A two-part message today, starting with a nudge, and ending with an update on the experiment I’m running with Signpost, our new online emotional-management tool.
Let’s begin, then, with a quick reminder of how closely connected your emotional health and physical health are.
With so much sickness around this time of year in the northern hemisphere, I’m sure you’re familiar with how rotten someone can feel, mentally, when they’re suffering from a cold.
Perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself this winter, but even if you haven’t, you’ll probably have observed others coughing, sneezing, and complaining their way through the day.
However, just as low physical health can make you feel mentally drained, the opposite can also be true.
Actively taking care of your physical well-being can give your emotions a much-needed boost, too.
Now, I bet you’re expecting me to remind you to get some exercise, eat healthily, drink more water, or something like that.
Well, although they’re all great ideas, no, actually.
This nudge is something much easier to do, but is an action it’s all too easy to forget.
I’m talking about the terribly simple idea of stretching.
Yup, simply taking a moment or two to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your muscles.
Go on, try it now.
Stretching is relaxing, and it can put you in touch with your body.
If you’re able, here’s a great back stretch known as the “standing cat-camel.”
Here’s how to do it:
1. Begin by standing with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent.
2. Lean forward and place your hands on your legs, just above your knees.
3. Curve your back, with your shoulders forwards, and your chest closed.
4. Now arch your back backwards, opening your chest and rolling your shoulders back. Arms in the air, if you like.
5. Rinse and repeat a few times.
It can feel especially good if you’re spending long periods sitting at your desk.
In fact I’m going to stretch right now.
Ah, that’s better.
So, one good stretch later, how are things progressing with the beta test of Signpost?
Last week I asked for volunteers to experiment with a seven-day trial of the app I’m working on.
It provides daily feedback and tips to your smartphone in audio form, recorded by yours truly.
I’m happy to say that lots of people have kindly offered to help, so this week I’m phasing in over 200 willing individuals.
It has made sense to introduce people in several waves, to ensure the systems are working as expected.
So far, there have been no serious malfunctions (although I’m sure I’ve jinxed it by saying that) and some really positive reactions.
It’s not too late to add yourself to the list of trialists, and thank you if you do, or already have done.
More details on what I’m learning next week.
Meantime, I’m getting the bottom of how many digits there are in a Dutch cellphone number, and how to work out what time you need to instruct a server in South Africa (when you yourself are on California time) to send a text to New Zealand, at 8 AM local time. It’s complicated.