I had the pleasure of spending two days in a workshop with this bright and passionate woman, Christina Crook. In 2012 she decided to do a one-month detox from the Internet and wrote a letter each day to a friend about her experiences, which were mailed then posted to a blog. In the end, she wrote a book that married her experience with research, entitled The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. In this inspiring TED Talk Christina tells us her story and gives us tips on how to manage our technology use so that we are more present in our day-to-day lives, our relationships, our communities and more. You too can experience the Joy of Missing Out!
Dr. BJ Fogg, innovator, behavior scientist and teacher at Stanford University talks about his model for long-term behaviour change in this informative TED Talk. He teaches us that there are essentially two ways to produce long-term change: 1) change your environment, 2) tiny habits. In this talk he walks us through how to create tiny habits that will help us reach those long-term goals we never thought we’d be able to reach for ourselves.
This short article from the New York Times is one of my favorite ones to send to people who are trying to make exercise a habit. It highlights research by Dr. Michelle Segar, director of the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, which shows that people who are motivated for exercise by long-term goals like weight loss or health are actually not that likely to do it. So, what does motivate us for exercise? Focusing on immediate rewards that enhance daily life, like increased mood, more energy, stress relief or connection with friends and family. This doesn’t mean you cannot exercise for health it just means you’ll be most effective if you can find some more immediate reward to focus on to make your healthy habit stick!
I looked into the concept of psychological safety in the workplace after reading an article by Charles Duhigg about Google’s quest to find out what makes the perfect team. What they found was that the best predictor of a great team did not have to do with who made it up, but instead the group norms of the team, more specifically something called psychological safety. Defined loosely, psychological safety means that team members listen to one another and show sensitivity to others feelings and needs. Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, Amy Edmondson, has spent many years researching this construct and explains in this video why it is so important for a thriving workplace.
This amazing organization brings together science and public policy in order to promote solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias. They promote evidence-based solutions and are committed to “holding the food industry, media, government, and others that affect the food environment accountable for their actions”. One key message to take away is that shaming and blaming people about their weight is not helpful, in fact it is interfering with efforts to improve public health! For more information on why this is you can read about Dr. Rebecca Puhl’s research in this New York Times article, Is Fat Stigma Making us Miserable? I would also highly recommend, especially for health care professionals, that you take a look at Dr. Puhl’s presentation, Obesity Stigma: Implications for Patients and Providers.
Want to make a big impact in your career? This non-profit organization, founded by Benjamin Todd and Professor Will MacAskill, is dedicated to helping people have the biggest social impact through their approximately 80,000 working hours. Over one-third of young graduates say they want to have an impact in their career but many people do not know how to best do this and either end up walking away from the idea (and feeling like a “sell out”) or feeling discouraged in a low-impact job. One article I like, Don’t Follow your Passion explains why follow your passion is actually pretty bad advice and talks about a different formula for finding the most satisfying career: Do What’s Valuable. You can also check out this TEDx Talk about it here.
In this episode of Good Life Project MIT Professor Sherry Turkle shares her knowledge on how our cell phones are affecting our relationships with people, including our professors, our friends, our colleagues and even our children. Although technology does a lot for us we have to remember that we are vulnerable to what it does to us. She gives the example of a father who realizes that with his first child bath time was a “sacred moment” and now bath time with his second child is a “good chance to catch up on emails”. She talks about how students miss out on opportunities to bounce ideas off professors because they refuse to go talk to them in person. She makes the suggestion that we accept our vulnerability and make some rules for ourselves about when to use and when not to use our phones in order to ensure we don’t lose the important human qualities found in conversation, empathy, and even solitude.
This website offers multiple platforms from which to learn the science and practice of mindfulness meditation. Check out their blog & podcast at Headspace Daily. Download their mobile app for free to try 10 minutes of mindfulness per day. I recommend this site to many of my friends and clients!
Great talk demystifying stress as the enemy. She presents some interesting research findings suggesting that the negative effects of stress are only found in individuals who think stress is bad for them. Find out how to change the way you see stress in order to decrease the negative effects of stress and find the positive benefits in it.
In this podcast from the Good Life Project Dr. Wendy Suzuki, neuroscientist and NYU professor does some myth busting around the brain. She discusses how to best optimize our brains including her research on the benefits of exercise for the brain.