Where can you spend ten minutes that could change your life?

People who live in 24 hours of darkness for months at a time have much to teach us about how to cope as daylight dwindles.
(Photo of Northern Lights over Norway by Federico Bottos on Unsplash) 

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


Exercise is a Miracle Drug

“Our findings strongly suggest that, when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny and that being physically active has the potential to neutralize the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable.”
Dr. Karmel Choi, research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard H.T. Chan School of Public Health reminds us yet again that exercise is a miracle drug



  • LIFE LOOKS PRETTY GOOD WHEN YOU’RE INSIDE A COFFIN In South Korea, where the suicide rate is twice the global average, Hyowon Healing Centre is helping people feel the preciousness of life by staging their own funeral. The funeral service for the living includes spending ten minutes inside a closed plywood coffin, an experience that made Choi Jin-kyu realize that too often he viewed others as competitors (and would make Lynne develop a fear of Ikea cabinets). Perhaps the biggest benefit that comes from the visceral experience of simulated death is that the darkness of the coffin enables people see their lives in a new light and prompts them to seek reconciliation with estranged friends and relatives, improve their sense of self-worth, and make positive life changes.

“I want to let people know that they matter, and that someone else would be so sad if they were gone. Happiness is in the present.”
― Choi Jin-kyu


  • FREE TIME WELL SPENT How much free time do you think you have each day? On average, Americans have five hours and fourteen minutes, roughly thirty-six hours each week of disposable time. And that’s what many people do with those thirty-six hours: dispose of them with junk experiences, spending nearly half of their leisure time staring at a screen. We tend to devalue leisure time, but if we can learn to use our most valuable, non-renewable resource well, it can significantly increase our wellbeing. Arguing that knowing how to spend time is the most important skill in life, in Time and How to Spend It, author James Wallman outlines seven considerations you should think about when deciding how to spend your discretionary time, including: does it leave you with a story?; does it change you?; does it allow you to unplug?; does it improve your relationships?; does it feel challenging?; does it make you feel a sense of awe?; does it improve your social status? Time and How to Spend It that Lynne has been spending her leisure time reading has a checklist and an acronym (STORIES) to help you make the best use of your time.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
—Annie Dillard


  • AROUND THE WORLD IN WELLNESS Other cultures have words that describe wellness pastimes they consider to be particularly important, experiences that we could learn from. Uitwaaien, the Dutch word that literally translates as “outblowing” describes the practice of going outdoors for some windy recharging. People in the Netherlands have been outblowing for over a hundred years. Spending as little as five minutes in nature has both physical and psychological benefits, but the wind is what makes uitwaaien particularly therapeutic. Blowing in the wind are phytoncides, substances that trees and plants release. When you inhale phytoncides, you take in helpful particles that have been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and boost immune function. And if you enjoyed your windy uitwaaien, follow it up with a soothing Icelandic sundlaug, a communal thermal bath.

“Pretty well every group of people benefits from being outdoors in the presence of nature. It takes us out of the stresses and anxieties of the rest of life.”
Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society, University of Essex



“Resilience is the ability to see the little sliver of light right between the door and the frame after the you hear the latch click…”
Neil Pasricha

Resilience is typically defined as your ability to bounce back from disappointment, but Neil Pasricha prefers the door-closing-sliver-of-light metaphor because when something disappointing happens, if we can focus on the light, on the promise of a newer or greater whole, we can become more resilient.

In this week’s 5-minute recharge challenge–the RESILIENCE REFLECTION based on Neil’s new book You Are Awesome–the goal is to simply fill in the following three blanks:

  1. Today I am grateful for ________.
  2. Today I will focus on __________.
  3. Today I will let go of ___________.

Consistently answering these three questions will help you build your resilience, so that when the door closes, you will be able to focus on the light.

“I believe that if you live your life with a great attitude, choosing to move forward and move on whenever life deals you a blow, living with a sense of awareness of the world around you, embracing your inner three year-old and seeing the tiny joys that make life so sweet and being authentic to yourself, being you and being cool with that, letting your heart lead you and putting yourself in experiences that satisfy you, then I think you’ll live a life that is rich and is satisfying, and I think you’ll live a life that is truly awesome. .”
— Neil Pasricha, from his TED Talk, The 3 A’s of Awesome

May your week ahead be awesome!
Lynne and Addie