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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 July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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