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The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control

The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control

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    My wife and I had a wonderful lunch on Saturday, just the two of us, at an outdoor Mexican cafe. The sun was bright but not hot. The wind was a soft, cool breeze. Our lunch was one of the most peaceful and relaxing times I can remember, it was perfect.

    And then out of the blue, a small car comes roaring off the highway and right in front of the restaurant side swipes another driver then slams on the brakes, makes a sharp turn to the right, and drives off even faster.

    A brief, loud, dangerous, completely random moment.

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    It is not the accident itself that has me thinking, it’s the randomness of it. The driver that was hit, where were they going? What were they hoping to achieve that day? How was their life altered by that single random moment? Most importantly, will this knock them off course? Will it change them and alter the direction in which their lives were headed?

    The answer is actually pretty simple: Only if they let it.

    A single car accident may not have a great impact on our lives, but what about a random event at work? You have been working day in and day out on your career, you have a goal, you can see it, and then a random event happens that could through you far off course.

    The truth is that random events happen in our lives everyday. Some are small, others are huge. There is no way to predict or anticipate them. The only control we have is how we react to them. We cannot control events but we can control our reaction. We are in complete control of what comes next, and therein lies one of the greatest freedoms we will ever know.

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    “Why is the human need to be in control relevant to a discussion of random patterns? Because if events are random, we are not in control, and if we are in control of events, they are not random, there is therefore a fundamental clash between our need to feel we are in control and our ability to recognize randomness.” – Leonard Mlodinow

    Mlodinow is right. We cannot control random events, but with hard work and a whole lot of patience we can control our reaction to the randomness of the world we live in. Try these three steps to take back your control:

    1. Slow Everything Down

    slow-down

      Nothing can be gained from reacting quickly and impulsively to an event, whether it is a car accident, a breakup, or burning your toast in the morning. Our first in the moment reaction will usually just make the situation worse. Humans are generally not very rational, at least not at first. Think about what your first reaction would be if someone hit your car or you burnt your morning toast. Two very different events. One large, one small. But our first reaction is what? Anger? Depression? How will either of these two help you?

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      They won’t. Slow everything down, get past the anger and the depression and ask yourself “How can I gain from this?” or at least remind yourself that this is a random event and it will not deter you from your goal.

      2. Remind Yourself of Your Goal

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        When these challenges come you way, and they will, the idea is not to run from them. Do not let them have power over you. Remind yourself of exactly what it is you are looking for in life. Thinking about your goal will help you to recenter your thoughts. Get your thoughts away from the negative emotion of the event and toward the positive action that you can take.

        3. Take Action!

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        action-changes-things

          When life pushes you sometimes the best thing to do…..is to push back!

          After you have taken a pause and let go of any anger or resentment you may have, and after you have reminded yourself of your goal and just what it is you are hoping to achieve, then it becomes time to act.

          In this life we can choose to define our goals. We can choose to be slowed by randomness or to not let it stop us. This choice is a willful action, the greatest power we can claim, and the fuel that successful people use to achieve their dreams. Act! Fight back! Or simply put one foot in front of the other. Choose to keep moving and to keep pushing to achieve more.

          We cannot control what life throws our way. Man has never had that gift. But what we do have is the unique ability to choose our reaction. Once you give yourself this freedom, you will never look back.

          More by this author

          Glenn Killey

          Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

          What Is Your Defining Mental Picture? What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity What An 86 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Procrastination The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control The Law of Reversed Effort

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          Last Updated on October 29, 2018

          What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

          What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

          Brain fog is more of a symptom than a medical condition itself, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Brain fog is a cognitive dysfunction, which can lead to memory problems, lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus.

          Many often excuse brain fog for a bad day, or get so used to it that they ignore it. Unfortunately, when brain fog is ignored it ends up interfering with work and school. The reason many ignore it is because they aren’t fully aware of what causes it and how to deal with it.

          It’s important to remember that if your brain doesn’t function fully — nothing else in your life will. Most people have days where they can’t seem to concentrate or forget where they put their keys.

          It’s very normal to have days where you can’t think clearly, but if you’re experiencing these things on a daily basis, then you’re probably dealing with brain fog for a specific reason.

          So what causes brain fog? It can be caused by a string of things, so we’ve made a list things that causes brain fog and how to prevent it and how to stop it.

          1. Stress

          It’s no surprise that we’ll find stress at the top of the list. Most people are aware of the dangers of stress. It can increase blood pressure, trigger depression and make us sick as it weakens our immune system.

          Another symptom is mental fatigue. When you’re stressed your brain can’t function at its best. It gets harder to think and focus, which makes you stress even more.

          Stress can be prevented by following some simple steps. If you’re feeling stressed you should avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine — even though it may feel like it helps in the moment. Two other important steps are to indulge in more physical activities and to talk to someone about it.

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          Besides that, you can consider keeping a stress diary, try relaxation techniques like mediation, getting more sleep and maybe a new approach to time management.

          2. Diet

          Most people know that the right or wrong diet can make them gain or loss weight, but not enough people think about the big impact a specific diet can have on one’s health even if it might be healthy.

          One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is vitamin B12 deficiency and especially vegans can be get hid by brain fog, because their diet often lacks the vitamin B-12. The vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental and neurological disorders.

          The scary thing is that almost 40 % of adults are estimated to lack B12 in their diet. B12 is found in animal products, which is why many vegans are in B12 deficiency, but this doesn’t mean that people need animal products to prevent the B12 deficiency. B12 can be taken as a supplement, which will make the problem go away.

          Another vital vitamin that can cause brain fog is vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have enough vitamin D in their diet. Alongside B12 and vitamin D is omega-3, which because of its fatty acids helps the brain function and concentrate. Luckily, both vitamin D and omega-3 can be taken as supplements.

          Then there’s of course also the obvious unhealthy foods like sugar. Refined carbohydrates like sugar will send your blood sugar levels up, and then send you right back down. This will lead to brain fog, because your brain uses glucose as its main source of fuel and once you start playing around with your brain — it gets confused.

          Besides being hit by brain fog, you’ll also experience tiredness, mood swings and mental confusion. So, if you want to have clear mind, then stay away from sugar.

          Sometimes the same type of diet can be right for some and wrong for others. If you’re experiencing brain fog it’s a good idea to seek out your doctor or a nutritionist. They can take some tests and help you figure out which type of diet works best for your health, or find out if you’re lacking something specific in your diet.

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          3. Allergies

          If you have food allergies, or are simply a bit sensitive to specific foods, then eating those foods can lead to brain fog. Look out for dairy, peanuts and aspartame that are known to have a bad effect on the brain.

          Most people get their calories from corn, soy and wheat — and big surprise — these foods are some of the most common foods people are allergic to. If you’re in doubt, then you can look up food allergies[1] and find some of the most common symptoms.

          If you’re unsure about being allergic or sensitive, then you can start out by cutting out a specific food from your diet for a week or two. If the brain fog disappears, then you’re most likely allergic or sensitive to this food. The symptoms will usually go away after a week or two once you remove the trigger food from the diet.

          If you still unsure, then you should seek out the help of your doctor.

          4. Lack of sleep

          All of us know we need sleep to function, but it’s different for everybody how much sleep they need. A few people can actually function on as little as 3-4 hours of sleep every night, but these people are very, very rare.

          Most people need 8 to 9 hours of sleep. If you don’t get the sleep you need, then this will interfere with your brain and you may experience brain fog.

          Instead of skipping a few hours of sleep to get ahead of things you need to do, you’ll end up taking away productive hours from your day, because you won’t be able to concentrate and your thoughts will be cloudy.

          Many people have trouble sleeping but you can help improve your sleep by a following a few simple steps.

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          There is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, which is a technique that regulates your breath and helps you fall asleep faster. Another well-known technique is to avoid bright lights before you go to sleep.

          A lot of us are guilty of falling asleep with the TV on or with our phone right by us, but the blue lights from these screens suppresses the production of melatonin in our bodies, which actually makes us stay awake longer instead. If you’re having trouble going to sleep without doing something before you close your eyes, then try taking up reading instead.

          If you want to feel more energized throughout the day, start doing this.

          5. Hormonal changes

          Brain fog can be triggered by hormonal changes. Whenever your levels of progesterone and estrogen increases, you may experience short-term cognitive impairment and your memory can get bad.

          If you’re pregnant or going through menopause, then you shouldn’t worry too much if your mind suddenly starts to get a bit cloudy. Focus on keeping a good diet, getting enough of sleep and the brain fog should pass once you’re back to normal.

          6. Medication

          If you’re on some medication, then it’s very normal to start experiencing some brain fog.

          You may start to forget things that you used to be able to remember, or you get easily confused. Maybe you can’t concentrate the same way that you used to. All of these things can be very scary, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

          Brain fog is a very normal side effect of drugs, but by lowering your dosage or switching over to another drug; the side effect can’t often be improved and maybe even completely removed.

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          7. Medical condition

          Brain fog can often be a symptom of a medical condition. Medical conditions that include inflammation, fatigue, changes in blood glucose level are known to cause brain fog.

          Conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothyroidism, Sjögren syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus and dehydration can all cause brain fog.[2]

          The bottom line

          If you haven’t been diagnosed, then never start browsing around Google for the conditions and the symptoms. Once you start looking for it; it’s very easy to (wrongfully) self-diagnose.

          Take a step back, put away the laptop and relax. If you’re worried about being sick, then always check in with your doctor and take it from there.

          Remember, the list of things that can cause brain fog is long and it can be something as simple as the wrong diet or not enough sleep.

          Featured photo credit: Asdrubal luna via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Food Allergy: Common Allergens
          [2]HealthLine: 6 Possible Causes of Brain Fog

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