Pop & Bottles Founders Blair Fletcher Hardy and Jash Mehta

Blair Fletcher Hardy and Jash Mehta are the co-founders of Pop & Bottle, the wellness-first coffee brand known for its organic, dairy-free lattes with no refined sugar or junky extras.

Why Chasing Happiness Can Make You Unhappy

We are constantly reminded of the benefits of being happy: Happy people are more successful, have better sex, have more friends, have better bodies—the list goes on. While evidence supports the overall benefits of happiness, research shows that the more we think about happiness and how to pursue it, the less likely we are to find it.

For one, being told how important it is to be happy can lead to feelings of disappointment. Constant analysis of how happy you are undermines the ability to actually experience it. Ordinary moments that don’t deliver extraordinary joy feel like a failure. Another downside of relentlessly pursuing happiness is that it makes people lonely. An emphasis on the individual and on personal gain damages our connections with others. As author Parker Palmer once pointed out, “No one ever died saying, ‘I’m sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I’ve lived.’”

It’s when we contribute to the world and are of service to others that we discover something far more important than moment-to-moment happiness: a sense of meaning and purpose. Today, social pressure to feel happy (and broadcast it on social media) is intense. I have met patients concerned something is wrong with them because they are not happy most or all of the time. What I tell them is to focus less on the pursuit of happiness and more on the pursuit of goodness. Everything else will fall into place. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product.”

This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Marie Claire.

How to Better Advocate for Yourself

"While I’m proud of my accomplishments, I have a hard time talking about them. I think it comes off as bragging or false modesty or that I’m “selling” myself. How can I better advocate for myself?"

Self-promotion can be uncomfortable. In fact, both men and women fear that it might make other people, not like them, but men do it anyway. Women, on the other hand, are often paralyzed by concerns about backlash and being disliked and, as a result, don’t speak up for themselves. While it is certainly true that women who are seen as too boastful or aggressive might be penalized, keeping quiet about what you have done and what you are capable of doing comes at an even greater cost. Research shows that women who do more to make their achievements known are more likely to be promoted, receive greater compensation, and are more satisfied with their careers.

Simply put, don’t let misplaced modesty erode your potential. Here are a few strategies to help you toot your own horn.

1. Stick to the facts:

Use verifiable data like numbers, grades, and awards to demonstrate your accomplishments.

2. Own your success:

As psychologist Corinne Moss-Racusin of Skidmore College in New York observed, “Women tend to give their success away. They’ll say, ‘I was so lucky to work on a good team’ or ‘My adviser really helped me do this project.’ ” While it is important to give others credit, be sure to take credit for your contributions.

3. Channel your inner PR agent:

Think about someone who admires your work and imagine what she might say about you. I did this when I was applying for a promotion at the hospital and found it to be extremely helpful.

4. Check yourself:

Bear in mind that there is a difference between being an advocate for yourself and an insufferable braggart. Making others aware of your hard work will help them get to know you better and also help you get ahead. If you don’t tell them how awesome you are, who will? This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Marie Claire

The Surprising Science of Positive Change

Whenever anyone wants to make some serious changes in their life, conventional wisdom holds that they should focus on one thing at a time. The thinking goes that you will overdo it if you try to make too many changes at once. As a psychiatrist, I have often dispensed the good old “one thing at a time” advice. I would caution my overzealous patients, “You cannot possibly tackle everything at once. First things first. Let’s start with improving your mental health. Then you can tackle the other issues like getting in shape and quitting smoking.” Recent research suggests that this “step-by-step” mindset seriously underestimates our ability to transform ourselves. According to the study, people are capable of multiple simultaneous changes in their mental and physical health and that a comprehensive approach enhances success in all areas. Participants in the study showed dramatic improvements in a number of domains including strength, endurance, flexibility, working memory, standardized test performance, focus, mood, self-esteem, mindfulness, and life satisfaction. The lead researcher, Michael Mrazek, explains:

"Recent research suggests its often more effective to make two or more changes simultaneously, especially when those changes reinforce one another. It's easier to drink less coffee if at the same time you get more sleep. Our intervention extended this logic by helping people make progress in many ways, which can create an upward spiral where one success supports the next.”

The results of the study were described as “clear and striking” and they lasted.  Even six weeks after the study, participants continued to show improvement in all areas. The study makes me optimistic about what is possible for all of us. We are capable of far more than we think and realizing our full potential just might be easier than we ever imagined. William James says it best:

To change one's life:

1. Start immediately.

2. Do it flamboyantly.

3. No exceptions.

buddies, friends, relationships, longevity, reduce risk of death

Are Friends the Key to Longevity?

You need friends. Certainly, eating well, exercising and a healthy lifestyle are known to increase longevity and reduce the risk of death, but research reveals that having a lot of friends contributes to living a long and good life.

The numbers are staggering, actually. Studies show that social connections—friends, family, neighbors and colleagues—improve our odds of survival by 50%.

The following statistics from a recent study put it in perspective. Having few friends and low social interaction is equivalent to:

Smoking 15 cigarettes a day

Being an alcoholic

Not exercising

Twice the harm of obesity

There are many ways through which friends and family influence health in positive ways. As Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a lead researcher of the study, describes:

When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks.

Relationships provide a level of protection for all ages. For children, friends are important to develop emotionally and socially. Having a wide circle of friends is the key to midlife well-being, and an active social network is critical for older adults too. The benefits of being social include reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, Alzheimer’s and depression.

Supportive and strong social networks are good for psychological and physical health. An important caveat—a recent study shows that frequent arguments with family and friends boost the risk of death. In other words, friends are good for you as long as you don’t bicker too much!

Bottom line: Cultivate friendships throughout your life. Treasure the ones you have and be open to making new ones.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.

- Charles darwin

Why Your Partner Should Not Be Your One and Only

Not all stress is created equal. An argument with your significant other has been found to be by far the most upsetting of all daily stressors. As one patient told me, fighting with his wife in the morning sets a negative tone for the rest of the day. He described it as a dark cloud that hangs over him and follows him around until the issue is resolved. In addition to taking an emotional toll, there is a physical cost to relationship disharmony. Negative interactions can impact the immune system and cardiovascular function.   A couple’s therapist might encourage a bickering couple to work on conflict resolution and to spend more quality time together. A recent study offers another important way to protect oneself from the harmful effects of conflict: Having good friends. Researchers at the University of Austin, Texas, asked 105 newlywed couples to keep a daily diary of marital conflict and to complete questionnaires about their social interactions outside of the marriage. The couples provided morning and evening saliva samples so the researchers could measure levels of cortisol, a hormone the body produces in direct association with physiological stress. The findings indicate that having a few good friends to lean on can buffer against the stress of everyday conflict with one’s partner. Participants with high quality social support experienced lower levels of stress when marital conflicts arose. It is worth noting that the number of friends didn’t impact the couple’s ability to handle conflict—it was the quality of the social interactions that counted. Knowing that someone has your back makes every challenge a little bit easier. There is a lesson here.  If you are in a relationship, don’t forget to make an effort with your friends. Having a shoulder to lean on that is outside of your relationship will enhance your connection with your “one and only.” When there is trouble in paradise, you can turn to your friends to help you weather the storm.   Friends don’t just make life better, they make marriages happier.      

FEATURED

SHOP

XOXO Succulents - Show you care with a burst of green.
The Judy Emergency Kit - Be prepared for the unexpected with the "Go-Bag" for two, stocked and ready with everything you'll need on the fly.
Beekeepers Natural Pharmacy - Support your body with the superfood fuel it needs to energize, recover, and stay strong. This bundle contains all the hive power to help keep you fit, active, and healthy this winter.


SIGN UP FOR THE WEEKLY DOSE


Pop & Bottles Founders Blair Fletcher Hardy and Jash Mehta


Blair Fletcher Hardy and Jash Mehta are the co-founders of Pop & Bottle, the wellness-first coffee brand known for its organic, dairy-free lattes with no refined sugar or junky extras.

LATEST

Why Chasing Happiness Can Make You Unhappy

We are constantly reminded of the benefits of being happy: Happy people are more successful, have better sex, have more friends, have better bodies—the...

How to Better Advocate for Yourself

"While I’m proud of my accomplishments, I have a hard time talking about them. I think it comes off as bragging or false modesty or that...

The Surprising Science of Positive Change

Whenever anyone wants to make some serious changes in their life, conventional wisdom holds that they should focus on one thing at a time....
buddies, friends, relationships, longevity, reduce risk of death

Are Friends the Key to Longevity?

You need friends. Certainly, eating well, exercising and a healthy lifestyle are known to increase longevity and reduce the risk of death, but research reveals...

Why Your Partner Should Not Be Your One and Only

Not all stress is created equal. An argument with your significant other has been found to be by far the most upsetting of all...

TWEETS

Meet Whiskey, a border collie and verbal prodigy, who recognizes names for over 54 toys AND the names of different categories of toys. Cannot help but feel a pang of jealousy as my dogs can’t tell the difference between a biscuit and my shoes. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/science/dog-learning-toys.html

Not all chocolate is created equal. Research @HarvardChanSPH found a delicious option that is healthier than the traditional and decadent triple chocolate cake but won't leave you feeling deprived. Read more: http://eepurl.com/gSgjav

Love isn’t spending all your time together. Privacy, boundaries, and a little bit of mystery go a long way.

https://bit.ly/2UoKEZK

Send this to a friend