Happy Holiday Tips & More!
Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge with 1 quote, 3 ideas, and a 5-minute challenge to supercharge your wellness.
QUOTE: Work Hard Then Snooze Hard Under Your Desk
“This desk could be used for a siesta or for a few hours of sleep at night on those days when someone struggles to meet deadlines.”
― The Greek company Studio NL has designed a desk/bed that makes a statement about our workaholic times
NEW YEAR, NEW FRIENDS Research tells us that connection is critical to our health and happiness, yet most of us make New Year’s resolutions around career goals or personal transformation rather than relationships. If you choose to focus on connection in 2020, it's not enough to resolve to increase your total number of friends: “When it comes to friendship we put quantity over quality” says Sue Johnson, one of the leading researchers in bonding. The benefits of bonding come from the depth of our relationships rather than the breadth. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to form close relationships because we have a built-in bias against it: for our ancient ancestors, mistaking a foe for a friend could have deadly consequences. To get closer to someone requires a sense of security that neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine summarizes with the acronym CARRP—Consistency, Availability, Reliability, Responsiveness and Predictability. Once we’ve established security and we’re with our friends, we need to give them our full phone-free attention and give ourselves permission to be vulnerable (cue Brené Brown). It’s a tall order to resolve to deepen your relationships in 2020, but the effort is worth it.
“Intimacy with other people — whether it’s a spouse, a family member or a friend — is one of the most profound ways to be happier, healthier and calmer.” ― Emma Pattee, The New York Times
EXERCISE YOUR MIND You probably don't give it much thought as you move through your day, but it takes a lot of brain power to walk upright. To maintain balance on two feet while moving through space avoiding obstacles is what sets humans apart from other primates. When humans became hunter-gatherers their mental capacities grew to accommodate their physical capabilities---they had to remember where to find food and communicate effectively with others while covering roughly 13 miles per day. Based on this body-brain history, it's no surprise that moving your body, aside from making you physically stronger, also triggers changes in your brain. When you exercise, new brain cells grow in the memory centre of the brain, the hippocampus, and new connections are forged in the pre-frontal cortex, positive effects that help protect you from memory loss and cognitive decline as you age. The emerging science on exercise suggests that the best form of exercise involves a mental challenge beyond selecting the channel to watch on the elliptical machine. When we engage our minds and bodies together, just as our ancient ancestors did when they made decisions on the run, we get the most out of movement.
“Working out both the body and the brain during exercise may help keep the mind sharp for life.” – David A. Raichlen & Gene E. Alexander, from Scientific American
But wait, there's more!
Exercise is your own personal regenerative medicine.
TIPS FOR HAPPY HOLIDAYS The holidays can be a stressful time, but who better to give us a few science-based tips on how to get the most recharge from your time off than Professor Laurie Santos whom we feature in The 5-Minute Recharge as the woman who teaches "The Science of Happiness," the most popular course at Yale. Dr. Santos recommends embracing the power of giving. Study after study has shown that we get a much bigger happiness boost from giving to others than buying gifts for ourselves, and that the best gifts save people time. You had to know that gratitudewould be on the list of holiday tips, but Santos shares a specific tip from her friend economist Tim Hartford who has his children write thank-you notes immediately after opening each gift, so that they can slow down, feel the gratitude and convey it in writing. Finally, Laurie Santos encourages us to embrace tradition: holiday rituals give us a reassuring script to follow that creates a feeling that, although we may have different opinions, we share a family tradition. Rituals also let everyone know what they’re expected to do which can be comforting and lessens the likelihood of unwelcome surprises. But if/when holiday surprises happen, remember...
“There’s no resilience without gratitude.” – Gratitude researcher Robert Emmons reminds us to keep thankfulness top of mind this holiday season.
Laurie Santos has a podcast called The Happiness Lab that we highly recommend.
1 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE
Pick Your Highlight
“Believe in your Highlight. It is worth prioritizing over random distraction.” ― Jake Knapp
In The 5-Minute Recharge we recommend capturing three highlights at the end of each day, both to end the day on an uplifting note and to enable you to identify highlight patterns. At the end of the year, author Tim Ferriss revisits his weekly bright spots as part of his Past Year Review, then schedules similar experiences in his calendar for the year ahead. But Tim's PYR takes 30-60 minutes and therefore doesn't qualify for our 5-Minute Recharge challenge.
This week's festive 5-Minute Recharge challenge is based on the book Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. Rather than wait until the end of the day to capture the day's peak experiences, the authors encourage us to define our highlights before the day begins. When you set an intention, it's more likely to become reality than it is if you simply start the day feeling hopeful and leave your highlights to chance.
It's not too late to set today's highlight. Take out a piece of paper and write down a highlight in each of the following three categories:
URGENT: what is the most pressing thing that you can make progress on today that will make the day feel like a win?
SATISFACTION: what one thing that I want to do but don't necessarily need to do will give me the greatest satisfaction at the end of the day?
JOY: what people and activities can I add to my day to make it most joyful?
Now select one of the three highlights you drafted and put this best of the best highlight on a sticky note, slap it on your phone, and wait for the magic to happen.
“Something magic happens when you start the day with one high-priority goal.” – Jake Knapp
Wishing you a joyful holiday season with many many highlights,
Lynne & Addie
P.S. The 5-Minute Recharge will be taking one week off for holiday festivities and will return to your inbox on January 5 2020. Happy New Year!