More About Kasley Killam

Kasley Killam, MPH, is the founder of Social Health Labs, an impact organization that leads programs, events, and content related to social connection, loneliness, and health. She completed a master’s at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she deepened her expertise on these topics, and now partners with organizations at local, state, and national levels on initiatives that aim to reduce isolation and improve social well-being. Kasley regularly contributes articles to publications such as the New York Times, Scientific American, and Psychology Today. Kasley currently serves on the Board of Directors for two nonprofits, is an Encore Public Voices Fellow, and is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Previously, she led a national community engagement strategy and partnerships for Verily Life Sciences, conducted research on mental health and positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and developed an award-winning campaign to promote empathy and compassion. Kasley also has extensive experience working with startups and in healthcare innovation.

Find Kasley here:

https://www.kasleykillam.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kasleykillam/

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Life can be really hard sometimes, but what some research has shown is that even a hard life can be a good one, if we attach the right meaning to it. This post, which is also a podcast episode shares some powerful strategies to increase meaning in your life.

1. Decrease Regret by Taking Action 

You may have listened to the podcast episode with Mauro Gatti where we talk about finding happy news and staying informed in a positive way and not losing hope with all the negative news in the world. One of the best things he said in that episode was this: "There will always be hope as long as there is action. Do you need extra hope in your life? Take action toward the things that you value!

What’s something you can just do today to decrease the regret you would have in the future?

Here are the top 5 regrets of the dying:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself rather than the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier

What can you do to connect with your friends more? How can you arrange your life to work less? How can you be more yourself? What are you doing express your true feelings? How are you deliberately adding to your levels of happiness?

2. Commit Something to Your Life List

I have a list that is growing. I had a bucket list before, but after hearing about Stacy Taniguchi’s 100 LIFE list, I changed the name. I don’t like the focus on avoidance of death or hurrying before you kick the bucket. I like the focus on LIVING and celebrating the life we have now. 

Here are a few things from my LIFE list:

I have two categories: to accomplish and to experience.

In the “to accomplish" category:

  • Get a doctorate degree
  • Write a lastingly relevant book
  • Deliver a TED talk
  • Teach over 10,000 students about how to thrive in life
  • Give my mom a home to live in
  • Become a blackbelt in some martial art

In the “to experience” category:

  • experience Being a dad
  • Experience the summer Olympic Games in person
  • A photographic tour circumnavigating the globe
  • Thank J.K. Rowling in person
  • Swimming next to a whale
  • A bioluminescent beach at night with my camera

Your list will be different than mine, but what I have found is that as I contemplate these experiences and accomplishments that I want to have, it makes me excited to be alive. It brings meaning to the struggle in my life. The hard stuff becomes a little less hard because I’m headed toward something. 

There is a book called The Happiness of Pursuit that I highly recommend. In this book, the author often talks about the importance of always having a “life-affirming quest”. 

What is your life affirming quest? Do you have one right now or are you just kind of floating along? No judgement. I have definitely had some moments of floating along. 

No matter what your job or your current vocation, adding something to your life list can be a catalyst for a life-affirming quest and make your life more meaningful. 

If you have things to live for, you’ll be more likely to live.  

3. Educate Yourself 

Another one of the top regrets of the dying was that they didn’t finish or get enough education that they had wished. 

There are dozens of online resources to move your education forward, even in the little non-deliberate moments during your day. Studies show that you’ll see your life as much more meaningful if you spend time learning something new like a new skill or musical instrument than if you just watch a TV show that you enjoy. Nothing against TV shows you enjoy, but if you want to INCREASE meaning in your life, it’s not the path of least resistance. 

4. Join a Church or Community, or Become a Raving Fan

Belonging is one of the Pilars of meaning and being a part of a community really helps to build the sense of belonging. Some people are very religious and love being a part of a religious or spiritual community. I just took part in a global event for my church that was virtual, but that made me feel a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself even when I was just engaging virtually. 

I’m a part of the greater positive psychology community and I love gathering with others who feel called to help the world become a happier place. Tonight I’m gathering with some of my fellow positive psychology activists. They are my tribe. It feels like a family where I belong. 

I’ve never been a huge fan of any sports team, but I have felt the exhilaration from being a part the roaring crowd like in 1997 when the Jazz played the Bulls in the NBA finals or when Jimmer Fredette was leading BYU to the final four in March Madness or when I was cheering for team USA at the Penn Relays Carnival in the USA vs the world races. It’s a magical feeling to cheer for a team you love. There is something deeply meaningful about it. 

Whether you participate in a church or community or just pick a team to root for, it will increase your sense of belonging, which is a pillar of meaning.  

5. Friendiversaries

View this post on Instagram

F R I E N D S H I P 💫 S P O T L I G H T . Thank you to @morehappylife for this honest reflection of a meaningful (and fun!) friendship. . “Adam and I just celebrated our second friendiversary on July 18th. Adam had the courage to reach out to me after hearing one of my podcasts and we got together for lunch at Gurus in Provo, Utah. It was good to connect with another emotionally mature man. It’s hard to find that sometimes and so it’s nice to have a guy friend who doesn’t just like to talk sports but to talk about how we are doing in life. The good stuff, you know? Not only that but he loves Harry Potter as much as I do. You may notice that we are celebrating our friendiversary with a couple of butter beers 🍻! Friends like Adam are lifesavers when you think you are alone also when you just want to nerd out about why Harry and Jenny Weasley are the worst couple. It takes time and consistency to build new friendships as an adult, but in times like this, it’s worth it.” . #friendship #spotlight #friendiversary #harrypotter #butterbeer

A post shared by By MADISON & KRISTIN (@flourishingfriend) on

One thing I have really enjoyed and that has improved the closeness of some of my newer friendships has been a fun tradition called “friendiversaries”. 

We figure out what day (or pick a day if we can’t figure it out) was the day we met or became friends, and then each year on that same day, we just do something awesome to celebrate our friendship! It’s really quite special.

6. Connect to the Infinite

Hyperion Tree - Aug 2020
Touching the tallest tree on earth - Hyperion. Redwood National Park, Northern California. August 24, 2020

About a month ago, I went on a trip to the Giant Redwood forests of Northern California. One of the things on my life list was to hug the tallest tree on earth. This tree is named Hyperion and it is over 380 feet tall and 800 years old. It was an amazing experience to find this tree and touch and be present with it. Among the thousands of giant Redwood trees, I found myself connecting to something ancient. I took my shoes off and walked barefoot in the forest and just listened. Most of the trees were so tall that I couldn’t see the top and it hurt my neck to try. All of them were too wide to reach all the way around even when me and my wife both connected hands. This was a transcendent experience for me where I was able to spend time with living creatures that were in some cases over 3000 years old! 

I have also had experiences connecting to what I believe is a powerful being that transcends our existence. Benevolent coincidences have happened to me that cause me to ask “why me?” But in a completely positive and grateful way. I know I am a privileged white male, but I also know that there are other things that have happened to me that have nothing to do with any of that. Things so intimate and personal that there is no way it could just be confirmation bias or coincidence. 

Whether you connect through nature, or contemplation of the vast cosmos or praying to some higher power you believe in, do something to invoke awe in your life. This will upgrade your wellbeing and improve your health. You’ll be endowed with energy and purpose to move toward your life-affirming quests and you’ll find peace and positivity to craft a narrative for your life that will fill you up. As you are filled, you’ll be able to connect to and serve other people around you from a place of abundance.   

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of negativity in the news? Do you doomscroll? Well, 2020 is the year of the doomscroll and it can be really hard to avoid the negativity that inundates our digital news feeds. I have spoken about the benefits of taking breaks from the news and the negative impact that constantly watching the news can have on our health. Some choose to avoid the news altogether, but with the constant changes in even our local regulations, you have to be informed.

My guest on today's episode of More Happy Life is Mauro Gatti, the creator of The Happy Broadcast, an anxiety free news broadcast that started as Mauro's way of using his skills as an artist to decrease his own anxiety. He started looking for positive news to balance the negative news. When he combined this with his gift as an artist, The Happy Broadcast was born. He has been illustrating and sharing positive news on social media since 2018 and it is one of the most inspiring Instagram accounts I have ever followed and has grown to over a half-million followers in just a few years because of the powerful positivity that he is spreading. I even did a special episode based on the news on The Happy Broadcast.

I loved my conversation with Mauro and hope you not only listen to our conversation, but that you go follow his inspiring work. We all need a little positivity boost amidst the things that are out of our control. One big takeaway I got from Mauro was to get out and do something. Even if you only watch negative news, do something to be a part of the solution! All the positive news is a result of someone who decided to take action for a good cause.

In our episode we covered a lot:

  • Why Mauro started The Happy Broadcast
  • How hard it is to find positive news (you don't just stumble upon it)
  • The impact doomscrolling has on our health and how to stop doing it
  • Why it's important to stay informed, even amidst the negative news
  • How to have a healthy relationship with the news and social media
  • How to have more hope in the face of seeming doom
  • The secret sauce to a happy life
  • Mauro's dream for the world

My favorite quotes from Mauro:

"Kindness requires action"

- Mauro Gatti

"Staying informed is important, but being overwhelmed by tragedy serves no purpose."

- Mauro Gatti

"Kindness is the secret sauce to live a happy life."

- Mauro Gatti

"There will always be hope as long as there is action."

- Mauro Gatti

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More About Mauro Gatti and The Happy Broadcast

Originally from Italy, Mauro Gatti lives in Los Angeles where everyone surfs except him. Mauro is an award-winning creative director, illustrator and designer who loves pizza, dogs, and imagining things. He also loves to make people happy with his art, because a smile is the cheapest route to happiness.  

Mauro is also the creator of The Happiness Broadcast, where he finds positive news from all over the world and creates art to depict the positive stories. His account on instagram has over 530,000 followers with even more on Facebook and Twitter. He recently published a book that just came out yesterday (September 22nd) and is both pleasing to the eye and inspiring to the soul. 

Buy The Happy Broadcast book here.

Mauro's website: https://www.thehappybroadcast.com/

Find and follow The Happy Broadcast

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_happy_broadcast/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehappybroadcast/

Sexuality and Happiness is a topic I have not discussed on the More Happy Life podcast. I have wanted to for quite some time, but I wanted to introduce it with the right person and I think Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife is the right person. This podcast talks about all things from the foundation of positive psychology research. I think positive sexuality is a really powerful topic for the listeners to hear about and to discuss on social media after hearing this episode. There is so much negativity around sexuality and desire (not just in conservative cultures like the LDS culture) and I am excited to shed a positive light on this topic with an expert. Listen today as we discuss the positive side of sex and our own innate sexuality.Some of the topics we cover:

  • How our sexuality is linked to our wellbeing
  • Why sex can be such a taboo topic and how to make it easier to have safe conversations about it
  • What can help parents in talking to their children about their sexuality and sex
  • Why it's so important to work out your own relationship with your own sexuality as a parent
  • The concept of human embodiment and pleasure
  • How people who believe they are addicted to sexuality can switch from victim to chooser
  • Not just the list of "DON'Ts but also a list of DO's
  • How to view your sexuality as a conservative single who sees themselves as older and not able to express their sexuality outside of marriage

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More about Dr. Finlayson-Fife:

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife is a LDS relationship and sexuality coach as well as a  Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois.  She has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Her teaching and coaching focuses on helping LDS individuals and couples achieve greater satisfaction and passion in their emotional and sexual relationships.In addition to consultation with couples and individuals (in person and online), she teaches online relationship and sexuality courses designed to foster self and sexual development and create happier relationships and individuals.  Dr. Finlayson-Fife also offers many live workshops and retreats for couples and individuals.Jennifer is a frequent guest on LDS-themed podcasts and writes articles for LDS-themed blogs and magazines, on the subjects of sexuality, relationships, mental health and faith.

Find her here:

https://www.finlayson-fife.com/

https://www.instagram.com/finlaysonfife/

When was the last time something really hard happened to you? How did that change your life? Have you healed and moved on from this? Bruce Feiler's research showed that the average adult goes through a major disruptor about every twelve to eighteen months. And that adults face three to five big ones, what Bruce calls “lifequakes,” with an average aftermath of three to five years. This aftermath of disruptors could last over half the life of adults! I feel very strongly to help people going through major transitions and for this reason, I brought Bruce Feiler onto the show. His recent book Life Is In The Transitions is the topic of our discussion today on episode 134.

We talk about the major stages of transitions that and how to best navigate those.

The three stages of transition are:

1. The Long Goodbye

2. The Messy Middle

3. The New Beginning

During these stages there are many common markers or milestones. Bruce gets personal with me in asking me to share more details of something that was a major "lifequake" for me: my divorce. It was amazing how well my experience matched the data that he has been gathering about transitions across the stories of hundreds of people all over the world in the project Bruce has called "The Life Story Project". We discuss how to best share your new self once you have made the decision to say goodbye to the old and we talk about the importance of ritual in transition. We roughly cover many of the following tools for transitioning:

  • Accepting the new you
  • Creating some sort of ritual to help you to symbolize the new you
  • Adding something to yourself like learning a new skill or creating something beautiful in your life.
  • Sharing this new self with others
  • Crafting your new story
  • Surround yourself with people who cheer you on as the new you

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About Bruce Feiler:

A six-time consecutive New York Times bestselling author, presenter of two-prime time series on PBS, the inspiration of NBC’s Council of Dads, and TV host whose two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times, today’s guest, Bruce Feiler (FY-ler), the author of the book Life is in the Transitions, joins me in an amazing episode. You may have read his article The Stories that Bind Us, in the New York Times that went viral in 2013. Friends, I’m blown away at my guests every time and Bruce is now one of my favorite people.

Bruce's Website: https://www.brucefeiler.com

Get Life Is In The Transitions here: https://amzn.to/3ipKlad

For the women listeners who want to support the men in your life, this is the episode for you. For the men who need support from other men or women, listen in. I loved Kristin’s thoughts in this episode to help liberate men to express themselves. Personally, I have struggled to feel comfortable as a man to express myself. I am a very expressive person and it’s hard to know when I can express my true emotions. This conversation was refreshing for me to dive into the barriers to emotional expression that exist in Western Culture for men. We also dived into some amazing topics in positive psychology like gratitude, wonder and awe. I just returned from one of the most awe-inspiring places on earth - the giant redwood forests of Northern California. I thought a lot of Kristin's Stop and Wonder tool.

I hope you tune in to the whole chat with Kristin Petrucci.

Note: This podcast was recorded in 2019 and may have a few anachronistic referrals; please do forgive. However, the content we talk about is lastingly relevant and worth a listen!

More About Kristin Petrucci

Kristin Petrucci received her post graduate positive psychology training from the University of Utah.  She is a Transformational Speaker, Corporate Mindfulness Expert and Positive Psychology Coach.  Her main focus is to help men live victoriously.  She believes that Active Gratitude is the key to Victorious Lifestyle and is the Founder of KP Speaks.  She would love to collaborate and can be found on Instagram @kpspeaks_ and Linkedin

Participate in her pilot study:  www.kp-speaks.com/pilot-study

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In Episode 132, I speak with Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, THE leading researcher on social isolation, loneliness, social connection and how those things impact health. Maybe you have heard the statistic that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day. Well, we dive a little deeper to clarify this notion to include the difference between loneliness and social isolation. We also talk about what a healthy socially connected life might look like. We also cover a few preliminary data points on how the coronavirus pandemic of COVID-19 has had an impact on social isolation and loneliness. Listen here or on your favorite podcast app.

Main points from our conversation:

  • What led Dr. Holt-Lunstad to study social neuroscience and health psychology.
  • What is the definition of an epidemic?
  • Is there actually a loneliness epidemic in the world?
  • What data can back this up?
  • The impact of COVID-19 on loneliness (some data is showing a 20-30% increase in loneliness (due to social distancing).
  • That Gen-Z has the highest prevalence of loneliness (some data shows up to 79% reporting feeling lonely)
  • What is the difference between loneliness and social isolation?
  • Why is social connection so important for our health?
  • How do social connection or social isolation compare to the impacts of well researched things like exercise, sleep, smoking, etc.?
  • What would a healthy socially connected life look like?

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad's advice on how to be happier:

  • Increase social connection and emphasis on your close relationships.
  • Positive relationships are key to a happy life.

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More about Dr. Holt-Lunstad:

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, where she is also the director of the social neuroscience lab. Her research is focused on the long-term health effects of social connection and has been seminal in the recognition of social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for early mortality. Recognized as an expert in the field, Holt-Lunstad has provided expert testimony in the US Congressional Hearing, worked on the US Surgeon General’s Emotional Well-Being in America initiative, served on the advisory group for the UK Cross-Departmental Loneliness Team, and a consensus committee for  National Academy of Sciences. She also serves as scientific advisor for the Australian coalition to End Loneliness, the Foundation for Art & Healing, the Rural Aging Advisory Council, AARP Services Inc. and United Healthcare; and she regularly consults tech companies as well.

Holt-Lunstad has received too many awards to name and is making a positive mark on the world with her research. Her work has been highlighted in the BBC 100 Breakthrough Health Discoveries in 2015 and has been covered in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Scientific American, “This American Life,” the TODAY show, NPR, and many other major media outlets. I am honored to be her TEDx speaker coach for her TED talk, and something we joke about is that her research has been cited in at least 10 other TED talks and dozens of books.

It’s an honor to have Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad on the show and I hope you listen all the way to the end for her advice on how to build a happier life.

Where to find and follow Dr. Holt-Lunstad:

https://twitter.com/jholtlunstad

julianneholtlunstad.byu.edu

Who do you intend to become? Are you satisfied with where you are at right now or do you want to witness a positive evolution inside yourself? If you desire a change, this episode is for you. 

I honestly believe that this has to be one of the most life-changing episodes I have ever recorded because it is jam packed. If you’re like me, you’ll want to re-listen to this one and take notes and then go buy the book because today’s guest goes over some amazing principles about how to create real change inside yourself. 

Today’s guest is Dr. Benjamin Hardy who is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn't Work. From 2015-2018, he was the #1 writer in the world on Medium.com. During that time, he grew his email list from 0 to 400,000 without paid advertising. His blogs have been seen by over 100 million people and have been featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Psychology Today, Cheddar and many others. Ben and his wife Lauren adopted three children from the foster system in February 2018 and one month later, Lauren got pregnant with twins who were born in December of 2018. They live in Orlando.

On a personal note, I had the great opportunity to get to know Ben a little more personally as well and I have witnessed first hand that he is the real deal. He doesn’t just write really amazing blog posts and books and have another life. He lives it. I share a story in the podcast about how Ben’s book Willpower Doesn’t Work changed my life a few years ago and I think that his new book is even more life changing. 

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My Bullet Points From this Episode:

  • Personality tests are no more scientific than a horoscope. 
  • Your identity (how you view yourself and your world) is much more important than your personality. 
  • If you take a personality test and use that label to form a view of your identity, you’ll limit yourself. For example, someone who is given a diagnosis of depression is not “depressed” permanently. People who struggle with depression still feel positive emotions like gratitude, interest, and awe at times. To say they are always depressed because of being labeled “depressed” would be inaccurate. Just like this, labeling yourself according to a personality test is not helpful, nor is it permanent. 
  • If our identity forms our view of the past and can help form our future, why not take control of what helps us to strategically form our own identity instead of letting some test tell us? 
  • “It’s less accurate to say that the past causes the present and it’s more accurate to say that the present causes the past.”
  • Who you are right now and how you view yourself shapes how you view the past
  • What elements and aspects of yourself do you still identify with from 10 years ago? Which do you not? 
  • End of history illusion: We downplay the potential change in the future. Humans are works in progress that think they are finished. We think that who we are is who we actually are.
  • It’s good for decision making to think of your future self as a different person altogether. 
  • You can’t engage in deliberate practice unless you have a future self clearly conceptualized with the skills you’re trying to develop.
  • The future is a more powerful space to begin framing your identity because that’s what you actually have an enormous amount of control over.
  • The future is a great place to begin framing your narrative to talk about who it is you intend to be. 
  • It’s the most authentic thing someone can do - to visualize their future self to form the narrative of their identity. 
  • “If you want to commit to the future, you have to reject the present” - Dan Sullivan
  • Use your imagination and confidence to create a future self that you actually want to become. Psychological flexibility helps you to do this. 
  • Trauma keeps you stuck in the emotions and the identity of your past and it stops you from having confidence and imagination for the future. 
  • Trauma leads to emotional rigidity and black and white thinking. It leads to a fixed mindset rather than being open and seeing new possibilities. 
  • The more extreme the trauma, the less the imagine flexibility for the future, and also the more frozen your personality is in the past. 
  • “You are kept from your goals not by obstacles, but by a clearer path to a lesser goal.”
  • We aren’t willing to go through the obstacles and learning that is involved in becoming our future self. Instead we are just pursuing a lesser goal, because a lesser goal is easier to conceptualize, it’s less complex and it requires less confidence. 
  • Personality for most people is a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with the emotional problems and traumas of their past.   - Gabor Mate
  • If you’re intentional and courageous about actively seeking and becoming that future self then you’re going to have peak experiences.
  • Peak experiences are moments that reframe your identity and perception.
  • Peak experiences allow you to not overly defend your view of yourself and also your view of the world. 
  • You have to unlearn aspects of how you currently see yourself and the world. 
  • Trauma
    • One of the reasons why something is traumatic is because you have internalized it in a certain way and haven’t released it and let it go. 
    • If you expose yourself to something you’re avoiding it stops being emotional and starts being informational. The past is flexible and useful when it is information and not emotion. 
    • Math trauma - someone told you at some point “you’re not good at that” and that hurt you emotionally and you believed it. And then instead of pursuing it through obstacles, you pursue a different path to a lesser goal. 
    • If you have a negative emotional reaction - which is involved in trauma - and you don’t let that out - talk about it and reframe it, then how you view math (or whatever you have trauma about) is going to be from the lens of that experience and the emotion of that experience. This leads you to not wanting to deal with it - to avoiding it. 
    • “Trauma isn’t what happens to you. It’s what you hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” - Peter Levine
    • Trauma is the story that you conceptualize about yourself in the absence of an empathetic witness. 
    • You need an empathetic witness to help you reframe it. 
    • “You’re as sick as your secrets.”
    • Trauma is the core cause that leads to addiction. 
    • Addiction is a strategy. It’s a solution to avoiding pain or truths that you don’t want to deal with. 
    • Coaching: You build trust and then you encourage people to do things that are scary. 
    • You want to be around people who can help you be courageous 
    • Trauma stops you because you stop at the level of whatever the trauma was and you stop imagining a future and pursue some future that you may or may not have chosen but that feels less painful. 
    • Most peoples’ stories are reactions to negative experiences. Not intentional emotionally regulated decisions about how we are going to choose to view this thing. 
  • Whatever a person’s goal is, in order for them to get from where they are too where they want to go, they have to have those types of experiences that you just described - they need to have a “subconscious-enhancing experience” The situation was above your confidence level so it required courage. You were striving to act as your future self. 
  • As people age, they become less open to novelty and they become less open to intensity. 
  • Experiences that push us toward our desired future self have these three things: 
    • Novelty
    • Intensity
    • In the direction of your future self
  • “Personality is an effect, it’s not a cause.” The ultimate cause are the goals we set. Those things form our identity and our identity dictates how we see the world and then we act in the world, what we attend to and who we surround ourselves with and those repeated actions and behaviors ultimately reflect what becomes of our personality. 
  • It’s up to you how intentional you want to be about refining the goal and the vision and defining the future self and then the willingness to to go through the emotional rigors of learning 

Books and people mentioned in the episode:

More About Personality Isn't Permanent

Personality Isn’t Permanent debunks the pervasive myths of personality that have captured pop culture. For example, personality tests like Myers-Briggs and Enneagram are not only psychologically destructive but are no more scientific than horoscopes. Personality Isn’t Permanent provides science-based strategies for reframing past memories, becoming the scribe of your identity narrative, upgrading your subconscious, and redesigning your environment. Science proves you are going to change throughout your life. You might as well be intentional about that change.

How do you make friends as an adult? And if you have made a friend, how can you keep them and strengthen that friendship? In today's episode we talk about the importance of friendship as an adult as well as how to build and strengthen friendship in our lives. I interviewed Kat Vellos, the author of the amazing book We Should Get Together, on these things, and I'm very excited to share this with you.

What are the biggest barriers to friendship?

  • Constant relocation
  • Full schedules
  • The demands of partnership and family
  • Declining capacity for intimacy and compassion in the age of social media

We talked about a lot of practical ways to overcome these obstacles in the interview.

We talked about Dr. Jeffrey Hall at the University of Kansas conducted research that showed that it takes approximately 200 hours to go from strangers to really close friends. When was the last time you spent 200 hours with someone? How many people can you say you have spent 200 hours with in the last 5 years?

This is a fascinating interview and I hope you not only listen to this interview, but pick up Kat's book! I have it now and have devoured it! It is an amazing book with such charming illustrations and memorable stories and the best part is that it is packed with tips on how to build and strengthen friendships. Do you feel like you need more friends right now? This is the perfect book (and podcast episode) for you!

A few tips when making a new friend:

  • Ask yourself: What kind of friend are you looking for?
  • What do you love and feel passionate about? Where are people who are also passionate about those things?
  • Have courage to ask a potential friend for their number
  • Follow up with people!
  • When you say 'we should get together', take out your phone, open your calendar, ask the other person when they want to connect again. Don't let those friendship sparks fizzle and fade away.

More about Kat

Kat Vellos is the author of We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships as well as Connected From Afar, A Guide to Staying Close When You're Far Away. She is a user experience designer, facilitator, and community creator. She’s researched, designed, and advised on the user experience of countless flows in digital products serving millions of people at companies like Slack and Pandora. With her debut book, We Should Get Together, she’s turned her expertise in user research and experience design towards helping people live healthier lives through the cultivation of more fulfilling platonic relationships.

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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In this episode we talk about increasing resilience through listening. We go into depth on many ways this is possible, but the one we really focus a lot on is getting present with our body. I loved this conversation. It calmed me down and I hope that it helps to calm you down as well. Here are some of the topics we covered:

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More about Leslie Santos:

In practice for over seven years, Leslie Santos is a psychological archeologist, mindset cartographer and champion of the life-thirsty. She studied positive psychology under Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. It was while working with Seligman that she discovered how childhood adversity affects adult behaviors, an epic realization that catalyzed her mission and compelled her forward.Her working model is that all humans experience childhood hardship and through this adversity protective adaptations are formed. Left unresolved, these adaptations become maladaptive in adulthood and block our momentum forward: every earnest step toward our desire is countered by an equal force in the opposite direction. These findings led to the development of her resilience process, designed for 1:1 mentorship and corporate human development for enlightened leaders.

Find Leslie here:

Website: https://www.benddontbreak.me/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesliesantos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leslie_santos/

Talking to strangers may seem like an anxiety producing task, but not if you have a place that is set aside to be friendly with your community. Today's episode highlights community activist Lyndsey Young, the founder of The Friendly Bench, CIC.

In this episode we discuss why loneliness and social isolation are so hard and bad for your health as well as what can be done to overcome these things. We then talk about the story behind The Friendly Bench and why having a place where you can create deliberate connection is critical for a community.

More about Lyndsey and The Friendly Bench

Lyndsey Young at The Friendly Bench. Photo Credit: Toby Roberts

Lyndsey Young is the founder of award-winning The Friendly Bench CIC, a movement to tackle loneliness, social isolation and community disconnectedness using innovative outdoor social spaces that reconnect people back to their own community. Lyndsey created The Friendly Bench™ after suffering from loneliness and social isolation herself. Bringing together her extensive design knowledge and experience of working on nature and wellbeing projects, The Friendly Bench™ was born. Being closer to nature, active social spaces and bringing people together is what it’s all about – with community at its core.

Winning support from the UK’s Prime Minister; Loneliness Minister, Baroness Diana Barran, and national charities and campaigns tackling loneliness, as well as being featured in New York Times, Huffington Post and Reuters, The Friendly Bench™ network is growing, with further The Friendly Benches launching across the UK this year, The Friendly Bench CIC is also in talks with organisations in Australia and Canada to expand overseas.

I loved learning about The Friendly Bench from Lyndsey and I loved her kind optimism and gentle goodness. I really love what Lyndsey is doing because it’s not just trying to build awareness around loneliness and social isolation, but she is ACTING to make a change.

Article where I first read about The Friendly Bench: Let’s wage a war on loneliness.

Website: https://www.thefriendlybench.co.uk/

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/thefriendlybench/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheFriendlyBench/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/friendly_bench

Have you ever felt lonely? Unfortunately, most people would answer yes. There is a loneliness epidemic going on in the world today and I am on a mission to help fight against it. So is Rite of Passage designer and TEDx speaker, Baya Voce. As I was researching loneliness, I found Baya's TEDx talk (with over 4 million views) on a simple cure for loneliness. This intrigued me and I knew we had to chat. It just so happened that serendipity wanted us to chat as well. My friend and former More Happy Life podcast guest, Doug Cartwright (see episode 120) happens to be friends with Baya and we got on the phone and made this episode a reality. We talked about some really life-changing principles here:

  • Micro and Macro Transitions
  • How to experience Grief and Gratitude simultaneously
  • Rituals to help with grief and transition
  • Loneliness and how to deal with it
  • Connecting with our inner wisdom to find the answers we need

Baya also shares a never-before-published story of how she was able to use ritual to get through a major heart break that began on the TEDx stage. If you are going through something hard right now, you should listen to this episode. If you have ever gone through a major transition, you should listen to this episode.If you have ever felt lonely, you should listen to this episode. Don't miss this one!

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More about Baya Voce

Baya Voce - More Happy Life

Baya Voce is a Rite of Passage Designer, helping people turn their life transitions into rites of passage through ritual and ceremony.

She's known for designing and facilitating experiences ranging from two-person rituals and 20-person Jeffersonian-style dinners to 100+ person women's circles, elaborate 1,000+-person theatrical productions, and conferences at places like Lincoln Center.

Her TEDx talk on loneliness is one of the most-viewed of all time with over 4 million views. Baya has produced experiences in conjunction with brands like Lyft and Google Fiber, and has been featured by ABC, Fox, MTV, and SXSW for her perspective on human connection, given her prior years as a successful matchmaker. You can connect with her online at www.bayavoce.com or on @baya_voce on instagram. 

The future of work will be determined more by how we feel than how we are paid. This was said by Don Rheem in his TEDx talk given in 2018. I was sitting on the front row, riveted by his speech. I couldn't wait until it was edited and on YouTube so that I could start sharing it with my colleagues and manager.

There isn't a labor surplus anymore and there likely won't be one for a while. What this does it it enables employees to choose between the best jobs. There are more unfilled jobs in America than there are unemployed people to fill those jobs, and it will likely be this way for at least the next 20 years.

This is why it is so important for managers to prioritize making the workplace a place where their employees feel good. Listen to today's episode to learn more about how to be a manager who can do that as well as an employee who can find a job that you love.

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More about Don Rheem

Find and follow Don Rheem here:

His Book: Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience That Drives High-Performance Cultures

His Website: https://www.e3solutions.com/

His TEDxTalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/don_rheme_how_can_work_save_our_relationships

Don's Bio:

Don Rheem is an author and CEO of E3 solutions, a provider of employee workplace metrics which allows organizations to build engaged, high-performance cultures. He focuses on using science-backed research to consult with leaders at all levels within an organization. He is a former science advisor to both Congress and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. I first saw him speak at TEDxBYU a few years ago and you can find his ted talk by searching YouTube or TED.com for “Can Work Save our Relationships?” He is also the author of the book Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience The Drives High-Performance Cultures, published by ForbesBooks.

Do you get distracted? Do you struggle to stay on task and get taken down the digital rabbit hole more often than you would like? If the answer is yes, you're not alone.

With all the technology that exists, if you aren't deliberate about what you allow into your life, you'll be bombarded. One study showed that the average US smartphone user receives 46 app push notifications per day!

I have experienced the overwhelm and frustration that comes from coming to the end of the day and realizing that I haven't spent enough time on the things that I valued most. This is what I love about Nir Eyal's newest book: Indistractable.

In my interview with Nir Eyal, we discuss that the source of our distraction may not be an undiagnosed case of ADHD, but that it is actually discomfort. And the critical factor for me was when he talked about matching our values with our calendars. Why? Because if we actually remember the values that are driving our calendar, it's easier to do the things we plan. Otherwise, if our calendars do not align with our values, we will constantly be drawn away from them by even the smallest "shiny object" in our view (or our notifications).

This was a game changer for me!

How can you do this? Well, read the book! Also, here is an exercise the book inspired me to create for myself:

  1. Write down the things that you value most in life.
  2. Write down all the activities you actually have in your schedule and see which of those align with the values on your list.
  3. Now write down things that you still highly value, but that are NOT on your schedule in any form.
  4. Practice gratitude for the things on your list of scheduled items that already align with your deepest desires.
  5. Add more items to your calendar that actually align with your values.
  6. Let go of 3 things that DON'T align with your values (cancel, reschedule, reprioritize).

This exercise is life changing. Too many people feel down and get distracted on Monday (or any day) because they haven't aligned their values with their schedule.

Is this you? Why do you keep doing things that don't align with your values?

STOP IT!

Align with your values and be more happy!

If you don't take anything else from the interview, remember this quote:

Time management is pain management. If you struggle as I did with not doing what you say you're going to do every day, this is a problem of emotional regulation. It is an impulse control problem. You're not broken. There's nothing wrong with you. You're not a bad person. It just means you don't have the skill set to deal with that discomfort in a healthful manner and that's really why I wrote my book Indistractable.

Most people tend to fall into two groups when it comes to distraction.We have what we call “the blamers” (the blamers say "it's this technology. It's the modern world. It's my iPhone its Facebook. It's email doing it to me." Then we have what's called “the shamers” - the shamers say "something's wrong with me. I'm so lazy. I'm not very good at this job." Ironically when we induce shame we create more of those internal triggers which make us even more likely to seek distraction to take our mind off of those uncomfortable emotional states.

Nir Eyal

Don't be a blamer or a shamer. Just align with your values and turn your time into values. Make sure you listen to this episode and READ THIS BOOK!

If you want to provide a link in the show notes, it’s: NirAndFar.com/Indistractable

The schedule maker tool Nir mentioned is here: https://nirandfar.com/schedule-maker/

Related article: https://www.nirandfar.com/skill-of-the-future/

And distraction guide here: https://www.nirandfar.com/distractions/

Habits vs routines article here: https://www.nirandfar.com/habits/

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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Learn More about Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal - Indistractable

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.”

Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business ReviewTechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Product HuntMarco PoloPresence Learning7 CupsPanaKahoot!Byte FoodsFocusMate, and Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify).

Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.

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In episode 123, I speak with Stacy Sherman about the power of a transformational customer experience. Everyone is used to interacting with a business in a transactional way, but when a business can make a transaction into a transformation, that's when magic happens!

In our conversation we discuss how to make this happen by starting at the top and moving down. If the executives are seeking to increase their own wellbeing, they will naturally desire to make the wellbeing of their employees a priority. And when the employee wellbeing and happiness becomes a priority, it can impact the bottomline in a tangible way.

In other words, customer satisfaction begins with employee satisfaction and employee satisfaction begins with executive wellbeing.

We also discussed how a business can create a "wow moment" by simply connecting with their customers. I shared an example of going to Smashburger on my wedding day and being wowed and she shared an experience she had of being wowed during an experience with the owner of The Lodge at Woodloch who made a genuine connection with her and her family. It seems simple, but it's powerful and it keeps customers talking. Here I am talking about Smashburger and Woodloch!

Stacy's advice for people who want to have a more happy life:

"Be intentional and purposeful about how you experience your day"

Stacy Sherman

She does this with an app she uses called The Five Minute Journal that prompts you to record your intentions for the day, what you're grateful for, what you will do to make your day go well, and how you could have improved the day. It's the simple things! If you don't already have a journaling routine to boost positive emotion, this sounds like a good app.

She also emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who support your goals and who don't deflate your confidence. This is critical!

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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Learn more about Stacy

Stacy Sherman
Stacy Sherman

Stacy Sherman is known for expertise in designing & implementing successful Customer-Centric programs that differentiate Business (B2B) & Consumer (B2C) brands beyond price. She coaches individuals & leads teams to deploy best in class methodologies & closed-loop processes. She’s currently Director, Customer Experience (CX) & Employee Engagement at Schindler Elevator Corporation (USA), where she’s contributing to record-breaking Net Promoter (NPS) results, Y/Y revenue growth & portfolio protection. Recent accomplishments: 2019 Finalist “CX Leader of the Year” and “CXPA Impact” awards.

Besides CX, Stacy’s led Digital Marketing & Website Conversion Optimization for reputable brands of all sizes & budgets including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Martha Stewart, ADP, Wilton and more. She’s produced multi-billion dollar sales while increasing customer satisfaction (C-Sat) and Effort scores within cost per acquisition targets.

Find and follow Stacy here:

Doing CX Right

LinkedIn

Twitter

Instagram

Forbes

Stacy's views are her own in this episode.

Here is an example of when employees love their job and how it impacts customer experience:

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In today's episode I interview #1 New York Times best-selling author, Richard Eyre about his new book The Happiness Paradox. Richard's experience is that there are three main obstacles to happiness and joy:

  • Control
  • Ownership
  • Independence

When we are obsessed with seeking after these alone, it will be a never ending cycle of ultimate dissatisfaction. However there is a way to sustainable happiness according to Richard. To replace these three with three others:

  • Serendipity
  • Stewardship
  • Synergicity (synergy and synchronicity)

We go into more detail about how you can move from control to serendipity, from ownership to stewardship, and from independence to synergicity. It's a beautiful conversation that really helps tap into some core issues we face when we want a more happy life.

In addition, Richard made some special offers to all of the More Happy Life listeners!

1.  To get Happiness Paradox for 40% off and with free shipping just go to https://familius.com/eyre-special and use the access code ANDYFRIEND

2.  Check out the Instagram of the Eyres here https://www.instagram.com/richardlindaeyre/

3.  If you're interested in their books on parenting, go to Valuesparenting.com or go to EyresFreeBooks.com is where you can see the list of all their books and get most of them free online or go to Theeyres.com.

More about Richard and Linda Eyre:

Richard and Linda Eyre
Richard and Linda Eyre

New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Linda and Richard Eyre have seen their books sell in the millions and be translated into more than a dozen languages. Appearing on virtually every national talk show, including Oprah, Today, and CBS This Morning, the Eyres have also spoken and presented throughout the U.S. and in more than 60 countries. They are known for their teachings on parenting and have recently come out with a new book about happiness. Naturally, I wanted to talk to them about the book and I was lucky enough to get Richard on the phone for a very serendipitous conversation.

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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If you feel like you are not enough or that your life needs to change for you to be happier and healthier, Episode 120 is for you. In this episode I interview the founder of The Daily Shifts, Doug Cartwright. The Daily Shifts is an app that encourages you to engage with your mind and body in a way that can turn your day around. In this episode we talk about so many amazing things:

  • The power of loving kindness meditation
  • Breathing: Inhale in for 2, Hold for 2, Exhale for 2
  • The power of Gratitude
  • The importance of knowing how to manage your energy
  • "In less than two minutes you can totally change your energy"
  • The power of transitions to boost or suck our energy
  • "The number one most important decision I've made was I surrendered my life to the universal flow of the planet."
  • Surrender to the universe, AND show up everyday the best you can.
  • A powerful mindset: "Life is happening FOR you and not TO you."
  • We get back what we put out into the world
  • Transformative journalism with Michelle Gielan (25:15)
  • Unfollow negative news and people who are spreading negativity and replace with positivity
  • How to vote when you don't follow the news (ask trusted friends and then use iSideWith.com to save a year of contention and negativity energy suck.
  • The loneliness epidemic (31:45) is based in the belief of "I'm not enough"
  • We are here on earth to do two things: Create and Connect
  • To have a more happy life create a routine ritual to connect with your intuition and higher self (37:25)

Sign up for The Daily Shifts at https://www.thedailyshifts.com/ and if you sign up for premium membership, you'll also get The Daily Shifts course that is worth $500. This is an amazing deal exclusive to More Happy Life listeners!

More about Doug:

Doug Cartwright - Founder of The Daily Shifts

Doug Cartwright is the founder of a new app called The Daily Shifts that helps you to ritualize daily physical and mental shifts to improve your health and happiness. Doug has an amazing story of going from being one of the top sales reps at Vivint, selling over 300 accounts per year having made over a million dollars by the time he was 25. Then he came to a point in his life where he realized he wanted something more than just making more money and buying more things. In today’s episode he shares the transformation of how he found his new purpose in creating daily shifts in his own mind and body through connecting to his intuition.

Follow Doug Cartwright:

https://www.instagram.com/thedailyshifts/

https://www.instagram.com/doug_cartwright/

Other people mentioned in this episode:

Alicia Gettys

Jenna Nascimento

Michelle Gielan

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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HOW TO ACCESS YOUR HIGHEST SELF

There was once a girl

With a hole in her heart.

Little Love was her name.

Where was she to start?

It was not of her doing.

She was not to blame.

But the hole in her heart

Was there just the same.

In this interview, Rose Stanek and I talk about how easy it is to get caught up in allowing other people to tell us what our worth is. However, we never should forget that it is ultimately the love we have for ourselves that is most important. This beautiful truth is illustrated in a new children's book called Little Love.

More about the book: Join Little Love on her path to self-discovery where she meets Beauty and Fame, and learns the true value of her self-worth. Written for children, but with a timeless message for the child in all of us, Little Love reaffirms the importance of self-acceptance in life's journey toward love, joy, and friendship.

More about Rose:

Rose Stanek (right) with her book Little Love

Rose Stanek is an award winning graphic designer, interior designer, and now children's book author who is actually a full-time Amazonian (she works for Amazon). She is the mother of two cow cats, Monty and Tyson, and calls the Pacific Northwest home. She loves creative storytelling, and empowering others to live their dreams.

To find Rose's book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PEGyKu

See her website here: https://rosestanek.com

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Have you ever experienced something difficult or traumatic? If you're listening to this, the answer is probably yes. I believe that a huge part of happiness is the skillset we have built up that enables us to bounce back from the difficult things that happen to us. A few weeks ago, I went to the TEDxSLC event and saw Em Capito speak about what she calls "resiliency field trips." These are adventurous experiences that encourage us to get out of our comfort zone and do something intentional to challenge ourselves. It includes curiosity, fun and adventure. As a psychotherapist, Em has been helping people to have these experiences and has found that with those who have done them, a sharp decline in fear occurs. In order to qualify as a resiliency field trip, it has to have the following:

1. New - when we introduce novelty, our brain will be more likely to remember it. This is why travel is often so memorable.

New - Resiliency Trips with Em Capito

2. Slightly scary - Step out of your comfort zone to push the limits of what you currently believe you are capable of.

Resiliency Trips with Em Capito

3. Intentional - This must be something you value or something that excites you. 

Adventure trip
Picture by Nina Uhlikova

Intentional discomfort is important to engage in if we want to overcome anxiety or make progress toward goals that we deeply value, but we are afraid to accomplish.

In this interview we talk about why it is so hard to get outside of our comfort zone and why it is so important. 

I had a blast chatting with Em and I hope you find out even more about her in the information below!

Andy Proctor and Em Capito at Kiln's podcast studio
Me and Em in the podcast studio at Kiln talking about Resilience!

More about Em Capito:

Em Capito

Em Capito is an unconventional psychotherapist obsessed with the widespread loss of resilience in the face of overwhelming comfort. While studying her own trauma from the inside out, Em embarked on a series of experiments that led to a prescription of intentional discomfort. Em blends these experiential interventions with meditation and yoga therapy to build the holistic mind-body resilience that carries us through our darkest moments. She completed a master’s degree in social work at the University of Utah in 2007 and a masters in business administration at the University of Phoenix in 2011. Em is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a certified LifePower yoga teacher, and a Dharma Method meditation teacher with a private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Find and follow Em here:

https://www.instagram.com/emcapito/

https://emcapito.com/fridays

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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"Everyday make a meaningful contribution in the life of one human being."

Dr. Adam Moore

Today I interview the very knowledgable Dr. Adam Moore. We talk about how we go about making a change happen in our life. He relates changing to launching a rocket into space to escape the world's gravity. The elements are:Institute a unique approach Believe and Hope that you actually can change. Create Traction with Small Wins and ritualize it so that it sticks Acknowledge and celebrate that you have made the change Make it social so you stick to the change

He also gives some key advice on how to be happier today:Find one or two people that you really connect with and invest in those people Everyday make a meaningful contribution in the life of one human being. 

This is a great episode. Don't miss it!

My awesome guest Dr. Adam Moore:

Dr. Adam Moore
Dr. Adam Moore

Other places to find Adam:

Dr. Adam Moore's Website

Adam On Instragram

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How do you empower people to empower other people? The more I talk to people about positive psychology, the more I realize that the thing that most people want to know is how they can become a change agent themselves. In this episode, I interview Louis Alloro, a shining star in applied positive psychology who I had the honor of learning from for seven months during my time studying at The Flourishing Center in Los Angeles. Louis and I talk about how to really create sustainable positive change in an organization through systems. We also talk about the following topics:

  • Listening to what your heart and body need.
  • Being the change is starting with yourself
  • The best way to help others is by starting by helping yourself
  • Self care is health care and it is not selfish
  • Fill your cup, have fun, be still
  • Louis' focus on integrity and how important it is to be true to yourself first "the universe hears what you mean, not what you say"
  • Give yourself permission to be human and be present with what is.
  • As a leader, we should envision the best possible futures for our people and remember the people in the middle as integral agents of change. The best leaders see others as co-leaders and the boss doesn't have all the answers.
  • Don't wait for something to be different to be happy now. Your happiness will boost you along the way to your goals.

So much goodness came from this episode. It was an amazing conversation that I wish could have only been longer. Please listen and share with your friends who want to lead the change that they want to see in the world!

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

More Happy Life on Apple Podcasts.

More Happy Life on Google Play.

More Happy Life on Overcast.

More Happy Life on Pocket Casts.

More Happy Life on Spotify

More Happy Life on Google Podcasts

More about Louis Alloro:

For over a decade, Louis has been working as a change-agent (coach, trainer and facilitator) in organizational, community, and city wide interventions. Louis is co-founder of The Flourishing Center’s Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) program which has trained close to 2,000 practitioners since 2012. He is one of the first 100 people in the world to earn a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania where he developed a framework for social-emotional leadership. Today, he consults in learning organizations to optimize culture, wellbeing, engagement, and performance using scientifically informed tools and strategies. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary research and teaching center whose mission is to catalyze human wellbeing by promoting the science and practices that lead to lives of vitality, purpose, and resilience.  He is currently pursuing his PhD in positive organizational psychology and social impact evaluation at Claremont Graduate University. His new partnership is with Michelle McQuaid with whom he is launching a new program this fall: Certificate in Creating Positive Change, a 12 week program for change agents to learn some of the tools and frameworks that make facilitating positive change more effective, supportive and fun! 

You can find Louis here:

Connect with Louis and Michelle McQuaid at The Change Lab.

Connect with Louis at The Flourishing Center.

Connect with Louis on his website.

Like this episode or article? Never miss another post by subscribing to the podcast and the free newsletter. Also follow us on Instagram and Facebook

Want to listen to this podcast in your favorite podcast app? Click on your favorite one here:

More Happy Life on Apple Podcasts.

More Happy Life on Google Play.

More Happy Life on Overcast.

More Happy Life on Pocket Casts.

More Happy Life on Spotify

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Do you want to boost your energy without having to pound another RedBull or going for the afternoon cup of Joe? This episode is for you. A lot of people struggle with fatigue, or are just sapped of energy on a regular basis. I believe that increasing energy is one of the most powerful ways to have a more happy life and I want to share things that can help you boost your energy without caffeine.First, a word on caffeine. I don’t have anything against caffeine other than that it was the stimulant that triggered my first panic attack ever. So ever since then, I have chosen not to consume caffeine to boost my energy and I have had to find other ways to keep me awake when I’m having a tired day. The other thing is that caffeine doesn’t actually produce energy in your body. It is a stimulant. It basically tricks your brain into thinking that you have energy, but it doesn’t actually have the building blocks of energy that your body needs.So here are some ways to boost energy without having to rely on that cup of Joe every day.

1. Hydration

If your urine is not pale yellow or straw colored, you need more water. Dehydration can suck your energy, make you moody and even cause joint and muscle pain.

2. Move more

Stretching or simple yoga, dance, go for a walk.

3. Eat smaller meals more often

Instead of 3 meals, eat smaller meals more often. This helps keep blood sugar levels steady. Avoid large amounts of sugar and fat (AKA most baked goods).

4. Optimize your Breathing

Increasing oxygen flow to your body is an amazing trick to help you feel energized. Yoga can really make you feel energized at the end, not just because you are stretching and moving, but because you have been focused on breathing the whole time. I recently used a device to measure my breathing while I wasn’t thinking about it and found that my breathing was quite shallow while I work and most of the time. This isn’t always a bad thing - research shows that breathing while you are in an intense focus is more shallow and frequent than when you are sleeping, for instance, but it was very interesting to be given a reminder to breathe deeply when I hadn’t for over an hour.

5. Sleep better

Adults should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, and should never drop below 6 hours consistently. I have been using a sleep tracker that tells me how I’m doing in my sleep habits. Some studies show that you can develop what researchers call sleep debt and sleep credit. If you have been consistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you might be accumulating sleep debt that can be very bad for energy and for all kinds of things.Make sure your room is dark, cool, and quiet. If you can’t keep it quiet, try introducing a gentle white noise that can drown out noises that may disrupt sleep cycles.Don’t just set a wake up alarm, set a wind-down alarm or two to help remind you to start winding down for the night.If you need help winding down and sleeping better, check out my evening routine for boosting positive emotion here.

6. Eat Things that will boost energy

Raw cacao (I like nibs)

Chia seeds

Eat more spinach (or food with B-vitamins). These help you convert nutrients you eat into energy

7. Decrease Your allostatic load

Any spikes in stress increase cortisol and adrenaline in your blood. This increases your allostatic load, which overtime if you are constantly stressed or anxious, can be exhausting. 

What can you let go of today? What can you include that decreases stress? Who can you connect to today? 

Mindfulness can decrease your allostatic load. One study showed that LKM for just 10 minutes a day altered the size of the amygdala in the brain (which is primarily responsible for perception of threats and spikes in anxiety).

8. Connect to your Purpose and Values

Stress comes from constantly spending effort on something that you do not value. 

Energy comes when you set intention toward something that you deeply value and that you believe is helping you accomplish your purpose in life. 

Look at the activities you engage in each day and ask yourself, “how is this connected to what I value most?” Or “is this something that is helping me connect to my purpose in life?” 

In her book The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal talks about how we can convert threat-based stress into challenge-based stress by connecting the stressful event to something you deeply value. When stress turns from threat to challenge, instead of being sapped by stress, you are energized by it. This is one of the upsides of stress, according to Dr. McGonigal.

9. Rock out to your favorite tunes

Belting out your favorite song gives you a lift, according to a study in the Journal of Music Therapy. Researchers measured people’s arousal levels after singing along or just listening to one song and found that the subjects felt more energetic after crooning. Hitting those high notes requires some effort, triggering a stress response that gives you a boost, the researchers say. Too shy to sing? Tapping along to a song can have the same effect.

10. Connect to People You Love

There is a story of a man who was doing a service mission in the South Pacific who got caught in a storm while sailing between two islands. His boat capsized. He was thrown into a relentless ocean and the storm wasn’t letting up. His energy was sapped and he started to think that it was over for him. He even began thinking about what people would think when they heard he had died at sea. Then he remembered his girlfriend who had been sending him letters from the United States. He knew her love for him and believed deeply in this connection. As he thought of this love, something inside of him took strength and he was given the energy to keep swimming and save his life. 

Who loves you? When was the last time you connected with them? Can you connect with them and reach out to them to boost your energy? You also might help boost their energy too. 

11. Look forward

What are you looking forward to?

Having something to look forward to can boost your energy and increase positive anticipation. If you don’t have something already to look forward to, add something to your calendar right now. You deserve it and it will boost your energy. 

 


When was the last time you felt overwhelmingly happy? When I have asked this to people in the past, it has almost always paired with a time when they were having fun. We have talked about play before (episode 105), and in this episode Mike differentiates play from fun and shares some great tips on how we can fit more fun into our every day life. 

He tells the story of how he got into researching fun in the first place and talks about how fun can really have an impact on our wellbeing. He expounds on his play model (found here: https://michaelrucker.com/having-fun/optimize-having-fun-play-model/) and shows us how we can optimize the fun that we are already having. 

Mike Rucker, PhD

Find Mike here: 

His website.

https://www.instagram.com/thewonderoffun/

His Facebook here.

Dr. Mike Rucker is a charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association, as well as a member of the American Psychological Association. Mike is a frequent contributor to national press such as Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and CIO on topics related to well-being. Mike has spent the last few years studying the construct of fun and is coming out with a book on the subject in the summer of 2020. He has also published in peer-reviewed journals covering topics from employee well-being to ethics.

Businesses and brands have an amazing opportunity to create a positive experience for people who interact with them. Scott is on a mission to help businesses to create more happiness in the world through optimal customer experience. In today's episode, I speak with Scott Porter about how he has taken his passion for street tacos and combined it with his passion for fantastic customer experience. He believes that we can make the world a happier place by increasing the amount of positive customer experiences. He has started with his artisan churro business San Diablo Artisan Churros, and is now interviewing CEOs about how they make positive customer experience a priority. Scott says we are moving from a transactional economy into a relationship economy and that every relationship touchpoint is critical for your business to thrive. 

Listen to episode 104 here:

Find Scott Porter here:

Website: 

http://searchfortheperfecttaco.com

Instagram: 

https://www.instagram.com/searchfortheperfecttaco/

https://www.instagram.com/Tacoincidence/

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottcraigporter/

Scott Porter has eaten thousands of tacos in a relentless worldwide search for the perfect taco where he's found the secrets to unlocking the power of brand and customer experience to thrive. He founded and currently owns and operates Utah's only gourmet churro business, San Diablo Artisan Churros — delivering deep-fried happiness to over 1,500 celebrations since late 2016 and winning back-to-back Best of State for pastries. Scott is a seasoned entrepreneur and leader having been the executive director of two nursing homes and a home health agency, co-founded as the CMO the first all-you-can-fly membership airline called Surf Air, co-founded and launched the game of Reverse Charades, co-founded an international non-profit organization called Singular Humanitarian and has been a management consultant with Gartner (formerly CEB), InsideOut Development and General Assembly.  He holds a B.A. in public relations and an M.B.A. in international business, marketing and entrepreneurship both from BYU as well as an M.A. in Spanish from California State University-Sacramento. Scott was born in Arizona, raised in Canada, is from Las Vegas and has lived and worked in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and Mexico. 

There are networkers and then there are super connectors. Scott is one of the very few gifted super connectors that I know. He is just an all-around amazing person who exudes positive vibes and I’m stoked to have him on the show. Don't miss this episode!

How often do you play?


Do you feel like you need permission to play as an adult?
Do you need a breakthrough in your life? Play might just be the exact thing you need to make that happen. Jeff Harry and I discuss why this is the case in this amazing episode (#105 of the More Happy Life podcast) about the transformational power of play.


Jeff Harry has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day. His play work has been featured on AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN. He is a certified positive psychology practitioner and is also certified in laughter yoga. How cool is that?! haha.


Want to listen to this podcast on your favorite podcast app?


Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/more-happy-life/id1254473331#episodeGuid=91bf0331-e90c-b7d4-7a09-d13ed5aee928

Everywhere else: https://anchor.fm/morehappylife/episodes/105-The-Transformational-Power-of-Play-with-Play-Expert-Jeff-Harry-e48336

Where to find Jeff:
Website: https://www.rediscoveryourplay.com/about-jeff
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/jeffharryplays/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/jeffharryplays

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When I was a kid, I remember I would make friends almost every day on the street. It was probably because I was really good at popping a wheelie on my bike. 😉 I just turned 35 and though I feel super healthy, have a steady job and have enough savings to buy my first home, it has been hard to make new friends in my 30s. It’s not as easy as just popping wheelies in the street, but it is very important to keep making friends, especially as an adult.

The Cost of Loneliness

Loneliness costs a lot. In fact it costs almost $7 Billion per year just in the US (1). A non-profit in the UK called The Silver Lining has taken the initiative to decrease loneliness with a 24 hour call center for people who have no one to call (2). They claim to take 10,500 calls per week with over 50% of the calls saying that they would literally have no one else to talk to. How many people would you feel comfortable discussing an important personal issue with? In 1985 the average response to that question was 3 and in 2004 that dropped to 2. In that same study 25 percent of the respondents said they had zero people to talk to! (3) That was in 2004 before social media became much more mainstream. With instagram and facebook having over a billion users each, we are more digitally connected, but less tangibly connected than ever.

Why does this matter? Well, loneliness doesn’t just make you feel like an L7 loser, it’s also really bad for your health. One study showed that social isolation and a lack of connection is worse for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes per day (4). And, on the other side of the coin, the healthiest and happiest people on earth spend an average of six hours socializing per day! (5) Seriously?!

Okay so we get it, we need more connection than our phones and our trusty volleyball named Wilson. But how do you make friends as an adult? Well, how did you do it as a kid? Maybe you can reach back into your 7-year-old self and make friends again. Kids basically do a lot of the following tips I suggest below.

Here are six trusty ways to make new friends as an adult.

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1. Put Your Phone Down and Talk to People

Okay I’m guilty. I use my phone way too much. I’m kind of embarrassed to show my screen time stats from last week, but here we go.

screen time

This was obviously a high usage week being 20% up from the week before. Also, I use my phone for my day job engaging and creating on social media, but no excuses. I was on my phone a lot!

While I spend almost five hours on my phone, research shows that the happiest healthiest people on earth spend six hours a day socializing. I am happy to say that the day with the lowest usage was when I was spending time, in person, with a dear friend. We sat and talked for almost four hours! It was great!

Other than for taking a quick selfie with our pineapple and newly adopted stuffed elephant (see below), no phones were touched or picked up the whole time we were together! It was amazing.

So even if your reality is a bit like mine and your phone is used a ton, take a least one day a week to put your phone down and connect with someone.

I think I often get nervous to talk to random people in the elevator or on the street and instead of engaging with them or smiling at them, I just pick up my phone as if email or some random text message is more important. Sometimes I do get a really important call or text, but if you’re trying to make new friends, maybe try something new.

Have you ever tried a day without a phone? Like the old school when they were only connected to the wall? I did it for a week once (see episode 73) and it was amazing what I learned about myself and how much I was able to connect with people.

Try it. Or maybe try the light phone and see how it impacts how much you connect with people.

2. Be More Intimate More Often

I’m not talking about sexual intimacy. The great myth is that sex is the only form of intimacy. Human beings desire intimacy above everything else. To be truly known by someone and still loved. Matthew Kelly says this well:

“Our desire for happiness is ultimately a desire for intimacy. If we have intimacy we can go without an awful lot and still be happy. Without intimacy, all the riches of the world cannot satisfy our hungry hearts. Until we experience intimacy, our hearts remain restless, irritable, and discontented.” (6)

It takes courage to make a new friend as an adult because to be intimate, you have to reveal yourself to someone in ways that are very vulnerable. There is a certain amount of risk associated, but if you never risk being known, you’ll never truly feel loved for who you are.

3. Create a Commitment Ritual

Once you have met someone and been a little vulnerable with them, why not take it a little bit further with a commitment ritual?

You have seen in movies where mere friends become blood brothers or when people spit in their hands and shake on it. I’m not saying you should blend your spit with one of your friends like you did as a kid, but why not have a secret handshake? Or share a password that only you know. Exchange a handwritten note to commence your friendship or even create an “established” certificate that says the date and time you became friends and hang it on your wall. I personally have a friendship wall where I hang pictures of me with friends so that I can get them off my phone and somewhere I can see them every day and remember to reach out to them. After you establish a date of your friendship, celebrate your friendiversary by doing something special or going back to where you first met and savoring the bond between you. This is crazy vulnerable for some people (especially a lot of men), but tell me if you don’t feel more connected to this friend after you do this.

In Okinawa Japan, from a very young age, the people are placed into what are called Moai, or committed friendship groups, for life. They help each other and are committed to each others’ happiness and wellbeing no matter what happens. We could all learn from this ritual and practice.

Let me know what ritual you come up with to commit to your new friend.

4. Move Geographically Closer to a Friend

This may seem like a drastic option, but in a longitudinal study that followed best friends over 19 years, researchers found that participants had moved an average of 5.8 times during that period (7). Have you had a best friend who moved away and then faded into a memory? It’s sad, but it happens often. It doesn’t take long for a best friend to fade from BFF status to “somebody that I used to know.” If you are super BFFs, get vulnerable and tell them that you are thinking seriously about moving closer to them and see how this impacts your friendship.

One of my friends and I used to have a running agreement to visit each other every 6 months. Though we lived hundreds of miles from each other, it kept our friendship from fading into memory-only status.

Just remember that the healthiest and happiest people on earth are the ones who are in close contact with the people they love. Not just family, but friends too. And our close relationships are the number one predictor of our health and life satisfaction (8).

5. Reach Across Stages

Skiing with new friends

Me and my retired friend Clint

Too many middle-aged adults find that they could probably still name a lot of people that they are close to, but who recently entered into a new stage of life. You are single, you have a best friend who is everything to you. You hang out often. You even double date together. Then one of those double dates turns into a fiance of your best friend. You are ecstatic for them and are even their bridesmaid or best man. But then the honeymoon comes and they come back and they are now married and you are now single. You are still close, but now are in a different stage of life. Because of social norms, it feels less comfortable to just swing by and hang out because, well, because they are married now. You may not relate as much on everything within your stage. And if you are the married one, it can be just as difficult. Sure, you have your married your true love and hopefully best friend, but what about all your other friends? Especially when you start to face the responsibility that comes with your marriage. It’s not too different than running a business with a partner. And then when you start having kids and your friend is still in single land, you enter a totally different stage. With each new child comes a different stage. It can get really easy to just say in your head: “We just grew apart”. Did you?

It will likely take courage to reach across stages and express interest in your friendship regardless of helping them change diapers or finding time outside of their married life. But why do you have to end a beautiful friendship because they have babies and a spouse and you don’t? It doesn’t have to end but it does take vulnerability and perhaps more effort to keep the friendship alive.

6. Make an Old Friend a New Friend

How many friends can you think about right now that you have made over the years? How many of them are more like memories than close friends? It may be sad to think that a best friend has become a memory to you, but the truth is, at one point in your life, you didn’t know these people and you had to engage in activities that helped you become friends. You had to invest time and energy into making that friendship. You probably experienced some sort of harmony between you. Why not recreate that formula? And then you aren’t just starting from scratch with a new person, but you have even more relationship capital to build on with them.

Just remember one thing: LET THEM BE NEW.

Even though you have a pretty solid idea about what you think about them and what kind of person they are, let them be new.

“Too often we make the monumental mistake of thinking we know a person. This assumption can stop a relationship from growing and can smother the growth of a person. It is impossible to know a person completely. And because we are constantly changing as individuals, there are constantly new facets of our personalities for those who love us to discover. The real tragedy is that once we fool ourselves into believing we know a person, we stop discovering that person. The process of discovering another person in a relationship is endless. You may think you know just about everything there is to know about your (friend), but you will be amazed at what you are missing out on if you open yourself up to taking another look.” (9)

You may think you know everything about your old friend and they may think they know everything about you. The truth is that you are constantly changing and evolving and if you open up, you’ll discover this friend. An old friend can become a new friend because the reality is, they are a new person and so are you.

Footnotes:

  1. https://qz.com/1439200/loneliness-costs-the-us-almost-7-billion-extra-each-year/
  2. https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/who-we-are/
  3. Cacioppo, J. T., & Patrick, W. (2008). Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection. WW Norton & Company.
  4. https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html and Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS medicine, 7(7), 859.
  5. Buettner, D. (2017). Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From The World’s Happiest People.
  6. Kelly, M, (2015). The Seven Levels of Intimacy. P. 8  https://amzn.to/2ScB77p
  7. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/how-friendships-change-over-time-in-adulthood/411466/
  8. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/
  9. Kelly, M, (2015). The Seven Levels of Intimacy. PP. 32-33  https://amzn.to/2ScB77p

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This week my grandma turned 99.

WOW! It was a very special day for her and for our whole family. Not many people live that long. I am amazed at how long she has lived and love hearing the wisdom from someone who just entered her 100th year of life! I can't stop bragging about it. Amazing. But how does one live longer? Unfortunately, I didn't get any audio from my grandma today, but I already set up a time to record her next week where we will go into depth about how she has lived well the last 99 years.

All of this inspired me to talk about the research from National Geographic's Dan Buettner on the Blue Zones as well as Elizabeth Blackburn's Nobel Prize-winning research on telomeres and aging. Do you want to live longer? Well, these tips could add at least another 10 years to your life. Science shows it and so does Grandma.

To listen to this week’s episode, click the play button below or listen on my podcast on any of your favorite podcast apps below:

More Happy Life on Apple Podcasts.

More Happy Life on Google Play.

More Happy Life on Overcast.

More Happy Life on Pocket Casts.

As a quick review, here are the 9 tips I talk about in the podcast:

  1. Move Naturally
  2. Purpose
  3. Downshift
  4. The 80% Rule for eating
  5. Eat more plants than animals
  6. Wine at 5
  7. Belong
  8. Loved Ones First
  9. Find the Right Tribe

Science of How to live longer and happier - Longevity research - More Happy Life Podcast

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="|||"][et_pb_row custom_margin="-20px|||" _builder_version="3.0.106" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.106" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_blurb title="Quick Summary of Episode 66" _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="|10px|-150px|20px" header_font="DIN Pro||||||||" body_font="Din Pro - Regular||||||||"]This week's episode is an interview with Olympic marathon runner Jared Ward. Marathons are so commonly used as metaphors for life, so I thought it would be powerful to interview an actual olympic marathon runner to see how the research in positive psychology lines up with the marathon running of someone who has run on a United States Olympic team in the Olympics. I learned SO much from Jared on our call. Here are just a few:

  • The can do mindset and being empowered by the reality that the best possible outcome CAN happen.
  • Being present in your mind by repeating mindful phrases over and over.
  • Success comes from the scaffolding of your relationships
  • The powerful galvanizing effect of making important decisions once.
  • Feeling a sense of calling in life may not just come to you, but you might just have to choose it.
  • Doing YOUR best rather than being THE best.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.106" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="https://morehappylife.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/USA-singlet-picture-Jared-Ward.png" _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="|||" custom_margin_tablet="-25px|||" custom_margin_phone="-65px|||" custom_margin_last_edited="on|desktop"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_blurb _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="|||20px"]To listen to this week’s episode, click the play button below or listen on my podcast on any of your favorite podcast apps below:

More Happy Life on Apple Podcasts.

More Happy Life on Google Play.

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[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="-50px|||" custom_margin_tablet="-135px||-65px|" custom_margin_phone="-135px||-65px|" custom_margin_last_edited="on|desktop"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.106"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.106" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="||-30px|20px"]<iframe src="https://anchor.fm/morehappylife/embed/episodes/66-Marathon-Mindsets-From-US-Olympian-Jared-Ward-e1frmk/a-a3gvol" height="102px" width="400px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.106"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.106"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.106" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.106" custom_margin="-50px|10px||20px"]This interview with Jared was so amazing so I wanted to give you even more of the juicy details and show notes below. I learned a lot from him and it made me want to solidify my own decisions more like he has. Here are some of the highlights I took away from our conversation:

  • He talked about a "can do mindset" where he is empowered by the reality that it CAN happen instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong. These pringiples were inspired by sports psychologist Craig Manning, and have helped Jared outperform himself, which Jared says is the key.
  • He also talked about the power of being present. I asked him about how he keeps his mind occupied during the race. I didn't mention this during the interview, but Jared's best time in the marathon was 2 hours, 11 minutes and 30 seconds (AMAZINGLY FAST), but that also means that he has that much time for his mind to wander. This made me so curious what he thinks about during the race. So I asked him and he said that he just works on staying present. He mentioned a few things that he occupies his mind with: Breathe, look at the guy in front of me, relax my shoulders, stand up tall, swing my arms, ease into the pace. Sound simple? Go try to run a marathon like Jared! 🙂
  • Another powerful strategy Jared talked about was to focus on three things that went well during the race. As soon as the race ends, before any critiques, he thinks about three things that he did well. Then at the starting line of every important race, he focuses on these things instead of on the things he could have done better.
  • We talked about flow experience with regards to competitive distance running. He said this: "All the best races happen when all the other switches kind of turn off and I'm just racing." This really reminded me of so many things that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi teaches about the anatomy of flow. All the other switches turn off and you are just in the moment, fully engaged.
  • Talent + (Mentors + Family/Friends) = SUCCESS. I was very impressed by how humble Jared was about his success. He talked about what he called the "scaffolding" of success. He said: "Our success is like a stack of Jenga blocks and if you take too many of them our, the whole thing comes tumbling down." How true is that?! He said that he believed that he was dealt a royal flush in terms of being able to be a runner.
  • When Jared spoke about what he called the "galvanizing effect" of decision making, my ears opened wide. This is HUGE! He said that at first, regardless of the talent he may have had, he just didn't love running. He looked at his job and he loved it. He looked at his relationship with his wife and family and he loved that. But when he was spending so much time in these incredibly taxing workouts, he just didn't love that. Until he made the decision. He said that there was a point where he told his coach that he wanted to quit. But his coach told him that, among other things, he needed to pray about it first. So he did. And after praying about it, he felt that God really confirmed his being a runner, so he decided to commit. After this decision was made, things got more fun for Jared. He said: "This is what I'm supposed to do so I'm going to keep running up against that wall until the wall falls down."
  • He emphasized his relationship with God as "the biggest thing in life." It is interesting how many olympic athletes draw strength from meaning derived from a higher power. I loved Jared's conviction in this aspect of his life. It's also cool to interview a fellow Mormon who also served a mission like me.
  • The last thing we talked about was the bad advice that he hears being given all the time. He lamented the fact that our culture really supports the notion of being "the best." He said that he didn't like this because it's not realistic and doesn't help you become your best. "I wish there was more emphasis on doing your best as opposed to emphasis on being the best."

To follow Jared to the marathon podiums he talked about as his goals (and hopefully to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!) find Jared on Twitter (@Jwardy21) and on Instagram (@Jwardy21). 

 

Cover image credit: Jared Ward

Race image credit: Bjorn Paree

 
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[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_blurb title="Where is Hope Developed in the Brain?" _builder_version="3.0.106" header_font="DIN Pro||||||||" body_font="Din Pro - Regular||||||||"]

Martin Seligman’s research on learned helplessness is possibly the most cited set of research in the academic journals of psychology. However, 50 years later, he has admitted that he was wrong. Very exciting research on the neuroscience of helplessness and control has proven that we can literally destroy helplessness. This episode nerds out about this research and poses the question to you of how we can apply this to improve our life and increase our sense of control over the situations that are difficult and traumatic.

To listen to this week's episode, click the play button below or listen on my podcast on any of your favorite podcast apps below:

More Happy Life on Apple Podcasts.

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In this episode of the podcast, I talk about how our relationship with stress changes the outcome of the stress. Dr. Kelly McGonigal has done extensive research on what she calls the upside of stress. Stress is often seen as something that is really horrible that should be avoided like smoking. However, what studies are showing is that stress doesn't have to be bad. It can actually enhance performance and even create a "tend and befriend" reaction in our neurochemistry, which encourages us to reach out to others.

Learn more about how you can change your relationship with stress and improve the way your body handles it in this episode of More Happy Life.

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