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?
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 Times’ favorite 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!