Miracles, Improv and Everyday Saints

Yoga saved Justin Blazejewski’s (pictured above in upside-down bliss) life and made him want to help other veterans, so he founded VETOGA.


“It’s a shower for the brain. It teaches you that you are not your thoughts, not your feelings; you can simply witness them. It gives you a quiet space, a place of relief where peace and serenity are not contingent on the behavior of others.”

Russell Brand discusses how meditation helped him escape heroin addiction.

Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge Newsletter that showers you with the most miraculous information on wellness. 

1. Just say YES! to Improv

“I had social anxiety, but in every scene, I leaped off a cliff into the unknown and my scene partners, virtual strangers, would catch me.”
– Jessica Pan, author of Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously

Improv, a skill that’s about being open and receptive to everything in the moment, may be one of the best–albeit high-intensity–treatments for social anxiety. And, because it taps into the part of the brain that is totally uninhibited, improv is a great way to silence your inner critic, the voice inside your head that always says NO!

You just landed on a deserted island…go!

2. The Heart of Darkness versus the Everyday Saint

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Much research has been directed at examining the “dark triad“–machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy). Finally researchers are delving into the “light triad“–humanism (valuing the dignity and worth of each individual), Kantism (treating people as ends in themselves rather than things to be manipulated to achieve selfish ends) and faith in humanity (a belief that people are fundamentally good.)

The light triad is associated with greater wellbeing, which makes it of interest to 5-minute rechargers. The bad news is that we all contain both light and dark, but the good news is that this scatter chart that measured the light and dark qualities of 1,518 people suggests that we are more lightness (above the diagonal line) than darkness.

Source: Scott Barry Kaufman, David Bryce Yaden, Elizabeth Hyde and Eli Tsukayama. “The Light vs. Dark Triad of Personality: Contrasting Two Very Different Profiles of Human Nature.” Frontiers in Psychology. March 2019. (Lynne, not the researchers who must maintain objectivity, added an editorial comment.)

We can accentuate our lightness and improve our overall wellbeing by expressing gratitude, quieting the ego and engaging in acts of kindness. Speaking of acts of kindness, meet Mary Latham, a woman who’s been on a three-year road trip documenting the best of humanity.

“Mary, there are always going to be tragedies in the world, but there will always be more good — you just have to look for it.”
– Mary Latham’s mother, an everyday saint

More Good’s website.

3. Make it a Miracle Morning

“If you want to immediately reduce your stress levels, to begin each day with the kind of calm, clarity, and peace of mind that will allow you to stay focused on what’s most important in your life, and even dance on the edge of enlightenment—do the opposite of what most people do—start every morning with a period of purposeful Silence.”
– Hal Elrod

In The 5-Minute Recharge we highlight the importance of having a morning routine to begin your day on your own terms. In this Nathan Lozeron video, you’ll get a nice summary of the book The Miracle Morning (he also provides a one-page PDF summary) that presents a morning routine that comes with a memorable acronym: S.A.V.E.R.S.

You can subscribe to Lozeron’s book summaries here.

4. From a Miracle Morning to a Miracle Drug

“If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.”
– Mark Tarnopolsky, genetic metabolic neurologist at McMaster University, Ontario

It’s great for the body, but what exercise does for your brain is truly extraordinary. It should come as no surprise that, along with bathing the brain in feel-good chemicals and growing new brain cells, exercise also contributes to productivity. Entrepreneur.com found six ways exercise can make you more productive.

While you exercise, you may want to try this self-distancing tip that will help you go that extra mile.

5. What is it about Iceland and happiness?

“According to studies around the world, it seems that the most important contributor to happiness is one’s social relationships. In a small country like Iceland, it is quite easy to be in good contact with your family and friends.”
– Happiness researcher (and Icelander) Dóra Guðmundsdóttir

Iceland is a country with resilience in its cultural DNA. In 2008, when the country teetered on the edge of financial ruin and unemployment jumped eightfold, the nation’s happiness remained relatively stable. In fact 25% of Icelanders reported greater happiness. Why? Social connection provides an emotional buffer in the small town that is the country of Iceland, especially when times are tough.

Icelanders love to connect with one another, and a great way to connect and make a culture more resilient is through story. After Finland and Norway, Iceland is the world’s third most literate country, and in 2011, Iceland’s capital and largest city Reykjavík was designated a UNESCO City of Literature. On Christmas Eve Icelanders exchange books and spend the evening reading. It’s a tradition known as jólabókaflóð, and the holiday season officially begins with the distribution of a free catalogue containing all the books published in Iceland that year. “Better to go barefoot than to go without books!” is a bookish Icelandic proverb. No wonder Icelanders are so happy.

Bonus Recharge: Take Yale’s popular happiness course in less than five minutes.

“Scientists didn’t realize this in the same way 10 or so years ago, that our intuitions about what will make us happy, like winning the lottery and getting a good grade — are totally wrong.”
Dr. Laurie Santos, the Yale psychology professor who developed the course “Psychology and the Good Life”

Hope you win the happiness lottery in the week ahead!
Lynne & Addie