Just over six months ago Thom and I added a new family member to our household—a puppy we named Kloe. To be sure, a puppy ads havoc, lots more work and a great deal of responsibility to anyone who cares for them. However, the increased value and joy Kloe brings to our lives more than compensates for any inconvenience. Not only does Kloe make us laugh on a daily basis, there is plenty of proof that she is also good for our health.
“Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings,” Richard Ryan.
As some of our friends and family know, Thom and I have been renting a house for a month every summer up in Idyllwild for around 17 years. Idyllwild is a very small mountain town, (less than 2,000 permanent residents) about an hour from our home in the desert. Back in 1993 we did it for the first time because, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford any other type of vacation. It seemed like a good way to escape the desert heat and was a great bargain as well. Little did we know back then that the experience would be so rewarding, that we would still be doing it 17 years later. Now, not only do we consider it still an amazing vacation value, we are living examples of the restorative power of spending time in nature. [Read more…]
“There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mohandas Gandhi
It’s summertime here in the Coachella Valley where I live, and because it is the desert southwest, it is expectedly hot outside. While we locals have certain tricks and techniques to stay cool, most of the time the heat of the season makes me lethargic and under-motivated. While none of us like to think of ourselves as lazy, me included, maybe the season is both an invitation and permission to slow down, relax and enjoy life. After all, pushing yourself when it’s extremely warm (or cold) outside isn’t SMART no matter how you look at it. [Read more…]
This week Thom and I experienced a dramatic reminder of this truth—don’t take anyone for granted and share your love with those you love every single day. While most all of us would agree that this is an important part of SMART Living, everyone—me included, can use a reminder
Our “lesson” in this regard came this past Monday evening. There was nothing special about the day—nothing bad, but nothing amazingly wonderful either. We’d finished dinner and Thom was in the kitchen doing dishes. I could see that the sun had finally set so I knew it would be getting cooler outside. Our small mixed-terrier dog Kloe was watching me closely to see if it was time to go to the dog park before dark. But right before we did, Thom decided to take the garbage out to the trash bins with Kloe trailing behind. [Read more…]
Do you have any idea how powerful a simple smile is? I sure didn’t. Last night I watched the attached TED Talk where Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap, explained the benefits of something we can do every single day—smile.
Gutman said he got his start from a study done at Berkley that tracked graduates over a 30-year period. What they did is first examine and then measure the smiles from students found in their graduation yearbook. From the smiles they measured they were able to predict how fulfilling and long-lasting the individuals married relationships would be, how well they would score on a standardized test for well-being, and finally how inspiring they would be to others. Wow—makes you wish you could go back and take that photo again right? [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
In order to be happy and fulfilled, all people everywhere share one fundamental need regardless of their background, race, religion, education or any number of cultural differences—that one thing is “meaning.” When we have meaning, we believe our life has a purpose and that our being here matters. In other words, in order to live SMART every day, a sense of meaning is critical.
One of the champions for the value of meaning was a man named Viktor Frankl. As a three-year survivor of the horror of Nazi concentration camps, he eventually became an eminent psychotherapist. While many of Frankl’s fellow prisoners died in the camps, he believed that a key reason for his survival was the inner strength he derived from meaning.