What can you rethink?
According to organizational psychologist Adam Grant, in a turbulent world, mental fitness is all about rethinking and unlearning. This week's 5-Minute Recharge has been completely rethought and the format of previous editions unlearned. My goal going forward is to give you solid wellness advice that may encourage you to value sleep, but never makes you drowsy. I had fun writing this, and hope you have fun reading it, but most of all, I hope that it inspires you to rethink something that's been nagging at you... 1. Did you know that treadmills were banned in 1900 because they were considered to be cruel and inhumane instruments of penal punishment? It's true. The message of Exercised–the new book by Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman that I highly recommend–is that physical activity should be fun, not punishing. I've added a disco-heavy playlist to my workouts to make them feel like a particularly energetic night at Studio 54 without the cocaine and anonymous sex. What can you do to make your workout fun?
This prisoners' treadmill looks like a stair mill mated with a library carrel! 2. The Swedish word for a mid-week celebration is Lillördag, that translates as 'Little Saturday.' Although it can be any day of the week, Wednesday is most commonly reserved in Sweden as a time for a mini break to de-stress. According to Constanze Leineweber, associate professor at the Stress Research Institute of Stockholm University, Little Saturday can make the workweek more bearable–especially now when our days in isolation seem to blur together with no end in sight. Can you add a Little Saturday to your week? I've made Wednesday night into a Little Saturday take-out night to support local businesses and avoid a task I can't stand: cooking anything that requires more than a single pot. I wish I were more like my friends who are using the pandemic to explore the culinary limits of flambé torches, but as you'll discover in this bite-sized episode of the terrific podcast Feel Better Live More, it feels good to be true to yourself. 3. This week I completed Matthew Walker's MasterClass in The Science of Better Sleep, and now I'm a sleep ambassador who can tell you all the many and varied ways that a lack of sleep can kill you. But I won't tell you about how depriving yourself of sleep is like subjecting your DNA to a cage match with ultimate fighter Connor McGregor because I'd rather share something dreamy. According to biographers of McCartney and the Beatles, Paul McCartney composed the entire melody of “Yesterday” in a dream one night during which he heard a string quartet playing the song. Upon waking, he hurried to a piano and played the tune to avoid forgetting it. Another famous song came to McCartney in a dream in which his mother Mary appeared and told him to “Let it be.” You can harness the creativity and problem-solving power of dreams by doing what inventor Thomas Edison used to do at bedtime: pose a burning question to yourself before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad beside your bed (or a piano) so that you can record your questions and capture any insights (or melodies) as soon as you wake up. 4. “Money is an expensive happiness strategy,” says my favorite happiness evangelist, Yale's Dr. Laurie Santos. According to Dr. Santos, research has found that once you reach an annual income of $75,000, money makes you happier, but only a tiny bit...and not significantly happier than most other wellness interventions such as meditating five minutes a day, getting an extra hour of sleep, or calling a friend and asking them for money. 5. A quote that stopped me on my kitchen walking track this week comes from Ryan Holiday who has done more than anyone to popularize ancient Stoic philosophy. In the podcast episode from The Art of Happiness entitled, “Stoicism and Living a Balanced Life” Holiday said, “While you're waiting for things to return to normal, your life is what you're waiting out.” How many of us are putting our lives on hold until the pandemic is over, not acknowledging that life is precious and fleeting and can't be suspended like a vacation stop on a newspaper? Is there a way you can inject more life into the remaining weeks (or months) of the pandemic?
In New Orleans where Mardi Gras has been cancelled this year, residents refuse to put their lives on hold, mixing resilience with creativity to create “house floats”–homes decorated like Carnival floats. Links that made me think wellness thoughts: Why you need best friends at work Axios The cure for a miserable winter The Walrus The Peloton presidency GQ The silent lesson of Beethoven Cal Newport The new frontier of brain science is...your gut? Nature La Vida es un Carnaval! Lynne