Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision-making. Decision-making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, makes you happier. ~ UCLA Neuroscience Researcher, Dr. Alex Korb
Mindfulness has been something that I have been exploring for close to ten years now. I have practiced various types of meditation, attended workshops and programs and listened to many teachings. The lessons that I have found most helpful have been the ones that are secular in nature, rather than those based in religious tradition. This past weekend I took part in a course at the University of Toronto called, Embodying the Qualities of Mindfulness. It presented the 16 Guidelines for Life, a “set of ethical precepts that cut through the issues that divide the modern world”. The guidelines provide a framework on how we think, act, relate to others and find meaning in life. The teachers did a great job of creating a safe and open environment to explore these concepts and I felt a sense of community with the other students. If you are looking to explore mindfulness in a secular, professional way I strongly recommend the program. I plan to expand on my learnings in future blog posts.
On LinkedIn, Dr. Travis Bradberry posted an article on, Five Things That Will Make You Much Happier. He ground the article in research by Dr. Korb, and asks readers to focus energy and attention on science-proven facts rather than self-help advice. It caught my eye because of a Zen inquiry that we did on happiness in the course this weekend. In partners we had to explore what we needed to be happy and what we needed to do for others to be happy. In the article he rightfully points out, helping others to be happy will in turn help you be happy.
It was not a great week for US pharmacy retailer CVS. Two Chicago area employees were fired on Monday for calling the police on a Black woman after she tried to use a coupon they believed to be fraudulent. Later in the week they fired a pharmacist in Arizona who refused to refill a hormone prescription for a transgender woman. Both of these incidents are part of a troubling trend of open racism and transphobia. While CVS took steps to address the individual situations, I wonder what steps they will take to address the ones that don’t become public. I’m also curious about what in their culture makes people work for them think these disturbing actions would be considered okay.
What I am listening to
Alvaro Soler – La Cintura
What caught your eye this week? Leave a comment below.