Hey Smart Sexy Lady!
I think you’re going to find this post very interesting.
Two weeks ago was in San Diego for a 4-day coach training “bootcamp” (in addition to my private practice I am also a coach for Tony Robbins, the worlds Top Peak Performance Coach).
To say that it was AMAZING is putting it mildly. This is a team of people who are committed to being the best of the best. Our boss and trainers are what people dream of in their employers. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not incredibly grateful to be a part of that community.
There was more laughing, crying, learning and sharing in four days than most people experience in a year.
There were so many things I learned but there is one thing that stands out the most to me that I wanted to share with you.
Prior to going away I had not had any type of added sugar for 29 days (I did have fruit) and was feeling very good but not great, it was as if there was a missing ingredient.
I wanted to continue to not have sugar to continue to feel good but decided to do a little experiment that was motivated by this quote from Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg:
One of the most thorough research projects on relationships is called the Alameda County Study. Headed by a Harvard social scientist George Kaplan PhD, it tracked the lives of 7,000 people over nine years. Researchers found that the most isolated people were three times more likely to die than those with strong relational connections.
People who had bad health habits (such as smoking, poor eating habits, obesity, bad sleep habits, no exercise or excessive alcohol use) but strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had great health habits but were isolated. In other words, it is better to eat Twinkies with good friends than to eat broccoli alone. Harvard researcher Robert Putnam notes that if you belong to no groups but decide to join one, “you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.”
For another study, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 276 volunteers were infected with a virus that produces the common cold. The study found that people with strong emotional connections did four times better fighting off illness than those who were more isolated. These people were less susceptible to colds, had less virus, and produced significantly less mucous than relationally isolated subjects. (I’m not making this up. They produced less mucous. This means it is literally true: Unfriendly people are snottier than friendly people.)
For my experiment, I decided that I would allow myself some sugar to see if I felt differently being constantly around people I enjoy versus when I’m home and much more isolated.
The night before training started I went out with friends and had 2 drinks (an apple cider and a glass of white wine) both of which have a decently high sugar count.
What was surprising to me was that the next day I felt great. I didn’t feel depressed or down (and what was even more amazing about this was that I had my period, usually a time when I’m much more emotional).
On day 4 (Friday) I ate a Justin’s Dark-Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and then went out with friends and drank 2 1/2 glasses of cider plus a shot of Jaegermeister–that’s a lot of sugar to consume for someone who normally doesn’t consume any.
I had a great time on Friday night–laughing way more than I normally laugh, allowing myself to “be” and staying up wayyyy later than I normally do (I maybe got 3 hours of good sleep).
On Saturday I was definitely tired but it felt more of a “I was up all night with friends” tired than a “I had too much sugar tired”.
Saturday and Sunday I was completely happy–I was also with friends the whole time.
Then, Monday came. After a red-eye flight back to VA and a cancelled 2nd flight I arrived home. Sigh.
As soon as I landed I could feel my chest tightening and the feeling of being “alone” and “isolated” came back.
And, for the next few days I was in a funk.
My client load was light so I wasn’t interacting with many people. I couldn’t seem to pick myself back up despite not eating any sugar.
It didn’t pick up again until Friday when I had a packed day of clients, a training call and then working at the restaurant where I’d be interacting with many people.
I literally could feel my chest opening up as I connected with others. My weekend has been full with being around family, working at the restaurant and preparing to go to VA Beach to hang out with a good friend for a few days. I’ve felt so happy since Friday.
What’s even more interesting to me about this “experiment” for me is that on every personality assessment I score very high on being an introvert yet I know I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by people I connect with.
Hmmm….there is something to be said for eating Twinkies with friends than broccoli alone.
For me, the recipe to my happiness = great food + great friends/family + great exercise + great career.
If any one of those ingredients are missing, something is “off” and my life isn’t the level of fulfillment I want it to be.
So, what do you think?
Do you find that you are happier when you are “eating Twinkies with friends” or when you are “eating broccoli alone”?
What’s your recipe for happiness? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Please share in the comments below–you never know who you’ll encourage!
Eat Smart, Feel Sexy!