Stress. We all have it.
It comes in many forms and as per the American Psychological Association, there are primarily 3 types which affect us:
- Acute Stress
- Episodic Stress
- Chronic Stress
Acute Stress is the most common stress that affects us day in, day out. As defined by the APA, acute stress “comes from demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future“. Those that suffer episodic stress, “are those who suffer acute stress frequently, whose lives are so disordered that they are studies in chaos and crisis. They're always in a rush, but always late. If something can go wrong, it does. They take on too much, have too many irons in the fire, and can't organize the slew of self-inflicted demands and pressures clamoring for their attention. They seem perpetually in the clutches of acute stress.” Lastly, chronic stress is “the grinding stress that wears people away day after day, year after year. Chronic stress destroys bodies, minds and lives. It wreaks havoc through long-term attrition. It's the stress of poverty, of dysfunctional families, of being trapped in an unhappy marriage or in a despised job or career.”
Our bodies change our minds… and our minds change our behavior… and our behavior changes our outcomes. ~ Dr. Amy Cuddy
Dr. Amy Cuddy's TedX video addresses body language and a few of the psychological as well as biological benefits of body positions as it affects certain stresses. I put her theories in action and tested it out with the help of a few of my little assistants. The short and long of it, there's some merit to the positive impact “power poses” can have on our bodies and minds.
Here's 4 reasons to strike a bad-a$$ power pose (as if you needed more than 1):
- Reduced cortisol (stress hormone)
- Increased testosterone (this is good!)
- Overall increase in sense of well-being (after you get past the awkward 2 minutes of just standing there in a “power” pose)
- A smile from ear to ear from which you feel an increased self-confidence and improved self-image
What's your power pose?
[toggle title=”About the video” state=”close” ]Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions[/toggle]
Do you ever wake up and find yourself wondering what day it is? Laying in bed, rubbing the sleepy gunk from the corners of your eyes, you reach for your iPhone and realize that a week has just passed you by! I had one of those very moments post my mid-afternoon nap which coincidentally happened while watching a movie with my girls (that's how it always happens!). Thanks to my photo stream I can relive my week in photos…
… I realize it isn't a blog post, but as the adage goes “a picture speaks louder than WORDS”. (more…)
Since August 2011 I've put out the “Moose is Loose” monthly newsletter to better connect with those that have expressed a keen interest in sharing about health and fitness goals, wellness ambitions and everything between. More importantly it's a way for me to remain accountable to my readers and offer guidance where I'm able. It's those little, daily tasks that when compounded tend to have the longest lasting impact on our lives. As well, seemingly small accountability check-ins keeping many of us (especially me!) on task; and at moments gets us back on track on those days when we find ourselves deviating from our personal goals.
I continue to do my best to share those things that I'm most passionate about in life, hoping that I can inspire and motivate others to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. The newsletter is just another extension of my life allowing me to do so…
Please feel free to sign up for the “Moose is Loose” monthly newsletter using the following form:
Here's an exert from last month's newsletter… (more…)
It was a whirlwind of fun and energy as I found myself jumping out of bed to jet-set off to Austin, Texas a week ago Friday-morning for the inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit. Upon arriving to the Hyatt Lost Pines resort Friday evening, I was pleasantly surprised by the kick-butt Dove Men + Care package left in my room. And no, I'm not special, everybody got one. 😉
Making my way to the conference rooms to get in on some of the night's festivities, I found myself walking into a room of the most influential “daddy-bloggers” in North America. A bit intimidating at first as this is a world I'm completely new to (well, that was before this weekend) and they completely blew my mind. Not only were these “cool” dads, but they were trendy, dynamic and uber nice. A bunch of real people with real knacks at sharing their stories through social media. And to top it off, XBOX Kinect, one of the event sponsors had 4 giant TV's set up showcasing the new game, Kinect Rush. This was AWESOME! Admittedly after 30 minutes of gaming I had a pretty good sweat on. Love the Kinect — it definitely gets the Moose's “4 Hooves” up rating.
Off to bed for an early Saturday morning workout, I was tasked by Dove Men+Care with the responsibility of leading a group of dads through a CrossFit-style workout to get their days started. A group of 7 early risers joined me at 7 a.m. full of positive energy and plenty of bounce in their steps, they came smiling and eager to “throw down” what I had in store for them. The weather not being in our favor, I made a quick change in programming, and rather than 1 of my equipment free workouts we did a modified tabata style workout followed by a quick 5-minute ab tester, finishing up with a 3 minute metabolic conditioning workout. These 3 mini-workouts, taking less than 30 minutes to complete left everyone feeling great… mind you though, I'm not too sure how they might have felt 2-days post workout, but I know they all walked out of that room at 8am with ease. (LOL – it was everyone's first “Tabata” workout)
I was fortunate to have the whole rest of the day to take in some of the panel discussions at the Summit as well as the keynote speaker, Guy Kawasaki's presentation entitled, “Enchantment“. Not only inspirational, but extremely entertaining and funny too. Really wish I didn't have to rush out so quickly to make it to the airport as I really wanted to meet Mr. Kawasaki after the presentation was done… guess I will have to chase him down at the next event for him to autograph a book for me.
And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention all the cool swag that I got from the Summit:
- LEGO gave me a full tub of blocks (400 pieces!), the ultimate Lego Ideas book to keep me and my girls building into the wee hours of the night;
- An uber-cool kit from Dove Men+Care – complete with body/face wash, shampoo, deodorant stick and a kick-butt cosmetic bag;
- Honda was there giving out test drives of the new CRV among other new vehicles in this year's lineup… and to say thanks for driving, gave all of us a very cool stadium blanket;
- The crew from Spare One gave all attendees an EMERGENCY Mobile Phone. Plug in a single AA battery and this nifty mobile keeps its charge for 15 years so you can use it out of the package to dial 911 for emergencies or add a SIM card and use it like a regular mobile phone.
All in all, I loved every minute of the experience and look forward to joining in the fun again next year.
Does Money Make YOU Happy?
Each and every Friday morning I attend a local business networking group. Its an extremely energetic and incredibly positive lot and I couldn't think of anywhere else I'd want to spend my Friday mornings (at the crack of dawn). Every Friday morning, as we work our way around the table, each person delivers a 1-minute business update. Caroline Hanna, a good friend of mine, shared the below article and some of its findings with the group.
Dollars and Sense: Measuring gross national happiness
by David Christianson
The tiny kingdom of Bhutan started measuring its country’s Gross National Happiness in 1972. This was deemed a more important factor than Gross National Product, the common measure of the economic output of a country.
You’ll note that’s a theme we have voiced periodically over the last 16 years in this column. The goal of Dollars and Sense has always been to help you do better with your money. More money efficiency means more to spend on you and your goals. We all assume that will lead to more happiness.
But, if it came down to a choice between happy and money, I would probably suggest that you choose happiness over money. I contend that you may have more control over your personal happiness than you do over your income, so it’s worth learning about.
Officially recognizing happiness and citizen contentment is a trend that seems to be catching on with other countries.
According to a recent article in The Atlantic, the respected U.S. general interest monthly magazine, France started developing alternatives to GDP that measured national well-being two years ago and, in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron directed his government to start measuring psychological and environmental well-being.
These are pretty tough things to measure, but there is research. From what I have read, people in rich countries are not generally happier than people in countries with lower per capita GDP.
There appears to be a certain level of income above which there is very little direct effect on happiness.
While research shows that having more millions does not make a person proportionately happier – in fact, a recent Boston College study of people with an average net worth of $78 million showed them to be generally unhappy and dissatisfied with life – the baseline for happiness does require enough to cover the basic necessities, and a few luxuries.
In 2010, Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Professor Angus Deaton analyzed survey data from 450,000 people and found that above the income level of $75,000, there was no measurable increase in happiness due to income. They identified this as the “specific dollar number, or income plateau, after which more money had no effect on day-to-day contentment.”
This is American research and based on phone surveys, which may be a flawed methodology. Either way, I believe that after a certain amount of income, it is factors other than money which positively affect happiness.
Research (and my observation) suggests that a feeling of progress and improvement is a huge contributor to raising the feeling of deeper satisfaction with how your life is going. When you believe you are moving forward and achieving some of the goals you’ve set for yourself, your feeling of well-being improves significantly.
Another big factor is acknowledging this progress, by measuring it and saying out loud (or writing down) your achievements. The icing on the cake is feeling grateful for everything you have, and that may be the secret of those annoyingly content people you come across from time to time.
So, here are the steps:
- Make a list of the things you achieved in the last year, no matter how small or large. Focus on those positives.
- Where appropriate, write down the next step you would like to take in each area. Where do you go from here, ideally?
- Now, for the future, write down the things you would like to achieve. When you have a list that excites you, set specific, measurable targets or milestones, with dates attached.
- Then, develop a plan for what you can do each day, week or month to move you toward each of those objectives.
This is a formula that will make you happier, more positive, and able to make better choices in your daily life and achieve more, all independent of your income level.
If you think I’m full of beans, then try it for a month and get back to me.
In the meantime, sign up to help with sandbagging, if you’re able. Being altruistic and working together with other people toward a common goal is another near-guaranteed way to feel more satisfied with your life.
Being happy is a bit like golf – it’s a simple game.
Dollars and Sense is meant as an introduction to this topic and should not in any way be construed as a replacement for personalized professional advice. David Christianson is a financial planner at Wellington West Total Wealth Management Inc., Portfolio Manager (Restricted). He can be reached at [email protected]
So what do you think? Does money make us happier?
Here's a great video made by some very good friends of mine, check it out and feel free to share it with others. Excellent words of wisdom from some very wise BC business owners.
For anyone who is considering going into business for themselves, or even those trailblazers who carved the path already – this video captures it all. The challenges, and the celebrations of owning your own business.