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Positive psychology piques people’s interest at Crow Wing Energized health and wellness event

The ninth annual Crow Wing Energized health summit occurred Friday, Sept. 16, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter. "Rooted in Happiness" was the theme and the event focused on harnessing positive psychology's power to maximize happiness in one’s life.

Crow Wing Energized speaker Berta Lippert stands at the front of a large room before attendees of the ninth annual Crow Wing Energized health and wellness summit Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter.
The ninth annual Crow Wing Energized health and wellness summit keynote speaker Berta Lippert delivers her keynote address "The Science of Happiness" on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Berta Lippert is positive about the power of positivity to change lives for the better.

Lippert was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual Crow Wing Energized health and wellness summit, a free community event Friday, Sept. 16, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter.

“Positive psychology is actually a science … so this is a science that all of you in this room have access to go and look at the data,” Lippert said by way of introduction and to reduce skepticism.

Kara Griffin
Kara Griffin

“Rooted in Happiness” was the theme of the summit, which last year was hosted online because of the pandemic. Almost 180 people turned out for the summit, according to organizers.

“Berta has both a big heart and a big goal to help a million people create healthy lifestyle changes to live a life they love,” said Crow Wing Energized Co-Chair Kara Griffin.

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Lippert is a 25-plus-year veteran speaker, trainer and coach who has developed and delivered inspirational talks and training to more than 30,000 people around the world including across the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada and the Middle East, according to her biography.

“Positive psychology isn't just good vibes only at the expense of anything negative,” Lippert said. “Negative emotions, you guys, they’re normal. Our ancestors used them to help us survive. … Negative emotions, a lot of times, may drive us into a certain action or behavior.”

Lippert was trained at the Mayo Clinic and is a national board-certified health and wellness coach who exhibited at the Baxter church unbridled enthusiasm for positive psychology.

Crow Wing Energized health and wellness summit 2022 keynote speaker Berta Lippert
Berta Lippert talks about the power of positive psychology at the ninth annual Crow Wing Energized health and wellness summit Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. She was trained at the Mayo Clinic and is a national board-certified health and wellness coach
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“Positive emotions have the ability to undo the physical effects of negative emotions, like stress,” Lippert said. “It increases our resourcefulness and our resiliency … so we definitely want to study positive emotions.”

One method Lippert discussed at the event to achieve positive psychology was to write down daily, for a week, three good things that occurred during a particular day. It was an exercise she implored attendees to attempt on their own after the summit.

“How did that happen, that good thing? Did you maybe have any part in that?” Lippert said. “If so, I think what can happen is at the end of the seven days you will look at things and you might see patterns, you might have ideas of how you can have those good things showing up more.”

Lippert divulged to the audience in a broken voice that her father was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease as an example of how positive psychology plays a role in her life.

“What I realized is that the time that I'm actually present is very different than when I'm ‘caretaker Berta,’” Lippert said of mindfulness, a practice of being in the moment.

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Mindfulness can be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions, according to Psychology Today.

“I was always overwhelmed, I felt like when I was there (with him), with all this stuff I needed to do, so what I realized from this intervention is that I was able to be more present because … I prioritized that positivity,” Lippert said of interacting with her father. “I was intentional about it.”

Erica Stepanek was intentional about attending the summit. She is the executive director of The Shop, also known as the Brainerd-Baxter Youth Center, on Washington Street.

Erica Stepanek
Erica Stepanek, executive director of The Shop in Brainerd.
Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

“The event speaks for itself — ‘Rooted in Happiness.’ I think we all need a little bit more of that in our lives,” Stepanek said.

The five-hour community summit included a free breakfast and a free lunch, and several 30-minute breakout sessions about connecting with nature, expressing gratitude and getting adequate sleep, for example, for a healthier and more balanced life. Lippert’s keynote address for Friday’s health and wellness summit was titled “The Science of Happiness: Flourish in Your Personal and Professional Life!”

“We have to destigmatize the talking points of mental health and be able to know it's OK to talk about it,” Stepanek said. “There's nothing wrong with showing your vulnerabilities and things you might be struggling with.”

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Stepanek said she hopes to practice positive psychology after the summit and help others she works with or serves at The Shop to learn to do so as well.

“Our youth in our community have had a really, really tough few years, so being able to bring back those tools in order to help them grow and heal from such a turbulent time in our community and in our world, essentially, is good,” Stepanek said before the event began.

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Before Lippert spoke to those in attendance, Stepanek practiced some positive psychology without probably even knowing it.

“I'm excited to be here,” Stepanek said. “I wish the weather would have cooperated — it's kind of a dreary morning — but what better place to be than warm and inside.”

Crow Wing Energized is led and funded by the county, Essentia Health and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.

“Our goal is really to make the healthy choice the easy choice. So what does that mean? Well, if you’re at work and you forget your lunch, you have healthy vending options,” Griffin told the crowd.

For more information about Crow Wing Energized, visit crowwingenergized.org .

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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