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Three Steps to Create Positive Change

Three Steps to Create Positive Change

With the amount of stress we experience on a daily basis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and negative. Here’s how to overcome negative beliefs and create lasting positive change.

1. Change Your Subconscious Programs

This is likely my favourite topic as it is so profound and important in your life yet so many people don’t fully understand it.  Let’s take a step back and review why subconscious programming is relevant to life and health. In the first seven years of your life, you are in what is called a theta or hypnotic state. You are being influenced by your friends, family, school teachers, neighbours, classmates, etc.  Their behaviours, personalities, mannerisms, actions and words are being embedded into your subconscious mind.  These formative years of your life are effectively forming a program about people, the environment and life that you will go on to reference when you become older.  Everything you learn in those seven years is being unconsciously stored and categorized. I will use the analogy of a computer. Think of your subconscious mind as software with all the programs, applications and intelligence. Now think of your body as the computer hardware, which is the physical infrastructure. The hardware is more or less a shell that is only really valuable by the software/programs that are played in it.

It is very important to understand the difference between the subconscious and conscious mind.  They are both very different and independent of one another but there is some common ground in specific situations that you encounter.  Most people believe that they are interchangeable and that one influences the other.  The conscious mind in physical terms is the neural tissue right behind your forehead called the pre-frontal cortex. The conscious mind represents who you are as an individual and entity.  The conscious mind is the creative mind and it contains your wishes, desires, aspirations and every hope and dream you want to pursue.  It is the mind that says, I am going to go out today and find my dream job. It gets your mind all excited and ready to enter the workforce in hopes of finding your desired role. It really creates and describes what you want to do and achieve. A great benefit of the conscious mind is that it can learn in many different ways such as watching a presentation, reading a book, listening to podcasts, going to conventional schools, or coming up with your own creative ideas from brainstorming. The real differentiator is that the conscious mind is creative by nature whereas the subconscious mind is more habitual and relies on the habits you have developed. Try and think of the conscious mind as being used when someone asks you what you are doing for the weekend.  You will invariably pause, think about it and then respond.  You are using the creative side. Now think of the subconscious mind as the mind that is used when you are driving the car.  You are sitting in the car talking to your friend, listening to the radio, daydreaming, etc. yet you still get to your destination somehow. Your subconscious mind is driving your car. It is like you are on autopilot. Your subconscious mind also helps your heartbeat and assists with various other physiological functions.

As described, the subconscious mind learns from the programs or information embedded in the first seven years of your life or by changing your state of mind when you’re older through theta state programming. The subconscious mind captures everything like snapshots of movies and images and the conscious mind is not really alert or aware during your early years. So the first way the subconscious is programmed is from ages 0-7 but also through habit and building new paradigms when you are older.  When there is a stimulus that enters your mind, your conscious mind will absorb it and then your subconscious mind will decide if this new information matches what is stored in your programs. Is there a connection and does it correlate with what you have learned in the past?   Another major difference is the conscious mind changes easily and frequently depending on the stimulus you see and think about during the day, while the subconscious mind is more hardwired into your brain. As mentioned, the subconscious controls your walking, heart rate, and various physiological functions so you don’t want to be changing that. Why would you want to relearn how to ride a bike, walk down the street or relearn how to drive to work every single day? That is why once you learn how to ride a bike at the age of five or six, you never have to learn it again as it is built into your subconscious programs. Here is how you can reprogram your subconscious mind later in life if you don’t like the person you have become or want to overcome an addiction.

Hypnotic behavior happens in “Theta” state. Humans are in this state primarily in the final two hours before you go to bed. You are also in this state 30 minutes after waking up. One final time is just after meditation. These are the best times to do the following, but these can be used throughout the day as well:

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a) Use affirmations like these:

I am a genius and use my mind, talents, gifts and abilities to produce value.

I am living a life of divine purpose and destiny.

I am emotionally, mentally and psychologically sound.

I am focused and driven to create the life I want and deserve.

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b) Focus on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal.

c) Meditation. This stills the mind and your brain becomes more receptive and a fertile ground for whatever you want to implant.

d) Positive Self-Talk. We spend more time talking to ourselves than any other person. Our self-talk dictates our mood, behaviour and decisions.  Your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it.  It cannot differentiate between what is real or fake.

e) Be specific about what you want to change. For example, if you want to be free of addiction and have abundance into your life, then do not say, I don’t want this addiction or problem.  It does no good to say do not, don’t, can’t, or won’t because the subconscious can’t decipher negative connotations. It will interpret your words as I want this addiction and I want to be broke. It is important to consider the difference and how your words and perspective should be cultivated.

f) Find successful people and emulate what you like about them. Mentors are valuable in your development and when you practice their methods you can move forward more productively. This will save you time and effort because they have spent years and decades working through similar problems.

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g) Be humble and open to new ideas that generate a positive response. People gravitate towards humble and caring people. It also shows self-confidence.

2. Develop A Great Morning Routine

As we mentioned earlier, the morning is a great time as the sun is shining and you are still in theta state. You mind is open and ready to receive what you provide it.  Here is a brief review of my routine and then some tips to help you with your day.  My morning routine actually starts the night before as this is where I prepare my mind for the night and the forthcoming morning.  I spend the last 45 minutes before bed in a warm, epsom salt (magnesium based) bath with theta state music as this is where you can change your subconscious programs to what you desire while also preparing your brain for sleep. Once you step out of the bath, your body temperature drops and this increases the production of melatonin, which is your sleep hormone. It is the perfect ending to a long day.

I typically wake up between 5 and 5:30 a.m and read motivational quotes or scripture from the various books I have by my bedside or bathroom as I prepare for the day.  Expressing gratitude and love is imperative to put your mind in the proper state.  You have to be thankful for what you have and what is about to come. This will last for about 15 – 20 minutes and then I get ready for an extensive day as an entrepreneur.  This will take about 20 minutes as well at which time I have breakfast.  Being a functional medicine practitioner, I am aware of how important breakfast and the quality of food you consume is.  I will have a banana and apple with almond butter on them followed with a custom blend tea that has lemon drops and coconut paste in it.  The MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil in coconut paste is excellent for your brain and hormones.  I will then consume some protein in the form of eggs (as I am not sensitive to them) or chicken. As the great quote goes; “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  Taking the time to build in proper routines will create repetition and then positive patterns that form the basis of your programs.

Here are a couple of valuable tips to make your morning more productive and build the systems so you can achieve what you desire:

  • Stimulating the nervous system by having a cold shower or going for a dip in a cold pool for one minute. When the body’s external temperature drops drastically and suddenly in this way, inflammation decreases and the brain experiences a rush of endorphins.  You can change your system by creating a rapid change in temperature.
  • Gratitude and deep breathing. When you slow down and take 10 minutes for yourself, you can tune in and listen for that quiet voice that tells you what your purpose is and how you should be setting up your day.  When you are grateful, you can’t be angry.  They are polar opposites and you can’t be both at the same time.  This time will allow the proper energy to flow into your body and this is a time when you can align your heart’s rhythm with your brain waves.  Having them in sync creates harmony within your body and allows you to align with your wishes and desires.

3. Leverage momentum and celebrate the victories 

What keeps people moving towards their goals and dreams is to break their day down into 15, 30 or 60 minute increments.  I work a great deal with depression and anxiety patients and I tell them to only focus on the next 15 minutes, get through that and then focus on the next 15 minutes. If you look at the day as one monumental task, you will never get through it or even start. I call this “chunking” as you are simply setting a plan and then getting through the required blocks.  Once you accomplish a small task, you start to feel good and then you have momentum on your side.  Momentum is a powerful thing in both directions.  It can help you achieve some incredible feats that you thought were impossible.

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The second point is that most of us don’t take time to celebrate our victories.  We are so busy running through life that we barely stop and enjoy our family or success.  Celebrating your victories makes you feel good and allows you to reflect on what you did well and how you can replicate that again. It also allows you to recharge and energize the body for the next project you wish to pursue.  When you do this, you start building patterns and pathways into your physiology which will then become embedded into your subconscious programs.  Once you have built positive, emotionally driven programs, you will naturally want to resort back to that feeling time and time again. It is a wonderful place to be. To actual make lasting change, you must feel it deep down on the inside of you.

Mike Daciuk

www.mikedaciuk.com

[email protected]

Interactive Body Balance on Itunes

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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