It’s an understatement to say that the last year caught most of us off guard. Between homeschooling, working from home, and building home gyms, we’ve spent most of our lives, well, at home. City dwellers with limited outdoor space felt their walls were closing in on them, while those in more rural areas felt isolated and cut off from other humans. It was tough to win in 2020 and no place looked perfect.
The anguish we collectively felt was not so much about the external geography as it was about our inner landscapes. Regardless of where we live or what amenities we’ve had access to, 2020 has cost us dearly. Most people were unprepared for a pandemic, and anxiety stung as the pandemic progressed and our lives seemed increasingly uncertain. As a result, our physique and emotional health suffered.
As a massage therapist with nearly two decades of experience treating clients’ minds and bodies, I know a few things about self-care, but many of these tools were no longer available. With limited access to our previous lifestyles, we all had to find alternative ways to take care of ourselves inside and out.
Despite the vaccine deployment which started in mid-December, there’s no guarantee 2021 will be any easier, but we know it will be different. If there’s anything 2020 has prepared us for, it’s unpredictability.
The year 2020 has been rich in lessons, and one of them was to develop resilience and the willingness to embrace the unknown and accept what is. We enter 2021 with deep potential to understand ourselves and more resources than ever to help us live healthy and productive lives despite constantly changing circumstances. There’s never been a better time to take control of our health, and these tech-driven health companies are a great place to start.
Ten Percent Happier – Meditation for Faithful Skeptics
Ten percent happier was born from the anchor of ABC News Dan Harris’ nationwide televised panic attack. Harris knew he had to make changes after that, so he embarked on a journey with a group of characters that included a pastor, a caring guru, and a herd of neuroscientists. Harris began the process as a skeptic and wrote about it in his 2014 memoir, 10% happier: how I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works.
Harris’ goal was to contain the voice in his head, but he found the idea of meditation ‘repulsive’, although further research led him to a long list of health benefits backed by the science. The keyword (which is thrown away lightly, but often misunderstood) is mindfulness, which Harris defines as “the ability to see what is going on in your mind at any given time without getting carried away by it.”
In 2016, Harris connected with CEO Ben Rubin and launched Ten Percent Happier. “The way we pursue happiness as a society is not efficient,” says Rubin, “and Ten Percent Happier has a larger message: if our basic needs are met are prerequisites for building a base. happy for a lifetime, happiness is not going to come to us via material needs such as “a wife and two children, a dog, a house in the suburbs and financial security”.
A lot of people realize that they do all things and get all, but they are still not happy. “Trying to relax more, trying to take time to take care of yourself and try to make our body appear in a certain way will quickly lead us to the conclusion that something is missing,” says Rubin. So what is it? What are we lack?
Rubin says the secret is not well kept. “For thousands of years, religious and spiritual traditions have examined the human mind and helped us understand how to orient ourselves in a way that leads to lasting happiness.” Buddhism calls it mindfulness, but most spiritual traditions have a similar aspect that encourages looking to the present moment and accepting it with compassion.