“For the last 400 years, an unstated assumption of science is that human intention cannot affect what we call physical reality. Our experimental research of the past decade shows that, for today’s world and under the right conditions, this assumption is no longer correct.”
- William A. Tiller, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, in the 2007 book The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart
Break Out of Your Bubble
Here’s a mood-booster to keep up your sleeve for days when you’re feeling low: go out and explore new places.
This new study tracked people across NYC and Miami for several months. It also tracked their moods. Here’s what it found: people whose physical locations varied day to day felt happier.
To put it another way, breaking out of your bubble is a good thing.
Now, if 2020 seems like the worst possible year for this study to be released, you’re probably right. 2020 has basically been the year of the bubble.
But on the other hand, it may be just what we need to hear. It’s a reminder that, as lockdowns ease and things return to normal, it’s important to seek out new experiences and expand our horizons once again.
And even if you don’t have the opportunity to venture out to far-flung corners of your city (or at all), you can still use this advice within the scope of your daily routine, say the study’s authors.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Take a different route to the grocery store
- Try a new skill you can learn at home (cooking, painting, coding, yoga, anything!)
- Do regular activities in irregular places (e.g. do your morning stretches outside instead of in the living room)
- Listen to a type of music you wouldn’t normally listen to or read new types of books
- Interact with different people (face-to-face or online)
- Rearrange or redecorate your living and working spaces to make them feel fresh and new
Bottom line is, anything you can do to experience new sights and sounds is a good thing. Why not give it a shot today and see how you can mix things up?
Track Your Phone Habits
Your smartphone is awesome. You might even be reading this on it. But if you’re glued to it all day long, it starts to become less positive. It pulls you away from your loved ones, sucks up your attention, and distracts you from work.
So here’s a way to reign it in and keep your phone use healthy and balanced. Use an app to, well, use less apps. Paradoxical, but it works!
Find out how many hours you spend on your phone per day, how many times you check it, and which apps you use the most.
And from there – you can create limitations and use your phone more mindfully.
iPhones come with a native app called Screen Time. Google has an app called Digital Wellbeing. (Both are accessible through the Settings menu.)
If you don’t have a native app or you want to expand on that functionality, check out these options:
If you feel like your phone is sucking up time, start tracking today. Understanding your habits is the first step to changing them.
Mara Schiavocampo, Journalist & News Correspondent
Life is busy for a four-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and mother like Mara Schiavocampo, but she has it nailed with a healthy morning routine. Here’s how she does it:
- Checks messages and social media while standing at the kitchen counter
- Does 10 minutes of stretching
- Sits down to some journaling. “Most often that consists of making lists: gratitude, prayers, my intentions for the day (specific tasks I’d like to complete).”
- Prays and meditates for about 10 minutes
- Heads to a gym class (yoga, spin, or bootcamp) before kicking off her workday and tackling her list of intentions
Why it works
- Checking your phone first thing isn’t right for everyone, but Mara makes it work for her. By standing in the kitchen she avoids the temptation to lie in bed scrolling all morning.
- Stretching increases blood flow and gets your body ready to start the day.
- When you journal your intentions they stick in mind and thus guide your actions for the day. Writing things down really works. A 2015 study found that writing down goals makes you 33% more likely to achieve them.
- Studies show that meditation reduces cortisol – a major benefit for stressed and busy people.
- Exercise is great for health (mental and physical!) and by doing classes Mara gets pushed harder. “The harder I sweat, the better I feel afterwards,” says Mara.
We tend to agree. There’s even research to show that group fitness classes have added benefits versus working out alone – like a 26% stress reduction.
Group fitness may look different now, but it’s worth getting back out there. Look for smaller class sizes, outdoor settings and hygienic conditions – and, most importantly, look for an activity you love!