Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.
Today’s Health Upgrade
Is this the easiest health tip?
Member of the week
Recipe of the week
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A Smile a Day…
Some health tips claim to be easy and are anything but simple. And then you have this tip, which wins the award for the simplest science-backed recommendation of all-time: Researchers at Penn State found that smiling — even if it’s forced — boosts happiness, reduces stress, and makes you healthier.
We stumbled upon this nugget from Michael Easter (creator of 2%, one of our favorite newsletters). The scientists were researching how smiling affects mental and physical health. They found that studies suggest “smiling may have a number of health-relevant benefits, including beneficially impacting our physiology during acute stress, improved stress recovery, and reduced illness over time.”
Here’s why it might work: smiling sends a signal to your brain to release chemicals (neuropeptides) that help you fight back against stress. And it triggers feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which can act as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety support. It’s so powerful that smiling is even linked with lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and a stronger immune system. Not to mention, we’re more likely to behave in a way that improves our lives and the lives of others, suggests other research.
So what are you waiting for? Find a moment in your day—upon waking up or while sitting at your desk, perhaps—to smile. And we’re not talking about a slight grin. We’re talking big, toothy, near idiotic smile. Do this for 20 seconds. You’ll feel dumb the first five seconds, then it’ll be fun—and then you’ll have a better day.
Member of the Week: Brett A.
We remind you every week that this village is made up of remarkable people. We love highlighting your stories of hope, belief, and change. This week, meet Brett Azar, who is another fantastic member of our village. He was also the body double for the 1984 and 1991 T-800 in the past two Terminator movies, so I’m so proud of him. You can follow him here. Here's Brett's story...
When I was a young kid my father was a real bad guy. He murdered my little sister and went to prison for life. My mother and I moved back to live with my grandparents with nothing to start from scratch. My grandfather traveled for work and was barely ever around. So my grandmother and my mother raised me, and a physical father figure wasn't really ever around.
However, The one thing my grandfather did have was a full collection of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. I would sneak down in the basement and watch them even at 5 or 6 years old. Basically, Arnold became a father figure to me. Watching Terminator, Predator, True Lies, Twins, Last Action Hero, Conan...I wanted to be like the hero he was. I grew up quoting and impersonating Arnold, even in my kindergarten years, and I always considered him to be the ideal person to grow up to be. I wanted to grow up to be a real-life superhero. I wanted the muscle body, the good guy hero persona. I felt like I had to be everything my birth father wasn't. He was the supervillain in my own Arnold movie.
In college, I got into bodybuilding, and then watching Pumping Iron was a whole new addition to my life. I competed for a while and won a couple of shows in bodybuilding. But it was acting that was always my true passion. A passion for the gym and bodybuilding, and ending up in Hollywood was always what I had in mind for myself, following my hero's footsteps.
I stayed focused on my vision. Training, education, and set on my goals to become what I dreamed to be to the world and to myself.
So skipping ahead to when I actually met Arnold as his body proxy in Terminator Genisys, how much that I actually meant to me is indescribable. To grow up focused on being like Arnold when I grow up and now I literally became a T-800 in two Terminator movies!
It validated my life's decisions and everything that I've chosen to do. I kept a clear vision of what I wanted in life, and I did everything to proactively make it happen. To train my ass off in the gym, get straight A's through high school and college, and be a socially active and charitable member of society. Be a loving partner to my dream wife. Be a damn good father figure and role model.
To me, that gave me a real sense of purpose and validation that I was actually on the right path in my life. It meant everything to me.
For that, I just want to thank Arnold for all he has done for me, even when he had no clue just how meaningful his existence was to me. I'll always wish the best for Arnold, his family, and all our fellow CONQUERERS reading this who are driven by BIG DREAMS and a CLEAR VISION TO BECOME WHO AND WHAT THEY WANT TO BE IN LIFE.
With a clear vision of my goals, terminating the negativity, an unbreakable determination to find the positive, faith in the universe to manifest the life I dreamed of having, and the support of my family and beloved friends, I've become a loving husband, caring stepfather, role model, and a freaking terminator. All thanks to the team of my dream wife Linda, my mother, who is the strongest woman in the universe, and a man they call The Oak.
Arnold, Thank you for the advices.
Recipe of the Week: Easy Ramen
It's Daniel. One of my favorite things to do is cook the most basic-seeming meal (I mean something I could make when I was 13 and didn’t know how to cook) and add a little something that makes my wife say, “You’ve outdone yourself.”
In this case, it is literally instant ramen with a little chicken, spinach, kimchi, and -- the part that made it seem like it was fancier -- a soft-boiled egg.
This is for nights when you are close to ordering pizza but might be able to make yourself cook if it only takes 10 minutes.
Instant ramen (I had some Japanese instant ramen from Target)
Shredded rotisserie chicken
So this is next level lazy, but:
1. Bring water to a boil. Reduce boil to a simmer
2. Put 1 tbsp olive oil, spinach, salt and pepper in pan to sauté
3. Put eggs in the water. Set a timer for 2 minutes. When the timer goes off, add in ramen noodles and reset timer for 3 minutes.
4. Spinach should be cooked down now, turn the burner off. Prep a bowl with cold water When the timer goes off, move the egg(s) to the cold water.
5. Add the soup bases to the noodles (my ramen said 3 minutes, so since I was being lazy, I knew I wanted to cook the eggs for exactly 5 min, so I set a 2 minute timer for the eggs alone followed by 3 minutes for eggs and ramen)
6. Transfer a serving of noodles to a bowl. Peel the soft-boiled egg as carefully as possible and transfer to the bowl on top of the noodles, cut in half if it survives your peeling without exploding (this is awful but worth it eventually)
7. Add a serving of shredded rotisserie chicken, your sautéed spinach, and some kimchi to the noodles. Pour over as much broth as you want.
There you go. The soft-boiled egg makes it seem a little less lazy. And it’s delicious.