00:00 You’re listening to the live happier, longer podcast, episode 53
00:15 welcome to the live happier longer podcast we’re your hosts Molly Watts and Angela McDade. we are here to help you build the five habits of happier longer life and to create your habit mindset starting. Now,
00:29 Before we jump into this episode, we want to take a moment to talk to you about the five for life planner. You know, it’s really more of a journal or even a diary. Well, you know, we called it the five for life planner. That is true. There’s not much we can do about that now, but I think it’s still more of a journal, it’s 13 weeks. It’s undated you can start anytime. Yes, that’s true. It’s not your typical dated calendar type planner, but it’s a really good tool for building the habits of a happier, longer life. That’s a good word for it is a tool is perfect for tracking all of those five daily actions. Yeah. There’s a place to write things down for all five move, learn, share, give and let go. So when you see write things don’t, it sounds more like a journal. Next time we’ll call it the five for life journal.
01:18 But for now let’s just tell people where they can buy one, right. Go to shop.Fiveforlife.co that’s shop.Fiveforlife.co Cool. And enter promo code podcast at the checkout for a special discount. They are, I great gift for your parents or your grandparents and if it helps just tell them it’s a journal. Really, go to shop.Fiveforlife.co to get your planner slash journal today.
01:50 Hey Angela. Hey Molly, how are you today? Not too bad at all. How are you? I’m actually excellent because a, it’s probably one of my favorite times of the year in terms of weather here in Oregon. So nice. It’s like Epic. Nice. Sorry folks. But it really is, it’s gorgeous. In the mornings it’s cold, it’s crisp and the sun is rising above Mount hood. It’s pink and it’s and the trees just now are glorious. Oh my goodness. Yeah. So while it’s always a weather forecast here on the live happier longer, and sometimes it’s not as is cheery right now. It’s super nice. Yeah, exactly. I’m feeling really good.
02:32 So our podcast is called live happier longer. Yup. And we talk a lot in this live happier, longer about creating not only habits that help you live longer, but hopefully you’ll be happy about it once you get there and you’re happier along the way as well. In the process. Yeah. Creating a mindset of optimism. And we talk a lot about the connection between body and mind, right? We say it’s a two way street. The mind can influence the body’s results. Like there have been studies that link optimism and, better responses to overcoming disease. And we’ve also shared research on like gratitude and how chronic pain patients feel less pain when they keep a gratitude journal.
03:19 Yeah. So, and these are, this was a, I mean, the gratitude thing was they actually showed the, the response in the hypothalamus, I mean, there was physical response. So there’s a connection between what our thoughts and what we’re doing and, and our body’s responses. And we’ve also shared quite obviously that the body and different types of movements can not only affect brain health, but also our mental disposition. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And one of the things that seems to be, I guess kind of an accepted theory is, so if you, so let’s just say you, you, you accept the premise that there’s a connection between the mind and the body. Right. Everyone. Okay, good. You’re all on the same page with us. Now. The, one of the things that seems to be kind of an accepted theory is that as you get older, you are automatically going to be less happy because of physical decline.
04:13 Yeah. Which, which comes along, there’s no, there’s no getting in a way with, right. And our strategy at Five for life has always been to acknowledge that the body is going to go through those degenerative circumstances. We’re not, you know, trying to say that you’re not going to get older because with any luck, you are, right. Yes. Um, the body simply does start to break down as your, as you age in your eyesight gets worse, you’re hearing general mobility, strength can decline. You know, you’ve got to work harder at every yeah. But, and, and the idea is that we’re trying to do all these things. No. So that you’re pushing that out so that right. You, it’s not as big an issue as it could be. Right. And that you’re set up when things come along the way. Yes. Yep. So it’s really designed to help people build up your mind strength so that when we’re faced with the day to day challenges or even those big life challenges that come with aging, we’re better mentally equipped to maintain optimism.
05:15 So today we’re going to talk about being happy and we’re talking about it, about finding happiness in a deep and lasting way. And what, how that is different from looking for those thrilling high moments in life as a way of proof that we’re happy. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people just have, like a a list of, right, like a bucket list, right? That you have done in the past. Oh great things that happened to you that made you happy and it so short, sharp thrills, right. That happened. Right. I think I was actually, when we were, we were researching, this was thinking about all the many times that we went to Disneyland or Disney world as a family. We’ve done that a lot. I know that’s just us, but you know, there was a lot of adrenaline there. You know, a lot of thrill and happiness that I attribute.
06:11 Of course it was the repetitive nature of us taking vacations together that ultimately as a family, the tradition. Yeah. That was the really where the true happiness is. And we’re not saying that you don’t enjoy those moments. No. Yeah, for sure. But the, the, the focus is on not just those short bursts. Right. And what does it really feel like that is that happiness? Because we would say that, no, that’s, that’s not really that, I mean you can, it’s happy in the moment. It’s thrilling. It’s exciting, but it is a moment of happiness. It’s not a general happiness. That long term happiness and on, on our social media the other day I shared this quote, don’t wait for things to get better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now, otherwise you’ll run out of time. and I like this quote because it recognizes that our daily lives are complicated.
07:11 And I think that the complication in the world, this constant buzz of busy-ness and productivity kind of predisposes us to seek those big moments or experiences as a way to find happiness. Yeah. And I think you’re led too, so almost like you’re, you’re not finished one thing. Yeah. And you’re planning to do the next and it’s just, it’s just a constant level of on and that’s hard to maintain. Yeah. And there’s no doubt that, that, you know, seeking experiences instead of things. Right. It was obviously beneficial and that’s not, you know, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t have experiences, but we don’t want to be seeking these mind blowing experiences as a way to define what happiness feels like. Happiness starts in the everyday and it starts on average, you know? Yeah. And that’s what we want for people. We want them to have that peaceful, just baseline happiness. Right? Yup. That, and it can be hard to sometimes recognize how that feels. I think we, we think it should feel more exciting than it might. Yeah.
08:33 We read an article by Martha Beck in, uh, researching this and I thought her take on it was really interesting. Uh, but she says that our culture has come to define happiness as an experience that blows your mind. It’s as though we’re somehow falling short if we don’t routinely feel the way that times square looks madly pulsing with the billion Watts of wow. Now don’t get me wrong. Excitement is a great and necessary thing. Without it, life wouldn’t be complete. But happiness, real happiness is something entirely different at once. Calmer and more rewarding and cultivating it is one of the most important steps we can take toward creating fulfilling lives.
09:16 I think the fact that if somebody says oh what makes you happy or like I, I think, Oh, and it like, it’s like calm, I think of a calm thing. I think of, it’s calm feeling I get. Really, cause I just think of Disneyland. I do get a little excited. I think of like, when we go to band and we do, we basically go do hikes and mountain biking and walking and it’s all just, serene. That’s my, that’s what my happy place would be. So like the, the buzz part, maybe I’m just don’t have enough energy. Well, um, that’s good because, uh, that means that you’ve probably found true joy because, uh, Martha Beck says that that intense excitement is actually the enemy of true joy. And there’s some physiological reasons for it. Right? We love this. I love, here we go. Yeah. Here we go. Science brain. So you’ve heard the terms craze sports fans. Here in Portland we’ve got blazer mania, you know, and uh, I, those things actually come from the, the neural response to that thrill feeling. Right? And I know that I’ve definitely, now I know, I know you’ve got sports you because you’ve got it. Yeah. So don’t you’ve got that, that you felt that adrenaline thing. I know like when I’m watching Scotland play football, I don’t like it, that soccer folks, but I don’t like it because I almost feel like I’m somewhat invested.
11:16 I prefer to watch teams that I don’t have any investment in because I can just enjoy it. And it’s not goig to wreck your day. Yeah. Can just enjoy it for what it is and I don’t, I’ve got no.. You’ve got no dog in the fight thing. Yeah, a lot like me watching the Steelers because then it’s like I’m really, all of us over at the Watts household are very invested and think about the world cup. Right, right. The fans that are watching, I mean we’ve all, I think at least a lot of us have watched the world cup on TV if you know and seeing just the, the yes. Scotland generally aren’t in it. No they’re not the, the fans for the teams that are there are just, you know, rabid, right. It mean you say rabid and it’s actually evidence of that neurological fight or flight mechanism that’s been triggered by this thrill. And it’s why sports fans seem to riot more violently after their teams win than when they lose, which is kind of crazy, who was it that the Eagles, right? The last, was it Superbowl bowl? A couple of years ago, they wrecked the place. Their own city.
12:33 What are you doing people, right? But that fight or flight system, predisposes us to violence. So it’s, you know, that’s why that happens. That, and that’s how it manifests, right? But switching this mechanism off and that physiological process that comes from it allows us to relax, connect, and actually and absorb a joyful experience. So, so that’s what Martha Beck means when she says that that intense thrill is the enemy of true joy.
13:05 So we want to talk about that a little bit more in terms of the experience that you get from what real happiness looks like and the everyday living, right. The, the other part of that is, is that when you get that high excitement, that that real thrill and what you just kind of talked about is the mood crash. Yeah. Right. And so afterwards you can actually remember kind of feeling of being depressed, right? Yeah. So was like boom, boom. It’s just a big letdown. Yeah. So the, the euphoria seekers, that’s the whole thing. It’s like you get that. And then that then, and she actually even said that, uh, that this may explain why trips to Disney world are exalted like pilgrimages to Mecca and why multi-day extravaganza destination weddings are becoming even more than norm. So she talked about that in this article. I was like, Oh.
14:04 So she says that true joy lacks the wild ups and downs of an excitement-based life. It’s a peaceful landscape filled with peaceful thoughts and peaceful emotions. Indeed. It is so peaceful that to our adrenaline soaked culture, it looks rather plain. She says she likes to think of it as the planes of peace. So that was kind of what you were saying about, yeah, right. About how when you, you know, you’re, you’re evidently my you and Martha Beck. When I think of my happy place, it’s it that is a calmness to it, right. Which is, which is fantastic because that is where the ability, I mean the kind of happiness that’s really going to benefit you both in terms of your term optimistic overview and your outlook and the things that are going to help you live that longer, happier life. Yeah. That’s that peaceful kind of joy is what we really want to be looking at.
15:06 You shouldn’t worry that the, you know, that you need to have all the excitement. It’s just a matter of taking the time to relax and notice the world around you. I think that, and she talked about the be here now kind of thing and yeah, I think we all have heard, you know, be here now and we talk a lot about living a life of mindful intention. So Martha also talked about that whole be here and now thing as something that she struggled with, which you and I’ve talked about like, you know, slowing ourselves down to not, yeah. And she found that, research actually supported this one way to kind of find that peaceful plane of happiness was to make something. And uh, we both wholeheartedly, believed that and you know, subscribe to that. Uh, it actually again, physiologically causes us to secrete that dopamine, which is, you know, a part of the, the happiness, right?
16:13 The happiness. We talked about that in habit formation, right? It’s a dopamine reward. That’s when your brain gets that dopamine hit. That’s what wants it. It wants to keep doing it again. Right? Yeah. So, um, it’s what can make us feel absorbed and fulfilled without feeling manic. And so it’s in sharp contrast to that fight or flight mechanism, which is the hysteria hormones like the adrenaline and cortisol. Yeah. So research indicates that when we’re creative, we’re most creative when we are happy, relaxed. And conversely that we can steer our brains into this state by taking on a creative undertaking. A creative task. Yeah. I know we have also spoken about it before in a habit number two learn where you’re, you’re pushing yourself to learn something new. And doing, learning how to paint or any skill is, is so beneficial, right?
17:11 And willing to get that dopamine hit, you have to push yourself to the furthest edge of your ability. Yeah. You’re not focused where you’re not only focused on learning and perfecting skills, cooking and unfamiliar dish. There’s, there’s so much, just if you think about it, there’s so much involved in the process of cooking it. And the reward part of it when you get to eat a delicious meal is right. And so it’s, it’s, you want to challenge yourself in this way of being challenged yourself creatively to do things that you, you know, might not, you know, feel otherwise. As you persist, your brain will eventually yield to what psychologists call mindfulness and you will be calm, you know, and then your mind will, will stop having that frantic search. Yeah. Just the buzz or a time for looking for whatever is the next thing.
18:08 So the thing that, uh, she also says about genuine thrills is that when you, when they come, you know, you can more actually appreciate them. If you’ve been living in this, you know, living in that peaceful, happy zone and, uh, you’ll, you’ll appreciate them for what they are. Yeah. And it’s the opposite of the crash when you’ve got that high, high, high, high crash tweet is if you’ve, if you’ve been working towards something and learning something and creating something, the sense afterwards is a much longer lasting happiness, you know? Yeah. You’re much more satisfied with it. Yeah.
18:51 So we thought it would be a good idea to, to recommend some ways to find everyday joy in your life. Uh, Angela spoke a little bit about her happy place, uh, in Bend and, uh, going there and being able to do, you know, appreciate the outdoors and by hiking and biking and being outside, um, some ideas that work for everybody. Right. So, um, one of the great ones is playing with your kids, right. As adults, uh, you can really resurface joy by playing with kids. Uh, also play like a kid. Yeah. Well, there was this one podcast I listened to, I can’t remember what it was now, and it was about, um, again, it was, uh, kind of finding your joy and happiness and it was where adults were doing all of these different things. And people were like, what are they doing? Like, why aren’t they doing all this stuff? And ultimately was adult play. So it was like going to the river playing in the river, jumping off. And it’s like fun stuff that you would do think as a kid thing to do, but there’s no reason as an adult you can’t do it. In fact, there’s every reason to do it. Right.
20:08 We actually had a, what they call the joy spotting, um, party at my, the senior living community that I work at. And uh, it included, it was outside and included, bubbles and, sidewalk chalk and, music and, uh, hula hoops and just, yeah. Typical kids play. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it was delightful. Yeah. So, um, you know, and I think it’s just like you said, it’s good for anybody, right? Yeah. Um, they, this, this, this list is, is certainly things that talked about many times. A lot of the things that we’ve talked about over time. Um, and one of those things that comes into, uh, comes under this joy category a lot is under our daily habit number three, share. And that’s engaging. Just, you know, what the world around you. And it’s specifically in small ways that I think are so easy to overlook or not do.
21:12 And they are so powerful in creating that peaceful plane of happiness. Feel good. Yeah. In our life. So help someone in a small way, carry their groceries, pay their toll on the highway. Um, pay a compliment to a total stranger. We’ve talked about that before. Yeah. You know, volunteer, just do something that we are serving others. You know, if you, if you want to, uh, you know, connect, if you share something authentically with a family member or a friend that maybe you don’t see very often that’s a good way. Write a thank you letter to someone that says, I appreciate you. Um, ask someone for help. That’s a really, one that I think, you know, and as you get older that for a lot of people that just gets out. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Um, so those are things that just, you know, are little things that are, that fall under the category of share for us.
22:13 Definitely, spending time with your pets. That’s always a nice way to, um, raise that level of joy in your life. Uh, here’s some, some funny ones that I, that on this list that I thought were nice, dress up in a costume for no reason. Yeah, no, that, that one, uh, that one makes me giggle. I’m not really sure why I would do that, but yeah. Okay. Um, uh, sing out loud now. I don’t have any problems doing that now a lot. All the time. And it does in fact, make me, you know, make me feel quite happy. Um, get messy and they said go for it. Go barefoot, go play in the mud. Yeah, I that. Okay. But I do like getting, I do if I’m like if I go to the beach definitely that was cause my, my thought was going to the beach where you can wiggle your feet and get right down in that wet sand. Yes. Such a, it’s just a good feeling.
23:15 watch a favorite old movie for the hundredth time. I that I have to say is it’s like an old book too, picking up a notebook. Those things to me are definitely um, a happy place. Yeah. I’m for that as well. You’re just pulling back all the old memories and you know, there’s more to it. There’s usually more connected to the movie than the movie itself, which is just another, yeah, that’s just another layer to it. Yeah. There’s two on here that make me laugh as well cause we live in Oregon. One says take a walk in the rain. Well that’s easy. It also is watch a sunrise or a sunset and that kind of uh, alluded to that earlier. Yeah. The sun sunrises right now here in Oregon are just, they do take my breath away and it’s just such a beautiful part of my day. So, um, I like that.
24:13 Um, eat a cupcake. Well, why not? Yeah, it’s like everything else, too much is too much, but it’s ok to have some. You know, cupcakes are kind of one of those things that are just, it’s amazing to me. There’s cupcake stores now, you know, and that’s all they do, right? They, all they do is make cupcakes. There’s usually spectacular looking. Oh yes, they, they, have you ever taken a bite of one of those? It almost makes my mouth tickle cause they’re so like so sweet. You ever had that happen?. No, maybe it’s just me, but it’s like literally like there. So this frosting is so sweet on top that it literally makes my mouth tickle. Yeah. Oh that baby’s just me. Yeah. And I’m not a sweet sweet person, like even when I bake, my stuff isn’t as sweet as you would get here in a store.
25:05 Yeah. So the, the frosting, if it’s not cream cheese frosting, I’m not really interested. Yeah. Well that’s the difference. The cream cheese frosting makes it a little like, like takes the edge off I think for sure. Okay. Well we’ve, yeah, digress.
25:21 Uh, this has, these two things are so not or go hand in hand for me. There’s spend an evening by candle light and then discover a new smell in the form of a candle. For me it would be, now there is one of those happy places for me that I can, without question uh, my pumpkin spice. Yeah. I would have it all year long if it didn’t feel a little awkward in the spring. It feels a little awkward in the spring, but it just, I love the smell of that. You know, the, the spicy warm Vanilla. Yeah. And I think is, well at this time of the year where it’s getting darker at nights, putting candles on is like, okay, is it time yet? It’s a bit like putting the fire on. Yeah. Like, okay, can we, can we put the fight on yet? Is it, is it okay? Yes, I definitely, it’s okay now for sure. It’s hitting well and we’re almost officially to November, so then we will be able to say yes it is.
26:31 Well, I’ll share that entire list. I, I don’t think that there’s the, and that’s just, again, it’s the notion, the mindfulness of finding everyday joy in your, I mean joy in your everyday life. Right. And what that feels like and what that looks like. We want to get to the place where we’re, where we’re getting the dopamine right, from something like the sunrise as opposed to seeking out that adrenaline cortisol rush that is a part of the fight or flight mechanism that actually then feeds into mood crashes and everything else.
27:15 Yeah. And I think it makes a lot of sense and I don’t think we necessarily always take the time to frame it that way and frame our frame how we do things that way. So you mentioned your, your happy place being Bend. I’m going there today. Oh you are? I thought you were going to Montana today. Am I wrong? No, no, just down to Bend. Oh, okay. Lucky girl. Well, yeah, I guess now I can’t say my happy places is Disneyland. Oh, I think you still can. It’s, it’s definitely, uh, definitely I have very fond of memories because. That’s what it was going to say, there’s more to it than that the place itself. Yes. Although the, the pineapple whip is sort of a part of my, I really loved that. Anyhow. Um, but the other place for me, and I know this, I’ve shared this I think on the podcast many times is that for me, uh, reading and listening to, to audio books is really, truly a happy place for me.
28:23 It is something that brings me that calm feeling. That’s just the happiness. I love. I love books. I love hearing people’s, and especially. Just the way you’re saying it right now. It’s kinda like the way I was saying, Oh, and when I go to Bend and it’s this and, yeah. And like that we’ll, sit quietly and you’ll just read stuff and, but there’s a quietness to our happy, places. Yeah. Yeah. So you can still like Disney. You still have your quiet, comforting, pleasant, chill happy place. And I can feel that you can feel the good stuff going on in your brain and your body. And that’s important as you age. And as you are looking for ways to maintain that optimism, to live that happier, longer life.
29:17 We’ve, we give you a framework, our five daily habits are all backed by science to not only improve that, you know, increase your longevity but improve your overall happiness and give and let go are kind of daily habits. Four and five are really connected and a part of this whole mindful approach to, um, finding happiness in your everyday life. But we thought this was an interesting conversation to compare that thrill-seeking yeah. With, you know, and that happiness kind of and then I do think culture has a big part of it. Yeah. Yeah. And put a lot of emphasis on seeking out that, you know, like, like you can accomplish happiness. Yeah. By doing something, you know, big like that. And instead of just living in it. Yeah. Living in it every day and finding it in your everyday life. Do not wait for your life to get less complicated for your life, to get less busy for your life, to have some big change, to be happy. Find it today. So we will leave you with that and I hope you find your happy place. Ask yourself, what is your happy place? And, uh, we will see you all next week. See you then.
30:41 Thanks for listening to the live happier, longer podcast. Now it’s time to move, learn, share, give and let go. Five daily habits to make the rest of your life the best of your life. See you next week.
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