In this episode of MarieTV, we do have some adult language. So if you do have little ones around, grab your headphones now.
Marie Forleo: Hey. It’s Marie Forleo, and welcome to another episode of MarieTV and the Marie Forleo Podcast. Now, if one of your long-standing goals is to feel better in your mind, your heart, and your body, you are going to love today’s guest.
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee has been practicing for over 20 years, and is the resident BBC Breakfast doctor. He hosts the number one Apple podcast, Feel Better, Live More, and is the presenter of BBC One’s Doctor in the House. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of three number one Sunday Times bestselling books, and his TED Talk has been viewed almost 3 million times.
Rangan, I am so excited to have you here. Thank you for making time to be on the Marie Forleo Podcast and MarieTV.
Rangan Chatterjee: Marie, I have been so looking forward to this. I’ve watched your show many times over the years and it’s a real honor to come on it, actually. So thank you.
Marie Forleo: Well, you and I have had a chance to connect in London and in so many different places. I just want to congratulate you on this book, Feel Better in 5. It’s awesome. It’s so, so good. My team loves it.
We went through everything and I’m so excited to dig into this today, especially because where we are as a global society right now, at least from my experience and folks that I’ve been talking to, people are overwhelmed. It’s really, really hard right now for most of us to just find not only the time, but the energy and the mental bandwidth to kind of keep it all together. So I feel like this is really exciting.
I know it’s already an international bestseller, but for us here in the States, we get to have you now and we get to have this conversation. So many health books sometimes can feel really overwhelming. When people are kind of looking to reclaim their time and their energy and their focus, it can often feel like, oh, this whole other big to-do list.
But I just want to congratulate you. Tell me, what was the inspiration behind this particular book?
Rangan Chatterjee: Yeah, this book’s a little bit different from my first two. This one was really focused on action. So I’ve been a medical doctor for almost 20 years now. What has always interested me is why do some people manage to make change and why do others not? It’s something I’ve been observing a lot with my patients and trying to sort of piece together what’s the difference? Because if you ask anyone on the street if they want to be healthier, if they want to make change in their life, they’ll probably say yes. But a lot of people aren’t able to do that.
I’ve found, as you already said, with a lot of health books that the advice is a little bit overwhelming. It’s not just health books, it’s actually the era in which we live now. We can all go on Instagram, or read a health blog, or read 10 health blogs every single day, and I actually think in the pandemic, this problem has got a little bit worse in the sense that we can consume so much information it becomes paralyzing to know what to actually do, so a lot of people end up doing nothing.
I know that every single person out there, every single person watching this or listening to this, can absolutely change the quality of their life by making small changes. I think that’s the key for me, Marie. When I look back on my sort of all my clinical experience as a doctor, I’ve found consistently that when people start small, they’re able to make changes. But when they start too big and they aim too high, sure, they may do it for one week, for two weeks, for three weeks, but then on those days where they’re unable to get motivated and do what they want to do, they fall off the wagon and they go completely back to zero.
So my goal with this book and the challenge I set myself was, Rangan, make this as simple as you can. It was the hardest book of mine to write, because I thought, no, if in my last books I’d work up an idea over eight pages, in this one it’s like, no, distill it right down to its essence in one page, and then give people a practical tool that they can actually get.
So I’m really proud of the impact it’s had in the UK. I think this book was really helping people before the pandemic. But actually the way the world has changed since we last met, I think this book has never been more important than today.
Marie Forleo: I agree 100%. In fact, I want to dive a little bit deeper into something that you unpack in the book that I believe as well. I mean, this is a whole thing that I’m exploring in every facet of my life. There’s two pieces of it. I want to go and speak into a little bit more about one of the biggest myths that you debunk in the book that many of us have been brought up to believe, whether it’s around our health, making any kind of change in our mental or emotional wellbeing, doing something in our careers. This idea that if you are not full of willpower and discipline and motivation 24/7, if you haven’t been able to achieve change before, it’s because you just don’t have the willpower, or you don’t have the discipline, or you don’t have the motivation.
So can you tell us why that’s a myth and the problem really isn’t you? Because I think so many of us try to change and then when we fall off that wagon, we feel terrible about ourselves, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I’d love to hear you talk about that.
Rangan Chatterjee: Yeah, for sure. Well, what if I sort of started by telling you one of my patients who actually really demonstrates this?
So a few years ago, Marie, in my practice, this, I think it was 42, this gentlemen, 42-year-old man, comes in to see me. He was complaining of the kind of symptoms that many people complain of these days. He was low in energy, and he was struggling with this mood. He said, “Dr. Chatterjee, I want to help. You know, I just don’t feel so well.”
I spent time talking to him, and it was pretty clear to me that there were various aspects in his lifestyle that were contributing to the way that he was feeling. So I discussed a number of options that he might want to consider. He loved the idea of strength training. He said to me, “Yeah, Dr. Chatterjee, I’ve not done that since I was a teenager. It’s going to give me more energy.” He said, “It’s going to improve my moods. It’s going to help me look better. I’m in. What shall I do? Shall I do 40 minutes, three times a week, at the gym?”
I said, “Hey, look, if you can do that, that will be amazing. Fantastic.” So he walks out of the door, right? Chest puffed out, big smile. He is motivated, Marie, right? He doesn’t have a motivation problem in that moment. I make him a followup appointment in one month’s time.
One month later, he comes in to see me. He looks different. He walks in, his shoulders are rolled over. He looks a bit sheepish. I said, “Hey, look, how are you getting on? How was the gym?” He said, “Dr. Chatterjee, I’ve not really managed to go yet because work’s been busy, I’ve been super stressed. You know, the gym isn’t really on the commute to or from work. I’m really sorry, I’ve not managed to do it.” He felt like a failure. It felt as though he couldn’t do it.
I remember in that moment, Marie, I didn’t think, why has he not done what I’ve asked him to do? I thought, Rangan, you’re clearly not giving him advice that he feels is relevant to him and the concepts of his life. So I took my jacket off and I said, right, I’m going to teach you a five minute workout right now. Okay?
So I taught him five exercises that are in the book. I said, “So what do you think? Can you do them?” He goes, “Yeah, no problem at all.” I said, “Okay, what I’d love you to do is five minutes, twice a week, in your kitchen.” He says, “What? 10 minutes a week? I said, can you manage that?” He goes, “Yeah, easy. Of course I can manage that.” I said, “Okay, that’s all I want you to do. I’ll see you in four weeks.”
Four weeks later, he comes in. He walks in, body language completely different, chest out, big smile on his face. I said, “Hey, how are you getting on?” He said, “Doc, I feel great. You asked me to do 10 minutes a week, but actually I find it so easy to do when and feel so good afterwards, I now do it for 10 minutes every evening before I have my evening meal.”
Now, Marie, he’s been doing that for over five years now. What’s amazing about that is not only does he do that, but that led to what I call a ripple effect. So he went from that, he then, you know, he eats better because of that initial behavior around his strength workout. He sleeps better. These days, he gets up every morning and does 10 minutes of breath work before he starts the day.
So why I’m so passionate about this, and coming back to your question about motivation, he didn’t have a motivation problem, right? But what happened is that his motivation ran out. His motivation, that wasn’t the issue. He needed a better system, but he was blaming himself.
Now Professor BJ Fogg, who’s probably the world’s leading expert in human behavior at Stanford University, he calls this the motivation wave. He says, motivation comes up and motivation goes down. Most of us make our health plan at the peak of the motivation wave. But what we should be doing is making it at the trough, because we know that motivation will go down.
So take January, Marie, right? Every January, new year, new you. People will go, right, this is the year where everything’s going to change. I’m going to go spinning three or four times a week at the gym. Do you know what? They’ve got motivation for the first week, for the second week, but then in the third week, when life gets back to normal, when they’re stressed, when they’re tired, when they’ve got to take their kids to after school clubs, whatever it is, suddenly they no longer do anything because they can’t make spinning four times a week.
So if you make it easy, you actually take motivation out of the equation. You make it easy, then it means that even on a day when you don’t have motivation, if it’s easy, you will still do the behavior. That’s the secret, that’s what all the behavioral change science tells us, and that’s what I’ve found in my clinical experience.
Marie, I think for people who are listening, to put this in context for you, let’s talk about business, right? So a lot of people around the world shop on Amazon. I think even more people now do, given that it was the only shop that was open for about two or three months, right?
Amazon, when they moved to one click ordering about five years ago, estimates say their profits went up by three hundred million dollars a year. Just from moving to one click ordering. So why would that be? Well that’s because Amazon understands the rules of human behavior. They know if you make something easy, people will do it.
Before, what did you have to do? You had to place your order, go to the checkout, confirm, put your card details in. Every single step you take is a reason to pull out and say, no, I’m not going to make that purchase. Whereas now, before you blinked, you’ve got an email saying something’s arriving the next day.
Marie Forleo: Completely.
Rangan Chatterjee: Yeah, so they know. They know. They know. I’m not blaming them, right? They understand human behavior.
Marie Forleo: Absolutely.
Rangan Chatterjee: Netflix, YouTube, they all do the same thing. They roll one episode into another. So before you’ve had a chance at midnight to go, man, I should go to sleep, I’ve got to be up early tomorrow, you’re into to the next episode of your box set, right? I get it.
The point I’m trying to make is, rule number one for behavior changes, you have to make it easy, because even when your motivation drops, as it will, you’ll still do it. So I really think that’s an important rule.
Can I say rule number two, because I think it’s really important?
Marie Forleo: Of course, absolutely.
Rangan Chatterjee: The second most important rule, I think, is where do you put that new behavior that you want to do? Right? Because a lot of us don’t really think about that. We think, oh, we’ll fit it in when we’ve got time.
The reality is that every single behavior you do needs a trigger. So what do I mean by that? We had an appointment today to do this interview, right? So you would have had a trigger. Now that trigger could have been your memory. You could have just remembered, hey, I’ve got to do this call with Rangan at this time. Memory works, it just happens to be the most unreliable trigger there is. Right?
The best form of trigger is when you stick on a new behavior onto an existing habit. Right? That’s the best form of trigger. That’s what the research shows. So what does that mean? A habit is something we are already doing without thinking about it.
So for example, me, I don’t need motivation each morning to make myself a cup of coffee. Right? It is something that I’m going to do. I don’t need a reminder on my phone. I don’t need my PA to phone me and say, hey, Rangan, remember to make a cup of coffee. Hey, exactly.
So I’ve stuck on a habit there which is a bodyweight workout. So every morning, one of the things I’ll do within half an hour of getting up is I’ll be in my kitchen, I’ll put out the coffee into a French press, and I put a timer on for four or five minutes. Right? I’m a bit obsessive with how I make my coffee.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Rangan Chatterjee: But in those four and five minutes, I don’t go on social media, I don’t check my emails, I do a workout in the kitchen in my pajamas. Right? Why is that so important? Well, Marie, I don’t really go to the gym these days. I’ve not really been, I think, for a couple of years now. But I haven’t missed a single day for about three years. I do a five minute workout every single day. That is not because I have more motivation or more willpower than the person next door, or somebody listening to this. It’s because I understand that there are certain rules to follow if you want to create a new habit, but we don’t follow them.
You know, business follow them, Netflix follow them, Amazon follow them. But when it comes to human behavior, particularly when it comes to our health, we think it’s got to be super tough. We think our workout has got to be about deprivation. It’s got to be about punishment. Our diet has got to be restrictive. We can’t eat anything anymore. You know, I don’t know how we’ve been conditioned to think that anything to do with health has got to be really hard, because it’s just not the way it works.
So I think if people are listening and they think back to the behaviors that they’ve tried to introduce into their life and not managed to, I bet that they didn’t follow one of those two rules. That’s so, so important.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. I love this, too. You go into this in such easy depth in the book. I say that because the book is so much fun to go through. This notion of building it onto habits, BJ Fogg’s book, Tiny Habits, which I loved, because it explained exactly what we’re talking about so clearly that if you can link up a new, simple, small, easy to do habit to something that you already do.
I remember there was a time when I was having to blow dry my hair, this was years ago, and I used to do squats. Do you know what I mean? Like I’d blow out my hair and I would do squats. I’m like, okay, well, I’m going to be here for at least 20 minutes anyway. Sometimes I would do my calf raises. But it actually can be so much fun, and that’s why I love this Feel Better in 5.
So we talked about just the myth of motivation. It’s not your problem, it’s the fact that we just haven’t been taught until now. Understanding behavioral science and how to actually create habits that stick, which that’s a large base of what we’re talking about with Feel Better in 5.
So let’s talk about the fact, I love that you called these health snacks, because it makes it sound really fun, these simple and short five minute practices that we can do to help our mind, body, and heart. I also love that you pointed this out in the book, because I thought this was a really great frame, where you shared let’s imagine the alternative.
So what you’re prescribing in Feel Better in 5 is like, hey, just do the simple health snacks for five minutes a day, do three of them throughout the day, and you could actually change your entire life, mind, body, heart. You said, imagine what would happen if we did the alternate, five minutes of very unhealthy activities, three times a day for five days a week. What might that look like over the long term?
I don’t know if you want to speak into that for a moment, but I thought it was a really great contrast to help us understand. For any of us listening right now, or watching, you could imagine like, oh, I’m going to shove… By the way, I love ice cream. Ice cream is awesome. Everything in moderation. But if you just like shoved your face with sugar or ice cream or something that you know wouldn’t be good for you three times a day for five days a week over years, you could imagine not feeling very well, right?
Rangan Chatterjee: Yeah. Marie, honestly, it’s so nice that you picked that up from the book because that is a bit of detail in there that I really thought long and hard about. I mean, you know as an author yourself, when you’re writing, you’re always trying to think how can I really make this point clear? How can I really distill this message so somebody understands it and then takes action on the back of it.
It sort of speaks to what I said maybe five, ten minutes ago, which is we think everything around help has to be really difficult and really hard and punishing and deprivation. I’m saying health can be fun. We don’t think about bad habits in the same way as good habits, so exactly what you said.
So if I said to somebody, you can call a… What do you guys call it? A soft drink, right? A full fat, a full sugar, fizzy soft drink, whatever someone’s favorite is. For five minutes today, you had to drink that continuously. Just imagine that, if you’re watching this or listening. It wouldn’t take much imagination to believe that, yeah, you know what? Within two or three days, my teeth are going to feel disgusting, my sleep may go, I’m going to get moody with sugar highs and sugar lows.
We kind of understand that, but we somehow think that a five minute workout, or five minutes of breath work, or five minutes of meditation, or five minutes of nature won’t have the same impact, and it absolutely will. Good habits build up in exactly the same way as bad habits. I really think that’s an important point to grasp.
Honestly, Marie, why I’m so passionate about this, every single person has access to good quality health, right? I get it that there are socioeconomic factors that drive a lot of this, but I have worked in some of the poorest areas in the UK, as well as some affluent areas, and I can tell you when you give people information in the right way that they feel that they can action in their lives, everyone can make change, everyone can make an improvement.
Starting small does really, really work. These small things add up.
Look, another great example. Toothbrushing, right? So I’m going to guess that pretty much everyone listening and watching this, Marie, brushes their teeth every day. Now, of course, not everyone will, right? But I think most people probably do, and they do two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening. Right? So everyone is giving themselves four minutes of dental health every day. They know if they do that, they’re going to look after their teeth for life.
Now, just imagine, we don’t think with our teeth, now, you know what, I don’t feel like it today. I don’t feel like it. Do you know what I’m going to do? I’m not going to brush my teeth Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but on Sunday, I’m going all in. I’m going for a one hour deep cleaning of my teeth. We don’t do that. We understand that it’s a little bit done regularly adds up.
When it comes to health, we don’t think that. We think, oh, if I’m going to do yoga, I’ve got to do a one and a half hour in-person yoga session. Do you know what? It’s fine, do that if you want. But also do five minutes a day. It really makes a difference. I’m not saying it’s either/or, right? You may already have some good habits in your life. Brilliant. But I bet you this book will help you see a couple of your blind spots and go, ah, maybe I should work on this as well.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. I love that. I have to tell you, during this whole pandemic and the global experience, I have been inserting, for me, I have these little yoga videos that I watch, and they’re literally 10 minutes, and I can do it. It makes me feel fantastic.
Something I realized for myself, I was in the fitness industry for years and I taught classes and I was a Nike Elite Athlete and I went all around the world training in dance, and it was amazing. It was beautiful. But I know that I was conditioned to believe that if I’m not working out for that full hour a day, if I’m not pushing myself extremely hard, that I must be a slacker.
One of the things I love about this stage in my life is I’ve actually been seeing exactly what you’re saying. When I fit in that 10 minute yoga class, or when I do five minutes of my squats and my pushups or whatever, I actually feel even stronger in my body. It feels like there’s so much more flow and space in my life without that mental pressure of beating myself up.
Rangan Chatterjee: No doubt.
Marie Forleo: It’s huge. It’s huge. It feels just so much more achievable and so much more realistic.
Rangan Chatterjee: I mean, thanks so much for sharing that, because I think that says it all for people. It’s not, hey, you may also want to knock out a one hour hardcore session at the weekends, right?
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Rangan Chatterjee: I’m saying, if you want to do that, that is great. I’m not saying don’t do that. I like to sometimes go for a long run at the weekend or twice a week, but you know what? I don’t stop doing my five minute strength workout because of that. That is an add-on. That’s a bonus. But these health snacks form part of my life that just, they’re an integral part of my life, just as brushing my teeth is. You know? It’s the same thing.
There’s a couple of tricks we can also do. There’s a bit that I talk about, which is you’ve got to celebrate each snack. Okay?
Marie Forleo: Yes. That’s where we were going to go next, because it’s fricking awesome. Please tell me more.
Rangan Chatterjee: Well, you just said you feel great when you do that 10 minutes of yoga. We just need to spend a couple of moments luxuriating in that feeling of euphoria after whatever that health snack is, and often we don’t do that.
So again, Professor BJ Fogg, it sounds like we’re both big fans of. I’m super lucky that he’s been a good friend of mine. He’s a huge fan of Feel Better in 5. What he says is that it’s not repetition that creates new habits. It’s not repetition that wires us into new habits. It’s emotion. Right? That makes sense, right? It’s all about emotion. We’re human beings and emotion really matters.
So again, let’s give people an example. If people feel low and sad, how many people do you think have turned to chocolate in their life at that moment? I know I have, right?
Marie Forleo: Right here.
Rangan Chatterjee: Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that. What I’m saying is you feel low, you buy a chocolate bar, you eat it. In the short term, you feel better, right? So that wires in a reward pathway in your body. You’re suddenly thinking, ah, next time I’m low, if I eat chocolate I will feel better. Right? So this is how we wire in a lot of these habits that sometimes we’re trying to get rid of. We’ve actually wired them in with emotion.
BJ will say that you need to do the same thing with positive habits. So for example, BJ says that when he does a press up each morning, or I think he, for a few years, every time he went for a pee, on the way out he’d do a press up, and before he’d know it, it’d be like 50 press ups a day. But every time he would do it, he would say, “I am awesome” afterwards. Right?
I said to BJ, I said, come on, there’s no way you’re going to get British people to do stuff like that. This may work in America, but Brits aren’t going to do this. We’re too reserved to do that stuff.
But the point is you need to find a way, even if it’s just for a moment going, yeah, that felt great. I feel so much better now.
The best way, I find, and I’m looking at my kitchen from here and I can almost see the charts, having a wall chart where you tick off when you’ve done something is so powerful. A lot of the apps like the Calm Meditation app, for example, they have very similar things. So if you do the Calm Meditation app regularly, before you know it, you’ve built up a streak, it shows you in a visual representation how many you’ve done. So what happens, after 11 days or 12 days, you don’t want to break your streak and go back to zero again. You want to keep going.
So we’ve got a wall chart. When I say we, my wife has got hers, and my two children, my 10-year-old son and my 7-year-old daughter, have got their wall charts. At the start of the year, we all chose one mind health snack, and that’s was for your mental health, one body health snack, which is for your physical health, and one heart health snack, which is for your emotional health. You know what? My kids, they’ve chosen…
One thing I’m really proud of with this book is that people can choose the health snacks that they want to do. This is not me saying, you must do this. Everyone’s different. Everyone’s got different preferences. I’ve given people about 30 or 40 options, and I say, just choose three. Choose your three favorite ones.
We tick each day when we’ve done a snack so we can see it. I know some people will be listening and watching, Marie, thinking about their children. A lot of people these days are thinking about their children. How can I get my kids healthier? A lot of people are worried about their kids’ mental health. I tell you, this absolutely works.
In fact, I think there’s about five to ten schools already this year in the UK, who’ve taken Feel Better in 5 and have started to implement the core components of it in their wellbeing program. As a parent myself, it makes me really, really happy.
I’m passionate that this approach, it literally works for anyone, right? If you’re the CEO of a company, this approach will help you with your health and your productivity. But if you’re a single mum, who’s really under financial pressure at the moment and the pandemic has really caused a lot of stress and a lot of financial difficulties, I guarantee that if you do two or three of these health snacks a day, yeah, I can’t maybe get your job back or increase your income, but what I can do is make you feel better about yourself, help you feel more resilient so you can face whatever stress is going on in your life.
You know, as a doctor, Marie, I’m really passionate about giving people advice that’s going to work for everyone. You know, I don’t just want to give advice that works for the affluent in society. I want advice that works for everyone, and I really think this approach does.
Marie Forleo: It does. It absolutely does. And it’s so much fun.
Just talking about building up the celebration, I love that you also gave the example that sometimes with your patients you’ll recommend, hey, if you don’t want to do a wall chart, you can actually take a jar and put little coffee beans in it. Any type of visual representation of you building up that momentum, of you taking that small step every single day.
You know, I also think it just kind of builds out in every area of our lives. I know when I was working on my book, Everything is Figureoutable, just every single day, even if I just wrote a few paragraphs, it made me feel like a champion because I knew I was taking one next step on my journey to hitting a big goal. That was really important to me. So I love that celebration.
Rangan Chatterjee: It’s like putting deposits in the health bank, if you will. But often, because we can’t see it, we have no way of tracking it, it’s easy to give up. But you know what? If you have had the worst week in the world, right? Let’s say you’ve done your health snacks, but on Sunday night or on Friday evening, you’re like, you know what? Work was so stressful this week. I didn’t get this done. I didn’t get that done. It’s all overloading into next week. You may feel that life isn’t good, but if you can look at that chart or if you can look at that jar with the coffee beans in, you’re probably going to see 21 ticks or 21 coffee beans, which shows you, oh, wow, I’ve done 21 things this week for my health. Wow, maybe it wasn’t such a bad week after all.
These things sound too simple to work, but let’s look around. We have a sick society. We have people stressed out. We’re seeing this play out in this pandemic more than ever before. You know, if our health is not in good shape, we can suffer all kinds of consequences. So this stuff may sound simple, but actually health can be that simple when we break it down.
It’s funny, Marie, I was thinking in the hour before this call with you, I went for a walk. I thought I was going to clear my mind because I’m under a lot of work pressure at the moment that’s unrelated to this. I just thought about it. I thought, wow, you know what my book is really about that I didn’t realize when I wrote it? It’s about helping people change their identity through action.
I really feel strongly that many of us… Think about that patient I mentioned at the start. I told you about his body language, right? First time he comes back, he feels like a failure, right? He has the identity of someone who’s a failure. Someone who can’t stick to a health plan. But you know what? When I flipped it and made it easy for him, and he could do that, it’s not just that he was working out, his identity changes. He comes in with different body language. He now has taken on the identity of someone who can do what the doctor has asked him to do. He’s someone who can follow a health plan.
I really feel that when you take just 15 minutes a day to do three five-minute actions, you start to build up a picture of who you are. You start to show yourself that, hey, I’m someone that’s worth taking care of. I’m someone that no matter how busy work is or how much work I have to do, to take my kids to school, and do all the work and the housework, you know what? Despite all of that, I still give myself 15 minutes a day in three five-minute intervals, which is achievable for pretty much anyone, and it really helps to change the identity about how you feel about yourself.
So it’s really about taking action. It circles back to what you said at the start, which is why is this so needed now? It’s because we can spend three hours on Instagram, right? We can look at all these inspirational memes, maybe on my channel or your channel. We can press like and ha and give a thumbs up and we feel we’ve done something. Well, we’ve actually done nothing. We’ve just engaged in a social media post.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve heard many of your shows as well, Marie, and you, like me, you’re interested in people actually taking action. Don’t just get the inspiration. The inspiration without the action is nothing, right? So take an action no matter how small, and I don’t think it gets so much smaller than five minutes, you know?
People said, why did you choose five minutes? The reason I chose five minutes is because five minutes is short enough where the busiest person feels that they can fit it into their life, but it’s long enough where you actually can feel real significant change very, very quickly. That’s why I chose five minutes.
Marie Forleo: I love it, and I love this book. I just want to thank you just for your work in the world. You’re such an inspiration, and I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you over these past few years. Feel Better in 5, it’s just fantastic.
I want to point out one other thing before we wrap up, and I want to give you the last word. One of the most beautiful aspects of this is I felt like you did such a brilliant job of highlighting, hey, if anxiety is what you’re challenged with at this moment, here’s a recipe for you. If getting better sleep is a challenge for you at this moment. I thought that the way that you kind of put that together with these suggestions for like these health snack recipes was just a brilliant thing.
Again, taking it back the context of where we are right now as a global society and some of the things that so many of us are challenged by amid this pandemic, amid all of the global change, to be able to open this book that is so beautiful, so well-researched, so simply done, and to say, yeah, at this moment, I might be having a little low grade depression, here’s three health snacks that I can do to support myself in moving in a positive direction.
So I just wanted to congratulate you and just underscore the value of those recipes and thank you for putting them together.
Rangan Chatterjee: Thanks for that. It’s funny that this was the last thing that went into the book. I actually thought I’d finished the book, and I was like looking at my manuscript. I thought, yeah, okay, I’ve finally done it. Then it came to me, then I thought…
Okay, one of the fundamental challenges I feel as an author is one-on-one with a patient, I offer quite personalized healthcare. So I will personalize the recommendations to the person in front of me. I’ll spend time to understand who they are, to connect with them first, and then I talk to them about what they can do.
When I teach doctors, I always say connect first, educate second. Because I really think as humans, we’re wired to connect. Once you’ve connected first, people will listen to what you have to say. But if you don’t take the time to connect and you just tell them do this and do that, people aren’t going to do it. No one’s going to do something long term because somebody else has told them to do it.
So I thought I was doing a good thing by giving people 30 or 40 five-minute health snacks and saying, you choose. But I thought, you know what? Some people will find that overwhelming. They’ll be like, I want to do the five-minute yoga flow. I want to do that breathing exercise. I want to do the anxiety written journaling exercise, 5-step release. I want to do the tea ritual. I want to do the gratitude. I thought, okay, I’m at risk here of giving people so many options that they’ll end up doing nothing.
So I thought, okay, I thought back to my clinical practice. I thought what do people come in with? What are the commonest problems people come in with? I think I said 11 things you want less off and 11 things you want more of.
So I also wanted to say it’s not just for people who are sick. Sure, so if you’ve got anxiety, I’ve chosen a mind snack, a body snack, and a heart snack for you. If you’ve got depression, I’ve chosen for you.
But at the same time, I flipped it and said if you want more of something, right? If you want happiness, if you want to improve longevity, if you want better brain health, better concentration, better focus, I’ve chosen three for you. Now I say, look, you don’t have to follow them. You can choose your own three. But if you want a better guidance to get you started, here are the three that I’ve seen work incredibly well with my patients.
You know, it’s interesting you picked up on this, because one of the best bits of feedback since the book has been out, as people write to me, particularly on Instagram, they say, hey look, I love this combination chart because I did want to do more than three.
I say to people, don’t do more than three, right? Don’t do more than three, at least when you’re starting. Because again, you run into the same problem. You’ll do five or six a day for a week, and then you’ll be too busy and you’ll do none.
I’d rather people, actually, Marie, if three is too much, I’d rather they start with one. Just choose one five-minute health snack, spend a bit of time finding the best time in your day to stick it on to. That’s what I want people to experiment with. Is it best with my morning coffee, or is it best just before bed, or is it best just before I have lunch? Find the right habit to stick it onto and you will be doing this in a year’s time. I guarantee it because I’ve seen this over and over again with my patients.
So, yeah, I mean, I appreciate your kind words, Marie. I really hope it does as well in America as it has done in the UK, because I really think it’s very simple, very accessible, but also a free way to help you live a better and a happier life.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, this is amazing. Thank you so much. I think that’s the perfect place to wrap us up. Obviously we want you to get Feel Better in 5 because you deserve to feel better, your family deserves to feel better, your kids deserve to feel better. It does not have to take a ton of time or energy. It can be so much fun. You can celebrate yourself and you can do it with the people you love.
Anything that you want to leave us with today?
Rangan Chatterjee: Hey, well look, I just want to say to everyone, I hope you guys are doing okay. I know it’s a stressful world out there, but lifestyle change is always worth it, because this is what I say at the end of all of my podcasts, but when you feel better, you live more. So it’s always worth it.
Marie Forleo: Thank you, my love. Thank you so much for your work and thank you for making time for us today and for putting together this incredible, incredible new piece.
Rangan Chatterjee: Thanks, Marie.
Marie Forleo: That was so much fun, wasn’t it? I highly recommend that you get the book because it’s awesome.
Now Dr. Chatterjee and I would love to hear from you. So I’m curious, what’s your biggest takeaway from today’s conversation? I’d also love to know, tell me about the health challenge that you would most like to change. It’s something that you want to move away from or something that you want to move towards, and I bet you there’s a health snack to help you get there. So leave a comment below.
As always, the magic happens over at the wonderful land of marieforleo.com, so that’s the best place to leave a comment. Once you’re there, be sure to subscribe to our email list and become an MF Insider. We send really short, powerful, inspiring, loving emails once a week, so you don’t want to miss out.
Until next time, stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world really does need that very special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for tuning in and I’ll catch you next time.
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