1. What are you waiting for?Instead of holding off until the afternoon to take a break, research shows that taking frequent short breaks earlier in the day is a smarter way to restore mental and physical energy.
2. UnplugDon’t use breaks to check personal email, browse the internet, read the newspaper, or do anything that demands mental energy. Even though these activities are not technically “work” they are draining the very same cognitive resources you use when you are working.
3. Get socialRecharge your battery by chatting with friends and colleagues during a break. According to research, engaging in face-to-face social interactions is more effective at reducing emotional exhaustion than looking at your smart phone.
4. Take a walkAs tempting as it may be to sit back and watch funny cat videos at your desk during a break, you will get a greater energy boost from taking a walk around the block.
5. Make it mindfulTake advantage of the “in-between” moments—the walk to the conference room, while waiting on line for coffee, the time before a presentation begins—to practice mindfulness and be present. Don’t succumb to the temptation to reach for your phone.
6. MeditateA 10 to 20-minute meditation can work wonders to reduce stress and replenish mental reserves. There are a bunch of great apps out there—I love Headspace.
I’ve learned that I should eat a protein bar when I talk to my wife.As with most things in life, timing is everything.
We were amazed that a brief exposure to the message that people can change, during a key transition — the first few weeks of high school — could prevent increases in symptoms of depression.American industrialist Henry Ford said it best:
Whether you think you can change, or you think you can't change, you're right.
FruitA refreshing and naturally sweet option that brings a burst of color to the plate. Dried fruits can also work well.
NutsAlong with a satisfying crunch and a variety of flavors, nuts are a great source of healthy fat and protein.
Dark chocolateDepending on the brand and cocoa percentage, dark chocolate offers a wide range of complex and delightful flavors. Remember that the higher the cocoa percentage, the less sweet it will be — 70% or higher is a nice complement to the sweetness of the fruit!Next time you’re out, look for this trio or ask the chef to prepare a dessert with The Three Pleasures in mind. Willett hopes that if the public gets involved on a mass scale, this request will challenge chefs everywhere to harness their creativity and redesign dessert.At last, you can have your dessert and eat it, too.
- Think about activities you should get do but put off. Exercise, studying, working on a special project, having dinner with a relative you are not particularly fond of, etc.
- Make a list of your guilty pleasures: Watching Narcos, reading Us Weekly, listening to your favorite music, eating your favorite food, etc.
- Now pair them.
So what if you let yourself get a pedicure while catching up on overdue emails for work? Or what if you only let yourself listen to your favorite CDs while catching up on household chores. Or only let yourself go to your favorite restaurant whose hamburgers you crave while spending time with a difficult relative you should see more of.Temptation bundling can be especially effective when trying to jumpstart a positive new habit and make it just a little less painful. Combining a guilty pleasure with an unappealing activity is a win-win strategy.So go ahead and watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Just make sure you do it at the gym.
It’s be nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.Science backs this up. Nice people live longer, they are happier and they are less stressed. Adam Grant, professor of management at The Wharton School of Business and author of best selling Give and Take, persuasively argues that doing things for others may even be the key to success.That said, being “too nice” isn’t good either. Those who never say no and who always give at their own expense run the risk of becoming doormats. People take advantage of them and the cliché “nice guys finish last” becomes a reality.Robert Brooks, internationally recognized psychologist writes a monthly article on themes of resilience and motivation. He addresses the conundrum of being too nice and offers a great solution:
An article “Why I Quit Being Nice” by Allison Vesterfelt…captured the seeming downside on kind behavior. She came to the realization that being “nice” prevented her from offering her opinion about things for fear of being rude, that it kept her from engaging others for fear that “I was going to hurt someone, or offend someone, or mess everything up.”In taking steps to deal with these anxieties, Vesterfelt found that using the word “kind” instead of “nice” was helpful. “I care about people, and want them to feel loved, noticed, and important. But ‘niceness’ as I defined it all those years was actually getting in the way of what I was trying to accomplish. Sometimes niceness isn’t very kind at all. For some, the words might be interchangeable. But for me, it helps to make a distinction.”I love this distinction. There is a big difference between being nice and being kind. Kindness wins every time. Allison Vesterfelt says it best:
Niceness stays quiet. Kindness speaks up.
Niceness is toxic. Kindness is healing.
Niceness lies to keep the peace. Kindness knows the only way to make peace is to tell the truth.
Niceness holds back. Kindness moves forward with humility, gentleness and grace.Be kind.
The best things in life aren’t things.
-Art BuchwaldWhile nice things may be nice, the relentless pursuit of material goods leaves people feeling empty. More money, a faster car, a brand new dress and a bigger house don’t bring happiness. What is striking is how bad most of us are at predicting what will.The offices of Park Avenue psychiatrists are filled with people who have “everything” but feel empty inside. Philosophers and religious teachers have known this forever and research confirms it. Study after study shows that materialism is bad for wellbeing. It actually undermines happiness.The good news is that there are proven strategies to reduce materialism. In one study, a group of adolescents were asked to participate in three sessions where they learned about consumer culture. Then they were asked to think about what they value most in life such as friendship, family, giving back to the community and connections. The adolescents became less materialistic, showed greater self-esteem and were more content than those who didn’t participate in the sessions.By focusing on what was intrinsically meaningful to them, they gained perspective and were able to distance themselves from the “more is more” rat race. As the researcher commented:Intrinsic goals tend to be the ones that promote greater well-being and act as a kind of ‘antidote’ to materialistic values.In other words, when people live their lives in concert with their values, they are inoculated against the unyielding lure of luxury.Arthur Brooks says it best:
Love people, not pleasure.