Last year I visited the Sunshine Coast for the first – and second – time and wrote about my adventures for BC Living and The Province. It quickly became one of my favourite places on earth, I strongly recommend a visit if you’ve never been!
Check out Exploring the North End of the Sunshine Coast, my story for BC Living, and Hiking the province’s unknown other trail, my story for The Province, to read more about one of BC’s best getaways.
Below are some highlights from my visits. Click the titles to visit their respective websites.
VISIT: Sunshine Coast Trail
VISIT: Townsite Brewing
VISIT: Breakwater Books and Coffee
EAT: Nancy’s Bakery
EAT: The Savoury Bight
STAY: Desolation Resort
STAY: The Historic Lund Hotel
(Image: The Energy Project)
I’ve had a few aha moments over at The Energy Project, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips from them about performance and productivity.
They offer a curriculum called peoplefuel, which “teaches people at all levels in companies to more efficiently manage their four sources of energy.” Those four sources of energy are:
This concept, of taking an inventory of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy, applies to everyone, including self-employed individuals like myself, and serves to make you aware of areas where your energy is needlessly being zapped.
I love the idea of regular self-inventories!
One of my favourite Energy Project concepts is energy rituals, which are “highly specific behaviours done at precise times.”
The idea is that if you develop rituals for your daily routine – setting your alarm for the same time every day, always working out first thing in the morning – you’ll have more energy leftover for the important stuff like productivity at work and being present with friends and family.
I cook a nice meal most nights of the week, which would take far too much time and energy if I didn’t prepare for it, but every weekend I make a menu for the week ahead and from that I make a grocery list for all of the items I’ll need. Then I pick up everything except for the produce needed for the end of the week, which I’ll pick up mid-week so it’s fresh when I go to use it.
That way, during the course of my day I never have to distract myself from work, thinking about what’s for dinner and whether or not I have everything necessary on hand.
All I have to do is turn on some music, pour myself a drink (whether that’s sparkling water or wine), and whip up a healthy meal.
For more on energy rituals, check out The Energy Project’s top ten energy rituals for performing at your best.
Also take a look at The Energy Project’s CEO Tony Schwartz’s article about energy rituals for the Harvard Business Review.
Another concept that struck me as useful is the idea of energy quadrants, which is defining your current energy as one of the following:
Schwartz says, “Human beings are actually designed to pulse. We’re most productive when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing our four energy needs: sustainability (physical), security (emotional); self-expression (mental) and significance (spiritual).”
So, in terms of energy quadrants, alternating between performance and recovery is ideal. If you’re hanging out in the burnout or survival quadrant, it’s time to survey your energy sources, address which areas need improvement, and follow through with step-by-step actions.
Be Excellent at Anything
Lastly, Schwartz has a new book, which is on my to-read list, called Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming the Way We Work and Live. You can have a peak at it on Google Books.
(Image: Nissa Miller)
Chatelaine, January 16, 2013
Just because the mistletoe is tucked away for another year, doesn’t mean you should neglect the importance of kissing. A recent Polysporin study revealed that while 75 percent of Canadians believe kissing fosters deeper connections, half say they don’t kiss as often as they’d like. We asked relationships expert Dr. Karyn Gordon to address the importance of kissing and tips on how to do it more often.
New York Times, January 14, 2013
When people fall in love and decide to marry, the expectation is nearly always that love and marriage and the happiness they bring will last; as the vows say, till death do us part. Only the most cynical among us would think, walking down the aisle, that if things don’t work out, “We can always split.” But the divorce rate in the United States is exactly half the marriage rate, and that does not bode well for this cherished institution. While some divorces are clearly justified by physical or emotional abuse, intolerable infidelity, addictive behavior or irreconcilable incompatibility, experts say many severed marriages seem to have just withered and died from a lack of effort to keep the embers of love alive.
Single Dad Laughing, October 2012
The other night I was sitting with my family, most of whom are very successfully married. We were going in a circle giving our best marriage advice to my little sister on the eve of her wedding. It’s somewhat of a family tradition. But that’s not what blows. What really blows is that I realized I don’t have any good marriage advice to give. After all, I’ve never had a successful marriage out of the two marriages I did have. And so, when it was my turn, I just made a joke about divorce and how you should always remember why you loved your spouse when you first met her so that when times get tough, you can find someone new that is just like she was. There were a couple courtesy giggles, but overall my humor wasn’t welcome in such a beautifully building ring of profundity. They finished round one, and for some reason started into another round. And that’s when I realized. Hey. I don’t have marriage advice to give, but I have plenty of “keep your marriage from ending” advice (two equivocally different things), and that might be almost as good.
Psychology Today, October 22, 2012
The truth is, over time, our feelings in our relationships do change. The sparkly and exhilarating rush of falling in love is not permanent. But that does not mean that this feeling disappears; it simply evolves. The idea that the excitement of a relationship is sentenced to only the first months or even years a couple is together is completely false. When it comes to a long-term relationship with a partner we ourselves chose, we can maintain the thrill of being in love, and deepen our feelings of passion and intimacy. However, to do this means avoiding certain behaviors, habits, and traps that couples commonly fall into the longer they stay together. Staying in love means taking the hard road and differentiating from negative past influences. It means challenging our own defenses and facing our, often subconscious, fears about intimacy. Fighting for a relationship means being stubborn about not getting in our own way of staying close to someone else. Here are six tips that I have found to help couples stand the test of time.
Love, Sex, Relationships and the Brain: Does neuroscience hold the key to a lifetime of passionate love?
Psychology Today, October 18, 2012
The qualities of true, romantic love have inspired playwrights, poets, and philosophers throughout the ages. Love is an ideal; an inspiration — a feeling of passion and commitment that adds richness and joy to life. A loving relationship provides a secure base from which to grow, expand and explore the world. Yet, until recently, we did not know for sure whether romantic love could last, or whether it inevitable transformed into companionate love — enduring friendship characterized more by shared interests, commitments and values than passion and excitement. Or, even more disappointing, perhaps love inevitably fades and couples stay together in miserable or passionless relationships because of social convention, convenience, and duty.
The cover image of Dearie, pictured above, was taken by Paul Child. Used here with permission from Bob Spitz.
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz, was an enormous (576 pages) yet wonderful and captivating book. I didn’t know much about Julia Child going in – I know, I know, it’s crazy – but was absolutely fascinated to learn about her life, and Bob Spitz told her story with such respect and spunk.
I adored this book and am both looking forward to reading more by Spitz and more about Child. What a firecracker of a woman she was!
Here are five rules to live by that I gleaned from her life through the book.
1. Be confident in who you are. She seemed to have incredible self-confidence and a capacity to quickly charm people into her corner by being authentic, friendly and open.
2. Follow your heart, gut and stomach. She sought pleasure and passion at every turn – through the incredible love of her husband Paul, the conviction that she could learn to cook and teach others to do the same, and food, glorious food.
3. Seek out friendship and companionship. The Childs always seemed to have either friends over for dinner or dinner dates with friends. Even after her husband was moved into a long-term care facility and after his passing she regularly sought out social engagements with a very wide circle of friends.
4. Stay positive and uplift others even in the face of tragedy or discord. Nothing seemed to get this woman down! She seemed to keep her eye on the desire to live a life highlighted by happiness.
5. It’s never too late to discover your life’s purpose. Her journey to becoming The French Chef really struck a chord with me, as I struggled with finding a fulfilling career throughout my 20s. She didn’t even learn to cook until she was in her 30s and was 50 when she made her first TV appearance.
Starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue
Opens October 26, 2012
Starring Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Don Cheadle
Opens November 2, 2012
Silver Linings Playbook
Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro
Opens November 21, 2012
A Late Quartet
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener
Opens November 23, 2012
Playing for Keeps
Starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid
Opens December 7, 2012
Starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland
Opens December 21
Starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy and Jon Favreau
Opens February 8, 2013
Starring Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough and Cobie Smulders
Opens February 8, 2013
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford and Christopher Meloni
Opens April 12, 2013
Today is my tenth wedding anniversary! It’s amazing how time flies by. I can still remember my husband as a quiet 12-year-old boy with floppy hair and a blue wool poncho.
Earlier this year I made my first contribution to Real Weddings magazine and shared the story of how my husband and I met, our courtship, engagement and wedding.
I love reflecting on how far we’ve come, how our relationship has evolved, and how much our love has grown.
And I still love looking at our wedding photographs, and smile to think how young and ambitious we were to embark on such a weighty adventure.
I’m so happy we did and am excited to see how the decades ahead will unfold.
Below are some of my favourite pictures from our wedding day.
I love books, that’s no secret! Often, when I hear about books I’d like to read, I put them on hold at the library and they usually trickle in at a reasonable pace.
But sometimes they pile up, as they’ve done now. If only I could steal away to a deserted cabin in the woods – with good lighting – and spend a few days disconnected from the world and surrounded by books.
Spatopia by Amy Rosen
I got this book for a little writing inspiration. I had the pleasure of meeting Amy on a press trip last year, and she’s hysterically funny and an excellent writer.
Discover Italy by Lonely Planet
My wonderful friend Caralyn gave me this book after learning that I wanted to go to Italy for my tenth wedding anniversary this summer.
Sadly, it looks like that might not pan out, but at least I can plan my dream trip so I’ll be ready to jump into action when the time comes. For now, just keeping this book by my bed makes Italy feel a little bit closer.
The Sunshine Coast Trail, 3rd Edition by Eagle Walz
Eagle Walz is one of those people who leaves his mark on your heart. He’s a gentle and passionate wilderness crusader and, through the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (an organization he founded), has saved countless acres of old growth trees by building the 180-kilometre-long Sunshine Coast Trail.
A Dream of Giants: The Story of the Sunshine Coast Trail by Emma Levez Larocque
This is a beautiful and inspiring picture book that “tells the fascinating story of the land the Sunshine Coast Trail passes through, as well as that of the people who have worked to protect the giants of our forests for future generations.”
From left to right: Brian Mullins, Catherine Roscoe Barr, Lisa Oz, and Corin Mullins.
I got to meet Lisa Oz, co-author of You: The Owner’s Manual along with her husband Dr Mehmet Oz, at a press conference following her keynote address at CHFA West (the annual Canadian Health Food Association conference), where she was promoting her new book, which I got a signed copy of.
Her appearance was sponsored by Holy Crap Cereal, a local company started by husband and wife team Corin and Brian Mullins (who appeared on CBC’s TV show Dragon’s Den with their gluten-free, vegan, and certified organic cereal).
Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston
I haven’t dug into this one yet and can’t remember who recommended it but it sounds like a good story and I like the cover. Here’s a snippet from the publisher’s synopsis:
“Stuck in a dead-end relationship, this fearless narrator leaves her metaphorical baggage behind and finds a comfort zone in the air, feeling safest with one plane ticket in her hand and another in her underwear drawer.”
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
This is another one I haven’t started reading yet but it sounded totally up my alley – I love self-help stuff. It’s written in the form of a 12-week guide and activity book. Here’s a snippet from the publisher’s synopsis:
“The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life.”
Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move With Confidence by Eric Goodman and Peter Park
This is a book that absolutely everyone should read. Here’s what the publisher says: “Foundation training shifts the focus from the front of your body to the back. By strengthening the full posterior chain and correcting poor movement patterns, you will maximize power, flexibility, and endurance and say goodbye to back pain.”
The video above is co-author Eric Goodman talking about Foundation Training and the video below is co-author Peter Park (Lance Armstrong’s strength and conditioning coach) showing four awesome core exercises.
Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
I test drove this book at the library and loved it so much that I bought it. Kris Carr is one heck of an inspiring woman! Here’s what Carr’s website says about the book:
“Crazy Sexy Diet comes on the heels of Kris Carr’s best-selling cancer survival guidebooks and her acclaimed TLC documentary. Infused with her signature sass, wit and advice-from-the-trenches style, Crazy Sexy Diet is a beautifully illustrated resource that puts you on the fast track to vibrant health, happiness and a great ass!
“Along with help from her posse of experts, Carr lays out the fundamentals of her Crazy Sexy Diet: a low-glycemic, vegetarian program that emphasizes balancing the pH of the body with lush whole and raw foods, nourishing organic green drinks, and scrumptious smoothies. Plus, she shares the steps of her own twenty-one-day cleanse, and simple but delectable sample recipes.”
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer by Gretchen Reynolds
This is another book that everyone should read. I have this out from the library but have already ordered my own copy because it’s so darn good. Seriously, who doesn’t want to know how they can exercise better, train smarter and live long? And in only 20 minutes? Awesome!
Here’s a snippet from the publisher’s synopsis:
“With the latest findings about the mental and physical benefits of exercise, personal stories from scientists and laypeople alike, as well as researched-based prescriptions for readers, Gretchen Reynolds shows what kind of exercise – and how much – is necessary to stay healthy, get fit, and attain a smaller jeans size.
“Inspired by Reynolds’s wildly popular ‘Phys Ed’ column for The New York Times, this book explains how exercise affects the body in distinct ways and provides the tools readers need to achieve their fitness goals, whether that’s a faster 5K or staying trim.”
Weeknights With Giada by Giada De Laurentiis
This is a great cookbook and I have a long list of recipes I’d like to try from it. I’ve already made one, the Mediterranean halibut sandwiches, and they were divine.
Stay tuned for the recipe, it will be up on the recipe blog I contribute to at BCLiving.ca, called What I Made For Dinner, late next week.
Starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson
Opens December 16, 2011
We Bought A Zoo
Starring Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon
Opens December 23, 2011
Starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
Opens February 24, 2012
The Lucky One
Starring Blythe Danner and Zac Efron
Opens April 20, 2012
The Five-Year Engagement
Starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segal
Opens April 27, 2012
I’m very curious about other people’s lives and relationships. You might even say I’m nosy, but it comes from a genuine desire to learn and grow. I love reading memoirs and watching biographies or movies about relationships and usually walk away with at least one piece of advice or lesson that I try to apply to my own life. I also try to pinpoint what I see as strengths (or weaknesses) in other’s relationships (yes, I am watching you, I just can’t help it).
I recently celebrated my ninth wedding anniversary and I’ve since done a lot of reflecting on relationships. What makes them work? How can they be improved? How do you maintain your sense of self and individualism while deepening the bond with your partner? How do you keep daily annoyances (like the freshly laundered and pressed shirt that’s now in a crumpled pile on the floor) from turning you into a homicidal maniac?
Beware growing distant
I finished reading Shania Twain’s memoir, From This Moment On, a few weeks ago and found it absolutely fascinating. If you’re out of the Shania loop, I’ll fill you in a little. She collaborated on all of her albums, except her first, with her husband and music producer, Robert “Mutt” Lange. They weren’t only a married couple, but business partners, creative partners and parents to one son.
After 14 years of marriage, he left Shania for his secretary – a woman who was also Shania’s friend and closest confidante. Ouch. But Shania prevailed, after much grieving and soul-searching, and married the love of her life, a man that also happened to be the husband (at the time of the affair) of the woman who had the affair with Shania’s husband. It’s a very inspiring and captivating read and she made some great points about relationships.
One that stuck with me was the importance of not giving your relationship with your partner the opportunity to grow distant. When you let space develop between you and your spouse, it provides the opportunity for damage to occur – and for others to take advantage of the cracks. Communicate deeply and communicate often.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
I really enjoyed the hilarious movie Crazy, Stupid, Love with Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gossling and Emma Stone. Crazy, Stupid, Love is the story (and cautionary tale) of a married couple, Cal and Emily (played by Carell and Moore), who’ve lost their spark, and a playboy, Jacbob (played by Gosling), whose life is thrown off kilter when he falls in love with Hannah (played by Stone).
Emily admits to an affair and as Cal is moving out of their home and about to drive away she says, “I don’t know when you and I stopped being us.” Perhaps there are couples who find that it takes no work to maintain a wonderful relationship, but I imagine that for most long term partners, myself included, it takes at least a little bit of work to stay “us”.
The stresses of every day, responsibilities at work, financial strain, and family life can take a front seat to the effort needed to keep your relationship special, especially as the years tick on and people settle into complacency and routine.
In the article “Crazy, Stupid, Love: Is this what divorce looks like?”, The Globe and Mail’s Dave McGinn asked divorce consultant Deborah Moskovitch: “Do you think that any middle-aged man who wears running shoes on a romantic date with his wife is headed straight to divorce city?” Her reply: “He’s not headed straight to a divorce, but he should head straight to Harry Rosen and work with a stylist.” Haha. Funny but, I think, true, and a sentiment that Jacob shared with Cal: “Your wife cheated on you because you lost sight of who you are as a man.”
This reminded me of a personal training client I worked with a few years ago who came to me because she wanted to lose weight. She said to me when I first met her, “you know how you gain about 20 pounds after you’re married?” I was shocked by her attitude that it’s okay to let yourself go after you’ve secured a mate “forever”. I believe the opposite, that you should try to be your best self so that your partner is always reminded of what a great catch you are!
Celebrate the little things
When I was newly married I worked at a retirement home as the social director and fitness coordinator, and there were two couples living there who were great examples of enduring relationships that still had their spark. The first couple, in their late 80s, celebrated their “monthiversary” – once a month they would get dressed up and take a cab to a fancy restaurant for a romantic dinner.
The second couple (the wife 98 and the husband 102) often come to mind, as they were such an inspiration not only in their physical and mental health but in their complete adoration for each other after many, many years of marriage. Every day they walked to and from afternoon tea holding hands, and the husband once told me, with a chuckle, as they walked away that they were going off to “smooch”.
These two couples really had an impact on me and inspired me to make the extra effort to make my time with my husband special, as you never know when your time will come, and, as I often heard from the retirement home residents, life goes by too fast.
So unabashedly hold hands, celebrate your monthiversary, be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and always give each other the benefit of the doubt. Call me old fashioned but I love to have dinner ready when my husband gets home from work so we can talk about our day over a nice meal. But, I also love to get dressed up and go out for a date night (especially on our monthiversary), seated amongst the buzz of other couples at a cocktail bar with eyes only for each other.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman and Leslie Mann
Opens August 5, 2011
Our Idiot Brother
Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel
Opens August 26, 2011
Starring Colin Firth, Patricia Clarkson and Orlando Bloom
Opens September 9, 2011
Starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence
Opens October 28, 2011
Here are some songs that I’m loving right now.
Taylor Swift – Mean
One Republic – Good Life
LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough
Madcon – Beggin’
Wintersleep – Weighty Ghost
I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband always has great advice, and I have him to thank for letting me know about the following two awesome websites.
If you ever want your mind blown by awesomeness, head to the TEDTalks website. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and started out as a conference bringing together people from those three industries. TED’s motto is “ideas worth spreading” and the talks are definitely ideas worth hearing.
Two of my favourite talks are below. The first is a fascinating and hilarious talk about nurturing creativity by Ken Robsinson, the author of a fantastic book called The Element featured in a previous post. The second is a captivating talk about a new way to think of “genius” by the author of one of my favourite books, Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert.
According to their website, “The 99% provides insights on productivity, organization, and leadership – all designed to help creative people take action and push their ideas forward.” I’ve only read a few articles so far but they’ve all been great and it’s definitely a resource that I’ll go back to for inspiration.
I referenced an article from this website the week before last when I listed author Jonah Lehrer’s new book How We Decide as one I’m eagerly waiting to read. Here’s the beginning of that article, called Developing Your Creative Practice, in which Lehrer and composer, musician, and producer Brian Eno appear:
Current neuroscience research confirms what creatives intuitively know about being innovative: that it usually happens in the shower. After focusing intently on a project or problem, the brain needs to fully disengage and relax in order for a “Eureka!” moment to arise. It’s often the mundane activities like taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk that lure great ideas to the surface. Composer Steve Reich, for instance, would ride the subway around New York when he was stuck.
Science journalist Jonah Lehrer, referencing a landmark neuroscience study on brain activity during innovation, writes:
“The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. … One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.”
The ebb and flow of concentrated focus and total disengagement has been a subject of particular interest to the composer, musician, and producer Brian Eno (U2, Talking Heads, Roxy Music). Drawing on interviews from throughout Eno’s career, Eric Tamm’s book, Brian Eno: His Music and The Vertical Sound of Color, delves deeply into Eno’s “creative process.”
Read the rest of the article at the99percent.com.
Another 99% article, called 10 Awesome Videos On Idea Execution & The Creative Process, lists some great, inspiring videos. Among them, the previously mentioned TEDTalk from Elizabeth Gilbert, J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech to Harvard’s 2008 graduating class, and a truly moving address from from Apple and Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs to Stanford University’s 2005 graduating class (see below).
Tina Fey talks to Google’s Eric Schmidt about her new book, Bossypants.
I generally never buy a book without first test driving it through the public library. I adore the library so much, I want to write it a love song. Can you believe that you can read nearly any book for free? I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over that exciting fact, or the fact that with a little, or sometimes a lot, of patience you can get your hands on nearly any new book, and it arrives for pick-up on a special shelf and has your name on it. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. Following are a few books that I have on hold and am eagerly waiting to read.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The cover alone is enough to make me want to read this book. Currently at position 163 in the Vancouver Public Library hold queue, I’m not alone in wanting to read Tina Fey’s allegedly hilarious new memoir. Click here to read an interview with Tina Fey that appeared in the Vancouver Sun and includes a clip from her appearance on Oprah promoting the book.
My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness by Gwyneth Paltrow
This quote from a Vancouver Sun article by Randy Shore nicely sums up how I initially felt about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook: “I was fully prepared to hate Gwyneth Paltrow’s cook book, My Father’s Daughter. But I can’t. It’s really quite good.” I’ve only flipped through it at the bookstore and heard reviews from friends but it looks beautiful and sounds good so I’m really looking forward to reading it and trying out some of her recipes. See below for a funny video of Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld talking to Paltrow about the book for Jessica’s website, Do It Delicious.
From This Moment On by Shania Twain
How do you get through finding out that your best friend and husband are having an affair? I have no idea, but Shania Twain shares her experience with such a scenario in her new memoir – which I know ends with marrying her best friend’s hunky husband, having her own TV show, and coming out with her first new song since releasing her 2002 album Up. See the video for Today Is Your Day below. I love this song. Go Shania!
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi
Vegetarianism has been on my radar a lot lately. From my brother’s new adventures in veganism to my interview with vegan athlete and author Brendan Brazier, and the amount of information I’m learning about the environmental impact of animal-based food production, I am trying to make small changes towards a more plant-based diet. After reading a Globe and Mail article about this new cookbook, which calls it “one of the greatest vegetarian cookbooks of all time”, I am keen to read it and try out some of the recipes for the food blog that I contribute to at BCLiving.ca. See below for a video of the author making the recipe that appears on the cover, Aubergine with Buttermilk Sauce. Yum.
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
When you hear about someone twice in one day from different sources it’s enough to pique your interest. So when my husband sent me an article called Developing Your Creative Practice that mentions Lehrer, and a newsletter from Publication Coach Daphne Gray-Grant called Putting a Dollar Figure to Stories, which also mentions Lehrer, appeared in my inbox I was curious to learn more about this young neuroscientist and his new book which, according to the publisher, seeks “to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?” See below for a CBS interview with Lehrer about this book.
I’m looking forward to seeing these movies, hope you enjoy the trailers!
Starring Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, and Melanie Laurent
Opens June 3, 2011
The Art of Getting By
Starring Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore
Opens June 17, 2011
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen
Opens September 30, 2011
Starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel
Opens November 23, 2011
Starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum
Opens February 14, 2012
I think that brain chemistry and mental health are fascinating subjects. And, I think that the power of diet, exercise and intention to affect brain chemistry and mental health are sometimes lost on people (including myself).
Here are some interesting tidbits (or bits of tid, as my hysterically funny friends Ryan and Lisa would say) on the subject that I hope you’ll find intruiging too.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“In his new book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, bestselling author Martin Seligman even goes so far as to say that we should teach positive psychology exercises in schools. He moved into the study of positive psychology after 30 years in traditional psychology, which “had been almost exclusively about removing the disabling conditions rather than creating the enabling conditions for people to flourish.” One of Dr. Seligman’s top exercises is the What-Went-Well practice. (It’s also called the Three Blessings.) In order to overcome the brain’s “natural catastrophic bent” – our sky-is-falling tendency to dwell on bad things that could happen – we have to learn the skill of thinking about what went well. From an evolutionary point of view, catastrophic thinking is a survival tool. The Neanderthal who focused on how cool his cave was, but neglected to worry about food, did not survive.”
Two of my amazing girlfriends recently gave me a copy of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (which I mentioned in a recent post is one of the books on my nightstand) and it has a great accompanying website. A recent post about re-evaluating your mantras caught my eye and made me think about one of my favourite self-help authors, who I’ll mention in a minute.
Rubin says, mantras “can have an enormous influence on the way that you act and the way that you think.” See the video below for more.
Anyway, a talk that Robbins gave to students at the Harvard Business School, was recapped in the student newspaper called The Harbus. Robbins described a “four-step framework that he says anyone can use to create an absolute competitive edge for themselves”. Those four steps (which you can read about in more detail in The Harbus here) are:
- Raise your standards
- Create a unique identity and consistently live it
- The power of state
- Give more
Regarding step three, “the power of state”, which is similar to Rubin’s mantras, Robbins said this:
“Living life the way you want is rooted in understanding that the body tells the brain how to feel. He noted that once you understand how to efficiently adjust your physiology – by studying and learning your physiological habits – you will always have the power to ensure you are in the best state to deal with work, academics, or family.”
Also echoing Rubin’s mantras and Seligman’s “What-Went-Well practice” is chapter eight of Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within, titled “Questions are the Answer.” Robbins says that by asking the “right” questions we can change our mental state and improve our quality of life. What are the right questions? Robbins states that “our questions determine our thoughts” and therefore “a genuine quality of life comes from consistent, quality questions.”
Don’t roll your eyes until you’ve tried asking yourself some quality questions! I have a little piece of paper in my nightstand that has morning questions and evening questions to being and end the day. I challenge you to try asking yourself these questions regularly and see what happens!
From Awaken the Giant Within:
Morning Power Questions
- What am I happy about in my life now?
- What am I excited about in my life now?
- What am I proud about in my life now?
- What am I grateful about in my life now?
- What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
- What am I committed to in my life right now?
- Who do I love?
- Who loves me?
Evening Power Questions
- What have I given today?
- What did I learn today?
- How has today added to the quality of my life or how can I use today as an investment in my future?