Wellness Book Profile: Thrive by Arianna Huffington
I love it when books find you. I tend to always having a running list of books I would like to read. But my favorite books, they find me. And as soon as they find me, there is a burning passion to read the book. This book, Thrive by Arianna Huffington, is one of those books. It also happens to have been recommended by my dear friend, Clare Anderson of Lionheart Whole Living. We apparently have a little wellness book club organically happening. Feel free to join us.
This book is a lovely surprise having never read any of Arianna’s other books or having a previous knowledge of her Third Metric movement. I have always been taken to Arianna when she would guest appear on The Daily Show or Real Time with Bill Maher. She is eloquent, intelligent and has a quiet strength about her. Let’s face it, she is a total badass. Cofounder, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and an author fourteen times over, I truly respect her ambition, creative output, and now her approach to wellness and balance in life. As someone who just launched this blog, this book definitely found me at the right time. Arianna brings a depth of knowledge of not only the importance of wellness and balance in creating a successful life, but also several entry points to get yourself there. One of my favorite things she talks about in this book in the need to unplug from technology. As a new blogger, who is creating all of the content myself at the moment, I find myself more connected into my laptop and iphone than usual. Between writing content and managing various social media pages while trying to grow my reader base, I am staring at a glowing screen more than ever before. After reading this book, I am now starting to make a conscious effort to step away from technology fully and give my eyes, my spirit and my creativity time to wander.
Aspects of the Third Metric that I learned and want to apply to my life:
1. Meditation. This is maybe the third book in a row I have read, praising the importance of meditation. Ok universe, I can take a hint! As someone with ADD, the idea of just sitting there and not doing anything makes me super antsy. But I have started this practice now for about a week. 5-10 minutes a morning. Slowly but surely. Since studies show the amazing effects of meditation to include benefits for our bodies, our minds, and our emotional and spiritual well-being… well, I have a glass of that please. 5 minutes in the morning is where I am starting. I hope to build up to 10-20, but for now creating the pattern and space in my life for 5 minutes a day.
2. Overconnectivity. Yeah, we know we are all on our smart phones to much, but have we really stopped to think about what we are losing because of it? Backed by lots of research and interesting studies found in this book, I am now definitely creating some technology boundaries for myself and my home.
· I am getting SaneBox to filter my email overload. (super excited to see how this works as I always have thousands of unopened emails from retailers and crap I don’t need to see everyday.)
· My husband and I have committed to the idea of creating a device free bedroom. This will probably take us a month or so to fully implement as the only TV in our house is currently in our bedroom. But as of now we are finishing our basement project, which will be a media room with a projection screen. It is now our intention to let that be our main TV and not have a TV in the bedroom. We are taking it one step further and setting up a charging station in the laundry room outside of our bedroom where we will leave all of our devices before we come to bed at night. This means we will be getting old school alarm clocks to go in the bedroom to help us wake up in the morning. No more wifi fields in our sleep patterns. Books and bubble baths. Essential oils and conversations. We are taking the bedoom back to analog. Our fully realized goal for this is Thanksgiving, which is when the basement will be complete.
· No devices at the dinner table. We decided that sometimes checking your phone at lunch is necessary/acceptable in the middle of the work week, but we have decided no phones at the dinner table. (Aside from taking a picture of something that I may post, which now I will do after not during the meal.)
3. Sleep your way to the top. The realization that most Americans do not get enough sleep is not really surprising, but truly realizing how much value our society places on being sleep deprived is really sad. And then to learn that professional sports teams use added sleep as training for increased performance? That is just awesome.
· So now I am giving myself full permission to get my 8-9 hours of sleep a night and to take a 15-30 minute nap any day of the week that it stikes me.
4. Walk this Way. The idea of walking more is natural to people who say live I New York City, but here in Denver it is easy to drive around more often. I love the idea of device free walks, yet I am so terrified of this idea. Which means it’s time to do it.
· Device free walks with the dog and or husband on a regular basis. My dog is 7 pounds so we don’t necessarily have a rigious walking routine. And normally when I go for a walk, I call my mom or search through instagram. So now the phone is staying at home, (yikes) and my yorkie Jazzy and I are going to wander down the street and stop and smell the flowers together. I am excited to do more walks with my husband too. I love the idea of sharing our day and brainstorming creative projects together as we walk around the neighborhood.
· Stoicism. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of the term stoicism before because it is absolutely my life philosophy. Realizing that you have to power to decide how to react to the outer world is a powerful tool for navigating life. This is something I learned when I was really sick with a stomach hernia and was in constant pain in my body. I could not control my pain, and at the time, could not find the source of the problem, but I found a way to be joyous and happy in the face of the outer limitations. It was a beautiful strength to realize I have, even though it came from a pretty shitty situation. Now that my body feels amazing and so does my inner world.. well, straight magic.
“Stoicism is a school of philosophy founded in Athens in the third century BC. Stoicism teaches that unhappiness, negative emotions, and what we would today call “stress” are not inflicted on us by external circumstances and events, but are, rather the result of the judgements we make about what matters and what we value. To the Stoics, the most secure kind of happiness could therefore be found in the only thing that we are in control of- our inner world. Everything outside us can be taken away, so how can we entrust our future happiness and well-being to it?” - excerpt from Thrive.
WONDER. As a artist, I have always had ease in finding wonder in the world, almost to a fault. As a kid my wonder would take me to distant worlds of escapism. Finding way to reconnect with this child-like wonder as an adult is really what we adults need in this world, and what the world needs of us adults. We can find this wonder through nature, art, music, poetry, gardening and cooking. ATC in intented to be a resource for wonder. For finding inspiration in a world of oversaturated media and news feeds. And I hope it continues to be such an acces point for myself and my readers for years to come.
“Nature and art are two of the most fertile grounds for experiencing wonder. Essayist and philosopher Alain de Botton describes art as “an apothecary for the soul.” “Art,” he writes, “enjoys such financial and cultural prestige that it’s easy to forget the confusion that persists about what it’s really for.” In describing Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond, one of the most popular works at the National Gallery in London, he writes that some worry “that the fondness for this kind of art is a delusion: Those who love pretty gardens are in danger of forgetting the actual conditions of life—war, disease, political error, immorality.” But the real problem in our lives, he argues, is elsewhere: “The real risk is that we will fall into depression and despair; the danger is that we will lose hope in the human project. It is this kind of despondency that art is uniquely well suited to correct.” - excerpt from Thrive.
GIVING. This is such an important part of it all isn’t it? How do we all find ways to give? I am a huge fan of trying to give a little something everywhere I go. I love talking with strangers and giving small gifts and baked good to friends and family. My best friend and I are always giving each other gifts as if it was permanently our birthdays. Giving is about totally putting your love out there, not because you should, or you expect something back, but because you love, and you love hard. And that’s what it really is all about. Loving yourself, this world and each other… hard. That is how we will thrive.
Founded by Denver-based artist Laura Krudener, Among the Colors is a lifestyle and community project focused on bringing color and creativity into your life. Featuring original content, collaborations with artists and makers, and guides to inspired living, Among the Colors offers passion and thoughtfulness to help enrich and inspire the art of everyday life. Through artist interviews, fashion profiles on creative women, and food and wellness guides, Among the Colors will curate a Contemporary Bohemian style authentic to it’s roots in Denver, Colorado.