Nat Geo on happiness

I read a great article in National Geographic about places where people are happier than most. The article looks specifically at the effect of “place” and how your environment shapes you. But it’s never really the place, is it? It’s a package. And what Nat Geo was looking at was long-term happiness – not a simple “good time” vacation get-away.

In Costa Rica, happiness comes from strong family bonds, universal healthcare, strong faith, lasting peace, equality, time spent outdoors, and generosity. In the 1940s, Costa Rica elected a teacher as president. This resulted in a decision to provide free education for all, to eliminate the army, and to set up a universal healthcare system with a goal of keeping people healthy rather than trying to cure them after they’re sick. Continue reading

Five tips to get something GREAT done

The start of a new year is a great time to think about stuff you’d like to get done. If there’s something you’ve been putting off or something you’ve started by can’t seem to finish, why not make 2018 your year to say, “You’ll never believe what I did this year!”?

Doing interesting work that lifts your energy is a guaranteed happy-maker. And you’ll have a good story to tell this time next year!

Here are five tips to get something GREAT done in 2018.

Know why this is on your list
I’m a big believer in following an energy path and if you’ve been stalling on something for a long time, maybe you don’t really want to do it. Is this something you think you ought to do? Or something someone else wants you to do? Why is getting this done important to you? Continue reading

Work out with a group? Or on your own?

I was talking with a friend over the weekend who said she hurt her hip doing yoga. I tend to do the same thing when I work out with a group – I push things past where I should, and always end up with an achy something.

That discussion got me thinking about the pros of working out with a group v. working out on your own.

Pros to working out with a group Continue reading

Starting a new routine

In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, Duhigg explains that most of what you think you are deciding is actually based on habit. What time you go to bed. What time you wake up. What you eat for breakfast. How you dress for work.

You say decision. Your body says habit.

Your brain depends on you developing habits because habits require a lot less brain power than decisions. Your brain accounts for about 4% of your body mass but requires about 20% of your total glucose for fuel. When your body goes into habit-mode, your brain runs on lower power than when you’re sleeping. Your brain likes this because it frees up glucose to solve new problems. Continue reading

Take a walk!

Inspired by the recent Food Revolution Summit, I am reading Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, The Spectrum. The bottom line of Dr. Ornish’s thinking: If you want to live a long, healthy life, pay attention to what you eat. Exercise, but not to excess. And practice stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga.

There’s no big news there, but what was news to me is how exercise helps you beyond being in better shape and maybe losing a little weight.

According to Dr. Ornish’s studies, regular exercise: Continue reading

Breaking the habit loop

taking-a-showerHave you ever noticed when you’re doing something out of habit, like taking a shower or driving to work, that you think of all sorts of things that have nothing to do with taking a shower or driving to work? That’s your brain on autopilot. You are in a habit loop.

Think about the last time you learned something new, drove a new route, or started a new job. When something’s new, your brain slows down to make a myriad of decisions. Once you’ve done something for a while, your brain shifts to autopilot.

Because your brain saves energy being on autopilot, old habits can be hard to break. And new habits can be slow to form because new habits take full brain power.

So how does a habit loop work? Continue reading

How to change a habit

Want to change a habit?

A couple of months ago, FastCompany published a great article on ways to change the habit of exercise.

  • A control group was asked to exercise once in the next week. 29% of them exercised.
  • Experiment group 1 was given the same task along with detailed information about why exercise is important to your health (i.e., “You’ll die if you don’t”.) 39% of them exercised.
  • Experiment group 2 was asked to commit to exercising at a specific place, on a specific day at a specific time of their choosing. 91% of them exercised.

Continue reading