Love, the best recharge
Every day is Valentine's Day at The 5-Minute Recharge where my mission is to here to spread some love with hearty wellness and a hint of whimsy. 1. Just in time for Valentine's Day, relationship expert Esther Perel appeared on Feel Better, Live More to tell us that, as we gaze deeply into each other's screens over a heart-shaped pizza, we should think about how we have recruited each other into plays that neither of us auditioned for. In other words, when we enter into a relationship, we enter someone else's story and become a character in their narrative. (I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like my story is Resident Alien.) Perel encourages us to think about the roles we play in our relationships, and if we're not happy with the way the plot is unfolding, change it. You can decide at any moment to do something different, to react differently than you have in the past, to stop being an alien. When you change your story, your partner's story changes too. 2. The New York Times calls it a “coping mechanism,” and I’m all about coping mechanisms, so I decided to give erasure poetry a try. It was more difficult than I expected. First I had to find a newspaper article with poetic possibilities. I settled on an Andrew Coyne opinion column in which he argues for and maybe against universal basic income. My sister briefly dated Mr. Coyne, and he inspired her to purchase volumes of Canadian history books to bone up on the Quebec referendum. I knew Andrew Coyne would give me some solid albeit not very lighthearted material for an erasure poem. My first effort was challenging in a way that put me in a flow state where an hour passed like five minutes. I highly recommend erasure poetry as a pleasing pandemic pastime.
It's as if Yoda wrote a dystopian economic poem. 2. Iga Swiatek came out of nowhere to win the 2020 French Open tennis tournament, and made it tow the round of 16 at the Australian Open. Sadly, she lost to second seed Simona Halep and didn't make it to the quarterfinals, but that doesn't mean you should stop reading about her and skip to the next paragraph. Swiatek’s mental coach Daria Abramowicz has an unorthodox approach to sports psychology. Whereas many other tennis players focus on mental imagery, self-talk, and building a winner’s mindset, Abramowicz works with Swiatek to deepen her relationships with relatives and friends, the people who can provide emotional stability — “the human anchor,” as Abramowicz puts it. Abramowicz takes a counterintuitive approach of prioritizing gratitude, human relationships and personal growth as a path to winning. Although it won't result in a grand slam championships in Melborne this year, a wealth of research (including the famous Harvard Study) confirms that her focus on building quality relationships will make Iga Swiatek a winner in the game of life. 3. Danny Penman was in excruciating pain. While paragliding, he crashed into the side of a hill where the impact drove the lower half his leg through his knee and into his thigh. As the pain began to overwhelm him, Danny remembered a breathing exercise he learned in school, and decided to give it a try. Soon, as he describes it, “It was almost as if there was a thin sheet of glass between me and the pain.” Let’s take a moment to do the same exercise Danny Penman used on the hillside to deal with his physical suffering, and later during his recovery when his pain became mostly psychological. Close your eyes. Focus on the sensations of breathing, as the air flows into your lungs and out of your body. Feel the way your shoulders rise and fall, where your chest rises and falls, where your stomach moves in and out. Really get in touch with your body and the sensations of breathing. This simple exercise is incredibly powerful for stress relief and anxiety relief because it has a direct effect on your body’s parasympathetic system—the calming aspect (opposite to fight-or-flight) of your nervous system. Just breathing deeply in and out and gradually slowing down has a tremendously soothing effect on your body and mind. 5. You can be joyful at work is the message of Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas who teach the popular course Humor: Serious Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Humor has a transformative impact on our psychology and our behavior, on our mental health, creativity, feelings of closeness with others. It’s a totally under-leveraged asset at work. And it’s a learnable skill! I discovered the joy of humor at work firsthand. From the matching owl salt and pepper shakers (and similarly priceless gifts) that I presented to the “Forecaster of the Month,” to the time my friend Deb (the same Deb who co-authored Acts of Friendship) and I relabeled corporate artwork with sticky notes that read “Bondage by Nature” and “LSD Picnic,” humor forged lasting friendships and got me through 15 years of corporate life. You'll have to pick up the Aaker-Bogdonas book Humor, Seriously to find out how to harness the power of humor, but I'll give you a hint: humor is truth plus redirection. Kinda like lawyer plus kitten filter...
I've watched Cat Lawyer a dozen times and it still cracks me up! Links that made me think wellness thoughts: What the world needs now is companionate love, sweet companionate love The Atlantic How about a Schultz Hour? Forbes Pay attention to where you pay attention The New York Times The power of a walk Harvard Business Review A story that imagines Esther Perel's theory as apparel Guernica Happy Valentine's Day, Lynne Please feel free to respond to this email with questions, suggestions or kitten jokes.