The last 10 things I watched that changed my health and happiness.

This morning I want to share with you a few videos/books that I have watched recently that affected my health and happiness!  I hope you enjoy them and they get you thinking and asking questions.

#1)  Brene Brown- Daring Greatly

If you haven’t heard of Brene Brown you haven’t been exposed to one of the most amazing researchers on topics such as shame and guilt and vulnerability.  She has written numerous books, all of which I have read, all of which cover the topics of the importance of expressing vulnerability in creating connections with others.  Very generally she explains shame as a negative outcome correlated to you being a bad person, whereas guilt is a negative outcome related to a bad decision (and not the actual person).  You could see how this would be a powerful differentiate, especially to teach a child.  It a child fails a test, it’s not because they are stupid, but rather they didn’t study enough or pay enough attention in class!  Imagine growing up thinking you are stupid vs. thinking that you aren’t working hard enough.  It’s a powerful difference.  If you are interested in learning more about what she refers to as the power of vulnerability, I say check out her books.  We listened to her book Daring Greatly on audiobook downloaded from audible on our recent road trip across the states.  Her Ted Talk is considered one of the  most popular ted talks of all time.  Check it out to get an intro into her work:  https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

#2) Rich Roll- William MacAskill

I talk about Rich Roll a lot!  I listen to his weekly podcasts on Itunes, and have done so for a few years now!  He is a vegan ultra endurance athlete and recovering alcoholic.  His mission is to interview the leading minds in all areas of life, and encourages people to be the best version of themselves.  His guest, William MacAskill is a very young philosophy professor who has some extremely interesting views on charitable giving.  Since listening to this podcast I have started thinking differently about how and where to give my money.  He makes a strong case that when giving money there are far more effective charities (AKA saving the most lives) that you could donate to.  He outlines the charities he finds the most effective on his website.  His argument is not one of “This charity spends more money on the marketing/business aspect” but instead focusses directly on how much of each dollar spent will DIRECTLY save a life.  He also encourages people to give 10% of their income to charity, and makes a strong point on his website where you can calculate exactly the effects on your money would have on the world, based on how much 10 % of your income is.  He has made a pledge to donate anything that he makes beyond $35 000 a year.  I found this topic extremely interesting to think about for the first time.  You can read more about one of his companies here:  https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/.  He also has a new book out, which I plan on reading soon.  And he has a whole other company devoted to career counselling people who want to choose a career that can change the world.  He suggests sometimes that working for a non profit may not necessarily in the end have the greatest overall benefit on the world, take Bill Gates for example 🙂

#3)  Cowspiracy

I was extremely hesitant to watch cowspiracy, because I knew exactly what would happen.  Every time I watch or read something about consuming meat I always end up vegan.  It’s almost as though I ignore how morally wrong I feel eating meat is because I do find it tasty, delicious, and I have taught myself that meat protein is important for good health.  Cowspiracy blew my mind.  The entire movie is based around what consuming meat is doing to our planet, and the extent that consuming cows alone are having on our water, rainforests, and land.  The sheer quantity of water and land that it takes to consume a meat eating diet vs. plant based diet is terrifying, knowing where our planet is headed in terms of global warming.  This movie has got me thinking for sure, and has temporarily got me eating vegan.  I have a TON of research to do about a vegan diet, doing it properly, if it’s the right choice for me, etc.  In the meantime, I don’t think taking animal products out of my diet temporarily is hurting anybody!  This isn’t the first time I’ve gone vegan/vegetarian.  I have been vegetarian for years before.  Even when I buy the most sustainably and ethically sourced meat I still find it hard to eat.  I highly suggest you watch this movie found on Netflix.  Even if you are still going to eat meat at least you can learn about the crazy way that politics and governments are intertwined into the meat industry.  Even though cows alone are sourced as being the #1 (by far) contributor of global warming and land destruction/water use, any environmental organization you look up is barely going to discuss the issue.  Instead they recommend ‘shorter showers, recycling, blah blah”, all these things that it turns out in the end are going to mean nothing if cattle are going to be continued to be raised at the rate they are.  It truly is a ‘cowspiracy’.  Maybe you won’t stop eating meat, but maybe you will eat less when you think of what our world will look like in 50 years…

#4)  In Q

In Q is a poet, who practices the spoken word.  Everything out of his mouth gives me shivers down my spine.  I will let him do the talking.  I listen to him regularly to give me a shot of presence and perspective.  Don’t deprive yourself- click the link!

My favourite videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKQavJZHRJU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=OWpqVpQD_A8

#5)  Dan Harris- 10 % Happier

I was introduced to Dan Harris through a podcast (most likely Rich Roll, can’t remember now).  Dan Harris is a popular news broadcaster from the States.  During his career he suffered from some pretty “standard” panic and anxiety.  I say “standard” because I think we all experience worry, unease, depression, sadness and anxiety to varying degress.  Unfortunately for him, he chose a career where all his moods and challenges would be displayed on live television.  After suffering a minor panic attack on air he began a journey to finding meditation.  What I like about his book, 10 % happier (again I listened to this one on audible.com) is that he writes about his journey to meditation from a total skeptics view.  Instead of becoming totally enthralled in it immediately he researches, interviews and questions everything.  He is also hilarious and straight to the point.  I highly recommend reading his book to learn how an average guy suffering from negative thoughts in a challenging work environment uses meditation to become 10 % happier, more compassionate, and I would argue, a better man!

#6)  The Fear Cure

The fear cure is another book/audiobook I listened to.  Written by Lissa Rankin.  Lissa is a medical doctor who realized after a series of very unfortunate events in her life that her health and happiness had unravelled.  Through her journey of transforming her life and therefore her health she came to realize that in order truly help her patients get WELL she was going to have to help them change aspects of their life.  I have heard this message many times before, how our lifestyle can affect our health.  One other example that comes into my mind right off the bat is Gabor Mate, a Vancouver based medical doctor who specializes in addiction, and has written a fascinating book about how stress causes disease.  Lissa wrote the fear cure to encourage and support people who KNOW they need to make changes in their lives to support their health, but fear is standing in the way.  The book is written from a very holistic perspective, so if you are into that you should check out her book!

#7)  Move your DNA

This one is for the more nerdy and ‘brainy’ focussed readers.  Move your DNA is written by Katy Bowman, who is a researcher and author on topics related to ergonomics, barefoot movement, and how a variety of movement ‘nutrients’ affect our health and well being.  Move your DNA is a total guide on how all types of movement (how, when and where we walk, how we sit and stand, how we exercise and play) affect our bodies, down to the DNA level.  I plan on writing a full extensive blog on this book, because I feel the need to take her concepts and tone them down to a more ‘reader’ friendly version.  In the mean time, if you are a health nut and want to read it yourself it’s a great book!

#8)  Mind Over Medicine

This is Lissa Rankin’s first book she wrote.  I almost stopped reading it after the first few chapters because she basically says that if you have a disease, you caused it.  Initially it kind of put me off, but I was glad I kept reading.  She speaks about her medical practice and supporting all types of people to much better health by supporting them to improve all areas of their lives.  For some people this was finding a creative outlet, others needed to change jobs or relationships, others needed to set better boundaries.  She writes about stories of long term chronic health issues falling away with drastic lifestyle changes to support better mental, physical, and emotional well being.  This is a great book if you are into looking at how your thoughts, actions, day to day life, and way of being have perhaps affected your health 🙂

#9)  Rich Roll on James Lawrence the Iron Cowboy

This summer the Iron Cowboy did 50 Ironmans, in 50 states, in 50 days.  This incredible feat of endurance has never been done before, nor has anything close been performed voluntarily.  On Rich’s podcast he did a before the event podcast, and an after.  The after podcast resonated with me so deeply I walked around crying while I listened to it!  Something about understanding the incredible pain and mental fortitude this man must have endured really had me thinking, and feeling emotional.  You should look up the Iron Cowboy online and follow him in his next endeavours!  What got me thinking most is “what kind of legacy do I want to lead”, what do I believe in so much that I would complete an event like this for?  (James completed his event to raise money for a charity that promotes kids to be active and prevent obesity).  This incredibly humble, unselfish man is definitely someone I admire, and someone who has got me motivated in my own life.  During the entire event he was described as never being angry or upset, frig I would probably have a meltdown after the first day!  Way to keep it together James 🙂

#10)  Tim Ferris- Tara Brach.

Well, first of all Tim Ferris could be a blog post on his own.  He wrote a book called the 4 hour work week, 4 hour body and 4 hour chef.  I read the 4 hour work week, and enjoyed it.  I read it as an employee, and I think I will re read it as an entrepreneur as I think it will be more applicable.  He is a ‘guinea pig’ of his own life, and has dedicated his life to trying and testing all things related to health, wellness, productivity, etc. and sharing with others what he figures out.  He is a wealthy silicon valley investor who invested in major initiatives including twitter, uber, and facebook.  In his podcast he interviews a wide range of people, and he is dedicated to having the best of the best on his podcast.  Although he has a million podcasts I would love to recommend, to the theme of this post I want to share with you his podcast with Tara Brach.  Tara is a psychologist who has a fascinating life story and has come to create a ‘business’ around sharing her meditations, lessons, and emotional healing education.  If you aren’t a spiritual person, that’s ok, there are still many great lessons and learnings in her talks!  You could download her podcasts on Itunes or check out her website here :  http://www.tarabrach.com/

Have you listened to or watched something recently that has shifted you into better health or happiness?

PS- the feature picture is a photo of me ‘gaining perspective’ in Yellowstone National Park, overlooking a field of Bison!

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