How will you play your hand?
The book The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova chronicles how a woman with a Ph.D. in psychology went from not knowing how many cards are in a deck (the summer of 2016) to winning $84,600 in a PokerStars tournament in the Bahamas (January 2018). According to Konnikova, poker is a rapid-fire simulation of life that balances luck and skill and rewards good decision making. To be successful at poker, and in life, you have to be able to deal with uncertainty. Unfortunately, our brains are not designed for uncertainty and are prone to errors of false confidence that value experience and gut feel over statistical probability. For example, people (especially New Yorkers) will say that it's more likely to die in a terrorist attack than in a bathtub, but in fact a fatal bathtub accident is statistically far more likely. In poker, you experience firsthand the probabilities your mind wouldn't otherwise learn. The 5-Minute Recharge is back in your inbox to alert you to the slippery errors we're all prone to make, and share the latest thinking on how to best play whatever hand life deals you. Let's get started! ONE QUOTE “The craft of poker can't be mastered without self-knowledge, self-care, and self-reflection.” – Maria Konnikova knows that poker players need to recharge ONE IMAGE
Photo from Addie & Lynne's awe walk, October 3, 2020 (see Idea #1) THREE IDEAS #1 TAKE AN “AWE WALK” The Biggest Bluff author Maria Konnikova's mentor is poker legend Erik Seidel who is “a big walker.” According to Konnikova, Seidel walks to think, reflect, and learn. According to a recent study, walking with the purpose of consciously looking for small wonders amplifies the already considerable wellbeing benefits of walking. Awe is defined as the feeling you get when you're in the presence of something larger than yourself, something magical and beyond words. If you live in a locale with fall colors, now is the perfect time to venture outdoors in search of something truly awesome. Explore a place you've never been before and look at everything with fresh, childlike eyes. “It is such a simple thing [to go for an awe walk] and there is no downside.” – Dr. Virginia Sturm, associate professor of neurology, University of California, San Francisco #2 THE NORWEGIAN SECRET TO WINTER HAPPINESS In the Norwegian city of Tromsø, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the polar night during which the sun disappears lasts from mid-November to mid-January. A lengthy polar night sounds like the perfect recipe for seasonal affective disorder, yet the mental wellbeing of citizens of Tromsø barely changes throughout the year. Researcher Kari Leibowitz believes that Tromsø's citizens have a positive mindset about winter that alleviates the stress associated with extreme cold and darkness. Leibowitz designed the “wintertime mindset scale” with statements such as “I love the coziness of winter months” and “Winter is boring” that measures how positively or negatively people view winter. Surprisingly, the further north Leibowitz went in Norway to ever-greater cold and darkness, the more positive the inhabitants' wintertime mindset became. Cultivating a positive mindset about the upcoming months is within your control, and is a powerful tool you can use to safeguard your life satisfaction and mental health. How can you cultivate a positive wintertime mindset? According to Leibowitz, you should get outdoors, do things to make winter special such as creating a cozy winter nook at home, and appreciate the season in your thoughts and speech, focusing on what you love about winter. “Most people don't realize their beliefs about winter are subjective. They feel like they're just somebody who hates winter and there's nothing they can do about it.” – Kari Leibowitz #3 HAVE SOME FAITH Although we don't often talk about it in the context of wellness, people who have some kind of religious or spiritual practice that enables them to ponder life's mysteries and “get out of themselves” are generally happier, less depressed and in better physical health than those who have no faith. Research shows that religious faith tends to fall through young and middle adulthood and rise again through the 40s and beyond. According to social scientist Arthur Brooks, one of the most significant obstacles to reaffirming faith later in life is one's sense of identity. If you have always thought of yourself as being someone with no faith, it can be difficult to respond to spiritual inklings. If you're someone who answers the religious faith question with the answer “none,” Brooks advises you to be not afraid, be flexible about your self-concept, and don't deny yourself the spiritual adventure that can positively affect happiness. “If you want to explore your spiritual side, you don't have to abruptly change your self-concept from 'none' to 'very religious person.' You might think of yourself as 'none, but open to suggestion'...” – Arthur Brooks *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. Happiness Lessons of the Ancients: The Stoics - The Happiness Lab (29 minutes) (The Stoics weren't anti-emotion: they were anti-negative-emotion.) 2.Why Arrogance is Dangerously Contagious - BBC Worklife (Nobody thinks they're below average, and being around an arrogant person makes us think we're even more special.) 3. Addie Greco Sanchez – Are You Happy? – PODCAST - (11 minutes) The Mississauga Board of Trade (In this upbeat podcast, Addie talks about The 5-Minute Recharge, the science of happiness her favorite happiness tip.) 4. 3 Lazy Ways to Create Your Ideal Life - Fast Company (You had us at lazy.) 5. Can You Change Your Relationship With Fear? - Ten Percent Happier Podcast (55 minutes) (According to Dr. Abigail Marsh, dealing with fear is a trainable skill.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE THE FIVE-YEAR THOUGHT EXPERIMENT This week's 5-Minute Recharge Challenge is inspired by social scientist and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks (see Idea #3) who gives his Harvard students the following thought experiment. Imagine yourself happy five years from now. What three things are you doing? 1. 2. 3. Are you working on these today? The purpose of this exercise is to move beyond the urgent yet unimportant items that tend to dominate to-do lists to get to the truly meaningful activities that reflect our deepest values. Arthur Brooks acknowledges that his thought experiment was inspired by this man... “The key is taking responsibility and initiative, deciding what your life is about and prioritizing your life around the most important things.” – Stephen Covey, author The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Wishing you the best of health and happiness in the week ahead, The 5-Minute Recharge