The Power of Curiosity

What's in the Box Live Video

See this box? What do you suppose is in it? It could be anything. It could contain a bar of gold big enough to set you up for life. Or it could be exactly what talk show host Geraldo Rivera found in Al Capone’s vault: nothing. You don’t know. Would you like to know what’s in there? I’ll tell you in a minute.

Maybe you’re crazy to find out (stop watching, that graphic isn’t really a live video). More likely, you don’t really care. But you’re curious, aren’t you, even if only slightly?

And that not-knowing, that feeling of wanting to know but that you could find out with a little effort, is called curiosity. And that feeling is powerful, more so than we usually give it credit for. Think about it.

Your curiosity has the power to drive you to

  • Pursue new knowledge or skills
  • Develop new habits or break old ones
  • Lead you to new, creative solutions to perplexing problems

And that’s only the beginning. Curiosity is the driving force behind the greatest minds and innovators the human race has ever seen, including people like Elon Musk, Walt Disney, even Albert Einstein. In fact, Eisntein once attributed all of his success to it, declaring “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

It’s a good buzz
Curiosity can do all this because it feels good! We’re wired to love novelty and challenge. Novelty is how our fake “live video” graphic got you to read this–a small thing, to be sure, but it’s enough to start something. When we find that the pursuit of novelty leads us to a challenge, that can be so exciting as to become addictive. Why else do you think some people become addicted to video games? Or mountain climbing?

Some have compared curiosity to an itch in the brain–one we scratch by finding the answers to our questions. It’s the reason clickbait continues to exist, no matter how media saavy society becomes, because curiosity is just that compelling.

So what?
Our hope here, today, is to make you aware of your curiosity–to get curious about it, if you will. Pay attention to it. Notice how it feels to be curious. Investigate what it is that piques your curiosity and ask why.

Mindfulness is a skill, one that might require some practice to develop, but it’s well worth it. If you want to improve your life in ways the seem difficult or perplexing, mindfulness and curiosity are likely going to be the keys to your success.

Some places to start are exercise, meditation, and regular therapeutic massage. Taken together, these good habits are the killer apps of mindfulness, establishing a stronger mind-body connection and empowering you to make whatever change in your life you would like to make.

Armed with this awareness, you can begin to understand how powerful your curiosity really is and how it might be harnessed to help you improve your life.

You can even begin to see how you can use curiosity the curiosity of others in leadership, communication, and education. But that’s a discussion for another time.

So, what’s in the box? You’ve just discovered it.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can contact him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

Massage and Weight Loss: Fact vs. Fiction

Massage & Weight Loss

Let’s rip a bandage off right now: there’s no miracle cure for weight loss. Any doctor worth their salt will tell you the truth: to lose weight, there’s no real substitute for exercise and diet. This easy to say, much harder to do. Most people need a strong social support system, and must be willing to commit to long term change to achieve permanent results.

Now for some good news: Massage can play a key role in helping you achieve your weight loss goal.

No miracles, just healing
While some have tried to find in massage some kind of miracle weight-loss cure, massage isn’t that. Massage does nothing directly to burn fat or calories or reduce your waistline.

But massage can be a great supplemental treatment to give your efforts a vital boost to your brain chemisty and morale as your body transitions to a healthier way of living. Massage can help you transition your mindset from self-loathing and punishment to self-worth and healing, all while providing real physical benefits that accumulate over time.

True recovery
As a mode of touch therapy, massage has been shown to have measurable mental health benefits. Studies have shown that regular massage can help improve body image generally, and can be an effective treatment for depression.

It’s been well established by multiple studies that massage reduces cortisol levels–the stress hormone–and helps increase production of dopamine and norepenephrine–the hormones that give us a feeling of happiness and well being.

This really isn’t all that surprsing when you think about it. Humans have evolved to be connected, social creatures. We thrive on personal connection, and struggle in isolation. Touch gives a sense that we’re going to survive, that we’re not alone, and that we’re an individual with value.

And for many, sugary and fatty foods serve as a way to medicate against feelings of isolation and depression. These foods can trick your brain into wanting more by releasing those pleasurable hormones as you eat. Massage can be a healthy alternative to get that dopamine fix as you try to get your brain chemistry back to a healthy balance.

And when you consider the fact that retaining body fat has been linked to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, massage is a no-brainer for helping you lose weight.

Reward yourself
It’s key to your efforts to set up rewards for doing the hard work of behavioral change. The challenge is to find rewards for yourself that don’t involve food–a reward that could derail your efforts to change.

Massage is the ideal reward for making progress towards your goals. Let’s say, for instance, that you set a goal to work out three times a week for a month. If, at the end of that month, you’ve reached your goal, go ahead and book a massage for yourself! You might even consider a session enhancement or two. (Who knows? Maybe, for you, aromatherapy will become the sweet smell of success.)

Whether your weight loss goals are major or modest, regular massage therapy could mean the difference between success and failure.

If you’d like to get regular massage, but are concerned about the cost, a pre-paid package can save you 10% or more, and can help ensure you’re getting the care you need over time.

If you’re struggling with weight, The Good Life Massage would love to be on your team, both cheering you on and giving you a supportive push along the way.

Book a massage today.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can learn more about his freelance writing and editing work by contacting him at marketstediting@gmail.com

Good Morning, Good Life: How a few simple adjustments in your morning routine can change everything

good-morning-good-lifeIt’s already the end of the day. There’s so much more you wanted to do, but you’re burned out. There don’t seem to be enough hours to fit it all in. What’s worse is that when you try to name everything you’ve accomplished, the list seems pitifully short. What happened to all that time? Is something getting in your way? Why is it that some people seem to be lapping you in their success, and you feel like you’re practically standing still?

Something as deceptively simple as your morning routine could be making all the difference.

Okay, so you’re not a morning person. Some of us just aren’t wired to be at their best first thing in the AM. But that doesn’t mean you can negelect taking care of yourself in this crucial time of the day.

What makes the early morning so special and important for self care is that it’s the optimal time of day to accomplish things without emergencies coming up or people interrupting you. Why?

Because the people who normally cause those emergencies and interruptions are still asleep. You’re free! Wake up and smell the total freedom from all distraction! Savor it!

Do’s:
Rise early. Time is valuable! We’re not saying don’t sleep. But get to bed early enough that you’ll get enough sleep, even rising early. You’ll spend less of your day being burned out, and more of your day living life to its fullest.

Wake pleasantly. There’s nothing that says you have to put up with a grating, obnoxious alarm. Options abound in terms of alternative alarm methods, from the classic alarm-radio, to high-end sunlight systems simulate a sunrise right in your own bedroom. You can even wake up to the sounds of ocean waves or a babbling brook so that your waking process is gradual and soothing. Devices along these lines always come with some cost, but it can be a great investment. You’ll avoid sabotaging yourself with the snooze button, and waking up in the morning will become something you actually look forward to.

Exercise. This is a great time to get your workout in. You’ll start your day with the spring in your step that comes from being active, and you’ll arrive at work riding high on the endorphins. You can even expect to see an improvement in your mental performance and attention.

Eat breakfast (if you’re hungry!)┬áMost important meal of the day, blah blah blah. You’ve heard this before. Some people, however, report that they just aren’t hungry in the morning, and that a meal first thing tends to drag them down through the day. Others feel like they just aren’t right until they’ve eaten. Listen to your body. Could you use that extra kick of energy? Then make the time for a bite of something. If you’re choking down a breakfast just because you’re “supposed to”, stop. Listen to your body.

Work on a personal project. Do you have hobbies or personal projects you’ve been meaning to work on, but never seem to have time for them? Morning can be the perfect time to work on a creative project or even build a little business on the side. Start the day with a feeling of accomplishment.

Don’ts:
Email. Please, please, please don’t check your email first thing. Whatever it is, it can wait. Really. Set a aside a block of time in your day to handle email and whatever tasks come with it, but don’t exceed that block of time. Whatever it is, save it until tomorrow if you can. If once a day isn’t enough, set an AM and a PM block in your schedule so you don’t miss anything urgent. Do more than this at your peril. Email is one of those things that can easily swallow up productive hours and sap your morale if you let it.

Be lazy. Save your r&r for┬áthe evening, when your energy and time has already been put to good use, and you’re ready to ease into a rest period. Morning laziness will just stunt your momentum going into the day. You don’t have to spring out of bed to do jumping jacks or push-ups (though that’s not a bad way to go), but get on something productive first thing. Author Virginia Woolf didn’t even come down for breakfast without writing 1,000 words.

george_charles_beresford_-_virginia_woolf_in_1902_-_restoration
Author Virginia Woolf didn’t even come down for breakfast without writing 1,000 words.

So get something done that’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be a top priority or something you dread, but get your mind and body prepped for a productive day with a little warm-up. By the time that simple task is finished, you’ll be more than ready to get on with the rest of your routine, all while looking forward to the other tasks ahead of you.

Use the snooze button. You want to wake up and have a positive, productive day, and your very first decision on that day is to … procrastinate? You’re sabotaging your whole day with your very first decision! On the other hand, you can ease into your day as pleasantly as possible. See Wake pleasantly above.

One change at a time
Whenever you’re trying to make a major improvement in your life, it’s important to pace yourself. You’ve probably experienced the frustration of springing from the gate on New Years Day or a birthday full of enthusiasm. We don’t recommend that you over-commit to big changes in your routine. Make it something simple. Do you tend to neglect breakfast? Consider adding that into your routine.

For example: need to do a workout? Hold off on joining that gym or buying piles of expensive equipment for the moment. Start with some body-weight exercises in the living room or a jog around the block.

Make just one of the changes above this week. See how it goes! Leave your results in the comments below.

If you have trouble sticking to your commitment, it’s a lot easier to get on top of one new habit instead of six all at once. You’ll be amazed at how much difference one or two changes can make in your day and in your success.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at tgunnwriter.com.