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Quarantining with Ghosts

According to supernatural surveys, 45 percent of Americans believe in ghosts and 18 percent believe they have had a ghostly interaction. The New York Times reports that encounters with the supernatural have increased dramatically since the pandemic began, an indication of overall anxiety, hypervigilence, and longing for contact with others, even if these 'others' don't have a body, and enjoy playing with plumbing, fiddling with electronics, and making a ruckus in the middle of the night. “Perhaps we’re just now starting to notice that the world is a little bit weirder than we gave it credit for,” says paranormal researcher John T.L. Tenney. It's in the spirit of taking note of weirdness that we bring you the latest edition of the 5-Minute Recharge with weird and wonderful evidence-based strategies to enhance your wellbeing. Let's get started! ONE HONEST QUOTE “If you use the next two years as a random hiatus, you may not wind up richer, but you'll wind up more interesting.” David Brooks offers advice to the graduating glass of 2020 that's too honest to deliver in person

Please join Addie Greco-Sanchez on May 20th from 3-4pm ET for a virtual workshop chock full of tips to help you thrive THREE WEIRD IDEAS  #1 PLAYING VIDEO GAMES IS GOOD FOR YOU In last week's newsletter, we mentioned how the flow state is a great way to deal with quarantine fatigue. You enter the state of flow when time flies and you lose yourself in an activity that's pleasurable with just the right amount of challenge, and you're able to track your progress. Researcher Dr. Kate Sweeny of the University of California Riverside helps people identify their flow activities by asking: “What's the thing that if you sit down to do it thirty minutes before you leave the house you will completely lose track of time and be late for wherever you're going?” According to Sweeny, video games and gamified learning are ideal flow activities, but sadly, watching television and reading aren't. A recent study by Dr. Sweeny and her colleagues on the effects of quarantine on people in China found that those who reported experiencing higher-than-average levels of flow in their lives were indistinguishable on every significant wellness measure from people who weren't in quarantine at all. So go with the flow ladies and gentlemen, even if it takes you to Animal Crossing. “Flow is a form of exquisite distraction, perfect for situations in which the primary goal is to make time pass more quickly. As a quarantine wears on, people may find that the tedium of isolation allows their worries to run wild, with little else to keep their mind occupied. If instead people can find activities that absorb their attention, the days feel shorter and the weeks, therefore, more tolerable.” – Dr. Kate Sweeny et. al., from “Flow in the Time of COVID-19: Findings from China” #2 TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK People working from home may find it difficult to be productive, but according to a recent article from BBC Worklife, there are strategies you can use to keep the momentum going. Micro-transitions, activities that enable you to move from one situation to another, can help keep you on track. For example, transitioning from lunch back to work can be a challenge, but inserting a dog walk in between lunch and your afternoon work session could be just what you need to make a smooth transition. Peak performance researcher Dr. Adam Fraser refers to the micro-transition as “the third space,” the place where you reflect, rest, and reset to match your mindset to what the upcoming situation requires. The ability to adjust rapidly will make you more resilient as you move beyond what you've just been through and show up for what's next with the right thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. “It's not what we do, it's what we do in between what we do that really matters.” Dr. Adam Fraser explains The Third Space #3 CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER In The 5-Minute Recharge, we celebrate the superpower known as curiosity and demonstrate how it plays an underappreciated role in wellness. A recent article in Harvard Business Review describes how curiosity is a precursor to empathy, and encourages us to use our curiosity to help others during the pandemic...and learn more about ourselves. “Being curious about ourselves is how we begin to know–really know–who we are. That can be scary. But also, possibly, exciting and freeing. The hardest part? Slowing down enough to feel. Do you have the courage to slow down?” Peter Bregman *********************************** The Fast Five 1. How Science Can Fix Remote Work - WorkLife with Adam Grant (Time 45 minutes) 2. I Spent Three Weeks in Quarantine Trying to Learn Something New: Here's What Happened - Fast Company 3. Losing Your Patience? Here's how to get it back - Ten Percent Happier podcast (Time 87 minutes...43 minutes if you're impatient and put it on 2x speed) 4. Meet the 'psychobiome': the gut bacteria that may alter how you think, feel, and act - Science 5. The Ingredients for a Longer Life - BBC Future *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR WEIRD RITUAL “Rituals give us a cheap and powerful way to feel more agency when things in life feel really out of control.” Dr. Laurie Santos Our favourite wellness podcast, The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos, is the inspiration for this weird 5-Minute Recharge Challenge. In the most recent episode of The Happiness Lab, Dr. Santos' guest Vlad describes how his mother made a ritual out of eating the first raspberries of the season as an offering to her father who had passed away. Rituals can generate strong feelings that allow you to take control of otherwise out-of-control situations–sad or upsetting events from which you may find it difficult to move on. You don't have to rely on culturally-sanctioned rituals: with a little creativity you can make up your own. A study of subjects who were disappointed after they didn't win $200 found that those who engaged in a random ritual that involved drawing a picture of how they were feeling about missing out on the money, sprinkling salt on it (all good rituals involve salt), and ripping up the paper into tiny pieces reported significantly less sorrow than those who didn't. Your turn. What weird ritual can you devise to help you cope with the pandemic? If you're not feeling particularly creative, take five minutes to simply draw a picture of how you're feeling, sprinkle salt on it, and rip it up. Or if you have extra time and creativity, make a coronavirus piñata and smash it to bits. “Rituals can make life better and can make us happier.” Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School Wishing you a safe, healthy and weirdly wonderful week ahead, Lynne & Addie

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