Now I am a self-proclaimed Positive Psychology addict, but this Ted Talk by researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives information that everyone can appreciate. The idea of flow is that moment when you “lose yourself” in something you love; it is a combination of skill and a challenge that extends a little further than we were able to go in the past. As a college student thinking about the next step I want to take in life, I am thinking about what activities put me into a state of flow and how I can find a career to match.
What activity puts you in flow? Has it changed over time?
Growing up, I would often walk to Panera after school and get a cinnamon crunch bagel and I would get hungry again an hour later. Looking back now, I cannot say that I’m surprised. Those gigantic, refined flour, sugar-laden treats are are not exactly a wholesome snack–they pack 430 calories and 32 grams of sugar. That is eight teaspoons of sugar. Now I don’t want to demonize sugar or bagels, but so many of our modern day products have ballooned in size; a plain bagel twenty years ago was about half the size of today’s bagel.
Luckily, not all bagels are created equal and there are some great options out there that pack a great nutritional punch and taste amazing.
Enter: Western Bagel. The brand was generous enough to send me a sample pack of their Perfect 10 line bagels,which comes in Healthy Grain and Everything flavor.
Curious where the name comes from? Check out the nutrition stats:
The bagels have a whopping 19 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber–that’s what I would call a filling, healthy afternoon snack!
You can make it sweet with jam (I love Nature’s Hollow)…
It goes without saying that my freezer is fully stocked and ready; these are the perfect on-the-go snack for a long day at school or at work.
Use code “Hannah15” for 15% off your order! Note that you must finish making an account and refresh the page (logged in) before you can apply the code.
What’s your favorite bagel topping?
I think grit is what differentiates people who excel versus individuals who do well and “make it by.” Everyone I know who has achieved amazing things has an immense amount of grit. While hard work is not always everything–I don’t think that people who struggle simply aren’t trying–grit is the key to accomplishing many tasks. You’ll notice that this talk ties in very well with last week’s Ted Talk on growth mindset with Dr. Carol Dweck. Grit is so important, especially for people who don’t feel particularly gifted with one skill or “special” talent. Being smart, funny, or gifted is not everything…it’s about putting in the work.
Do you feel like you have grit? Where did you learn it?
I am lucky in that I am not often confronted by individuals who are simply mean. I typically pretend that those people do not exist, but every once in a while I get a very ugly wake up call. This past weekend I was studying at the local public library. As I packed up my things and began browsing the DVD collection by the check-out desk, I couldn’t help but overhear a terrible conversation. A library patron was indignantly (and loudly) attacking the librarian saying she was “sighing” and had “such an attitude.” And she went on and on. It was 4:40pm and the library closes at 5pm.
While I did not see the full interaction, I did see the entire scene of the patron criticizing the librarian for a solid five minutes straight at a volume that seemed to echo throughout the library. I work part-time in retail, and I know first-hand how humiliating these experiences can be. She was trapped behind the desk; she couldn’t say anything in response as the employee, yet had to stand there and listen. I know I would have been in tears after those five minutes.
These are the moments when it is important to remember we are all human; maybe the librarian had a bad day, maybe she was exhausted and waiting the twenty minutes until closing time, or maybe she is just a grumpy person, but none of these things make it acceptable for someone to treat her so poorly. We owe respect and kindness to everyone.
While this was not a momentous event by any means, it represents a microcosm of something that I find deeply important: treat others the way you want to be treated. Be nice. Be thoughtful. Be compassionate. It is easy to get caught up in the moment at frustrating times like this, but taking a step back and acting with compassion will always lead to a better outcome for everyone involved.
What is your take on kindness? How do you practice compassion, even when you’re frustrated?
It’s all about mindset. If you aren’t convinced of that yet, see how you feel after watching this Ted Talk! I first learned about Dweck’s work in my Positive Psychology class and have been intrigued ever since. In our education system, we are usually praised for “being smart” rather than receiving praise for working hard. I think the more we change our language around success, both academic and personal, the more we will start to believe in our own ability to improve. Growth-mindset changes everything and is so empowering; I hope you enjoy the talk!
What do you think of growth mindset? Do you feel like you need constant reassurance of your ability?
I LOVE the idea of emotional first aid. It sounds bizarre, but this Ted Talk does a great job of explaining the importance of practicing self-care from a young age. In mental health, we often focus on treatment and solving problems once they begin. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to prevent issues. The vast differences in how we treat mental vs. physical illness is striking. If we learn how to take better care of ourselves, cope more effectively, and provide a space to discuss mental wellbeing, we can both prevent potential crises and increase mental wellbeing overall–sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the talk!
What do you think of mental first aid? Can you imagine a world where we give mental health the same priority as physical health?
There is a scarcity of research on friendship compared to the obsession with romantic relationship advice and research. I think my generation (if I can speak to that) has a certain fear of attachment. The new trend of hook-up culture will inevitably change relationships at some level. While it is too early to know what the effects might be, I am curious how it might play out.
A huge part of long-term dating is learning about your partner; learning their values, quirks, ambitions. So much of that simply requires time. Everyone has different ways of expressing love or addressing disagreement. Some people need time to cool off, whereas other people want to immediately discuss the issue and find a solution. Obviously these two people can still be compatible, but they need to find a happy medium.
I highly value giving in relationships, and often feel that I express friendship by inviting friends to events, including them in plans, or sending them a gratitude letter. If you are interested in learning more about what matters most to you in relationships, I recommend you check out Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages site and take the free quiz. I can’t vouch for the scientific support behind all of his work, but I have found it useful in my own life.
While relationships are complex, I’ll echo what I said in a previous post about family, we all want happiness. Take a breath. Try and empathize, which means trying to understand where your partner is coming from.
What’s your love language? What tools to you use to create happiness in your relationships?
Adam Grant is an amazing researcher and writer; I loved his book “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success”. The book is basically an extended version of his talk that I’ve posted here today. This is a great introduction into the world of behavioral economics. Grant does a great job of sharing the basic types of people and explaining altruism, and how you can use the information to your advantage in the workplace or in everyday life. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do!
Do you think you are a giver, a taker, or a matcher? Why?
I’ve made a greater effort to choose plant-based options over the past few months. While everyone is different, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’ve made the slight shift. I am definitely still eating plenty of animal products, but here are some of the main reasons I’m opting for more plant-based options:
- It’s better for the planet. Plant-based options have a smaller carbon-footprint; these foods often require less transportation and have fewer environmental side effects (decreased carbon emissions, decreased methane gas–ehem, cows).
- Animals are cute (ethics). While some people think eating animals is entirely unethical, I do not personally fall into that camp. I take more issue with eating animals and byproducts of animals that have been treated poorly. Choosing cruelty-free, local, grass-fed options makes a huge difference, but often those options are more difficult to come by and are more expensive.
- Nutrition. There is a ton of evidence that eating a plant-based diet has numerous positive effects on health. The China Study, one of the few large-scale, reputable nutrition studies, was conducted by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. The study found individuals with a plant-based diet where most protein comes from plant sources have decreased cancer rates and lower prevalence of bone fracture, among other health benefits. If you’re curious, read more here.
- It’s not all or nothing. I think this is a huge misconception in our world of extremes. Everyone thinks that you must choose a label and stick with it, but I prefer to stay flexible, eat what I want, and eat to feel good. There is no need to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, but trying to make mindful choices and choose plant-based options a little more often can add up to big benefits.
- I love Nuzest protein powder. This is a simple one…I fell in love with Nuzest protein powder when I first tried it. This is a super simple pea protein with very few added ingredients and it tastes great. Look out for recipes using this powder coming to the blog soon!
This might be my favorite Ted Talk of all time. When I watched this talk, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I think the concept of self-compassion is not always taken seriously–people think it is a light hearted idea not based in science. Self-compassion is so much deeper than being easy on yourself; it is a mindset of forgiveness and self-love. It is completely life-changing. It has really changed the way I treat myself in times of stress or failure. If you like this talk, I highly recommend you read Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself to learn more.
“The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion” by Kristin Neff
Do you practice self-compassion? Do you treat yourself like you would treat a close friend?