How to have peak experiences and survive the depths
With the arrival of autumn The 5-Minute Recharge is back with five practical, science-based, and simple ideas to improve your wellbeing.
1. “Oh, the crab cakes again!” A Google employee reacts to their free lunch and displays a bad case of hedonic adaptation.
Hedonic adaptation is the idea that an individual will eventually find any source of joy to be humdrum, and will desire more and more to maintain the same level of happiness as they had before the crab cakes arrived.The cure for hedonic adaptation? Gratitude. Use your imagination to envision as vividly as possible what it would be like not to have a source of happiness in your life. For example,the Google employee might imagine a sad desk lunch without crabmeat, a lunch that they have to pay for out of their own pocket at a company without free-flowing kombucha or even a foosball table.
[Source: The Hidden Brain podcast]
2. Use the peak-end rule to your advantage
The peak-end rule states that you will remember the ending of experiences more than how they began and what happened in the middle. This phenomenon is often overlooked when planning get-togethers as we tend to front-load the fun with ice-breakers and cocktails and allow the rest of the experience naturally fade out. You can use the peak-end rule to make your vacation especially memorable with a special event planned for the final day, or use it to lock in an exercise habit by ending your workouts with a celebration ritual that’s fun and easy. And a farewell karaoke serenade is sure to make your next party end on a high note...
[Source: Nir Eyal]
3. Lessons from the world’s top free diver
Imagine diving downward without an oxygen tank, 43 stories into the murky depths. Welcome to the world of free diving where living in the present moment and not letting anxious thoughts enter your head can be a matter of life or death. Alexey Molchanov is the world’s top free diver who knows what it’s like to face the fear of being unable to breathe, and the freedom that comes from moving beyond the fear. “You get your attention to the smallest possible time moment…that’s a technique that can be learned,” he says. Whether you’re trying to deep dive to a world record or diving into a presentation that could make or break your career, learning how to trust in your preparation and staying in the smallest possible present moment is the secret to success. Meditation that encourages you to keep returning to the here and now whenever your mind wanders can help you train this skill.
4. The sweet spot for stepping
A combination of two studies that examined the exercise habits of thousands of people over decades has found that taking 7,000 to 8,000 steps each day significantly reduces the risk of premature death. The longevity effects appear to level out around 10,000 steps, so you don’t have to aim for 60,000 steps per day like the roamin’ writer David Sedaris who describes the evolution of his peripatetic obsession in the hilarious New Yorker essay “Stepping Out”.
[Source: Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times]
5-minute recharge tip: If you haven’t reached the sweet spot of stepping 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day, can you switch something you habitually do seated, such as composing emails or talking on the phone, to walking? I wrote the first draft of this newsletter while walking around my kitchen, and often read and write as I accumulate steps almost effortlessly. If you would like a more collective method to add to your daily step tally, follow in David Sedaris’s footsteps and combine walking with picking up neighborhood litter.
5. An awesome source of wellness
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to recharge in the middle of your workday, seeking out what’s beautiful in your surroundings and inviting feelings of awe can leave you feeling inspired and energized. I’ve found that treating my phone’s camera as an awe-capturing device has made me much more attuned to the beauty around me. Something as simple as the reflection of the moon on the lake, enjoyed on a recent stroll with my 5-Minute Recharge co-author Addie Greco-Sanchez, was enough to spark wonder and appreciation…
Research into the effects of awe reveals that, not only does it lower heart rate, but awe quiets mental chatter and increases our sense of connection to others. People who regularly experience awe report higher levels of overall life satisfaction and wellbeing, so it truly is worth making an effort every day to notice what’s awesome. [Source: Harvard Business Review] Here's my attempt to close this post with a peak experience... “When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
- Marcus Aurelius from findcenter.com, a new website resource dedicated to making lives better.
Wishing you an awesome day, Lynne