Don't Grit Your Teeth and Bear It
Manhattan dentist Tammy Chen has seen more fractured teeth in the past six weeks than she has in the past six years. An obvious reason is pandemic stress, but not-so-obvious reasons are working from home and a lack of sleep. Poor posture while you sit at a computer working from home can create tension that travels along your shoulders, up your neck and into your jawbone where you grind it out at night. Poor sleep puts your body in a perpetually agitated state where the sympathetic nervous system is overstimulated. Rather than feeling rested and recharged when you get up in the morning, you clench your jaw in preparation to do battle with the day. Are your teeth touching at the moment? They shouldn't be touching at all unless you're chewing while you're reading. Dr. Chen's patients insist they don't grind their teeth, even as she watches them grind their teeth. As in all things wellness, awareness is the first step. The next step is taking care of yourself, and this is where The 5-Minute Recharge is here to help. Read on, dear reader. Read on. And don't grind your teeth! ONE QUOTE “Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe.” – Alex Wasser's six-word pandemic memoir ONE IMAGE
Lynn Rathjen, who turned 75 in January, recently ran an American-record sub-six-minute mile. After he won the Lincoln Mile Rathjen said, “When you get into your 60s and 70s, there is more camaraderie than competition...” THREE IDEAS #1 LEARN TO BE RESILIENT When you think about building resilience, ballet classes probably don’t come to mind, but for TED talker Simon Sinek ballet was a game changer. Taking dance lessons made Sinek a more confident public speaker with improved poise, balance, and posture. During the pandemic, Sinek has taken to the Japanese art of kintsugi, putting broken pottery pieces together with epoxy and painted gold that highlights the breaks. Kintsugi is teaching him patience and providing a powerful metaphor for resilience where the reconstructed piece is stronger and more beautiful than the original. Putting yourself in a learning situation where you don’t have all the answers, where you must be adaptable, curious, and able to pick yourself up when you have setbacks is resilience training that, not only enables you to bounce back from challenges, but expands your life. “I take classes in subjects I’m just wildly interested in learning about. When I expand my brain, my wingspan is greater. It lets you get a little higher, to get above the headwinds.” – Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams-Byer takes horseback-riding lessons to get above the judicial headwinds #2 LEARN FIRST HAND If you're on board with Idea #1 and want to learn a new skill that involves note taking, you may want to ditch the laptop and do it by hand. According to research reported by the BBC, taking hand-written notes requires cognitive engagement in organizing, summarizing, and transforming information in a way that results in deeper understanding. When you take notes by hand, you can customize your learning to your tastes, adding flourishes such as the drawings that Leonardo da Vinci interspersed with his text (well, maybe not quite like da Vinci), or perhaps discovering a new way of representing knowledge as Florence Nightingale did with her discovery of the pie chart. Taking it one step further and explaining your hand-written notes to a friend will further reinforce your learning. “Creating neurocircuitry for memory and meaning through the hand-brain complex is the key to understanding the value of hand-written notes. Think twice about relying on your laptop this fall!” – Hetty Roessingh, Professor of Education, University of Calgary #3 OF MICE AND GALANIN Galanin doesn't receive the same attention as the “rock star” neurochemicals dopamine and serotonin, but it has been linked to mental health. People born with low levels of galanin are prone to anxiety and depression, and galanin plays a role in your response to stress. A recent study found that mice given the opportunity to exercise experienced increased levels of stress-protective galanin and displayed resilient behavior. For example, physically active mice placed in an environment with dark and light would cautiously explore the light, whereas their sedentary counterparts would cower in the shadows. (Perhaps even more astonishing is that, left to their own wheels, mice will run 10K or farther every day.) It's a mouse study, so we should hesitate to make generalizations, but... “Regular exercise is so good for us that deploying it now to potentially help us deal with today's uncertainties just makes good sense.” – Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. The Social Dilemma - Netflix (1 hour 34 minutes) (“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”– This quote from Sophocles opens the must-see Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma that examines how social media is changing who we are and what we believe in.) 2. How to be Indistractable - Nir Eyal, Psyche Guides (Managing distraction is an inside job.) 3. Die young, as late as possible - TEDx (Time 18 minutes) (Be neotonous and throw snowballs.) 4. Why Americans Really Go to the Gym - The Atlantic (An Atlantic article without suckers and losers.) 5. God is Dead. So is the Office. These People Want to Save Both - The New York Times (And the rebuttal against spirituality in the workplace from The Guardian.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR SIX-WORD PANDEMIC MEMOIR For this week's 5-Minute Recharge Challenge, we'd like you to take a cue from the quote that opened our newsletter and write your own six-word memoir. To help kindle your creative spark, we have drawn on a storytelling exercise featured recent article featured in the Harvard Business Review. Based on their experience activating post-traumatic growth–defined as the transformative positive change that can occur as a result of a struggle with adversity–organizational psychologists Lisa Zigarmi and Davia Larson, recommend using prompts to inspire your thinking. Here are a few prompts adapted from the work of Zigarmi and Larson to help you get to the six-word memoir behind your Covid-19 experience:
What is your most vivid memory of the pandemic so far?
What is the greatest gain you've experienced?
What are you learning about yourself?
Now you're ready to write your six-word memoir. The first person to share their memoir with us at email@example.com receives a free copy of The 5-Minute Recharge or Acts of Friendship (your choice). “The storytelling exercise is designed to turn pain into power.” – HBR The final word this week goes to a triathlon of a six-word memoir.