• lynneeveratt

From the CIA to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, wellness stocking stuffers!

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

With the festive season upon us, this week’s (and next week’s) 5-Minute Recharge will give you an assortment of wellness stocking stuffers—quick proven tips to help you improve your wellbeing over the holidays and beyond.

As usual, Skeplana is skeptical.

Skeplana: Oh, please don’t let this be the equivalent of clementine oranges in my stocking when I was hoping for something fun, like a transformer!

Lynne: No worries, Skeplana. All of these tips are transformative, and can even be fun if you throw yourself into them as I did with the first tip, the CIA's “You-Me-Same-Same” technique.

I recently attended an outdoor Christmas party where I met a gentleman named Joe with whom I struck up a conversation using the CIA’s approach to establishing rapport. The CIA teaches the you-me-same-same technique to recruits to help them quickly develop relationships with intelligence targets. You can establish rapport with anyone if you think of a conversation as an exploration of genuine common interests, geography or history. In my conversation with Joe, I soon discovered that we had both worked in the pharmaceutical industry where Joe began his sales career. I asked Joe what product he sold, and he sheepishly mentioned a well-known brand name that made it clear that he sold douches. Later in his career Joe sold mainframe computers. I told him that “I can sell everything from douches to mainframes” would be one of the best LinkedIn tag lines ever. We laughed, our CIA rapport established. I later got two excellent recommendations for local Greek restaurants. You never know where you me same same will take you.

Skeplana: I get it. I should explore common ground with everyone I meet, but can I display my knowledge of our common ground by sharing how douches disturb vaginal flora and send a not-so-subtle message that women in their natural state are unclean?

Lynne: Oh, no Skeplana! Such a statement would destroy your rapport, uproot a budding relationship, and make you look like a body cavity wash.

Skeplana: Okay. My wellness tip is don’t mention vaginal flora preservation at a Christmas party, and look for common ground in gut flora instead. What else is in your wellness stocking?

Lynne: Jellyfish.

Skeplana: Jellyfish? I didn’t see that coming. Am I supposed to eat them? Are they an excellent source of wellness jelly?

Lynne: You don’t eat the jellyfish. You watch them on the Monterey Bay Aquarium webcam. This tip comes from Emmy-award-winning writer Cord Jefferson who struggles with meditation, but can tap into the calming benefits of mindfulness when he watches the gentle pulses of jellyfishes set to a relaxing soundtrack.

Skeplana: I totally get this tip. I find jellyfish mesmerizing and the jellyfish soundtrack sounds like it might be the perfect background music for working, but what if I don’t have access to a jelly-cam? How can I calm myself down?

Lynne: You've brought us to the final tip of the week Skeplana, the physiological sigh—two inhales through the nose followed by a very long exhale through your mouth. The physiological sigh is something your body will automatically do, typically while you sleep, when it senses a buildup of carbon dioxide. You can voluntarily use this simple breathing technique any time you feel stressed and want to immediately calm down.

Skeplana: How many sighs do I need?

Lynne: Usually one or two will do it, but if you’re extremely stressed after ill-advisedly sharing your thoughts on vaginal flora with a former douche salesman, you may need three physiological sighs to calm yourself down.


Your Recharge Quote of the Week sums up the value of wellness stocking stuffers:

“Almost all success in life is learned small behavior.” - Jake Humphrey, from the Feel Better Live More podcast


  • Find out more about You Me Same Same from “5 Techniques to Build Rapport with Your Colleagues,” by Christina Hillsberg, Harvard Business Review

  • Be sure to check out Monterey Bay Aquarium's live Jelly Cam! (The jellyfish are live between 7a.m. and 7p.m. Pacific time. While they sleep, you can watch pre-recorded jellyfish.)

  • Professor Andrew Huberman of Stanford University demonstrates the physiological sigh, and explains why it works.

  • Discover The New York Timesfavorite 2021 wellness habits that includes the jelly cam.

  • I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Dr. Howard Murad that gave me the opportunity to talk about our shared interest in combating cultural stress — the distractions, comparisons and fleeting pleasures that conspire against your wellbeing.

Wishing you a holiday season free of cultural, seasonal, and work-related stress!


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