Everyday Vitality Book Summary - Everyday Vitality Book explained in key points
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Everyday Vitality summary

Samantha Boardman

How to Thrive, Survive, and Feel Alive

4.5 (396 ratings)
17 mins
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    Everyday Vitality
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    The difference between those who handle stress well and those who don't is the cultivation of vitality.

    Imagine that you’ve had a terrible week. Maybe a beloved pet passed away, or a family member received a worrying medical diagnosis. You might be tempted to cancel plans, turn off the ringer on your phone, and drown your sorrows in nonstop TV, beer, and ice cream.

    But here’s the thing: None of those things will really help you feel better. They can often actually drag you down even more. So what will help? 

    The key message here is: The difference between those who handle stress well and those who don't is the cultivation of vitality.

    Look around at your friends and family. Who seems OK even when things don’t go their way, and who lets the situation drag them down?

    Penn State professor David Almeida refers to these groups respectively as Teflon people and Velcro people.

    “Velcro” people remain stuck in difficult situations, catastrophizing and spiraling into more negativity. They tend to pull away from others and indulge in what he terms “cotton candy” activities for the soul, like overeating or binging TV shows. These are things that may seem good initially, but don’t do any actual good in the long run. Interestingly, this group also tends to have more physical health issues.

    The “Teflon” crowd, on the other hand, demonstrates vitality. They make plans but remain flexible. They stay engaged and deliberately plan to do things daily that make them feel good and strong. They’re even supportive of others in their times of need. 

    The key is “doing.” What you do helps you build vitality – not what you think.

    You don’t need a life-altering event to come your way in order to begin building vitality. It’s the little things that really bring us down – the traffic jam, the surly teen, the bills. As Muhammad Ali pointed out, sometimes it’s the pebble in your shoe that wears you out, not the mountain in front of you. Dredging your soul daily for reserves of resilience to deal with the myriad tensions and roadblocks of daily life can be a drain and a challenge to the strongest of us.

    So who’s better equipped to deal with this endless parade of small, daily stressors? Those who display vitality recognize the importance of these three things: Autonomy, competence, and relatedness. They are proactive and make plans. They go out and do things. And they draw strength from doing things with others. 

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    What is Everyday Vitality about?

    Everyday Vitality (2021) explores how we can cultivate resilience while juggling the small, nonstop stresses of everyday life. Those who thrive do so because they build vitality, a force of power and flexibility that allows them to handle difficulties. The people who cope best are the ones who find ways to turn their stress into strength through intentionality, purpose, and connection.

    Who should read Everyday Vitality?

    • Anyone looking to alleviate stress in their daily lives
    • People interested in improving their quality of life
    • Those who are interested in achieving peace amid busyness

    About the Author

    Samantha Boardman is a Harvard- and Cornell-trained psychiatrist who practiced in New York City for years before obtaining a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Now she practices positive psychiatry, has been published in professional journals as well as the Wall Street Journal and Psychology Today, and has appeared on the Today Show.

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