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How to be happy (based on thirty years of research)

Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge with one quote, three ideas, and a 5-minute challenge to supercharge your wellness.


Staying In The Running

“I did a 5,200m run yesterday in a 20m-long loop. I managed not to get dizzy, but the dog was barking like crazy for 40 minutes...” ― Confined to his flat due to the coronavirus, a Chinese runner finds a way to keep moving



#1 HOW TO BE HAPPY For thirty years, Sonja Lyubomirsky has been studying happiness. In one of our shortest and most impactful ideas yet, that Professor Lyubomirsky shared in the most recent Ten Percent Happier podcast, here are thirty years of happiness research distilled into one sentence:


“Social connection makes life worth living.” ― Sonja Lyubomirsky

The book Acts of Friendship is all about social connection. Activities, such as The Friendly Q&A that's available for free on our website, are ideal for the kind of self-disclosure that deepens relationships.

#2 FOR PEOPLE WHO PUT THE PRO IN PROCRASTINATE  You may have heard that procrastination, defined as “deferring commitments even though you know about the negative consequences that lie ahead,” isn't a time-management problem but rather an emotion-management problem. This may be true, but isn't much use to someone in the middle of a cat-video procrastination binge. What does research say about how to stop procrastinating? Connect to your values.Connect what you want to accomplish to achieving something that you value in life. Start small. Rather than waiting for the magic moment when you feel like doing what needs to be done, commit to doing something that takes no longer than five minutes. Write a paragraph, clean out a drawer, read one page. The first small push of momentum may be all it takes to get you out of the procrastination rut. Be specific. Schedule when and where you will tackle your project. Your mind responds to explicit instructions rather than vague intentions. Reward yourself. When you slay the procrastination dragon, celebrate. Sleep. One of the best ways to avoid procrastination, according to experts, is to be well rested. 


“In delay there lies no plenty.” ― William Shakespeare

#3 HEART AND MIND February is ❤️ month, the perfect time to shine a spotlight on a field you may not have encountered before―cardiac psychology, the study of the interaction between heart and mind. Our language reflects our intuitive sense that heart and mind are connected. We use “hearty” words such as “his heart wasn't in it” or “the movie tugged at my heartstrings” to describe emotional situations. Stress, both sudden and ongoing, is recognized as a risk factor in heart dysfunction. Yes, you can die of a broken heart when a situation becomes so stressful that a previously open artery can shut down, and natural calamities can trigger cardiac events. The drip, drip, drip, of daily stress releases corrosive chemicals into the body that can harm the heart, and also make us more likely to turn to bad habits as temporary stress remedies, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. But, the road between heart and mind can go both ways: physical activity that makes the heart beat faster affects the brain in a positive way, lifting mood, focusing the mind, and burning stress chemicals away. 

“When you exercise, you send a signal from the heart to the mind that all is well.” – Dr. Feelgood

The Fast Five

1. Hell in a handbag: why luxury goods don't feel good

2. Begin a good-habit streak

3. The cure for attention residue

4. The magic of deep acting at work

5. Fifteen wellness resources


“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow Wilson

This week's 5-Minute Recharge challenge is to take five minutes to engage in an Acts of Friendship challenge. During the launch week for Acts of Friendship, Lynne, Deb and Julie roamed the streets of Delray Beach, Florida, challenging people to draw a random Act of Friendship and commit to performing in the week ahead. Unfortunately, we can't simulate the experience in a newsletter, but we've drawn five acts of friendship on your behalf so that you can choose the most appealing one as your challenge for the week ahead.

Go for a walk in nature with a friend

Give a friend a hug

Visit a friend

Praise a friend

Call a friend

The first person to complete this challenge and email a memento of your Act of Friendship to lynne@5minrecharge.com will receive a copy of the book Acts of Friendship: 47 Ways to Recharge your Life, Make Real Connections and Deepen Your Relationships that contains 47 activities that will bring you and your friends joy, optimism, and potentially life-changing insights.

Here's Karen Leone of Delray Beach, Florida with a meaningful Acts of Friendship challenge card...

“It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody”  ― Maya Angelou 

Wishing you many Acts of Friendship in the week ahead,

Lynne & Addie

If you have a friend who could use a positive charge, please share our newsletter...consider it an Act of Friendship!

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