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How to Stop Racing Thoughts When Your Mind Won’t Let Up

14. November 2018 - 18:00
If you could see a diagram of my brain and you could imagine every line was a thought, it would look like you’d given a room full of 4 year olds crayons and told them to draw on the floor of a huge room. I don’t think one thing at a time. As my family say “I think Auntie Winn”. My Auntie Winn could think about 30 conversations at the same time and expect you to jump from discussing world politics to the qualities of a good rock cake in less time than it took to the boil the kettle. Apparently, I do that to my husband too, I can often hear him saying “I know you think we’ve had this conversation today, however I’ve a feeling you're giving me an answer to a conversation we had last Thursday in the hot tub!” So, racing thoughts and me are best friends, or are we? I realized that while I can be thinking a thousand thoughts at once, I don’t suffer from overwhelm, how is that? How to stop racing thoughts? In this article, I want to share how I silence my mind, create some space and why it’s so good to do personally and professionally. Does Everyone Have Racing Thoughts? Before I share these ideas, I want to share something that really shocked me. I decided to ask my social media friends if they “suffered” from a racing mind as so many of my clients do. The response was a little alarming: 100% of respondents said they felt overwhelmed with many saying they felt like their mind was crazy and “Switching off? What’s that!” From my over busy friends' minds, it seems that it doesn’t just impact on your mind, it also impacts on your actions, what you get done in a day and even your ability to get a decent nights sleep! It really is time to get that mind to let up and give you some time isn’t it! So how can we fix this? Here I’m going to share a few tools to help you put the brakes on, calm your mind and achieve more without letting any of the important thoughts slip through your head. How to Stop Racing Thoughts In Your Mind 1. Listen to your mind - Think like a pro I realized that one of the skills I’ve learned since I became ill with Lupus is that, I’ve learned to think in the most powerful way possible. Every thought is processed. I’ve been using this practice for so many years and I appreciate that I don’t consciously do this anymore. However, at the start, you will have to structure your thinking. When I say processed, I mean I am aware of the nature of my thoughts. For instance: I could go on, however do you get the idea? Listen to what your head has to say and then process it. If you don’t take the time to learn to do this, then ask yourself what impact this could have on your brain space, actions and results? 2. Calm the mind When you’ve learned to actually listen to all that chatter in your head, it’s time to calm the mind. Listening does not automatically equate to it all magically disappearing. And calming the mind doesn’t require a tropical paradise, a massage and the sounds of nature to achieve a bit of brain space. For some clients, they’ve discovered the fastest way to shut their brains up is to crank up the music, so they literally can’t hear anything except their favourite song. For others, 5 minutes in the garden is enough to make them rethink. I wouldn’t say there's only one thing that takes you to a calm place, I’d have at least 12 physical things you can do to calm your mind down. That way, whether you have a hyper mind with excitement, anger, too much going on or feeling completely overwhelmed by life, you have different ideas to work. 3. The Hi, Welcome, Good morning Game For me, sometimes a walk under the big oak trees is enough; other times, I just find myself getting even more flustered as the thoughts fight for my attention. On those occasions I found this really simple exercise quietens my mind and makes me smile: It’s so simple and yet works every time for me. All I do is visualize 10 people that I’ve met that week and visualize the first word I said to them. I’ve usually said something like “Great to see you” or “Hello” or “Welcome to my event!” I love meeting people and I host many different kinds of events, so people are pleased to see me and we are looking forward to our time together. What a great set of emotions and feelings to recreate in my head. How could you use my welcome exercise to remind you of something in your week that makes you feel good? (This also works on ear worms too!) 4. Focus the mind When a coaching client arrives, they tend to start our session by talking so fast that I’m not sure even they can hear half of what they’re saying! After about 20 minutes, they are out of breath like they’ve been for a run, and their shoulders seem a little lighter as they’ve dumped the contents of their head on to me. What is happening when a client does this is they are:
  • Becoming more aware of what is going on in their head. Sometimes actually hearing the truth for the first time themselves!
  • Putting everything in front of them metaphorically so they can work out what to work on and what to dump. I call it ditch it or deal with it. And it works wonders on “To do” lists too!
  • Noticing how everything in their head impacts on them -- physically and emotionally.
  • Challenging the beliefs they are holding around their perception of reality.
And that’s just for starters! Read on for the next step. 5. Create a plan of action Once you can see what is going on, you can create a plan of action that moves you forward. Focus means "the main or central point of something, especially of attention or interest" and this is what you need to calm an overwhelmed head of racing thoughts. While you may not have a coach to work with, create some ways to empty everything out of your head and focus on what you need/want to do. These could include:
  • Arrange to meet with a friend or colleague and agree that “without judgement” they will listen and not interrupt. Agree that you will donate an hour to enable them to do the same.
  • One Facebook friend told me that their “cure to a racing mind” was to “disappear to bed with a pen and notebook to write it all down.” While in theory that is a good idea, I asked them if this worked for them, and they said sometimes. Could that be because they’ve waited until bedtime to process everything and get it out, instead of dealing with it when it was really a problem? Journaling can store up a lot of negative emotion if we keep reading it, so pay attention to how your notes make you feel. Is it really beneficial to you or do you need to change the way you write?
  • Make the time to focus. Do you need to put it in the diary or will you natural make the time to do this?
  • Create a list of all the things you could do for all the things you have whirling around in your head. Make it a long list. Dismiss nothing.
  • Play the ditch it or deal with it game. So often what we think we should be stressing about is actually someone else’s definition of important, therefore ask yourself “does this really matter to me?
6. Less on your to do list Years ago, people would answer “How are you?” with “I’m fine, thanks” or “I’ve had a bad cold but I’m getting better now, thanks!” However today’s reply is far more likely to be “Busy, how are you?” Busy is not an emotion or feeling! Many of us have a busy mind because we are so busy. More and more I’m being asked to help professionals and organization to create coach-able strategies to manage their time. Here’s a few of those ideas to help you with your racing mind: Stop over thinking things. We often over think how long a task that we hate doing is going to take and so put it off and thus it gets to stick around in your head! Set a timer and know how long a task takes. Many clients have been able to clear a whole task from their head because their perception of its impact on their day and productivity has been changed. Allow more time. Contrary to the first top tip, we also underestimate how long other things take to do. If you know a job will take an hour, allow 1.5 hours. This means if it doesn’t take that long, you’ve just made some brain space for yourself too, so it’s a win win situation. Choose your words wisely. Have you ever noticed how many sayings we have around words related to time? I really want some Me time. I never have the time. I know you’ve got a lot on, but make the time. I don’t want to spend my time telling you what to do, etc, etc. Ask yourself if your choice of words free up your mind or make it even busier? Don’t get side-tracked. We all have alarms and reminders that ping up at us. Even our household appliance now bleeps at us saying “Hey, I’m ready, give me your attention!” Turn them off. If you know you have a lot on, choose what you can hear carefully. Just like the person turning the music up so they can’t hear their own thoughts. Our ability to process what is going on in our heads can be impacted on by the email ping or the notification sounds. I have seen presentations where we’ve been told the best course of action is Eisenhower’s matrix for time management, which asks you to place every task (or thought) into a grid. The blocks are labelled: Urgent, less urgent, important and less important. While I’ve seen clients create their own version of this to great success. I also seen new clients who have told me that it takes them hours to complete the grid and so they get no work done and end up with even more flying around inside their heads! That’s enough to drive anyone insane! What works for one person does not mean it will work for you. You could try relabelling Eisenhower matrix as my clients to make it personal to you, to encourage you to use it. Alternatively, there is an app for everything. What about finding an app that enables you to empty your head. I love Wunderlist for enabling me to create some space in my head. In this way, you can put to one side thoughts while you concentrate on what is important right now. 7. Ditch that guilt And lastly, if you have a brain that is running away with you, ditch the guilt because I wouldn’t mind betting you'll free up a lot of space with that 1 action! Guilt is one of those emotions that causes us to process things again and again and again. Look for the guilt in your thoughts, analyze why it exists and get rid of it. Final Thoughts It's totally normal if you find your thoughts racing in your mind all the time. What you need to do is to really listen to your thoughts and take some concrete actions about those thoughts. Forcing yourself to silence those thoughts is not the most efficient way in the long-run. Time to face these thoughts and find what works best for you to deal with these racing thoughts.

How To Stop Insecure Attachment from Wreaking Havoc on Your Love Life

14. November 2018 - 17:00
We are naturally wired biologically to desire attachment to others. Learning how to attach to others begins from the day we are born. We begin learning from birth about attachment and how relationships work through the interactions and care we receive from our primary caregiver (usually mom or dad). The attachment of an infant to parent (or caregiver) can have a lasting impact on an individual and their adult relationships. Our relationships in infancy can have a profound affect on our future relationships because of what we learned in our earliest relationships. When insecure attachment takes place during infancy and childhood, this can wreak havoc on adult relationships. Problems such as abuse, clinging to abusers, low self esteem, control issues, jealousy, emotional dependency, and relationship paranoia can become prevalent when insecure attachment in infancy/childhood affects adult relationships. Not to fear though; there are many individuals who have experienced insecure attachment in infancy and childhood and have healthy relationships in adulthood. The key is recognizing the behaviors that may stem from insecure attachment and learn how to handle them. What Causes Insecure Attachment? As infants, we need a caregiver that is loving, attentive, and affectionate. The relationship between the caregiver (typically a parent) and baby creates a bond or attachment. A healthy and secure attachment occurs when the caregiver meets the babies needs and is loving. When there are problems with the care that is provided, insecure attachment occurs. Healthy attachment is known as secure attachment. When secure attachment doesn't occur, then by default an insecure attachment takes place. It is helpful to understand why insecure attachment may have occurred, so you can understand how your adult relationships have potentially been affected by your first relationships in life. Insecure attachment can happen for a variety of reasons. There are also levels of insecure attachment based on the severity of the situation. Physical Abuse and Neglect by Caregivers For example, a baby that has endured physical abuse and neglect by their caregiver will likely be highly insecurely attached. They have a distrust of their caregiver because of the abuse. They will likely also have fear of this caregiver. The infant desires love and care from the caregiver, but what they are given is harm and lack of care. This will affect their adult relationships, because they intrinsically learn that the one that they are supposed to trust the most harms them. No Affectionate Interactions Another way that insecure attachment occurs is when the physical needs for the baby are met, but there is no affectionate interactions. You can see extreme cases of this example in orphanages. The babies are provided with basic essential needs such as a crib to sleep and milk to drink. They are clothed and diapers are changed. However, these babies do not receive affection and interaction from their caregiver. They are left alone in their crib for most of the hours of the day. They have learned that crying for affection and attention has not brought anyone to meet this need, so they have stopped crying for these emotional needs to be met. Instead, they have a lack of emotional attachment or an insecure attachment because they do not have an interactive, affectionate relationship with a caregiver. This insecure attachment will likely affect their adult relationships. A child can also grow up in a "normal home" and not have these emotional needs met. Their primary caregiver may attend to the physical needs, but fail to interact with them. The caregiver does not talk to the baby, play with the baby, or give the baby cuddles, hugs, and kisses. The caregiver, for whatever reason, does not provide the emotional interactions that are needed for the baby to bond and attach. Thus, insecure attachment occurs and adult relationships are affected in the future. Inconsistency in Meeting the Baby's Needs Another example of why insecure attachment occurs is that of inconsistency in meeting the baby's needs. In this situation, the baby's needs are sometimes met when they cry and fuss. However, other times the baby is left to cry and cry without their needs being met. There is an inconsistency in the care from their primary caregiver. This creates a distrust from the child to parent. The baby learns that they cannot fully count on their caregiver to provide for their needs or comfort them all of the time. An insecurity within the child will develop because they do not know when they can count on their caregiver to provide for them. There is an uncertainty in having their needs met which creates anxiety as well as distrust. This can obviously carry into adult intimate relationships and wreak havoc. 10 Signs of Insecure Attachment There are some behaviors that are caused by insecure attachment. A variety of unhealthy behaviors can present in early childhood because of insecure attachment. This article will focus on the behaviors that are evident in adulthood because of insecure attachment. Here are some behaviors that can result from insecure attachment in infancy which results in unhealthy and insecurely attached adult relationships: 1. Demand Time For example, you do not want your spouse or partner to do things without you. Your desire is to spend all of your and their spare time together. You demand their time and attention, to the exclusion of other friendships and relationships. 2. Suspicion or Jealousy For example, you are suspicious of your partner or spouse's behavior and the people they work with. You question their work relationships and who they interact with in the workplace. You are suspicious of anyone that you feel they are getting to close to, as you fear they may leave you for another individual. 3. Lack of Emotional Intimacy For example, your spouse or partner feels that they emotionally can't get close to you. They describe you as someone who "puts up walls" or that you are generally hard to get close to emotionally. 4. Emotional Dependency For instance, you depend on your spouse or partner for your emotional well-being. Your expectation is that your happiness comes from your relationship. If you aren't happy, it's because you feel you aren't being fulfilled by your partner or spouse. 5. Fearful For example, you desire closeness in your intimate relationships. However, your experience has been that if you get too close to your loved one, they will hurt you. This causes you to be a mix of emotions. You draw your loved one near and then you push him or her away. Your fear of getting too close because you don't want to get hurt causes relationship dysfunction. 6. Lack of Trust You don't trust your spouse or partner to do right by you. You fear they may cheat on you or you fear that they will leave you. You cannot seem to bring yourself to fully trusting him or her. 7. Emotionally Shut off In heated arguments you shut down and turn off emotionally. You close yourself off emotionally because you don't want to get hurt any further. 8. Fear of Abandonment You fear that your spouse or partner will one day leave you. You don't have any justified reason for having this belief. Instead, it is a fear you harbor deep inside and it prevents you for getting too close to him or her because deep down you believe they are someday going to leave you anyway. This fear may stem from being left by your caregiver. Even if they came back to get you, the fear can still remain if you have an insecure attachment. 9. Controlling You dominate your intimate relationship and try to control your partner or spouse. Your underlying fear of rejection or of having the relationship not meet your needs drives your controlling behavior. You may dictate how things are run in your household and how your spouse/partner is to act. You feel that if you have control over their behavior and the functioning of your household, then you have control over the potential for being hurt in the relationship. Fear drives the controlling behaviors. 10. Affection Issues You are not comfortable with hugs and other forms of public displays of affection that seem normal to others. You may not have any issues being intimate in private because you are having a need met, but your physical affection in public suffers. Your discomfort may stem from not being held and provided with attention as an infant or child. Your relationship with your caregiver was cold in comparison to a securely attachment caregiver and child relationship. Because of this lack of affection, you have not learned how to give and receive physical affection comfortably. A Rocky Relationship Typically what you can expect in an insecurely attached adult relationship is one of two directions: rocky with lots of ups and downs or ambivalence. The rocky relationships develop because the individual has mixed feelings. They want a close relationship, but they have been harmed by the one who was supposed to care the most for them (their caregiver in infancy). They draw near and then push away when things get tough. This causes them to also create defense mechanisms to protect themselves when problems arise in the relationship. Defense mechanisms can be unhealthy and cause more turmoil. The ambivalence can stem from not having needs met as an infant, so they have learned to not care. They develop a wall because they cannot count on others to meet their needs (or so they think because of their past experience). They will prevent themselves from getting too emotionally involved and attached to others because they have a distrust of others to meet their emotional and/or physical needs. The Solution to Your Attachment Problem The solution to your attachment problem is first recognizing that there is a problem. Next you must figure out which behaviors in your current relationship are unhealthy and stem from this problem, so that you can then work to correct the behaviors. 1. Recognizing the Problematic Behavior You cannot fix something unless you recognize that it is broken. The first step to healing a relationship and resolving insecure attachment is identifying that there is a problem. The problem manifests itself in our behaviors. The examples provided above are just some of the behaviors that can result from insecure attachment. There are many others. The key is recognizing if there is something wrong in your intimate relationships which is revealed in a pattern of behavior that potentially stems from insecure attachment. No parent or caregiver is perfect, because there are no perfect people. We are all flawed beings, so don't be quick to blame your parents for your current relationships. They may not have done everything perfect, but you are responsible for your own actions as an adult. You can learn to have securely attached adult relationships, even if you had the most broken and insecurely attached relationships in infancy and childhood. 2. Develop Relationships with Those who can Securely Attach A relationship between two individuals who suffer from insecure attachment will never result in a securely attached relationship without help. It is hard enough to have a relationship between two healthy individuals who experienced securely attached relationships in childhood. When one individual has attachment issues, there will be problems in the relationship because their behavior will manifest the problem. If both individuals have attachment issues, it is more likely that the relationship will have a great deal of problems, drama, and extreme behaviors. The goal is to have a healthy relationship between two individuals who can have healthy and secure attachments in their adult relationships. If one or both recognize that there are behaviors that stem from insecure attachment, then help should be sought. If you are wondering whether you are able to securely attach in a relationship, there is a free test that you can take here: Attachment Styles and Close Relationships. This test can help you better understand the way you think, behave, and your subsequent ability to securely attach in a relationship. 3. Therapy Therapy is the best way to overcome behaviors that stem from insecure attachment. When seeking out a therapist or counselor in helping you overcome your insecure attachment, ask the right questions. Ask if they have helped others with this problem. Then ask if their client was able to overcome the insecure attachment and in turn able to develop a healthy attached relationship. If you are currently in a relationship, also ask if they will work with both you and your spouse/partner if necessary. In some cases, couple's therapy is helpful as it can help the other person better understand your problems, so you can work together on the solutions. 4. Deal with your Defense Mechanisms Defense mechanisms develop as a way for us to protect ourselves. When we have anxieties and fears that we don't know how to handle with good coping skills, we then develop defense mechanisms. For example, we may have fear of abandonment issues because of real abandonment that happened in childhood. We carry that issue into our intimate relationships in adulthood because we haven't learn to deal with this fear properly. In turn, we displace (the defense mechanism) the fear from childhood onto our current partner and act out of this fear. We question their motives and then act clingy when we fear the relationship is rocky. This is obviously not a healthy way to act in a relationship. Understanding defense mechanisms and recognizing the ones you may be using to squelch your fears and anxieties can help you. Read up on defense mechanisms and look at yourself introspectively to determine if you utilize any unhealthy defense mechanisms. If you do, then knowing is half the battle. Find new, healthy ways of handling your fears and anxieties. Counseling can help with this as well. Here is a helpful article on the subject: How Not to Let Your Defense Mechanisms Control You 5. Work on Change The way to change is to recognize the problematic behavior and work to correct it. Once you know that the problem causing the behavior is your insecure attachment from earlier in life, then you can work to change. For example, you have always avoided talk about marriage and a future together with your significant other. You have a fear of abandonment, so you don't want to even broach the topic of marriage, because if you got married and they left you it would hurt even more. Your fears are over-riding your decision making. Once you realize where the fear is coming from, then you can make the decision to take your fears head on by having the discussion about a future and potentially marriage. If you feel that you can't do it, then seek out a counselor for help. They can help you work through your fears. Some fears and anxieties are so deeply imbedded that we need help drawing them out and taking them on. Another example of making change is trusting your spouse/partner. Recognizing that they haven't had any reason to deserve your distrust is the first step. Next, work on changing the behaviors that stem from your lack of trust. Perhaps you secretly check their phone daily. Stop doing it. Make yourself change the behaviors that stem from your past insecure attachments. If you are unable to stop the behavior on your own, then seek a therapist to help you. Final Thoughts: Don't Give Up! Don't give up on having healthy relationships. Chalking up your behavior to "that's just who I am", will not help you have healthy, securely attached relationships. Identify that you do have a problem, then work to correct the behaviors and you will be on your way to healthier and happier intimate relationships. You do not have to remain stuck in an insecure relationship status. You have the ability to work to change yourself, starting today.

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

14. November 2018 - 16:00

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.((Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue))

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising.  If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation.  Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand
Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia Anemia is a condition in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body's tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.((NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired))

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.((Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome))

Diabetes Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.((Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired)) Sleep Apnea Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.((Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea))

Thyroid disease An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.((Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown)) Lifestyle-Related Causes of Fatigue

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 
Workplace-Related Causes of Fatigue

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.
Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.
How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here's how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body's basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

How to Change Your Mindset for a Happy And Successful Life

13. November 2018 - 18:00
Being happy and successful is something we all aspire to. It’s very likely that when asked “What’s your aim in life?” most of us would answer - to be happy. But on some days, this “small and modest” goal just seems light years away. The good and bad news is this - it’s all in our head. Even when it seems impossible to look on the bright side of things, it’s actually 100% in our power to transform the way we see life. This article compiles 10 ways how to change your mindset and go from being unhappy or just “okay” with your life to feeling (and finding) that it's already quite a success. 1. Count your blessings In the 21st century, we are used to always wanting more and striving to be better. However, sometimes we just need to appreciate what we already have, and suddenly a different world will open up right in front of us. Changing your mindset to being grateful is really one of the most powerful eye-openers. It may sound too simple to be that effective, but you have to practice it every day and in everything you do. If you really set your mind to be grateful, you’ll stop paying attention to small annoyances and negative situations. Instead, you’ll start focusing on the good things that have happened and the lessons you've learned even from unpleasant events or encounters. Start by doing this simple exercise every evening before you go to sleep: Write down 7 happy things that happened that day and that you can be grateful for. They don’t have to be big things - on some days, you’ll write down small happy moments like having a delicious latte in the afternoon or receiving a friendly smile from a colleague. As you practice this technique (without interruptions!) for several weeks or months, you’ll notice that you’ll start appreciating these small joys of life already in the moment when you experience them. 2. Find your purpose Spend a day alone and think honestly about what you want to achieve in this life. This notion can seem a bit vague at the beginning. For example, it's very likely most of us would say that we want to be happy and successful. But take the time to look deeper into what these concepts mean to you. Your purpose might be to do something meaningful every day, or make the world a better place by doing what you love. Your aim can be to grow every year - personally and professionally. You can also lay down more concrete goals for yourself. For example, spend all weekends with your family, get a promotion or take an eye-opening travel to an exotic land. In this case, try setting specific time frames for achieving these milestones. Not sure your purpose yet? This article will help you. 3. Seek fulfillment, not happiness Instead of striving to be simply happy, you should seek sustained fulfillment. Increasingly more psychologists and thinkers are stressing that happiness is not a product of getting what you want, but rather the byproduct of the different challenges you’ve overcome and milestones you’ve reached to get there.((Zat Rana: The purpose of life isn’t to be happy—it’s to be fulfilled)) In other words, happiness alone isn’t enough without pursuing things, competing and struggling. In fact, the constant chase of happiness and worrying that you aren’t feeling happy can actually make you even more unhappy and stressed.((Psychology Today: Seeking long-term fulfillment, not happiness, will get you through these economic hard times.)) Remember - happiness is not the destination - it’s a side effect to living your life to the fullest. And here’s how to achieve fulfillment: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up 4. Cultivate diverse life areas and interests The more diverse and meaningful your life areas, the more fulfilled your life will be. People who are invested in many different things are much less likely to get depressed and burnt out than those who have few interests in life. One psychotherapist has shared a technique how to nurture diverse life areas and avoid burnout and depression.((Desk Time: How to prevent and fight job burnout)) She suggests dividing a list of paper into 9 sections for different parts of your life, those that are individually important to you. Some examples can be family, work, friends, hobbies, traveling, volunteering, sports, time spent alone, etc. Once you’ve determined these important domains, make sure you nurture and develop them. For example, dedicate a certain amount of time to each of them every week. This guide can help you allocate time to things that are important to you: The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life 5. Love yourself Some people place everyone else before themselves and know how to give better than how to receive. If you are one of them, it’s time you start thinking more about yourself. Like with many things in life, the key here is in the balance. Here are some ideas for how to start loving yourself more:
  • Dedicate at least one day per week to doing what you love.
  • Learn to say no. Try this the next time someone asks you a favor that you really don’t want to deliver.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel too tired to go out or even to go to work, skip it and don’t feel bad about it. If you’re a hard worker, most likely you deserve a day off.
  • Switch off your phone for an evening or a whole day. Show people that you need some alone time and that they can’t always rely on you.
  • Try being selfish for a change. If you are usually the compliant type, try telling others what you prefer or how you want things to happen.
Here're even more ideas on how to love yourself more: 30 Ways to Practice Self-Love and Be Good to Yourself 6. Try a new vocation It’s easy to become caught up in everyday life, work and family chores. If you’ve been running the same rat race for years, it might be difficult to even imagine living differently. But surely, you have heard of people who keep hustling, trying new things and finding their passion even when they already have stable jobs and families. Maybe their base job brings them steady income but their side-project is the one that brings fulfillment and extra income, or maybe they have found their happiness and purpose later in life. Guess what? You can do that too! It’s never too late to try a new hobby or even an occupation. If you don’t feel like turning your life upside down right away, start by doing something small, like a side business. Nowadays there are countless online jobs and even businesses you can start from your computer. Alternatively, try a new hobby (like playing tennis or learning to sail), a craft (like painting or knitting), or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. If you are truly dedicated and interested in your hobby, it can bring a fresh perspective on things and even give you some new ideas for your professional life. Remember, you're never too old or too late to try something new! Here's the proof. 7. Manage your expectations Having high standards is not a bad thing essentially. But it can become harmful if you overdo it. If you are too demanding towards yourself, you can experience depression and job burnout. If you are expecting too much of other people, they can get tired or scared of you or even avoid you. Remember this: Genuinely loving someone - this applies to yourself, too - can only begin when you stop expecting a certain action, behavior or result from yourself or from another person; and when you let yourself embrace and love the natural flow of events. 8. Don’t get offended Taking offense is one of the biggest happiness thieves in our life. Being offended steals the precious, genuinely happy moments we could be spending together with our loved ones. It’s also linked with the previous point - when your expectations towards others are too high, and you feel like they owe you something. Here’s the harsh truth: Nobody owes you anything. You should be grateful for all the good things, kindness, and love you receive from other people. And never assume that it’s something that should be there by default. So next time you get offended, ask yourself and answer truthfully - isn’t it only about my hurt ego? And why do I presume I deserve the help, attention, and love from that other person? 9. Give and contribute Life satisfaction largely comes from a sense of contribution – a feeling that your life and work matters. Doing something valuable for your local community, your company or society as a whole can give you a feeling of mission or a cause. Some ideas on how you can contribute:
  • Apply to be a volunteer in orphanages, elderly homes or animal shelters;
  • Join groups or initiatives within your workplace, like office events’ organizers or charity groups;
  • Join an organization that fights for environmental issues, advocates animal rights, etc.;
  • Be proactive in your neighborhood. Join local initiatives for giving during Christmas and throughout the year.
10. Look at your partner with new eyes If you are together with your partner for many years, you surely know that relationships have ups and downs, and it’s never just roses and violets. Many people find it hard to accept that they have grown too used to their other half and that being together no longer brings butterflies and the good kind of goosebumps. The good news is that it’s in your power to change it and bring more color into your relationship. Here are some ideas for bringing the spark back:
  • Try doing something neither of you has ever done. It can be a new sport, a hobby, a new form of traveling or anything else. Going through new experiences together will bring a fresh excitement and you’ll be able to share how you felt while doing it.
  • Try touching each other more often. This may feel forced at first if you are not the typical touchy couple. But there’s proof that hugging and touching your significant other plays a crucial role in nurturing the relationship and helps to avoid and tackle conflicts.
  • Give each other time off. This doesn’t mean break up or press “Pause” on your relationship. Simply encourage your partner’s other interests, even when they don’t include you. For example, support their special hobby or encourage a night out or even a trip with his/her friends. The other person will surely appreciate your respect for their interests and you’ll get a chance to miss each other.
Happiness and success is within arm's reach So, we have established that happiness and success are not an end-product or a finish line that you cross and stay content for the rest of your life. On the contrary, these are the by-products that you experience while you’re leading a fulfilled and varied life. This is simple and complicated at the same time. On the one hand, it’s difficult to chase and capture an intangible concept like a happy and successful life. On the other hand, the mindset of being happy will simply creep up on you as you don’t actually think that much about it.

Are You Too Lazy or Just Haven’t Found Your Passion Yet?

13. November 2018 - 17:00
To be the exact person we are at this moment in time, with this DNA, this personality and our unique perspective is a 1 in 400 trillion “chance” of being alive. Dr Ali Binazir illustrates it this way: “It is the probability of 2 million people getting together to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice and they all come up with the exact same number—for example, 550,343,279,001.” You can think of yourself as a miracle of fate or physiology. So, what’s our purpose? There is a lot of talk about finding our passion in the media. A google search turned up 189,000,000 results on the subject. That’s considerable pressure. That pressure increases when we see someone who seems to have taken their passion by the reigns and is riding it through the sky like a Pegasus. Seeing someone doing something we love or is smack dab in their “true” passion, seem to exacerbate things that may not be going so well in our own life. Realize that is not really the case. It looks seamless but we don’t see all the failures, embarrassing moments or hurdles they’ve already crossed. They just keep trying. Lazy is different than avoiding “pain”. Those most successful have pushed through the hard-painful stuff. So, here’s the skinny on manifesting your elusive passion: Define Your Self Passion Passion can mean many things, and it’s going to come from the very core of your personal story, not anyone else’s. Remember that 1 in 400 trillion statistic? Your life is going to have its own path, and you will react to it with your DNA, from your personality, influenced by your circumstances and environment. Your passion can be anything that synchronously motivates, intrigues or challenges you. Your purpose can be connected to a vocation, family, or distinct meaning. To think that we all have one singular purpose or passion is naive. That’s what makes it so hard. We feel bad if we don’t have it all figured out. I have several passions, and I make them a part of my life. The one thing I do is focus on not fragmenting myself in too many directions. I love flying helicopters, but that’s not my job, it’s a passion. I love figuring things out and being technical, and I’ve’ utilized that in my job many times, but it’s not the direction I follow. I feel most dynamic and connected to my intuition and intelligence when I write, travel and help others transform their goals. Need a formula? Try this:
  • Think with your heart, not your head.
  • Ask those close to you what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Make a list of your own self perceptions.
  • Stack your love’s and dislikes against each other.
  • Stop playing by the rules.
  • Take action(s) daily.
  • Test things out and learn.
  • Use Mel Robbins 5,4,3,2,1 rule.
  • Jump.
Achieving your passion means finding a balance and living up to one’s potential in all areas of life. You Don’t Need Permission I used to put so much pressure on myself that I would become overwhelmed and follow opportunities I didn’t really want because it’s what was expected; or I didn’t want to disappoint someone. Even harder to admit that it was the easier path to go. Because following your real purpose and passion is a lot of work. In the end, there were times I ended up disappointing myself. And we are the ones who must live with ourselves 24 hours a day. Think about that. I was focused on immediate control, rather than a bigger passion. We're enamored with the idea that finding our passion is the key to life — getting away, being successful, free, doing something fun and adventurous, seeing cool things, meeting different people or being famous. It’s not. It all sounds so exciting but getting clear on what we want only happens with steps. Our environment matters, our connections matter, our time matters, and our discipline matters. The more we understand this, the clearer we get on our passions. Taking action means setting goals and forming a system. There can be no up without down, input without output, positive with negative and so on. You will oscillate, and that’s okay. Here’s the thing: You don’t need anyone’s permission to follow your purpose. Likewise, you don’t need permission to be okay with not having one. You won’t upset the order of the universe. Forming habits and following goals is still a purpose. If you’re looking to define your passion, utilize the steps above to get clear. It’s one of the most affirming things you can do for yourself. Take Baby Steps You must take action. Baby steps are fine, but you must move forward and keep trying. It’s inevitably the way we learn. It’s how we learned to walk, talk, read and tie our shoes. Did we judge ourselves as a child, as harshly as we do now? No. When people talk about reaching their passion to feel whole, they really want to achieve balance. They want to reserve time for work, family, friends, and personal needs, but not overdo it. Here are a few things to take hold of without regret:
  • Eliminate negative people from your life.
  • Keeping appointments with yourself just like any other (yoga, reading, exercise, cooking….)
  • Educate yourself and seek knowledge.
  • Eliminate overextending yourself.
  • Eliminate frivolous commitments, spending or tasks.
  • Do more of what gives you a buzz of excitement.
  • Achieve one thing a day towards your goals (passion or purpose)
Passion and curiosity come hand in hand, if you’re not wondering about new things and ideas you’re not tapping into your potential passions. Even the expert was once a beginner. It's only consistency and perseverance that made the expert successful, they could have given up anytime. Usually the things you sacrifice your “free” time for can be called a passion. Do you want to make a business out of that, or is it enough that you savor it? Keep in mind your passion may not remained rooted, it may be more fluid developing over time. Final Thoughts Your passion and purpose take on the form you give it. It functions from your actions and inherent beliefs. Like living, breathing, relationships, you need to treat it like being with someone who encourages you to keep falling in love with yourself. Fall in love with you. Make the moves, step over the boundaries, and fly. In the words of Joe Brock, author of Thoughts Of Erotica: “This is the way of the future where healthy, stable relationships (insert passions) are once again the norm and standard.”

How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

12. November 2018 - 18:00
In our high-achieving society, failure is often seen as the worst situation that one can encounter. Rather than embracing failure as a learning and growth opportunity, those who fail in some aspect of their lives will often see it as an immovable barrier, telling them that they are not capable of overcoming their weaknesses. The truth is that failure is never the end of the road. It is simply an indicator that there are some parts of ourselves and our lives that we need to put more effort into in order to get the results that we desire. Are you struggling to overcome failure, rise above it, and seek the path to success? For those who are having difficulty moving past failures, continue reading the article to learn how to deal with failure and pick yourself back up. Failure, Success, and the Brain The fear of failure and the excitement/happiness that comes from success, like other emotions, trigger reactions within certain portions of the brain, which helps to contribute to our overall learning and growth capabilities. Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, has conducted extensive research on failure and how it operates within the brain to produce varying outcomes on subjects with different mindsets.((Reader's Digest: Failure Can Enhance Your Brain)) In her research, she uncovered the link between those who remain undaunted by failure and those who can't seem to push past their failure. The first group of her test subjects, who fell into the "growth mindset" group, showed massive improvement when faced with failure due to an enhanced focus state that was triggered shortly after failing a task, forcing them to learn and improve. Those who fell into the "fixed mindset" group showed little to no improvement and remained unchanged by the failure that they were faced with. There's another interesting point to make when it comes to success and failure and their effects on the brain. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, success has a huge impact on neuroplasticity in the brain and helps us to learn whereas failure has displayed impact on our learning.((Harvard Business Review: Success Gets into Your Head—and Changes It)) The study, which was conducted by Earl Miller, subjected monkeys to simple learning tasks in which they looked a certain direction when presented with one of two pictures. Those who successfully looked in the direction that the image was intended for were rewarded with a drop of juice and those who failed received nothing. The brain activity in the monkeys that succeeded increased as the monkeys stored the new information and learned from their success. The monkeys that failed, however, showed little to no increase in brain activity after they completed the task unsuccessfully. What is the takeaway of these studies? The most important lessons that these studies teach is that success is determined by mindset and drive, that giving in to failure produces absolutely no positive results, and that success breeds increased and continual success. Breaking Free of Failure and Moving Towards Success Now that you have a better grasp on some of the mechanics of failure and success, and how they affect us psychologically; let's dive into some of the ways that you can effectively deal with failure and continue moving towards the success that is right in front of you! 1. Acknowledge the failure (But don't dwell or take it personally) It's important to acknowledge failure in your life when it happens. This will help you to identify what it is you need to focus on, so that you can approach the situation in a new way for success in the future. That being said, it is important to acknowledge the failure but not to dwell on the failure, or to take it personally. When all you think about is the failure or you begin to associate yourself as a failure because you failed to do something correctly, it brings down your mood and your mindset for success. 2. View failure as a learning opportunity and take notes Failure is such a debilitating feeling because we associate it with losing and with finishing. Failing does not mean that you have lost. It also doesn't mean that you need to be prevented from moving forward because of the failure. Shift your perspective and view failure as an opportunity to grow and learn. Once you see failure in this light, you can then begin to approach it with a different mindset; a mindset that will help you to quickly transform your actions into ones that lead to success. 3. Create a map that will help translate failure into success When faced with failure, it can be difficult to convince ourselves to move forward. This is especially true if the failure that you were faced with was large and required a ton of work to go from point A to the not-so-successful point B. No matter what the size of your failure is, don't be afraid to go back to the beginning and chart out each of your decisions. Which ones worked? Which ones were unsuccessful? Once you've identified what didn't work out, you can begin to replace those actions with better ones that will translate into success. 4. Accept responsibility for your role in the failure Taking responsibility for the things you did wrong will help you in the long run. When faced with failure, your first instinct may be to direct the failure in another direction. For example, you may choose to blame your failure on an external factor or on another person. Although this will help you feel better in the short-term and drive away the fear that typically comes with failure, it won't help you to recognize your own role in the failure. Only by recognizing your role in the failure will you be able to identify your shortcomings and do better next time! 5. Remind yourself of past failures and successes when faced with a large failure There may be some failures in your life that seem too big to get over. The failure may cause you to get down on yourself and to feel less motivated than usual. During times like these, it is important to remember that failure is not the end of the world. Reflect on past successes to remind yourself that you are more than capable of achieving whatever it is that you set your sights on. Also, make sure to reflect on your past failures to remind yourself that you have always had the ability to move forward and overcome. No matter what it is you are facing, you are always stronger than failure. Final Thoughts Failure can be daunting but it doesn't have to be. You are always capable of taking your failure and turning it into success if you approach it the correct way. Need some extra help or motivation to help you tackle your failure? Here's how to get unstuck in life: Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

12. November 2018 - 17:00
Have you ever heard the question, “what would you do if money was not a factor?” It is one of those questions that people often brush aside, because quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naive or foolish, but deep down you know it is possible to start living your dream life. You know there is more to life than working and paying bills. It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life. People not only settle in the workplace, but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values. That is why it is not naive or foolish to start living your dream life, it is essential. Living your dream life is more than being rich, it is the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose. If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, then follow the below 7 steps found in the book - Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change: 1. Construct a Plan of Action The foundation for you to create your dream life is for you to take the time and visualize what that life will look like. This is more than the normal vision board you may have heard before. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses. Olympians are well-known for their visualization practices as they prepare for competition. The reason they do this is because everyone is very talented by the mere accomplishment of qualifying for the Olympics. To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States free style ski team is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line.((New York Times: Olympians use imagery as mental training)) Olympians visualize in such detail because they understand they only have one opportunity every four years to compete. The best way they can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out ((source: From mental power to muscle power—gaining strength by using the mind)) 2. Focus Your Attention If you want to start living your dream life right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world. Your beliefs create your consciousness, and your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information. Everyday, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences. One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now you probably know that everyone did not purchase the car the same day as you, but what happened? Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind ,"this car matters to me". As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there. Your mind blocks out most of the stuff that is going on while you are driving to help you stay sane. Imagine if you were consciously aware of every line, tree, car, deer, squirrel, reflector and sign while driving. The same way your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters). 3. Put the Systems and Processes Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to maintaining your early wins. The mistake most people make is they are excited in the early going, but they are working solely off discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30-days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day, and fail miserably late at night. Each time you withstood the tempting call of sweets, the likelihood of you withstanding another call decreased. This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieter, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat. The reason is simple: Whatever food that is in your house, you are going to eat at some time or another. The only way to truly ensure you will not eat the candy is to throw it away. This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life. 4. Accountability Is a Must When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them. When you proclaim your goal to other people, it improves the likelihood of you following through. You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.
  • If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to make the best report of your life. You understand the opportunity and value of making a good impression with the CEO.
  • Now imagine if your coworker asked for the report. Will there be a difference in quality?
  • How about if you were going to a class reunion? Would that improve your commitment to get in shape?
  • Even when you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean better than if you knew no one was coming.
Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others. 5. Catalyst for Change There are things you can control and things that you cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks. The good news is failure is a part of success. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is people spend so much time trying to avoid failure, that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success. By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it. Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Oftentimes, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before. Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it. Positive events are anything that move you closer to your goal. In your case, anything that moves you closer to your dream life. Whether you quit your job or your boss fired you, it is all about what you are going to do next. Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life. 6. Character Matters In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed essential to success. Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity. Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success; such as grit, curiosity or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked.((Greater Good: Is character the key to success?)) It is important to remember that change comes from the inside-out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals. 7. Muster up the Courage Once you have completed the first six steps, you have everything you need to start living your dream life. Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing. Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation, you are only looking to start. One you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes. I often compare starting your journey like walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. But if you are willing take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog. If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you. You have an idea of what your dream life looks like and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience it. Final Thoughts There is a lot of work that goes into living your dream life, but you will find it well worth your time. Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, do not settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue your dream life with effort and resolve.

10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Feeling Extra Stuck

12. November 2018 - 16:00

We have all felt stuck at some point in our lives. Perhaps you feel stuck right now.

Maybe you’re feeling a little stuck working on a creative project, like writing an article or painting a piece of art. Perhaps you started a new business, took on a major project at work or began a new health or fitness regimen.

Your initial excitement has worn off and you’re now feeling stuck, confused or overwhelmed by how to keep progressing forward. Or maybe, you’re a lot stuck. You feel trapped in a job you hate, a relationship that isn’t working, a boatload of debt, or a life that has little resemblance to the one you'd imagined.

Let’s be honest. Regardless of how stuck you are, it’s a terrible feeling. Feeling trapped and unsure how to move forward can lead to feelings of, confusion, angst, hopelessness, insecurity and overwhelm.

Sometimes we just want to throw in the towel and give up. But don’t give up just yet.

Whether you feel just a ‘little stuck’ or like you’re stuck in dry concrete; trying to make a small or big decision; wondering what you’re doing with your life), feeling trapped in a job, overwhelmed by debt, unhappy in a relationship or life that isn’t the one you want to live, these 10 strategies can help you move forward again.

1. Take a step back

Your first step forward when you feel stuck is to take a step back. Often, we try to get unstuck by pushing forward with sheer force or just trying harder. But as Einstein said,

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Access a different level of thinking by assessing your current situation from a new viewpoint. Whenever I’m working with clients who feel stuck, this is the first thing I ask them to do.

I have them think about where they are, what got them here and what they really want. When you step back from your life, career, and challenges and look from a bit of a distance, you see things from a different perspective.

Your Turn:

Imagine you are lost in the woods. You could keep moving forward looking for your way out. You could panic and go in circles. You could head back the way you came. You could, as I learned in camp, just sit still until help arrives.

Imagine instead that you could stop, take a deep breath and zoom out from your situation. Imagine you could fly above it all as if you were in a helicopter and look down at yourself among the trees.

What could you see or notice differently from this perspective – a different route, people there to support you, the way out is closer than you thought?

Another way to ‘zoom out’ is to look at your situation as a neutral observer. Imagine you’re a fly on the wall watching your life. What insights or advice would you give yourself?((Tracy Kennedy: Taking A Step Back Is The First Step Forward))

2. Get specific

It’s hard to move forward until you fully understand why you are stuck. You have to get specific and identify what’s really going on. You must name it to tame it.

A great mentor of mine once said,

“A well-defined problem presents its own solution”.

If you want to find a solution, you must truly understand the underlying problem. This is one of the premises of coaching. When you dig a little deeper to the real issue/challenge/blockage, solutions tend to present themselves.

For example, there are big differences between, ‘I feel stuck’ and ‘I feel stuck because I’m overwhelmed with the details’ or ‘I feel stuck because I’m worried what people are going to think of me.’ Once you name it, you are more likely to be able to tame it.

One of the most important questions I ask clients is, ‘What’s getting in the way?’ When they answer, the next question is always, ‘What else?’ We continue along this route until we feel we’ve gotten to the real, underlying issue(s).

Your Turn:

Seek to uncover the underlying issues that are getting in your way and stopping you from progressing. You can do this by journaling, talking to someone who knows you well, or simply taking the time to ask yourself these questions.

Once you name it, perhaps the solution will then present and tame itself.

3. Reconnect to your ‘why’

Feeling stuck is often because you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and what’s important. You’ve lost your why.

Why did you start this in the first place? What reasons, values or passions drove you to make this change in your life? What picture do you have for yourself, your business and your life? Why are you wanting to achieve or accomplish this?

By reminding yourself of your original intention and purpose, it gives you the intrinsic motivation to get back on track and move ahead.

Connecting to your deeper ‘why’ will be the fuel that keeps you going, even through tough times and roadblocks.

Your Turn:

Whatever you’re stuck on right now, grab a journal and ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” ,”Why did I start this in the first place?” “What am I trying to achieve here and why is that important to me? "

4. Brainstorm Your Options

We often feel stuck because we don’t see any way out from our current situation - we feel we don’t have any options.

By brainstorming ideas and possibilities, you expand your mind and open your thinking to finding a new solution. When you can see potential options, you won’t feel so trapped anymore. 

This is not about deciding the one thing or making the right choice, it’s about allowing your creative mind to expand and see all the potential possibilities. We often dive straight into finding the right one and eliminate anything that doesn’t feel perfect.

That’s why so many people feel stuck. They are attempting to find the next right career, the best way to handle a situation or the one perfect idea. This can lead to a lot of stress and analysis paralysis.

The reality is that there is no single best or right. There are many possibilities that could work for your situation. It’s about the next step right now.

If you hate your career, what new potential careers are on your mind? List them all out - even the ones that seem unrealistic or silly.

If you’re unhappy in your relationship, what can you do? There are likely a lot more options than you’ve considered. What are they?

Your Turn:

Make a list of options for your current situation – as crazy or ‘out there’ as they might be.

When you think you’ve thought of everything, ask yourself, ‘What other options are there?' This allows you to dig deeper and see ideas you might not have otherwise explored.

Then, and only then can you start to identify the way forward.

5. Take a brain break

Full disclosure, I’m stealing this strategy from my 7-year-old daughter's second-grade teacher.

The other night I was helping my daughter with homework, she was getting super frustrated and wasn’t sure what to write in a letter to her big buddy. She was on the verge of tears when she looked up and asked, ‘Mom, can I take a brain break?’ She got up from the table, walked downstairs to her room and played with her stuffed animals. When she came upstairs a short time later, she was as happy as could be and jumped right into her writing.

We could all use a brain break when we’re stuck. A chance to shift focus gives our brains a chance for quiet; it takes the pressure off so we can come back with a fresh mind and new perspective.

When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens. The brain break actually helps to incubate and process new information.((Edutopia: Energy and Calm: Brain Breaks and Focused-Attention Practices))

A great brain break is to do something physical that gets you in flow. Take a hike, a run, a walk around the block. Another well-known brain break is meditation - which has so many proven benefits I can’t even begin to name them all. Try it, it works.

I have one friend who says taking a shower helps her get unstuck. ’Somehow good thoughts come up in that silent space.’

Your Turn:

What kind of brain breaks can you give yourself? Which would be most helpful?  It’s not just for second graders anymore.

6. Let go of what’s not working

Have you ever walked through the mud and had your boot get stuck and your foot fly out? When this happens, you usually have two choices: either put your boot back on and keep plodding through, repeating the frustration as it continually gets stuck, or you can take off that boot and move forward.

The same is true in life. When we get stuck, we often stay in the mud and try to drag our boot along. We keep doing what’s clearly not working. The boot represents limiting beliefs, old habits, or stories you’re telling yourself.

Remember in the movie “UP” when Mr. Fredricksen is trying to get his house to fly? It was too heavy. He had to dump out his belongings until the house was light enough to lift off.

Same is true here; you’ve got to get rid of the emotional baggage you’re carrying so you can move forward and fly.

Take my client *Lucy for example. She was stuck trying to figure out what she wanted next in her life and career. She was having trouble finding a job she was interested in. Through our work together, we uncovered that Lucy had an interesting belief: that having a job and being happy were mutually exclusive.

She believed she couldn’t have a job and be happy at the same time. This meant she was either going to be jobless and joyful or employed and miserable. In order to move forward in her career search, she needed to take off this ‘boot’ and believe she could find a job where she could, in fact, be happy.

Your Turn:

What’s holding you back? An old habit, limiting belief or story you are telling yourself? How can you reframe your thinking in order to change the direction you are headed?

7. Know what you need to get unstuck

We all have a way in which we operate that is unique to us. When you understand how you’re wired, you can understand more specifically what you need to get unstuck. It’s like your own personal formula for moving forward.

For me, I need a crystal-clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve and a big, tangible goal to reach for.  When I don’t have a clear picture of the end result or challenging target I’m trying to hit, I feel stuck and demotivated. 

Here are some common needs: 

Astep-by-step plan, to understand why something is important, deadlines and impending pressure, unconditional encouragement and support, to think things through, connecting to a deeper meaning, freedom, and flexibility, and certainty.

Do you relate to any of these?

Your Turn:

What do you need to get unstuck? If you’re not quite sure, you might want to check out the I.D.™ (Instinctive Drives™). It’s a tool I’ve used for almost 20 years (and have all my clients take). It helps you understand what you need to be at your best, including what will help you get unstuck.

8. Shift your state

When you’re in a stuck state, it actually creates a cycle of ‘stuckness.’ Get yourself out of there!

Instead of placing all your focus and energy on the problem, shift your focus and energy to another area of your life. Go do something that brings you joy; spend time with someone you love.

Do anything to shift your state and mood. This will switch your downward cycle of ‘doom and gloom’ into an upward cycle of ‘hope and possibility’.

A great way to shift your state is to practice gratitude. So, you hate your job. Practice gratitude for other areas of your life. Does it support your family? Allow you to work remotely?

I'm not saying you should stay in a job you hate, I’m just recommending that you get perspective. A state shift brings energy, hope, and positivity into your mindset…keys to getting out of that dreaded stuck cycle.

Your Turn:

What always puts you in a good mood? What brings you joy, happiness or fulfillment?   Do it! And make sure to practice gratitude. Try this: each morning for the next week, write down three things you are grateful.

9. Take action

Getting into action is critical to getting unstuck. There’s no substitute for momentum. Action enables further action, while inactivity creates inertia, self-doubt, and confusion.

I love this quote from Simon Sinek:

‘If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.’

My client *Marcus had just made a career move and was setting out to start his own wellness business. The biggest problem getting in his way? Inertia.

The more he thought about what he was going to do, the bigger the endeavor began to feel. The more he explored the risks, challenges, and his extensive to-do list, the more he felt overwhelmed. He was stuck. 

However, once he took action, starting with quick wins, he gained momentum and was able to move forward and tackle bigger and more challenging steps. Once he broke through his inaction, he was on a roll.

My grandfather always told us: a path leads to a path. We can’t know what the future holds and trying to figure out everything before we start is a recipe for disaster.

Know that a path will lead to a path, a step will lead to the next step, but you have to start walking first. 

Your Turn:

What’s the next step you can take to move forward? Where is there a quick win?

When you think about your first (or next) step, keep it small and achievable to get the momentum going.

10. Reach out for help

This summer, my Dad took his new truck and my twin daughters on a trip to the Oregon sand dunes. Only a few minutes into the adventure, they got really stuck. They tried shoveling sand and getting out on their own, but they couldn't. Nearly an hour later, (which felt like an eternity stuck in the middle of a pelting sandstorm), a little dune buggy came along. My Dad’s truck was six times its size, but all they needed was a little pull. They hooked up the wench and within minutes, they were free.

We can all use a little help when we’re stuck. This might be talking to a good friend who knows and understands you or reaching out to get advice from someone who’s been in a similar situation to yours.

Maybe it’s hiring a coach who will ask powerful questions to help you see things from a different angle, a therapist who can uncover hidden roadblocks or a consultant to share opinions and experiences.

When you’re on your own, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming and just plain impossible. But, just a little push or pull from someone can quickly change your trajectory.

While this may seem like one of the easiest strategies, it is actually one of the hardest to do. Why? Even though we are biologically wired to help each other, many of us find it challenging to reach out.

There’s a reason for this:((Quartz at Work: The reason it’s so hard to ask for help))

‘Asking for help exposes us to numerous possible social threats, which is why it’s so uncomfortable. It can feel like a tacit admission of weakness, which lowers our status, and can be an invitation for scorn. It creates uncertainty, and invites the possibility of rejection.’

Your Turn:

Who is your dune buggy? Who can you reach out to ask for help right now?

Not ready to reach out to someone just yet? Maybe you can try asking the universe. Some call this prayer, others spiritual guidance,  others faith.  Whatever you call it, reach out to someone, somewhere, somehow…now.

Afraid to ask for help? Here's how to change your outlook to aim high! Bonus: When all else fails, be patient

Sometimes when we’re stuck, we just need to practice patience. Patience that the answer is coming; the shift is going to happen. Patience that you’ve done all that you can and now, it’s time to wait and see what comes back to you.

I’m not suggesting you wait for months or years; but sometimes we expect things to change quickly, yet things take time. This is especially true for big life decisions and transitions or when there are others involved, like your relationships or job.

I love the line from Max Ehrmann's’ Desiderata:

’…whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’  

Trust the unfolding and know that sometimes it may take a little longer than you'd like.

There’s usually a good reason, even if you can’t see it. Maybe it’s not time to move forward or make changes just yet. Maybe you don’t have all the information you need, and when you do, you’ll quickly make progress. Maybe you’re actually stuck where you need to be right now.

When I was in my most recent major career transition, feeling stuck and wondering if I would ever figure out my next step, this quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu was exactly what I needed:

‘Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?’

Stay strong. Be patient. The more stuck you are, the greater the freedom will feel.

You’re going to be okay. It won’t always be like this. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hang in there and trust the process. Your breakthrough is coming.

Final Thoughts

Which of these strategies feel like they will work best for you and your current stuck situation?

You don’t have to use all of them, it just takes one.

Remember, any movement, momentum or shift will help get you unstuck and moving forward again. Besides, it's never too late to start things over! Here's the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life?

12. November 2018 - 5:50
Don’t we all want to live a full, happy and satisfied life? For some of us, it need not be a long life as long as it’s been a fulfilling life of achievements, happiness and no regrets. But, how many of us actually go on to experience that entirely? It sometimes sounds more like a pipe dream--a fantasy rather than reality. And then you’ll also get comments from some, saying that this ‘fulfilling life’ is only possible if you’re so rich that you don’t have to care about working, paying the bills or providing for your family. While there is some truth to that, I’m happy to say that financial freedom isn’t the only answer to living a fulfilling life. Living a Fulfilling Life is Within Reach Anyone can pursue a life of fullness, and it all starts with the willingness to learn. How many years has it been since you last attended a class in school? If you’re well into your adult years as a working professional, chances are it’s been a while. Do you remember the times where you had to wake up for early morning lectures? Or the times where you were rushing through a paper or project? And, of course there were the endless exams that you had to cram for. As a young college student, I remember looking forward to the time when I would finally be done with school! No more homework, no more grades to worry about, no more stress! The learning was finally done and I could enter the working world. Not so much! Now that I’ve finally entered the working world, there are moments where I do wish to be a student again; it seemed less stressful then! There is simply so much out there that I still need to learn and experience. Yet I find myself pressed for time. With family commitments, my business and my own social life to juggle, I’ve had to keep on finding for new ways to learn and absorb new information efficiently. Over the years, I’ve found that by learning new skills and knowledge, I was able to find answers and solutions to my problems, which allowed me to achieve a greater sense of fulfillment. Learning Never Ends The truth is, learning never ends. Generally speaking, it is true that a formal education and the resulting qualifications are important in securing good jobs; jobs that allow you to excel, earn more and perhaps become more successful in our chosen career. But going to school is only one type of learning. All throughout your life, you’re learning in many ways. All these experiences shape and grow you into the person that you are today. There are many opportunities to further your knowledge and develop the skills you need throughout life. Knowledge can be acquired and skill-sets can be developed anywhere. However, lifelong learning is about creating and maintaining a positive attitude to learning both for personal and professional development. Many people overlook the fact that learning can take place anywhere and in many forms. Most would tend to think of learning as the years spent in a learning institute, which occurs mostly in their younger days. And once you go out into the working world, your ‘learning’ ends. This is not how it has to be--in fact, lifelong learning is a gift that keeps on giving. The Importance of Lifelong Learning Why is it important to become a lifelong learner? A lifelong learner is motivated to learn and develop because they want to; it is a deliberate and voluntary act. Lifelong learning can enhance our understanding of the world around us, provide us with more and better opportunities, and improve our quality of life. You’ll Remain Relevant in the Workplace With advancements in society today, the human life expectancy continues to increase, which means more people are also retiring at a later age. So no matter what stage of life you’re in, being a lifelong learner brings its own rewards. It means we can get more personal satisfaction from our lives and jobs as we understand more about who we are and what we do. This can lead to better results and a more rewarding working day in turn. Whether it’s for advancing your career, a personal interest or wanting to pursue new dreams, learning automatically pushes you forward towards progress and enhances your wellbeing. You’ll Increase Your Earning Potential From a financial point of view, a more highly skilled and knowledgeable worker is an asset to any company. This also leads to faster promotion with associated salary increases. Someone who can offer more expertise will be of more value not just to employers but also to customers. Expertise is also, often, a key quality of an effective leader. And since you’ll constantly be accumulating knowledge, you’ll have an edge on those who don’t value lifelong learning and can’t bring as much to the table. Your extra knowledge will translate into transferable skills, which means you’ll always be primed to blow the competition out of the water. Learning Gives You Options Of course, one of the most rewarding reasons for continuous learning, is that it gives you options! Successfully changing career path in mid-life and spending time informally developing expertise is more common than ever, especially during rapidly changing market conditions. Whatever your age, it’s never too late to start fresh in life. When you start educating yourself and exposing yourself to new knowledge and information, you widen your opportunities. This will allow you to do more than what you may currently be doing, or give you a way out if you’re not happy or fulfilled with where you’re at now. Our economy is shifting increasingly towards short-term and part-time contracts with more flexible work-patterns. We have to adapt to changes going on in the work-world, make more of ourselves by stepping out of our comfort zones, and break the false ideas about our potential and how we believe life is going. Gain More with Cornerstone Skills You may be well into your career, but feel like somehow, something is still missing. Or maybe you’re not entirely happy with where you’re at in your career path and feel it’s time to reflect and perhaps do something new. Or you might be thinking of retiring soon, and thinking about next steps after retirement. The learning never needs to stop! This can be your chance to go after a dream or interest that you’ve always had (but never had the opportunity, or time, to pursue). This could finally be the time for you to create the change that you know you should have made ages ago. Why not take the first step to learn about 7 important Cornerstone Skills, which will help take your life to the next stage? Whatever situation you’re in, having these 7 Cornerstone Skills will no doubt equip you to tackle the challenges of life much more efficiently. Don’t let age, your limitations or a comfort zone stop you from seeking greater rewards and self-improvement. Transformation and change is in your hands--you have the power to make big things happen, and we can help teach you the skills. Don’t let life pass you by! It’s time to pursue a fulfilling and happy life.

The Leading Causes of Prenatal Depression and How to Manage it Best

9. November 2018 - 19:00
Prenatal depression is defined as a form of clinical depression affecting women during pregnancy. It can also be a pre-cursor to post natal depression. It is estimated to affect 10% of women worldwide; with higher instances within third world countries.((World Health Organization: Maternal Mental Health)) Evidence indicates that treating the depression of mothers leads to improved growth and development of the newborn and reduces the likelihood of diarrhea and malnutrition among them. Awareness of prenatal mental health is important in order to be your best as a parent and improving the health of your child. Have you ever contemplated what the impact could be of potentially unrecognised prenatal depression? Leading Causes of Prenatal Depression Although antenatal depression is more likely to occur among women who have a history of depression, it is by no means inevitable. It is important, however, that women with a history of mental health issues tell their midwife and/or GP, so they can discuss how this might affect their pregnancy and birth, and plan the right care and support. Other factors causing prenatal depression are previous difficulty conceiving, unplanned pregnancy, emotional and physical abuse as well as relationship and financial concerns. In a recent article posted by The BabyCenter, the authors stated that:((The Baby Center: Depression during pregnancy)) "For years, experts mistakenly believed that pregnancy hormones protected against depression, leaving women more vulnerable to the illness only after the baby was born and their hormone levels plunged." It is now understood that a potential contributing factor towards prenatal depression is actually an imbalance in hormones. More and more information is coming out as this myth has been debunked and more research is being funded. This also shows in the lack of information for parents to turn to in such cases. Common concerns can include:
  • How mum feels about going through such a major life-changing event.
  • How mum views herself including negative perceptions about physical changes, such as weight gain, swollen breasts, and other discomfort.
  • The restrictions to mum's lifestyle that motherhood might incur.
  • How mum's partner or family feel about the baby.
  • How depression during pregnancy could impact relationships.
  • Difficulties with previous pregnancies.
Whilst these concerns are common for all expecting parents, and have been understood to be expected concerns in the past. Since the change in understanding about the prevalence of prenatal depression, it is clear that obsessive and chronic focus on the above points is linked and a sign of prenatal depression. Signs of Prenatal Depression Antenatal depression can begin at any point during pregnancy and is characterized as having a higher than normal level of worry about the impending birth and parenthood. Whilst the majority of the following symptoms are common 'side effects' of pregnancy. The important factor to highlight here is if they become extreme, without break and/or multiple. There are many signs that can show prenatal depression; from the following list, if seeing or experiencing more than one symptom, I suggest you seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
  • Lack of energy and extreme fatigue
  • Feeling emotionally detached
  • Tearfulness
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Feeling isolated and guilty
  • Inability to concentrate and difficulty remembering
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Extreme irritability
  • Sleeping too much or not enough, or restless sleep
  • Desire to over eat, or not eat at all
  • Weight loss/gain unrelated to pregnancy
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • A sense of dread about everything, including the pregnancy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Inability to get excited about the impending birth
  • Inability to feel a bond with the growing baby
  • Thoughts of suicide, or death
As previously mentioned, some of these factors are more commonly understood as 'symptoms' of pregnancy. Others are obviously more concerning. It's important to have an awareness, both by the mother to be and her partner, in order to halt any brewing depression in it's track. As with any mental illness, open communication about the matter is one of the most beneficial things that can be done to overcome it. That is a pre cursor to all of the following examples of how to manage prenatal depression to facilitate overcoming it. How to Manage and Overcome Prenatal Depression 1. Speak out Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. Find someone you can talk to. If you don’t have a close friend you can turn to, there are many online support groups and even networks through social media. Your local group can be very supportive both before and after childbirth. Go to antenatal classes. If you have a partner, take them with you. If not, take a friend or relative. 2. Ask for help from your peers Peer support in the right environment can be of great benefit to mothers affected by antenatal depression and PND. Speaking to someone who has been through what you’re going through, and who has recovered allows mums to see they can get better. However, do check that these groups are properly safeguarded with well-trained staff and volunteers, who have access to clinical supervision and support for themselves. 3. Antidepressants Your GP may prescribe antidepressants which can help to ease many of the symptoms of moderate or severe antenatal depression. It is generally considered safe to take certain types of antidepressants when pregnant or breastfeeding, though do discuss this with your doctor who will ensure the ones selected for you are compatible. Don't stop (or change) antidepressant medication during pregnancy without medical advice. Around seven in 10 women who stop antidepressants in pregnancy relapse if they stop their medication. You need to discuss the risks and benefits of continuing treatment in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. 4. Counselling and therapy Talking treatments, such as counselling and psychotherapy, offer you the opportunity to look at the underlying factors that have contributed to depression, as well as helping you to change the way you feel. If a friend or someone you know recommends a therapist, this can be a great way to find someone. If you don't feel that the method of therapy or the therapist isn't working for you, you can always change and try someone else. Private practitioners will charge a fee for their services, so this will probably be another factor in your decision. Whoever you choose, make sure your therapist is registered with an accredited body, such as the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). You could also contact your Community Mental Health Team. 5. Spend time with your partner Experiencing depression – particularly during pregnancy – can feel isolating and confusing, but you’re not alone. Try to talk about how you’re feeling and be positive about seeking help. It’s the best thing you can do. With the right help and support, particularly early on, things can get better. 6. Reduce inflammation One traditional hypothesis of any type depression is that people who are depressed have a deficiency in monoamine neurotransmitters in the body, which leads to low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norephinephrine in the brain. But growing evidence supports that at least some forms of depression may also be linked to ongoing low-grade inflammation in the body. Pregnancy causes amounts of inflammation as the body changes. Working to manage this inflammation can therefore be assumed to assist in reducing prenatal depression. Simple things such as spending time outside, meditation, hydration, eating plenty of green vegetables and regular gentle exercise have been shown to reduce inflammation. 7. Improve gut health Continuing from the previous post, long term low level inflammation has a negative effect on gut health. The intestinal wall is our border with the outside world. Because the gut is where things from the outside (like food) are absorbed inside our bodies, the intestinal wall is designed to handle a many types of interactions with foreign matter. Considering the functions of our gut, it makes sense that most of our immune cells are located in the gut. Further, the gut is home to our microbiome, the trillions of beneficial microbes that live inside our gastrointestinal tract. When a potential threat is sensed in the gut, large, far-reaching inflammation occurs. This inflammation can travel directly from your gut to your brain, especially through the vagus nerve. One of the most direct and quick ways to calm the vagus nerve is through dietary change. Just as emotions send messages to your gut, food sends messages to your brain. Spend time focussing on nutrition containing plenty of fibre from vegetable sources as well as including fermented foods to replenish your gut bacteria. Myths About Pre & Post Natal Depression Pre and post natal depression is often misunderstood and there are many myths surrounding it. These include:
  • Postnatal depression is less severe than other types of depression? In fact, it's as serious as other types of depression.
  • Prenatal depression is not possible due to hormonal changes? In fact, those hormonal changes can contribute.
  • Postnatal depression is entirely caused by hormonal changes? It's actually caused by many different factors.
  • Postnatal depression will soon pass? Unlike the "baby blues", postnatal depression can persist for months if left untreated. In a minority of cases, it can become a long-term problem.
  • Postnatal depression only affects women? Research has actually found that up to 1 in 10 new fathers become depressed after having a baby.
Conclusion Virtually all women can develop mental disorders during pregnancy and in the first year after delivery. But poverty, migration, extreme stress, exposure to violence (domestic, sexual and gender-based), emergency and conflict situations, natural disasters, and low social support generally increase risks for specific disorders. Prenatal depression can be extremely dangerous for the health of the mother, and the baby, if not properly treated. If you feel you might be suffering from antenatal depression, it is highly recommended to speak with your health care provider about it. Together you can discuss ways to help treat and cope with this mental illness. It's becoming more prevalent and more widely understood as more medical studies are being done. Antenatal depression was once thought to simply be the normal stress associated with any pregnancy, and was waved off as a common ailment. It can be caused by many factors, usually though involving aspects of the mothers personal life such as, family, economic standing, relationship status, etc. It can also be caused by hormonal and physical changes that are associated with pregnancy. Most important advice - if you believe you are at risk or may be developing symptoms, reach out for advice and speak to someone.

Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track

9. November 2018 - 18:00
The problem with frustration is that it can cripple in on anyone, but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from. What is frustration really? If we ask the dictionary, it tells us it’s the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. This doesn't really give us much of an in-depth explanation of our frustration, so how can we solve this problem? The reason behind your frustration can be complicated, but we've gone over different — yet common — reasons of frustration, because once the source is found, you'll be able to get right back on track. 1. Make your failure a lesson A failure has as a way of shifting our mentality to a sense of lack. It’s normal to get frustrated by a failure. We're often hit by one failure after another, which understandably leads to frustration. Instead of seeing it as a failure, you should take a note from Thomas Edison's as he said: " ...didn't fail, [but] ...discovered 10,000 ways that didn't work." We're tested every day with small as well as big things, but even if we don't succeed, we'll be able to learn from it. By changing your perspective on failure, you'll be able to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. A failure can go from a frustration into a stronger willpower, but it all starts by seeing it as the beginning instead of the end. 2. Focus on today These days, anxiety is one of most common mental health disturbances experienced by youth. ((NCBI: Anxiety Sensitivity and Sleep-Related Problems in Anxious Youth)) While anxiety can't be explained or simplified by one thing, it's been known that the pressure on creating the right future and the perfect life have put a new and bigger pressure on the next generation. While it’s important to create and plan a future, you shouldn't let the frustration of not knowing what's ahead of you destroy your mood. It can overwhelm anyone to stress about tomorrow, next year and ten years from now. Rather than constant focusing on what's coming, you should focus on today. Today is the one day you have. You can't go back and you can't take control over any other day. Today is the day; you can do anything and nothing. Take a moment to breathe and grab the opportunities you have today. If you've been putting off something, then do it today. If you haven't had fun for a while, because you've been too frustrated and focused on tomorrows problems, then take the day off and have some fun. Today is the only day that you have actual control of. 3. Stop comparing yourself to others We live in a competitive world, which isn't exactly breaking news, but after the rise of social media, we’ve added fuel to the fire.((Forbes: Social Media May Be More Harmful To Girls Than Boys, Study Finds)) Twenty years ago, we would look at our neighbour’s new car or look at their picket fence and compare it to our own. Today, we compare ourselves to celebrities, old classmates and strangers on social media. Once we go online, we get instant access to other people’s lives. While it can be like a free entertainment magazine, it’s important to remember — like the magazines — it’s a blurred reality. At this point, most of us know we're looking at a filtered reality, but we still get competitive and frustrated by small things like the lack of likes. ((Marketwire: Society’s New Addiction: Getting a “Like” over Having a Life)) Go offline for a week or two. Obviously, we live in a world where we can't just remove our phone from our lives. We still need to be able to get in contact with our family, friends and work, but you can delete all your social media apps on your phone. A break from the online chatter might be exactly what you need to get back on track and feel good again. It might be hard in the beginning as we're programmed by habits, but once you get through some days without constantly reaching for your phone to look at the likes and shiny red notifications, you'll feel better and be able to let go of unnecessary frustration. 4. You’re stuck in a rut – break free of it The problem with being stuck in a rut is that almost everyone goes through it, but it's hard to pinpoint where our frustration comes from with this one. It doesn’t really matter what kind of life you’re living. In the end, we all get bored by doing the same thing over and over again. It can be tricky because you can be perfectly happy with your life, but still feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Daily routines are what keeps us going, but it’s also what eventually slows us down and dries us up. This doesn't mean that you should quit your job, leave your family and buy a one way ticket to somewhere far, far away immediately. The frustration can be let go of by adding something new to your life or letting go of something no longer meaningful to you. Try doing something that you always wanted to do but feel like you couldn't, because the reality of it is — you can. 5. Appreciate what you have Most humans are programmed to always look for improvement -- how can we improve our relationship, work and ourselves? Sometimes, we get so focused on what we're missing that we lose sight of what we have. It's okay to strive for more and allow the emotion of frustration to hit you, but let it be a quick reaction rather than a state of mind. It's easy to lament on what you want, but take a look at what you have for a second instead. Let's say you're struggling with either work, family or friends. Let's assume one of them isn't working out at all at the moment. Then look at the other things you have going for you. Ask yourself: Do you have a good life overall? Do you appreciate what you have around you? You’re most likely to find at least one thing in your life that you appreciate. Focus on the good and let the feeling of appreciation in. 6. Regain power if you’re feeling powerless We enjoy being in control, but there is always something you can't control. It could be the weather, someone at work, a friend of ours; which leads us to feel powerless. It would be great (and easy) if you could just remove yourself from the situation that makes you feel powerless; unfortunately that’s not always an option. The cold hard truth is we can’t control everything. The good news is we do have the power to control some stuff. Try to regain power in another aspect of your life, which you're actually able to have a say in. Things like other people’s emotions towards us and sickness are two things out of many that are out of our control. Don't fight a lost battle. Find something you can control. It can be simple things like setting a fitness goal or learning a new language, or it might be bigger things like quitting your job or getting out of a toxic relationship. You’ll realize you aren’t powerless by taking back power somewhere you actually can. 7. Acknowledge old pain or trauma Life isn't fair. We're not born into the same types of life and we're not dealt the same cards. Some  may have experienced trauma in their childhood, which we’ve never dealt with. Others may have some old pain left in them from a bad experience. The frustration from unsolved problems will lead you to feel bad without knowing why. The only way to move past it is by dealing with your past. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should spend hours with a therapist (though there're times that you may need a therapist or life coach for help), but by simply acknowledging your pain, it can set you free. By getting a better understanding of yourself, your emotions and your reactions to certain situations, you'll be able to let go of the frustration. Try these steps to help you let go of the painful past. 8. Face your fear Frustration can be a reaction to fear. Fear can be a big scary thing but it can also be a small thing that's been building up. It may have started with a small task, but by pushing it back for a long time, it becomes bigger and bigger and it ends up creating fear and frustration inside you. These common fears can hold you back. The only thing you can do fight your fear is to start taking baby steps today and do the thing you're scared of. It’s almost never as bad as we think and afterwards you'll end up feeling free and lifted. This article about fight fear will help you too: How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding) Final thoughts Frustration can be caused by many things, but the one thing it has in common is that it can cripple us and set our daily life out of track. It's okay to feel frustrated, but the sooner you understand where the frustration comes from, the sooner you’ll know how to get rid of it. Don't be afraid to face these frustrations, you'll only live your best life once you step out of your comfort zone!

These 13 Leg Stretches Will Prevent Pain and Injury During Exercise

9. November 2018 - 17:00
Can leg stretches really make a difference? You are lucky enough just to fit in the exercise itself – and now you see that more should be added to your regimen? We will talk about how you can make the most of your time, and give you some key concepts for preventing pain and avoiding injury. How much time should you spend stretching your legs, and how often should you stretch them? Having measured and fair answers to questions like this can save you plenty of pain, time, and frustration. We can help you find your starting place and make a plan to safely enjoy your lower body exercise routine through leg stretches. The degree to which you will most benefit from stretching will depend on your chosen activity. If you wish to spend time doing aerial yoga, your body may benefit more from additional stretching than if you choose to enjoy a bike ride on a paved trail.((Competitor Running: Using Yoga For Injury Prevention and Recovery)) Let’s talk about a few options as you consider what will work best for you. We will begin with a few tips on leg stretching and then introduce you to some specific stretches for the lower extremities. Leg Stretching Tips for Starters 1. Learn to make the most of idle moments during the day True, it is best to prepare your body for exercise just before – and after – your chosen activity. However, it is also beneficial to train your body to stay ready for activity throughout each day. This helps to remind muscles and joints that they can be called into action at any time. We will talk a bit more about the relationship between exercise and stretching in a moment. Choose one stretch to complete as you:
  • Prepare your coffee or favorite tea
  • Enjoy watching a bird in a tree during lunch
  • Have a conversation at work
  • Wait in line (Why not make the most of that popcorn line at the cinema?)
  • Hang a picture
  • Tie your shoes
2. Use it to keep it Remind yourself that the physical ability that you currently have will stay with you longer and better if you continue to employ its usage. Getting started or coming back from an injury can be frustrating. Be intentional about maintaining your health. Knowing that you have already chosen to accomplish a goal makes getting past the first few attempts much easier. Then, just keep pressing on one stretch at a time until you have found several that you like and will do regularly. 3. Rest, relax, enjoy Your body requires rest for proper rejuvenation. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs and the hard work you do with your new stretches and favorite exercises will go much further. Think smarter, not harder. Know when to stop and enjoy the benefits of your hard work to help avoid injury.((Better Health Chiropractic: Should I Exercise If I Have An Injury?)) 4 Alert your body You need to give your body a fair ‘warning’ that you are ready to move your legs, core, and arms in a more commanding manner. These stretches have been selected with the idea that you may be seeking to overcome or avoid injury to one or both legs. As you recover, please feel free to add 15 to 30 seconds to the length of each stretch. A good warm-up regimen will include 10 to 15 minutes of slightly less strenuous activity than you plan to include in your actual exercise time. The goal is to alert your body that it is time to work and give it time to ‘wake up’ and respond prior to enjoying your more strenuous exercise activity. Spending a few moments doing a less intense activity gives your heart time to start sending extra blood to your muscles. Muscles love to be ready for action through added nutrients in this manner. If you plan to run 3 to 5 miles, walk or jog for about 0.5 to 1 mile prior to increasing your pace. If you plan to run 10 miles, proceed at a slower pace for about 2 miles. 5. Decide whether to stretch before or after exercise It is pretty safe to say that at least some gentle stretching and warming up should be completed prior to any athletic endeavor.((NHS: Do I need to stretch before exercising?)) Taking a few moments to alert your body that additional activity will soon happen is essential for protecting your muscles. How much stretching will depend on your chosen exercise and desired level of intensity. Consider your activity when deciding whether or not you will benefit most from stretching before or after your exercise activity. Do you plan to perform in an event that will require you to be relaxed, flexible, and in control of your limbs? You may find that stretching before your event helps you perform at a higher level of ability. On the other hand, you may wish to simply enjoy a run in the park? If so, you may find greater lasting benefit by performing most of your stretching routine after you run. 13 Leg Stretches for You to Choose Fortunately, the many tiny portions of our legs overlap naturally with one another. This means that we almost cannot stretch only one tiny element of the body by itself. We will almost certainly bring benefit to multiple portions of each limb with each individual action.((The Active Times: 7 Benefits of Stretching)) Think about it, can yo u stretch your feet without moving your toes? Thank you, mother nature! Let’s choose your favorite leg stretches: 1. Foot Overlap Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Each leg should be slightly bent. Place your left leg over your right leg. Reach your left foot just beyond your right foot and gently pull both feet toward your body. You should feel a slight pull from your feet all the way up through your right calf and left shin. Hold for a count of 10. Switch feet. 2. Ankle Circles Make circles with your toes. To make it interesting, rotate one way five times, then the other way five times. You can also try alternating the rotational motion of each foot for some added practice in coordination. 3. Shin Relax This stretch is far more comfortable and effective while not wearing shoes. Stand up straight with your spine lengthened and your shoulders square with your feet and toes. Slowly swing your right leg behind you and point the toes on your right foot away from your body. The tops of your toes should rest comfortably on the floor. Gently draw your body down a few inches as you bend your left knee. You should feel a slight stretch from the tops of your toes to just below your right knee. Hold for a count of 10. Switch legs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhU51BhZBT0 4. Thirsty Calf Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Gently point all of your toes away from your body. Hold for a count of 10. Bring your left knee up until the sole of your left foot is resting flat on the floor. While sitting up straight, draw a towel, stretch band, or similar around your right foot ad bring your foot toward your body. You may also choose to lean forward at the waist and use your hands to pull your toes toward you. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. 5. Quadricep Choice Quad stretches should be chosen based on your level of comfort and whether or not you have any knee injuries. Whether or not you choose to rest on your stomach, side, or stand will depend on your preference. Once in your chosen starting position, pull your right foot back gently to come as close to your right buttock as you can. You may choose to place a strap around your foot if you are unable to reach. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZBKSOtyssM 6. Hamstrings Hex Begin in a standing position with your shoulders and hips square. Turn your left foot so that your toes point to the left. Keep your left knee slightly bent and comfortable. Turn your upper body to the left. Bending at the waist, slowly bring your arms down to meet as far down your leg as may be comfortable. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. 7. Pigeon for Hips Begin with both hands and both knees on the floor and your back raised (table top position). Your hips and shoulders should be square. Bring your left leg up under your torso as is comfortable. Be sure to bring the leg up far enough to feel a gentle pull, but not so far that it is painful. You will feel the stretch in your left hamstring and right hip area. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. If you have existing knee pain, consider this alternative. Stand with your shoulders and hips square. Place your left foot directly behind you. Bend slightly at both knees and bring your body straight down. Be sure that your right knee stays above your right ankle and does not pass your right toes. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. 8. Glute Twist Sit on the floor with both legs straight and relaxed. Point your toes to the sky. Bring your left foot across your right leg onto the floor. Reach your right elbow to the left of your right knee. Face your upper body to the left as you bring your left hand to the floor. Keep your shoulders upright. Press against your left leg with your right elbow until you feel a gentle pull in your left glute. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides. 9. Leg Hug Lay flat on your back. Draw your left knee to your chest. Pull your left leg into your chest with both arms. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs. 10. Leaning Lunge Twist Start in a lunge position with your right leg behind you. Take your right hand to the floor even with your left foot. Raise your left arm straight up. Look up to your fingertips. Be sure to keep your left knee above your left ankle and not over your toes. Breathe out as you count to 10. Switch sides. You should feel this in your hips, quads, calves, shins, and right foot. 11. Changing Butterfly Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. You will do this stretch in three forms. Begin with your feet as close to you as is comfortable. Lean forward at the waist to feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Hold for a count of 10. Next, move your feet away from your body about three to five inches. Lean forward again and hold for 10 seconds. Then, push your feet forward another three to five inches. Your legs should be close to straight but still bent at the knees with the soles of your feet still touching. Lean forward at the waist again and hold for 10 seconds. Breath out slowly each time as you count. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdxD3POKbV8 12. Changing Forward Bend Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart. Slightly bend both knees. Reach your arms toward your feet as you bend at the waist. Hold for a count of 10. Next, do the same stretch with your legs about 12 to 18 inches apart. Then, repeat the stretch again with your feet next to each other. 13. Toes to Hip Stand (or sit) and place your right leg slightly behind you. Begin with just your right toes on the floor (left foot still planted). Roll the arch of your right foot down to eventually have your entire foot on the floor behind you. As your right heel reaches the floor, lean back slightly to feel the stretch in your upper leg. Do this three to five times and switch sides. A note on knees: Isolating your knees for stretching is a bit less than feasible. As a joint located in the middle portion of the leg, the knee will most efficiently be stretched as you successfully stretch the other portions. However, keep in mind that each stretch should be done without pressing or forcing your knee over your toes or into any position that feels strained. Notice how you can feel each of these stretches reach through the connections in each knee. The Bottom Line Preventing pain and injury to your legs while enjoying your favorite exercise does not have to be painful, enduring, or difficult. If you employ these options with regularity, the powerful tools that carry help to mobilize the rest of your body will thank you! Choose a few favorites from this list and remember to be gentle with your muscles and tendons as you complete each stretch. Never force anything or complete stretches in a jerky or forced manner. Finding a few favorite leg stretches can go a long way in providing an incentive for keeping limbs ready and equipped for your daily adventures! If you appreciated these leg stretching tips, you may love these 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day!

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

9. November 2018 - 16:00
Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand. Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from. So, are you ready? Here we begin. 6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond) When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):- 1. Spreadsheets and Databases Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells. To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all. In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Access
  • Statistics
  • Data Analytics
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Quickbooks
  • XML Database management system
  • Filemaker Pro
  • MATLAB
  • Hive
  • FORTRAN
  • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
  • SAS
2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations. Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Google Analytics
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Page Design
  • Wordpress
  • Digital Media
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Campaign Management Software
3. Graphic Design and Word Processing A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • AutoCAD
  • CorelDRAW
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Maya
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Operating Digital Cameras
4. Software and Hardware Design and Development The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc. To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:
  • HTML
  • C/C++
  • Java
  • Python
  • XML
  • UI/UX
  • LINUX
  • CISC and RISC architecture
  • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
  • Memory Management
  • PCB Layout
  • SQL
5. IT Troubleshooting Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance. So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:
  • Backup management
  • Diagnostics
  • End User support
  • Client-Server management
  • Installation and configuration
  • Issue tracking system (ITS)
  • System administration
  • Tech support
6. Enterprise Systems Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations. Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job. The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest. Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job. Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities: 1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course - Basic & Advanced Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users. Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more. b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process. c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course. Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data. 2. Rule the Social Media World a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing. From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you. b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email. c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write. Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers. 3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders. b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing. The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success. c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages. 4. Live and Breathe Creativity a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world. From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world. b. Canva Design School From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts. c. Microsoft Word - Basic & Advanced 62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes - this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier. d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources. Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office. 5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults. It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence. b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location. Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:
  • Duolingo - Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
  • Hemingway - Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
  • Udemy - The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
  • eDX - eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
  • Excel Easy - Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
  • GCF LearnFree.org - It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
  • QuarkXPress - The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.
Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as: 1. Practice, Practice, Practice It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising. Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm. 2. Work on Your Efficiency Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better. For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes. 3. Look for Shortcuts Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected. 4. Apply for an Internship Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job. By the late, it's never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here's how: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late The Bottom Line Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead. So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

How to Recognize a Controlling Relationship and What to Do About It

8. November 2018 - 19:00
A controlling relationship is not pleasant to be a part of. But the tricky part is that most people don’t realize when they are in a controlling relationship. The controlling behavior of a partner is often confused with “caring”, “protective”, “jealous” or “old fashioned”. In this article, we will discuss what to look out for when a partner is controlling and when he/she just “cares” about you. We will also discuss what you can do if your partner is controlling. Signs Your Partner Is Controlling They try to keep tabs on you all the time. You need to understand the difference between a controlling partner and someone who just really misses you and wants to interact with you throughout the day. Someone who genuinely misses you and wants to speak with you throughout the day will text you often and get on a phone call whenever they can. They will text you the first thing in the morning (if you are not staying together) and share the day with you. They will take time from their busy day to reach out to you and ask you how you are. They will be excited to meet you at the end of the day. On the contrast, a controlling partner will ACT like they want to share every living moment with you. But they will be acting out of fear and insecurity instead of the desire to interact with you. An interaction with you is a drug to them that constantly reassures them that they still have you. A caring partner will give you space when you are busy or out with friends. But a controlling partner will text you more when he/she feels like you are in a situation that threatens the relationship; situations such as going to a bar with friends or at a social gathering. The controlling partner will reach out under the disguise of missing you. But an easy way to find out if they are controlling is to tell them something like, “I miss you too. I am busy right now and can’t talk. Can we speak later?” They will most likely agree. But if they are controlling, they will be upset later when you speak. A caring partner will understand and just be cool about it. Essentially, a controlling partner will try to affect your behavior by negative reinforcement. Every time you are not giving them full attention, they will get upset and it will most likely lead to a fight or argument. A caring partner will most likely be honest about their concerns instead of doing it indirectly with negative reinforcement. You will slowly start alienating your friends and family. This negative reinforcement usually takes a toll on you mostly because it is followed by positive reinforcement when you give them attention. They give you the love and attention you crave in a relationship. You feel intimacy and you get approval from the person you love. What more could you ask for? Slowly, after being in this negative and positive reinforcement cycle for months (or years), you start craving the positive reinforcement and avoiding the negative reinforcement. Every time you go meet your friends and can’t give him/her your full attention, there is a fight later. So, you slowly start avoiding your friends. You only do it when it’s convenient for your partner. And you make sure that they have something to do while you are busy with your friends or family. You will soon realize that you are walking on eggshells. And that’s really no way to live a healthy life. They criticize you – a lot. A controlling partner will criticize you a lot. It can be something as little as the way you drink coffee or as big as your career choice. They will criticize you in a way that hurts. If the partner is controlling, this criticism will usually start after you have been together for a while, well after the honeymoon phase is over and after they are sure you love them and can’t leave them easily. The criticism can also come in the form of backhanded comments or playful jokes about things they know you are sensitive about. In contrast, healthy criticism is often said in an attempt to improve your partner's life and self-esteem. For example, if your partner wants to criticize your career, they will sit down and have a real conversation with you. They will try to understand your aspiration and goals and tell you where they think you are going wrong. A controlling partner will try to brush it off in a sentence to put you down: “What are you worried about? Playing guitar is not even a real career.” You may end up in a codependent relationship without even knowing it. If your partner is controlling and you don’t end the relationship in the initial stages, it’s likely that you will end up in a co-dependent relationship. Whereas before, you were an independent and well-rounded individual who was going through each day with pride and gusto. Now, you are reduced to someone who often fights with their partner, is constantly stressed and is always walking on eggshells. You are no longer the person who was growing in life. Now you need your partner’s permission to grow. Co-dependent relationships can range from extreme to mild depending on how severe the codependent dynamics is and how long you have been together. If you think you are in one, you should watch out for these signs of an unhealthy co-dependent relationship . What Should You Do If Your Partner Is Controlling? 1. Watch out for early signs and take things slow. The best way to deal with a controlling partner is to find out about it early. As discussed before, controlling behavior does not always how up until the later stages of a relationship. A lot of people hide their true nature until they feel a bit secure in the relationship. This is why it’s important to take things slow whenever you start a new relationship. Take your time to get to know the person before making any huge commitments. If there are signs of controlling behavior, take your time to decide if it’s something you can live with and how severe it. 2. Figure out the severity of the controlling behavior and if it can be fixed. Like everything else in life and relationships, controlling behavior is not just black and white. Someone with a controlling behavior can still become a good life partner if they are willing to learn and are compatible with you. Don’t immediately reject someone just because they have some controlling behaviors. It’s important to know what’s important to you in a relationship. In my opinion, most problems in a relationship, including controlling behavior, can be solved with proper communication and understanding. Even if your partner shows some signs of controlling behavior, you can learn to deal with it if they are willing to communicate and understand. For example, your partner may have some left-over from a past relationship or a bad breakup. One such common issue is when they went through betrayal or when an ex cheated on them. The scars from that betrayal can be the reason they are trying to control you. It might be the reason they get insecure every time you go out with friends. It’s not necessarily a good reason to breakup with them. Not if it can be fixed. If you speak to them about it, you can come to a reasonable conclusion where you can live your life freely and don’t press any triggers that cause them to panic and become controlling. If you can’t figure it out yourself, get help. Learn communication skills in relationships or consider getting couples therapy. 3. Be willing to walk away no matter how you have invested in them. It’s easy to leave a relationship if it’s only been a few months. But what if you have been with your partner for years? What if you just realized how controlling they have been all these years? You were blinded by love before, but you just can’t take it anymore. At the same time, you can’t get yourself to leave them because you are so attached to them. What do you do then? Again, it’s not always black and white. But you need to figure out your boundaries and what you need in a romantic relationship. It may be a good idea to take a break for a short while to think things through. Once you understand yourself, your boundaries, your needs, your expectations and your goals, you should get back in touch with your partner and try to speak to them. Explain to them how their controlling behavior has been toxic and what you need from them to make the relationship work. If they think they can do it, if they are willing to learn and grow, then try again. But take things slow this time. Just like you are starting a new relationship. Watch out for red flags and try to figure out if they are sincerely making an attempt to improve or are just faking it. Someone who sincerely wants to learn and improve will be open to listening and understanding. They will try to make serious changes in life like going to therapy or reading self-improvement books. They will not agree with you about everything and won’t act like a doormat. On the contrary, someone who is just faking it will most likely do things that they think you want to see. They will agree with what you see and, in some cases, let you walk all over them. Final Thoughts A controlling partner is not always a deal breaker. In many cases, the controlling behavior can be the result of a past trauma or childhood issues. And in most cases, it is fixable if the controlling person is willing to accept it and work on themselves. Learning these behaviors and communicating with your partner can help you avoid a toxic codependent relationship and a lifetime of misery. But if they are not the type of person who want to learn and grow, you should most definitely leave them and move on.

How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

8. November 2018 - 18:00
There's a common misconception that building muscle occurs entirely in the gym from exercise and lifting weights. In this article, we are going to debunk this notion that weight lifting and gym exercise yields 100%, or even 90% for that matter, of muscle building results. So how to gain muscle fast in a healthy way? Yes working-out is a critical aspect of developing muscle, however it should not be the focal point. Building muscle occurs primarily outside of the gym by way of diet/eating habits, and sleep regimen. How Is Muscle Developed? Muscle is developed from damaging the tissue during exercise, and facilitating the most optimal circumstances for repair and growth of those same tissues. This means you will not only need to exercise, but you should focus on carbohydrates around your exercises, and adequate rest and recovery between workouts. If your focus is building muscle and not losing weight, focusing on a high-carb diet with carb loading around the workout days will yield great results. Yes, you absolutely can lose fat and build muscle following a low-carb diet, but you’ll make faster progress if you follow a high-carb diet instead. Now don't take that as a green-light to stuff your face with pasta, bread, and all sorts of other carb-heavy foods. Let's examine Glycogen - a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans. Muscle glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that’s stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel during exercise, and low glycogen levels decreases your ability to gain strength and muscle. The best way to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen is to eat a high-carb diet, with around 1 to 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. The time of ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement on muscle glycogen storage post exercise was examined in a study with twelve male cyclists that exercised continuously for 70 min on a cycle ergometer at 68% VO2max, interrupted by six 2-min intervals at 88% VO2max, on two separate occasions. The results suggest that delaying the ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement post-exercise will result in a reduced rate of muscle glycogen storage. How to Gain Muscle Fast? If you want to gain muscle as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible, then you want high muscle glycogen levels. Here's a few effective approaches to building muscle: Muscle Growth and Glycogen Levels The primary driver of gaining muscle and its growth is progressive tension overload, which involves exposing your muscles to increasingly greater levels of tension over time. The most effective way to achieve this is to get as strong as possible on heavy compound lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, over head press, bent over barbell rows..etc). When you keep glycogen levels high, you’re going to gain strength faster, which means gaining muscle faster, too. Having higher levels of muscle glycogen will more than likely help you build muscle faster. Maintaining high muscle glycogen levels also improves post-workout genetic signaling relating to muscle growth and repair. Muscle Recovery and Glycogen Levels Not only do higher muscle glycogen levels yield quicker strength gains, it will also improve recovery between workouts. On the contrary, low muscle glycogen levels are associated with overtraining, and even increasingly popular low-carb diets, which deplete muscle glycogen. Low glycogen levels also increase cortisol and reduce testosterone levels in athletes, which is a key component needed for building muscle. Those on a low-carb diets also have reduced insulin levels. Insulin, in addition to helping store nutrients, also has powerful anti-catabolic properties. Basically insulin decreases the rate at which muscle proteins are broken down, which in turn creates a more anabolic environment conducive to muscle growth and development. Intermittent Fasting ("IF") and Testosterone Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight, caloric intake, and start shredding as I have indicated in previous articles. Some research shows that fasting can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation. As humans age metabolism slows and testosterone production decreases, this simply means that the body will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it did in earlier years. This is one of the primary reasons why you should take more care to your diet. Research has shown that intermittent fasting can enhance the ability to secrete growth hormone in the body.((Diet Doctor: Fasting and growth hormone)) This is one of the primary reasons why IF is one of the preferred dietary habits of bodybuilders and strength athletes such as myself, whom will utilize an approach that emphasizes fasting phases (2 of 7 days of the week for example). Research has also shown that IF can increase the bodies ability to signal luteinizing hormone.((Kinobody: The 5 Intermittent Fasting Testosterone Benefits)) In non-obese men, an intermittent fasting testosterone study showed that IF increased LH (luteinizing hormone – a testosterone precursor hormone) up to 67% and overall testosterone 180%. Luteinizing hormone is one that works in both men and women to enhance our ability to be sexually active and productive. In women, luteinizing hormone can trigger ovulation, and in men, works to stimulate testosterone. Intermittent fasting also increases levels of a hormone called adiponectin. This increase in adiponectin during the fast helps improve insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin is so effective, in fact, that it’s been shown to reverse insulin resistance in mice. Gaining Muscle and Macro Nutrients - Protein! Something that absolutely cannot go overlooked is the protein consumption. Personally, I believe protein should be primarily consumed in food, however if looking to gain muscle, it can often be quite difficult to hit daily macro nutrient requirements. If one is to build muscle consistently a general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight on a daily basis. So as a 200lb man I would be needing to consume 200grams - 250grams of protein per day. I would aim for the higher consumption on days when very active and training. As I'm sure you're aware, it can often be quite difficult to consume that much protein, especially in food! It's in these cases where supplementing protein isn't a bad idea and I have discussed in great detail the different types of protein in previous articles. Generally speaking, I lean towards Whey Protein Isolate, or non-dairy options such as Hemp Protein, or Pea Protein. As of late I have been waking up every morning and consuming one scoop of Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Bovines from grass-fed beef. Collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and act as building blocks; renewing bodily tissues such as skin, bones and joints. Collagen peptides may act as a messenger to the cells and trigger the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers, thereby supporting tissue structure. Consuming protein such as Collagen in the morning is beneficial as the stomachs acids are needed to optimally break-down and absorb protein. Though this has been a topic of great debate, I also firmly believe adequate carbohydrates are required to build muscle, especially if you are exercising/training often. With all the low-carb movements floating around the internet, there's lots of misinformation. Muscle-building requires energy which is typically through an increased intake of carbohydrates. Yes to gain mass, you have to ensure you're consuming enough protein to rebuild muscle tissue damaged from training; but also consider carbohydrates because gaining size requires filling your muscles with glycogen as we discussed earlier in this article. Conclusion If you're serious about gaining muscle fast the healthy way, it requires commitment and consistency. You will need to exercise and I highly suggest you download MyFitnessPal to track progress, set goals, and maintain diet. It's also motivational because you can find like-minded people in the fitness community, or encourage your friends to download the app as well and follow each other. I personally did this when I was losing weight and gaining muscle, and it was a blast to see my own progress and that of people I care about. As always I'm not just here to write about the steps you need to take, I'm also here to help! You can message me anytime or email me with any questions you may have. I'm more than happy to assist with your muscle building and weight loss goals!

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40

8. November 2018 - 17:00
Have you dreamed of traveling the world? Totally changing directions and quitting a job for someone else? If you're savvy, organized and willing to embrace the simple life, it's easier than you think. You might be wondering how you can be part of the digital nomad phenomenon. Especially with the increased focus on curated travel photos that seem to feature everyone under 40. Fortyhood in a world addicted to youth can seem scary and isolating. People treat you like 40's not old - if you're a tree, type of deal. First is to ditch that thinking and anyone around you who implies it. There are many vibrant forty somethings out there traveling and creating change. Plenty of us who have chosen to create a life full of travel, living our bucket list and feeding our travel addiction. Just check out these forty something bloggers making it happen. Quitting your job and traveling the world takes some planning. And after 40, you're in the perfect position to make your leap. Realistically, it depends on what you want to get out of your travels. Are you taking time off? Do you want to make a living traveling? Do you already have resources in place? What mobile skills do you possess (or are willing to learn)? Whenever I talk about travel and people ask how I do it, it brings to mind the words of author Brene Brown: “I define vulnerability, as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure." When is the last time you did anything big that didn't include those three things, travel or not? You have to be okay with uncertainty to travel for a living. Travel is important for recharging creativity and rebooting ours minds. And here're plenty of reasons why you should quit your job and follow your dream. So, here are the best tips to making it happen for you: Plan Ahead - Get Simple and Flexible If you already have the financial resources and you've been planning this for a while, you're already ahead. I recommend others give themselves a year to simplify their lives. That includes logistical items like defining a budget, selling belongings, subletting or selling property, itineraries, list of contacts in each location, country visas, travel insurance, possible work permits, bank notifications, auto bill pays, spare debit card, extra passport photos, mail services, unlocked cell phone, electronic equipment and more. It pays to be organized in travel and have back up's and redundancies. The confidence of having a backup if something goes wrong can relieve a lot of stress. Travel can be stressful, even for the most laid back person. Trust that you'll meet a lot of people along the way and most of them want to help you. I've had the most interesting experiences with locals, from finding the best hidden food spots, to secluded beaches, and authentic rituals. Being open to share your time with locals in balance with being a tourist can offer you the best viewpoints. And if you're looking for connections, this is a great way to do it. Attending local networking events, expat groups, meet-ups and parties can lead to job offers, volunteer opportunities, travel buddies, training options and even romance if you're looking for that. Create a List of Top Destinations and Budget It's good to dream, so don't hold back. Decide on a destination list, ranked by importance, interest, convenience, cost and time. Dig deep, there are a lot of destinations out there, and it's key to have an idea of what you want to accomplish in each. If you're planning to travel the world, staying out of larger cities and hitting lesser known countries allows you to travel further for your money and experience that is truly new. Why not the Himalayas or Bolivia, instead of Barcelona or Iceland? Forego Costa Rica for any of the Stans - Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, or Krygyzstan. Who wants the same instagram photos as everyone else anyway? I recommend having a contact list of tour providers in each location as a backup, but to talk to the locals for great deals. Utilize travel apps to track and plan trips, miles, Sygic App , Matt's Flights , Lounge Buddy, Trippit, Trip.me and Waze for starters. All of which I've used. Now what is this all going to cost you? That depends on how you like to travel. The average world travel costs $2,000 USD a month, for a simplified lifestyle. You can get away with $1,200 USD in some countries like Portugal and Dominican Republic. This is a good number to start with, but I did mention back up's right? So add 25% to that. You can have this is that bank, or have a start with plans to take your work remote, earning along the way. Go, but Not Everywhere You may not want to hear it, but it's likely you'll get tired of traveling. You'll miss your familiar town, your local coffee stand, friends, family and being able to snuggle in your own bed and binge on Netflix. So keep it flexible but be good to yourself. This is not a race around the world. Consider the seasonality of countries, high season is more expensive. What's the weather like where you're going? Do you have the gear for it? What's the best time to visit your favorite spot? A quick google check can lead you to weather patterns and likely seasonal crowds. You may dip into your budget for new clothing or technical gear to experience a spot, and then pass it on to the locals. I like to look for extreme sports to add to my bucket list, stay in warmer weather, get lost in the anonymity of a language I don't know, and experience local festivals. That all goes into my trip planning. From La Tomatina in Spain to the Spirit Festival in Bali. Whatever your passion may be, I recommend implementing it into your travel planning, and possibly making it part of your remote work structure. Curious souls who want to travel the world are usually multi interested, multi talented explorers, so I'm sure there's no shortage of goals in your planning. Embrace Slow Travel Career and family landscapes have changed across the world. Travel tools are more accessible including Uber and other convenient technology. This has allowed us to make career changes in our 40's, fly solo or take our families on the road. It has also allowed us to integrate into almost any country and enjoy what some call slow travel. I call it the right way to travel. Spend at least a month in a location. Get to know what the locals do. Dress like a local, learn some key phrases. Bypass the tourist rat race of those who need to crunch everything into one week a year, and remember the day you decided to leave that. We don't just travel to take photos with iconic backdrops, we travel to see what is different from us, and how it is also the same. Slow travel includes renting a house, enrolling in a course, volunteering, studying a language, finding your roots, lounging in a cafe and taking stock of your life, writing your book, or making those dolla dolla bills online. There are plenty of options to stay long term, including the obvious Airbnb, House Swap and VRBO. But checking the local papers and walking the neighborhoods is likely to really get you into the heart of slow travel. Remember the movie Under The Tuscan Sun? If she can do it, so can you. Leave Possessions and Habits Behind Remember when I mentioned uncertainty, risk and vulnerability, well here it is. Leaving behind all those things you accumulated as a "need" and realizing they are really unnecessary shifts your thinking. You'll become a minimalist. One suitcase, preferably a backpack is the way to go. A check-in bag, and a day pack will become vital in your travel habits. The amount of your gear is commensurate with your stress level. Fitting everything into a backpack and carrying your gear provides convenience, more safety (from theft) and ease. While it seems only kids travel with backpacks, it's not the case. Think of attempting to pull along a rolling suitcase through remote spots, dirt roads or jungles. You don't want to find yourself there. Plus they are just as convenient in the city. A sleek backpack is not going to get a second look checking into a Four Seasons to do that brand review you were just hired for remotely. Besides any extra space, you have most likely houses your electronics that make it possible to work online. Again, take me word for it. Own your travel. Little by little, you will also shed away habits like worrying about what you wear, collecting things, and rethinking your personal impact on the planet. Yes travel has a big carbon footprint, but along the way you can volunteer, drop the habit of using plastic and eat unprocessed foods, all with a positive return. Pro tip: Pack 2- 3 interchangable outfits in mid tone to darker colors that are comfortable and durable. Things like "adventure" pants that keep you dry and can unzip to shorts, repeats of lycra or cotton t-shirts, yoga pants and scarves go a long way for the ladies, and a good pair or walking shoes and flip flops for starters. Carry a basic first aid kit and repair kit with sewing items, gear aid tapes and patches. Make Money Remotely You're 40 and just quit your job to travel the world, are you crazy? The majority of bloggers make an average $2 a day, while a few in the top make a six figure income. If you're looking to make money while you travel online, it takes persistence, stamina, flexibility and good ol' fashion hard work. Most of the beautiful photos online are done by travel writers and flash packers who come in for a week or a weekend. Not the same as traveling full time. Don't worry, you can still make beautiful content (while still immersed in travel). It will just take more creativity. Bloggers make their money in freelance writing, social media posts, brand partnerships, ad posts, coaching, speaking, e books, affiliate income, photography, licensing and product sales. The doors are open, you just need to walk through. A few places to post and find remote work are Upwork, Fiverr, Writers Work, Freelancer, Remote Co, Idealist and Small World. If you're in tech, you have even more flexibility. Coders and UX developers are in high demand. If there's anything I've learned in my years of travel, adventure and writing, it's that you can possess seemingly opposing skills -- teaching yoga vs flying a helicopter, creating media content vs hosting adventure retreats - that will serve you well. Some of my skills above provide me with grace under pressure, discipline, focus, organization and communication skills that make being a digital nomad and traveling that much easier. Uncertainly, risk and vulnerability, right? Time management, organization, being financially savvy, willing to learn, communication and curiosity will all be required on your world travels. Your instincts, skills and passions are fueling your travel-lust and can also support you in your new life of travel and leisure. Final Thoughts Take what you can here, and get ready for your own travels. After 40, each decision we make is even more vital to our overall effect on life. But we are usually a bit wiser, free'er and more apt to assess the uncertainties. Now is better than ever to feed our crazy and live off the road. We've earned it. I don't advise lightly about quitting your job and traveling the world. It's not for everyone, and it can uproot your life in ways you never thought of. And if you truly go off grid and spend years focused on travel, you have to start all over again when you return home. You will most likely come back a changed person but the rest of the world will seem unchanged. Whether you're creating a career change, had a major life event shift your world, or are following your travel dreams after taking care of a career and children; traveling the world after 40 is more than possible. It's waiting. It doesn't matter if this is your third or fourth act, the curtain hasn't dropped yet. Forty can be the new twenty you define, and I'm here to let you know it's possible: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

8. November 2018 - 16:00
After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity. But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired. Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach. Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared. Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy. Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value. The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence. 1. Hack time to accomplish more than most Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people. With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management. Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show. Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time. For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals. Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in. It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks. 2. Set your own boundaries Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.((Gallup: Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work)) Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel. Here are some important traits to consider:
  • Work and life balance - The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
  • Self-development opportunities - Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
  • Company culture - The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.((Neil Patel: Inside Google’s Culture of Success and Employee Happiness))
These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more. 3. Continuously invest in yourself Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless. You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields. Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance. Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work. Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day. It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition. 4. Document the value you bring Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills. To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online. A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense. Here are some ideas:
  • joesmith.com
  • joeasmith.com
  • joesmithprojects.com
Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building. During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer 5. Hide your salary requirements Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process. But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range. The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary. Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for. 6. Do just enough research Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it. Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings. Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have. Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.((CNBC: The 25 highest-paying companies in America)) Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate. 7. Get compensated by your value Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator. Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing? Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you. You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary. The bottom line You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble. You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

7. November 2018 - 19:00
In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.((NHERI: Homeschooling Growing: Multiple Data Points Show Increase 2012 to 2016 and Later)) Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades. The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests. Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think. How to Homeschool (Getting Started) After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track. Figure Out the Laws Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.((CRHE: State by State)) The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics. Decide on an Approach Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below. Supplies/Resources Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse. A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available. Find a Community Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids. Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience. 7 Different Homeschooling Methods 1. School-At-Home Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home. The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.
  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka
2. Classical One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time. Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books((Wikipedia: Great Books of the Western World)) as well as Greek and Latin. 3. Unit Studies Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area. For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.
  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit StudyUnit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos
4. Charlotte Mason This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios. Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style. 5. Montessori Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century. With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests. 6. Unschooling Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.((John Holt: The Foundations of Unschooling)) The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches. For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role. 7. Eclectic/Relaxed As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based. Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling. How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process. Email Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet. It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student. Google Drive/Calendar Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper. Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills. Ebooks Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks: E-Courses When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go. From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways. The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught. Some recommendations: Youtube Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge. Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education. Some recommendations: Final Thoughts Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home. Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

13 Ways Living with Purpose Make Your Life Happier and More Fulfilling

7. November 2018 - 18:00
One of the greatest gifts as a human is the ability to choose how to live your life. The choice to be a parent or not; the choice to be college educated or choose an apprenticeship; or the choice to break the rules by designing your own future. Sure, the benefits of making the right choices are immense and the feeling of fulfillment even better. But how would you feel you were forced to live a false life? Here’s an example: You’re being forced to learn how to be a hair stylist and make it your occupation. No, it’s not your side hustle. Even worse, you are told to forget your loved ones and get married to someone you absolutely detest. Forget everything you’ve learned and loved, and instead, make this your sole career and relationship. The amount of anguish and physical pain you might feel is akin to someone taking a precious object or livelihood away from you. This could lead to anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and an overall spiral into a web of negativity. Yet, there are people who willingly or unwillingly live their lives based on society’s dictates and preferences. I’m talking about people who are constantly living outside their purpose and are unhappy about it. While sadness is an emotion that is as common as happiness, a constant state of sadness will cause you to slip into a pattern of automatic negative thoughts which can be more difficult to get out of. So, how do you fix this? How do you stop living a life of false identities and instead honor your own calling and beliefs? Without further ado, here are 13 ways living with purpose make your life happier and more fulfilling: 1. You feel grounded to a calling that is bigger than yourself. While living with purpose won’t guarantee higher paychecks and fancy property, there is a desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. You want to be part of movements that positively impact the world and leave a legacy behind for future generation. Call it faith, mindfulness, or whatever it is you wish to align yourself with. This sense of anchor makes it possible to navigate through life by when you are able to visualize your existence on earth for a specific reason, which in turn enables you to spend more time to find your calling. 2. You help others live their purpose by empowering them. An advantage to living in your purpose is that you discover your strengths and are more willing to be of service to your community. This is practically impossible if you lack self-awareness and are unable to translate the skills you have to helping others. Sometimes, even if you do have the skills to help others, living an unintentional life casts a doubt of pessimism over you, blinding you of the opportunities to help others grow. 3. You engage with others from a point of healthy self-esteem. As you go through life, your personality and attitudes become shaped by your experiences. However, negative events tend to leave you more vulnerable to self-doubt and crippling mindset challenges, which can cause your self-esteem to take a nose-dive. Living with purpose is a powerful way to rehabilitate a sense poor self-esteem. When you change the way you feel about how adversity affects you, your confidence increases and you feel competent enough to deal with setbacks and even stand up as a change agent in situations with unknown outcomes. 4. Your physical and mental health will thank you. Yes, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Living a lifestyle not of your choosing can subject you to severe mental health decline. Anxiety begins to attack as you experience a rise in excessive worry, irritability, lack of concentration, among other things. In fact, a Harvard article explains that researchers studied the risk of cardiovascular death between people who reported living with a sense of purpose and those who didn’t, and found the risk of death was 20 percent lower in those who reported living with purpose.((Harvard Health Publishing: Finding purpose in life)) 5. Letting go of failure is easier. Life becomes easier to navigate because you’re living with purpose. Note, I didn’t say easy because it’s never easy. That’s because choosing to pursue a life aligned with your purpose will stretch you and demand more from you. You will be required to grow and commit to continuous personal development. However, it is easier to let go of failure without letting it fester into an emotional wound because you’re able approach life as an adventure rather than an “all or nothing” mindset. It is easier to let go of failure because despite a few losses, you believe that you are on a creative, professional path that is designed just for you. 6. Forgiveness others and letting go of bitterness becomes easier. Life becomes more peaceful when you no longer have to hold onto year-long grudges and misunderstandings that have caused you unhappiness. This isn’t to say that you become unfeeling to injustice or deliberate disrespect from others. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong or action. Rather, people who choose to live a purposeful life are more inclined to choose peace over tension. According to Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T., you actually might feel un willing to forgive despite knowing that you need to.((Psychology Today: How Do You Forgive Even When It Feels Impossible? (Part 1))) However, it takes a gradual process of acknowledging that what is done is done, releasing the hurt and suffering caused, and growing from it ordeal. Living with purpose makes this process easier because you are more likely to understand that there is no “perfect” human. 7. Gratitude becomes an essential part of your life. Interestingly, living a meaningful life opens your heart to feel thankful. When gratitude preludes your wants and desires, you’re inclined to live fully in the present, to savor and enjoy the relationships and things you do have. When you live a purposeful life, you acknowledge the difference between needs and wants and make it a daily effort to remove your focus from what you do not have. 8. You engage in positive behaviors. When you’re living a happier life, you’re able to adopt healthy coping strategies when dealing with stress. According to Stephanie Hooker from Psychology Today:((Psychology Today: How a Sense of Purpose in Life Improves Your Health))  “People who have a greater sense of meaning may be more likely to take care of themselves because they feel as if their lives matter more.” This means more exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and less of drinking, smoking, and risky behaviors that will put your health and safety at risk. 9. You expand your worldview. Unlike living in a world where everything is viewed in black and white, you become very sensitive to nuances, undertones, and challenges that plague daily communications, intercultural communications, and even business operations. Having an open mind leads to craving a deeper sense of connection and understanding of the world around us, which allows for a higher level of thinking for better results in your career and business and business. 10. You develop more empathy for others. Rather than living a life of assigning blame to others because they can’t seem to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” you understand that life is not a race. You know that everyone is equal and experiences discomfort at certain times. You are also aware that it takes a loving and nurturing environments––not critical ones, to raise mentally-strong and balanced individuals who will go on to achieve greater things in life. 11. You pursue a values-based life. Ever heard of some people always talking and breathing their core values? Well, that’s what living with purpose does. Let’s say you’re exposed to social issues that plague local and global communities. When you live with purpose, your work instantly gravitates towards solving these problems. This integration becomes more prominent because you find it difficult to extricate your what you do from how you are called to serve. 12. You are more aligned with your career. When you are out of alignment, you are blind to the unassuming job opportunities that mask themselves as challenges or simple introductions. You take risks and make very unwise decisions about your career and/or business. But success comes from within before it is ever manifested externally, and the only way to know this and acknowledge it is if you are purposefully living your life. 13. You gain clarity about the future despite uncertainties. Uncertainty is always going to be a part of life. But it is in these moments that we either realize unspoken potential or let opportunities slip from our fingers. However, a life lived with purpose recognizes uncertainty as the path to achieving something greater. This encourages you to engage with life from a place of genuine curiosity and wonder instead of anxiety and pessimism. Final Thoughts You have to be clear about what you want your life to look like and how you want to live it. Whether you're following trends or breaking societal rules, your personal joy and fulfillment is your responsibility. After all, you only live once and you should find your meaning in it. This article will help you find your meaning: There Is More to Life Than  ____________ (Fill in the Blank Yourself)

9 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success

7. November 2018 - 17:00
There is a wide body of evidence indicating that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones. Diverse teams in your organization will too. Leading a diverse team is an art that can be learned. It does take some time to bring everybody on board for a vision but having good people management skills can accelerate the process considerably. It's in the leader’s best interest to have its team working to capacity and moving in the same direction in order to get things done effectively and efficiently. In this article, I will share with you why working with diverse teams can be challenging and how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal. Why Is It Hard to Lead a Diverse Team? Unfamiliarity with shared governance principles It is very difficult for a leader to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal without taking a shared governance approach. The principles of equity, partnership, accountability and ownership must be applied and embraced in order for the diverse team to operate to capacity and have “buy in.” Equity, or the understructure and mensuration of value states that no role is in essence more important than any other. Partnership is paramount in relationship building and serves as the justification for involving diverse team members in decision making. Allowing for evaluation of role performance between and among the members of the team is key in the process along with ownership structures that allow for the acceptance, contribution and recognition by all parties involved. Diverse teams are diverse in nature and expect the former in order to operate to capacity. “The whole is more important than the sum of the parts.” Leaders must understand that no living system, like a corporate unit or any other unit, can function to capacity — or “go for the same goal” if its parts aren’t operating in harmony. Lack of systemic thinking will eventually result in entropy. Leading diverse teams to be “on the same page” is challenging because leaders working with a “homogeneous” mindset are rarely equipped with the former concepts presented in this section. Stakeholder participation is key. Little diversity understanding Diversity means variety and/or a range of different things. Leading a diverse team to reach the same organizational goal can be challenging because leaders may not know what this “variety” and “range of different things” actually are. Let’s start with the obvious. If a team is composed of ten white males, one female and no Latino males/ females, ethnic variety is lacking in the unit. A leader’s failing to understand that the former is a problem, as well as the fact that the ratio of employees within his or her unit is unbalanced — there are too many while males in proportion to everybody else — can and probably will have long-term consequences relating to “goal buy in,” especially if the unit’s leader isn’t sensitive to group diversity. To make things more complicated, diversity of gender and thinking are real challenges that the leader may face for lacking adequate understanding of diversity. In the popular book, “Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus ”, some of us have learned that we (men and women) motivate, speak, argue, and communicate feelings differently. In the book, it is written that men like to process info by thinking before communicating whereas women like to process info by communicating their thought process. Ethnic minorities can behave differently and possess a range of different things. Italians tend to be impulsive, Hispanic Americans tend to be emotional, the Japanese are collectivist, the British individualist, Vietnamese are reactive, Malaysians tend to compromise… Being the leader of a diverse team is more labor intensive! In addition, most people like to associate themselves with people who are like them and who are familiar with what they believe in. No wonder why leaders have so little understanding of diversity in the workforce today. This makes leaders’ jobs more challenging when driving teams to be on the same page about projects. Unfortunately, lack of diversity understanding doesn’t help organizations to be more productive. There is overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that diverse teams make fewer errors than homogeneous ones and when errors do occur, diverse teams are more likely to solve them. Resistance to change Most people like the familiar. No wonder why 1 out of 2 freshmen attend a college within 100 miles from home. The irony of resistance and change is that implementing change is in the leader’s job description! Leaders should embrace change rather than resisting it yet resistance to change is real and occurs in every continent across the globe. That’s why leading diverse teams to move in the same direction as the leader when the leader is afraid to change can be so challenging. Tolerance for change varies among leaders. As I said already in this article, we are creatures of habit. Loss of control, breaking the routine, fear of the unknown and elements of surprise are all reasons why leaders fear change. There is however, a direct correlation between one’s ability to lead and their easiness with these former reasons why leaders resist change.((Harvard Business Review: How to Deal With Resistance to Change)) Change isn’t always technical and can be social. Social change is important but is difficult for many leaders, making things more complicated for the leader to have his or her people on board on a project. I wish that people management was like chopsticks. Always useful and unchangeable. Unfortunately, people management is an evolving science and requires leaders to adapt to new societal trends with much more frequency. As a side note: Henry Petrosky, Duke University professor and the author of the book The Evolution of Useful Things predicts chopsticks to stay as they are for another millennia. Thank goodness that leaders aren’t chopsticks. 6 Powerful People Management Tactics When thinking about revising your company’s training and development program or simply offering good informal training to employees at your organization, consider adopting the following tactics on how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal. 1. Understand first… judge second Before making any judgement, strive to understand the members of your team. What are their likes and dislikes? What makes them feel comfortable or uncomfortable? What makes them feel good or bad? Listening to what they have to say as well as being empathic to what they may be feeling could be the difference between you getting them on board or not. Remember: Leaders must be patient in order to first understand then judge. Patience is a virtue. 2. Ability to relate If a leader can’t relate with his or her team somehow, they won’t be able to influence them. Failing to influence the members of the group will exponentially decreases the leader’s chances of having diverse team members on his or her side. If a leader has a group of African Americans on staff, it may be a good idea to find out who Margaret Walker, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington and other influential African-American figures are. Leaders who can’t relate don’t stay leaders for too long. Never forget that. 3. Take an interest in others True leadership is about developing the team, not developing the leader. It is about taking interest in the welfare of others. There are a number of activities that a leader can do to display interest in the life of his or her team members. A wise unit leader goes to lunch with his team and periodically has walk/talks with them to get to know who his or her team members really are. Another good idea is to stop by your team’s station or offices once in a while to chat about topics unrelated to work. People from diverse backgrounds will appreciate this gesture. One of the fastest ways to lose a diverse team and have them boycott a goal is to show disinterest in them. Leaders can’t afford to show disinterest if his goal is to have the diverse members of the team moving towards a common goal. 4. Be flexible Being flexible is a great practice that will help a leader gain trust from his team. Flexible leaders treat their team members with respect and strive to accommodate diverse styles and needs. Providing guidance when required and praising diverse team members when accomplishment is attained, will increase the chances that the team will be on board. One of the fastest ways to “lose” a diverse team member is to single him out or find fault in his work when there wasn’t anything to report. The former isn’t good leadership and will most definitely create distrust and resentment which will then significantly decrease team member buy-in. 5. Develop soft skills Acting as a team player rather than an autocratic dictator, having effective interpersonal and non-verbal communication skills, along with the ability to receive critical feedback and engaging in storytelling can be excellent ways to bring diverse teams on board. Good leadership calls for the need to connect with colleagues and other members of the organization. The act of giving constant criticism or isolating team members won’t help any leader to bring them on board a vision. Maintaining an air of professionalism and building positive morale are critical components that persuade diverse teams members to buy into a vision. The act of delegating is a good one as well. 6. Have good judgement Having good judgement starts by having an open mind. Diverse teams are likely to express differences in opinion. In order to keep them on board, the leader should take their ideas into account even if the majority rule believes otherwise. Sometimes, the best solutions are the ones that the people on the team thought were the least favorable. If a diverse team member isn’t participating in a meeting, ask him or her to share an opinion. Never, under any circumstances, disrespect them in public even if they have done something wrong. Dale Carnegie has taught us this lesson in his classic book, “How to Win Friends And Influence People.” In the end, the leader will lose influence and an ally resulting in less buy in from diverse team members. Conclusion Organizations who have diverse teams have an edge against other institutions with more homogeneous ones. There is an art to bringing team members from diverse backgrounds on board to share the same goal and people management skills are at the center of that. One’s ability to listen and learn can go a long way. Being flexible, taking interest in others, developing soft skills and the ability to relate are also important skillsets that leaders should learn if their goals are to lead diverse teams and have them on their side. Unfamiliarity with shared government principles, little diversity understanding and resistance to change are major threats that can impede a modern leader with bringing his team together on a goal. Having people management skills are at the center of what makes diverse teams function as presented in this article. Fortunate will be leaders who strive to understand their diverse team first and judge them second. They will have buy in. They are the true modern leaders.

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eBooks über eine sich selbst organisierende Gesellschaft, die auf der Eigenverantwortung jedes Einzelnen aufbaut (die optimale Lebensumgebung für Lebensunternehmer)

eBooks über Insel-Solaranlagen und Windräder und Solarkollektoren, die man umweltfreundlich und Ressourcensparend aus Schrott, Altmetall und Abfällen bauen kann

im eBook-Shop stöbern … 

Lebensunternehmer-ebook-Shop

 

bestimmte Inhalte gezielt finden

 

Mit der Suchmaschine können alle Inhalte zum Lebensunternehmer-Training und zur artgerechten Umgebung für Lebensunternehmer gezielt nach bestimmten Stichwörtern durchsucht und so die jeweils  relevanten Inhalte gefunden werden.

Besonders wichtige Stichwörter:
naturverbundenheit, traumberuf finden, selbstentfaltung, autodidaktisch lernen, urteilsvermögen, entscheiden, beteiligen, Verantwortung, demokratie, netzwerke, grundeinkommen

Geben Sie doch testweise die Stichwörter, die Sie besonders interessieren, in die Suchmaschine ein und schauen Sie sich die gefundenen Trefferanzeigen an!

Hier geht es zur Suchmaschine ...

 

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>> die Ideenwerkstatt der Akademie für Lebensunternehmer

hier geht es um Lösungen, Konzepte und Projektideen für eine sich selbst organisierende Gesellschaft, die auf unserer tagtäglich gelebten Eigenverantwortung basiert

Dazu gibt es: Workshops, Coachings, Videokurse und eBooks | wichtige Werte und Gewohnheiten für alle die ihr Leben unternehmen | die ganzheitliche Lösung für eine sich selbst organisierende Gesellschaft, die auf der Eigenverantwortung jedes Einzelnen aufbaut | eBooks für Lebensunternehmer | die Lebensunternehmer-Idee | eine FAQ zur Klärung vieler Detailfragen zum Thema "das Leben unternehmen" | der Lebensunternehmer-Blog | den Bauplan für eine neue Gesellschaft | die Projektidee zu einer Internet-Entscheidungsplattform | News zum Thema “gesellschaftlicher Wandel” | das Grundkonzept für ein neues Bildungssystem und vieles mehr

>> aktiv mitmachen

diese Site soll dich dazu anregen aktiv bei der Akademie für Lebensunternehmer mitzumachen

weitere Websites von mir:

>> die Akademie für Lebensunternehmer
das Leben unternehmen - wie geht das?

>> mach was du liebst
hier geht es um die Kernfrage: Wofür lohnt es sich für dich zu leben?

>> wachse und gedeihe
hier geht es um die Kernfrage: Wie kannst du dich optimal weiterentwickeln, also effektiv lernen?

>> nutze das Internet sinnvoll und hilfreich
hier geht es um die Kernfrage: Wie können dir die vielfältigen Software-Tools bzw. Internetdienste dabei helfen, daß du deine Tagesaufgaben einfacher und schneller lösen kannst?

>> nutze freie Energie
selbst Strom erzeugen und Energie sparen