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Three Apps To Help You De-stress And Unwind

How To de-stressIt’s pretty common knowledge that stress can be harmful when experienced for any prolonged period of time. It can lead to all sorts of illnesses and disease, it can make you gain weight, lose weight, affect relationships with people closest to you – and it can cause your brain to shrink. Unfortunately unless we learn how to manage it, it can manage us. Something that’s helped me reduce my stress levels is by applying something I learned from Tony Robbins and that is that stress is a code word for fear. It is also a result of making something a bigger deal than it actually is. [Read more…]

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How To Find Happiness

How To Find HappinessDo you ever wonder what makes some people just appear really happy, all the time? If you’d like to know how to find happiness, then who would be better to learn from, other than the happiest man in the world? According to researchers at Wisconsin University, French Tebetan monk and molecular geneticist, Matthieu Ricard, is happier than every other person on the planet. (I do wonder how they concluded their findings to be absolute, but let’s roll with it for now.) [Read more…]

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Is Stress Destroying Your Brain?

Stress ReliefApologies for the direct and high impact title, but is stress destroying your brain? If you’re struggling to focus, it may just be down to stress. Most of us know that stress is harmful to our bodies. Stress plays a vital part in our survival mechanism as human beings, but for sustained periods of time, it has been proven unequivocally that stress is harmful to our bodies. It leads to illness and disease and in extreme cases – well let’s not go there. Did you know that stress actually causes your brain to shrink? [Read more…]

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Your Hour Of Power

I’ve called this post “Your Hour Of Power” as it’s what world famous Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, calls this precious time of your day to spend on you, to de-stress, get focused, visualise and be grateful for everything you have in your life.  We live in a crazy, fast-paced world these days and most of us never take any time out to focus on us. In this article, Pip Thomas talks about how she’s incorporated this time into her life by taking her dog for a walk and visualising on the outcome(s) she intends to achieve in the day to come.

MeditationThe first hour of your day will totally influence the way the rest of your day will unfold and what you will achieve. So is it right to fill your head up with conversations to be had, emails that need sorting or lists you have still got to write? Are you best to focus on being grounded, setting a clear intent for the day, how you wish to feel and behave – and as a result – what you want to achieve?

Tony Robbins and Richard Branson, along with a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs, will not even consider checking their emails or picking up a phone until they have spent time on ‘them’. Whether you opt for meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or other affirmations, the impact will mean a positive start to your day.

Click here to view the whole article

I came across the idea of your hour of power when listening to Tony Robbins’ “Get The Edge”. Other highly successful entrepreneurs like Eben Pagan and Richard Branson call this your daily ritual or daily success ritual where you set aside about an hour each day to make yourself strong for the day by incorporating exercise which alleviates all your stress, gets all the right chemicals flowing around your body and brain, and you combine it with visualising everything you want to achieve that day, that week, that month or year, for your body, friendships, relationships, your loved ones, finances, hobbies, spirituality and emotions in general. Tony Robbins says he has met so many people who seem to have everything but they’re unfulfilled, yet he’s met others who seemingly have nothing but they’re grateful, which makes them rich and fulfilled. I’ve actually been doing this for the last few months and have noticed quite a difference in my frame of mind. By simply taking time out to be grateful for everything you have already in your life, this shifts your mindset to one which is positive and fully charged  to take on the day ahead. We build our days – it’s up to us to create them. We need to take time out for ourselves or our lives will flash past us!

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How To Train Your Focus Muscles

Sometimes, I just love the articles that I read. I’ve called this article “How To train Your Focus Muscles” as our brain is a muscle and our ability to focus can be strengthened much like our muscles can be. We live in an era of ‘hyper distraction’ where the majority of people are multitasking (or task switching), being bombarded with alerts from left, right and centre, and this is causing havoc with our levels of concentration and focused attention and it’s really not good for our brains. In fact, multitasking has been proven to be damaging to our brains. Thankfully, there are ways we can boost our ability to focus, one of which is a very basic form of meditation. Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Willpower Instinct,” explains a basic  technique to get the part of your brain responsible for focused attention, the prefrontal cortex, pumping:

How To Train Your Focus Muscles1. Sit still, either on a chair with your feet flat on the floor or on the ground with your legs crossed. Try not to move or fidget around, especially when that itch starts to creep up or you feel the urge to change positions. Stay still. It’s important to train you not to follow your impulses.

2. To help you concentrate, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. When you breath in, in your mind, say “inhale.” And think “exhale” when you breathe out. It activates the prefrontal cortex and quells the stress and craving parts of the brain.

3. Hone in on the way you breath and how wandering feels. After a few minutes of inhale and exhale, focus just on the sensation of breathing. If you notice your mind start to wander, focus back on breathing and say inhale and exhale a few times. That helps to train both self-awareness and self-control.

Continue reading the full article on Mobiledia here

If you’d like to know how to train your focus muscles other using a method other than meditation, then one technique is to concentrate on one task for as long as you can, having unplugged from all distractions, until you notice that your attention is taken away. Note how long you lasted, and then try it again the next day. You can actually build up your concentration span over time. I’ve done this myself. Meditation is clearly one of the most effective ways of boosting your focus muscles as described in this article but it may not be for everyone! Having said that, it really doesn’t have to be that weird and “out there”.  You don’t have to do it in public, and you don’t have to sit like a monk – unless you want to of course.

What did you think of this post? Please share the love!

 

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Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Meditation has been regarded as a highly effective way to focus for some time. A recent study lead by Aarhus University, found that brief mindfulness improves focus, or in their words, is effective for “training attention-related neuroplasticity.” If you’re not familiar with the term plasticity, it refers to the brain’s capacity to structure new neural pathways based on new experiences. Many of us worry about the future, or dwell on the past, when in actual fact we should be living in the present, which is of course what being mindful is all about.

Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Brief Mindfulness For FocusIncreased brain responses to emotional stimuli where found only in those participants with the most practice, suggesting that such benefits may require greater training and depend upon first developing attentional skills. Overall, the meditation group showed better attention performance and increased brain activity in regions associated with executive function. Executive function consists of skills such as paying attention for long periods, resisting distractions, and cognitive flexibility. Disruption of these abilities has been linked to disorders including addiction and post-traumatic stress, which are known to respond positively to mindfulness training.

Continue reading on Aarhus University Website

I think some people regard meditation as being a little ‘out there’, or kinda weird. If brief mindfulness improves focus, then in today’s world of ‘hyper distraction’ it ought to be something that everyone should consider incorporating into their daily routines. I started a very simple form of meditation about 6 months ago, where you just focus on your breathing for 5 minutes, taking long deep breaths. Every time a thought enters your head, you get rid of it, and then refocus on your breathing. It’s very relaxing. I’ve heard some people do this for 45 minutes at a time, at the start and the end of their days. Now that’s dedication!

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Exercises To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

If you fear you may be getting forgetful, you may want to try a few of these exercises to stimulate your brain and senses written by Arti Patel for the Huffington Post Canada. Be sure to click through to the Huffington Post as there’s a slide show well worth viewing. Among it are tips such as turning your photos upside down in your work place as this will immediately puts your brain in “alert mode” according to Dr Stephen Brewer (cited below), and brushing your teeth with your less different hand can apparently induce creativity as it stimulates the brain’s senses.

Exercises To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

Meditation For FocusDr. Stephen Brewer, medical director at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona says improving your memory is all about stimulating your senses.

“Using two senses can increase the likelihood of remembering something and smell is the most powerful sense for memory,” he said at the second annual St. Lucia Health and Wellness Retreat in Castries, St. Lucia.

Our senses work to engage our attention and helps our brain become more alert of our surroundings, Brewer says. Brain exercises, like playing Sudoku or crossword puzzles in the morning paper, have been shown to help improve not only intelligence,but also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to the Archives of Neurology. An estimated 500,000 people have Alzheimer’s or a type of dementia in Canada and over 70,000 of them are under the age of 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto.

Continue reading on The Huffington Post

I was happy to see meditation featured in these exercises to stimulate your brain and senses. Meditation has a heap of benefits including its ability to boost your focus and creativity, and according to this article has even been shown to slow mental decline. The simplest form of meditation is to go to a quite place, uninterrupted, close your eyes, take deep slow breaths and to focus only your breathing. As soon as a thought enters your head, get rid of it and turn your attention back to your breathing. This empties your brain of thoughts and the longer you do it, the better you get at just concentrating on your breathing without the interruption of thoughts entering your head. It’s actually quite liberating, I’ve been doing it before going to sleep and waking up in the mornings. If you’re interested in meditation, this article explains a little more.

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Meditation for Focus, Determination, and Stress Relief

The more I read and write about meditation, the more I think it’s something everyone should do. Here, keynote speaker and executive coach, Victoria Labalme talks about the benefits of meditation for focus, determination, and stress relief. Living in the present  or being mindful should not be underrated. Do you find yourself dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Meditation can help with that. Here’s what Victoria Labalme has to say:

Meditation for Focus, Determination, and Stress Relief

Meditation For FocusThe more I practiced meditation, in class and in my bedroom, the faster that sense of calm and relaxation took hold. I started experimenting with guided suggestion—focusing my mind on my creativity and motivation, my focus and passion. After a year of meditating several times every week I can honestly say that I’m healthier, happier, and more in control of my mind than I’ve ever been. I feel emotionally secure, clear, and comfortable in my own head. I think everyone can benefit from regular meditation. It’s time for you to commune with your inner self. It’s time for you to identify problems and focus on solutions, to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Read more here from Victoria Labalme’s website

I started meditation a few months ago and I’m already starting to notice improvements including a greater ability to focus. I do it for 10-15 mins before bed and when I wake up in the morning before breakfast. Some people do this for half and hour to 45 minutes twice a day.  If you’d like to try meditation for focus, determination and stress relief then I’d highly recommend this low cost course from Dr Harlen Kilstein called 10 Minutes To Bliss.

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Mind Wandering Is Linked With Creativity

If a reason that you struggle to focus, is down to the fact that your mind tends to wander then you’ll be pleased to read that mind wandering is linked with creativity! How can this be so, you may be wondering? Or wandering? Hopefully wondering. It transpires, that recent studies have shown that people who let themselves “space out” or allow their minds to wander, score higher on a certain level of creativity, called the “Unusual Task” test.

Mind Wandering Is Linked With Creativity

Mind Wandering And CreativityWe all experience the state of “mind wandering” on occasion — sometimes it feels almost like going into a trance. You can be in the middle of a meeting at work, and suddenly your mind is just going off on its own, with a train of thought you couldn’t reconstruct afterwards to save your life. Is this phenomenon just a waste of time, or a failure to pay attention on your part?

Apparently not — there’s now a fair amount of evidence that this state can be linked to increased creativity. A number of studies have shown that focused attention to a task can reduce your creativity, while a certain amount of mental wandering can actually boost your creative process. For example, a 2006 study by Ap Dijksterhuis and Teun Meurs with the University of Amsterdam found people who engaged in “unconscious thought” before solving a problem did better than people who’d been focused on something consciously.

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Mind-wandering is an “associative” state, so it makes sense that it would help you to come up with out-of-left-field answers. Read the full article here on io9.com

So when you’re struggling to focus because your mind tends to wander, remind yourself that mind wandering is linked with creativity – so this state of being “spaced out” is actually a good thing! I’d love for someone to use that argument when they’re caught out in a business meeting not paying attention whatsoever to what’s going on. Had I known this 3 years ago when I worked for a large organisation where we wasted so much time in meetings, I’d have definitely played that card. “Sorry, sorry, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on right now, but if it’s any consolation, I was in a meditative state of creativity.”

 

 

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4 Ways To Focus On Manifesting Positive Outcomes In Your Life

If you’re a regular you’ll have read about me harping on about the Law Of Attraction and focusing on what you want, rather than on what you don’t have, or what you don’t want – as Tony Robbins advises, along with many other figures of influence in this area. Here are 4 ways to focus on manifesting positive outcomes in your life, brought to you by Denise Scarbro for the Huffington Post. She talks about breaking down the layers of exactly why you want a certain outcome in your life, and focusing on the feeling you’d have once you’ve achieved that outcome. Such great advice..

Ask yourself: Why do I want that? Whether you are seeking a relationship, a new job, weight loss, or a new car, you want these things because of how they will make you feel when you have them. If you assign too many stipulations onto how this, that, orthey will arrive, you are misdirecting the energy and sometimes even delaying the arrival of what you seek. Sometimes things unfold in ways we could never imagine or plan, and if we are too focused on looking for something to happen a certain way, then we might miss it when it shows up, or it may never show up at all.

There is no how, why, where or when that matters. The outcome we are searching for is the result of the journey, and it is in the enjoyment of the journey that we find the meaning of the outcome. When there is too much emphasis on how you have decided something should happen, you may never get there. Think of traveling to a destination. You are driving in your car on your way to where you want to go, and you have in your hand a map that you have drawn to get there. In the passenger seat sits your internal guidance system, all buckled up ready for the ride….Continue reading full article on The Huffington Post.

If you read all of the 4 ways to focus on manifesting positive outcomes in your life you’ll have read her closing paragraph about the importance of not focusing too rigidly on how we want the outcome to manifest. Instead, focus on the feeling of our desired goals or outcomes, and let the universe take care of getting you there. This is pretty deep, but the more and more I read about this, and understand countless proven success stories, it would be silly not follow this advice! What do you think? What have you got to lose?

Here’s Will Smith and his thoughts on the Law Of Attraction:

 

 

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