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How To Balance Family And Work To Reduce Stress

How To Balance Family And Work To Reduce Stress

Because Americans are so busy these days, they are becoming more stressed. Back in the 1950s, the workers would go to their job, put in their eight hours, and come home to relax. Today, people bring work home. They constantly check their office email through their smartphones, respond to inquiries immediately (even if it’s time for dinner), and read reports late into the evening. This ability to be constantly connected is harming people’s health. It’s time we go back to finding that balance between work and family life.

Many personal development books suggest that incorporating play time and leisure into your work week is necessary. In fact, many companies require employees to take off vacation time to relax and recharge their batteries. However, before you can reconnect with your family, you first have to reconnect with yourself. You must find coping skills for anxiety and deal with your stress, whether it stems from home pressures or work-related issues.

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Ways To Reduce Stress

  1. Meditation is a great form of reducing stress because it forces you to forget the world around you and be quiet. You listen to your own breathing and your thoughts. You are able to find peace, even if only for a short time. This 15-minute-a-day activity can improve your health and eliminate your anxiety.
  2. Yoga uses breathing and exercises to help you reduce your stress. In many of the moves, you have to focus on a fixed spot to keep your balance. This focus forces you to remove those work pressures from your mind. As you get more limber, you can try deeper breathing and focusing techniques that improve your ability to let go of stress.
  3. Exercise is important for health and reducing stress. The more movement you create, the healthier your heart is. When the heart is healthy, you have less stress, less anxiety, and more energy to conquer those problems. Exercise also allows you to reduce weight, lower blood pressure, and think clearly.
  4. Prayer can reduce stress and anxiety. The Bible says to give your burdens to God. He will take care of them for you. If you pray, you soon will relax. You might even figure out the answers to your problems.
  5. Singing is not a common therapy for anxiety and stress, but it works. When you sing, you tune into your emotions. If you sing songs you like, you will get rid of the problems that worry you. Breakthrough Performance Workshop teaches people how to use singing to remove stress.
  6. Acupuncture relieves anxiety and stress. According to the Jade Tree Wellness Center, acupuncture uses pressure points to relieve anxiety.
  7. Massage Therapy is another way to reduce stress. Therapeutic massage is designed to heal tension in your muscles. This tension is often caused by stress.

How To Balance Family And Work

Once you have relieved your stress and anxiety, you are better equipped to handle crises at home or in the office. You can listen to the complaints of your children and not think of them as purely criticism. You can think clearly to come up with a solution. At work, you will focus more on problem-solving and what needs to be done. Still, you can do things to keep the two forces from stressing you out.

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  1. Family Fun Days or Nights. Dedicate one night or day a week to your family. Turn off the cellphones or ignore them. Do something fun. Every week, ask a different family member to choose. This makes each member feel important.
  2. Regular Meals. It is so hard today to have everyone at the dinner table and engaged. Even while eating together, so many members are using their phones. Try to make it a rule that no phones are allowed at the table. Get together regularly for food.
  3. Talk. It doesn’t matter what the subject is. Find something to say to your spouse or children. Don’t make the conversation about issues, but about other things, such as movies or other interests. Ask about your kid’s dreams and encourage them.
  4. Family Vacations. They might be costly, but you and your children need them. Plan a vacation somewhere so you can relax. Even if you can’t travel, you can take off a week and do things with your family around your hometown.

Experts agree that reducing stress is essential in balancing your work life with your family life. Take these steps to eliminate the negative forces in your life and replace them with positive influences.

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Featured photo credit: 10 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress at Work via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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