355: MJ Shaar | Smarts and Stamina


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Focus on what works, not what doesn't.

"Somebody busier than you is running right now." -MJ Shaar

The Cheat Sheet:
  • Why being busy is just a way of showing self-importance.
  • What is the confirmation bias?
  • The truth about why sleeping poorly leads to poor eating choices.
  • The biochemicals that help us function properly, how to get enough of them.
  • Why making minor shifts versus a major overhaul is a much sounder strategy for success.
  • And so much more...

Sleep, mood, food and exercise are the four pillars of health. And while some experts focus on one or two of these our guest for episode 355 focuses on all four. MJ Shaar, author of Smarts and Stamina, is a health and wellness expert who holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She's also a certified personal trainer and consultant in this field.

On today's episode we talk about these four pillars, what her book has to say on them and recommendations she has to get smarter and build more stamina easier and faster. All of that and more on this edition of The Art of Charm.

More About This Show:

If you were committed to improving your health by changing your sleep patterns, your mood, your food habits or your exercise routine, where would you start? Would you focus on the ones that need the most improvement, or would you improve on good habits you've already created in one (or more) of those four areas?

Most of us would want to shift our bad habits and make them better, but our guest today says we're better off improving the good things we're already doing. If we're good at getting enough sleep then what can we do to be even better in this area? If we're already exercising regularly what else can we do to improve? By spending our energy and our time enhancing our existing good habits, MJ says we're far more likely to naturally and more easily improve upon our bad ones too.

Over the last 14 years MJ has researched, studied and explored those four pillars of health, and she's even created a business model for other health professionals to become trained and certified in. Her Smarts and Stamina program is designed to help people become happier, more productive and healthier in every way, and to do so with as little self-discipline needed as possible!

On today's episode we discuss each of the four areas (sleep, mood, food and exercise) and some of the science behind the important role each plays in our overall well-being. One of the areas we spend a lot of time on is sleep. She often hears people say they are too busy to get more than a few hours rest. And while some may hear that and think the person must be very busy, MJ hears that and thinks the person's cognitive abilities are impaired and their judgment is skewed...because that's what happens from regular sleep deprivation.

Even if you aren't that sleep deprived person, you may miss a few hours here and there. And that's ok according to MJ. She says our bodies will try and make up for it down the road, we may want to sleep an extra hour or two on the weekend or catch a nap in the afternoon. But if we continue to deprive our bodies of the sleep they need over a long period of time it's just bad news all around.

She compares sleep to a line of credit. If you take out a line of credit (or you miss a few hours of sleep), you can easily repay it a little bit at a time as long as you do so regularly and consistently. You can rebuild your sleep health by adding on a few more hours over time.

But if you miss a few payments or take out even more money (or you continually deprive yourself of sleep for weeks, months on end) then you're simply digging yourself an even bigger hole that's much harder to get out of. When you miss some sleep, grab extra winks as soon as you can and don't make it a regular habit.

To help you sleep soundly, regularly MJ has a few suggestions she shares in this episode. The first thing she says is to add in a few moments throughout your day to decompress. If you're in the checkout line at the store, just take a couple of deep breaths and be in the checkout line. You don't need to check Twitter or your email, just breath. Instead of driving to lunch, walk there instead. Allow yourself a few moments throughout your day to slow down a little, you'll have a much easier time slowing down to go to sleep at night.

And secondly, create a ritual before bed. Remember how your parents tucked you in at night when you were a kid? You brushed your teeth, washed your face, maybe they read you a story and then it was lights out for the night. You can do the same thing for yourself now: brush your teeth, wash your face, get into bed and read for 10 minutes before turning out the lights. If you do this regularly your brain will catch on and will understand doing those things means you're going to sleep, it will start to sync up with that ritual and will cue your body to get ready to sleep.

Those are just a few of the suggestions MJ shares in this episode, she has plenty of wit and wisdom you'll want to tune in for. A big thanks to her for being here, and thanks to you too. Thanks so much and we'll see you next time on The Art of Charm.


If you enjoyed this session of The Art of Charm Podcast, let MJ know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank MJ on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

MJ Shaar's web siteMJ Shaar on TwitterSmarts and Stamina, MJ Shaar's book

You'll also like: -The Art of Charm Toolbox -Best of The Art of Charm Podcast

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