Book Report: The Joy of Well-Being
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of The Joy of Well-Being: A Practical Guide to a Happy, Healthy, and Long Life, written by Colleen & Jason Wachob, co-founders of mindbodygreen. I am gifting this book to my parents, siblings and any friends who may be in a need of a little health inspiration because as they say in the title – it’s truly a practical guide. This is not about biohacking to optimize every measurable biometric but more about adding in some good habits on the journey to longevity.
The MBG podcast was a huge source of inspiration for me as I was preparing to launch Kosterina as it exposed me to digestible wellness learnings across a number of different areas: nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, breath and sleep. I find each episode gives me new inspiration for how to live healthier and how to inspire those around me to do so as well and many learnings have helped inspire the Kosterina product line and our ethos. This book expands on that and aggregates a lot of that enlightening and useful information.
In the book, Colleen and Jason write that mindbodygreen has been known to be called the United Nations of wellness in that (with some exceptions) they accept the opinions of many different wellness experts on their platform. They’ve gathered learnings from all the world’s best experts in health and wellness and brought it all together for us and share their habits and methods. They write, “Probably the most interesting, satisfying realization we’ve had about well-being over the course of the last decade is that all the things that work – like really, truly work – are all the things that most everyone agrees on, and they happen to be the simplest and oldest approaches to living well.” As a brand founded on the principles of the centuries-old Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, we agree.
My quick summary with some quotes and high level tips and take-aways from The Joy of Well-Being are here:
- When it comes to nutrition, the authors reiterate some of what we share often here at Kosterina: Avoid ultra-processed foods, refined seed oils and limit sugar to 25g of added sugar per day. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day. Maybe try out some intermittent fasting.
- “Human-to-human connection is vital to our health and happiness, yet the simple act of meaningful social interaction always seems to be at the bottom of everyone’s wellness to-do list.“ Let’s take a moment to plan that family dinner or coffee with friends.
- Breathe through your nose. There are some really surprising health benefits to breathing through your nose that I did not know about – it’s an intricate filtration system for your body, it increases your oxygen absorption and helps to get oxygen to your cells. If you primarily breathe through your mouth, there are some simple ways to train yourself to breathe through your nose.
- More exposure to natural light, particularly early in the day can change your body chemistry and allow for better sleep. The authors say to “Take your coffee or tea outside and enjoy it on your patio or front steps.” Yes, please. They also say we need to chill out about sleep. “Your body knows how to get the sleep it needs; you just have to get out of its way.”
- Exercise for a better night’s sleep. “Always wake up at the same time. Yes, even on weekends. (Sorry.)” No cell phone in the bedroom. (Why is this one so hard?! I’m personally an addict as well.)
- Walking is fitness’s best kept secret. We get added benefits when we walk near water, in the woods or walk somewhere that’s unfamiliar. The authors cite a study that found that walking 10,000 steps a day was correlated with a 51% risk reduction in dementia. We also need to resistance train 2-3x per week to prevent muscle loss.
- The science around cold showers, cold swims or general cold immersion is showing strong physiological benefits (increased immunity, better metabolic health, etc.) but the authors also say that we should do what bring us joy so…there’s that. Sauna use also creates the same good stress that has similar health benefits.
- We truly need to care for our environment because it’s connected deeply to our mental and physical health. The book outlines some actions we can all take to protect our planet and ultimately human health and happiness. Think: Reduce plastic use, support regenerative farming, eat a plant-rich diet, etc.
Ultimately, the authors say to do what brings you joy and that everything is connected when it comes to health and well-being. Making one small positive change has downstream effects to the rest of your well-being and can put you on the path to riding what they call the Well-Being Wave.
And finally, one thought from the Kosterina perspective - the authors write “Researchers from the Wharton School of Business looked closely at articles that went viral and found that the most common factors were anxiety, awe and anger. So it’s easy to see how many food influencers are rewarded for polarizing points of view. How many famous influencers do you see out there scooping up billions of likes and clicks because they are talking about the Mediterranean diet? Not many. Why? Because unlike other food trends, that diet is incredibly well balanced and uncontroversial.” At Kosterina, we are proudly uncontroversial. 😊
Peace, love & EVOO