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Productivity From Blah To Blitz – 5 Ways To Control Stress And Do More

Productivity From Blah To Blitz – 5 Ways To Control Stress And Do More

Your alarm goes off, and you wake up. For a moment, you’re disoriented. Then you remember that it’s a workday. Oh no! You’d give anything to pull the covers over your head again. You hate your job, and your life. You’re beyond stressed: you’re heading into depression, and you know it. Productivity is impossible with low spirits and energy.

There is an alternative to blah mornings. What if you woke up feeling great, and couldn’t wait to blitz through your day? You can’t avoid stress, but you can channel it. Use the adrenaline of stress and transform it from desperation to enthusiasm.

These five strategies will help you to control your stress and become more productive.

1. Control your mind. Focus on your ideal life: make it real.

What if you could have and be anything you chose? What would your ideal life look like?

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Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine a day in your ideal life. It’s morning. You open your eyes. What do you see? Look around you. Get up, and go to the window. What’s outside?

Do this now.

Write down your impressions of your ideal day. Do the same exercise tomorrow. Imagine it, then write it down.

2. Be spontaneous. Trust your intuitive insights.

You’re the result of your ancestors’ intuition. Those puny humans stayed alive despite savage bears and saber-toothed tigers by relying on their instincts. Everyone has a “gut instinct.” Allow your instincts to guide you. Scientists take intuition seriously, and so should you.

Your intuition lives in your body. Neuroscience researchers say that you should pay attention to what your body tells you, then act. Has your “still small voice within” been trying to tell you something? Your intuition can be persistent. It can also occur as a flash of insight.

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Many years ago, before Amazon and the Internet, I spent months looking for a book I needed. The book was long out of print. While visiting a client in another state, I had a strong urge to walk down a street. I was already late, but I obeyed my intuition anyway. At the end of the street, I found a small bookshop. I walked into the store, directly to a shelf in a dark corner—right to the book I wanted.

Do this now.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Direct your attention to an area of your body. Any area which catches your attention will do. Perhaps it’s your belly, your chest, or even one of your arms. Just let your attention rest there for a moment.

This simple exercise helps you to pay more attention to your body. It’s a meditative technique. Use it often. It helps you to become more conscious of what’s happening in your body. You’ll become more aware of intuitive insights.

3. Be grateful.

Gratitude makes you happy. It can even improve your health and lead to better relationships. Most of us have lots to be thankful for. If you’re feeling blah, think of one thing, past or present, for which you can be grateful. Everyone has something. You don’t need to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks. You can do it every day.

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Develop the habit of thankfulness and your life will improve because whatever you focus on becomes stronger.

Do this now.

Think about your blessings for two minutes. Write down three things you’re grateful for.

4. Eat better, exercise, and sleep for at least seven hours.

If you’re eating junk, and never exercise, you can’t feel well because you’re not providing your body and brain with the fuel they need.

Do this now.

Commit to a healthy diet. Eat the things you know are good for you: protein, fruit, and vegetables. Want junk food? You can have your pizza, but eat your salad first.

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When you get home from work, walk around the block. Then, go to bed earlier, so that you get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

You’ll feel the benefits immediately.

5. Accept yourself, just as you are.

If you have a strong inner critic, self-acceptance is impossible. This lack of self-acceptance results in low self-esteem, but you can change this. Metta meditation can help you to greater self-esteem, by developing your qualities of love and compassion, for others, and for yourself.

Do this now.

Think of someone, or something you love. I think of my Jack Russell terrier, Honey. Allow feelings of tenderness and affection to arise. Where are they in your body? You may feel a sensation of expansion and warmth in your chest.

Now direct the feelings of love to yourself, and wish yourself well. Say silently: “May I be happy.”

Give our five strategies a try. Allow your intuition to guide you on how to do this. You may choose a strategy a day, or one a week. Each strategy will help you to eliminate the blahs from your life. Not too many mornings from now you’ll wake each morning overflowing with excitement and enthusiasm. You’ll be happy and will increase your productivity, so that you blitz through your days.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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