Today’s episode is called “Doing these 4 things will immediately improve your sense of happiness”, and the idea came from a new friend Petra, so thanks for the inspiration!
If I am to be completely honest and upfront, happiness is a fleeting emotion.
It’s not something that we constantly feel, but it’s something we can experience for brief moments at a time.
These moments have the potential to form the strongest types of memories that we will be able to remember our entire lives, so stick with us to the end to get all the best tips for increasing your chances of experiencing happiness and being in control of those experiences.
Before we get to the meat of this podcast, I want to share a story with you about my life to show you that we’re all in this together. Coronavirus Story (1:40)
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I quickly let my fear get the best of me and began freaking out.
I lived in Wuhan, China for many years, you may know of it now because it’s where patient zero was discovered.
I had many friends that are still living there, so I got to hear firsthand accounts of what they were going through, and while I won’t share the details here, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
My girlfriend was in her hometown visiting her family for Tet holiday (which is like the Chinese New Year, commonly called “Spring Festival” in China), and the first few cases in Vietnam were confirmed inside her hometown, so naturally I freaked out even harder.
When she returned to Saigon a week later, I instituted and enforced a two-week quarantine on her inside of our one-bedroom apartment.
I put her in the bedroom, and I slept on the couch.
We wore masks, gloves, and washed everything immediately after using it.
Was it overkill?
But it satisfied my paranoia.
After 10 days of her begging me to stop, I finally gave in and dropped the protocol.
As the international borders shut, and citywide lockdowns began across the country, I made a quick decision to escape from the city and we moved to her oceanside hometown to avoid the worst parts of the lockdown and spread.
Side note, Vietnam has only had 1000 confirmed cases as of the end of September 2020, and many countries around the world are congratulating Vietnam for their successful containment strategy.
Once we got to her hometown, we settled into a huge 4-bedroom, 4 bathroom, 3 story house, and luckily got a great virus deal for $550 USD a month (it was a nightmare house in the end, but we won’t go into the details).
Despite a few random experiences where a police officer and a doctor in the hospital separately both wanted to quarantine me just because I came from Saigon and I was a foreigner, we were otherwise safe.
I started feeling like I could breathe again (psychologically), and I was able to focus on my mental and physical health.
After one month the lockdown ended, and we slowly began wandering outside.
We went bike riding, walking on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and generally living a normal life, even though we knew the rest of the world seemed like it was melting down.
New Normal (3:54)
Over the last 8 months, it’s become apparent that things aren’t changing anytime soon, but most of the people I talk to keep grasping for the way things were.
As much as it pains me to be the bearer of bad news, the world that existed before the pandemic began will possibly never come back.
We may find ourselves wearing masks and socially distancing for years to come, if only to feel more secure.
Our buildings may be empty or at least have some people in them, while the majority of people may come to prefer working from home and companies will continue to let them to do so in order to make them feel comfortable.
People may not travel as much, and we may look inward and focus on local communities.
If anything, I think the pandemic has started us on a huge societal shift as a species that might actually help save us from ourselves.
What I mean is, social media was pompous and self-serving, but now people are starting to realize that personal connections, humility, and transparency are more important.
People have had more time to reflect on their lives and have been able to re-connect in inspiring and beautiful ways.
So, let’s not think about what we are missing from before, and let’s focus on what we want to the world to look like going forward.
4 Ways to Take Care of Yourself (5:09)
That’s what we call resilience, and it’s something every entrepreneur must have in their toolbox.
The definition of resilience is: “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.”
Part of developing a sense of resilience is having different ways of coping with stress, which we can call “self-care.”
I’m going to share 4 ways you can take care of yourself that won’t cost you anything and might just change your life.
I recently saw two adorable baby girls sitting on the grass while their dad was doing pushups.
I also noticed a happy dog with his ears flapping in the wind as the car drove quickly on its way.
Both of these are great examples of joy, and they are amazing because even if we don’t experience the joy ourselves, even merely seeing other humans and animals experiencing joy is enough to lift our own moods.
If you don’t have a chance to see others experiencing joy, you should try taking a cold shower while listening to soothing music to refresh yourself.
I like listening to jazz, and harp music, orchestral music, folk music from Japan and other Asian countries.
The coldness of the water literally shakes your body awake, which helps to change your mood quickly and re-center your mind.
The next thing you should try is to write down three things you are proud of, or people you appreciate and why.
Putting others before yourself reminds you of why you do what you do every day, and this act of humility makes you feel better about yourself and your situation.
Lastly, call or text someone important to you and just say hello and ask them how they are doing, and be willing to shut up and listen.
Investing in your relationships with others instantly makes you feel happier because you remember you aren’t alone.
And especially now, or at any time in your life, you never know if that call may save their life.
Things you definitely should not do (7:07)
In order to ensure a consistently high quality of sleep, I strongly recommend not watching any news or violent TV shows at night.
As much as we are addicted to the hits of dopamine we receive from these anger and fear inducing experiences, we take those images into our dreams, which adversely affect the quality of our sleep.
I believe that we need more nurturing and a sense of peace and safety, especially right before we go to sleep.
Instead, we can focus on listening to peaceful music like jazz or the harp before bed to help de-stress while getting our mind ready to relax and enter REM sleep. Final thoughts (7:45)
It’s understandable that you may be grieving the way “things were.”
Feeling safe (physically and emotionally) is an important building block for our well-being.
Have compassion for yourself and don’t bottle up your feelings.
It is critical for our mental health that we don’t fight our current reality and instead “lean into it,” as Buddhist philosophy suggests.
While I know it’s not always easy, it is the path of least resistance, and will help tremendously in many areas of your daily life.
Make sure you connect with friends and family regularly.
Share what’s going on with you and tell someone how hard it can be at times.
And ask them how they’re doing.
You are not alone.
We are in this together.
So, ask yourself: How can you make yourself feel safe and grounded every day?
As a last thought, I also suggest you try meditation.
Meditation is something that’s been amazing for me, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, episode 3 talks about how Meditation can save your life.
If you want to go even deeper, I’ve created a free guide for how to get started on meditation you can find at https://welivetobuild.com/meditate.
Thank you very much for listening to this episode, I hope you liked it. If you did, please share it with everyone that you know, I’m sure everyone could learn something from this.
And remember, Entrepreneurship is a Marathon, not a Sprint, https://welivetobuild.com/podcast/wltb-001-entrepreneurship-is-a-marathon-not-a-sprint
so, take care of yourself every day, so that you can live and love, and have the energy and the passion to run your business, and to invest in your team, and find a way to appreciate those moments of happiness.