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Things You Do In The Morning That May Be Ruining Your Life

Things You Do In The Morning That May Be Ruining Your Life

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    Don’t go for that morning cup of Joe

    Serious caffeine addicts lumber out of bed and weave their way straight to the bitter bean. This behavior plays havoc with your cortisol levels claims Steven L. Miller, Ph.D; a post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth. Miller relates this theory to the circadian rhythm of cortisol production that says your morning cortisol level peaks between 8am and 9am. Since cortisol is directly related to alertness, holding out for that first cup at 9am may be advantageous.

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      Don’t get up late

      In his Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Early Bird Really Does Get The Worm”, Biologist Christoph Randler stated that “People whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

      Getting up earlier may well help you achieve better life balance as well.  It’s hard to make time for yourself when the world is demanding things from you.  Mornings can be a time of mental clarity with minimal stress that is conducive for creative work, as well as a time for you that is essential to your mental health.

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        Don’t hit the snooze button

        The snooze button was created in the 1950s but technology has long since disrupted the old-school world of alarm clocks.  It’s now commonplace for people to use their cell phone as their primary alarm.

        The concept of the snooze button is controversial.  Dr. Robert S Rosenberg was quoted in an interview with CNN as saying “When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself.  First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality. Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.”

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        There is little doubt that the snooze button disrupts your circadian cycle and makes it harder for you to feel awake in the day. Following these instructions from sleepjunkies.com can help you break this disruptive habit.

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          Don’t leave without a real breakfast

          There are endless theories on breakfast. Should I drink a whey shake, a high protein smoothy, or eat only whole grains?  The short answer is that it doesn’t matter all that much.  Just eat something.

          According to the American Heart Association men who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease compared with men who do not.  An article in the International Journal of Food and Nutrition extended upon these thoughts with the finding that individuals who consumed a cereal breakfast each day were less depressed, less emotionally distressed and had lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not eat breakfast each day.

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          Buckle up and eat your cereal.

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            Don’t jump straight on the cell

            Roughly one third of us wake up thinking about our cell phones. They are, after all, one of our major sources of communication with our family, work, and friends.

            The new normal is to reach for your phone the minute you climb out of bed. Flipping through your messages, Facebook, and calendar may appear to reduce your stress, but the reality is you are interrupting one of the most important times of the day for relaxation.

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            The race for the phone is driven by addictive behaviors that come from tapping a small screen and gaining an immediate response.  The iPhone presents a conditional stimulus that is not at all unlike the one given by Pavlov to his famous dogs.

            Try putting the cell down until after your breakfast and allow your morning to be a time of mental preparation for the day.  After all, most messages can wait.

            Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.imgix.net

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            Colin Rhodes

            Chief Technology Officer

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            Last Updated on December 9, 2019

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

            The result: no more mental stress.

            2. Unplug

            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

            3. Easy on the Caffeine

            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

            The result: mental stress will be gone!

            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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