Chess Players Who Look Like Soccer Players, Big Dreams, and Relief From Mental Constipation

If all friends would greet each other like these two toddlers, the world would be a more joyful place. (Actually, Lynne and Addie have been know to greet each other like this.)

Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge, the newsletter with 1 quote, 3 ideas and a 5-minute challenge to recharge your wellness.

We hope you enjoy the new format as we continue to pursue our mission to bring you the best in wellness. Please drop us a line at with any comments, suggestions or recharge tips.


 “I wanted to show women, and African American women in particular, what they can do…”
~Bicycling across America after surviving a stroke changed Patricia McNeal’s life


  • CHESS PLAYERS WHO LOOK LIKE SOCCER PLAYERS. The way physical fitness affects brain performance is being played out on a chess board where two hours of chess can burn as many calories as Roger Federer burns in an hour of singles tennis. Grandmasters are training like athletes because they know it’s the best way to deal with the mental stress of competition that increases breathing rate and can elevate blood pressure in the range of competitive marathon runners. We love reminding you about the importance of physical activity to mental fitness, and this week there was a wealth of exercise-related research and online encouragement to back up our favourite wellness strategy. Neuroscientist Erica Seigneur of Stanford tells us that “There is one activity that has been shown to improve working and long-term memory, improve mood, stave off dementia in old age, and in general make your brain and body happy.” Cardiovascular exercise. “Exercise decreases inflammation, which then, in turn, is beneficial for brain health” added lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Repple of a study demonstrating the strong body-strong brainconnection. Another study reported in The New York Timessuggests that aerobic training may be better than strength training for metabolic health, while research out of the University of Birmingham in the UK suggests that, even if you have never worked out and are older, you have the same ability to build muscle mass as avid exerciser. It’s never too late to start exercising. But we find real-life stories most motivational, such as Patricia McNeal’s bicycle tour across America and this tale from the Faroe Islands where pastor Sverri Steinholm uses running as therapy:
“I have to do it. My body needs it, or my soul, or my mind. It’s something almost magical.” -Sverri Steinholm from the documentary The Running Pastor


  • DREAM BIG AND GET BIG is US Open champion Bianca Andreescu’s mantra that she learned from her mother. Dreaming big is one of Ms Andreescu’s five mental training strategies that Lynne explores in this article.


  • GET THINGS DONE. David Allen wrote the book on productivity–Getting Things Done–that we consider to be a book about wellbeing. Why? Because time affluence–the sense that you have enough time to do what you need and want to do–feels good; and Allen encourages us to reflect weekly on how we have spent our time to ensure that it’s aligned with our values. Reflection is a key pillar of wellness. We encourage you to check out this Tim Ferriss Show podcast interview with David Allen that is the equivalent of several thousand dollars of productivity coaching.


“Your head’s for having ideas, not for holding them.”
— David Allen

Keeping things in your head leads to mental constipation that drains your brain of the energy it needs to come up with fresh ideas or concentrate on the task at hand. This 5-Minute Recharge Challenge, should you choose to accept it, involves taking out a sheet of paper and dumping everything in your mind on it.

What items keep popping up in your head over and over again like demented whack-a-moles? Put it all on paper so your brain can release it, relax and move on. (If you need a mental laxative, here’s a list of mental triggers.)

Did it feel good? If so repeat weekly, and if it felt really really good, consider picking up a copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done that will take you a few steps beyond the mind dump “capture” phase to the place where you have created lots of mental space.