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Real smiles, Jacinda Ardern, and Whakapapa

Recently, comedian John Mulaney entered rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction, and Mathew Cooper stepped down from his role as CEO of a tech company due to his struggles with mental health, reminders that threats to our mental health don’t take a holiday. Taking care of yourself may become even more challenging during the festive season when the gap between expectations and reality can be a real downer. With Covid in the air and good wellness practices more important than ever, the 5-Minute Recharge isn’t taking a holiday this year. This week’s edition has expert advice on the environment you need to thrive, tips to make you smile, and wellness wisdom from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Let’s get started! ONE QUOTE “The worst thing that we can possibly ever do is to compare our happiness to others'.”Arthur Brooks describes how social comparison + our tendency to overestimate others' happiness = an equation for misery ONE HOLIDAY GIFT WE ALL WANT



Brian Moore, a creative director at Anomaly, has designed a Zoom escape cord. THREE IDEAS #1 The only real smile. Named after French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne who believed the face was a map and its expressions were gateways to the soul, the Duchenne smile is the only smile associated with true happiness. Of the 19 smiles that have been categorized, the Duchenne is the only one that involves the orbicularis oculi muscles around the eyes that crinkle the skin into crow's feet. A study that looked at photos of professional baseball players from the1950s found that Duchenne smilers had a 70 percent chance of living until age 80 as compared with 50 percent of those who didn't crinkle the skin around their eyes. Other research found that a Duchenne smile--but not other smiles--is accompanied by activity in the region of the brain associated with enjoyment. As you'll see in this week's 5-Minute Recharge challenge, the Duchenne smile works both as a reflection of happiness and a trigger for happiness, and it has a powerful effect on others. “Peace begins with a smile.” ~ Mother Teresa #2. Jacinda's wisdom. New Zealand has a wellbeing budget and its leader, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is one of the world's top advocates for mental health. he would like us all to get to a place where we talk about the wellbeing of our minds the same way we talk about our cardiovascular health, without stigma and with an eye to preventive care. Ardern's vision for mental health is a medical system that looks after people's full wellbeing, with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) in the same family physician toolbox as cholesterol reducers. In a wide-ranging interview with mental health advocate John Kirwan (a former member of the famous New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks who has spoken openly about his battle with depression) Ardern shared her favorite wellness practices. Putting a selfless spin on self-care, Ardern says that we can't do our jobs well, and therefore will let others down, when we don't make the space and time to look after ourselves. Practicing what she preaches, Ardern recharges with cooking, reading cookbooks, and dancing with her daughter. She also prioritizes sleep, saying that without sufficient sleep she doesn't make good decisions. Watching her interview, you can't help but get the sense that Jacinda Ardern is the embodiment of good mental health who knows what's truly important, what her values are, and what she would like her legacy to be. “On my deathbed I just want to feel like I conducted myself with integrity, and always stayed true to who I was and what I believed in, no matter what came my way, and that I kept my family together at the same time.”~ Jacinda Ardern #3 Find your whakapapa. Like Jacinda Ardern, also from New Zealand is the Maori concept of whakapapa that is the sense of belonging you get when you feel like you're part of a tribe. The Maori people believe that they are part of an unbreakable chain of people sharing an identity, sense of purpose, and values that stretches back to their first ancestor and into an infinite future. Owen Eastwood is a performance coach of Maori heritage who is on a mission to build team cultures in sports and business based on whakapapa. According to Eastwood, belonging is an essential condition for getting the best out of people that needs to be reinforced every day in words and actions that say, "We have a shared mission, we will take care of everyone and we won’t damage and sacrifice people along the way." Every workday employees ask themselves: Do I belong here? Too often, we onboard new employees with HR policies and technical details rather than saying, "Thank you for becoming part of this team, you belong here, we want you here, and you are going to thrive here." Contrast the belonging at the core of whakapapa with the dark saga of Soul Cycle recounted in Vox that describes a psychologically toxic culture built on individualism, exclusivity, and the cult of the celebrity instructor. “The thing that will break my heart and make me look at myself and say I have failed is if we become a bunch of individuals.” ~ Owen Eastwood, from the Finding Mastery podcast *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. Forget New Year's Resolutions and Conduct a 'Past Year Review' Instead - Tim Ferriss (A classic from 2018 worth repeating every year, especially this one.) 2. The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep - The Atlantic (Could sleep be the key to ending the pandemic?) 3. Laurie Santos, Yale Happiness Professor, on 5 Things That Will Make You Happier- Newsweek (Being grateful for Dr. Laurie Santos, who works tirelessly to make the the world a happier place, makes me happier.) 4. Getting More Serious About Pleasure (The School of Life) (What would you do if you had an artistic breakthrough with your leisure time and allowed yourself the pleasure of being weird?) 5. Arthur Brooks - Flood it with love! - A Cuppa Happy (Joss Stone, one of my favorite singers, has a podcast in which she interviewed one of my favorite happiness experts, Arthur Brooks. This makes me very very happy.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR DUCHENNE WORKOUT This week’s 5-Minute Recharge challenge comes to you courtesy of Guillaume Duchenne and Arthur Brooks (see Fast Five #5). Brooks makes his Harvard happiness course students do this exercise, so please don’t think it’s totally bonkers. Take a pen or pencil and chomp down on it lengthwise. This will force your face into a Duchenne smile. Hold the smile for 25 seconds. Studies have found that the Duchenne smile can reduce stress, enhance the perception of truthfulness, and even increase the size of tips. Researchers found that encouraging Duchenne smiles in young people who felt socially ostracized helped them better handle their emotional reactions. Of course, walking into a party with a pencil in your teeth can lead to social ostracism, so this exercise is recommended as Duchenne smile training for the privacy of your home happiness gym. I find myself practicing the Duchenne smile (without a pencil) behind the mask I must wear for Covid protection, hoping my crinkly eyes make my mostly hidden face look less threatening. “Your joy can be the source of your smile, but sometimes, your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh Wishing you many Duchenne smiles this holiday season, The 5-Minute Recharge



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