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Before Any Kinds Of Habit Change, Journaling Should Be The First One You Want To Adapt

Before Any Kinds Of Habit Change, Journaling Should Be The First One You Want To Adapt

Do you still remember the “new year goals” you vowed to achieve? By this time a lot of us would have completely forgotten about it.

Every once in awhile we feel like we have to have some kind of habit change. Maybe you think you haven’t been reading enough, or maybe you are determined to have a diet. But when work, school or every other activity that we generalised as “life” comes in, we simply won’t be able to process so many things at the same time, let alone those items are hard enough on its own. Soon enough they will be put into the “postponed” file of our brain till forever.

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Journaling Is key foundation of habit change.

However, there are also some habits out there that might effectively help you in achieving other targets you want to meet. They are called keystone habits. You might think that among the variety of habits they should not have any relations with each other, but these keystone habits act like the first step of a success business. With them, they can aid you in achieving other goals much easier. Journaling is one of the keystone habits, and by practising journaling on a daily basis, you might be able to achieve all those things that you can’t do previously with much less effort.

Here is why:

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Journaling is a self-reinforcing action. It can make sure you are focusing on your goal.

By writing down your targets and goals every day in the journal, it acts as a daily reminder and keeps you on the right track towards the finish line. It let you focus on the big picture and prevent you from being overwhelmed by the stress and pressure from everyday life. The action of writing it down could also subconsciously familiarise yourself with the goals so that it almost become an automatic function in your brain.

By writing down your thoughts and emotions, it can help you to clear your mind.

Researches have found that journaling has multiple health benefits, which includes relieving stress and other negative emotions. By writing your feelings down it can aid you in expressing the anger, sadness or worry, with effect similar to talking to someone about your troubles. With that you can have a calm and tranquil mind to focus on other issues and move forward in life rather than being bothering by depressing emotions.

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Our brains are designed to think, so let your journal do the “admin work”.

For a normal person, it is sad to say that we can’t rely much on our memory. It is inevitable for us to forget parts of the information received throughout the past. However, by writing important events or ideas down in the journal daily, we can have a reference whenever we want to recall a specific point in time without the fear that we would mix it up with another day. Random ideas that pop-up in your head could also be recorded for future use. Furthermore, it is proven neurologically that by writing things down, it can enhance brain development as well as memory. Subconsciously you will be able to retrieve insight through the writing process.

Just like the old-school sayings, it helps record your life.

Other than simply aiding you to remember past events, it at the same time also helps you map out your life path. If you are able to continually write in your journal, eventually when you will have a book that is essentially an analysation of yourself. It will be a great way in reflecting what have you gain and what did you lack of in the previous days. From this, you maybe able to find the things you need to improve on as well as the possible path of your future.

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Put things down and free your mind for more meaningful things.

William Wordsworth once said “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” This is exactly the key of journaling. Writing all your thoughts and feelings into the journal, so that it can act as the lighthouse of your mind, the point to retrieve or to guide you to the place you want to be.

So let’s start recording your day. No matter how good or bad that day was, let your emotions flow with the letters. You will be amazed by how good it was on relieving your stress. Just do it for this simple reason first, as days past, eventually, you will realize the bigger reward that comes along the way.

Featured photo credit: www.theodysseyonline.com via theodysseyonline.com

More by this author

Raphael Ha

Writer. Still waiting his chance to travel the world.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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