How to Recover from Fatigue: Happiness and the ties that bind

Wondering how to recover from fatigue? According to a recent Gallup Poll, family ties and friendship could be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, “The Gallup Healthways “Happiness-Stress Index” Poll indicated that weekends, holidays and social time account for the highest spikes in happiness and most significant decreases in stress and anxiety. Another study conducted by James H. Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis found that happiness was contagious and asserted that “People’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected … seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.”

How to recover from fatigue: Dr. Happiness weighs in on what makes us happy.

According to Edward Diener, a.k.a. Dr. Happiness, “…the most salient characteristics shared by the 10% of students with the highest levels of happiness and the lowest signs of depression were their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.”

On that note I’d like to encourage you to start making dates with happiness i.e. setting aside time daily and weekly to enjoy social time with your ties that bind, heal and energize your  mind, body and spirit.

Daily Family & Friend Breaks: Stressed at just the thought of planning a get together?  Relax. A break could be as simple as a few minutes here to a couple hours there …

* Spending a couple of minutes around the office chatting

* Sharing a coffee break in your cubical while giggling over posters.

* Renewing participation in your WAHM/SAHM, collegiate, church, etc.

* Inviting a friend to join in a weekly class you already enjoy – dance class, craft class, knitting, quilting, cooking …

* Sharing a relaxing glass of red wine after an evening yoga class.

* Writing a note to a friend and mailing it off with a fun “Celebrate” or “Adopt a Shelter Dog/Cat” Stamp will give you more energy for hours and feel happier. According to Gale Berkowitz of the renowned Nurses Health Study “The more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they age, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life.”

Don’t underestimate the happiness health benefits of “virtual” dates with your out-of-town significant others. Although I live in Virginia I regularly eat lunch with my mother who lives in San Diego. Noon is the perfect time for me to break and catch her at the breakfast table. Often I can catch a few moments with my dad too.

Weekly Gathering and the return of the Sunday meal tradition. Just the thought of this conjures up images of that famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Painting. The one with the beautifully set table, happy faces and a huge turkey on a platter just making its appearance… This is a far cry from the hasty meal gobbled down in front of the “News” that too many of us rush through every night.

For your health and well-being I highly recommend a return to the past. Remember that old-fashioned tradition where Sunday was a day of rest, recuperation and reconnection with spirit above and within? Well it can be again with a delicious and merry brunch or dinner with loved ones. (Last night my gathering was around the Super Bowl but any or no-occasion will do!)

Dress it up with your best linens, silver, candelabras and china. Spend all day cooking up your favorite “food for energy” and flavor dishes. Be sure to include a decadent desert. You can make the meal preparation a fun family or group project or, take it easy by making it pot-luck affair complete with plastic knives and forks and paper plates. It truly is the “thought that counts” and enjoying the guests at your table that matters.

Psst. If you do decide to cook, the Sunday meal is an excellent opportunity to “double up” your recipes. This habit reduces meal planning, preparation and clean-up during the rest of the week. You’re gonna love the way that makes you feel!


The single most important thing you can do to increase your level of health, wealth and success in your life is to increase your level of happiness. – Marci Shimoff, author, Happy For No Reason. For more thoughts on the topic of fatigue recovery via friendship, click here.

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Fatigue Recovery Technique – Reduce Stress and Anxiety with the “Dump It Here” Journal Exercise

Do you find yourself constantly feeling stress and anxiety? Do you go to sleep and wake up with anxious, depressing and “worst case scenario” thoughts? Join the club. GAD, a.k.a Generalized Anxiety Disorder in on the rise as home values fall, friends wait to be employed, world events clash and all the normal, everyday, aggravations aggravate. (Bosses, spouses, kids, pets, neighbors, girlfriends, family …)

The first step to stress and anxiety recovery is accepting that most, if not all, people, places and things, are out of your control. Great. If you can’t handle them, you know who can. This exercise is all about acknowledging your worries and passing them on up to the god of your understanding, your angels, the universe … you pick.

Dump It Here Journal Exercise

Step 1: Arm yourself with a cheap spiral notebook and pen or a file on your hard drive.

Step 2: Write down whatever is bugging you. List things you need to do – people you need to see and call – projects to complete. Express your fears about life, money, your boss, marriage … grieve your disappointments … Vent about lbs that won’t drop off, kids that don’t clean their rooms and cultures that refuse to cooperate. Got a resentment? Dump it here!

Whine, pound, complain, misspell – let your dark side scribe. Put “Nice Girl” on hold.

Step 3. When you’re done (1-3 pages), close the book or file. Don’t Continue reading

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