Practical mnemonics for wellness

Mnemonics are memory aides that help us remember information. Our society is acronym-happy; there’s an acronym (a word formed by taking the first letter in a name or phrase) for almost everything, from ATM (automated teller machine) to ZEV (zero emission vehicle).

Most of the acronyms we know are professional jargon, but I wanted to take a look at some of the mnemonics that can help us practice better health, wellness, and safety.

Remember to “Live Aloha” and express the warmth, sincerity, and caring of Hawaii (from the Hawaii State Constitution):
Akahai (kindness to be expressed with tenderness)
Lokahi (unity, to be expressed with harmony)
Oluolu (meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness)
Haahaa (humility, to be expressed with modesty)
Ahonui (patience, to be expressed with perseverance)

Hawaii 5210

Remember 5-2-1-0 to live a healthy lifestyle (from Hawaii 5210 Let’s Go!):
5 fruits, roots, and vegetables
2 hours of screen time or less of computer, video, and TV screen time.
1 hour of physical activity
0 sugary drinks

Today I Ate a Rainbow

Remember the 5 Colors of the Rainbow to eat healthy (from Today I Ate a Rainbow):
Red: Very heart healthy and gives strength support to our joints! Apples, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Orange: A great source of Vitamin C. The orange group helps keep our eyes healthy! Oranges, carrots.
Yellow: This group is good for our skin and helps our digestive system! Bananas, corn, and lemons.
Green: Helps our entire body and strengthens our immune systems which means fewer colds! Asparagus, broccoli, and spinach.
Purple: Purple/blue foods are excellent for our brains! They help us with our memory and also help keep some cancers away! Blueberries, grapes, and plums.

Remember “Stop, drop, and roll!” if your clothes catch on fire.

Remember “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap!” for sun safety basics (from the American Cancer Society):
Slip! on a shirt. Protect your skin with clothing.
Slop! on sunscreen. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
Slap! on a hat. Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your ears, neck, and face.
Wrap! on sunglasses. Protect your eyes and the skin around them.

Remember ABCDE for the warning signs of melanoma (from the American Academy of Dermatology):
A = Asymmetry (one half is unlike the other half)
B = Border (an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border)
C = Color (is varied or shaded from one area to another)
D = Diameter (usually greater than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser)
E = Evolving (looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color)

Remember this rhyme to identify poison ivy:
“Leaves of three, let it be!” and “Berries of white, danger in sight!”

Remember the “Rule of Three” for human survival (from
3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours of exposure (freezing cold or extreme heat), 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food

Remember C-A-B for CPR basics (from the Mayo Clinic):
Chest compressions – about 100 compressions per minute
Airway – use the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver
Breathing –two rescue breaths after 30 chest compressions (only for trained responders)

Remember this rhyme to help someone who feels dizzy or lightheaded:
When the face is RED, raise the HEAD.
When the face is PALE, raise the TAIL.

Remember FAST for the warning signs of a stroke (from the National Stroke Association):
Face drooping. Smile – does one side of the face droop?
Arm weakness. Raise both arms – does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty. Repeat a simple phrase – is speech slurred or strange?
Time to call 911. If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!

Are there rhymes or acronyms to help you in an emergency? How do you remember to keep well?

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2 Comments on “Practical mnemonics for wellness”

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