Emotional Life
The Antidote to Envy
05Feb 2019
Comments Off on The Antidote to Envy

Written by Lifebook Member Dr. Joel Wade, Ph.D.

One step in building a better quality of life is dealing with what gets in the way for us. Envy can be a huge barrier to success, and mastering this particular emotion can open doors that we’ve padlocked on ourselves with its devastating premise.

Envy is an ugly emotion with awful effects. Most religious and spiritual teachings warn of it, the dangers are well known, yet envy persists as a powerful destructive force. It isn’t about having very little, we aren’t particularly unhappy when we have very little; but we do become very unhappy, depressed, and bitter when we dwell on having less than our neighbor.

But there is an antidote to envy: empathy, and the effective redirection of our initial impulses. It can also help to more fully understand this destructive and bitter emotion.

Envy de-humanizes the person envied. When we envy another person, we are not seeing that person for who they are, we are seeing them for what they have. It breeds malevolence; when we envy, we are not happy for the success of our neighbor, we are resentful of it.

Envy serves to diminish our capacity for empathy, and this lack of empathy makes it possible for people to do horrible things to one another.

It also reinforces a self image of helplessness and impotence. Envy implies disbelief in ourselves; it presupposes that we don’t feel we can create the wealth, the relationships, the values that we see in others, and this helplessness can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, limiting our ability to work toward what we would like to create in our lives.

But, like any negative emotion, by catching ourselves and understanding what we’re feeling, we can redirect our actions in a way that works much better for us.

Envy is, initially, an impulse; a reaction to perceptions. But that’s not where the danger lies. We’ve probably all felt at least a twinge of envy as an emotion at some point in our lives. It becomes dangerous only when we hang on to it, indulge it, and feed it.

We are full of somewhat automatic emotional reactions. Malcolm Gladwell has written in Blink how people who think of themselves as free of racist sentiment – himself included – have been shown to have an involuntary emotional reaction to people who look different from themselves.

But this reaction tells us nothing about racism. It is a vestige of our long tribal past, when “different” likely meant violent conflict and mortal danger. We see “different,” and there is a reflexive moment of alert. But research has shown that in less than 4 minutes, if there is no attention drawn to such physical differences, if there is more in common through work or fun or some other activity, the emotional impact of racial differences disappears entirely.

The first reaction is biological, the second is consciously human.

Of course there are plenty of people who make it a practice to continually draw attention to racial differences, and this is what perpetuates racism as a cultural force. The same goes for envy. It’s not unusual to see something that someone else has and desire it – as an impulse.

But the important thing, the question that fuels much of the drama of life because it cuts to the core of our conscious values and convictions, is what do we do with that initial impulse?

Do we hang onto it, indulge it, and follow it? Or do we take that impulse and transform it into useful action – in the case of envy, thinking of how we might earn the money to buy what we’d like, or use it to recognize something we may value, something we may admire in another person, and seek to develop those qualities in ourselves?

When I was playing water polo as a young man, there were moments when I was stricken with a wave of envy fighting for my position on the team. There could only be one starting goalkeeper, and once in awhile if I was behind I would catch myself feeling resentment toward the fellow I was vying with for that spot – who was also a very good friend.

That friendship (along with the fact that I knew better) was a godsend, because it kept a human connection, so it always brought me back very quickly from indulging in envy and refocusing on the task at hand: To play my very best, regardless of the circumstances.

We all want things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things, it’s part of our nature; and to the degree that this desire spurs us on to be creative and productive, it can be a great force for good.

But when we see other people with the things that we want, whether it be tangible items like a nice car or home, or less tangible accomplishments like a career or a triumph or a happy life, then another element can invite itself in to our experience: A focus on the thing desired, and a weakening of the perception of the holder of that thing as human.

We also can be oblivious to what it took them to achieve what they have, which is another part of empathy.

Is there something that you want in your life? What do you need to do to earn that? Channel your desire into active, benevolent behavior that has integrity with your conscious values, principles, and priorities.

If you find yourself coveting what somebody else has, catch yourself, and remind yourself that envy is a passive, helpless stance. Think about what they must have done to get where they are, and see if you can find a way to earn what they have that you are drawn to.

If you find yourself enjoying somebody else’s loss, catch yourself, and remind yourself that nothing good can come of following that impulse, and open yourself to doing whatever your best is, while appreciating the best that others bring.

We have lots of feelings and impulses, and part of the challenge of life is mastering those feelings and impulses, and directing the expression of them toward what we value consciously. We can’t often choose our impulses, but we can choose whether and how we express them. That choice is the foundation of self-ownership and genuine happiness.

Just because we feel angry doesn’t mean that we have to strike somebody; just because we’re afraid doesn’t mean that we have to cower; just because we hurt doesn’t mean that we have to withdraw.

…and just because we like what somebody else has doesn’t mean that we have to indulge in envy.

There’s the key… time to open those doors.

About Dr. Joel Wade

Joel F. Wade, Ph.D. is the author of The Virtue of Happiness and Mastering Happiness. He is a marriage and family therapist and Life Coach who works with people around the world via phone and Skype. You can get a FREE Learning Optimism E-Course if you sign up at his website, www.drjoelwade.com, or visit his free Mastering Happiness Podcast

20 Simple Ways to Stress Less
16Apr 2018
Comments Off on 20 Simple Ways to Stress Less

The internet is overflowing with articles on ways to unwind and relax after a stressful day, which can be very useful… but an even more powerful strategy is to get to the source of the problem, and cut stress out before it even happens.

By careful editing of your life, and changing certain habits, you can eliminate most common sources of stress in your life.

It’s important to note that a totally stress-free life isn’t possible (or even desirable). Stress is a natural response to challenges and growth in life, and a life without challenges or growth is too boring to contemplate. However, many of us can agree that most of the stress in our lives is unnecessary, and that it can be eliminated by taking some simple steps. It can’t be accomplished overnight — but it’s a rewarding and worthy goal. More…

33 Beautiful Affirmations for your Emotional Life
10Apr 2018
Comments Off on 33 Beautiful Affirmations for your Emotional Life

Every thought you think and every word you say is a declaration about who you are in this moment, and how you are perceiving the world.

Whether you believe that life is a blissful, joyous, blessed experience — or a difficult, miserable, stressful one — YOU ARE RIGHT.

Because, moment to moment, YOU are the creator of your experience.

Here are 33 beautiful affirmations to empower, uplift and inspire you as you create your experience consciously, with ever-increasing love and gratitude.


The Two Most Important Days (MP3)
29Mar 2018
Comments Off on The Two Most Important Days (MP3)

As humans, the search for happiness is hardwired in our DNA.

It transcends age, gender, geography, vocation, and personal circumstances. There are probably as many different paths to happiness as there are people on the planet!

But there is ONE thing that is virtually guaranteed to set you on the path toward lasting happiness and success — regardless of who you are, or where you come from.

What’s the single most powerful way to be happy?

Discovering and living your life’s purpose.

The “Lifebook Loves Podcast” presents Sanjiv Chopra, as he explores how to find your purpose and live a happier, healthier life.

Click here to download the audio (right click player and “save as”).

In this episode you’ll learn:

– Why it’s so important to find your life’s purpose
– How even a “simple” purpose can be a strong one
– Why you should pursue your purpose from a young age (and teach children to do the same)
– How living in alignment with your purpose can be the KEY to an extraordinary life
– And so much more!

Click here to learn more about “The Two Most Important Days,” and start your journey toward lasting happiness today!

Thanks so much for listening in!

Here’s to living life on purpose,

The Lifebook Team

33 Powerful Morning Affirmations
05Dec 2017
Comments Off on 33 Powerful Morning Affirmations

Affirmations are like little spells.

They are small but mighty words that powerfully rewire our brains, and enable us to restructure the thought processes that greatly influence our behaviors. They help us develop positivity in our lives, faith in ourselves, and gratitude for all that we have.

And therein lies the great power of affirmations…

By rewiring our inner lives, we start affecting real, positive changes in our outer world.

In honor of Quality of Life month at Lifebook, we invite you to plant new seeds of intention, and transform the way you live with the power of morning affirmations.

Start your day with conscious creation by reading them out loud each morning. Let the words guide your actions for the day – each one bringing you one step closer to living in the life you truly want, while deeply appreciating the life you already have.

Here are 33 powerful morning affirmations to get your creative juices flowing.

We also encourage you to create your own affirmations that suit your personal visions and passions!

  1. I am the creator of my reality. I have the power to make my life an extraordinary masterpiece.
  2. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
  3. I accept and love myself, just the way I am.
  4. I am healthy, energetic, and unwaveringly optimistic.
  5. My heart is open. My mind is at peace. My body is at ease.
  6. I am conscious of my body. My actions and habits support its purification, vitality and radiance.
  7. Everyday I become stronger and healthier.
  8. I give each of my endeavors 110%, and consistently express the very best within me.
  9. Money flows into my life easily. I always have what I need.
  10. I am open to all the wealth life has to offer.
  11. I see abundance everywhere.
  12. I am patient, kind and forgiving. My compassion replaces anger with love.
  13. I think only positive, loving, empowering thoughts. I hold no space for negativity in my being.
  14. I believe in myself, truly and deeply.
  15. I am powerfully courageous. I do not let feelings of fear of doubt stand in the way of my greatness.
  16. I deal with all of life’s challenges from a clear, calm and positive place.
  17. I know there is always a solution to any problem.
  18. I am balanced in my ability to both lovingly give to others and gracefully receive from others.
  19. I love to have FUN. I’m playful and never take myself or my life too seriously.
  20. I am surrounded by people who love me and inspire me.
  21. I accept each of my loved ones exactly as they are, and offer them unconditional love.
  22. The universe has my back, and supports me in every possible way, even when I can’t always see it.
  23. Knowing that I give my absolute best to all I do, I can relax and allow the outcome of my efforts to flow to me naturally, in its perfect form, without expectation or force.
  24. I live with open eyes and witness the infinite beauty that exists within every moment of my existence.
  25. I follow my heart and listen to my inner wisdom in all matters.
  26. I am safe, and protected by divine forces.
  27. I live with an open mind and continually invite new perspectives and fresh ideas into my world.
  28. I forgive others for their shortcomings. I forgive myself for my own shortcomings. This opens more space in my heart for unconditional love.
  29. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and every single experience of my life serves my highest growth.
  30. I am dedicated to never-ending growth, knowing that everything I seek in life is already right here within me, waiting to be awakened.
  31. I use every challenge as an opportunity to understand myself, take responsibility, and grow.
  32. I am fully open to whatever the divine wants to express through me in this life.
  33. I live with mindfulness and gratitude, so as to be worthy of all the incredible gifts I am given.
How Feeling Grateful Can Change Your Life
21Nov 2017
Comments Off on How Feeling Grateful Can Change Your Life

Written by Lifebook contributor, Olivia Ryan

Being grateful and happy aren’t always easy. Some days we get stuck in negative thoughts. For me, today has been one of those days. A broken-down car, more school work and bills then I can manage, and uncertainty about the future are only a few of the places where my mind is sticking.

It’s easy to concentrate on the negative, forgetting all the good in our lives. It’s simple to ignore the good that is all around us and dwell on the negative instead.

How Feeling Grateful Can Change Your Life.

Recently, I stumbled across An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness on YouTube. It’s an experimental approach on what makes people happier. Through the course of the exercise they discovered that when you express gratitude for the people in your life, your own happiness increases. If you have 7 minutes to spare, just watching it will bring a smile to your face. It’s a son expressing his appreciation for his mother, a friend for a friend, sisters, and an older man remembering a mentor. I dare you not to smile. Can you do it? Can you watch gratitude being expressed and not let it affect you?

5 Immediate Results of Gratitude

While expressing gratitude is something you do in appreciation of the person whom you’re grateful for, there are immediate benefits to your own life as well. Expressing gratitude reduces depression, increases energy and productivity, makes life seem brighter, increases creativity, and inspires you towards generosity.

#1 Depression reduction.

Expressing gratitude shifts our focus from negative to positive. Hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released, which fight back depression. Psychology Today gives 7 gratitude techniques to help alleviate depression and explains more of the science behind this antidote.

#2 More energy and productivity.

Did you know you can boost your health with a dose of gratitude? According to WebMD, gratitude reduces stress and boosts our immune system, which leads to increased energy and productivity.

Gratitude leads to healthier choices when it comes to food, exercise, and sleep. This naturally leads to increased energy and productivity as well — and this energy and productivity leads to better problem-solving skills.

When I feel out of control I begin thinking about the areas in my life that I can control. I can style my home for success, I can conquer my writer’s block by writing an article for Like A Boss Girls, and I can put my energy towards reaching goals rather than dwelling on the negative self-talk that derails them.

Negative thoughts easily slip us into a victim mentality derailing our dreams. They send me crawling back under the covers unwilling to face the day. By changing my thoughts and focusing on who and what I’m grateful for, I find the energy to get up and face the day.

#3 You see life from a brighter side.

When I begin focusing on all the things around me that I am thankful for I begin to see solutions for my other problems, or at least how it isn’t as bad as I initially thought.

My car isn’t working. While it may be frustrating, it’s not the end of the world. I’m surrounded by good friends who will give me a lift until I’m able afford a tow to the garage.

School work is overwhelming but there are some great services out there, like aussiewritings.com, to help me get caught up and ahead.

Yes, things are financially tight, especially with that broken car, but I have a job and the ability to pick up extra shifts. There’s always the neighbor’s kids who need babysitting and, with a little more attention to my personal finances, things will turn out just fine.

Life is actually pretty good.

#4 More creativity.

The Link Between Gratitude and Creativity has to do with the ability to remember more vividly, think outside the box, engage with our environment, try new things, play, and so much more.

#5 Pay-it-forward.

Gratitude for others naturally flows into giving to others. When I’m focusing on the ways others have blessed me, I’m more inclined to serve others — whether it’s a neighbor or a volunteer role in the community. It gets me off my butt and increases not only my self-productivity, but also encourages me to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to me.

How to Feel More Grateful Today

There are some simple things you and I can start doing today to feel more grateful. It’s the small steps we take every day that lead us to our bigger goals. Expressing gratitude for others is one small step towards living a fuller life. Make an effort to add at least one of the following today, then come back and tell us how it made a difference.

  • Replace complaining with gratitude. The next time you feel a complaint rising up, stop and instead say what you are thankful for. What are you grateful for today?
  • Start a gratitude journal. Every day write down 5 to 10 things that happened that day that you are grateful for.
  • Tell someone why you are grateful for them. It can be a letter in the mail, a phone call, or even better face-to-face.
  • Surround yourself with inspirational quotes and thoughts. Put sticky notes on your mirror, hang inspirational thoughts next to your computer, hang pictures of the people you love throughout your home.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others!
  • Be present. Learn to live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or constantly be looking to the future. Enjoy the moment you are in.
  • Get outside and help others. Donate your time, donate items, and volunteer to make a difference.

Final Thoughts on Gratitude

A spirit of gratitude leads to peace of mind and an overall positive attitude. When we appreciate the people around us we become more productive and healthy. Our stress and depression are reduced. Our immunity gets a boost and we have higher energy and productivity. We find ourselves more creative, happy, and generous.

Gratitude brings success to our day to day lives. Joy is contagious and draws in others. Relationships improve through a mutual sense of love and support. When you focus on the positive and are grateful for the people around you, you will find they want to be with you more. People are attracted to a grateful spirit.

Gratitude feels amazing!


About author: Olivia is an incurable optimist who always sees the glass as half-full. She likes nature, knows how to enjoy silence and keen on writing for different websites. Meet her on Facebook and Twitter.


How to Have a Good Bad Day
06Dec 2016

Written by Jessi Kohlhagen

We’ve all had terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

An overwhelming workload, a missed deadline, a traffic jam, some bad news, a fight with your partner, a broken goal… crappy days come in many shapes and sizes.

But (as with most things in life) you can bet your bottom dollar that even your stormiest days have their silver linings.

Here are 8 ideas for how to have a GOOD bad day:

1. Resist the urge to “treat” yourself

There’s nothing quite like a “treat” at the end of a particularly crappy day… yet oftentimes our ideas of treating ourselves are actually unhealthy, and leave us feeling even more miserable after the initial surge of enjoyment has subsided. Whether our go-to vice is alcohol, sweets, cigarettes or shopping, indulging it usually leaves us with feelings of guilt and loss of control. So next time you find yourself seeking to fill that void, ask yourself, “will this really make me feel better?”

2. Connect with your body

The most beneficial way to “treat” yourself is to really connect with your being, and nourish every cell in your body. Exercise is one of the most obvious and effective mood boosters, so try a gentle yet nourishing form of movement that will take you out of your head and into your body (dance and yoga are fantastic choices!). Once you’ve nurtured yourself from the inside out, work from the outside in. Draw yourself a relaxing bath of Epson salts, essential oils, candles and relaxing music. You’re guaranteed to feel like a whole new person!

3. Write it down

Writing/Journaling is one of the most powerful forms of healing therapy imaginable. It’s not so much about the process of documenting what is happening in our lives… it’s the process of being fully aware of what is happening in our lives, and in ourselves. When you take the time to candidly and uninhibitedly communicate what and how you’re feeling, you will find gems of wisdom that you didn’t realize existed (and oftentimes the solution you need to the problems you’re facing). Thank you, inner voice!

4. Do a 180

If you spent the day trying to dig yourself out from an overwhelming pit of paperwork, spend your evening completely disconnected from your career and engage in something that feels like a contrast. Play, read a book, move your body, relax. On the flip side, if you spent your day lazing around, making poor choices and are feeling crappy about yourself, get up and get something done… which leads us to #5…

5. Accomplish something

Oftentimes, the overwhelm, guilt and defeat that we feel at the end of a terrible day is caused by a sense of imbalance. These are the days we spend way too much time and energy focused on one thing (or one theme) and are left feeling too exhausted and frustrated to even begin thinking about all the other things that need to be done. Sometimes the antidote to overwhelm is simply to take conscious action. So when you’re feeling overpowered by one category of your life, accomplish something meaningful in a category you feel is lacking. Deep clean your kitchen, cook a beautifully vibrant meal, connect with your children, make love to your partner, create something for someone. Find a sense of accomplishment elsewhere, and let that satisfaction heal you.

6. Say “well, at least I…”

Surely there are meaningful moments that occur, even on our darkest days. Learning to focus our minds on the full spectrum of our experience, and not indulge in one overpowering aspect of it, is one of the great keys to balance and fulfillment in life. So instead of stewing over everything that went wrong, try and make a mental list of the things that went well.

7. Keep perspective

Ask yourself if this will matter in a week, a month, a year… or even tomorrow! Think back to similar times when you’ve felt defeated, and remember how it all worked out… recognize how distant and removed from that experience you feel today, and remember that this too shall pass.

8. Remember the ebb and flow

The brilliant Rumi spoke these poetic words of wisdom:

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence
is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birds’ wings.”
― Rumi

Remember that the nature of the human experience is this very contracting and expanding. The more you can accept this as a simple (and in fact beautiful) part of life, the more inner peace you will find in every millimeter of your experience – both the good, and the bad.

Even a bad day can have something good in it.

What can you find in yours?


Do You Complain Too Much? 5 Ways to Overcome Negativity
10May 2016
Comments Off on Do You Complain Too Much? 5 Ways to Overcome Negativity

“Like most people, you spend much of your time swimming in a sea of negativity and complaints.
Just as a fish may not even be aware of the water that surrounds it,
you may not be aware of all the complaints you hear and speak.”
-Will Bowen

Complaining is so much a part of our society, it can be difficult to recognize what is and is not a complaint.  So let’s begin with a definition…

The dictionary defines the word ‘complain’ as: an expression of dissatisfaction, pain, or grief; to find fault.

Basically, complaining is the counter-opposite of being grateful, content, and self-responsible.

And boy, do people love to complain.

Open your ears and you’ll hear that complaining has become an integral part of most people’s daily exchanges.  Many times, people use complaints as icebreakers – beginning a conversation with a negative observation because they believe it will elicit a greater response than something positive (and, unfortunately, they’re often right).

People complain about cold weather, hot weather, traffic, lack of sleep, hunger, fullness, uncomfortable clothes, jobs, lack of jobs… the list is endless. More…

The Antidepressant In Your Refrigerator
19Apr 2016
Comments Off on The Antidepressant In Your Refrigerator

Written by Lifebook Member Dr. Joel Wade

About twenty years ago, my mom gave my then new bride and I what has over the years become one of our most use-worn cookbooks: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. Being someone at the time that enjoyed eating whatever I wanted, a cookbook with the word “diet” in it would not normally grab my attention.

But fortunately my wife is smarter than me, and I love olive oil, garlic, tasty spices, and fish, so these were and are recipes that have never felt like diet food. Throw in a little red wine, and you’ve got a regular celebration.

The idea is that, by eating food that features a variety of multicolored, nutrient rich vegetables, low in saturated fats, with an emphasis on more omega-3 fatty acids (found in deep water ocean fish like salmon), our hearts and the rest of our bodies can be much healthier over time.

But this story is becoming much more interesting…

It looks like the food we eat may have a lot to do with our psychological and emotional health as well.

In almost every area of life things have improved incredibly over the past five or six decades. Our health and longevity are better; pollution is lower; violence has declined; our abstract reasoning ability has grown… and technologically we have come to accept things like laptops and smart phones that were pure science fiction a half-century ago.

But there is one serious affliction that has grown by about five-fold over that same period of time: depression.

There are certainly many reasons for this. Martin Seligman has shown that depression is often a symptom of helplessness. We’re more sedentary nowadays, which can exacerbate a sense of the inability to act.

We also see the worst of what’s happening among all seven billion of us, piped directly into our limbic system via modern media, so if we watch the news at all, we can feel that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and that we’re helpless to do much about it… when the truth is mostly the opposite.

We also, I think, have less tolerance for what used to be normal fluctuations in mood, to the point where the current diagnostic manual of psychiatry doesn’t even allow for depression during a normal grieving period after losing someone we love.

But now we’re beginning to see a more interesting pattern regarding health and happiness – or their absence.

Just as we’re seeing with heart disease and certain brain disorders, it looks as though much of depression may have its roots in a physical process: inflammation.

What we eat has an even more direct and profound impact on this process.

More specifically, a diet full of vegetables may be one route, not only to better physical health, but to better mental health as well.

Research is showing that our happiness and mental health rise with the number of daily portions of fruit (berries are best) and vegetables we eat, peaking at about 7 helpings; it boosts mood at least as well as taking an antidepressant.

Seven helpings of fruits and vegetables a day significantly improves the mood and mental health of young adults around the age of nineteen; while on the other hand those eating the least healthy foods increase their risk of depression by 79%.

A Mediterranean Diet centers around vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereal, legumes and fish. It significantly reduces our risk of depression, and it cuts our risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half.

Then there’s the role of omega-3 fatty acids. We can get this in fish and flax seed oil, as well as meat, poultry and eggs that are grass fed. We can also take omega-3 fish oil supplements with good effect.

Omega-3’s counteract inflammation. They reduce our risk of depression, and reduce cognitive decline. They also lower aggression in normal and prison populations, and may reduce aggression and ADHD in children.

When we eat less fish, it’s associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety, and worse symptoms with affective and schizophrenic disorders – consistent with inflammation playing a role in these. In contrast, higher levels of omega-3’s may help bipolar disorder, and prevent progression to first episode psychosis in high risk youth.

This is a big deal. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorders have been some of the most difficult psychological troubles to help with. Medication can help but it also can have nasty side effects; and therapy is challenging and heroic work for the sufferer. This isn’t anything like a cure, but to have something simple that can improve things even a little bit can offer hope that’s been sorely lacking.

Our brains consume about 420 calories a day. They need omega-3 fatty acids, folate, fiber, choline, iron, zinc, and vitamins B12, E and D among other nutrients. Vitamin D is actually a hormone with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it also benefits our nerve function.

Then there’s our friends the bacteria…

There are more bacteria cells in our bodies than the cells of our bodies themselves – they’re much smaller, so they take up a lot less space. But we’re finding more and more the importance of the friendly bacteria in our guts.

The vegetables we’ve already talked about are prebiotics; these are what the helpful bacteria in our systems need to flourish.

After we eat prebiotics, we have significantly lower levels of cortisol when we wake up in the morning – high cortisol is linked to stress, anxiety and depression. We also pay less attention to negative information and more attention to positive information; so we have less anxiety about negative or threatening things.

That could be a problem if we lived in the kind of very dangerous environment that our more distant ancestors did. But for most of us, most of the time, our troubles come from over-reacting to things that look negative or threatening, but actually are not.

Probiotics are the friendly bacteria themselves. We can get these through eating things like yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso soup. Probiotics are connected to how we process information related to anxiety and depression, and they influence the stress response. There have been cases of deep, intractable depression being lifted through eating probiotics. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it does show how severe the absence of these friendly bacteria can be.

In my office I have shelves full of books on psychology. I could never have guessed twenty years ago that a cookbook would compete with them in importance. But with all the research coming out on lifestyle, happiness, and psychological health, it may be that what’s in our refrigerator is as important as what’s going on in our heads.


Everything is amazing and no one is happy
01Sep 2015
Comments Off on Everything is amazing and no one is happy

What an incredible time it is to be alive.

Without a doubt, we are the luckiest generation in the history of humanity… living in the safest, cleanest, wealthiest age to date.

We don’t have to focus single-mindedly, from dawn ‘til dusk, on where our next meal is going to come from, or how we’re going to survive this year’s winter, or how we could ever possibly complete the 3,000-mile trek from New York to California on foot.

We have almost zero life-threatening challenges to face on a day-to-day basis, and millions upon millions of life-enriching tools at our fingertips, most of which are accessible with only the click of a tiny (virtual) button.

Never have humans been so FREE to do what we want, when we want, how we want… and to do it at such lightning speed, with such miraculous efficacy.

So why aren’t more of us happy? Blissfully grateful, even?

Do we really understand how LUCKY we are? What would all the other generations of humanity have given to experience even a TINY fraction of the luxuries we take for granted everyday?

Yet, despite the countless miracles of our modern world, most people are dissatisfied, angry, and unfulfilled.

Clearly we don’t understand how charmed our lives are.

We are the luckiest people who have EVER been born… Do we really have a RIGHT to be unhappy?

Comedian Louis C.K. doesn’t think so, and this month we’re featuring a delightfully hilarious video clip from his interview with Conan O’Brien, that is sure to put a smile on your face and remind you just how lucky you truly are… More…