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    You're reading Move Beyond Mindfulness: Why Awareness is More Powerful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    If
    you’ve been to the personal growth section of your local bookstore lately, it’s
    likely you’ve seen books written on the topic of mindfulness. It’s become a bit
    of a buzz word. The concept of mindfulness has to do with being focused, paying
    attention, considering your environment and the people in it when making
    choices for you and your life. Sounds good, right? What’s wrong with thinking
    about things and people other than yourself? While there is nothing wrong with
    mindfulness, it is not without flaws and limitation.

    Mindfulness
    requires the individual to work hard continuously. It requires a constant state
    of being alert, observing everyone and everything, because the moment you stop
    paying attention is the moment things get missed. You practice mindfulness so
    you don’t miss things but the moment you lose focus you miss things so then you
    try harder not to miss things which only makes you miss things even more.
    Exhausted yet?

    If you have been practicing
    mindfulness, you may know how much work it is to keep the level of focus that
    is required. If you would like something easier, something greater, I invite
    you to look at awareness.

    Awareness is something you are
    born with. It is the ability to perceive and know all things. It’s the ability
    to be totally present with who and what is right in front of you while still
    maintaining awareness of the environment around you. Awareness doesn’t require
    you to focus only on one thing. It’s doesn’t force you to work hard to pay
    attention. Awareness invites it all, includes it all, welcomes it all without
    judging or cutting off anything.

    Here are my top three tips to go beyond mindfulness and function from the gift of your awareness.

    Be willing to see what is

    When
    we are born into the world, most of us are taught to judge. We learn what is
    “good” and what is “bad.” We are told to do what is right and avoid what is
    wrong. When you have a judgment of anything, your brain only allows information
    that matches that judgment to enter.

    Mindfulness often comes from the place of only looking to see what’s good and right with others and in the world. The problem with this, is that even though it’s positive, it’s still judgment. If there is a poisonous snake in front of you and you have decided you must only see good, then you will not see the danger that is present.

    To move beyond mindfulness and into awareness, you can use a tool called “Interesting point of view.” Every time you notice that you have a judgment, whether positive or negative, say to yourself, “Interesting point of view I have that point of view.” Keep saying it until things lighten up. What occurs when you say these words is that every judgment you have becomes simply interesting rather than real and true.

    Be aware of what your choices create

    Mindfulness
    operates from the assumption that there are right choices and wrong choices. From
    the place of mindfulness, you observe, judge what is best and then choose.

    Awareness has no judgment. Awareness includes everything and judges nothing. When you function from awareness you ask, “What would I like to choose?” And, “If I choose this what will it create?” Awareness is about empowering you to choose and then to notice what your choice created and then choose again.

    When you don’t have to be right, you get to be free

    Look
    back for a moment, at times in your life where you knew if you made a
    particular choice it was going to turn out badly, but you chose it anyway. That
    knowing was your awareness. Often times, what occurs, is we have an awareness
    and then we go to our brain, to our cognitive mind, to try and sort it out.
    This is where we give up our awareness in an attempt to get it right.

    When
    you start to look at the places in your life where you chose to try and figure
    things out rather than going with that instantaneous knowing, then you start to
    reconnect with your awareness.

    As you
    look at these places, it’s not about making you wrong. It’s about acknowledging
    what the choice to cut off your awareness created so that you can choose
    different as you move forward.

    Awareness is the greatest gift
    you have and, rather than hard work and striving, awareness comes with ease.
    Choose awareness and discover the joyfulness of life and living.

    Gary Douglas is an
    internationally-recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business
    innovator and founder of 
    Access Consciousness®, a set of simple-yet-profound tools currently
    transforming lives in 173 countries. He has authored and co-authored numerous
    books, including the Barnes and Noble #1 bestselling novel, The Place. An
    avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary is a vocal advocate of
    Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership. He has been featured on TV
    shows, and in print media and online publications around the world. He is
    renowned for his unique insights on love, relationships, money, business,
    aging, leadership and emotional freedom. Follow 
    Gary.

    You've read Move Beyond Mindfulness: Why Awareness is More Powerful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading 5 Surprising Things Productive People Give Up, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    Productive arrow pointing up.

    Being productive is not just about taking up a set of new traits and habits although that is important. It is equally about reflecting on your current habits. You will see whether there is anything holding you back from being more productive. Let’s jump into five surprising traits that productive people give up that help them be more productive.

    1) Comfort zone

    When I worked at Google many years ago, I was fascinated by the comfort that surrounded me. I had just moved back from Northern Uganda in East Africa where everything was anything but comfortable. There was one instance where the power went out for many hours. I had to start working on a notepad as my computer’s power died.

    I eventually moved from Northern Africa to the Google Mecca in Mountain View. Often it felt like I was getting paid to go to college and the food was catered. It was fun, but it was also too comfortable. When you’re used to comfort it can create a higher threshold to cross in order to push yourself to learn new things and find/solve problems. Personally, I felt that I had become less productive during that time.

    Productive people see the world as a means to learn and grow. If you’re a lifetime learner, you will realize that staying in a comfort zone means that you may not be growing and learning. Your comfort zone is not always your friend. Get out and explore and learn as quickly as possible.

    2)   Independence

    I am a very confident person. Looking back, I believe it’s this confidence that has allowed to me fail so often and yet also persevere. Confidence can lead to a temptation to be independent. Unfortunately, independence can be an enemy to productivity. I realized years ago that I could do much more through collaboration and teamwork than through trying to do everything on my own.

    This results in delegating and moving together towards a common goal. I see the benefit of giving up independence in all areas of my life whether it’s leading Ascend, in my marriage, and even with my wife as we parent our two young daughters.

    3) Inconsistency

    After graduating from college I found that my life was full of inconsistency. I remember screening my phone calls to make sure that I was only speaking to some people. I would schedule times to speak with friends and bail out last minute. My brother-in-law was kind enough to point out this inconsistency, and I was finally ready to make a change.

    If you say something, you should do it. Why is inconsistency something that you give up? Well, life is built on relationships and your productivity is only as strong as the people you have surrounded yourself with. Inconsistency in your life sometimes shows unreliability, which is detrimental to productivity in any organization or relationship.

    4) Fear of failure

    Everyone fails. I like how the author of PickTheBrain’s article on 4 Ways to Eliminate the Fear of Failure, states, “Accepting failure is a part of the “process”. Failing is part of the process and having the humility to understand that can be an essential part of your success.

    In the first year of co-founding and leading Ascend, I probably failed a hundred times. I would be confident to build something, spend a great deal of engineering resources to build it, and ultimately realize that what I built was a dud.

    Thankfully my surrounding team was gracious with me to allow me to continue to dream up new ways to serve our customers. As a productive person, you need to allow margin in your life to take smart risks and fail. Be gracious to yourself for your failures and express your failures to others. You will be productive because you will allow yourself to try new things. You will also become closer with your co-workers or friends because you create a safe place for them to share their failures as well.

    5) Being reactive

    I actually only learned that I was reactive a few years ago. A manager had asked over and over again that I provide insights to the areas I was working on instead of them asking about everything I was working on. I thought I was proactive. It wasn’t until something clicked in my brain that I wasn’t proactive that I started to see gains to be more productive

    Why is giving up being reactive important to increase productivity? Reactive people let life happen to them and often do not plan ahead or try to find problems before they happen. In the workplace, I would wait until work was provided to me instead of proactively finding what was broken and fixing it. I started excelling much more in my job when I proactively found problems and solved them. I also enjoyed my work much more because I was solving the problems that I found instead of problems that were given to me.


    Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as Chapter 7, Chapter 13collections and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.

    You've read 5 Surprising Things Productive People Give Up, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading How to Talk to Someone with Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    Depression
    is something that has always been around and most people will experience it at
    some point in their lives, often without even realising it. If you are lucky
    enough to have never experienced it then it’s can be difficult to understand
    how it feels.

    Much
    more than just having a bad day, or going through a ‘rough patch’, depression
    is very serious and can have far-reaching consequences if left unchecked.
    Depression is a common mood disorder that can affect everything from social
    interactions and family life to the workplace.

    There
    are ways of speaking to those suffering from depression that avoid belittling
    them or making them feel worse, as there is still an unacceptable stigma
    associated with the disorder. Equally, there are ways of speaking that should
    be avoided. In their guide
    to depression
    ,
    Psychology Tools explain that some of the most unhelpful things to say are
    things like “come on, it’s not that bad” or telling someone they need to “get
    over it”.

    As well as being disrespectful, this approach can only serve to
    reinforce the negative thoughts they are already having about themselves and
    their situation. This is why understanding is important when speaking to
    somebody suffering from depression.

    How Should We Talk To Someone With Depression?

    It
    is important to let the person know that you are there
    for them
    ,
    and want to help them. It’s tempting to want to try and console them but this should
    be avoided, despite your positive intentions this is actually dismissive of how
    they feel and can make them feel worse.

    Equally important is to let them know how unique they are and how special they are to you. This kind of thing is much more meaningful and beneficial than saying something like “this happens to everybody at some point”. Again, this is dismissive and unhelpful.

    As
    powerful as positive words can be, sometimes a hug can be just as important.
    Depending on your relationship with them, simply grabbing them may not be
    entirely appropriate, but there’s certainly no harm in asking. Offering a hug
    is another way to show you understand how they are feeling and care about them,
    which can help reduce their feelings of negativity or low self-worth.

    It
    can also be beneficial to remind them that depression is a mood and may pass.
    It might be difficult or even impossible for them to remember a time when they
    didn’t feel depressed, so reminding them that it will pass, even if it means
    with help, can give them a much-needed boost.

    Helpful
    suggestions are welcome also. Offering to go on a walk or helping them make a
    list of the things they want to achieve that day. These small suggestions can
    help a person feel as though they’re not alone and reminds them that they don’t
    have to face depression by themselves.

    Whichever approach you take, remember that empathy is welcome, pity is
    not. Depression can be life-altering and should always be treated with care and
    understanding, try to imagine what it must feel like to have your feelings
    dismissed and try to avoid doing the same.

    You've read How to Talk to Someone with Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading The Impact of the Media’s Glamorization of Drug Abuse on Mental Health, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    mental health portrayed in the media

    We often hear about celebrities with addictions from various news outlets.

    Addiction and mental health issues can affect anyone. In fact, about 19% of all U.S. adults have dealt or are currently dealing with a mental illness, according to a national survey held by SAMHSA in 2017.

    The Role of Media in Drug Abuse

    It has been shown that the media contributes to the stigma
    of mental illness through poor language choice, shocking or comical images and exaggerated
    and inaccurate portrayals.

    Dozens of research studies conclude that the type of news
    coverage presented affects the likelihood of drug abuse and suicide in
    vulnerable individuals.

    The media disservices the public when mental health issues are presented dramatically. Untreated drug and alcohol abuse, mental health disorders and death are public health issues.

    Is the Media Glamorizing Mental Illness?

    One professional study
    found that young people have over 250 labels used to stigmatize people with
    mental illness. The media propagating these labels sensationalizes and
    glamorizes the pain families go through when a loved one dies from mental
    illness. Some journalists even degrade victims of suicide with language like
    “crazed” or “disturbed”.

    The personal stories of celebrity overdoses and the promotion of anorexia, among other things, are glamorized on social media with widespread images and hashtags. Romanticizing stories of overdose and self-harm is influential.

    What Are the Repercussions of Sensationalized Reporting?

    When a repetitious story describes the method of suicide in
    explicit terms, the risk for individual suicide increases.

    This sensationalized dispersion of information, though
    skewed, has many believing people with mental illness are violent.

    Actually, people struggling to deal with mental issues are statistically less
    likely to commit violent acts than people without mental illness. In fact, many
    people suffer mentally because of the
    violence and abuse they have suffered at the hands of someone else.

    Roadblocks to Recovery

    It can be hard to get treated for mental health and
    addiction issues for a number of reasons, like:

    • Cost
    • Availability or access to quality services
    • Not knowing where to start
    • The illness itself preventing the energy or
      motivation necessary to seek treatment

    But perhaps the most stifling reason people don’t get medical treatment is the pervasive stigma around mental health.

    Do Health Stigmas Still Exist Today?

    Some of us would cringe at hearing, “Oh my! They are in a
    mental hospital? How awful!” or, “Wow, they were in a facility. They must be
    nuts.” Yet these archaic ideas still exist among those unfamiliar with mental
    health conditions.

    When a person breaks their leg or develops cancer, people
    don’t judge them because they have a health condition. However, when someone deals
    with a mental health condition, that person does not receive the same sympathy.

    Depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse are diseases affecting the brain.

    Unfortunately, people with mental health difficulties are
    still among the most stigmatized demographic.

    What People Fear

    Sadly, only about half of people suffering
    from mental health conditions will ever get treatment.

    People worry about:

    • Losing employment
    • Losing relationships
    • Being ostracized
    • Losing custody of a child
    • Difficulty obtaining future employment

    And these fears are not entirely unwarranted. Admitting to a history of mental illness can potentially impact these things in America.

    How Stigma Impacts Addiction Treatment

    Unfortunately, those with mental health issues internalize
    what is preached in popular society and develop self-stigma. These toxic
    beliefs discourage them from seeking treatment.

    People often feel disgraced about seeking treatment because
    of the negative associations. Songs about drugs rarely encourage addiction
    treatment and can put one at risk.

    Additionally, those struggling with drug and alcohol
    problems often feel downtrodden because of their illness and are embarrassed to
    seek treatment.

    How Can You Help?

    These things are improved by diligent and accurate media
    reporting:

    • Myths and misperceptions are dispelled
    • The public becomes more knowledgeable and
      supportive regarding mental health concerns
    • People at risk are more apt to get help

    However, there are ways we can make a positive impact on
    mental health awareness.

    Complain to News Outlets

    News outlets being careful about how they report on suicide
    can change things. When you hear comments about mental health that are
    inappropriate, you can contact those responsible, whether a news source or
    social media.

    Help Someone You Know

    As people become more educated on mental illness and become more
    accepting, healing can take place.

    If you know someone that is dealing with substance abuse, you can help them seek drug and alcohol treatment. Dispelling stigmas one person at a time, you can encourage families and individuals to take the steps necessary to get well.

    There are a number of other ways you can help reduce mental health stigma, and every effort truly helps make a difference – no matter how small.

    Breaking the Chains

    There are many instances of people, including celebrities,
    that have overcome their addictions and mental health problems, including
    suicidal crises.

    Mental health conditions are treatable. You don’t have to
    suffer alone. Things do get better for those who get the right help.

    If you or someone you care about is going through suicidal
    struggles, you can go to the ER and call the National Suicide Prevention
    Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also have an option to chat online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

    You've read The Impact of the Media’s Glamorization of Drug Abuse on Mental Health, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading 10 Simple Concentration Exercises You Should Try, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    Nowadays it is tough to keep our minds still even for one single minute. And there are always halves of ideas and unfinished projects around every one of us.

    If you came here wondering how to escape today’s numerous distractions, then you’re in the right place. Here are 10 simple exercises to strengthen your attention.

    1. Count Backward

    Counting is a great way to increase your focus. Start by finding a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed by day to day activities and worries.

    Once you have found a comfortable place, start counting backward. If you are new to concentration exercises, start by counting down from 100 to 1. In time, you can increase the count to 500 or 1000 and even include variations by skipping numbers.

    2. Counting Words

    For this exercise, you will need to get a book or a magazine. Start by counting the words in a paragraph, then, if you feel like doing more, on a page, several pages, or even an entire chapter.

    Remember not to point your finger at each word. Use your eyes only!

    3. Analyze Interesting Objects

    While focusing your senses on one object at a time might seem like a small deed, it will help your attention efforts long-term.  

    Choose any article that captures your curiosity and analyse it thoroughly. It can be anything: a fruit, your wallet, a pencil box.

    Notice its colour, texture, shape, maybe even the smell. While doing this, don’t let any other thoughts in. Focus only on the object at hand.

    4. Water Fascination

    This particular exercise aims to help you control involuntary muscle movements.

    After you have filled a glass full of water, grasp it by the fingers and stretch your arms in front of you. Now, fix your eyes on the glass. At the same time, try to stop any uncontrolled movements of your arm. It is not as easy as it seems.

    5. Candle Gazing

    From the legend of Prometheus to the actual cavemen, and up until today, there’s just something about fire that has always fascinated people. Flames capture attention and help focus one’s thoughts.

    What to do? Simple. Take some time one evening to sit in a quiet room and light a candle. Next, take a comfortable seat nearby and focus on nothing else but the flickering light. Try to engage your attention this way for about 5 minutes.

    6. Use Cannabidiol

    When you hear of cannabidiol, your thoughts might wander off to marijuana. However, there are some major differences.

    Marijuana contains two main substances. One of them is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a psychoactive compound and the other one is CBD or cannabidiol, which on the other hand, has no psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD has many positive properties on the body. One of them is enhancing one’s ability to focus.

    How? Maybe you’ve heard of Lexapro or Zoloft, which are synthetic substances used to fight depression. CBD works in a similar manner and increases the serotonin flow inside your brain. Therefore, you are less anxious and more focused.

    If you are curious about trying it, head over to Palm Organix and check out their CBD products.

    7. Sit Still

    You might long for a comfortable chair at the end of a tiresome day. But have you ever noticed how difficult it is to actually keep still in it?

    To complete this exercise, you will need to stand still for at least 5 minutes. Of course, if you can do it for 10, or even 15 minutes, that’s even better.

    This might sound simple, however; controlling your involuntary muscle movements is not an easy task. Just remember to choose a comfortable position.

    8. Use Your Reflection

    Making eye contact with another person is one of the most rewarding shapes concentration can take. It gives us a sense of confidence and strength, but also calmness.

    While keeping eye contact for too long with an actual person is not really possible, you can practice this by using your own reflection. Start by finding a mirror and making two marks on its surface. These marks will be drawn at the same level as your eyes.

    Imagine these marks as a pair of human eyes that are looking deeply into yours. Focus on keeping your head still and take deep breaths. Slowly, you will feel all your inner timidity be replaced by calm and strength.

    Do this for about 3 minutes each day.

    9.  Think Without Words

    If you take just one moment to analyse your own cognition, you will realize that, although unspoken, most of your thoughts take the shape of words.

    This simple concentration exercise revolves around letting go of inner verbalization. To get started, take a small item in your hand, like for example a fork or a decorative object. Then, for about 5 minutes, analyse it from all sides, but without using words in your mind. Just observe it as blankly as possible.

    10. Add ‘Brain Foods’ To Your Diet

    There are several types of foods that enhance your ability to concentrate. They also work by relaxing your mind and relieving stress.

    Try to add the following brain foods to your diet:

    • Green Tea - intake of caffeine and theanine;
    • Blueberries - intake of natural antioxidants;
    • Leafy Greens - intake of carotenoids and vitamin B;
    • Fatty fish (salmon, cod) - intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.

    Of course, eating blueberries once will not increase your ability to focus. But if you aim for long-term improvement, then you need to start taking small steps.

    Final Thoughts

    It is the age of overwhelming stimuli and distractions and regrettably, our attention span decreased to only 8 seconds.

    It is tough to advance in between everything that transpires around us, but it’s never too late to learn how to focus on what’s truly essential.

    You've read 10 Simple Concentration Exercises You Should Try, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading 5 Surprising Things Stress Can Do to Your Body, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    You just
    got off a terrible meeting, your boss gave you an impossible deadline for the
    next project, your team is pushing you to make extra hours, and you still need
    to pick up the kids at school. Your body is in a “fight or flight response.”
    Your stress levels are high, you feel your breath get quicker and even feel
    your heart beating faster than usual. Although this is all a natural response
    from your brain, if you submit yourself to this kind of situation too often,
    chances are your health will be at risk.

    Unfortunately,
    stress is a common issue in current society. According to a study, at least 25%
    of Americans claim they are dealing with high-stress symptoms, and 50% say to suffer from
    moderated stress levels. The causes for stress may vary, but 46% say it is
    caused by an excessive workload.

    Are you stressed?

    A small
    level of stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can help you deal with
    different situations, such as having extra attention during an event planning,
    enhancing your focus for a new job or motivate you to improve your performance.
    However, too much stress can affect your health, both mental and physical.

    Some
    persistent stress symptoms might include:

    •    You might get easily agitated, frustrated
    or have mood swings

    •    Feel overwhelmed, have difficulty in
    relaxing

    •    Depression, low self-esteem, irritability

    •    Constant worrying, racing thoughts

    •    Inability to focus, poor judgment

    •    Insomnia

    What stress can do to your
    body

    The
    hypothalamus is a tiny but powerful controller in your brain. It is this
    controller that “says” to your brain to release stress hormones into your
    system, which triggers your body to an emergency state. It will affect all your
    systems.

    Obesity and eating
    disorders

    Hunger
    might be increased during tough times, mostly caused by a hormone called
    cortisol, which is released during stressful periods. When you ingest food, it
    is like having an instant reward. Especially if you go with carbs and sugar.
    These two types of food tell your brain to release a chemical called serotonin,
    responsible for promoting instant better mood and energy. The problem is, this
    won’t solve your stress and might even make you feel guilty for overeating.

    Another
    side effect is just not eating at all. Some gastrointestinal problems might
    keep you away from food, and in some cases, can even trigger severe eating
    disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. These both disorders tend to be a
    coping system, as a way to get back control of life.

    If you are
    suffering from one of these problems, specialists recommend trying a few
    healthy ways to handle. One of them is keeping a food diary. You can write down
    how much you have been eating daily and what might have triggered your urge to
    eat, or not eat. You can also add exercises in your routine, meditation and try
    out some comfort food recipes.

    Skin and hair problems

    Your skin
    and hair reflect how healthy you are. High levels of stress might make your
    skin more sensitive and reactive. It could also affect its ability to
    regenerate and heal. Skin problems might be aggravated, such as psoriasis,
    eczema, and herpes. Hair loss is also associated with stress. Trichotillomania and Alopecia Areata are some of the most related
    problems.

    Some
    possible ways to cope with this problem is t: practice some relaxation
    techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga, eat a healthy diet, treat your
    skin and hair with care and try to keep away from negative people. Your
    environment and people around can add up a lot to your stress levels.

    Gastrointestinal problems

    The
    gut-brain connection is something to take seriously. It can link anxiety to
    stomach and vice versa. Heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and constipation
    might be a few of the short-term digestive problems caused by stress. In the
    long term, stress might exacerbate existing conditions such as irritable bowel
    syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, indigestion, and constant nausea.

    This is one
    of the most challenging problems to handle, mainly because it might provoke
    pain and discomfort. Try to understand what makes you stressed during the day
    and try to find a solution for that. You can also talk to people about your
    concerns, suffer in silence might add up to your pain. Remember to eat well and
    take breaks during your day. Don’t be afraid to make changes. It is your health
    at stake.

    Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

    Stress can
    lead to excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding at night. This can lead to
    aching pain and complications that are even more serious, which might also
    raise your stress level. Bruxism can cause teeth sensitivity, jaw pain,
    headaches, and tooth erosion.

    Besides
    working on your mental health state, to reduce stress levels, you can also use
    a night mouth guard. Mouth guards can be customized to fit your mouth for better comfort, protecting your
    teeth from damages. It also relaxes muscles and redistributes occlusal forces.

    Heart and Lungs problems

    Stress
    hormones might affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems too. The
    distribution of oxygen-rich blood can be jeopardized, maximizing issues such as
    asthma and emphysema. Your heart also might have to work double to pump enough
    blood through your body, raising the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

    If you are
    constantly feeling tired and out of breath, don’t put yourself at risk and ask
    for professional help. Therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists are the
    professionals that can help you find the right path to cope with stress.
    Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone outside your environment, who will
    be able to give you serious advice. Stress-related problems can escalate
    quickly and evolve to severe mental health issues such as depression and panic
    attacks.

    You've read 5 Surprising Things Stress Can Do to Your Body, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading 6 Productivity Hacks for Freelancers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    All freelancers struggle with productivity ups and downs. It’s not so simple to work from home. There’s no one there to push you to work, and there are even more distractions than in a busy open-space office.

    Luckily, there are some amazing productivity hacks you can try to maximize efficiency and productivity on a daily basis.

    1. Create a Routine

    Routines are great. They keep you on the right track at all times, and your mind and body work almost subconsciously through that routine.

    Wake up at the same time every day, and start working at the same time. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be “programmed” to start working at a certain time. The same goes for your breaks. Schedule your lunch each day at 2, or any other time that suits you, and stick to this schedule.

    Familiarity makes it easier for the brain to stay clear of the distractions.The more routines you have, the easier it’ll get to stay focused.

    2. Track Your Work

    Start using a computer monitoring software while you’re working, to track how much time you spent on which task and establish your productivity patterns.

    Once you’ve run the software for a few weeks, you’ll have a great insight into which tasks take up more of your time. Consequently, you’ll be able to organize your workload more precisely.

    You’ll also manage to determine which apps and websites are making you less productive. This way, you can cut down the time you’re spending using these tools.

    Another great thing is that you’ll be able to charge your clients more effectively, as you’ll always have screenshots and exact data as proof of work.

    3. Make Lists

    To-do lists help you get a sense of structure, as well as plan out your daily/weekly/monthly workload. Before you’re done working for the day, create a to-do list for tomorrow.

    When you start working, scratch or erase the things you’ve finished. This will give you a sense of accomplishment, and push you to finish even more tasks.

    Furthermore, by writing tasks down you’ll be sure you haven’t missed anything you were supposed to do.

    You can either use online tools, or good old pen and paper for this - whatever suits you best. The most important thing is that they are organized by days, weeks, or months, so you can always be aware of your deadlines.

    4. Take Care of the Hard Tasks

    Hard and unpleasant tasks cause everyone to procrastinate until the last moment. If there’s an uncomfortable call you have to make, or there is a complicated project on your plate - deal with them as soon as possible.

    Otherwise, you’ll keep thinking about how hard or unpleasant it’ll be, and you’ll just keep losing focus. Take a moment to breathe, understand what is making this task so tough and deal with it.

    5. Treat Yourself

    A good approach to stay clear of social media and texting while you’re working is to reward yourself. Each time you finish a task, treat yourself with 5-10 minutes of activities that are not work-related.

    Before you start working again, turn off all notifications, and turn on website blockers.

    Also, you can reward yourself after a productive day. If you managed to finish a project before the deadline, take the night off and go out with your friends. Order pizza instead of cooking. BUT ONLY if you really deserved to be treated.

    Once you “train” your brain with rewards, you’ll become more productive because you’ll want more treats. It’s that simple.

    6. Head to the Co-Working Space

    Every city is filled with them nowadays, and if you’re one of those people who start working better as soon as someone else is productive this will be heaven.

    Co-working spaces are filled with freelancers who are just like you. Besides motivation, these can bring you great new friendships, or even new clients.

    In Conclusion

    It can be hard to stay motivated and on top of your game while you’re working from home. Yet, it’s far from impossible! Yes, the above hacks are easy, but their are extremely effective.

    It will take some time to develop each of these into a proper habit, however, once you manage to do that you’ll be set for any project that comes your way.

    You've read 6 Productivity Hacks for Freelancers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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  • 06/20/19--21:51: Should you Graze?
  • You're reading Should you Graze?, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    Grazed and confused
    Grazing is picking at food little by little so that you're continually eating as opposed to eating only at mealtimes. Have you grazed and been confused for so long it's not true? Alright, I admit it, it may be punny but it's not very funny. The point I'm trying to make is that grazing on food can be confusing and here's why.

    50 shades of graze
    When you graze, there are many questions you can ask yourself. For instance, are you eating because you're actually hungry? Or because it's expected? Because others insist that you do? Because there's nothing else to do? Because it's a holiday and there's free food about? Or because you've been good all week so you feel like you can afford to “cheat?” These are just some of the reasons why people graze.

    If
    you're eating throughout the day, then discerning if you're eating
    because you're actually hungry can be difficult. You may not be able
    to tell why you're eating and may continue eating simply because
    you're eating. This can obviously work against you if you're trying
    to lose weight. While I think calories in/calories out is highly
    oversimplified, it will matter if you overdo it.

    Not so graze
    For most people, eating meals at set times of the day is ideal. You get accustomed to how much food you need, you can plan around it, and there aren't as many unknowns. In fact, there can be a fine line between grazing and disordered eating. Grazing tends to be prevalent in obesity and eating disorders, with some evidence showing that it's associated with difficulty losing weight. Evidence also suggests that it could lead to binge eating as well since it is a similar behavior. Other disadvantages of grazing include: increased risk for the development of bacterial overgrowth, it may not be ideal for those prone to constipation, and it could negatively impact sleep if you graze too late at night.

    Grazeful
    So is grazing always an unhealthy behavior that should be avoided at all costs? Like most questions posed in nutrition, the short answer is “it depends.” Grazing can actually help to stabilize insulin levels in addition to decreasing indigestion, heartburn, etc. You might also be less likely to overeat if you're not going more than a few hours between eating something. Additionally, some studies have shown that snacking is beneficial for weight loss. Grazing should always be done mindfully. Otherwise, it can become like the popular “see food diet.”

    Graze anatomy
    If you graze, then what are you grazing on? Cookies or vegetables? This is where food quality comes into play. Ideal foods to graze on are whole foods and not processed foods. These foods should ideally be fresh, organic, and able to be eaten in small quantities. A simple rule of thumb is to eat twice as often as you normally would, but eating half as much each time so that you're ingesting the same amount of food each day. Otherwise, grazing becomes a way of taking in many more calories than you would have had you not grazed.

    Graze area
    Given that most things aren't simply black or white, different approaches may work for different people. If you're unconscious about what you're putting into your body, then having less contact points with food throughout the day is probably best. However, if you have more awareness around your eating habits and find that you feel better while grazing, then that approach might be more suited to you.

    Since everyone is different, has grazing worked better for you or do you do better with a set amount of meals and/or consistent meal times?


    Jack Grabon, MSACN, NBC-HWC, LCSW-R, CPC helps people overcome emotional eating to increase their energy, stamina, and improve their self-confidence, so they can lose weight and keep it off for good! He is a holistic nutritionist, health coach, psychotherapist and life coach all rolled up into one ;-) Book a free intuitive weight loss strategy session to see how he can help you today!

    You've read Should you Graze?, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading How To Keep Your Job While Dealing With Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    By Suzanne Jessee, Founder and CEO, Anew Era TMS

    We all need to keep our jobs, right? We have financial obligations, mouths to feed, and working for a living is how we make ends meet. When depression hits, our ability to function on the job can be impacted, even putting our livelihood at risk. So, how should someone battling depression manage the mood disorder while continuing at work?

    It may see that attempting to work while being treated for depression may present some challenges, most of these can be overcome with some careful strategizing. Understanding treatment options and job protections can also provide some peace of mind while progressing through a depressive episode.

    Treatment for Depression

    Depression can sneak up on a person. Initially one might chalk up the mind fog and fatigue to being overworked or not getting sufficient sleep, but it soon becomes evident that something bigger is at play. Other symptoms, such as persistent sadness, feelings of shame or guilt, losing interest in the things that once brought joy, loss of appetite—or weight gain, changes in sleep habits, and even thoughts of suicide, may begin to pile on. When a cluster of these symptoms hangs around for at least two weeks, it is time to seek the help of a mental health professional.

    Generally, the doctor will follow the traditional protocol for treatment of major depressive disorder and will prescribe a two-fold strategy. This involves antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. In about half the patients with depression, this treatment plan will lead to a reduction in the depression symptoms. The patient will notice improvements in about 4-6 weeks, as that is the length of time needed for antidepressants to become effective.

    For individuals who did not achieve remission through the medication, they have another treatment option available called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS therapy is a brain stimulation technique that helps jump start sluggish brain cells and rebalance brain chemistry. Over the period of 4-6 weeks, TMS can help patients who were medication-resistant to begin to experience relief from depression symptoms.

    8 Tips for Continuing to Work While Dealing with Depression

    With a little planning and effort, it is possible to remain successfully engaged at work while working through the depression. Here are some helpful tips for making that happen:

    1. Get treatment. Untreated depression leads to worse outcomes, period. Do not ignore the need for help from a mental health professional. The treatment interventions will enable one to manage the depression symptoms enough to continue being productive at work. Check with your healthcare plan to see what your benefits are for mental health services and make that appointment.
    2. Set reasonable goals. When depressed it is difficult to manage the usual workload without making some accommodations to the way you face each workday. Start each day with a list of smaller goals that you can handle successfully. Do not overwhelm yourself with too many expectations. Take baby steps by identifying a few reasonable goals to accomplish that day.
    3. Find support. Enlisting the support of a trusted coworker can help ease the challenges of the day. Just having someone in your corner, who knows what you are dealing with, can help your mood at work. If you are not comfortable sharing at work, just keep the lines open with close friends or family members outside of work. Group therapy also offers an excellent outlet where you can gain support.
    4. Use sick days as needed.  Check with H.R. and find out how many sick days you have accumulated. Taking a mental health day here and there is a very good strategy for making it to the finish line of the depressive episode. Taking one day off every 2-4 weeks may give you the space to refresh and reboot. This is called managing the depression.
    5. Amp up organizational skills. Disarray at the office will only amplify the emotional distress you are feeling. Start by getting your workspace in order, remove clutter, and utilize a planner and to-do lists. An organized workspace helps to minimize stress and keep you on track to complete assignments or benchmarks well, and on time. Add some personal touches to your workspace that elicit feelings of joy or calm.
    6. Manage stress. While cycling through depression, don’t forget to take care of yourself. You won’t be any use to your employer or your coworkers if you are a stressed out mess. Depression often coexists with anxiety, so it helps to have a few stress reduction practices in your toolbox. Try practicing mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, taking a yoga class, or getting a massage with aromatherapy.
    7. Improve sleep. Depression does a number on our sleep quality. Be on the offensive and strategize ways to improve your quality of sleep, as that will positively impact your mood, concentration, decision-making, and energy level at work. Keep a regular sleep schedule, eliminate caffeine after 3 p.m., avoid heavy meals after 7 p.m., and limit screen time by shutting off devices one hour before bedtime.
    8. Limit work events. Even if you might wish to attend all the work functions or parties that come up, this can be a source of additional stress for someone with depression. Pay close attention to your own emotional needs and be selective in what extracurricular events you participate in. Depression makes socializing feel like an additional source of stress when you’re not really yet in the right frame of mind. This doesn’t mean avoiding social events, especially if they will bring some pleasure, just to limit them.

    It is possible to continue to be productive and engaged at work while being treated for depression. Employers are usually quite accommodating by providing flexibility for therapy sessions, TMS therapy, group therapy, or a reduced work schedule. Stay in touch with your needs during this time and don’t forget that a little self-pampering now and then can have enormously positive effects on mood.

    About the Author

    Suzanne Jessee, Founder and C.E.O. of Anew Era TMS is a TMS industry expert.  Suzanne is a master’s level clinical therapist and addictions counselor with nearly two decades experience in chemical dependency patient care.  Her passion for improving patients’ mental health and her expertise in TMS technology and business make her a leader in the TMS patient services industry.  In addition, Suzanne is a published author, PBS show host, educator, and facilitator.

    You've read How To Keep Your Job While Dealing With Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


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    You're reading Proactiveness: The Glue to Achieving Productivity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

    Proactive tips to be productive

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

    Proactiveness in your Personality

    Proactiveness is easier defined than practiced. By definition, being proactive is taking initiative regardless of requirements. A person marked by proactivity consistently finds a solution to a potentially negative situation and takes action before it is required. In practice, proactiveness requires awareness, self-discipline, and an eye for the future. You know you’ve found a proactive person if you’ve seen someone who:

                                        1. Practices Awareness

                                             2. Plans Ahead

                                                  3. Takes Initiative

    Why Choose Proactivity?

    What’s so great about being proactive? Why not just react to life as it comes? The nice thing is that these two approaches don’t necessarily exclude one another. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Your work day is no different. While adaptability is a must, one of the reasons to attempt a proactive lifestyle is the advantages in productivity that it often provides. Adopting a more proactive approach to your everyday life enables you to take control of areas that you can affect, and use that control to promote productivity and decrease stress. I like what Isabella Gura stated in her article, 6 Stages of Personal Growth, that when we choose proactiveness over reactiveness that, "... life happens for us rather than to us."

    Another benefit to becoming more proactive is the message it sends to everyone around you: “I desire to succeed and will work hard to get there.” Someone who thoughtfully plans ahead and takes initiative is someone who is in high demand. Just ask your boss. Being proactive is a great way to show thoughtfulness for others as well. When you organize your day in order to actively help the ones you care for, people will sit up and take notice.

    Proactivity Hacks

    If becoming proactive is such a game-changer, then how do you implement that change? There are lots of great tips available to help you in this area. If you know someone personally who exemplifies proactivity, consider asking them for some pointers. In the meantime, here are 4 ways to start practicing proactiveness.

    1.  Create Routines and Check-ups

    When you carefully examine the practice of being proactive, you inevitably end up with concept of time management. So start prioritizing. Develop a schedule that allows you to allot time to what matters most. Do you want to develop a business relationship? Contact that colleague and set up a monthly meeting. Are you wanting to finish a book this year? Start a plan now to write 100 pages/week. This practice of creating routines can function outside of work settings too. Have you been missing out on quality time with your spouse or child? Create a time each day to invest in the people that matter most to you. Then, once your plan is established, set up reminders - periodic check ups to see if you’re staying on task. It is imperative that you keep yourself accountable if your routine is to take shape and become effective long-term.

    2. Mentally Prepare for Difficult Situations

    It’s Friday, you’re mentally exhausted and you’re scheduled to meet with your “favorite” manager for a monthly report. What do you do? Creating a small chunk of time to mentally gear-up for a difficult meeting is an excellent way to prepare. Find a quiet spot and plan out the meeting in your mind. Writing your thoughts down can be helpful. Make a list of the questions you’d like to ask, the information you need to give, and the answers you’ll likely have to provide. While this practice doesn’t guarantee a successful meeting, (people are people) taking the time to plan ahead and mentally prepare is a proactive step in the right direction.

    3. Frontloading

    This is the opposite of procrastinating. To frontload a project, set up a schedule that forces you to do the bulk of your work within the first 50% of the time you have allotted for the project.  (If you have 5 days to complete 20 hours of research, schedule 5 hours/day for days 1-3 and leave 5 hours of work for days 4-5.) This can achieve a couple of different results: 1) It gives you the chance to eliminate stress by finishing your task ahead of schedule. 2) If your project does take longer than expected, you have available extra time to make up the difference without missing your deadline. This approach won’t work for everyone, but if you want to practice proactiveness, give it a try.

     4. Focus on Communication

    Believe it or not, a lot of productivity is lost each day through miscommunication or non-communication. If it’s your responsibility to reach out to someone, don’t delay and don’t distract from the main point. A quick phone call, a concise email, or even a properly-placed sticky note can all achieve the same goal: proactive communication. If someone else is doing the talking, make sure you are listening well. This usually means no double-tasking while the other person is talking. Repeating back a summary of what you just heard is also a great way to make sure you took in the correct message. Make sure you are communicating concisely and clearly to give your work-place productivity a boost.

    Achieving Proactiveness

    A proactive mindset is one of the keys to achieving productivity in your day-to-day life. Preparing for an often negative situation before it happens can sometimes help to bring about a positive result and that goes a long way in streamlining your day. Learn to cultivate an awareness of potential derailments and plan ways to avoid them. Then, act before you’re forced to.

    As you learn to manage your time well, you’ll begin to achieve a more productive and balanced work day. Enjoy!


    Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as Chapter 7, Chapter 13IRAs and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.

    You've read Proactiveness: The Glue to Achieving Productivity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.