Briefing Notes: Our Well-Being in Anxious Times

Published: March 15, 2020

“The brain is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.” — Sylvia Boorstein


Well-being is the word du jour. You may have noticed the trend in large organizations: wellness programs are out and well-being initiatives are in. Few will argue the benefits of well-being. But there is worry that unless the word is defined better and tied down more precisely, it’s bound to lose its meaning and become just another buzzword.

And with the current global situation — when phrases such as social distancing and flatten the curve have entered our lexicon — the state of our individual and collective well-being is literally the issue.

Why this matters:
Dr. Tchiki Davis, the founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute, says well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and the ability to manage stress.

According to Dr. Davis, improving our well-being is simple. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy. We have to figure out what parts of well-being are most important to us so we can figure out how to build the relevant well-being skills.

Well-being emerges from your thoughts, actions, and experiences — most of which you have control over. For example, when we think positively, we tend to have greater emotional well-being. When we pursue meaningful relationships, we tend to have better social well-being. And when we lose our job — or just hate it — we tend to have lower workplace well-being.

Our well-being is a broad experience that involves these five different parts:

  • Emotional Well-Being
  • Physical Well-Being
  • Social Well-Being
  • Workplace Well-Being
  • Societal Well-Being

Bottom line:
To build our overall well-being, we have to make sure all of these types are functioning to an extent.

Think of it like this: Imagine you are in a car. Your engine works great, and maybe your transmission works pretty well, too, but your brakes don’t work. Because your brakes don’t work, it doesn’t really matter how well your engine works; you’re still going to have trouble going about your life.


Give the news a break by taking one (or several) Creative Live courses. I find that focusing on improving my craft or learning something new gives my brain a welcomed respite and keeps anxiety at bay. With 1,500+ curated classes taught by 650+ world-class instructors, there’ll be sure to be something that hits just the right spot, sparks your interest, or lifts your spirits. Here’s a list of Online Money & Finance Classes* to get you started.

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  • In 1999, TIME’s Man of the Year gave way to Person of the Year. While the name rightly changed, too often the choice was the same. With its 100 Women of the Year project, TIME is spotlighting influential women who were often overshadowed.
  • Audio: How to Handle Coronavirus Anxiety, Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris. Anxiety specialist, Dr. Luana Marquest, and mediation teacher/rabbi, Jay Michaelson, discuss how to stay sane, balanced, and calm in the midst of this pandemic.


“The brain is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.” — Sylvia Boorstein, author, psychotherapist, and Buddhist teacher


“This world in 2030 will be mostly rich and largely old. From now on, the world will have ever fewer poor people, about the same number of youth and young adults, and many more old and rich people. In other words, in 2030 we will see a different world. We will probably not be thinking about “the good old days” but about how the days have become good for the old. That’s something for us to look forward to.” — For the First Time Ever, the World is Mostly Middle Class and Largely Old, Singularity Hub


… when Faith Hill’s Breathe was the number 1 song twenty years ago? For a bit of nostalgia during these anxious times, watch the official video and “just breathe”


Season 3 of the podcast is in production. This series is only going to be six episodes long but it will likel be (for me at least) my six most favorite episodes ever. The new season starts March 26th. You can subscribe and catch up on the backlist from your mobile device.

I love producing this newsletter for you and I’m working very hard to make each issue something that you not only welcome in your inbox but look forward to reading every week. Drop me a line about how I’m doing? I would so appreciate your feedback.


Jacquette Timmons is hosting her next pricing (virtual) retreat on March 26th. If you’re asking “What should charge for this?” and want to discover how your pricing strategy propels your business forward or holds you back, this retreat may just be what you need. In the Zone: How to Price Your Genius.


I’m on Twitter more than I should really. Something Stephen Fry said caught my eye. So I want to end this issue with his words:

“Ok. Until this thing is over we’ve all got to be helpful, friendly and kind to each other, understood? Hatchets buried. Grievances forgotten. Disputes resolved. Feuds ended. Strangers smiled at. When the final whistle is blown we can go back to be being mean and beastly. Agreed?”

Maintain a safe distance. Stop touching your face. Keep Grandma home. And leave some supplies for others. Send over comments, tips for staying sane, and favorite 80s or 90s tunes.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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