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The Power of the High Five!

I learned about the power of giving high fives and praises when I was racing as a professional triathlete. It was a well-known fact that the little gesture of a high five was what motivated, united, connected and made us all feel good. A brain and heart high five is a powerful thing.

Mel Robbins and high fives

I love what Mel Robbins, author of The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit, says about the High Five. 

“Feeling supported and loved is the most motivating force on the planet,” Robbins says. “It affirms and fulfills our deepest need, which is to be seen, heard, and celebrated. A high five is a transfer of energy. When times get hard, developing habits of celebrating and cheering for yourself can be huge. It’s impossible to think ‘I suck’ when you give one to yourself.” She even suggests giving yourself a high five in the mirror every morning. This movement is simple but powerful. “The high five gesture has had a lifetime of programming into your brain as being positive. Without saying anything, a high five sends the message, ‘I believe in you. I see you. You got this.” 

So get on the same team as yourself, look for everything that is going great, and celebrate it with a morning High Five (and maybe a little roar!)!

Colleen’s High five success story

I know there is Power in the High Five and also in cheering and giving each other Praises. I was fortunate to be the spokesperson for the Tri for the Cure Women’s Triathlon in Denver for 10 years. These triathlons had at least 50% first time women triathletes and all of these women were way out of their comfort zones, doing something for the very first time and scared to death. I wanted to help them relax, connect to each other, and feel less intimidated. 

I grew up as a cheerleader, and at this event, I decided that everyone should cheer for each other because it was much more about supporting each other than actually hard core competing. I told them that when you help someone else out, give a high five, share a praise, it also makes you go faster. Maybe it just breaks the pain cycle or something, but it does work.

adventures for women

Here is the proof… Well, I don’t have the scientific data but the proof was that the race times got faster across the board. Here’s how it unfolded on race day:

After I told the ladies to cheer for each other I realized that they did not know each other’s names. I asked the race director to put their names in big letters on each person’s race number so that everyone could see each other’s name. Then at the pre-race meeting I told everyone to yell for each other and encourage each other along the race course and on the run to high five each other (or even just a hand bump). 

And then, something amazing happened. For one thing everyone was laughing and smiling, but the even bigger WIN was that everyone got PR’s and the race times were anywhere from 2 minutes to 30 minutes faster. It was a huge success, and the other wonderful thing that happened was that at the post race party everyone was going up to complete strangers, saying their names, high five-ing them, and thanking them for their support. The whole experience was incredible to watch. It was a day that many lives were changed and many new friends were made. We also had 100% return rates — everyone wanted to come back the next year.

Three ways to get into a high five practice

high 5 with the quest

To break it down, here are some easy good morning practices to help you feel fantastic:

  1. Giving praises and high fives makes everyone go faster and feel good! So start your day going to your mirror and giving yourself a high five. You deserve to feel good, cheer for yourself, and offer yourself some encouragement. You are #1!
  2. Then you can take it one step further. Draw a make-believe finish line, cross it, and throw your arms up in victory! When you have your arms up, you are in the powerful woman pose, and science shows that certain “power poses” can increase testosterone and decrease the stress hormone. Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University, studies how certain poses of the body can trigger hormone shifts in the mind.
  3. The last thing I do is to smile. The smile opens your central channel of the body and opens you to grace and loving-kindness. Plus, smiling can trick your brain into happiness.

One more side note about the High Five. When you high five someone, you are transferring positive energy. But, as it turns out, the palm is also home to one of the most powerful acupuncture points called the Lao Gong point (on the Pericardium meridian). This is a key point in healing work and Qigong practice, which I have done for many years. I feel that when you high five each other, it is way more than just your body thinking it has done a good job or offering support to another. It is stimulating or waking up the energy of the heart and connecting to each other’s hearts!

Start right now: praise and high five: YOURSELF, YOUR KIDS, ANIMALS, PARTNERS, YOUR CARS, EVERYTHING!

You got this!