You've got to just bee
Updated: Aug 10
If Slovenia had a national insect (and every country should have a national insect) it would be the bee. 1 out of every 200 people in this country of 2 million is a beekeeper, and during the coronavirus crisis, Slovenia declared beekeeping to be an essential service. Slovenian beekeepers are a political force in their country and advocate for bees worldwide, successfully lobbying the United Nations to proclaim May 20th World Bee Day. But Slovenian beehives do more than make honey: they also alleviate stress and anxiety. First responders use beekeeping as therapy, and it's common for schools to send restless children to beehives to calm down. Some apiaries (a lovely word for a collection of beehives) have beds where people can get a relaxing buzz as they rest among the bees. Slovenia celebrates its tradition of beekeeping in a way that draws people together, creates shared meaning, and serves its collective wellbeing. The mission of the busy bees behind the 5-Minute Recharge is to give you the best science-based tips, strategies, and resources to support your wellbeing. Before we get started, you can listen to the soothing sounds of bees here. ONE SIMPLE QUOTE “I live a simple life. I'm here, I'm home, I'm happy.” – Rosario Mazzeo has found the secret to happiness: making the best Italian sandwiches in Pasadena
“Drinking champagne every day was Olivia de Havilland's secret to eternal youth.” – Rachel Syme of The New Yorker shares some bubbly wellness advice from Olivia de Havilland who recently passed away at age 104 THREE IDEAS #1 HOORAY FOR HEDONISM! It's true that you can find happiness by using your self-control to make progress toward long-term meaningful goals; however you shouldn't forget about short-term pleasure. Recent research out of the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands reveals that people who can fully immerse themselves in joyful moments are happier and less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those who can't experience pleasure without being distracted by thoughts about all the productive tasks they should be doing. Meditation is a great way to train your attention to stay in the present hedonic moment. “The pursuit of hedonic and long-term goals needn't be in conflict with one another. Our research shows that both are important and can complement each other in achieving well-being and good health.” – Katharina Bernecker, researcher in motivational psychology, University of Zurich #2 WOULD YOU RATHER BE SPECIAL OR HAPPY? The desire to be special is seductive, and may be part of the human condition. According to disturbing research, 14 percent of elite performers would accept a fatal cardiovascular condition in exchange for an Olympic gold medal. The drive to be special is also a drive to be acknowledged as separate and superior to others, yet we know from research that connectedness is what truly makes us happy. The quest for specialness is expensive in terms of physical and mental health, and no matter how successful you become, it will never feel like enough. According to Harvard professor Arthur C. Brooks, there are three steps to jumping off the specialness treadmill: one, admit that true happiness will not be found in the single-minded self-glorifying pursuit of success, and seek out pleasure in the ordinary joys of living; two, make amends for relationships you may have sacrificed on the altar of success; three, redefine what success means to you. Brooks encourages us to replace power, money and fame with family, friends and meaningful work that serves others. “Unhappy is he who depends on success to be happy.” – Alex Dias Ribiero, former Formula 1 race-car driver #3 DRIVEN FROM DISTRACTION Much of our happiness comes from being able to resist distraction when we're enjoying a moment of pure pleasure or working on something meaningful, so who better to consult to help us drive away distraction than Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable. Running your life with a to-do list is an invitation to do what's easy rather than what's important, and will give you the sense that, even when you have a pleasurable opportunity, you can't really enjoy it because there are to-dos that remain to be done. Nir says a life-changing strategy is to stop running your life with to-do lists and use a time-box calendar that forces you to plan your day down to the minute. Time-boxing is not only for work, but also for important relationships...and ourselves. The calendar is the place where you turn your values–the attributes of the person you want to become–into time, and Eyal suggests that you begin time boxing by thinking about the week ahead. “How would the person you want to become spend their time in the week ahead?” – Nir Eyal *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. How to Get Sleep in Anxious Times - Ten Percent Happier (Time: 82 minutes) (Don't fret: occasional insomnia is to be expected at times like these.) 2. One hour of slow breathing changed my life - The Guardian (Chances are you're an overbreather.) 3. The pandemic-era appeal of getting lost in a labyrinth - Bloomberg (Apparently there is such a thing as a labyrinth maker...and even a Labyrinth Society.) 4. The mindset you need to succeed at every goal - BBC.com (New research tells us we need more than grit.) 5. Resilience is the Goal of Governments and Employers Who Expect People to Endure Crisis - Teen Vogue (Beware of resilience used as an excuse to treat you badly.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE GO MEMORIZE A POEM “Poetry is the mirror that makes beautiful that which is distorted,” wrote the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Poems soothe and can help us understand the world, especially during times of uncertainty. Poetic words can clarify and heal in ways that are beyond the reach of even a wellness newsletter. This week’s 5-Minute Recharge challenge is to select a poem to memorize. If you choose Emily Dickinson you should be able to memorize a poem fairly quickly. If you choose T.S. Eliot it may take a bit longer. If memorizing a poem feels too arduous, select a segment of a poem to commit to memory, something meaningful that you can use as a mantra. Rudyard Kipling's If... is a great source for poetic mantras such as “Meet up with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same,” words that are written on the wall of the players' entrance to the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where Wimbledon is played. Your turn. Go memorize a poem. “Robust poems committed to memory can counteract the corrosive effects of self pity.” – Eliot A. Cohen The final word goes to Emily...