in unfortunate and sometimes unexpected ways. "When your relationship is breaking up, you hear yourself saying things, see yourself doing things that you normally wouldn't say or do," Applegate said. "Good people do this."

  • Mediation services can be found through referrals from attorneys, courts or bar associations. Some law schools, including IUB's, offer mediation services. Applegate said Internet resources can be helpful as well, such as and Applegate and Billingham both recommend that divorcing parents also consult with their own attorneys, noting that the mediator does not serve as an attorney for any of the parties to the mediation.

Applegate can be reached at 812-855-8684 and Billingham can be reached at 812-855-5208 and Top

For further assistance with these tips, contact Tracy James, 812-855-0084 and

EDITORS: This monthly tip sheet is based on Indiana University faculty research, teaching and service. "Living Well Through Healthy Lifestyles" is the guiding philosophy of IU Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. In keeping with that philosophy, this tip sheet offers information related to both physical and mental well-being. Faculty in other IU schools and departments also contribute their expertise in this area.