This post is sponsored by Novant Health but the opinions and the 21 Day Positive + Present Challenge are my own.
I was on a run with Finn and Zoey a few weeks ago and listened to a Super Soul Conversations podcast with Shawn Achor. The episode was titled “The Life Altering Power of a Positive Mind.” Shawn Achor is a researcher who focuses on happiness and positivity. He’s the author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness, and his Happiness Advantage training is one of the biggest and most successful corporate positive psychology trainings in the world.
Achor does a lot of research around mirror neurons and social contagion…it’s the ripple effect.
“Research into social networks has shown that behavior is literally contagious, good or bad. Our attitudes and behaviors infect the people we work with directly, but also spread to the people they interact with. This is called the ripple effect.” (p. 201 from The Happiness Advantage)
To build on that even more, he spoke a lot about happiness and social connection.
“Social connection is the greatest predictor of long-term happiness. It trumps everything else we do. Social connection is as predictive of how long you will live as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. ”
SO…if our behavior is literally contagious AND our social connection is crucial to long-term happiness, don’t we want to create ripples of positivity in our social connections instead of stress, fear, anxiety and negativity?
The same week that I listened to this podcast, the team at Novant Health reached out to me about supporting their Live in the Moment initiative. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the alarming effects of everyday stress on the body due to factors like work, busy schedules, co-dependence on technology and not enough focus on self-care.
“While engrained in nearly every aspect of our lives today, it has become clear that overreliance on technology and the resulting social isolation it can cause can have devastating effects on health,” said Dr. Darlene Ifill-Taylor, Novant Health Psychiatric Associates. “At Novant Health, we have emphasized resilience programs for our team members for several years and have seen firsthand the benefits and fulfillment that mindfulness and being more present can have on an individual’s physical and mental well-being. We are now dedicated to sharing this knowledge with our patients and our communities so that we all can live a healthier, more balanced life.”
The three areas of focus for Novant Health’s Live in the Moment initiative are:
- Unplugging from technology.
- Enjoying moments with family.
- Focusing on self-care.
I don’t think these two things coming to me in the same week was an accident. It set off the wheels in my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could connect what I’d heard in Shawn Achor’s podcast with Novant Health’s Live in the Moment initiative.
21 DAY POSITIVE + PRESENT CHALLENGE
I landed on a 21 day positivity + presence challenge! I have combined some of Shawn Achor’s suggestions for creating a shift towards positivity in your life, along with the themes of the Novant Health Live in the Moment initiative for a challenge focused on creating ripples of positivity and presence.
My challenge includes 5 short, doable daily activities that are all meant to support a shift to greater positivity and presence. Most of us have heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit and Shawn Achor suggested that time frame as well, so that’s why it’s a 21 day challenge!
Here are the 5 daily activities.
- Journal about a positive experience for 2 minutes a day. You can keep a notebook or just make notes on your phone. You can even just write it out on a scrap of paper.
- Spend 2 minutes in mindful meditation each day. This is just sitting quietly and watching your breath.
- Turn off your phone or put it in a different room at least 21 minutes before bed and don’t look at it again for 21 minutes after you wake up. (Whew, this is going to be a good one for me to practice)
- Take 2 minutes every day to send someone a positive email or text. Praise or thank them for something big or small, or just share something you admire about them. (I LOVE THIS ONE!)
- Finally, move for 21 minutes a day. Doesn’t matter if you dance, run, walk, practice yoga, run around with your kids…just move!
It’s pretty much a guarantee that if you practice these five things for 21 days that you will experience a shift when it comes to positivity, presence and overall joy and happiness. And when we create that within ourselves, we can make a ripple out through our social connections and into our communities, country and the world we live in. The actions of one DO MATTER!
I have hosted quite a few fitness challenges and I am thrilled to make this one all about mindfulness and emotional health. <3
The 21 Day Positive + Present Challenge begins on Monday, May 20 and runs through Sunday, June 9.
Tag any social shares or post with #PositivePresentChallenge and #NHLiveInTheMoment.