How To Use Your Energy Levels To Be More Productive

You’re reading How To Use Your Energy Levels To Be More Productive, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

You already know what needs to happen. You say it all the time: “I need to be more productive with my time.”

But often – too often – it feels just about impossible. Certain times of day you’re a steam train mowing down anything which gets in-between your work and you. Other hours, maybe when you’d rather be sleeping, the brainstorming commences – and doesn’t end. Then there are the dead hours – those hours where no matter how hard you try, you know you’ll find myself wasting as much time as possible, in whatever way makes itself available.

When what you’ve got is competing demands – whether that’s in your schedule or in your interests – feeling those ebbs and flows of energy can derail your productivity and your creative process. So what do you do about it?

1) Shift your mindset

Different hour = different possibilities. When you’re out of energy, you’re out of energy. And that can make itself known in distraction or procrastination. It’s not that you are wasting time, or aren’t committed to what you’re doing – it’s that you can’t really do any better given your energy levels. When you’re focused and able to get a lot done – don’t ignore that impulse to keep going, but pay attention to it, and take note. If it’s a trend, it might be valuable to schedule any executive tasks for that time of day. And when your brain goes into brainstorm mode, don’t let that phase you. That is your creativity working for you. Grab a notebook or journal and let it – channel the energy towards any creative work you could be doing, instead of wasting it chastising yourself for not spending more time executing.

2) Understand Your Productivities

There’s an endless debate surrounding whether “early birds” or “night owls” are more productive. Odds are, you likely aren’t just one kind of productive (or one kind of bird, for that matter). Sometimes you brainstorm, plan, draft. Other times you edit, assemble, execute. Distinguish between these types of productivity – creative productivity through writing, brainstorming, planning, etc., and executive productivity through copying, revising, editing, etc. Where your energy lends itself to spending can differ by the time of day.
Once you understand that, know how you work – whether it’s in periodic bursts or over long, dedicated slogs, or somewhere in-between. Take the time to notice whether it works differently when you are writing creatively to when you are writing a report, or between planning and execution. And once you are clear on the different ways you can be productive, start to take notice of the times they coincide with.

3) Learn Your Hours

Test yourself. Over the span of about a week, chart out when you are the most creative, and when the muses won’t sing. Record when you get the most actual execution – the hands-on, make-the-creative-vision-happen work – accomplished. Finally, and most importantly, note down when you are the most likely to distract yourself or feel a slump in energy. Record the time of day, and whether it differs depending on other factors, like your diet or the day of the week or your sleep pattern. Understand the trend in your waking hours, and what you are and aren’t able to put out in the meantime.
Just understanding those hours – and working with them, rather than against them – can stave off a whole lot of frustration, procrastination and writer’s block.

4) Organize Your Time Around Those Hours

Rather than exhausting yourself by trying to push through those lapses in energy or focus, organize your schedule with those hours in mind. This might look like:
1. Creative work in the early morning/late night (6am – 10am; 8pm onwards)
2. Productive Work in the late morning through early afternoon (10am – 2pm)
3. “Useless” Netflix/Facebook/Catch up with an old friend hours (3pm – about 8pm)

The key is to guide yourself. To learn the unique ways in which your energy flows and lapses throughout the day, then taking note of the time of day those changes correspond to. Figuring it out – exactly how this looks for you – can make you that much more productive.

So if you’ve got a chapter to finish, a topic to revise, a blog post to write, or a whole lot of procrastinating to do – try testing yourself, and finding out when your creative juices are flowing, and when they aren’t. When it’s easy to focus, and when it isn’t. Try organizing your time around your energy – not the other way around – and see how it works for you.

Pedro is a student of life, lover of people, and life coach. He’s the host of the podcast How To Talk To Anyone, and the founder of, where he helps driven and passionate young people build a life out of what’s important to them.

You’ve read How To Use Your Energy Levels To Be More Productive, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Unconscious Bias: 3 ways your brain is unknowingly holding you back (and what to do about it)

You’re reading Unconscious Bias: 3 ways your brain is unknowingly holding you back (and what to do about it), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

“A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation.” – Neale Donald Walsch

We usually think of our brain as our greatest asset.

It’s what makes us human and allows us to grow and learn. However, the more we begin to understand the complex link between our psychology and our physiology, the more we start to see that a lot of the time, our brains are actually holding us back.

This is because we live in a world vastly different from the one our brains evolved in. As a result, we can have a number of issues with things such as confidence, anxiety and even just rational decision making.

Fortunately, by taking a clear look at ways in which our brains might be holding us back, we can start to develop and utilize the more rational parts of our mind, and free ourselves from these barriers.

Here are three common ways your brain might be holding you back (and what to do about them).

  1. Self-judgement Fatigue

Self-judgement fatigue occurs when we spend a disproportionate amount of time critically looking at ourselves and questioning out abilities. All the energy that could be invested towards completing a task is wasted on our own rumination.

Key Takeaway:

When you notice a self-judgement, label it as such, simply recognise that it’s trying to help you (this is a key aspect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), but that it’s a thought that is taking away your energy and is not necessary. From there try to make decisions with less hesitation, and direct your focus outwards towards a task as opposed to inwards towards yourself.

  1. The Someday Fallacy

This is when we put too much reliance on our future self. The underlying belief here is that our future self will be more inspired to act than our current self. Unfortunately that’s never really the case and most people live a life where their dreams get relegated to the ‘someday pile.’

Key Takeaway:

Learn to take action now and not expect that your future self will take care of things for you. Assume that in the future there’s a high probability that you’ll be less likely to do something than you are now.  One effective way to overcome the someday fallacy is to be meticulous with goal setting; tracking dates and milestones to measure your progress objectively and see where you’ve been putting things off.

  1. Mood-congruent Memory Bias

This happens with all of us, almost all of the time, to varying degrees.

There’s an old saying “when it rains it pours” which basically means when things are good they’re really good, but when things are bad they’re really bad. However, this is actually a cognitive bias, rather than a statistical truth.

The reason behind this is because when things are going well we’re better able to retrieve memories related to other times when things were going well, however when things are going poorly, we tend to remember other times when things were going poorly.

This is particularly dangerous for anyone who suffers from depression or bipolar disorders as they can get stuck in negative or manic cycles of thought as their mood colors their memories and therefore their experience.

Key Takeaway:

Keep a journal and track your moods and actions. Make it a habit to complete important tasks independently of how you feel. Whether you’re motivated and inspired, or sick and tired, try to be as consistent as possible and not get swept up relying on your feelings for momentum.

Attention Pick the Brain Readers!

Would you like to learn more about how your mind is holding you back?

Then take our FREE psycho-metric style personality quiz and receive feedback based on your psychological profile:

How Well Do You Know Your Unconscious Mental Barriers?

Ben Fishel is a freelance writer, and the creator of Project Monkey Mind – a blog that delves deep into psychology, spirituality, and the mind, and offers practical wisdom for the digital age.

Don’t forget to follow Project Monkey Mind on Facebook!

You’ve read Unconscious Bias: 3 ways your brain is unknowingly holding you back (and what to do about it), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The Road doesn’t go anywhere! How To Form Habits That Are Crucial For Long Term Self-Improvement

You’re reading The Road doesn’t go anywhere! How To Form Habits That Are Crucial For Long Term Self-Improvement, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

To understand success, you need to know first that there is no road towards success. Ever saw a road moving? Probably not, as it’s the cars, trucks, bicycles and the pedestrians who move on it. The road is just a platform on which everything already is standing still, it’s the power to move that gets things going and make things reach point B from A. Similarly, everyone knows what success is and how to get there but the biggest differentiation comes in the form of the habits you are slave to.

We have all heard of great stories of failure and how people overcame them to become utterly successful but it’s not about how much you fail or how you don’t give up after failing as it’s not about willpower, motivation, inspiration or anything else. A habit of doing something keeps you going on no matter if failures or dead ends come your way. Your habits make you push your way through. But rarely do we incorporate new and better habits into our self as we have a bad propensity to follow whatever habits we made by accident, pure chance or its just who we are. To push forwards towards success, you need habits, good ones and great ones both and forming them might be immensely difficult but don’t worry there is structured way to inculcate them gradually in your life.

Grow rich slowly:

To first form any great habit you must let go of one that destroys them all. The habit of instant gratification is your biggest enemy when it comes to doing something great. When we want fast rewards, we cannot settle down, work hard and commit ourselves towards things which take time. Growing rich overnight is a myth. It takes years of determination and perseverance to achieve something worthwhile. Nor was Rome built in a day neither did Facebook become the biggest social networking site overnight.

Rome was great so is Facebook, but building them took time and steady work. So to first incorporate any new great habit, let go of the worst ever habit you can ever have i.e. wanting instant results from anything you do, if you don’t, you’ll start everything with unmatched zeal and passion only to fizzle out very soon and never come back to pick up that habit ever again.

For e.g. you want to make regular exercise as part of your habits in order to get a great body and you hit the gym with passion pumping iron, but in a month, you look at the mirror and barely see any noticeable difference and you stop doing it. Your dream of getting a great body lay shattered and you remain demotivated to take up regular exercise as a habit ever again. Never opt for instant results.

Be Realistic:

Strong habits bring even stronger results but one of the biggest problems is over-committing to your habit because you have set unrealistic expectations as to the results you want. Surely you would want to earn $100K from your writing blog every month and you are willing to put in all the effort to give as much time as possible towards the habit of writing great stuff. You write and write, but setting such an expectation from the result at just the start is asking for too much from your end. The chances of earning that amount of money in a few months are increasingly remote.

Earning $100K from your blog is achievable but for e.g. it takes a year and your effort needs to be phased out. Don’t try to push a year’s work in just two months, you will undermine you creativity and suffer from burn out by heading this way and your blog will suffer eventually, fizzling out before it even got going. Set realistic time frames and expectations to not only get the best results but to make sure that the habit, for e.g. writing, stays with you for life.

Free up your time:

For doing something new, we need time for it. But before you pick up a new habit and settle it in a particular time frame, make sure that the work you previously did in that time frame is taken care off by someone else or you are ready to forfeit it, otherwise you’ll be stuck with cramming another habit within your already limited daily time schedule.

For e.g. you want to take up designing apps as a new habit or want to incorporate meditating as daily habit once you come home from work, but you are taking care of your aging parents in that time frame and if you pick up the new habit, either your parents would suffer due to your absence or you have to do things for them in a shorter time now. In either case, you’ll be left flabbergasted and exhausted at the amount of work you need to do, leaving you incapable of following your habit diligently because you lack the necessary peace of mind.

To incorporate a new habit, make sure that you have ample free time towards pursuing it like either you shift your parents to your sibling’s home or get elderly home care services, so that there is nothing bothering you when you take up the new habit.

Good habits are important and everyone knows that but where we lack the most is the mindset needed to keep them for so long that they become second nature. Ensure that you not just aspire to have good habits but are taking necessary steps to plan their way in into your life.

You’ve read The Road doesn’t go anywhere! How To Form Habits That Are Crucial For Long Term Self-Improvement, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Introverts: How to Trump Over Our Social Anxiety

You’re reading Introverts: How to Trump Over Our Social Anxiety, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” Albert Camus

Not too long ago, I was assigned to lead a fairly large project at work. It involved heavy interactions with various departments, endless meetings, lots of brainstorming exercises, and more importantly—a need for a skillful and charismatic leader, who can build a good rapport with all types of groups and individuals.

For many—especially extroverts—this opportunity will present an outright prospect to shine in the spotlight—a harbinger of future successes and recognition, and possibly a solid step toward the pinnacle of one’s career. Of course, it doesn’t mean—we all know this—that an introvert is not going to be up for the challenge, nor that we can’t excel or exhibit preeminent managerial skills and talents. We are equally suited for the job, but such a high-visibility position comes with some acute preparation. It will simply require more mental priming and longer time spent in our “restorative niches,” thus— making our quiet times outside of work a precious gem, worth savoring.

But when we add another nuance to the situation above—if that introvert is also shy and suffers from social anxiety, things shift in a rather different perspective. Frequently, the ostensibly incompatible combination of introversion, shyness/ anxiety, and exemplar leadership can easily be foreseen as a recipe for a disaster.

It’s a well established fact that not all introverts are shy, nor are they socially anxious. Although these states may be closely linked, they are distinct. But research also tells us that introverts are, on average, more likely to be shy than extroverts.
The dynamics of the affair between introversion and shyness tend to exhibit a downward spiraling effect. That is, if one is shy and introvert, introversion intensifies our feelings of shyness, which—in turn—may lead to a further walk down the rabbit hole of social aversion and more acute craving of alone-time.

Admittedly, in work settings, the combination is inherently unwelcome, as it often reveals a poignant tale of self-dissatisfaction and perceived unworthiness. For all who are introverts and suffer from social anxiety, it appears that we are at a serious disadvantage professionally and socially—one that may be very challenging to remedy.Or, as one may bluntly state the prevalent stance in this situation—“we are doomed.”

Well, contrary to such stereotypical thinking we often get tangled in, losing our safety net and venturing in new foreign lands—especially ones that we have been conditioned to believe we’ll never belong to—is indeed frightening, but has the potential to make us more—more fulfilled, more resilient, more daring.

Here’s what I have found to work for me—to help distance oneself from social uneasiness, so that we can gain from our introvert powers instead.
Focus on the issue at hand first, not on the people—I know, I know. Being solely task-oriented goes completely against what we’ve been taught to believe over and over— about the value of networking and about the importance of paying close attention to people, this may not always be the right initial approach if we are to ease our social anxiety.

Focusing on the task or the result can help divert our thoughts from worrying about the impression we think we are making on others. On the other hand—we will appear more driven, focused and efficient.

In the long run, an accomplished leader will need to master both skills and sides—people and tasks. But as many introverts can attest, we often need some extra time to warm up to others. So, in the interim state of becoming comfortable enough with a group, establishing competence may just be the better approach.

Don’t pretend that you are invisible…because you are really not (unless you own Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, of course). Shyness can often make us want to claim a quiet nook in the room and stay in the shadows, where we can observe rather than engage. Naturally, such a passive-defensive approach is barely a winning career strategy.

Rather than playing invisible, if we are socially bashful, the smarter approach is to unfold gradually, at a pace we feel comfortable with, starting with just a few comments at every meeting. A phased strategy will help us slowly improve on our shyness, as we grow more familiar with others, but it will also let us leverage our strengths as introverts—as discussions in small groups are our forte, our chance to shine, to be heard.

Letting it all slip away—by fussing about our lack of extroverted-type eloquence and enthusiasm—will simply be a missed opportunity to claim out spot at the table—not only as quiet leaders, but also, as individuals who can raise above the ingrained (but sometimes just perceived) setbacks of their temperaments.

Ask questions—Form the years of experience I’ve had in the corporate world, I have grasped a major observation. Asking questions doesn’t make us appear less knowledgeable, slow at grasping ideas, or not clever enough. On the contrary, research tells us that asking questions is a highly constructive undertaking, it shows inquisitiveness, a desire to understand, to learn more, so one can be more helpful.

However, high social sensitivity may often prevent us from fully and effectively engaging with others, and of exploring a matter in depth to find a better solution.

Advanced preparation comes quite handy here. If you are the leader, draft a list of discussion points, be ready to address any questions, and exercise some assertiveness when someone tries to hijack the conversion.

Having a pre-defined script will make it easier to overcome our anxieties. Admittedly, asking questions will put us in the spotlight—but in the right way, where we, once again, will have an opportunity to draw from our introvert strengths of reasoning, analytical thinking and shrewd decision-making.

Get Excited—We may be reluctant to admit it, but we all have a certain degree of vanity. When we speak, especially in a small group, people usually pay attention.

No matter how horrifying the idea may be, it’s possible to enjoy the Broadway-type of moment when our quiet powers become more visible, as it may also present a great opportunity to earn us the respect and recognition many of us deserve in our extrovert-dominant world.

The trick is to not let the inner hurricane of negative thinking and anxiety (“What if they are secretly laughing at me? Do I sound reliable enough? Do I project enough confidence? Do I have something between my teeth?” etc.) self-escalate to a point that it tints our credibility.

One way to reign in those rebellious butterflies in our stomach is to reframe our anxiety, as Prof. Alison Wood Brooks of Harvard University tells us. Instead of trying to calm down ahead of stressful and high-visibility events, we should feel excited. Adopting an “opportunity mind-set” (vs a threat mind-set), can improve our performance. It’s really simple too—it entails some straightforward self-talk (“I’m excited”) or encouraging messages (“Get excited”).

Therefore, it appears that trying to cool down—a strategy we’ve been prescribed for years—may not be the “cool thing” to do after all, when it comes to controlling our anxiety.

• Finally, even if things don’t work out the way we anticipate, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too hard. Rather, embrace the mantra by Scarlett O’Hare from “Gone with the Wind:” “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

No matter what, we are still the heroes of our life stories. Some recent discoveries in social psychology reveal that we can choose to edit these stories and to craft more meaningful and purposeful messages.

It’s up to us to decide how to build the setbacks, the failures and the unfavorable experiences into our life narratives—as “learning” and “experience-gathering” episodes, or as markers of our inability to win over our anxiety and to have successful careers. Some re-framing, or “story prompting,” has been shown to produce some rather incredible outcomes.
Because ultimately, our stories are not just tales we tell ourselves and believe about our personalities. They are our personalities. What we assume about ourselves, will eventually guide our behavior. And who we elect to become depends largely on the scripts we ourselves let to be written in the stories.

To again address the question I posited in the beginning—are we really predestined career-wise (and personally too) if we are introverted and are shy too? Of course not. Sometimes, we just need a bit of time to become comfortable with new people, tasks or situations. Other times, we may have simply been missing the proper tools and aids that can enable us to move forward and succeed.

But we are not to be bound by the society’s stereotypes for success. Even if we believe in the invariability of our innate personality traits, we can still opt to become more courageous and demand to have our voice heard.

It may be scary at first—true, it may feel uncomfortable for a while, but in retrospect—it would have been worth it.

The famous poem by Erin Hanson eloquently sums it up:

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

Evelyn Marinoff is a Canadian, currently living in Dublin, Ireland. She is a social introvert, a mother, an MBA, a passionate reader and a writer in the making. She holds a degree in Finance and Marketing, but spends her free time reading, writing and researching new and intriguing ideas in psychology, leadership, well-being and self-improvement. On her blog, she writes daily tips and pieces on self-enhancement. You can also find her on Twitter at @Evelyn_Marinoff.

You’ve read Introverts: How to Trump Over Our Social Anxiety, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The Myth About Writer’s Block and How to Get Through It

You’re reading The Myth About Writer’s Block and How to Get Through It, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

We’ve all heard the term before. Writer’s block is a common, and often overly used, reason people give up on writing. Now, before you get upset and accuse me of blasphemy, let me explain. Writer’s block is a real thing and a real concern for writers. I’ve been there many times myself. It’s also very frustrating to be stuck in any creative process, such as writing.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between writer’s block and procrastination. So, let’s take a closer look, shall we? Writer’s block is defined as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing”. More generally it means that you just can’t come up with something to write about in that moment.

The shift from writer’s block to procrastination happens when you use that block to stop completely or push back your writing for months, or even years. And that’s just nonsense! Nor should it be the result of writer’s block. When you go to this place, what you’ve fallen into is procrastination. And that’s mindset that is extremely hard to get out of.

Now, before I go on, I will be 100% honest in admitting that I’ve used writer’s block as an excuse before and I’ve also stopped writing for more than a year because it felt too overwhelming to start back up once I stopped. I let too much time pass with the excuse of writer’s block. What I’ve learned from my times of extended lapses in writing is that I did something then that I’m now dedicated to not doing anymore.

I gave up.

Writer’s block leads to procrastination, which leads to overwhelm, which leads to stopping completely.

So how do you know if you’re dealing with writer’s block and not procrastination? It’s simple. Writer’s block shouldn’t last more than a few hours, truly. Beyond that, you’re just making excuses as to why you can’t write. And it’s not because you can’t, but because you don’t want to. Instead, when you get a block, it’s time to walk away for a while. Think about something else, do something else, and don’t think about what you’re writing, at all.

Here are some great ways to work through writer’s block. Keep in mind these only take an hour or two (max), and then it’s time to get back to writing. Don’t go home and start another Netflix binge (yes, I’ve done that too).

  • Take a walk outside: Removing yourself from your writing environment shifts your mindset from that feeling of being stuck. Move your body, breath the fresh air, meet up with a friend. You’ll be surprised what can come from a change of environment.
  • Call a friend: If you don’t want to go outside, or the weather doesn’t allow it, make a phone call to someone who you can talk openly with. You can vent your frustrations to them, or even bounce ideas off of them. Maybe they will even give you some ideas that you hadn’t thought of. Or it could be just a fun chat with a friend to get your mind off your writing.
  • Meditate: This is such a simple practice but probably the most powerful. If you haven’t tried meditation before, I recommend you start today — writer’s block or not. Meditation clears your mind from all the clutter moving around in there and allows you to go within. When you can sit quietly and focus on your breath, you clear space for something new and creative. It’s amazing what ideas will come in.

Remember that writer’s block is something every writer goes through. And for most writers, it’s a regular occurrence. But what separates the writers who complete their projects and books, versus those who don’t, is that the former knows how to work through writer’s block. They know how to focus. They have a routine in place. They know their own struggles and setbacks with their writing, and they know how to get unstuck when a block comes.

So, next time you feel like making an excuse for why you can’t write – stop and think. Is it truly writer’s block, or are you procrastinating because you just don’t feel like writing? If it’s writer’s block, try one of the above-mentioned techniques to get unstuck and see how they work for you.

Procrastination is an evil gremlin if you let it be. Don’t let it control you. YOU have the control. And the more you claim this, the easier it gets to stop procrastinating and get focused. Don’t be hard on yourself through this practice. And remember that perfection isn’t the goal here. Improvement is. Improve your procrastination and writer’s block at the same time and watch your creativity flow.

I hope this helps you on your writing journey. Being a writer certainly isn’t easy and it definitely takes A LOT of dedication and discipline. But don’t let yourself be among the many who give up half way because you think you’ve run out of ideas. Fight through it. Honor the struggle and embrace your writing journey.

But most of all, have fun with it!

Alysia Seymour is a writer and self-published author of The Raven Dreams. She creates content to inspire people to wonder deeply and dream greatly and how to bring dreams to reality.

You’ve read The Myth About Writer’s Block and How to Get Through It, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

4 Easy Tips to Cultivate Calmness

You’re reading 4 Easy Tips to Cultivate Calmness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The ability to cultivate a sense of inner calm is an important factor when it comes to coping with anxiety. Anxiety, often times, creates physical side effects on one’s health, and the cultivation of calmness and relaxation in both body and mind can serve as a form of release from mental anxiety. Minute changes in your lifestyle and habits can bring unanticipated, positive effects on your wellbeing as a whole. Here are a few easy tips on how you can instill calmness in your daily life.

Develop a calm morning routine, instead of falling prey to a stress-induced morning rush.

A morning ritual can instill a sense of calmness into your life and set the stage for a more relaxing, less anxious day. Although many individuals start off their day in a mental and physical rush, this fast-paced environment is more prone to increased stress levels. It may be helpful to plan out your day the night before, simply by setting aside a few minutes to write down a to-do list or reminders to your future self.

Developing a morning ritual does not have to take up a lot of time; rather, it can be a relaxing exercise to jot down things to remind yourself of doing. It is also helpful to sleep early and set up multiple alarms, so you will not worry about sleeping through only one alarm. Preparing the night before for a potentially stressful day can also evoke peace of mind; for example, you can meal prep for the week during the weekends when you have time, or you can plan out your week’s work, so you do not have to plan as you go. Although this is not necessarily a morning routine, getting into the habit of doing things can exponentially reduce your anxiety and allow you to lead a less rushed life.

Pay attention to how you react to a stressful event or individual.

Self-awareness is key when it comes to handling your anxiety. Often times, our body reacts harshly to stressful situations or even individuals. Although you can never completely avoid stressful situations in your daily life, it is helpful to recognize whenever those events occur, and do your best to prepare on how to cope with them. You might not necessarily be able to control your reaction to an event, but being aware of a potential stressful situation and recognizing the scope of your reaction to it can improve your anxiety in the long run.

Paying attention to your reactions can also help you come up with a plan in case your anxiety might get triggered by certain situations. There are different kinds of triggers in our daily lives — it can be a natural or invisible trigger. For example, a natural trigger can be a stressful workplace situation that you can not necessarily avoid, but an invisible trigger can be if you’ve had too much time to dwell on a concern. Being aware of these natural and invisible triggers are helpful, and you can figure out more effective coping mechanisms.

Develop an attitude for gratitude, and be thankful for the little things in life.

Maintaining positive thoughts, although at times a difficult task, can ultimately be helpful for your anxiety. In order to develop an attitude for gratitude, you don’t have to spend a lot of time dwelling on aspects of your life you are thankful for. In fact, you can spend a few minutes of your day jotting down thoughts of gratitude towards a certain situation, individual, or even natural occurrence.

Many frequent journal-ers have a gratitude notebook to help them put life in perspective, and although this might not directly target your anxiety, journaling can have calming effects on your mind and body. Simply listing down what you are thankful for can evoke a strong sense of gratitude and peace of mind; you don’t have to dedicate a specific allotted time each day to write what you are thankful for — instead, you can list things out as the day progresses, and find that this exercise can also keep your mind healthily occupied as well as boost your mood.

Instead of multitasking, dedicate your mental and physical energy to completing one task at a time.

Although multitasking is often praised in our fast-moving society and workplace, dedicating your energy to a single task at hand is also useful, especially when it comes to managing your anxiety. If you often try to multitask and find yourself overwhelmed at the work you have to do, this could exacerbate your stress levels and be a trigger when you attempt to accomplish them.

Multitasking, although it seems like a relatively normal skill, can be stressful at times, and on days where you are feeling especially stress-induced, it is important to slow things down and take one task at a time, especially in the workplace. Creating a list of things you have to do can also release your stress, as you can cross off each task you have accomplished when you have completed them.

About the Author of this Post
Terry Nguyen writes articles and blogs for Red Cup Agency. Her other writings about health can be found on the Getting Past Anxiety Facebook page. To experience one woman’s journey through anxiety and how she gets past it without medication, check out Melissa A. Woods’ novel Getting Past Anxiety.

You’ve read 4 Easy Tips to Cultivate Calmness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

7 Ways Journaling Can Save Your Life

You’re reading 7 Ways Journaling Can Save Your Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”      ~Natalie Goldberg

My passion for journaling began at the age of ten when my mother handed me a Kahlil Gibran journal to help me cope with my grandmother’s suicide in my childhood home. I poured my fears, tears, and worries onto its pages. I’ve inspired all three of my children to journal, and now, more than five decades later, I continue to journal. I believe that this practice has saved my life on many occasions, including a turbulent adolescence, bedrest with three children, the loss of loved ones, and two bouts of cancer.

The journal or notebook is a powerful tool if you’re a writer, and it is also a tool for wellness. It’s a place to intimately express feelings and emotions, record memories, explore secrets, and transcribe musings. Journaling can help you tap into the depths of your soul. The journal makes no judgments; it is free of editors, critics, and teachers. It is the music and voice of your true emotions. And, journaling regularly can help you with problem-solving and stress reduction.

There is no right or wrong way to journal. The goal is to just get your words down on the page. When you’re beginning to journal, it’s a good idea to write at the same time each day. By doing so, this form of creative expression becomes a habit, as well as an integral part of your daily habits. It’s also wise to date entries so that when you look back on them, you’ll know how you were feeling at a particular time and place.

Here are seven ways keeping a journal can save your life:

  1. It provides a container for emotional release. The journal is a place to vent your feelings in a nonthreatening way. Its pages are free of judgment and recrimination, which is particularly valuable when  going through difficult times. It is a safe and private container for you to gather your feelings and then begin to process them, rather than keeping them bottled up inside. Whether you’re affected by change, loss, or pain, finding the time to journal is vital for your emotional health.
  2. It helps you on your path to self-discovery and self-awareness. When you write what you’re experiencing and feeling, you’re learning about yourself and what is important to you. Writing about your fantasies and dreams also helps you understand yourself better and will help guide you on your path. The main idea behind journaling is figuring out how to open up and bring awareness into your life.
  3. It improves your mental health. Sharing your feelings with a journal is cathartic and can make you feel better when you’re blue. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting things off your chest; you can tell your journal anything, and even if you have a therapist and are engaged in talk therapy, journaling can function as a self-care modality in between therapy sessions.
  4. It helps you tap into your authentic self. It’s important to write from a place deep within you when you’re journaling, thereby establishing an authentic relationship with yourself. The more comfortable you are with your true self, the easier it will be to handle stress. It’s also about trusting your inner wisdom, intuition, and heart. If you do so, your true inner voice will emerge on the page.
  5. It encourages a grateful attitude. Gratitude encompasses love and appreciation. Writing about and recording what you’re thankful for nurtures a positive and healthy outlook. Studies have shown that people who are the happiest are those who are grateful. It’s also beneficial to look back at your gratitude pages for a boost of inspiration when you’re feeling down.
  6. It helps identify life patterns. After journaling for some time, it’s helpful to go back and identify certain patterns that seemed to emerge, as they might be interesting to explore at a deeper level. As Eudora Welty once said, writing is a way of discovering the sequences of the experiences in your life. In this way, connections become clear, and you can connect the past to the present to the future.
  7. It fosters a sense of mindfulness. Being mindful means that you are living in the here and now. Journaling helps you be present because it taps into the messages of your heart and soul. Being mindful entails awareness and interconnectedness between your inner and outer worlds. If you are more awake and alert, you can more easily hear the loving messages the universe is sending you.

Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, and speaker who advocates the healing and transformative powers of writing. She’s the author of eight books, is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, and her essays and poetry have been widely published. Her book Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life is due out in September 2017. You can pre-order on Amazon in May.

For more information, visit: and Twitter @dianaraab

You’ve read 7 Ways Journaling Can Save Your Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How to Experience Incredible Insights Each and Every Day

You’re reading How to Experience Incredible Insights Each and Every Day, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

In the Movie Limitless, we see Bradley Cooper take an NZT pill before he glimpses the best version of himself.

This person gives him advice he needs to hear, helping him see what he otherwise wouldn’t see. Sometimes what he says hurts, sometimes it’s insightfully brilliant. Either way, what he learns, helps him move forward. He also benefits from:

  • Enhanced Memory Recall
  • A Huge Increase in Intelligence
  • Laser Sharp Focus
  • Unbelievable Self-Confidence

How to manufacture your own metaphorical NZT Pill Each Morning

Every morning I meet my doppelganger by writing everything that’s circling within my mind in the third person. I open a Journal application on my computer and let random tidbits of mind data loose, etching them as my mind spills itself wide open.

Here are a couple of excerpts from some of the Journal entries I’ve recently written:

“Samy realises that for his long-term health, one of the best things he can do, is completely avoid sitting one day per week. This will also end being beneficial for his posture, back muscles and breathing.” – 15th February 2017

“One of the stunning revelations Samy had today is that the future in a sense is not his business, it’s the universes’ business. All that’s his business is the present moment, and that he is not a human being because such a label is just a label, but more appropriately, a unit of powerful energy in the cosmos.” – 16th February 2017

As you can see, another part of myself begins to take shape right in front of my eyes, and while sometimes what I write feels a little ludicrous, I take it on board anyway because it allows me to see my life from a different perspective.

How to write your own NZT Journal

The idea is just to let go of everything on your mind in the third person. You shouldn’t think too hard when you write. Sometimes what you write will be filled with annoyances, complaints. Sometimes it’ll be filled with remarks of gratitude and unbelievable insights. Or a mixture of all these.

This will feel unusual at first, and you may even feel strange addressing yourself by name. But there’s a wonderful separation that will begin to ensue as a result of this – almost as if someone else is giving you advice.

We are identified with one frame of thinking

When you have so much going on in your mind (60,000 thoughts per day) – writing your thoughts from a distance, is freeing because it breaks the identification between you and your thoughts.

The exercise is not an exercise in writing; the sentences aren’t meant to be perfect. The point is to let loose, and reflect your mind back to yourself so that you have a more objective view going into the day.

Your doppelganger (journal) can help you rest that thought that’s ricocheting like a bullet inside your head. He or she can let you see how you honestly feel while helping you unravel things. Your doppelganger can give you love, acceptance, and incredible insight.

He or she can give you exactly the words that you need to hear, whatever they may be.

Journaling Helps you Focus

According to author and shame researcher Brene Brown, we live in an age of perceived scarcity. We often start our day with the sentiment that: we didn’t get enough sleep; we’re behind with our work, and so on and so forth.

Journaling in the third person in the morning (the equivalent to an NZT Pill) is one of the most practicals way to break this cycle.

In a way, writing a page every morning is a meeting with the part of yourself that’s often pushed into the background. And in that private meeting, you meet your best self and gain clarity. And that clarity leads to a better mood and a greater likelihood that you’ll make more optimal decisions throughout your day.

Take an NZT Pill every Morning

In James Allen’s book, ‘As a Man Thinketh’, we learn that “the outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state… Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” With the daily practice of journaling in the third person, you can see your inner state more clearly, and make corresponding beautiful changes to the inner and outer conditions of your life.

Take an NZT Pill every day; I guarantee it’ll shift the way you lead your life.

Thanks to Steve Pavlina and Keshav Bhatt for inspiring me to write this post.

Last Words

If you’re a creative and interested in learning how to upgrade the way you use your time on this little blue planet, read my free guide on Spiritual Productivity.

  • You’ll learn about how to split up your day into four chunks, so you worry less about external influences.
  • You’ll discover the small hacks that will take your creative work on your PC to the next level. And much more…

 Samy Felice is a writer who is passionate about unique ideas related to living a meaningful life. His Free Guide explores ways people can make success easier.

You’ve read How to Experience Incredible Insights Each and Every Day, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

12 Inspirational Dalai Lama Quotes To Help You Live A Happy Life

You’re reading 12 Inspirational Dalai Lama Quotes To Help You Live A Happy Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The 14th dalai lama


The 14th dalai lama

The 14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the longest lived incumbent.

According to Buddhists beliefs, the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation whose only wish is to bring peace to everyone all over the world. The Dalai Lama is known for his very insightful and soul touching verses.

Below are some of the Dalai Lama’s most inspirational quotes on happiness!

  1. On being a better person:

“The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.”

  1. On caring for others:

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

  1. On being to self-centered:

Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.

  1. On suffering and anxiety:

Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely, we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy. In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety.

  1. On strength and hope:

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.

  1. On living a happy life:

“The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about the future, but we exist in the hope of something better. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.”

  1. On compassion:

“If you let anger destroy your peace of mind, it will eventually ruin your own health. So keep compassion ― your mind will remain clear. If you develop full compassion, not let anger or hatred in, then after constant effort for days and months and years, decades, your mental state can change, that much I can tell you through my own little experience.”

  1. On tolerance and patience:

Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.” 

9.     On being content:

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.”

  1. On living a meaningful life:

“We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”

  1. On religion the Dalai Lama says:

“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life. And a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, and good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.”

  1. On responding and handling difficult situation:

“Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.”

Stefany Liefeld is on a lifelong mission to help people stay positive on their life journey and become their greatest version. She loves babies and all things creative and unusual. Grab her free resource list: 36 Life Changing Resources for a Happier Life.

You’ve read 12 Inspirational Dalai Lama Quotes To Help You Live A Happy Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Stop Chasing Happiness, Instead Be Joyful

You’re reading Stop Chasing Happiness, Instead Be Joyful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

I have a friend who’s a mechanic from Haiti. Recently, I took my car for a tune-up. I like my friend and mechanic because we talk about life and business in Haiti, as well as a host of other things. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The mechanic told me an expression used in Haiti that I hadn’t heard until now. And, it goes like this, “Ma voiture est une BM-DOUBLED PIED.”

Instead of saying something like, “My car is a BMW” – the “W” sounding like “double-vey” the Haitians say “double pied” meaning “two feet.” So, Haitians like to say, “My car is a ‘BM Two Feet.'” Meaning, the primary mode of transportation for Haitians is their two feet. Most don’t own cars. Automobiles are considered a luxury.

I’ve often traveled to Haiti. My work in Haiti started after the 2010 earthquake. I’ll tell you that although the country is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, so many of its people are joyful.

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
If you look at news articles or speak to your friends and co-workers, many people are chasing happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. In fact, some have argued that happiness has become big business in the billions of dollars. There are tens of thousands—probably millions—of articles, programs, classes, and books.

But, there’s a difference between joy and happiness. You can’t have happiness without joy. And, joy is what I found plenty of in Haiti. Those of us living in developed nations can learn a lot from the Haitians and perhaps spend a little less on programs and books that sell happiness to us, but ultimately don’t deliver the greater feeling and value of joy.

Happiness is transitory. It happens when you get a new car, listen to a song you like, speak with someone who inspires you, get a new job you wanted or have a great vacation. All of these things can make you happy.

Joy does not depend on circumstances. Joy is internal. It’s a feeling of completion, hope, and peace. Joy doesn’t depend on the latest iPhone, car, job, or a new pair of shoes. You can be joyful despite having circumstances that would be considered harsh in your life, such as suffering a disease or poverty.

How to Be Joyful
There are some ways to be joyful in your life—no matter the circumstances. Here are some ways I’ve found joy in others and in my life:

• YOU Matter! I have those words in the signature of my email. It was said to me when I was a confused 15-year-old young man by my high school teacher. I think that message is something that many people forget or don’t internalize. YOU Matter! The fact that you’re here on this planet and living this life means you matter. You’re important, and you can be joyful in your life, no matter what’s happening.

• Be Grateful. If you’re grateful every day, you’ll begin to see the changes of having that positivity in your life. Being grateful is a path to joyfulness. I have a colleague and friend that writes every morning in a journal and notes three things she’s thankful for in the morning and then again at night. What she’s found is that it’s an excellent way to start and end the day. She’s also discovered an appreciation for the little things in life, and that has brought her joy.

• Have Fun. Both in my home and at my company’s world headquarters, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have a good time. We work hard, but we also allow ourselves to let off some steam. Research has demonstrated that laughter and smiling help people have a positive attitude. If you appear happier, you’ll begin to see people treat you better and you’ll feel better inside. It’s all better energy. And, the better you feel on the inside, the more joyful you’ll ultimately begin to feel.

Finally, finding joy doesn’t come overnight. If you want to be joyful, peaceful and have a better outlook, you have to do your homework. You have to practice joyfulness and the suggestions I shared every day. Keep at it consistently. If you need to remind yourself to practice joyfulness, place an alert on your cell phone or remind yourself in a way you see it each day. After three months of practice, you should experience a more joyful life. You’ll then have what many Haitians have despite natural disasters and poverty.

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE). Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, which is a social enterprise that enables nonprofits, individuals and organizations to raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise opportunities in developing nations.

You’ve read Stop Chasing Happiness, Instead Be Joyful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.