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Tackling Loneliness With The Friendly Bench – With Founder Lyndsey Young

Tackling Loneliness With The Friendly Bench – With Founder Lyndsey Young

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

How You FEEL At Your Work (NOT Just Pay) Determines Whether You Will Stay; with Forbes Author Don Rheem

How You FEEL At Your Work (NOT Just Pay) Determines Whether You Will Stay; with Forbes Author Don Rheem

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.

Listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app:

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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.

The Happiness Paradox with NYT #1 Best-Selling Author Richard Eyre

The Happiness Paradox with NYT #1 Best-Selling Author Richard Eyre

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:

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

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Making the World a Happier Place Through Elevated Customer Experiences with Scott Porter

Making the World a Happier Place Through Elevated Customer Experiences with Scott Porter

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!

6 Powerful Ways to Make New Friends As An Adult

6 Powerful Ways to Make New Friends As An Adult

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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.

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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How To Live To Be 99, Backed By My Grandma (and Science)

How To Live To Be 99, Backed By My Grandma (and Science)

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