Improving Your Happiness

Man and daughter smiling with happiness
MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Some people seem to have a naturally higher baseline for happiness—one large-scale study of more than 2,000 twins suggested that around 50% of overall life satisfaction was due to genetics, 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities.9

So while you might not be able to control what your “base level” of happiness is, there are things that you can do to make your life happier and more fulfilling. Even the happiest of individuals can feel down from time to time and happiness is something that all people need to consciously pursue.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for both your body and mind. Physical activity is linked to a range of physical and psychological benefits including improved mood. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise may play a role in warding off symptoms of depression, but evidence also suggests that it may also help make people happier, too.

In one analysis of past research on the connection between physical activity and happiness, researchers found a consistent positive link.10

Even a little bit of exercise produces a happiness boost—people who were physically active for as little as 10 minutes a day or who worked out only once a week had higher levels of happiness than people who never exercised.

Show Gratitude

In one study, participants were asked to engage in a writing exercise for 10 to 20 minutes each night before bed.11 Some were instructed to write about daily hassles, some about neutral events, and some about things they were grateful for. The results found that people who had written about gratitude had increase positive emotions, increased subjective happiness, and improve life satisfaction.

As the authors of the study suggest, keeping a gratitude list is a relatively easy, affordable, simple, and pleasant way to boost your mood. Try setting aside a few minutes each night to write down or think about things in your life that you are grateful for.

Find a Sense of Purpose

Research has found that people who feel like they have a purpose have better well-being and feel more fulfilled.12 A sense of purpose involves seeing your life as having goals, direction, and meaning. It may help improve happiness by promoting healthier behaviors. 

Some things you can do to help find a sense of purpose include:

  • Explore your interests and passions
  • Engage in prosocial and altruistic causes
  • Work to address injustices
  • Look for new things you might want to learn more about

This sense of purpose is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also something that you can cultivate. It involves finding a goal that you care deeply about that will lead you to engage in productive, positive actions in order to work toward that goal.

Challenges

While seeking happiness is important, there are times when the pursuit of life satisfaction falls short. Some challenges to watch for include:

Valuing the Wrong Things

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but there is research that spending money on things like experiences can make you happier than spending it on material possessions. 

One study, for example, found that spending money on things that buy time—such as spending money on time-saving services—can increase happiness and life satisfaction.13

Rather than overvaluing things such as money, status, or material possessions, pursuing goals that result in more free time or enjoyable experiences may have a higher happiness reward.

Not Seeking Social Support

Social support means having friends and loved ones that you can turn to for support. Research has found that perceived social support plays an important role in subjective well-being. For example, one study found that perceptions of social support were responsible for 43% of a person’s level of happiness.14

It is important to remember that when it comes to social support, quality is more important than quantity. Having just a few very close and trusted friends will have a greater impact on your overall happiness than having many casual acquaintances.

Thinking of Happiness as an Endpoint

Happiness isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance.

One study found that people who tend to value happiness most also tended to feel the least satisfied with their lives.15 Essentially, happiness becomes such a lofty goal that it becomes virtually unattainable. 

“Valuing happiness could be self-defeating because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed,” suggest the authors of the study.

Perhaps the lesson is to not make something as broadly defined as “happiness” your goal. Instead, focus on building and cultivating the sort of life and relationships that bring fulfillment and satisfaction to your life. 

How to Practice

While some people just tend to be naturally happier, there are things that you can do to cultivate your sense of happiness. 

Pursue Intrinsic Goals 

Achieving goals that you are intrinsically motivated to pursue, particularly ones that are focused on personal growth and community, can help boost happiness. Research suggests that pursuing these types of intrinsically-motivated goals can increase happiness more than pursuing extrinsic goals like gaining money or status.3

Enjoy the Moment

Studies have found that people tend to over earn—they become so focused on accumulating things that they lose track of actually enjoying what they are doing.4

So, rather than falling into the trap of mindlessly accumulating to the detriment of your own happiness, focus on practicing gratitude for the things you have and enjoying the process as you go. 

Reframe Negative Thoughts

When you find yourself stuck in a pessimistic outlook or experiencing negativity, look for ways that you can reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. 

People have a natural negativity bias, or a tendency to pay more attention to bad things than to good things. This can have an impact on everything from how you make decisions to how you form impressions of other people. 

Reframing these negative perceptions isn’t about ignoring the bad. Instead, it means trying to take a more balanced, realistic look at events. It allows you to notice patterns in your thinking and then challenge negative thoughts.

Article by By Kendra Cherry

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-happiness-4869755

6 Colors You Shouldn’t Have in Your Bedroom

Article by Emma Taubenfeld for Reader’s Digest

Slide 1 of 7: A bedroom is a sanctuary where we can be our most authentic selves. Most people want the colors of their bedroom to feel intimate and to reflect who they truly are. But at the same time, a bedroom should feel cozy and provide the best night’s sleep. Believe it or not, color choices in your bedroom can largely affect how calm you feel and how well you rest in the evenings. According to experts, keep these colors out of the bedroom. Pair the new paint job with one of these home décor ideas on a budget.

 © PeopleImages/Getty Images

Matte or eggshell?

A bedroom is a sanctuary where we can be our most authentic selves. Most people want the colors of their bedroom to feel intimate and to reflect who they truly are. But at the same time, a bedroom should feel cozy and provide the best night’s sleep. Believe it or not, color choices in your bedroom can largely affect how calm you feel and how well you rest in the evenings. According to experts, keep these colors out of the bedroom. 

Slide 2 of 7: Besides just darkening a room, a color such as black will create an illusion that a room looks smaller than it actually is. While the darkness may aide in falling asleep at night, it will consequently inhibit your ability to get up in the morning. The darkness will psychologically decrease your energy. “I suggest avoiding painting all four walls top to bottom and instead getting creative with paint placement and choosing a feature wall or leaving the trims out etc,” said Home Décor Designer, Shani Moran. Check out how to create a stunning color scheme for your home.

 © Artjafara/Getty Images

Black

Besides just darkening a room, a color such as black will create an illusion that a room looks smaller than it actually is. While the darkness may aide in falling asleep at night, it will consequently inhibit your ability to get up in the morning. The darkness will psychologically decrease your energy. “I suggest avoiding painting all four walls top to bottom and instead getting creative with paint placement and choosing a feature wall or leaving the trims out etc,” said Home Décor Designer, Shani Moran.

Slide 3 of 7: “You should always avoid using neon colors such as electric lime and magenta as they bring excitement and energy into the bedroom,” explained Shad Elia. The vibrance will create a space that makes it more challenging to wind down, which is the whole purpose of a bedroom. Instead, Elia recommends using lighter shades of grey and beige. “These colors are warm and help the body relax when it comes time to sleeping.” See the secret meaning behind these 10 paint colors in your home.

 © piovesempre/Getty Images

Neon

“You should always avoid using neon colors such as electric lime and magenta as they bring excitement and energy into the bedroom,” explained Shad Elia. The vibrance will create a space that makes it more challenging to wind down, which is the whole purpose of a bedroom. Instead, Elia recommends using lighter shades of grey and beige. “These colors are warm and help the body relax when it comes time to sleeping.” 

Slide 4 of 7: Yellow is a highly stimulating color as we mostly associate the brightness with the sun and mornings, a time when we are most alert. “While the cheerful tone may be great for daytime, those who opt for a lemon-hued room are more likely to experience difficulty falling asleep at night,” claimed Kimberly Smith, a marketing manager. Don’t miss what paint colors make your home look dirty.

 © apidechphoto/Getty Images

Yellow

Yellow is a highly stimulating color as we mostly associate the brightness with the sun and mornings, a time when we are most alert. “While the cheerful tone may be great for daytime, those who opt for a lemon-hued room are more likely to experience difficulty falling asleep at night,” claimed Kimberly Smith, a marketing manager.

Slide 5 of 7: Like yellow, red is a striking color. While bold colors, particularly warm-toned reds and bright pinks, can look stylish, they can also evoke feelings of unrest or agitation. “These colors are often used in marketing as they stimulate the senses, and this is not something you want when trying to fall asleep,” explained Karin Sun. These colors are better suited for places that encourage activity, like a gym, or a warmth, like a family room. In the bedroom, it is too much of a reminder of daytime.

 © Mirjana Ristic/Getty Images

Red

Like yellow, red is a striking color. While bold colors, particularly warm-toned reds and bright pinks, can look stylish, they can also evoke feelings of unrest or agitation. “These colors are often used in marketing as they stimulate the senses, and this is not something you want when trying to fall asleep,” explained Karin Sun. These colors are better suited for places that encourage activity, like a gym, or a warmth, like a family room. In the bedroom, it is too much of a reminder of daytime.

Slide 6 of 7: “In the early days of our marriage, my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to paint our bedroom orange,” said Daniel Carter. “Not the bright, saturated shade you’d normally see on the fruit of the same name, but a lighter hue. We then added green and purple accents. It looked cool and eclectic. We loved how it turned out until we actually had to go to sleep. The room still looked bright even when we only had a night lamp on, so we had to pull the shades down and have all the lights switched off come bedtime, not always an ideal situation. After six months, we repainted it with a muted shade of blue and have been able to arrive at snooze town a lot faster.” Check out these 10 ways to make your bed 10 times cozier.

 © tashka2000/Getty Images

Orange

“In the early days of our marriage, my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to paint our bedroom orange,” said Daniel Carter. “Not the bright, saturated shade you’d normally see on the fruit of the same name, but a lighter hue. We then added green and purple accents. It looked cool and eclectic. We loved how it turned out until we actually had to go to sleep. The room still looked bright even when we only had a night lamp on, so we had to pull the shades down and have all the lights switched off come bedtime, not always an ideal situation. After six months, we repainted it with a muted shade of blue and have been able to arrive at snooze town a lot faster.” 

Slide 7 of 7: The darkness of the color provides a sense of heaviness and gloom. This may decrease the motivation of waking up in the morning. “However, if your heart is set on painting your bedroom walls with a color that is deemed not wise, you can opt for their muted counterparts instead, or use them as an accent color, instead of the main color,” claimed Tal Shelef. Now, see what colors you should keep out of the rest of your home. Sources  Shani Moran, Home Décor Designer Shad Elia, Owner Kimberly Smith, Marketing Manager Karin Sun, Founder Daniel Carter, Founder Tal Shelef, Realtor and Co-Founder

©Jon Lovette/Getty Images

Dark Brown

The darkness of the color provides a sense of heaviness and gloom. This may decrease the motivation of waking up in the morning. “However, if your heart is set on painting your bedroom walls with a color that is deemed not wise, you can opt for their muted counterparts instead, or use them as an accent color, instead of the main color,” claimed Tal Shelef.

Sources

  • Shani Moran, Home Décor Designer
  • Shad Elia, Owner
  • Kimberly Smith, Marketing Manager
  • Karin Sun, Founder
  • Daniel Carter, Founder
  • Tal Shelef, Realtor and Co-Founder

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/6-colors-you-shouldn-t-have-in-your-bedroom/ss-BB19opzu?ocid=msedgntp#image=7

Create A Morning Routine That Reduces Anxiety And Stress

Article by Kelsey Borresen for Huffpost©

“Morning routines are powerful and set our pattern for the rest of the day,” Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist and well-being consultant in Britain, told HuffPost. “A worry-filled morning will often flood into an anxious afternoon.” Conversely, starting the morning with intention creates a sense of calm and confidence that makes the rest of the day seem more manageable. 

So how do you create those morning rituals that will quiet your racing mind and stick with them? Below, experts offer some helpful advice.  

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Be realistic about how much you can dedicate to your morning routine. 

© NickyLloyd via Getty Images 

We asked mental health professionals to recommend some practices that help soothe anxiety. Try out a few of these and check in with how you feel afterwards — but know that it may take some time to see the benefits. Then you can determine if you want to add any to your a.m. routine.

1. Start your day by drinking water. 

Before you have your tea or coffee, hydrate with a glass of a water as soon as you wake up. 

“It gives us increased cognitive function, allowing us more clarity of mind, can elevate our mood and energy, and promotes more balanced emotional regulation and takes less than a minute,” Chambers said. “And it’s a great habit to stack your next part of the routine into, and you can even prepare your water the evening before.”

2. Walk outside. 

Taking a walk outdoors is a calming, grounding way to begin the day.  

“It is also great as it gets sunlight into our eyes, stimulating serotonin, which boosts our mood,” Chambers said. “It also ignites our senses, as the wind hits our face, sounds of the environment fill our ears and we smell the external world. It makes us mindful and eases our worries in the process.”

3. Practice gratitude.

Take a moment to reflect on all of the good in your life. You can list a few things in your head, share them with a partner or child, or write them down in a journal.  

“Start your day with a grateful heart before you even get up from bed,” said Renato Perez, a Los Angeles psychotherapist. “Start naming all the things you’re grateful for. This could be done through prayer or simply a list you say out loud to the universe or Mother Nature.” 

4. Try to avoid checking your phone first thing. 

Those work emails, text messages, Instagram notifications and news alerts can wait a bit. If you charge your phone by your bed or use it as an alarm clock, you’re going to look at it right when you wake up. Before you know it, you’re sucked in and two minutes of scrolling turns into 20. Try charging your phone across the room so it’s not within reach. Or charge it outside of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead. 

“I see so many people who immediately check their work email in the morning, which automatically puts them in ‘work mode’ and makes them feel anxious about the day ahead before they even get out of bed,” said Gina Delucca, a clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF. “Similarly, some people hop on social media or start reading news articles while lying in bed, which may trigger anxiety by reading or seeing something negative or scary.”

That doesn’t mean you have to avoid your phone altogether, which just isn’t realistic for most of us. “But I definitely recommend giving yourself some peace and quiet in the morning before the daily grind begins,” Delucca added.

5. Take some deep breaths. 

When you’re anxious, you might notice your breathing is quick and shallow, rather than slow and deep. 

“This is a part of our body’s natural stress response, and it coincides with a few of the other physical sensations you may notice when you feel anxious — like rapid heart rate, dizziness and upset stomach,” Delucca said. “While we don’t have voluntary control over some of these bodily sensations, we do have control over our breathing, and we can use our breath to help induce a more relaxed state.”

Those deep, nourishing inhalations and exhalations stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, producing a sense of calm.

“To begin, try to spend a few minutes each morning sitting or lying in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and taking a few slow, controlled, deep breaths,” Delucca said. “Try breathing in through your nose and then breathing out through either your nose or mouth. When you inhale, imagine that you are filling up a balloon in your abdomen rather than just breathing into your chest.”

6. Meditate.

“There is no better way to quiet the mind than by practicing meditation,” Perez said. “Start small — two to three minutes — and increment every week.”

When your mind wanders away, which it inevitably will, gently bring it back to your breath.

You can sit in silence, listen to relaxing music, do a guided mediation through an app like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer, or find one on YouTube 

You can also try repeating a mantra — “I am safe, and I will be OK,” is one Delucca suggested. Or do a body scan: Start at the top of your head, bringing awareness to each body part and releasing tension from that area as you slowly work your way down to your toes. 

7. Eat a nourishing breakfast. 

“Our mood is highly influenced by what we eat,” Chambers said.

Opt for a balanced breakfast that contains protein, healthful fats, fiber and complex carbohydrates — think a vegetable omelet with avocado toast or oatmeal with nut butter, berries and chia seeds. Refined carbohydrates, such as doughnuts and sugary cereals, can lead to a blood sugar spike and crash, “causing challenges with emotional regulation, which may leave you feeling anxious,” Chambers added. (That said, if the occasional croissant or chocolate chip muffin brings some joy to your morning, it’s totally fine. Food is meant to be enjoyed, after all.)

8. Read a few pages from a book. 

Rather than reading news or catching up on your social media feeds early in the morning, Perez recommends picking up a book that inspires you and reading for a few minutes ― even just five pages. 

“Find a book that really speaks to you and makes you feel good,” he said.

9. Move your body. 

It could be yoga, walking, running, dancing, cycling, strength-training or even stretching. 

“When you exercise in the morning, you may notice improved focus and energy during the rest of the day, as well as better sleep at night, which can also help to tame anxiety,” Delucca said. “In addition, exercising in the morning can enhance your mood by giving you a boost of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment at the start of your day.”

It’s worth noting that some people report that certain workouts, especially very intense ones, actually stoke their anxiety rather than reduce it. So just be aware of that. 

“We react differently to exercise, and it is a stressor,” Chambers said. “Exercising with too much intensity for some people can lead them to become fatigued and more likely to feel anxious.”

10. Do some visualization.

A visualization practice can help you set the desired tone for your day. If you’re feeling anxious and distracted, perhaps you’d like to feel calm, focused and empowered instead. Seely recommends calling on a memory that evokes that feeling for you. Tune into the small details and sensations of the experience. 

“For example, if I’m visualizing a memory where I hiked up to the peak of a mountain and I’m overlooking the summit, I might notice the details of the incredible view, the sounds of nature around me, the feel of my muscles after climbing the steep terrain, the smell and temperature of the air, the sensation of feeling accomplished, proud, unstoppable,” she said. “Really getting into every sensation of the memory helps your body to soak in the experience and primes your physiology for that particular state of being ― in this example, empowered and ready to take on the day.”

And if you can’t think of a specific memory, allow yourself to daydream and build the desired experience in your imagination. 

How to stick to your morning routine 

You may think your biggest stumbling blocks are a lack of willpower or hitting the snooze button half a dozen times. But often it “comes down to a lack of clarity with the routine,” Delucca said. 

“You’re more likely to follow through on behavior change when you set clear and specific goals versus vague aspirations,” she added. 

So instead of saying something general, like, “I want to work out in the morning,” make the goal more concrete: “I’m going to do a virtual yoga class at 7:30 a.m. after I finish my tea.”

Delucca also recommends getting up around the same time each day and outlining what specific activities you want to incorporate into your routine and in what order. It may help to write them down. 

“When you do something repeatedly in the same order, you can eventually develop a habit,” Delucca said. “When a habit is formed, you’re not solely relying on how you feel in the moment in terms of your mood, motivation or willpower. Habits feel automatic without any guesswork as to what you should do next.”

She offered the example of taking a shower. You likely shampoo, condition, shave and wash your body in a specific order without giving it much thought. 

“It’s automatic because the routine is clear and you’ve created a habit in which one action flows directly into the next action without any questioning,” Delucca said. “So, try to be as specific and consistent as possible when creating a morning routine. Each activity will serve as a cue for the next, and with time, your morning routine will flow.”

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/how-to-create-a-morning-routine-that-reduces-anxiety-and-stress/ar-BB197zfX?ocid=msedgdhp

4 Best Workouts to Do When You’re Stressed

By Christina Marable for Livestrong.com

When you’re stressed with the demands of work or home life, it can feel overwhelming and counterproductive to add another item to your to-do list. You might not feel like you have time to squeeze in a workout, but exercise can be one of the most powerful tools in combating the stress of getting it all done.

woman jogging near wire fence
Andrew Tanglao photo credit from unsplash

“Stress is a combination of anxiety — fear of the unknown — and depression — hurt held inward. Exercise is an outlet to let out that tension,” says sports psychologist Jarrod Spencer, PhD.

“For many people, when they exercise, they’re working emotional stress out of the body,” Spencer tells LIVESTRONG.com. “Exercise lets your mind think and process information on a very high level.”

The best part: You don’t have to commit to a high-intensity exercise routine for positive results. You can start slow. Gradually build up to a fitness plan that works for you and makes sense with the stressors you’re currently navigating.

“Exercise is about an energy exchange,” Spencer says. “Carve out a half hour or hour for yourself each day and commit to it.”

Stay as consistent as you can, he adds. “Consistency in anything is very important, and that’s true with exercise and how it helps [with stress].”

He recommends four types of exercise that can serve as stepping stones to increase movement and reduce stress. Here’s how to get started.

1. Stretching

Stress can take a toll on your muscles, whether you tense your neck and shoulders while you’re hunched over your laptop during a hectic workday or clench your jaw throughout a difficult conversation with a loved one.

When you release some of this physical muscle tension through stretching, you may feel less emotional stress, too, according to the American Council for Exercise. Better still, you can reap the benefits just by stretching for 10 minutes, three to four times a week, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Start with the areas of your body that feel tight. If that’s everywhere, focus on the shoulders, neck, calves, hamstrings and hip flexors, where it’s common to hold tension.

2. Yoga

The ancient practice of yoga is well known for relieving stress and improving mental and emotional health, not to mention strength and balance, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

While people have practiced yoga for thousands of years, science has recently begun to examine its health benefits more closely.

For example, in a February 2018 study of a small group of women in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, practicing yoga three times a week for four weeks relieved stress and improved mood.

If you’re new to yoga, you can get started with follow-along videos online, Spencer says. Explore different types of yoga, such as Hatha, Ashtanga or Vinyasa, until you find the style and routine you enjoy most.

3. Walking

Walking is one of the most cost-effective, accessible, stress-relieving workouts — and it strengthens your muscles and improves your cardiovascular fitness at the same time.

In a May 2018 study in Behavioral Sciences, walking reduced levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol and improved how people perceived their own emotional stress, especially if they walked in nature.

To walk the stress away, all you really need is comfortable shoes and clothing. Then, look for a nearby walking path, park or hiking trail. Gradually increase your pace and how far you walk over time.

4. Running

During stressful times, you might wish you could run away from your problems. Turns out, science supports running for reducing stress.

Exercises like running release calming and relaxing brain chemicals — hence the saying “runner’s high,” according to Harvard Health Publishing.

“People who run say they do their best thinking — clear their mind — while they’re running,” Spencer says.

If you’re new to running or haven’t exercised in a while, get the all-clear from your health care provider, and then set realistic goals. You might want to grow comfortable with brisk walking first before moving up to alternating between periods of walking and jogging.

Invest in some good running shoes and build up your pace and distance gradually.

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/13727727-exercise-stress-relief/

Time to Replace Your Pillow ?

Popsugar© article by Elisa Cinelli 

a woman lying on a bed: You Actually Need to Replace Your Pillow More Frequently Than You'd Think
© Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Sometimes, the best part of the day is laying your head down on your pillow at its end. A fresh pillow is just so inviting, but there comes a point where your pillow isn’t so fresh anymore. In fact, you need to replace your pillows more often than you probably thought. According to the National Sleep Foundation, pillows should be replaced every one to two years. This is because it’s both hygienic and helps you sleep better.

Why Do I Need to Replace My Pillow?

When you keep your pillow for too long, it gets gross. Over time, your pillow absorbs body oil, dead skin cells, and hair, which creates the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, since they feed on dead skins and they need a warm humid environment to survive. Dust mites can cause allergies, leaving you with symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing. Dust mite allergies make it harder to get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning feeling well rested.

Washing your pillow every four to six months in hot water and drying it completely will reduce the presence of dust mites, but it won’t get rid of them for good. But hygiene is not the only reason for replacing your pillow. You also want to make sure you have good head and neck support.

A good pillow keeps your head and neck aligned with your spine. Pillows lose their shape over time, mainly from the weight of your head on them night after night, and when your pillow no longer provides good support, you may wake up with headaches or neck and shoulder pain.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace My Pillow?

Depending on your sleep patterns and your pillow’s material, the exact time to replace your pillow may vary between one and two years. If you are waking up with headaches or neck and shoulder pain, or allergy symptoms are keeping you up at night, it is time for a new pillow. You should also get a new pillow if you see stains that don’t go away with washing, the pillow feels lumpy or flat, or if it doesn’t spring back when you fold it in half.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/you-actually-need-to-replace-your-pillow-more-frequently-than-you-d-think/ar-BB18RYMc?ocid=msedgntp

HOW TO FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME

No. 1 sitting on a windowsill
  1. Consider incorporating Meditation into your daily routine – Meditation has the power to help you focus, improve your concentration, and even be used as a tool to overcome procrastination.
  2. Prioritise Tasks – Write everything you need to do down in a list. Get it all out of your mind. What needs to be done immediately?  Today? Tomorrow? Next week? Within the month? Not urgent? Break big tasks down into smaller, more manageable bite-sized tasks.
  3. Do the creative stuff first – Mental focus is stronger in the mornings, so it’s generally best to do the creative tasks and those that might need sharper mental focus first up. Move on to the easier tasks later in the day.
  4. Eliminate Distractions – Switch off devices, close down the tabs in your browser, log out of Facebook etc.
  5. Train your mind – Focus takes training – especially if you’re a reforming multi-tasker. Set reasonable time-frames for yourself, then take a short break (e.g. 50 mins focus, 10 mins break). Don’t put pressure on yourself to sit in focus for hours and hours as it won’t work.
  6. Have regular breaks – regular breaks are essential to maintain focus and productivity. Get up, walk around, get outdoors, stretch your body, etc.
  7. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.  So as you can see, Mindfulness can help with focus and concentration. It also helps to reduce stress and creates new neuronal pathways in the brain.

BENEFITS OF FOCUSSING ON ONE THING AT A TIME

  1. More success with less stress
  2. Improved productivity and quality of work
  3. Tasks get completed much more quickly
  4. Less Stress + Improved Productivity & Quality of Work + Quickly Completed Tasks + More Success = Happier You = A more ZEN you!

Doing just one thing at a time helps you remember more, get more done in less time, de-stress, bring more attention to your work, and work smarter, instead of just harder.  Note too that by ‘work’ I’m not just talking about paid jobs (workforce).  I’m also talking about all the jobs/tasks/chores that are in our day to day lives.

Finally, I wanted to share this list of Zen Things that centre around doing one thing at a time:

Do one thing at a time

Source of Article: https://writeofthemiddle.com/one-thing-at-a-time/

Stress Relieving Indoor Plants to Add to Your Home

By letters@purewow.com (Grace Beuley Hunt)

Slide 1 of 7: It’s lovely to have mint around for cooking—but this fragrant herb also has serious stress-relieving properties. A study by Wheeling Jesuit University found that sniffing it can actually lower frustration levels and boost alertness.

© Natalie_B/Getty Images

1. MINT

It’s lovely to have mint around for cooking—but this fragrant herb also has serious stress-relieving properties. A study by Wheeling Jesuit University found that sniffing it can actually lower frustration levels and boost alertness.

Slide 2 of 7: Yes, jasmine is beautiful and lovely to smell. But according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, its scent was found to be “as calming as Valium” to the nervous system. (When the scent was released into a cage of mice, they became so chilled out, they all sat quietly in a corner.) Woah.
©Anna Oleinik/Getty Images

2. JASMINE

Yes, jasmine is beautiful and lovely to smell. But according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, its scent was found to be “as calming as Valium” to the nervous system. (When the scent was released into a cage of mice, they became so chilled out, they all sat quietly in a corner.) Woah.

Slide 3 of 7: You already love this plant for soothing your sunburns and moisturizing your skin. But did you know that it also purifies the air of common carcinogens and emits oxygen at nighttime, helping us to sleep better? P.S. In a recent study, it was also found to reduce depression in mice.

© Mari/Getty Images

3. ALOE

You already love this plant for soothing your sunburns and moisturizing your skin. But did you know that it also purifies the air of common carcinogens and emits oxygen at nighttime, helping us to sleep better? P.S. In a recent study, it was also found to reduce depression in mice.

Slide 4 of 7: This fragrant, flowering herb has been used medicinally to calm nerves and aid in depression for centuries. (Erm, aromatherapy anyone?) One particularly illuminating study found that the scent of lavender had major effects on lowering pulse rates on nursing students in stressful situations.

© DusanManic/Getty Images

4. LAVENDER

This fragrant, flowering herb has been used medicinally to calm nerves and aid in depression for centuries. (Erm, aromatherapy anyone?) One particularly illuminating study found that the scent of lavender had major effects on lowering pulse rates on nursing students in stressful situations.

Slide 5 of 7: According to NASA’s clean air study, this lush-looking plant clears the air of over 107 toxins, and emits tons of oxygen throughout the night. This cocktail can improve your energy levels, ease headaches and quite literally have you breathing easier.

 © Karimpard/Getty Images

5. SNAKE PLANT

According to NASA’s clean air study, this lush-looking plant clears the air of over 107 toxins, and emits tons of oxygen throughout the night. This cocktail can improve your energy levels, ease headaches and quite literally have you breathing easier.

Slide 6 of 7: This—may we mention?—delicious herb contains high amounts of an organic compound called linalool (which is commonly used in aromatherapy). A team of Japanese scientists famously conducted a lab rat study that found that exposure to linalool reduces the activity of hundreds of genes that typically go into overdrive during stressful situations.

© OlgaMiltsova/Getty Images

6. BASIL

This—may we mention?—delicious herb contains high amounts of an organic compound called linalool (which is commonly used in aromatherapy). A team of Japanese scientists famously conducted a lab rat study that found that exposure to linalool reduces the activity of hundreds of genes that typically go into overdrive during stressful situations.

Slide 7 of 7: This leafy, statement floor plant is also a hard worker: It’s proven to remove nasty toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene from the air. As a reminder, breathing purer air (whether awake or asleep) lowers your blood pressure. Say it with us now: Ahhhhhhh. RELATED: The Houseplant You Need In Your Home (Based On Your Zodiac Sign)

© dropstock/Getty Images

7. ARECA PALM

This leafy, statement floor plant is also a hard worker: It’s proven to remove nasty toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene from the air. As a reminder, breathing purer air (whether awake or asleep) lowers your blood pressure. Say it with us now: Ahhhhhhh.

The source of this wonderful information is:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/7-stress-relieving-indoor-plants-to-add-to-your-home/ss-BB18LaoC?ocid=msedgntp#image=7

7 Tips to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

Man standing at podium, giving speech, crowd in background
BY DARRELL ZAHORSKY






 

The words “public speaking” cause fear and anxiety in the minds of otherwise competent and confident people. Does the thought of speaking in front of a group evoke fear, make you sweat, and get your heart pounding? It’s likely you have glossophobia – the fear of public speaking.

Glossophobia is one of the most common of fears. There are many ways to increase business exposure so why bother to overcome your speaking jitters? Stepping up to the podium not only positions you as an expert in your area of business but it also provides effortless referrals and improved sales opportunities.

Presenting a non-sales informative speech warms up your target market and builds trust. Unlike endless cold calls, the people you present to and follow up with are more receptive to listening to your offering of products and services.

Overcome your fear of public speaking and boost your business with these seven tips.

1. Start Small

If you’re new to the world of public speaking, start small. Find a few friends and family to practice on. Begin by speaking to smaller groups and build up from there. The size of the audience makes no difference. If you know your topic, your pre-speaking fear will quickly evaporate.

2. Prepare Thoroughly

Nothing helps ease the fear of public speaking more than knowing your material. The ability to connect with your audience comes from having the confidence you won’t get lost during your delivery. Rehearse several times before the big talk. Time your presentation and always have back up material in case time is left over.

3. Don’t Just Memorize the Words

Mastering the art of public speaking comes not from memorizing word for word your entire speech. The real pros know their material by remembering key points and prompts on subtopics and examples to cover.

4. Avoid Common Bullets

The majority of business presentations and speeches are boring monologues filled with endless PowerPoint slides and bullet points. Trash the PowerPoint presentation and make your material the focal point of the talk. If you do use PowerPoint, take the approach of using visuals that quickly convey your message.

5. Reduce Stress

The most fearful moment of any presentation is the one minute before your stage entrance. Use the tactic of elite athletes by visualizing a positive outcome and using deep belly breathing to reduce stress and build confidence.

6. Find a Friend to Focus On

Prior to your public speaking on stage introduce yourself to a few members of the audience in the front row. During your talk look these people in the eye to ease your nerves and connect with your audience.

7. Engage the Audience

Creating a monologue presentation puts the entire task of informing and entertaining the audience on you. Make your talk a two-way interaction with questions and participation to reduce boredom and speak with ease. Having the group involved also gives you time to reorganize your thoughts if things are going off track.

Make public speaking part of your marketing plan and boost your business success. Your fear will evaporate over time and you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

Edited by Alyssa Gregory

Activities to Get the “Feel Good” Juices Flowing:

Dancing

Yard work, like mowing or gardening or tree trimming

Biking

Hiking nature trails

Walking or jogging

Swimming

Recreational sports like tennis, racquetball, softball or even Frisbee

Make it social and get an exercise partner

Physical activity and exercise releases endorphins, which are created in the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. They then interact with the opioid receptors in the brain. These are some of our pleasure and pain centers.

A steady of flow of endorphins triggers a positive feeling in the body, and can act like analgesics, which means they lessen the perception of pain. Here are some of the other endorphin driven benefits of exercise:

Benefits of Walking

This helps with:

Improved Sleep

Decreased feelings of Depression and Anxiety

Increased Self-esteem

Stress reduction

Rise in overall energy

Lowered blood pressure

Finding an activity that’s enjoyable will make it feel less like a chore. Remember to start slow and listen to your body. Never push through pain or take unnecessary risks that might cause injury.

Be realistic in terms of your goals and physical health. Adding a regular exercise regimen will generate endorphins and lead to a better state of mind.

Source: https://www.inspiremalibu.com/blog/healthy-living/exercise-endorphins-and-addiction-recovery/