WellseeingTV’s Chris Mann—back from a joy-challenging 2018—gets the holistic scoop from an Olympian, a comedian & a spiritual life coach.
(Plus, some takeaways on applying their ways to your not-so-happy days)
It’s January 11, and you’ve discovered the last piece of week-and-a-half old countdown confetti stuck to your sofa throw—which you’ve just pulled over your head after a soul-sucking hour on hold with the IRS capped by another mind-numbing episode of the nightly news.
Where’s that feel-good “Happy New Year!” vibe when you need it? you say to yourself, while choking on said confetti.
Take that cover off and take heart, wellseers. Good news follows!
I’m excited to share that:
a) after an unexpected protracted hiatus (more on this in a bit), I’ve gathered enough oxygen to return to the blogosphere. Welcome back, friends—I’ve missed telling visions of wellbeing with you! On that note, let’s get right into the really good news:
b) I’ve rounded up some simple but effective, if a bit unconventional, ways to fill and refill our mind, body, and spirit with energies that can help keep us uplifted, upbeat, and essentially (if not champagne-cork-popping ecstatically) happy—even through most of life’s rains. And the extra great part, to which I can attest: Each of these routes also leads to better overall wellness!
I owe these discoveries to a gold-medalist Olympian, an Emmy-winning comedian, and a Texas-based spiritual life coach. (How’s that for a kick-ass body-mind-spirit trio?)
In the Winter 2019 issue of Amazing Wellness magazine—available nationally at Vitamin Shoppe stores—I interview three of my favorite visionaries and creatives: short-track speed skating icon turned wellness advocate/entrepeneur Apolo Ohno, stand-up comic turned author (and hilarious podcaster!) Paula Poundstone, and Science of Mind practitioner turned life coach/newlywed Yvonne Cones. Each shares the distinct but practical ways to well-being that continue to bring smiles to their faces and to others’.
Check out my feature story, “Three Health-Minded Paths to Happiness,” and then check back here later this month for Q&A outtakes from Apolo, Paula, and Yvonne.
For now, though, allow me to share some highlights of their happiness paths—and how I began applying these tips/methods to my life while going through a serious rough patch when my dearly beloved, 75-year-old mom had some major health scares last year. (More on my journey with my mom—who is doing better now, thank heavens—in the future, too. By the way, these challenges are among those that put this new blog on hold last year, so we have much catching up to do around here!)
Apolo’s Way: In addition to eating a plant-based, whole-food diet that includes adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms that help him react better to stress in part by making smarter decisions (see his brain health and life coaching company, Allysian Sciences), the eight-time Olympic medalist recommends simple lifestyle habits to engender a healthy mind and happiness. His wellness routine includes practicing meditation and connecting with nature—research shows both release the “happiness hormone” serotonin—and living mindfully in the present moment:
“For me, it’s all about centering and grounding and breathing and slowing time down. I always feel my mind is the most clear when I’m in the mountains or near the water. That can be going for a walk or a hike, or just looking at water. And I always urge people to just take a half hour or hour out of their time to be in nature.”—Apolo Ohno
Chris’s applied takeaway: While my mom was in the hospital for several days in July and September (I stayed at her side in the ICU), I found calm and clarity—and even upliftment—by spending my breaks in the hospital’s meditation/Zen garden. I sat next to a soothing stream running along the beautiful foliage, and let the Santa Barbara sun give me some much-need vitamin D. Connecting with nature here made me feel closer to God, which brought me a sense of healing and deeper hope for the same for my mom. Even if you don’t believe in God, nature helps quiet the mind so we can focus on appreciating every moment we have here, especially with our loved ones. It also helped me gather my thoughts to know exactly which questions to ask Mom’s doctors and align with the positive energy she needed from me.
Paula’s Way: In her latest book, the witty and well-received The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, this brilliant comic and mother of “a house full of kids and animals” makes herself a glee-hunting guinea pig in her experiments designed to find activities that gave her “an uplift or some sort of umbrella for the inevitable on-and-off rains of one’s daily life.” In outtakes from her interview that I’ll share later this month, Paula talks about the joy that her dog has brought nursing home residents (well, most of them anyway, lol) during her weekly visits as a cheery volunteer. Her tome’s new paperback edition adds table tennis to her lineup of 14 get-happy experiments—which include getting organized, getting quiet, getting earthy, and getting warm and fuzzy—that the sometimes cheeky comic earnestly undertook. In my story, she half-jokes:
“The truth is, the only thing that really makes people happy is ping-pong … Ping-pong did make me happy.” And a day-long tournament kept her so, even as she embarked on “a horrible errand having to do with family drama that night. I literally went from playing ping-pong to going to the airport, and I still had a bounce in my step until the morning.”—Paula Poundstone
Chris’s applied takeaway: I so want to get a ping-pong table like the one I had as a kid—but for now I get a similar rush by chasing around and otherwise playing with the new puppy I got my mom last fall. Peewee the Flying Chiweenie is 75 percent dachshund, 25 percent chihuahua and 100 percent acrobatic hilarity. I chase him up the stairs and around the house daily, and Mom and I both laugh constantly when he leaps off the couch like a bat. But the biggest smile I get is seeing Mom light up when she’s playing with and loving on him. “He’s made me feel 10 years younger,” she reports. Indeed, he’s been a Poundstone-worthy umbrella for the whole family. Now, if I could just teach him to play ping-pong …
Yvonne’s Way: This Texas-based spiritual leader recently tied the knot at age 75! The former Mrs. Ryba and now Mrs. Cones draws on her work as a spiritual leader to bring lasting happiness to herself and others. A licensed Science of Mind practitioner and director at the Center for Spiritual Living in Clear Lake, Texas, Yvonne’s teachings and practices, based on late religious and metaphysical scholar Ernest Holmes’ spiritual philosophies, promote the healing power of positive thinking and affirmative prayer:
“The law of the universe—also called the law of attraction—is that what you think and focus upon, you will create … Pray knowing that as you speak, you believe that, so it is. Whatever it is we want—health, healing after a surgery, happiness, a new job with great benefits—we can ask for it. You put it in the present tense, because it is always manifesting.”—Yvonne Cones
Chris’s applied takeaway: Yvonne’s words brought me much comfort during my mom’s hospitalizations and all that followed last year. I affirmed good health and happiness for my mom and for myself, and along with smart action, we seemed to attract healing energies—and our upbeat thoughts likewise helped create a healthier outlook and happier reality. I am now also focusing on manifesting new opportunities and other good things that will support her wellbeing, mine, and that of the rest of our family. This includes resuming work on my book about the late, great funnyman and actor John Ritter, who—despite his own little-known struggles on the path to happiness—brought much joy to me and so many others. As Jack Tripper would say, “Work with me, universe!”
With all of this in mind—and with all New Year’s confetti out of your trachea—may Apolo’s, Paula’s, and Yvonne’s visions of wellbeing inspire you to see new ways to greater health and happiness in 2019!