The Power of Happiness

Lesson 11 of 14

Triangle Theory: Nutrition, Sleep, and Movement


The Power of Happiness

Lesson 11 of 14

Triangle Theory: Nutrition, Sleep, and Movement


Lesson Info

Triangle Theory: Nutrition, Sleep, and Movement

(rock music) Welcome to day number nine. We're rocking it out. I hope you're dancing with us. Nice. Everyone can take a seat. So we start off every day of the Power of Happiness with a little dancing warm up, just to get those endorphins flowing. And today we are talking about triangle theory, or the triangle of wellness. Before I get into that, let's talk about where we've been, and where we're going. We are on day nine. We've talked about chart of happiness. Mastery areas. We've played, we've sung. We've talked about your sangha, or your community. We talked about your g-spots, gratitude, and giving, on day six. Yesterday we talked about your lucky jack, the little lever that you can hit to set yourself up for success. And today we're talking more about physical wellness. Today is an interesting day for me. And I will tell you that this was not a week in the beta version of this course. When I launched the Power of Happiness a year ago, this was a bonus. It was just like a little e...

xtra PDF. I didn't really do a long video on it. And I was like, I don't know. I'm not a wellness expert, so I won't talk about wellness. But it's so integral to our happiness. And a lot of our beta students asked me for more. They were like, "You had this little bonus section. "You talked about sleep. "I would love to know your sleep hacks. "You talked about eating. What are you eating hacks?" Because you know I'm a hacker. I have hacks for every area of my life, not just interpersonal skills. And so I was like okay, in this version I'm gonna make it a whole day. And that is exactly what we did. So we're gonna be talking about balanced health, happy bodies, and this is really about funk prevention, because so much of our physical wellbeing has to do with our chemistry and our chemicals. But first, before we do that, since we're talking about the body, I want to do a little warm up. At home I want you to pull out a blank piece of paper, or there's a section especially for you in your workbook, on pillar number nine. It says do your warm up exercise here. I want you to look at that little blank space. And I want you to take a deep breath. Everyone, take a deep breath. I'm gonna give you 30 seconds. Since we're talking about the body, I would like you to draw a self portrait. I would like you to draw your body, a little self portrait, in this area. You're gonna have 30 seconds. You can't overthink it. I'm gonna do it with you. You ready? At home, you too. Let's go. All right. Everyone put down your pens. Hold up your self portrait. I want to see everyone's self portrait. I'm lounging mermaid style, because I figured it was a long space. I love it. So, these are great. You're holding a heart. I love it. The heart is the body. Your heart is the body. Like you heart your-- There's a metaphor in there. I love it. I love it. I love it. Okay, so, this exercise, one, gets us a little bit tuned in to the body. It's kind of in a weird way. What did you emphasize? What did you deemphasize on your body? How do your picture your body in your own mind? This is an interesting exercise. I've done it with a lot of teenage girls, and it's really interesting to see how they depict their body. The other aspect of this, not just depicting our body, is also the drawing aspect. What does it feel like to draw? To be a little bit more creative? One thing that we're gonna talk about a lot, and we have talked about, is the indirect effect of happiness. People who start businesses and file patent applications are more likely than their peers to have creative leisure time hobbies. This is actually counterintuitive. You would think that a crazy inventor, an engineer, let's say, who has all these patents, would focus 100% of their time working away in their workshop. But actually that's not the case at all. The people who are the most prolific patent filers have crazy leisure time hobbies. Yeah, sure, they might be an electrical engineer, but they also paint. Maybe they do product prototyping, but they also do ceramics, and hiking, and acrobatics. When we talk about our mastery areas, it's not just the professional skills I like to emphasize. It's also some of those creative leisurely hobbies. Galileo, for example, painted and drew. We think of Galileo for his science discoveries, when he looked at the moon, the planets. But actually, when he saw mountains on the moon, his telescope was not powerful enough to see those mountains. What he saw was, I think it's called chiaroscuro. It's like the lighting on mountains when you're drawing. And so he recognized the shadows of mountains from how he draws mountains, and that's how he knew there were mountains on the moon. When we have all these really interesting talents and skills and we have a learning bucket list, sometimes those areas affect us in our professional endeavors. Nothing is separate. Everything contributes to the creativity that we have. So instead he recognized the shadow of the mountains from drawing, and he would not have seen that otherwise, because his telescope was not powerful enough. Here's the problem. When we're talking about happiness, whenever you're focusing on just the emotional or the psychological effects of happiness, it's like you're leaving half of the power on the table. We have to talk about physical wellness as well as happiness. And this is the metaphor that someone gave me when I was a teenager. I was in health class, and we had all these speakers come into our health class and talk about different things. Fitness and nutrition. In health class, I don't know about you, but it was pretty boring, in high school. It kind of was like a snooze class. It was an easy A. You'd go in and bring in your math homework. Or I would go in and bring my math homework and do my math homework on the side. So this one speaker came in and she said, "If you were given only one car for your entire life." Imagine you were given one car at 17 years old, and they said, "This is your only car "that you're gonna have for your entire life." You would treat that car so well. You would make sure it was clean. You would make sure no one ate in your car. You would get it serviced and tuned up all the time. And she said, "This is your body." Your body is the car that drives your mind. You're only given one for your entire life. Why do we treat it so badly, if you're only given one? I would treat a car that I got one way better than I treat my own body. That was the thinking at this time. So this is how I think about my body now. It's sort of like my only car. So I try to get it serviced a lot. I try to give it the best quality gasoline. I make sure to rub my headlights. (laughter) What else would you do when you take care of a car? You know, wax it. Yeah, yeah, that's accurate. That's a good metaphor. So I try to take car of my body. Woo, that metaphor was rough. You don't have to edit that out. You can keep it in. (laughter) My bad jokes, I don't mind if those stay in. So let me explain something about downward spirals. I've mentioned a couple of times throughout the course the idea of triggering something up and triggering something down. And I actually got this theory from the amazing book called The Upward Spiral. It's in your happy reading list in your bonuses. It's by Alex Korb. And I want to dig a little bit deeper today into that chemistry that he talks about. I've mentioned a couple parts of the brain, but very specifically to simplify it, this is how it works. The PFC, or the prefrontal cortex, is sort of like our CEO. It's kind of the command center of the brain. It dictates a lot of our behavior. The limbic system is the feeling part of the brain. They are very, very closely tied. When they communicate, that's how they keep our body regulated. For example, the PFC might say, "We have a stressful day? We better pump adrenaline," to the limbic system, and the limbic system begins to pump adrenaline, or testosterone, to get us to run faster. So they work to keep us regulated. They work to keep us efficient. What happens is there's all these chemicals in play. The way that the limbic system and the PFC, again, this is very simplified for all of my neurobiologists at home. The way they communicate is through chemicals. And so there's all these chemicals that happen. And I showed this slide at the very begin. For example, we know that norepinephrine enhances our thinking and helps us deal with stress. We know that melatonin is what affects the quality of our sleep. So all these chemicals are going back and forth in our body and keep us regulated. What can happen, especially when we're talking about happiness, or depression, or what Dr. Alex Korb calls downward spirals. He has found in his research that a single difficult event can actually change your chemistry. That change in health or change in chemicals can create a repeat of a cycle, and that's actually the cause of some of our permanent funks. Specifically, here's an example. The example he gives in the book is a really good one, and it actually reminded me of a personal example in my own life. When I first got to college, freshmen year, I felt homesick. I lived in Los Angeles. I went to Emory. Great school in Atlanta. But it was a big culture shock. Going from Los Angeles, southern California, to the south, very, very different. So immediately I felt a little bit homesick. I was also eating really differently. All of a sudden I went from home cooked food to mac and cheese, and ramen, and dorm food. That was a real big difference. I couldn't sleep as well, because I had a roommate, and people were really loud in the hall. I had a coed hall. Don't ever do that. Don't ever do that. It was really loud at night so I had a really hard time sleeping. I was also having a really hard time making friends, which is not surprising. I was really uncomfortable in college. I didn't want to rush. So I spent a lot more time actually alone. I had people who were around me a lot. I had very little alone time, but I felt very alone. All of my friends, at one point, were a part of Greek Life. So I went from having a lot of people around to everyone having semiformals, and gatherings together, and so I was being left out, even though I made the choice not to join Greek Life. I felt very left out. I felt really rejected by it. That made me stay in even more often, which made me try to sleep more, especially during odd times of the day, because everyone would leave at 7:00 PM. So I would be like, perfect time for a nap. So I would take a nap from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and then my whole sleep cycle was messed up. Made less friends. I stopped working out. Felt even more left out. And then felt even more homesick and depressed. This cycle happens to a lot of college freshmen. It happens to a lot of people who move across the country. There was also things happening, and I did not realize this until I read Dr. Alex Korb's book, but there was all these chemical things happening to me very, very slowly. I was slowly triggering the downward spiral that was making it worse and worse. So, yes, all these things were happening. But when I was sleeping less, slowly my melatonin was getting out of whack, which makes it even harder to sleep. Then I got left out, which made me have less oxytocin, which is that feeling of belonging, which made me feel less calm. Made me feel like I was out of place even worse. When I was rejected, that increased my cortisol levels, or my stress levels, which also makes you gain weight. Than I stayed in, I had less dopamine. So I had even less pleasure. And so all of these chemicals. And less working out. I had my endorphins out of whack. So there was all these chemical things happening in my body that didn't feel big. I missed a workout here. A bad night's sleep there. But actually I was engaging in this downward cycle. And Dr. Korb likened this to a traffic jam. That we have these really stressful parts of our life that are sometimes temporary, like maybe a really busy week at work. That one really busy week at work can throw something out of whack, and then all of a sudden, there's your melatonin. It gets in a little accident over here. And then your endorphins get in a little accident over here. And there's an accident over here with your dopamine. And all of a sudden you have this giant traffic jam. And it's really hard. After that bad week is over, you're like, "Okay, back to normal." You do not feel back to normal. You have a really hard time hitting that normal stride again. You're like, "Why? "Why do I feel so out of whack "when I just had one bad week and it's over?" So, let me just specifically talk about some of the chemicals behind each thing. When serotonin dysfunctions, when serotonin gets into a car accident, typically that makes you have less willpower and motivation. There's times when you get back and you're like, "I just don't feel like doing anything." That actually might be chemical. That might be serotonin that's out of whack. They found that when norepinephrine dysfunctions, or gets in a car accident, that's when you have difficulty concentrating. So you sit down at work, and you have so much to do, and you're like, "God, I just cannot get through this to-do list." And you're like, "Why?!" And you get really angry at yourself. That actually might be something that's totally chemical. When you have less dopamine, this is when you have less enjoyment, and you have trouble breaking bad habits. They think that dopamine is a huge part of addiction. Food addiction, coffee addiction, smoking addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction. When we feel less enjoyment, that can actually affect breaking bad habits, or creating bad habits later. When you have less GABA, that's anxiety. That's very, very tied to your anxiety. That feeling of generalized anxiousness. Have you ever had that, where you wake up and you're like, "I am so anxious but I cannot figure out why." That could be a chemical. Melatonin, when it dysfunctions you have trouble sleeping. And then when you have less endorphins, this is when you have a harder time dealing with pain. You tend to get more headaches, more back aches, more migraines. We recognize these things in the bad week, but sometimes they make us feel completely out of control. So my goal today is to tell you that it's not just you. There's way more happening. It's not always logic. We like to be really logical. I'm in a bad mood. Why? And then when we don't have a reason, it makes us feel frustrated. There's a lot happening chemically that's going on. So, an example of this, is let's say that you get a bad email, which means you have to work extra hours. A client's really angry, or you have a project that's late. You have to work extra hours. That means you miss your workout that day. That's a little bit off. Then you order takeout. You're like, "Ah, I don't have time to cook. "I'm just gonna order takeout." You have a big, big, heavy meal of food that you're not used to eating. Then you kind of sleep badly, because the food feels a little bit weird in your stomach. It takes away your energy. Then you become delayed on even more deadlines because the next morning you're like comatose. You're like, "Ugh. I need lots of coffee. "I can't function. I can't concentrate. "I have a headache. My back hurts." Which makes you snap at your partner, which makes you dread the day. That's how some of these cycles start. What I want to talk about today is how can we stop that cycle from happening. Maybe you get right here, and then we don't let the rest happen. We don't let that downward spiral continue. Does this sound familiar to anyone? When I read this book it felt like he was speaking right to me. Okay. I'm glad I'm not the only one. When I read this I was highlighting, I was like painting every single chapter. Unhealthy equals unhappy equals unsuccessful. This is not just about happiness. This is also about our success. We know that unhappy workers take 15 extra sick days per year. Interestingly, Coors Brewing, when they've put $1, every 1$ spent into corporate fitness came back in $6.15 in profits. So we know that investing time, energy, and money into our health comes out in other ways. Yes, emotionally, but also with our success. Full disclaimer. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a trainer. I am not a health coach. I am just a busy person who tries to keep healthy. So the hacks that I am going to present to you today, they are not from the perspective of a nutrition coach. It's just the hacks that I do to try to stop those downward spirals from happening. By the way, I am in full support of getting yourself one of those. Today is just meant to get you thinking. That's it. I'm gonna give you some tricks. I'm gonna give you some ideas. And hopefully maybe there's something there where you can be like, "You know what? "I really want to focus on this." So if you can get yourself a nutritionist, a trainer, a health coach, do it. I love it. But today I'm gonna give you some tricks just to get you started on it. My theory on wellness, and I've never taught this before, is what I call the triangle theory. I believe wellness comes from a balance between three things: nutrition, sleep, and movement. Because I am very busy, I work 12 to 15 hour days typically, I try to work on five days a week, but it's hard, I have to come up with hacks, ways to stay in shape where I don't diet. And I don't diet. Ways that I can feel good in my body, and sleep really well, and still have really high quality work. This is exactly what I do. This is my plan. The way I think about my health is sort of like a triangle. A triangle is this really cool shape that it balances from all sides. When you drop a triangle, it can fall on any side. I feel like your health is the same way. You have these three things that support you. And as long as one of them is really solid, usually you're okay. So when I'm going through stressful times, I try to make sure that I have no more than two out of whack. Ideally I have all three in harmony, but it's okay if I don't. Really I'm always making sure that at least one is really solid, because I know that if I have one, I have something to balance on. So, when you drop a triangle, sometimes that means that you are really focused on nutrition, and on the top, sleep and movement maybe have some things you're working on, but my nutrition is solid. On another week maybe it falls down and that week, my sleep is really good. Maybe I move a little bit less. Maybe I don't eat perfectly. My sleep is good. I'm getting eight or nine hours. One week later, the triangle falls, and that week it's all about movement. I have really good workouts. I get to exercise my body a lot. Maybe a little less sleep. Maybe a little less nutrition. That's how I balance. Here's what I do for each area. Here's how it stops the triangle. I have a bad email, and I have to work extra hours. That happens. I miss my workout. I know that I have one side of my triangle that's a little unbalanced. So I make sure that I have a bunch of really healthy freezer meals. So instead of ordering takeout, I go into my freezer to get those meals, because I know that one side of my triangle is out. That will typically make it so that I don't sleep as badly, I don't get as delayed, I don't snap. It's kind of a shifting... I don't know. I've never taught this before. Does that kind of make sense? I'm always trying to focus on one. Another one would be like okay, I have a bad email. I have to work extra hours. I still get my workout in, but I decide to do takeout. I'm like, "Okay, I can't get a workout in, "but at least I can order out." And that doesn't affect by sleep as much because at least I got a workout in. So here are the three different areas, my hacks for each area. Let's start with movement. A couple things that I do to keep the exercise in shape. One is I do exercise pairing. I briefly mention this in the Now-How day. I make sure that all of my favorite shows I only watch when I'm either on an elliptical, on a rowing machine, or on a treadmill. Why it works so well is because A, I look forward to my workout, because I know that I have one more episode of Orange is the New Black to watch. And I stay on way longer by the way. Like instead of just doing 30 minutes, I'm like, "Gotta get to the end of this 45-minute episode," because I really want to watch Orange is the New Black. So it helps me look forward to it more. It helps me do it a little bit longer. And it cuts out my TV time. Otherwise I'm just laying in bed watching TV. Second, I actually try to incorporate my sangha activities with movement. So I mentioned hiking. That's kind of a celebration that I do. Or rock climbing. I have friends that I go rock climbing with. I have friends that I do tango class with. I have friends that I do zumba class with. I have friends that I do hiking with. And they know that I'm always trying to exercise pair with them. So I have this beautiful feeling of belonging with my hiking partners, rock climbing partners, tango partners, so that when I'm seeing friends are often moving. Very rarely do I see a friend to just go to coffee, or just go to dinner. Typically we will walk or workout together before or after we get together. And that's great, because they're usually just as into it as I am. I also do walking lunch and walking breakfast as well. Last one. One of my mastery areas is high open, so I sign up for as many new workout classes as I possibly can. There's a really cool thing called ClassPass, which allows you to pay one set fee and you can go to as many classes as you want. I try to do this as much as possible, so I feel like I'm exercising one of my skills by trying different kinds of exercises. The other thing that I wanted to add here, which I think really helps my back, and my neck, since I work at a computer for so many days, is I invested in a really, really good standing desk. Totally, totally changed my life. Totally got rid of my back pain. Now I'm standing for usually four or five hours. I sit and stand, sit and stand. It's one of those one that has settings. So I invested in the nice one. I had to save up for it. Then I just press a button and it goes to my seated. Press a button, it goes to my standing. That really helped. I also use balance boards. Sometimes when my mom calls, or I'm listening to webinars, I'm doing balance board, if you ever hear that in the background when you're on a call with me. And I also have a tumble ball in my office that I'll sit on too. Even in my work I've incorporated movement in small ways. That has really helped. So, question for you guys. A little kind of litmus test. Do you think you move enough? Is moving enough? Oh, kind of mixed. Interesting. I'm gonna ask you, by the way, at the end of the day, to pick one side to focus on. If you raised a green card, movement would not be yours. Maybe it's a different one. So let's talk about sleep for a second. Sleep. The first one, (mumbling) we talked about wow, and I have created what I call a sleep palace, which is my bed. So I highly, highly recommend, the best investment I think you can make is making sure that your bed is incredible. And not only your bed, but your entire sleep routine. My bed, you can see. I'm gonna show all the different things that I do for this bed. One is I have a Casper mattress, which I love. They're amazing. I have the softest sheets known to man. Like officially, they're the softest sheets known to man. I use Tempur-pedic pillows. It's a royal kind of bed. Like just the look of the bed makes me feel kind of excited to get into it. I have aromatherapy next to my bed that I use before I go to sleep. And I have lots of soothing pictures. I have pictures of my family. I have candles all around my bed. It is truly a palace. I think that when we love that process, that ritual, getting into that, I think that helps us feel that sense of wow every night, and every morning, when you're like, "Oh, I love this feeling." Make sure you don't have lumpy pillows. Like I had a friend who was like, "Oh, I have this pillow I hate." And I'm like, "Why don't you get a new one?" Like that's a pebble. If there's any pebbles that you're putting up with-- Like don't be Princess and the Pea. Don't have a little pea in your bed. That sounds weird. Like, under your mattress. Make sure that you don't have anything that you're just tolerating. Second and third. You know how when you're little, you have a whole bedtime routine? When you're little it's like, "Okay, it's time to brush your teeth. "All right, time to get in your jam-jams." I think we should do the same thing for us. I have a bedtime routine. I want you to think about what are the things that you do in the 15 minutes to an hour before bed. Do you have really comfy jammies? You should. Do you have toothpaste that you love? Do you have things that relax you and unwind your brain and mind before bed? I want you to think about that routine just like you would for a child. Our inner child loves to have that routine before bed. Lastly, of course, my sanghas. I sleep with someone I love. And if you are lucky to sleep with someone you love, make sure you take a moment to savor that, and even include them in your routine a little bit. Like what do you say right before bed? What is the last thing you say before you go to sleep? Make that something that also gives you that moment of wow as well. Do you get enough sleep? Do you love your sleep? Do you have a sleep palace? A little more reds on this one. Okay, so I'm giving you this as your to-do list that you have to have your sleep palace and your routine. Last one is nutrition. I love talking about nutrition, actually. Anyone who knows me knows I talk about cooking and nutrition a lot, but I never talk about it on my social media or my website. So here's how I don't diet. And I don't diet. One, is I have a rule that I only eat real food. I can eat anything that I want, as long as it's real. By that I try to make it so that all the food that I eat is no more than one or two steps away from the source. So I eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruit. I eat lean protein. I eat very little dairy, eat very little bread. I eat a lot of greens, and beans, and lentils. Again, if it's in its whole form, I eat it, almost anything. If it's processed by more than two steps, I don't. That's the only litmus test I have. And by the way, this is sort of that Now-How. I love finding and eating real food. If I want something processed, I have to process it myself. The rule I have for myself is if I want bread, I can have bread, I can have as much bread as I want, but I have to make it from scratch. This is a trick that I play on myself, because cooking is one of my mastery areas. I love to cook. I love to bake. So if I really want that food, I have to then use one of my skills. And also the process of going through it makes me appreciate that bread so much more. When you're actually kneading bread with your hands and you smell it in your house, you enjoy that piece of toast for days, more than any toast you would ever buy. I also make my own cheese. I make my own pesto. It's actually relatively easy to make those things, and I love it. Eating real food, or processing it myself. And then lastly I try really hard to savor everything I eat. I try not to work during my meals. As I mentioned before, I always watch a TED talk during lunch. During breakfast I typically will eat on my patio. Even if it's rainy, I'll typically bundle up and either sit in front of my fireplace, or sit under the awning of my patio. So I try to always have savoring experiences and routines with my food. I also love this. The five foods you should never eat, by Neghar Fonooni, fitness coach. One, food you don't enjoy. I totally agree. Just because someone says that cilantro is really good for you does not mean that it tastes good in my mouth. I have that gene that makes it taste like soap, so I never eat that. Food that makes you feel sick. When I first started my health, and I actually was about 75 pounds heavier when I was growing up. So when I lost a lot of weight, the way that I did that was actually sat down with a food catalog and paid attention to what every food made me feel like. Did it make me break out? Did it make me feel bad in my stomach? Did it make me feel tired? When I cut out all those foods, I lost a lot of weight. So I was eating food that didn't make me feel good and I didn't even realize it. If you think that's you, I highly recommend doing a food log and tracking how it makes you feel. Three, food that you feel guilty about. This was the big one for me. When I thought about-- Bread doesn't make me feel the greatest, and so that's why I was like, "Ugh. "I don't know if I can eat this or not." But I didn't want to take it away, because I really enjoy it. So saying that I'm going to make my own bread from scratch, I'm going to use the best quality ingredients, I'm gonna get a guy who grinds whole wheat flour for me to do it, made it so that I don't feel guilty anymore and also makes me feel better because I know exactly what went in it. Four, food that you just can't stop eating. I think there's a difference between eating for hungry and eating out of habit, or eating out of addiction. Anything that pop and you just can't stop, anything that is that, I usually don't even put my mouth, because I know that it's an addiction, not something that I enjoy. And lastly, this is the one that I follow the most, food that isn't really food. Food that I don't know exactly the steps, more than two steps removed. Is your nutrition in balance? Is this something you think that you have kind of in balance? More greens on this one. Interesting. Okay. On the 21 day challenge I actually wrote a post on the science of eating, with a couple of my hacks, and that was one of our most viral posts. I couldn't believe it. I was like, of course I write 500 posts about human behavior, and the one on the science of eating gets like 40,000 shares. So we have a post on the science of eating where I've explained some of the science behind why we eat, how we eat, and our cravings. So if you want to read that, you can. It's in our virtual toolbox. As well as the science of sleep. Some of the chemicals that go into sleep. The last one I want to add here, and I don't have this as a side of my triangle, but I do think it's something that I keep in mind, and that's the idea of mindfulness. We know the science of mindfulness. A couple things that I do. Little hacks that I use. If I am having trouble sleeping, I typically will do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. If you want, we can all try this together. This is the best way to fall asleep at night without any help. I'll explain it first and we'll do it together. This is when you take an in breath for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and then out for eight seconds. Do that three, four, five times, usually almost always gets you to sleep. You ready? I'm gonna count for you, so I'm not gonna do it while you do it. So in for four. Ready? One, two, three, four. And hold it for seven. Six, five, four, three, two, one. And then slow out for eight. Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. So that exercise, what I do most nights, especially if I'm having trouble sleeping. That exercise is also great if I am having a really anxiety provoking day. It's a really easy thing. You can also do it quietly, which is kind of nice. So if you're sitting in a board room, or a waiting, or your office, and you just need a moment to chill out. It's the faster version, I think, of meditating, where you need total silence. You can do that anywhere. So I use that all the time. I'm also a huge fan of the Headspace app for those of you who are trying to learn how to meditate. Headspace does help me. I always like to joke that I'm a terrible meditator, if you can be terrible at something. But at least I do try. So if you want to start learning meditation, I think that Headspace is a great way to learn to try. And I also am much better at walking meditation. I'm not really good at sitting still. I'm not very good at not doing anything. So I find that if I do walking meditations, that really helps. At least I feel like I'm moving and I'm carrying mindfulness with it. A couple of scientific studies on mindfulness and meditation. Massachusetts Gen researchers looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in a mindfulness meditation course. I love this. After the course, parts of the participants' brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew. Literally had more density. And parts associated with stress shrank. In other words, meditation literally changes the wiring of your brain. So small moments really help. Again, it's not a big side of my triangle, but some people would add it, to make a square. Maybe they have a square and they add mindfulness on there. Also we talked about rituals in day number five. I think that having rituals around food, to savor it, make it a little wow, is great. I have some really funny mugs. Actually, my colleague Danielle gave me this mug, one of my team members. I don't know what she was saying there. But she gave me this mug for my coffee every morning. So how can you create some mindfulness rituals before bed, while eating, to clear your head? You should have a go to ritual for every single one of those moments. When I tell you, "How do you calm yourself down," you should be able to say to me, "Oh, I do X, Y, and then Z." So what is your calm me down ritual. When I say, "Okay, it's time to get ready for bed," what are the X, Y, Z things you do before bed? And eating is the optional one, but I think that I like to watch also Ellen videos sometimes when I want to laugh while I'm eating. I actually think that laughing helps digestion. There's no science on that. But I do believe that laughing helps you digest food, so I try to watch as many funny videos as I can while I'm eating. Last thing here I want to mention. This is another opportunity to take that K10 test. In your bonus materials, these are the free materials that you just get when you click the RSVP button, I have a K10 distress test. If you feel like there's a little something more going on, something more with your chemicals out of whack, I really, really encourage you to take that test and see if maybe you want to get more help. When we're talking about chemicals we're talking about some serious stuff. Yes, we can hopefully change it with sleep and food, but sometimes we need a little bit more help. What I am asking myself constantly on a day to day basis is typically, how am I doing. How's my movement? How's my sleep? How's my nutrition? When I asked you to raise your questions, am I getting enough sleep, is my nutrition in balance, am I moving enough, I ask myself those three questions a couple of times during the day. That is what dictates where I'm gonna put my energy that day. It's more into cooking something, or working out, or ending work a little early so I can get an extra hour of sleep. That's how I typically keep everything in check. Let's play start, stop, continue with our health. What I want to do, is depending on the area that you picked, or if you haven't picked one yet, let's play each of these categories. And at home I want you to write down where you want to start, stop, and continue. So, starting. All those things that I just mentioned, I mentioned a couple of different ideas, what do you want to start? What's something new you might want to try after I just mentioned those three different areas of your triangle? I guess for me it's the sleep. What thing do you want to try specifically? I think aromatics that you said. Aromatherapy. A really fun thing to do, especially if openness was on your list, is actually go and try a bunch of different aromatherapy scents, and stand there, and be like, "What makes me feel the most relaxed?" And take each scent, and slowly smell it, and be like, "Ooh, sandalwood makes me feel the most relaxed." And get a beautiful little diffuser. That's a ritual you can setup for yourself. Someone else. Who wants to start something? I need a bedtime. Because I have a lot of different hacks, a lot of different sleep hacks, but it's not helpful if I wait until 12:30 at night to do them. (chuckles) Yeah, and if you are not sure when that's gonna happen. So how many people have a bedtime? I have a bedtime. Okay. Okay. So I do highly encourage a bedtime. Usually I'm in bed by 10:00 reading. That's part of my ritual. And usually I'm asleep by 10:30. In between 10:30 and 11:00. It's not a hard time, but 10:30 to 11:00, then I usually wake up at 7:00. That's my bedtime and wake up time. Other starts? Who wants to start things? Meditation. I'm totally gonna try that app. The Headspace app. I love it. How about stop? What are you going to stop? Yes. Having screens in front of me before bed. It's so hard. It's so hard. One way that you can do this is have a charging station, like a real good charging station setup that's not in your room. Most people will say, "Well I charge my phone or my computer before bed," and it's near your head. If you can setup a really great strip, with all of your cords already plugged in, you're much more likely to put them all in there before you actually walk into your room. Again, that makes you want to use that. Yeah. Part of the reason I struggle with it is because I use a sleep cycle app, because I don't like alarm clocks that jolt you out. That will ruin by day right off the bad. So I have a gentle one, so it stays next to me to charge on my bed, and then it notices how much I'm moving, and will wake me up gently within 15 minutes of whatever time I set it to wake me up. I've heard people love those. I love it, but it also means that it's so close to me every night. I don't know if this is true or not, but I wonder if you could research if there's a device that does that without your phone, and/or if it would be worth buying a really old iPod or iPhone without a data plan, just for that app. Like I wonder if that would be worth it or not. Some entrepreneur somewhere, I've heard that problem before, create this device, please. That's the reason I don't do it, because I don't want to sleep with my phone in my bed. Other stops. Other stops. I need to stop watching stressful things before bed. Do you mean stressful in terms of they are depressing, or things that rile you up? A little bit of both. Probably more the rile. Like for example we've been watching The Americans, and there are episodes that I'm just so stressed out. It's something that I do want to continue to do, but that is not a good before bed type of thing. So meal time, exercise pairing, morning routine. Yeah, I like that a lot. One more stop. Who can give me one more stop? I actually was eating things that were not whole foods for a long time, and I slightly drifted off, and it becomes more and more. And so getting back on that no sugar, no white, anything like that, to only eating the whole foods that are usually in the refrigerator, not in the cupboard. My cupboard will be empty again. Go do a big clean out. That can be the start. Go clean all that stuff out. I love it. How about continue? So what's working for you? What have you been doing that you think, "Yeah, this is really serving me. "I'm really glad I've been doing that"? Any continues? Yeah. Part of my exercise is taking the dogs out, because I know the dogs need to walk, and so I get out there. And they guilt me into it. And they're adorable. And you get oxytocin by being around your dog, and dopamine by how cute they are. Love it. Movement with a pair. Any other continues? Yes. Taking public transport to work so I walk a few stations before I take the public transport. I've built some walking into my routine every day. Wonderful. Yeah. And you might even consider wearing a tracker to see how many steps. Perfect. I usually wear one too. I'm not wearing one during CreativeLive because I don't take enough steps during CreativeLive, so it's really sad. I'm standing all day, but it's like, "You walked 300 steps." And I'm like, "What? I'm exhausted. How could that happen." So usually I will wear a fitness tracker as well. I want you to play start, stop, continue with health as well. This is something that I will do. I don't actually do it as regularly as I do my professional start, stop, continue. But if I'm feeling out of whack, if I'm feeling kind of drained, lower energy, in a funk, I will go and I will be like, "Okay. Time to reset. "Time to clean out all my cupboards." Because sometimes you'll accumulate gifts. People bring things over. Maybe you bought something. So having that reset of knowing is this working for me is a really good way to do it. The other good thing is you can use your entire workbook to fill in your happy and healthy review. For example, every different activity that we've done in some way is tied to your health, or can be tied to your health. For example, and I have a bunch of prompts for you in your workbook for this. Now-How. How can I enjoy my health right now? That's the Tetris block. If you're searching for good things in your health, you're already in that on mindset. Examples with your chart of happiness: More cooking, more gardening, more walking the dog, more yoga. Are any of those in your chart of happiness? With mastery, what is the skill I have that improves my health. So do you have a skill that could somehow be tied to one of those three triangle areas. Example: do you want to follow athlete's Instagrams? Is that something that inspires you? Can you try new activities? Do you want to get out in the sun if you're an outdoorsy person? What are things that you can add to that mastery area? Three, play. Playing with healthy ideas. What could I do to be healthier? Maybe one of your happy experiments could be with a health idea. Going and trying aromatherapy would be the perfect kind of happiness experiment. So, examples: new classes, new recipes, gamifying your health. I know someone who, one of our previous students, uses this zombie running app. It's an app, and it has like zombie noises in your ear while you're running. You play your music, and then it puts zombie noises over your music to get you to run faster. So that was the one that she loves, so she was talking about that. Four, control. What can I do to maximize for my health? So what are things in my life that create me to eat better, work out more, and sleep better? And what are the downward spirals? Sometimes I've noticed that when I'm with certain friends I eat really bad. I don't know what it is about them. It's not a downward spiral, but it can trigger a downward spiral. You eat something bad, and you don't feel great. You sleep in. You miss your bedtime. All those things. So I have found ways to make sure that we are doing non-food activities together. We'll typically go to tea. We'll typically go out walking. We go to the dog park. Those kinds of things. So, removing obstacles and inserting obstacles. Putting steps in front of your bad habits. Wow. Biggest question here is how can I savor more. How can I savor the feeling of that. My sleep palace, or this amazing meal that I'm having, this cake I baked from scratch. Ever try to make croissants from scratch? You will appreciate them much more than a croissant you buy at a bakery. Examples: the slow eating movement. I know people who swear by it. I have not particularly read that book, but I've heard it's really good. Dining with friends. Laughing lunch. Learning lunch. I usually do a learning lunch with TED Talks, but on Sundays I try laughing lunches because they aid digestion. Number six, g-spots. How is your health a gift in itself? We have to be so grateful for the health that we do have. That is one thing that, in your gratitude totem, hopefully health is always one of the things that you mention to yourself you are grateful for. Using your cause champion as help. Like maybe it's something where you're outside, or you're using movement. Maybe something where you're helping people with their nutrition. How can you integrate the two? With your sangha, who are your health partners? Who in your life helps you eat better and workout more? And who in your life doesn't? No bad or good. Just good to know who those people are. How can you get some more support? Workout partners, a food group, health pledge. I run a Spanish vegetarian cooking club. Spanish vegetarian cooking club. It's a long word. There's seven people in my life who like to eat vegetarian, who like to cook, and who speak Spanish. So we get together, and the rule is you can only speak Spanish and we spend four or five hours practicing our Spanish and cooking vegetarian food. It doesn't have to be Spanish vegetarian food. It could just be any type of vegetarian food. Amazing that I found seven people who were willing to do that with me. You'd be surprised. When you ask, the world gives. Lucky jack. What are your health expectations? I want you to think, do you expect yourself to run a four minute mile? Or do you expect yourself to have health problems? Like what are your expectations around that? Almost always if I say to myself, "I'm probably gonna sleep terrible tonight," I'm almost always going to sleep terrible tonight. So thinking about how you're setting yourself up for good and bad sleep, good and bad nutrition, and good and bad movement. Tracking progress really helps with this. If you feel like sometimes you get in your own way, or there's any self sabotage going on, I really recommend food logs and sleep logs. Testing your assumptions and learning about your health. This is where I really recommend getting a coach or getting a helper. Because sometimes you need someone else to give you that honest truth. By the way, with my lucky jack, one of my assumptions was I don't lift weights. I only do cardio. That was an assumption that I had for myself. And one of my good friends was like, "Why? "Like, I love lifting." Big guy. He does Crossfit. And I was like, "I get injured at Crossfit." He was like, "Really, do you?" He's like, "Well if you think about that, "you will get injured at Crossfit." And so he actually encouraged me to get a weightlifting coach and I do weight lift, with Sage, he's amazing, once a week. And now I feel like I can weight lift. So I've added weightlifting into my schedule with his help, and he's taught me to weight lift safely. Crossfit, a little too much for me. A little too intense. But I can do it one on one with someone. So I highly encourage you, if there's someone you can reach out to, to do it He'd be very proud if I did squats for you right now, but I won't. So, tomorrow. Last day. Who can believe it. We are on the last day. We are learning assertivism, which is a culmination of every day that we've learned so far in a beautiful gift-wrapped package. That's what we're gonna do tomorrow. We're gonna open that gift tomorrow. Challenge one. Pick one health experiment for each side of the triangle. I know you probably have one idea that you want. But I would encourage you just to play a what if game. If you could make your sleep better, what would you do? If you could have more balanced eating, what would you do? If you could have better movement, what would you do? Just a what if game, and see if that feels like that could be a happiness experiment for you. Please set a monthly alert to add one more. This is one of the few lessons that if you just do it once, it doesn't last forever. Learning about your lucky jack, that's a mindset that you can keep forever. Once you know it, you know it. Health can sometimes fade away, and then you go through phases. So please set a monthly alert for 30 days from today to reexamine your triangle, and maybe pick one more healthy experiment. Try to make one mindfulness ritual, even if it's just trying the 4-7-8 exercise once. I encourage you to try that one time in the next 24 hours and see how it makes you feel. So let's talk about what the most important thing you learned today, very briefly, before we finish up. So in your notebook, in your workbook I have a huge chart that I want you to fill out with some ideas. So I have every single pillar that we've done so far, plus a bunch of questions for you for each one, for sleep, eating, and exercise. You can actually go through here and kind of just play the what if game, if you had to improve that. That chart is for you to fill out. It's kind of a fun one to fill out. So now, what is the most important thing you learned today? Any ah-has? Yes. Your hand went right up. I loved it. You were like, "Here!" I love your idea with triangle theory because I've never thought about it. You can be off on two things, but you can choose one that you are good at today, and it's cool. I want to bring up the idea of guilt here for just a second. I didn't bring this up earlier, but because that was the ah-ha moment. So I think that as women. We're actually all women in this room. For women watching, we feel like we have to have everything perfect all the time. We have to eat the perfect breakfast, have the best snack packed, have a really, really good workout, then we have to have the perfect night's sleep, and if we don't have all those things, our health is out of whack. I had a lot of that pressure, especially when I was trying to lose weight. And then I had lost weight. I was like, "The moment I have a bad meal "I'll gain all 70 pounds back." I realized that that is not sustainable, because I was never happy, nothing was ever good enough, ever perfect enough. So I think the triangle theory kind of lets you have a little bit of relief. Yeah, maybe you have some bad sleep. Maybe you didn't eat so great. But that's all right. Have a great weightlifting workout. So, I hope it takes some of the pressure off for focusing on one. So thank you for bringing that up. Yeah. I think I've realized these things aren't gonna happen themselves. That you're giving us realistic tools, and I can't sit around and go, "Oh, maybe I'll take a walk around the block." Like, I have to plan it, I have to do it. I have to utilize the apps. I have to get my butt up and go. Yeah, that's a really good point. So that's waiting or looking. We asked that question yesterday. Are you waiting or are you looking? So maybe in your career you're always looking, you're hustling. But for health, it's the same question. Are you waiting, or are you looking? Are you downloading apps? Are you trying new things? Are you trying new recipes? Are you trying a new class? I think it's the same kind of question. Either you're on, or you're off. Someone else, what someone learned. Yes. I'm really gonna look to bring my sangha into my wellness triangle. I like to build the community within that, not just be on my one track. Absolutely. I love it. And also you're giving them a gift by bringing them in as well. One more for me. I liked that you spoke truly about the chemical imbalances in your body because I didn't realize that one triggers another, and another, and another, and then it all becomes that downward spiral. Being able to catch it, like you mentioned, catching one at the beginning, you can make a quick change. And the traffic jam clears up. I have a favor to ask you at home. First, I would love to hear your happy ah-ha. If you like when I talk about this stuff, I'm happy to write about it more. I never know if it has a place in the science of people. So if you like it, if you want me to share more hacks or Instagram things, I'm happy to do so. I'm happy to talk about weightlifting. That was something that really I love. I never thought I would love it. So if you want me to write about it, please tweet more your happy ah-ha and let me know so I can give you actually what you want. And of course people who tweet every day will win a copy of my book Captivate. We will announce the winners at the end. Now let's do a little dancing outro. Let's get some movement in. Add some steps to our movement for the day. (rock music)

Class Description

“Vanessa is the BEST!  She changed my life and I'm convinced if everyone did this course, the world would be a better place in which to live.” -Angela, CreativeLive Student
The search for happiness is your key to greater success. Do you know what makes you happy and how to get more of it? Most of us have no idea what drives our internal joy triggers. In this course you will learn that happiness is concrete and achievable. More importantly, happiness has tremendous benefits for every area of our life.

Vanessa Van Edwards has cracked the code on happiness. She runs the Science of People, a human behavior research lab. After studying the underlying patterns that drive our behavior for 4 years, Vanessa has come up with a framework for happiness - and a system for applying the latest scientifically backed happiness principles to your own life.

This class is designed to be watched over time. Just one lesson a day will keep you on track. Or feel free to binge watch all the lessons in one day! Rewatch the lessons whenever you need a refresher.

Vanessa’s methods are based on exhaustive research and solid science. This course is based on a literature review of 246 happiness studies, an audit of happiness data from over 12,000 people, and 4 years of research. The metrics that justify her research are just as compelling. Research has found that 50% of our happiness is genetic and 10% is the result of our environment. That means 40% of our happiness is influenced by behavior and mindset. Vanessa will focus on the 40% that you can address, so you can get back on track with your life and your goals.

Don’t be a passive learner! Students who purchase the class will also receive Vanessa’s comprehensive workbook with over 90 pages of exercises, charts, graphs and challenges to keep you on track to becoming a happier person.

Need an extra boost of positive motivation? Join The Power of Happiness Facebook Group to stay connected to people like you, who are retraining their brains and learning the true power of happiness.


Naomi Leila

I am so grateful for this course and for Vanessa. I took this course a few weeks ago and my happiness audit was at 100 neither happy nor unhappy. Now i feel so much happier and everything in my life has improved as a ripple effect and i am 134 on the happiness audit. This course really pays off if you put the work in and follow Vanessa's amazing guidance. It is such a fun, uplifting and brilliant course, i highly recommend it to everyone.

Jennifer Lee

Do you want to find happiness? And take control of your life, and ignite happiness in others? Are you looking to boost your self confidence or looking for ways to make your world a better place? If you said YES to these questions and are curious about the power of happiness, please check out The Power Of Happiness course with Vanessa Van Edwards! This course will awaken you and empower you with practical steps. Check it out. I guarantee you will be glad that you made the investment! Jennifer Lee A student of The Power Of Happiness

Andrea Magee

This course gave me actionable ways to think about my mindset and take some manageable steps toward improving my happiness. My cheeks were really feeling how much smiling and laughter (as well as dancing!) is included in each of the 10 days. Accepting that my own happiness is an ongoing skill to be exercised, as well as one that can encourage contagious happiness for my friends and family too.