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Continuing our brief tour through Kate Hefferon’s textbook onPositive Psychology and the Body, let’s flip open to the chapter on“PositiveNutrition.”
I wonder what science has to say about the impact of our diets on our wellbeing…
Guess where Kate starts her discussion?
She tells us:“Sugarhas been a component within western diets since the sixteenth century. While 500 years ago, the average human would be lucky to come across sugar, it is estimated that today the average Westerner consumes 3 lb of sugar a week.Overall, our sugar consumption per year has risen from 5 lb per person, per year in 1700, to 152 lb per person in 2000.Recent research has found evidence that sugar, while not only bad for our waistlines, can have deleterious effects on our brain.Sugar has been found to shrink areas responsible for important functions such as memory and mood regulation, wearing on the hippocampus.”
We’ve talked about this before but let’s pause and contemplate that math one more time.
500 years ago? Basically NO SUGAR.
(Pause, reflect on that. Pretty please. With sugarnoton top?)
Then, 300 years ago, we were consuming about 5 lbs of sugar.
Today the average Westerner consumes 150 lbs of sugar every year.
Millions of years of evolution. Close to zero consumption of sugar. Now 150 POUNDS of sugar on average EVERY YEAR.
I wonder if that might have any negative consequences?
Back to Kate who tells us that researchers“conducteda cross-national study(Korea,USA, France, Germany, Canada, New Zealand) on the relationship between sugar consumption and incidence of major depression. They found that‘therewas a highly significant correlation between sugar consumption(cal/cap/day)and the annual rate of depression.’While this study has some major limitations, it highlights the importance of re-assessing the manufacturing of processed food and the role of sugar within our diets.”
One more time: It does a mind and body bad.
Not only does it mess with our insulin/metabolism and lead to a lot of the crippling, chronic BODY diseases we’re dealing with as a society, it also wreaks havoc on our MINDS and leads to a lot of the crippling psychological challenges we’re dealing with as a society.
I can’t think of a more powerful lever to Optimize our nutrition than getting really smart on how much sugar we’re consuming and having fun seeing just how much we can eliminate.
How much sugar are YOU consuming these days?
Note: It’s ubiquitous and probably a LOT more than you think…
In the last couple +1s, we talked aboutThe Shattered Vase (and the power of taking those pieces and making a beautiful new mosaic) then we practicedThe Art of Precious Scars (as we chatted about “golden repairs”).
Let’s imagine that art sitting on a desk in our dojo-studio.
We’ve got the mosaic and that golden-seamed vase.
Right next to those pieces of art, let’s puta snow globe.
A snow globe?
Stephen Joseph actually introduced this metaphor in his book on posttraumatic growth. He used it in the context of being shaken up after a traumatic event and the fact that it takes time for the metaphorical snow to settle in our lives.
When I imagined that snow globe, the first thing I thought of was our minds and what we often do to them right before we go to bed.
Maybe it was because I was prepping for the PM Bookend session of our Carpe Diem module in our Mastery Series.
We’ve talked (manytimes!) about the fact thatyour day begins the night before.
Want to create a Masterpiece Day that starts with waking up nice and early (without an alarm!) feeling all refreshed and ready to rock?
TURN OFF YOUR ELECTRONICS and GO TO BED EARLY!! (Hah.)
Science is unequivocal.
All that digital stimulation—both the blue light AND the raw inputs—right before you go to bed isn’t helping the Deep (And REM) Sleep cause!!
You know what it’s like?
It’s like shaking a SNOW GLOBE right before you go to bed.
Your brain’s all hyped up right when you want it to be relaxed.
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s leave the snow globe alone—quit shaking it by turning off all your electronic stimulation AT LEAST(!)an hour before you go to bed.
We talked about them briefly a few years ago in the context ofthis +1 on the science of hedonic adaptation.
Basic idea: We adapt to all the “things” we get in our lives. That shiny new car isn’t so shiny a few months after we get it. Same thing with the new phone or TV or whatever.
Sonja Lyubomirksy is one of the world’s leading researchers on the subject of hedonic adaptation. InThe Myths of Happiness she tells us: “Indeed,it turns out that we are prone to take for granted pretty much everything positive that happens to us. When we move into a beautiful new loft with a grand view, when we partake of plastic surgery, when we purchase a fancy new automobile or nth-generation smartphone, when we earn the corner office and a raise at work, when we become immersed in a new hobby, and even when we wed, we obtain an immediate boost of happiness from the improved situation; but the thrill only lasts for a short time. Over the coming days, weeks, and months, we find our expectations ramping upward and we begin taking our new improved circumstances for granted. We are left with‘felicificstagnation.’”
We adapt to the hedonic pleasures in our lives. It’s like we’re on a treadmill. Moving faster and faster but not getting any further in our pursuit of true happiness.
Here’s some exciting news:THERE ARE NO EUDAIMONIC TREADMILLS.
You know what happens when we joyfully commit to using everything as fuel for our growth while living with more Wisdom + Self-Mastery + Courage + Love + Hope + Gratitude + Curiosity + Zest?
We actually get happier.
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s step off the hedonic treadmill and make some real progress in our lives as we focus on practicing our philosophy, high fiving our inner souls and FLOURISHING.