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5 Ways To Beat Stress At Work

Feeling stressed? Ever feel your near burnout? I’m sure most of us have been there and it’s a horrible feeling. Stress can seriously hinder your ability to focus. Here are 5 ways to beat  stress at work written for Forbes.com by Sara McCord of which I have excerpted the first (and my favourite) point. It’s so easy to sit at your desk for hours on end without realising where the time is going, and to get stressed that you’re not achieving much. Too much time in front of the computer is counter-productive as your brain actually needs a change of scene.

1. Take a Lunch Break (Or Better Yet, a Walk)

Ways To Beat Stress At Work When you’re exhausted, it can be tempting to just stay at your desk through lunch or spend that extra 10 minutes you have browsing Facebook. But save being glued to your computer screen for the times when it’s unavoidable—and make yourself get a change of scenery. I promise, it’ll be much more refreshing, and it will probably even make you more productive when you get back to your seat.

Better yet, if you have some degree of flexibility in your hours, take advantage of it. Can you work from home one day a week, or from a coffee shop? At my last job, I found a lunchtime yoga class and negotiated coming in a half hour earlier two days each week to attend it. It helped me get physically out of the office, not to mention stay sane—and my zen attitude totally benefited the office.

Continue reading whole post from Forbes.com

The reason this is my favourite of the 5 ways to beat stress at work is also down to people have ‘light bulb’ moments when they’re away from the task in hand. If you’re trying and trying and trying to focus on a task but struggling to find a solution, the best solution to that is to take a break. The answer often just springs to mind when you’re not putting all your energy into finding that answer. It’s the subconscious working in the background, as you may have understood from previous posts.

Leaving the office at lunch I think is so important as well. I’d often see people bring packed lunches and sit in the work canteens or even at their desks. How can your brain refresh in such an environment? Your brain needs oxygen just like the rest of your organs to going for a brisk stroll at lunch in the fresh air is an excellent way to recharge.


10 Ways To Focus On Your Weight Loss Goals

This post is for those who may be struggling to lose weight – as you may have guessed from the title. I’ve changed the title of this article from  ‘The 10 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes You Can Make’ to 10 Ways To Focus On Your Weight Loss Goals – for two reasons; 1) It fits the subject area of this site better, 2) I’ve given the title a more positive spin. This is an excellent article from Psychology Today written by Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D. She explores 10 reasons why essentially a lot of people fail with their weight loss goals. I’ve excerpted 3 of my favourite points. Read each of them and put your positive spin on them as you feel fit to help you reach your weight loss goals – if indeed you have any!

Ways To Focus On Your Weight Loss Goals1. NO EXERCISE – You can begin to lose weight through dieting (reducing your calories) alone, but the majority of people will not keep the weight off this way. People who dislike exercise are often the ones who attempt a diet only weight loss program. You will find that your weight will plateau early on because you can only reduce your calories so much. Dieting also lowers your metabolism, which makes every next pound harder to lose than the last. Exercise increases metabolism which will make continued weight loss and maintenance easier.

3. WEIGHT LOSS TAKES THE BACKSEAT – I would love to play piano and speak Italian, however I admit that I have not put in what I know is the hard work necessary because I have prioritized other things above these wants. The end result is that I cannot do either. It takes more than wanting something to making it happen, it takes prioritizing. I often see people who are unsuccessful with weight loss constantly putting other life activities as higher priority than weight loss. Healthy behaviors take a backseat to almost anything else that comes up. “I was going to exercise, but I decided to help the neighbor with her garage sale instead.” People who are successful seem to have a “come hell or high water” attitude when it comes to healthy lifestyle—they do it daily no matter what.

7. STRESS – People who are encased in an extremely stressful life that doesn’t allow much or any time for self-care are routinely unsuccessful at weight loss. For many people, losing weight is more about restructuring their life to allow them time to engage in healthy habits than it is about learning what to eat. If you are so overcommitted that you truly cannot find the time to exercise on most days of the week, you may be under too much stress. We only get one life. Make time to take care of yourself.

Click here to view the whole article on Psychology Today

If you read all 10 ways to focus on your weight loss goals, you’ll have also seen that skipping meals and fad diets are featured. I wholeheartedly agree with these points (having done extensive research for an ebook I actually wrote in the men’s fitness niche). Eating 3 large meals a day is not conducive to maintaining a quick metabolism. It’s much better to eat 6 smaller meals closer together so your body doesn’t enter starvation mode and start to store fat.  Steer clear of fad diets – the creators should be shot! (Unless as the author says, it’s down to disease that you have to lose weight fast.)



Tai Chi Helps To Combat Stress

This is the second time that Tai Chi has featured on this site. This article explains how Tai Chi helps to combat stress. Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese exercise, is a method of meditation in motion due to its constant and peaceful movements which connect the body with the mind. Through the focus of transitioning each body part movement to the next, your mind is trained to focus on each present movement. This in turn helps to achieve a relaxed state by connecting the mind with the body. Here is how Tai Chi helps to act as a stress Buster.

Tai Chi To Combat StressTai chi As Stress-Buster

Tai chi brings the mind and body together. When engaging in this exercise, you must have complete focus on your movements and breathing. Focusing on the present creates a meditative state that promotes calmness and relaxation. When you find that your mind is wandering, simply catch yourself and focus once again at the present moment.

Unfortunately, the long-term benefits of tai chi have not been studies. But preliminary research has shown that tai chi does improve one’s health. It is known to lower blood pressure, improve balance, alleviate depression, relieve chronic pain and increase energy.

Click here to view Yahoo Sports and view the whole article

Now you know that Tai Chi helps to combat stress and improve the brain, will you be giving it a shot or recommending it to those who you know are stressed? If you read the whole article you’ll have seen that there are two forms which are more suited to the elderly, Yang Tai Chi and Wu Tai Chi, and one more form called Chen tai chi that is geared towards those who are more physically fit.


Ways To Focus – With Subliminal Messages?

This is possibly the most ‘out there’ post I’ve dared put on this site. Have you ever come across subliminal messages? This leads on from the videos on programming your subconscious mind with positive affirmations in the 4 part video series “How To Double The Performance Of Your Brian.’  This video series cleverly and interestingly explains the Law Of Attraction, and these two clips explain how subliminal messages can help to place positive affirmations in your subconscious mind which work with your ‘super conscious’ or ‘Infinite Intelligence’ as Napoleon Hill describes it, to help you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Hear some more proof about how a certain company called MindMaster has helped hundreds of people achieve their goals.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind to Achieve ANY Goal

Check how subliminal messages have been used in advertising over the years. You may need to watch this a few times, and pause. It’s an ad but you can ignore that part!

Subliminal Messages Busted

What do you think of all this? Do you think there’s truth to this or is it not sitting well with you just yet? I’ve just started a trial with Mindmaster for free. I’ll let you know how it goes in 2 months. Watch this space.



10 Ways To Focus On Beating The Most Common Stressors

If you’re struggling to focus on your work, goals, exercise regime or anything else, then it may be down to stress.  Here are 10 ways to focus on beating the most common stressors, by Paula Davis-Laack for Psychology Today, from which I’ve excerpted one of my favourites.  I like this point, because I truly believe we’re capable of doing anything that we put our mind to (within reason, I’m not suggesting that by 32 you can become a Formula One racing driver). We are surrounded by information, friends, contacts and all we need to know is how to use that information to reach our end goal.

Ways To Focus On Beating StressYou are unsure of your ability to do something


• If you can’t figure it out on your own, talk to a friend, co-worker, or your boss, if possible. Look for information online, in books, and other resources.

• Build your self-efficacy, which is the ability to believe you can accomplish what you want to accomplish. Start by keeping a journal of “wins.” Write down all of the times in your life when you have exceeded expectations, accomplished tough goals, and were in control of your life. Review this list often and keep adding to it. If you have to, start small. Small victories create momentum which is a great foundation from which to succeed at more complicated tasks.

• Identify your strengths. People who successfully manage their stress understand that they cannot be everything to everybody and remain effective; instead, they have a keen awareness of how to leverage their unique blend of strengths, skills, and talents.

Continue reading the full article from Psychology Today here

I’ll be honest, I was quite surprised to read these 10 ways to focus on beating the most common stressors and see exercise only mentioned once. Psychology Today is probably my favourite authority site from which I excerpt. Having said that, these are 10 very specific stressors so I can understand why exercise didn’t feature in every solution. Exercise for me, is probably the single most effective stress reliever of everything I have tried personally, and there are plenty of articles on this site under the category of exercise and dealing with stress that will support this. It takes you away from your working environment and allows you to be mindful. It also pumps blood and oxygen around your body and vital organs providing all the necessary fuel your body requires.


10 Ways To Focus And Fight Anxiety

Ways To Focus And Reduce AnxietyIf you’re one to suffer from anxiety, these 10 ways to focus and fight anxiety from OpposingViews.com will be of interest to you. Whilst a number of them appear to be more about improving your ability to focus, there are a number of suggestions such as meditation and being present now which may just help with anxiety. I’ve excerpted the first of 10 points.
  1. Meditate – meditation is the best way to clear you mind and get focus or clarity. Doing it daily for an extended period of time (just a few minutes) can lead to a better quality of life and teach you to quickly clear your head almost on command.
  2. Take a break – turn off the TV, shut down the computer, turn off your phone, laptop, tablet.. clear all of the distractions and just relax. De-cluttering your surroundings for a little while each day can help you relax and re-focus. Doing so for an hour or so before bedtime can help you sleep better as well.
  3. Declutter your surroundings – removing visual and auditory clutter from your surroundings in your office, workroom, study, and/or bedroom can help you to keep focus and relax.
  4. Breathe – simple and effective, taking a few deep breaths can act as a sort of on-demand meditation technique to help you relax and clear your mind.
  5. Be present now – by thinking only about what’s happening right now. Forget the past and future and focus on the now. Doing this can remove negative thoughts and change your perspective. Click here to view the whole article
I do think that these 10 ways to focus and fight anxiety are great tips for focusing, as I said in the opening paragraph, but I’m not massively convinced about their ability to fight anxiety. A friend of mine suffered from anxiety for a number of years, and she was put on medication. I’m not sure these 10 tips would have really helped her. She actually cured her anxiety by coming off the medication after conducting her own research to find out how to help her anxiety. She found out that by exercising daily, eating very well (with a full understanding of nutrition) and taking natural supplements she was able to fight it. It goes to prove that medication is not always the best route to solve problems such as this one.

40 Ways To Focus On Your Weight Loss Goals

If you’ve ever joined a weight loss program, and failed, you’re among the majority by far apparently. Here are 40 ways to focus on your weight loss goals which are written as mistakes people make, but rearrange them, and you have 22 ways to focus on achieving your goals, rather than failing with them. They are written by Peta Bee for the Daily Mail, and quite a few of them are pretty original, like eating off the wrong coloured plate and saying “I can’t” rather than “I don’t” when offered certain foods, and listing to the wrong type of music when eating, can actually cause you to eat more.  I’ve excerpted the first 5 of 22 points:

Yoga For Focus And Weight Loss1 Eating cereal for breakfast. A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime, and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg for breakfast (the protein kept them full). Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

2 Having milk in your tea. Last year, Indian scientists found tea contains high levels of compounds, theaflavins and thearubigins, that help to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut, and can cut cholesterol. However, proteins found in cows’ milk neutralise this ability. Drink your tea black.

3 Eating white bread. Too many refined carbs, especially white bread and white rice, can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, found researchers at Tufts University in Boston.

Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined ‘whole’ foods such as vegetables and  wholegrain bread.

4 Not reading food labels. A study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs showed that people who habitually read food labels as well as taking exercise lose more weight than those who merely exercise. What’s more, those who only read food labels and are sedentary lose more than those who exercise but ignore the food labels.

5 Drinking too much fruit juice. Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than 1lb after six months. Read the full article here

I think if you applied all of these 40 ways to focus on your weight loss goals, you’d be on to a winner – almost without having to invest in any fitness program. They all make a lot of sense. Having written an ebook myself in the men’s health and fitness area, through extensive research and by pairing up with experts, I see a lot of common ground here. Being stressed and not sleeping enough feature in the list too – both of which affect your hormone levels and thus your ability to burn fat, and of course hinder your ability to focus.


Exercise And Food For Focus

I thought it was about time to excerpt something useful about exercise and food for focus, and here’s an article combining the two. It is widely known that exercise is beneficial for your brain as well as all for your all other vital organs, as is eating the correct types of food. I believe having a sound knowledge of nutrition is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, both for your brain and for your health as a whole. This is an excerpt from Yeshiva World which at first glance may seem a little behind, but it contains some very useful reminders as to the effects of exercise and nutrition on your brain.

Exercise For Focus Exercise also helps the brain in other ways such as cognitive functions. Children who engage in aerobic exercise score higher on tests, says Dr. Charles H. Hillman at the University of Illinois at Urbana. In addition, he also discovered that aerobic exercise not only increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine, but also actually increases the size of your brain, particularly the hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that controls emotion. Also, it seems that exercise allows the brain to retrieve latent memories.


Looking at the nutrition side of this equation, we know that just like poor eating can harm normal blood circulation to your heart, the same is true of the brain. The better blood flow is up to your brain, the more oxygen and nutrients are available in order to sustain itself. Therefore, an eating program that is vegetable and fruit dense and low in trans fats and saturated fats, and yet includes monounsaturated healthy fats will help keep your arteries from clogging.

Read the full article here

I named this article exercise and food for focus, to tailor it for this website. There is no mention of focus in the article but ultimately it’s all related. If both exercise and eating the correct types of food are essential for your brain, then we can surely deduce from this article alone, that the right combination of the two will help to focus too. There are plenty of other articles on both subjects on this site under the categories of Exercise For Focus and Food For Focus which support this.


4 Ways To Focus On Being More Optimistic

Optimistic people always appear happier don’t they? Could it be that they attract good things whereas negative or pessimistic people attract negative things? Here are 4 ways to focus on being more optimistic written by Deborah Kotz for Boston.com, as she reviews a book called Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How To Retrain Your Brain To Overcome Pessimism And Achieve A More Positive Outlook, written by neuroscientist Elaine Fox.  She explains how optimism plays a key role in success in life.  According to scientists, whether we have an optimistic or pessimistic outlook, only 30-40% of that is determined by our genes, which means that there are measures we can take to becoming more optimistic people.

1. Make a daily tally of negative and positive events. Create a list — starting from when you wake up in the morning — of all the little things that go right and all those things that go wrong, from burning the toast at breakfast to running into an old friend on the train to work. “People prone to feeling depressed and down tend to be surprised at how many good things happened to them that day,” said Fox. “Something as simple as making a list can help people gradually, over time, notice the good things when they happen, drawing the brain’s attention more and more to positive things and away from the negative.”

2. Aim for three positive experiences for every one negative one. Most optimists engage in three enjoyable activities for every one they wish they could avoid, whether it’s drinking their favorite brand of coffee, taking a yoga class, or watching a short clip online of their favorite movie just before they have to tackle that dreaded phone call to an irritated relative. The key is to build things into your day that you look forward to and to cut back on things, when possible, that you don’t.

3. Exercise every day. Getting some sort of physical activity every day works like a natural antidepressant to boost your mood, giving you a more positive feeling about life, thanks to an elevation of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin and BDNF. Yes, you should engage in activities that are pleasurable – take a dance class if you hate jogging – so you don’t violate step #2.

4. Engage in mindfulness meditation. Learning to be present in the moment can help build regions of the brain responsible for mediating your emotional states, research has shown. Those who practice mindfulness tend to feel happier and more at ease in life simply from focusing their brains on the present rather than mulling over the past or fretting about the future. Take a class or check out this video to learn the basic techniques.

The first two of these 4 ways to focus on being more optimistic were original ideas and at first glance make a lot of sense. I wasn’t surprised at all to see exercise featured in these suggestions, were you? It appears on a daily basis as an absolute basic requirement for our brains and all of our other vital organs to function properly. As well as helping you achieve your goals, I’d say that optimism is closely linked with the Law Of Attraction I touched on in the opening sentence to this post.  As Anthony Robbins advises, if we focus on what we want, rather than on what we don’t have or want, then we will achieve what we want.


How Exercise Can Make You Smarter

If you’re not already exercising on a regular basis, then this article on how exercise can make you smarter may just make you do to. It’s widely known that exercise gets oxygen circulating around your brain which leads to sharper thinking , makes you happier and all-round healthier, but new research has shown that exercise can actually make you smarter too.  This is an excerpt from the Huffington Post and you should definitely take a few minutes out read it.

Exercise Boosts Brain PowerIt turns out that exercise does a lot more than get the blood pumping: in about 60 percent of the population, it may be responsible for the expression of a gene that floods your cells with “brain derived neurotrophic factor” — or BDNF – a protein that is thought to help with mental acuity, learning and memory.

In a study based at Dartmouth College, lead researcher Michael Hopkins and his team tested four different exercise schedules on a group of sedentary, though healthy young men. They gave the men a set of memory tests and mental health surveys to determine their psychological states. Some participants exercised for four weeks and were tested on the final day. Another group exercised for four weeks, but did not exercise on test day. A third group had just one day of exercise, followed by the test. A last group was sedentary throughout.

Hopkins and his team found that the group that exercised daily — and on test day — had the benefit of a boost in BDNF. The other groups did not. It’s important to note that “exercise” here referred to moderately-paced walking, rather than a very rigorous training session.

“For mental health benefits, what really counts is exercising on a regular basis — not the intensity. You don’t have to wipe yourself out,” Hopkins tells The Huffington Post. “The basic goal is, get up and move your whole body more than half of the days of the week.”

Click here to view the original source of the article

So that’s how exercise can you make you smarter. If that’s not enough to get you exercising, then I don’t know what is.  It’s interesting that the boost of BDNF was actually witnessed with those who exercised daily, not just regularly, but daily. I think we can all relate to the fact that exercise makes you sharper (unless you have never exercised and attempted to concentrate afterwards). Twenty minutes of cardiovascular first thing in the morning works wonders for my concentration, certainly for the following few hours. You may have seen on this site that exercise improves your memory too by increasing the size of your hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory.  If not, Regular Exercise Can Boost Memory And Focus and Exercise For A Healthy Brain will explain.