Welcome to the Hey Eleanor Podcast, episode five. This week, we’re digging into happiness.
Wellness expert Jina Schaefer wasn’t always so healthy and happy.
As a teen and young adult, she walked around the world with a perma-chip on her shoulder, trying to figure why she was always unhappy, no matter what she did.
Eventually, she came to a realization: there was no rain cloud constantly hovering above her. The rain cloud was inside her. So, she stopped complaining and started focusing on fixing herself. Jina shares her helpful tips and tricks to becoming happier (bonus: you don’t even have to get out of bed).
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
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Molly: How do you become a wellness expert? Do you just declare it on the Internet and it happens?
Jina: Well that’s one way you could do it. I don’t recommend that. I have a degree in sports management and certifications in group exercise, small training, yoga instruction, and was once a massage therapist. I also work one-on-one with people, helping them make their wellness goals, as well as groups of people and companies. I’ve been doing all that since 2002, so I do have an education. But more importantly, I’ve had mucho success in helping people get happier and healthier, and to stay there.
Molly: I want to ask you right now, what’s the key to that? But it’s a little more involved than just a quick soundbite.
Jina: If I can summon up in a sentence or two, it’s about getting people to want to eat healthy and exercise. Because what you eat and how you exercise are surprisingly small details.
Molly: What do you mean by that?
Jina: Meaning how you exercise is a small detail. Just move your body that’s all you have to do; just eat more nutrition.
You need to get yourself to want to exercise and get yourself to want to eat healthy, not just to lose weight, because once the weight is gone, the motivation is gone.
Molly: When I hear that some of the wellness guru I think they’re probably running marathons, which you do, and working out like crazy, but you don’t even belong to a gym.
Jina: I used to love the gym, but now I just can’t stand it. Right now, I walk for at least an hour, do some yoga and do some biking. In the winter, I do just dance on my wii.
Molly: That’s so relatable, because even membership to yoga studio is still really expensive. It’s really refreshing that you don’t subscribe to just one form of exercise, and what of what you do is free.
Jina: Yes, exactly.
Molly: So I want to talk a little bit about how you got on this happiness let’s call it an adventure because the word journey is douchey.
Jina: I grew up in rural Minnesota in a small town. In my home there was addiction physical abuse, emotional abuse… By the time I was 16, I drink and smoked than most college students. I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office. The principal’s nickname for me was “Knuckles,” and not because I cracked my knuckles… And me today, at 34 years old, when I look back at the 18-year-old leaving for college, I still see someone was very frustrated, sad and angry.
I graduated with a degree in sports management worked for a couple of years, but I’ve always have had these emotions. I’d hit goals and then fall back in my default emotions of resentment, anger, feeling dread, anxiety, whatever…. [I eventually] came to the realization that I can’t buy enough stuff to make me happy, I can’t move to make me happy, can’t date a guy to make me happy. Back in 2005, I realized that the common denominator was me. So, how can I fix me? And that’s when I started researching, how do you become happy?
I tried so many different things. I’ve tried hula hopping and yoga and hypnotherapy. But the thing that stuck with me the most is the science of happiness, which is neuroplasticity. It’s your brain and body’s ability to build new nerve pathways or strengthen already established nerve pathways. Ways of moving, patterns, and emotional reactions. When I realized that, I started doing happiness practices.
So… what in the hell is a happiness practice? For the rest of the conversation, listen to the podcast.
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OTHER STUFF I TALKED ABOUT THIS WEEK:
My recap of doing Murph for the first time, with photos!
Dr. Henry Emmons’ book, The Chemistry of Joy.
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