5 TED Talks That Will Make You Happier and Healthier–and Give You More Free Time

5 TED Talks That Will Make You Happier and Healthier--and Give You More Free Time

Do you want to be a more effective leader? Fitter, better rested, and generally happier? The folks at TED have compiled some talks designed to help you get there. From acquiring new skills to getting more exercise to freeing up some of the time you waste on meetings, these talks will help you improve nearly every area of your life.

If you feel ready to take your game to the next level, spend a little time watching these talks. Here’s some of what you will learn:

1. Change how you speak and you’ll command more attention.

Want people to listen closely to every word you say? With a few simple changes, you can make it happen, as sound expert Julian Treasure explains in a highly informative 9-minute talk. Begin by taking an honest look at what you say, he advises. Gossip, negativity, complaining, excuses, hyperbole, and stating your opinions as fact can all cause people’s ears to glaze over, he says.

Once you’ve reviewed what you have to say, it’s time to consider how you say it. Studies show people will respond differently to your speech, depending on the quality of your voice. Fortunately, as Treasure explains, you’re not stuck with the voice you’re born with–anyone can make their voice more effective. Treasure explains how.

2. To improve your life, play a game.

When game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a concussion that didn’t heal properly, she spent many months in pain, debilitated, and unable to do any of the things she enjoyed. She found herself thinking of suicide, a common occurrence among those with brain injuries.

To stop the downward spiral, she invented a game she would eventually call SuperBetter to help herself, and eventually others, do more of the things that could improve their outlook and health. In this entertaining talk, she teaches the audience some simple moves to “power up” our physical, emotional, mental, and social resilience, all of which can make us happier and even extend our lives.

3. Fitness gets easier if you change how you look at it.

Why do some people find exercise daunting while other people jump right in? To answer this question, social psychologist Emily Balcetis designed a series of experiments to test how people see exercise and when they find it easiest or hardest. In her thought-provoking talk, she details the small mental adjustments that will help you stick to an exercise plan, no matter how out of shape you may be.

4. Take back the time you’re wasting in bad meetings.

Information security manager David Grady posted a hilarious to video YouTube lampooning a badly run conference call. With over a million views and thousands of rueful comments, it’s clear he hit a nerve. In his TED talk, Grady challenges us all to be more selective about the meeting invitations we accept and ask some questions about the purpose of the meeting and how we will be contributing to that purpose. It’s almost as entertaining as the original video, and it’s advice we all should follow.

5. Challenge yourself for 30 days.

Want to make changes in your life, large or small? Give yourself 30-day challenges. In this short talk, computer scientist Matt Cutts describes how giving himself 30-day challenges ranging from giving up sugar to biking to work to writing a novel gave him new skills (he wound up climbing Mount Kilimanjaro)–as well as making his months more memorable.

He also learned that you can do pretty much anything if it’s only for one month. “So why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot?”

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