Sep 09

Be Limitless: 3 Ways to Improve Mental Performance

By Kathryn Brennan | better sleep , drug abuse , Feat , fitness and health , Weird Health Tips

The power of the human brain is quite staggering. Not only does it allow a person to think, feel and store memories, the brain also acts as the major player in controlling and coordinating the body’s actions and reactions. Similar to a computer with many functions, the brain is a highly complex part of the human body. It comes as no surprise that each person has to take good care of his or her brain to maintain the important functions that come with it.



A specific gauge of a healthy brain is the person’s mental performance. This encompasses the person’s ability to think of solutions for a given problem and the ability to decide under pressure, as well as mental fortitude or keeping a consistent mindset in any situation. These are important facets in human life that can be applied to practically anything. From getting up in the morning, to choosing what food to eat, the brain makes it all possible for humans to live in a structured society.

As such, one should consider all the possible options for him or her to increase mental performance. There is a wide variety of approaches for a person to boost the brain and be limitless.  Here are three ways to step up anyone’s mental performance.

Bring Out the Best with Brain Aerobics

Experts recommend sticking to brain training that involves real-world activities. Exercises to strengthen brain functioning should offer novelty and challenge. In fact, most of the things a person does in everyday life may be considered brain training. Simple activities such as choosing chopsticks to eat lunch with rather than with a spoon or fork, and learning how to tie a different knot on one’s shoes might work as the brain works through these associations. Thus, the more senses a person involves, the better it is for the brain.

There is continuing research that tries to find out if doing brain aerobic exercises can help “age-proof” a person’s brain, slow the onset of symptoms of brain aging, and help keep the brain functioning at peak capacity. To qualify as a good brain aerobics exercise, an activity must have novelty, variety, and challenge.

Mental health experts suggest that it is a good practice to start the day with reading the morning newspaper. It also helps to add in simple games like Sudoku and word games as forms of mental training. Furthermore, it is also noted that learning how to play an instrument and getting into music can be a very good platform to have the brain exercised. This is because studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is good for the mind.

Simple steps like drawing a map from memory or making a list of grocery items and memorizing it when a person goes to the market can completely boost a person’s ‘recall’ aspect. Testing one’s body coordination also tests out the person’s brain. That is why engaging into a new sport and refining eye and hand abilities in the form of painting, knitting or drawing can help boost a person’s mental capacity.


Look Into a New Method: Nootropics

While some people may suggest that brain exercise is already enough to keep the powerful muscle healthy, others feel that they can still up their mental capabilities to a higher notch. Many supplements that support mental health are used today mainly because of the benefits that may be reaped from them such as improved memory and speed of recall, enhanced learning capacity and attention span, increased mental energy, focus, concentration and clarity of thought. These pills are scientifically known as Nootropics but are more commonly known as ‘Smart Pills’. These pills can also aid in mental cases such as anxiety, depression and other more serious mental illnesses.

If a person is suffering from anxiety, then they may opt to try some L-Theanine. Since they can easily access the central nervous system, psychoactive substances such as L-theanine are believed to have the ability to affect mental abilities and states including a person’s perception of the world, the speed at which he or she thinks, and the mood the person experiences. It is thought to have a stronger effect when combined with caffeine which is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance. All in all, most of L-theanine’s effects have to do with promoting relaxation and positively affecting mood.

Other commonly used drugs are Modafinil and Adderall.  Modafinil is one of the strongest Nootropics that can be used. It is originally developed for clinical use in treating narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.  There are also a number of cognitive effects when taking Modafinil. This includes heightened memory and improved mental energy, extension of the attention span, and increased focus, concentration and general thinking.

On the other hand, Adderall is a prescription medication that is the brand name of a combination of amphetamine salts including dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. This drug functions as a central nervous system stimulant for increased attention span, concentration and focus. Adderall RX has received FDA approval and is currently one of the most popularly accepted forms of treatment for both childhood and adult ADHD. It is also often used to help treat fatigue, especially in situations such as MS or sleep disorders such as narcolepsy in adults. It is also used illicitly as a smart drug and energy enhancer.

In dealing with these two drugs, it is important to know which one can be the best option for you. As such, it is very important to learn about Modafinil vs Adderal and be more aware of how to use them properly and effectively.

Tweak Your Sleeping Pattern

An important facet in mental health is a person’s sleeping pattern. Many people do not recognize that their brain recovers and still processes information at the same time when they are asleep. Sleeping is an integral part of a person’s life, and is definitely an incredibly complex process.

The brain generates two distinct types of sleep—slow-wave sleep (SWS), known as deep sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM), also called dreaming sleep. Most of the sleeping people do is of the SWS variety, characterized by large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing, which may help the brain and body to recuperate after a long day.


Many people have already recognized the importance of sleeping for the brain by experience. Most of them would most likely share that taking a full night’s sleep is the best way to recover. Others might say that sleeping for a small period of time can do wonders. This is a term coined as ‘power naps’

A power nap is defined as a short period of rest or sleep that does not include the stages of deep sleep. Its purpose is to get maximum revitalization in the minimum amount of time. While everyone is different, the optimal duration of a power nap is around 15-20 minutes.

Science has proven that taking power naps may help the overall mental health of a person. There have been a great number of research and discussion on the true ‘power’ of power naps. Its benefits include improved memory, increased alertness, productivity and creativity.

A research study from Harvard University reinforced this idea, saying that a midday snooze reverses information overload and that a 20 percent overnight improvement in learning a motor skill is largely traceable to a late stage of sleep that some early risers might be missing. Overall, their studies suggest that the brain uses a night’s sleep to consolidate the memories of habits, actions and skills learned during the day.

Sep 02

The Unusual, the Unlikely and the Unorthodox – 3 Weird Health Hacks to Improve your Health

By Kathryn Brennan | Feat , fitness and health , happiness , health and fitness , Weird Health Tips

The most common health tip you might hear a person might tell another is that in order to be physically fit, he or she must have an equivalent focus between balanced diet and exercise. That same person may also continue by noting that good mental health, social interaction and emotional stability are as significant as the physical aspects. All of these are conventional truths many people already know.

However, the wonders of science with regard to making one healthy are such that someone can take a more unorthodox approach to their health- although some people may notice that some of these unusual ways are ‘weird’ and ‘unscientific’.

looking good

The first may be true, but more often than not, there is an actually science behind the unusual, the weird and the unorthodox. For other people who have tried these weird life and health hacks, they might go as far as to say that these are extremely effective. When it comes right down to it, the most unusual health regimens and the varied unlikely ways a person goes about trying to achieve better health is what most people need to do the most.

Sleeping Well Equals Well Being

Starting with the conventional science that people know and grew up with, sleeping is an integral part of a person’s life. According to many studies, the reason it is so important for a person to sleep is because during this time, the brain gets its well-deserved rest and is recharged. At the same time, the cells in the body begin to repair themselves. Similarly, sleeping induces a release of important hormones to aid the body when it wakes up. However, there are many novelty ways one can have a better night’s sleep.

too much studying

Many sleep doctors often advise their patients to stop hanging out and watching TV in their beds. They add that when a person wakes up in the morning, he or she should get out of bed immediately and should not go back to bed until that person is ready to go to sleep. This is due to the fact that this will help a person to subconsciously associate his or her bed with sleeping and, over time, it can help one to fall asleep more quickly when he or she hits the pillow.

On the matter of retention of information, sleeping off the day before an exam may be looked down by other people as a wrong thing to do. On the contrary, people are more effective mentally when they sleep a few hours before a test. Research shows that most memory consolidation happens when one’s mind is in a resting state, and as such, reviewing raw material or the details of a complicated problem before going to bed can help a person to better remember the data or even devise a solution to the problem.

A study done at Harvard proved that this technique works.

Participants were separated into three different groups after being shown images that they were told to memorize. One of the groups was tested on the memorization after 20 minutes, the other after 12 hours and the last after 24 hours. The results showed that more people were able to pass the test after taking an ample break after being presented the images.

Scientists say that the ability of one’s brain to retain information works in three different ways: acquisition, consolidation and recall. While the first and last occur while a person is awake, it’s the middle-man that is important during sleep. When one sleeps, your brain is constantly processing information that you couldn’t have processed with everything going on up there during the day. This works to strengthen a person’s neurological bonds in the brain.

Boosting Immunity

Another factor of being in a state of good health is having good defenses against common diseases such as cold, coughs and fever. A more conventional way to go about boosting the immune system is by having vaccinations specific for each of the diseases. However, if a person finds it too much of a hassle to do so, there are certain ways an individual can fortify his or her bodily defenses.

Copper is a necessary trace-mineral in the human body that binds with enzymes. Enzymes aid in the creation of hemoglobin which is vital for healing and repair in the body. As such, copper is an essential part of the body’s immune system to work at full capacity. Wearing copper is said to aid in building your immune system, as the copper is slowly absorbed into the tissues and bloodstream.

With regard to food, often the general rule is that the stinkier it is, the more it can boost your immune system! Many diet experts actually tell their students to load up on raw garlic and ginger or the popular Chinese herb ginseng. This works well when a person is actually sick, too.

On the other hand, one drink that offers a good health boost is, surprisingly, alcohol. Drinking beer can actually help fortify immunity. Medical science has known for years that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol actually have a reduced risk of death. In general, they are healthier and have better cardiovascular function than those who don’t drink alcohol at all. Now, new research from Oregon Health & Science University adds a fascinating twist: moderate drinking may actually bolster a human’s immune system and help it fight off infection.

gimme that beer

If a person desires a more complete and planned method of fighting off diseases, some health experts are now leaning towards a technique called the Wim Hof Method. It is a breathing technique that allows a person to control the autonomous systems of the body.

The Wim Hof Method is similar to Tummo (inner heat) Meditation and Pranayama (yogic breathing). While Wim, the person who devised the system, has studied yoga and meditation for many years, this technique primordially comes from what he terms ‘cold hard nature’. By subjecting himself to the bitter conditions of nature, he learned to withstand the extreme forces of cold, heat and fear.

Reducing Discomfort

Discomfort is a natural phenomenon in the body that may be due to stress and fatigue or other diseases. Researches show that there are natural ways of reducing discomfort, and people aren’t even required to go to the doctor in order to do so.

The most common pain everybody has to go through is toothache. A weird way to reduce the sting is by holding an ice cube firmly on the v-shaped area between one’s thumb and index finger on the back of one’s hand. This can reduce toothache pain by 50%, according to study.

Another usual discomfort for many people is having the feeling of being about to sneeze. To prevent sneezing at an inopportune time, with the mouth closed, a person should try pressing his tongue firmly against the back of his teeth to help prevent the sneeze. While preventing a sneeze is great, there is nothing more annoying than a sneeze that comes as a tickle at the back of one’s throat but never actually initiates. To force a sneeze, try staring up into any bright light.

Speaking of tickles, there is nothing more frustrating than an itch that lies right outside a person’s grasp and cannot be scratched – the throat. Instead of reaching down your throat, a person can opt to scratch the back of the ear. When the nerves of the ear are stimulated, muscles in the throat spasm, which often relieves the itch in the throat.

Jun 02

Brain Gains: 3 Activities to Boost Your Brain Power

By Kathryn Brennan | brain , fitness and health

There’s a reason why the human brain is at the top of our head. It’s as if the universe is trying to imply that people should make it a priority to care for their heads – not to mention what’s inside of it. Not only does the extraordinary human brain separate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, it also functions in ways we can barely imagine.

This is the reason why it’s imperative that people take care of their mental health, as well as to provide the necessary aspects for keeping your brain strong.

brain exercise

Various activities can  result in improved mental health. Exercising one’s mind through crosswords and chess can actually make the brain function better. Exposing the brain to calculations and logical problems exercises its analytical side. Also, the creative side of the brain is trained by exposing the mind to abstract and reasoning problems, doing puzzles and making music, to name just a few things. Overall, continuous use of the brain in these types of activities helps to keep it sharp and ready, which is one of the primary facets of a healthy brain.

On the other hand, the archenemy of good mental health is stress. Truly, one of the most arduous and challenging task that a person could ever hope to overcome is the ability to handle stress – and for very good reasons.

Not only does stress affect people mentally, it has also been proven to creep its way into the physical realm of human beings. This is where learning to simply relax plays a major role. Relaxation induced by nature helps to achieve a calm mind and therefore helps the brain to recover from stress. It also relieves the mind from pressures incurred during especially demanding times.

There is no beating a day sitting in your car, feeling the plush Shear Comfort-covered seats, and driving away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Now that’s some R and R.

two people exercise

Considering all of this, relaxation does come from a variety of sources. One of which is by doing physical activities. Yes, physical activity can actually make the brain function better. Stimulating the body through physical activities can provide the same assistance to the brain to become as active as it is when doing mental exercise. This is due to the fact that the most powerful brain boosters are actions which incorporate both aerobic activity and coordination. Physical activities, like sports, essentially improve one’s mood, improve concentration, AND mend bad sleeping habits. This bridges the physical and perceptual aspects that make up a person’s overall mental health.

But really, what are these physical activities that a person can do to have good mental health? Here are some exercises the brain can actually benefit from:

Play Ping-pong, Be Headstrong

Table tennis, more commonly known as ping-pong, is one of the most competitive sports when it comes to speed and agility. People who play the game are actually more coordinated with their hands and eyes, not to mention their balance – which they need to hit that speeding ball across the table. What most people don’t realize is that it is a sport that transcends others when it comes to benefits in mental health.

One of the primary functions of the brain is to control body movements by way of nerve stimulation. Since practicing this sport tends to work on the coordination of the body, the brain is quicker to react to visual stimuli as well as to muscle memory.

old man playing pingpong

Additionally, the game stimulates several parts of the brain. A key element to the sport is anticipation of the shot of the other person across the table. Technically speaking, a player utilizes the prefrontal cortex for the strategic planning he needs to hit the ball back. In turn, the hippocampus, the part which is accountable for humans forming and remembering long-term memory and events, is stimulated from the aerobic exercise done in this activity.

In addition, ping-pong also helps developmental acuity. In the sport, it is vital for a player to observe the movement and placement of the ball as it hits the table, as well as the way it spins. Experienced players of this sport would have unwittingly developed skills in creating and solving puzzles involving the above-mentioned elements.

Mental Health: Cha-Cha-Challenge Accepted!

Another great way to exercise both physically and mentally is dancing.

Dancing is a perfect concoction of slick moves and good memory. In dancing, a persons mind has to remember certain moves or sets of moves that need to be performed in succession. Logically speaking, this can be a good exercise for memory-retention and of course a good cardio workout for the human body.

Though dancing is mostly considered a physical exercise, it encompasses more than just bodily health. Researchers have actually found that going out to dance can significantly improve the emotional state of a person. This is imperative for people who undergo stress regularly, and even more so for people who might suffer from depression.

dancing girl

More importantly, however, dancing provides a social setting in which a person can interact with many types of people. Again, one important thing for stressed people is to have other people to mingle with. This eliminates the element of having negative emotions – which most of these type of people might actually incur.

Overall, dancing not only proves to be a good way to slim down, it also uplifts a person’s mood and provides a pathway to socialize.  It’s safe to say that the lesser the stress, the lesser the cha-cha-chances of mental illnesses (Okay, done with the puns now, I promise).

Fight Right, Mind’s Might

Most people would probably be surprised to learn that martial arts can effectively boost the mind.

Yes, studying the art of fighting proves to be the more exciting and explosive equivalent of the usual Sunday night chess game. This comes with good reasons, considering that martial arts disciplines not only ones muscles, but more meaningfully, the mental fortitude of a fighter or a student.

martial arts

This has been proven by a wide array of research concluding that martial arts induces a sense of self-esteem for a fighter, including some behavioral changes due to the extreme control which it teaches.

Speaking of control, the study of the art improves one’s self-regulation in daily living – which is a main influence of the willpower taught in most martial art types.

With regard to one’s personality, it has also been proven that fighters or participants of martial arts are more driven to achieve perfection in everything they do, as well as lessened aggression to other people. This comes as a result of how martial arts are taught – a type of self-defense to be used only when necessary.


Mental health is irreplaceable in attaining excellent overall health. This adds more importance on training the mind to be stable, and can be one of the most arduous tasks to handle. Plus, most methods can be quite tedious and uninteresting. However, several activities prove that mental health can still be attained and maintained in a more exciting way.

These novel approaches have evolved to provide ample exercise for the mind. Practicing the sport of ping-pong, dancing, and studying martial arts can be beneficial to both physical and mental health. In addition, what they really bring to the table is their ability to sharpen the mind.

May 19

How Traveling Helps The Mind And Soul

By Kathryn Brennan | happiness , health and fitness , Mental Health

How Traveling Helps The Mind And Soul

There’s much more to life and physical health than eating well, getting loads of vitamins, drinking plenty of water, and going to the gym. It’s true that all of these things can genuinely improve your physicality, but how about your mental health and spiritual needs?

People say that a healthy body also requires a healthy mind and soul. How often do people address that?

happy travels

Fortunately, there is a plethora of ways to maintain good mentality. One thing that you may have taken for granted, but truly wish you could do, is to travel. In this generation’s stressful life, you ultimately find yourself living in the city while working on your job. You probably wish your days off from work are more productive and exciting than just chilling inside your house watching some show as much as you can.

Why stay at home, when you can explore the wonders of the world through traveling?

When you think of “traveling” – you might think of something of a grander scale like a European tour, or exploring the outskirts of concrete jungles of California. Maybe you think of hopping through Vernon hotels, or maybe something as low-key as exploring the remote places in your local town. Here are some ways on how travel is good for the mind, the body, and the soul.

Traveling Resets Your Mentality To Beginner Mode

Zen Buddhists have always held a high respect for what a “Beginner’s Mind” brings. You may or may not be a follower of Zen Buddhism, but their general concept is always applicable to any sort of belief: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

wooded bridge

When everything you see as you travel to a different place is familiar but different in smaller details, you begin to see everything as new and more importantly fresh. Through that, you interpret the world through what Zen teachers call  a “Beginner’s Mind”.

A beginning student does not bring the assumptions to the table and is less skeptic (for the better) as compared to an experienced student. As a result, the beginning student is usually more optimistic about what the outcome of his experience would be, more enthusiastic to explore more possibilities, and always sees the positive in all things.

At the end of the day, seeing your newly discovered world in this way provides a great boost to your creativity and ergo ~ your mentality.

By visiting new places, you break your existing patterns… And that’s good for you.

Traveling and exploring new places is believed to interrupt your own assumptions and also your habitual patterns. Especially when you set your own itinerary, and if you travel to a place with an excitingly different culture.


Maybe your preconception of 1:00 pm is ‘a stressful time in the afternoon because I still have a lot of work to do’. In the Philippines, you’ll love to know that 1:00 pm is siesta where a hammock between two coconut tree trunks is ready to receive your exhausted body?

Visit a place out of the ordinary with a culture you don’t know and go break your patterns; a tweak in your routine-bound life might just be what you need to re-energize yourself, your work, and find a new degree of enthusiasm for life in general.

Traveling Teaches You Patience

Traveling begets travel time. Maybe you never liked long lines for bus tickets anymore than you hate long travel hours. Perhaps, it’s now time you appreciate – or understand, at the very least – the beauty of waiting.

beach going

It could be that long lines in the airport are transport service providers’ way of maintaining security not only for you but for the whole country. It could also be that the beautiful farms of Nebraska are so separated from the city just so it is free from the harshness of technology that could otherwise compromise its beauty and serenity. Understanding the beauty of waiting is good for the mind, as it rids the mind from a lot of stress brought about by the anxiety of impatience.

On the other hand, patience also plays a significant role with communication. Many travel destinations, more often than not, present different and difficult language barriers that need to be broken. This leaves your line of communication greatly challenged. As such, a person must learn to be patient enough when communicating their needs to others. In the usual case that they are not met correctly the first time, repeat humbly and patiently until they come across as you intend.

Traveling Gives You New Flavors

If you are sick and tired of fast food, burgers, fries, staple rice and boiled potatoes, pack your bag and go explore a different place; try authentic tacos in Mexico, or savor the REAL shawarma in the vastness of the Middle East, or experience the culture-rich beers in Germany. If a change of recipe will spice up your life, then go travel and experience more food.


There is more to watching Anthony Bourdain explore Parts Unknown in different countries and taste their food and get to know their culture: finding new foods is totally good for your palate and your mental health. More so if you’re as adventurous as Andrew Zimmerman who goes for the most bizarre food he can get his hands on. Your tongue and your taste buds would love you for giving them something out of the ordinary.

By traveling, you could better understand why artichokes are of a high regard in Sicily, Italy.  You could find yourself appreciating the different kinds of cheese in France. Wildly enough, you could find balut very tasty even after knowing that Filipinos eat these boiled, premature duck eggs even with duck embryos staring at them.

From the natural to the unnatural, surely, new food is not only good for the tummy but also for the mind.

Traveling Pushes You Outside Your Comfort Zone

Experiencing is always much better than simply knowing. More often than not, mainstream news only focuses their attention on distant places when something unfortunate happens. This can give people the mistaken impression that they are safe at home, and that the further away they get, the more danger looms.

Fortunately, only by traveling to these places could you appreciate the beauty that lies beneath the superficiality of what you see on the news. Not all foreign places are completely dangerous.

the ocean

Case in point: Colombia is infamous for the violence that the era of Pablo Escobar and the blood-thirst the “narcos” brought, leaving a dire display that the country isn’t a good place to travel. However, that was a long time ago, and now, you can step out of your comfort zone and explore the serene paradise of Colombia, or the islands around it, including the beautiful Bahamas. Go to its provinces, and you can see and understand how family-oriented and hospitable the people are.

Through stepping out of your comfort zone, you have the chance to know the truth in unfamiliar scenes. This is good for your social being, as it is especially healthy for building relationships with other people which in turn will benefit your mental health.

May 19

Staying Mentally Healthy While Building Relationships

By Kathryn Brennan | happiness , Health , Realtionship Building

Staying Mentally Healthy While Building Relationships

A healthy body is the home of a healthy mind.

It’s been said so many times. There are hundreds of thousands of academic studies that proved that the overall health state of a human being is equally dependent on both being physically and mentally healthy. Both of these factors work hand in hand in maintaining one’s health. When the body is healthy, the mind is less stressed and works better. When the mind is stable, the body works accordingly.

healthy mind

However, in the advent of the modern, albeit totally stressful and hectic, lifestyle, mental health is in just as much peril as one’s physical health. The constant struggle to maintain a good economic standing through employment and/or businesses has always been a long-standing reason to neglect the important things in life (like mental stability). It is so easy to become preoccupied by the idea of surviving through making money that people often forget that mental stability is also of high importance.

happy life

Positive vs. Negative

Keeping a positive and optimistic attitude, coupled with joy as a byproduct of sheer enjoyment of life in general, provides for a healthy mental state. This is easily achievable if someone maintains a good relationship with the people around them. Because the actual facets of employment and business are just half of what the actual work is, maintaining good relationships with colleagues, workmates, and other people are still important. Most especially, your relationship with your family is of high priority in maintaining a sound mental and physical state related to work.

Conversely, the reverse holds true: keeping a negative attitude and not maintaining good relationships with other people can be detrimental to both the mental and physical health of a person. Poor relationships with other people can lead to too much stress and anxiety, which further leads to high tension in the mental state of a person.

This is precisely when everything gets worse. The risk of developing mental illnesses (from the lower degree to higher levels) is increasing as the mental health of a person continues to dip. An unhealthy mind is always vulnerable to different mental illnesses, be it something of lower degree like anxiety attacks, or something as dire as depression. This is why no one should ever take their mental health for granted.


The preservation of a positive mental attitude is dependent on the relationship building that a person has done – be it with his or her family members, workmates, classmates, friends and even colleagues. As long as there is a good connection with the people in your life, positive energy will always flow, and each of these connections will result in a more positive mental attitude. Conversely, if your affiliation with other people is more on the negative side, personal mentality may be easily disrupted.

According to a study conducted by, mental illnesses affect around 20% of Australians every year. Although the effects are mostly treatable, it is the prevention that is more favorable in controlling the propagation of mental illnesses.

Family Ties

Families are also affected with the result of any mental ailment. Many forms of mental illness first appear when the person is in their late teens or early twenties. Whether it’s Depression , an Anxiety disorder, or a less common condition such as Bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia, the first episode is likely to occur when the person is still living with their family. Even if they have moved out of home or are older, the mental illness may not only be distressing for them, it may affect others as well.

Mental illness often has a ‘ripple effect’ on families, creating tension, uncertainty, troubled emotions and big changes on how people live their lives. Different family members are likely to be affected in different ways.

Think about it like this: when there is additional levels of tension on a parent’s mind, their treatment of their children and partner will be skewed in a general light, simply based on the struggle that their mind and body are going through, which becomes very problematic for all of the members of the family.

Say a mom screams at her teenage child because of a very untimely mood swing. This can have a short-term or a long-term anxiety effect on the child. This can make the parent even more stressed, and the child have an unprecedented surplus of stored grudge towards their parents.

many faces

Families may just find themselves inches from a total emotional disaster in just one bad day. However, it can also take one moment to jump start one’s day, and steer it towards a better light.

In Australia, there are people who opt to start a new life by buying new homes Perth, new environment and a new perspective. These sudden moments, whether from mental gloom or clarity) may have lasting effects on the person and on his or her family. To date, these effects are not acknowledged by all, but the underlying results to all concerned are being studied by health professionals.

Considering that mental health stems from one’s family background, the family themselves may also take on the responsibility of bringing every one of its members into an environment of general mental health. This often happens in spite of little training or support, or acknowledgment of their own needs and mental health.

When families are accepted as partners in care and receive training and support, there is strong evidence that this leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.

The success of the family unit lies on the strong, established bond between family members. In order to create a reliable connection between family members, honesty amongst them is necessary. The role of honesty in building relationships and maintaining mental stability among family members is very critical; vital enough that without honesty, bonds may never even form. In fact, without honesty, the personal connections formed may be perceived to be false and frail by select family members.


Honesty and Success

There are, however, cases when moral and professional obligations cross and do not fully reach their purposed objective. In some case, families are left in the dark by guiding professionals and health practitioners. The ‘Patient confidentiality’ card is raised, whether appropriate or not, which may lead to a more complex case of personal psychological warfare.

Families are often the main support for people affected by mental illness, and have a right to be treated as ‘partners in care’. They need information about the illness and treatment provided, as well as training and support to help themselves as well as the person who is ill.

Beyond the intrinsic family level, relationship building must also be extended to other related people in order to maintain a desirable state of mental health.

Where does proper mental development actually start?

Developing a practical, positive attitude is always a good place to start. This means that there must be an acceptance of the fact that someone in the family has a mental illness, and that this is likely to have a serious emotional impact to all people involved.

There may be mixed emotions – anger, fear, resentment – with the situation. It could eventually lead to confusion or a sense of loss and grief, considering how the person has been changed by their illness. At the end of the day, it’s important to acknowledge and talk about these feelings.

family 2

Coming into terms with having mental illness is very hard to understand, but the simple idea that communication is the key might be enough.

Parents, talk to your children. There may be a deeper reason why people ask for a time out with friends just to talk. It’s time to lay down the iron gloves and open the heartfelt line of communication.

Children, talk to your parents. There may be a reason why they can’t provide additional allowance. They may be facing their own problems. Ask them what support they need.

Knowing that human beings are always rational people, and their actions are always a result of what they experience, is the biggest part of building and maintaining healthy relationships with one another.

Ultimately, the only ticket to knowing is by communicating.

May 18

How To Get Yourself Out Of A Creative Rut

By AJ Earley | confidence , creative rut , creativity , motivation , productivity tips , self confidence , self improvement , self motivation

You're reading How To Get Yourself Out Of A Creative Rut, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles. Dig Yourself Out Of A Creative Rut Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? Or maybe you lose interest, or even passion, for something you’re working on. Maybe you’re just exhausted from everyday life and you can’t muster the creative energy to keep going. Whatever the reason, we all hit a creative rut from time to time. Powering through just isn’t for everybody, especially us creatives. While we have a lot of good qualities, forcing ourselves to do something that we just aren’t feeling isn’t something we can stand. So, it seems the solution would be to figure out how to make ourselves actually want to keep moving forward with a piece or project. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, consider trying these innovative solutions for innovative people.

Boost Your Self-Confidence

Whether or not your creative blockage has to do with your self-confidence, taking some steps to boost it can definitely turn the tables. High self-esteem is linked to higher productivity, so the better you feel about yourself, the better you’re able to create. One quick way to boost your self confidence is to call or visit a supportive friend or family member. Talk to them about your endeavors, and they are sure to beam with pride and exude confidence in you and your abilities. Hearing how much others believe in you will definitely help you believe in yourself. But you know what boosts self-esteem even more than hearing people say nice things about you? Saying nice things about others, and even better, doing kind things for them. Goodwill toward the world is the best way to organically boost your self image. If you truly do something good for someone else, it will create positive emotions that can’t be hampered easily. Maybe send off some unsolicited text or instant messages of praise and encouragement, or sign up for that volunteer opportunity you’ve been meaning to forever. Smile at strangers and make a conscious effort to be warm toward everyone you come in contact with. You’ll be feeling great about yourself (and your abilities) in no time.

Do Some Extreme Research

If your creative rut is truly caused by hitting a wall in your research or knowledge of a subject, it’s time to delve deeper into it. But I’m not talking Google or the library; while both are handy tools, they’re a bit too boring to solve this issue. You want to do what I call “peripheral research.” Peripheral research is where you kind of look into something that only kind of relates to your subject. Your goal isn’t to learn any new, solid facts or gain a better understanding: your goal is to open yourself up to new ways of looking at things. The best way to do this is find an extreme example of anything that relates to your project. You can find a documentary or biography of an unbelievable person that can tie back, or even watch an intense film that relates. One of my favorites is to find online articles pertaining to my subject and then dig through the comments for those awful internet haters who always have mean or extreme things to say about a subject. It’s not that they’ll give you anything useful to say, it’s more that they will reignite your passion and get you fired up to argue their ridiculousness. Then, instead of arguing, you can channel that energy back into your work. One of my favorite ways to get started is to look for an extreme reality series that somehow relates to your subject matter. There are a whole ton of them right now, so it’s not difficult. For example: I was writing about unconventional ways to save money, and I hit a wall. I looked up “extreme examples of frugality” and found the reality television shows “Extreme Cheapskates” and “Extreme Couponing.” I spent the afternoon mining youtube for highlights, and I learned a lot. I was intrigued and impressed by these individuals’ savvy and unwillingness to pay full price for anything. I never knew that there were so many free things offered online, or that coupons could save you almost 90% of your bill. These were no doubt extreme examples, and in the end I walked away with a fresh perspective on the difference between reality and reality TV when it comes to saving money.

Visualize Success

Oh wow, that sounds super cheesy, right? I imagine some motivational-speaker-type saying, “Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the finished produ…” Ahem. Let me just stop you there: no thanks. That’s not really for us. I mean, we’ve imagined the finished product a million times, that’s why we’re working on it in the first place. The biggest struggle any type of artist has is getting the finalized piece we have in our minds to come out exactly as we imagined on paper, or canvas, or in song or movement. The last thing we need to do is visualize our own vision one more time. So try this: picture whatever makes you feel good, even if it seems a little sleazy. So you finish this particular piece of art and it gets picked up by a snazzy gallery where your ex sees it and re-examines all the wrongs he/she did you. This piece of writing you’ve got gets published in a top-tier literary magazine that pays handsomely, and even sweeter than the money is the fact that you can finally show your parents that your liberal arts degree is earning you such. Or, you know, go crazy with your imagination… you finally finish what you’re working on and that leads to awesomeness but something else transpires, therefore this, but that, and eventually you find yourself living at the international space station. We’ve all been there. Either way, playing with your imagination in terms of the finished work instead of dwelling on the process of completing it can be a great motivator. It just might change your mind about staying on the couch and watching another season of “The Wire.”

Do Something Drastic

If you’re really, really struggling and nothing else is working, it might be time to take serious measures. Do you have a free day or two? Take an impromptu road trip and bring your work. Whether you camp out by a lake or rent a cabin in the woods, a change of scenery can definitely refresh your outlook. When you get to your destination, explore, relax, breathe. Don’t think about your work right away unless it’s already on your mind. After having some time to yourself, you might be inspired to climb right up out of your rut. Don’t really have time to take off? Maybe consider fasting (I know, I know, but the heading does say “Do Something Drastic.”) There are so many benefits to occasional fasting, including heightened senses and more efficient brain function. Fasting has been used for centuries to help with creative endeavors, and even reach spiritual enlightenment. After a day or two many report euphoria, crisper thought processes, and yes, creative inspiration. Just remember to be careful. Don’t go more than a few days without following a program that ensures you still get the electrolytes your heart needs to keep beating.

Good Luck

I say that with the best of intentions, because I know, it’s hard sometimes. Creativity is delightful and rewarding, but it’s also draining in ways that aren’t always relatable. If you happen to have found yourself in a hole with all of the life sucked out of you, I hope these tips can be a little CPR for your inventive nature. You've read How To Get Yourself Out Of A Creative Rut, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.
May 17

Why Dreaming Big is Nourishment for the Soul

By sreenivasanweinberger | creativity , dreaming , goals , happiness , meditation , potential , psychology , self help , self improvement

You're reading Why Dreaming Big is Nourishment for the Soul, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Why Dreaming Big is Nourishment For The Soul

the importance of dreaming big Each of us has unique creative potential; giving life to that passion is what we call Big Dreaming. Yet, big dreams—those ideas and passions that ignite one’s soul—are often dismissed as grandiose thinking. Why is this? Many times it is because we get lured by the comfort zone of mediocrity. Big dreaming means changing our beliefs, actions, and sense of self. But change is difficult. • Change means venturing into unchartered territory. • Change is risky. • Change is scary. • Change may result in failure. • Change may result in experiencing disappointment. Mediocrity seems realistic because we think it does not require risk. In reality, doing nothing is doing something. It is making a choice to stagnate rather than grow. It is making a choice to live in the rut of routine. Routinized living is safe. Routinized living is sensible. The psychological principle, “external locus of control,” describes abdicating control over one’s life to outside forces. When we accept life as it is and make little effort to steer our own destiny, we give up opportunities to discover our full potential and passion. • Routinized living is neither safe nor sensible. • Routinized living does not insulate us from failure and disappointment. • Routinized living imprisons us in the mundane and handcuffs possibility. • It is giving up control over your life and giving it over to fate. Big Dreaming is not only good for the dreamer, it is good for everyone as it has a ripple effect. The big dreamers among us are those who have expanded and improved our lives in ways that were previously unthinkable. Consider all the innovations that occurred in this short period of the 21st century. For example, cell phones that allow us to communicate via face time; taking a picture and sharing it instantly; and global communication that can occur with the click of a mouse. Big Dreamers do not let others define them, they define themselves. Theirs is a psychology of “internal locus of control.” Big Dreamers are the decision makers and holders of the reins in their life journey. The cynic will say that there are only a few Big Dreamers who succeed, like the Mark Zuckerbergs, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, while the rest of us have to accept the reality of our small lives. This type of thinking labels big dreams as silly, childish, “pie in the sky” type thinking. Remember this: • Cynicism is the fuel that feeds mediocrity. • Some people just do not want to grow; but, when they see you do so, they feel threatened. • Creative living means that you are open to opportunity. • Cynicism is a toxin to one’s potential. Big Dreaming is food for the soul; it nourishes the spirit because it infuses one with hope. It is energizing and makes life exciting and enriching. It allows the impossible to be considered, and in doing so unleashes potential—yours and those around you. ------------ Dr. Shoba Sreenivasan and Dr. Linda E. Weinberger are authors of the new book Psychological Nutrition, which encourages readers to live happier and healthier lives by monitoring emotions that are consumed on a daily basis and understanding how it affects wellbeing. Learn more at

You've read Why Dreaming Big is Nourishment for the Soul, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

May 17

3 Ways To Jump Outside Of Your Comfort Zone to Find Happiness

By etarver8 | Comfort Zone , confidence , motivation , motivation tips , self esteem , self improvement , success

You're reading 3 Ways To Jump Outside Of Your Comfort Zone to Find Happiness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

3 Ways To Jump Outside Of Your Comfort Zone to Find Happiness

how to get out of your comfort zone Picture your life like a Venn diagram. It’s comprised of three circles - the things you’re good at, the things you can get paid for, and the things you actually love doing. Now, each one of these circles overlaps so that there’s a small intersection of the three right in the middle. And when I say small, I really mean it: tiny, infinitesimal, absurdly minute. You hear people say that you need to step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, there is often a graphical depiction of this, similar to my verbal picture above, that has a circle denoted as “your comfort zone,” and a tiny point way outside the circle denoted as “where the magic happens.” But what if I told you this was wrong? What if I told you that instead of the magic happening outside the circle of your comfort zone, it actually happens inside the intersection of the three circles of your life? Well, brace yourself, because that’s what I’m telling you. However, living in the center of your life, residing in the triple overlap of your personal Venn diagram, is also a movement away from your comfort zone. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Trying to find the “thing” or group of things that you’re good at, can be paid for, and truly enjoy, is difficult. It’s a long journey on an uncomfortable path, one often laden with missteps, potholes, failures, but hopefully, ultimate triumphs. But don’t fret! Just because it’s hard doesn't mean you shouldn’t try. No matter where you are in life, you should always be searching for the triple intersection of your life’s unique value. To help you on your path, when you wake up every morning, commit to the following three actions. If you can do it, day-after-day (don’t worry, not every day, no one’s perfect), you’ll eventually find yourself smack dab in the middle of your life’s Venn diagram, and far away from the numb comfort you once knew.

Keep a Morning Routine

Life always starts somewhere, right? Everything you do throughout the day builds off of some foundation - a firm layer on which you build your hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, many of us don’t even know we have a foundation, which means, often times it’s made of material as solid as sand. When we talk about comfort zones, what we’re really saying is a feeling of numbness. A mindset of reactionary thought and action where our emotions dictate our reality, and not the other way around. What a terrible way to live. When you stay within your comfort zone, you’re letting the outside forces of the world enact upon you. You wake up, go to work, lose your energy, skip the gym, come home tired, drink a beer, and go to bed, only to do it all over again the next day. However, if you focus on a morning routine, you can quickly change your foundation of sand into one of limestone and brick. Then, your thoughts, emotions, and actions that you experience throughout the day will be firmly planted on something positive, allowing you to actively make decisions that better your life. A morning routine makes it possible to intentionally move yourself from a random point on your triple Venn diagram toward your center. The best part? Your morning routine is just that: yours! I always advocate for meditation and gratitude, but it’s for you to decide. However, if you’d like to heed my advice, then I’ll say it frankly: meditate for 15 - 20 minutes every morning and then immediately write down four things you’re grateful for. These simple actions will strengthen your mind to the point where you begin to act on the world, and not the other way around. Only then will you be able to confidently move outside your comfort zone and toward your center.

Focus on New Experiences

With a morning routine as your base, it’s now possible to have intention, which means you now have focus. With the groundwork taken care of each day, you can now drive forward with the most important aspect of stepping outside your comfort zone and finding center: having new experiences. Experiences are the most important aspect of your life. In fact, they are your life. Think about it: at the end of the day, all life is is a collection of experiences and our memory of them. Staying within our comfort zones is synonymous with repeated experiences that provide nothing new and flavorful. In order to step outside of our comfort zones it’s imperative that we push ourselves to have new and exciting experiences that force us to grow. Because in actuality, while a movement away from your comfort zone and toward your center sounds like a direction, what it actually is is growth. Think about it like an obstacle to climb over as you move toward your center. When you’re meekly stuck within your zone of comfort, you’re too short, or too weak, to scale the wall. It takes dedicated effort to gain inches, or strength, in order to make it over the obstacle and continue your journey closer to your center. And the only way this is possible is to put yourself in foreign situations so you learn how to adapt.

Connect With Everybody

Now, I said that experiences were your life, remember? Good, just making sure you’re paying attention. Ok, well now let me rephrase. While you are your experiences, true joy in life comes from the connections we make with other people. We’re as much a summation of our feelings as we are a summation of our experiences. The beauty of it is that new experiences naturally give you the opportunity to connect with new people. And here’s where it get’s more pragmatic because a lot of us don’t even know what the thing is that we love, are good at, and makes money. To be frank, I’m still figuring it out. But guess what? You figure it out through connections and experiences! New people provide you with new perspectives so you have a greater chance of identifying where your true passion and purpose lie. And I’m sure you’re one step ahead of me, but your passion and purpose lies outside your comfort zone and smack dab in the center of your life. The more people you meet, the more people you connect with, the more data points you have to help guide your journey toward center. Not to mention, we as a social species need human interaction, and the more connections you make, the more interactions you have, and the more cathartic your life becomes. Then, your mindset becomes increasingly positive, which gives you the drive to stick to a morning routine, which gives you the foundation to confidently seek new experiences, which allows you to meet new people, which sends you into a cyclical spiral of upward success. Then and only then will you be able to step away from your numb comfort and toward your center. I think it’s time for you to start. --- Evan is an author and business owner with experience in the technology sector. With an extensive background in corporate finance and business evaluation, and as a passionate contributor to technology startups, he's a self-proclaimed "business nerd." Evan's also a spirited writer who contributes nonfiction business articles to various online publications and pens full-length novels found on Amazon and other leading retailers. Each piece of writing, whether it be a one-page finance article or a 300-page fiction story, is meant to provide readers with lasting enjoyments and actionable takeaways that (hopefully) better their lives and encourage them to act. Connect with him at and receive the first two chapters of his new novel, Life in Twenty-Something: A Story of Self-Discovery, free!

You've read 3 Ways To Jump Outside Of Your Comfort Zone to Find Happiness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

May 16

The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More

By joepennington | benefits of sleep , better sleep , deep sleep , get better sleep , get more sleep , how to get more sleep , productivity tips , quality sleep , self improvement , sleep

You're reading The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less & Living More

sleep and depression I think I’ve cracked this sleep thing. For months now I’ve been waking up feeling great after only being in the sack for a few hours. The revelation came after years of obsessing with getting the recommended 8 hours in. As a night owl who loves coffee, it rarely happened, but even when it did, I often rose feeling worse. After eventually realizing that something wasn’t right, I did some digging and found out not everyone thinks 8 is the magic number. In fact, some believe there isn’t one at all. Another number that’s thrown around by the media is 7—the average number of hours we sleep. This is more likely an effect of society not biology, regulated by television schedules and working hours. Looking back on the sleep patterns of pre-industrial societies supports this as you can see back then we slept between 5.7 and 7.1 hours a night. So the jury is still out on how many hours we need, but one thing is clear: getting too much sleep is worse than getting too little.

Less is Always More

In an analysis of 16 studies that looked at the sleeping habits of over one million people, Prof Franco Cappuccio, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Warwick, found surprisingly that longer sleepers tended to die earlier than shorter sleepers. However it is difficult to measure the impact of too much or too little sleep on our health as they can often be symptoms of underlying diseases and illnesses. For example, sleeping too much is often correlated with depression, and sleeping too little with stress. But when Professor Shawn Youngstedt of Arizona State University, understanding the problems with mass sample groups, conducted a small study with 14 young adults, he saw similar results that supported those of Cappuccino. Participants of his study were instructed to spend an extra two hours in bed for three weeks. At the end of the study Youngstedt found there was an increase across the board in stiffness, back pain, inflammation, and depressed moods. His results, although limited, make the long term effects of long sleep sound similar to the effects of prolonged periods of inactivity. Could it be that lying down barely conscious for hours and hours every night is actually detrimental to our health, and even threatening to our life span? Well, just as someone can live a long and happy life sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day, while someone else needs to be doing non-stop physical labour, the numbers each of us need in the pit are just as varied. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 64, it’s said you’ll function on anything between 6 and 11 hours. Though even these figures are only a guideline, and according to the National Sleep Foundation are secondary to your individual requirements. We know Margaret Thatcher could run a country on just 4 hours, whereas some teenagers can’t leave the house on anything less than 10.

So What’s Your Magic Number?

When we’re all tucked up in bed, the sand man begins to work his magic, kicking off our five state sleep cycle. This is made up of four non-rapid-eye-movement or ‘NREM’ stages, and one rapid-eye-movement or ‘REM’ stage. We quickly pass through the light sleep state of N1, hang around in N2 for a while until our brain waves slow down, fall into the deeper ‘slow wave’ state of N3 and N4, and finally reach the temporarily paralyzed dream state of REM in N5. It’s commonly believed this cycle occurs over 90 minutes, but in reality, it can range from anything between 70 and 120 minutes. Just like with ‘the magic number’ of hours, the figure we're told is just a population average which overlooks the unique and diverse needs of the individual. We do know however, according to the science, that we need four to five of these sleep cycles in order to feel at our best—meaning, at least theoretically, Thatcher could have been firing on all cylinders after crashing for just 4 hours. But with the varying cycle times, it’s pretty difficult to predict when you’re in-between your forth and fifth cycle and therefore in the ideal state for waking up. That’s not all, as the night draws in, the length of our sleep cycle increases. This should give you an idea of how varied your sleep cycle can be over the course of a night:
  • N1: 1-7 minutes
  • N2: 10-25 minutes (generally)
  • N3: 20-40 minutes (decreasing every cycle)
  • N2: Jump back to N2 for around 5-10 minutes before entering REM: 1-5 minutes (increasing every cycle)
So what does this teach us?
  1. Don’t believe anyone who tells you how many hours sleep you need unless they’ve first monitored your brain waves with an EEG machine while you’re sleeping (with your consent of course).
  2. Get yourself a bit of tech that’ll monitor your sleep cycles and wake you up in the right stage every morning.
So technology is the way to help better regulate our sleep patterns. But before we get on to that, it’s first important to recognise its role in disrupting them in the first place.

Get Back in Tune With Your Circadian Rhythm

Technology is one of the main reasons we’re out of touch with our biological ‘body clock’, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm. Gadgets, electronics, street lights and any other light-emitting devices disrupt our circadian rhythms and push us further and further out of sync with solar time (the rising and setting of the sun). The body’s circadian rhythm is managed by the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), a group of cells that invoke a bodily response to light and dark signals. These signals send messages through the brain to wake the body up, raising its temperature, producing the hormones we need like cortisol, and reducing others we don’t, like melatonin. The problem is that when we’re exposed to artificial light in the twilight hours, our SCN responds, believing it’s already time to rise and shine, and engaging the body’s systems for its waking state. It’s not only the fault of technology though, other factors like noise, hormones, exercise, and stimulants also have similar effects in disrupting our circadian rhythm. However, the good news is that for over 6 million years our ancestors have lived by the rising and setting of the sun. Therefore, when it comes to changing our habits and resynchronising our circadian rhythm to solar time, all it takes is a little effort to avoid these disrupting factors like artificial light between dusk and dawn. With that in mind, we can stop exercising and drinking coffee too late, start to wear ear plugs and eye masks while sleeping, and overall make our bedrooms the sanctuaries they need to be in order to foster deep, uninterrupted sleep.

Cheap and Cheerful Sleep Cycle Monitoring

Anywhere from $0 to $500+, you can find a gadget that claims to improve your sleep by monitoring your cycles and picking the right time to bring you back around. Luckily for us, one that does it particularly well comes in right at the bottom of that range. The majority of the sleep monitoring devices and applications work by picking up on the specific characteristics of the cycle stages. Each stage is characterised by changes in the body like temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Now these are hard to measure without a plethora of sensors, but some of these changes we display externally with our movements and breathing rate. The Sleep Cycle app (available on both iOS and Android), is a nifty little system which uses your phone’s accelerometer and microphone to monitor your sleep cycles according to changes in your movement and breathing rate. getting a better night's rest pick the brain An average night’s sleep Before you drift off, you set your alarm like usual, tuck your phone under the sheets (or leave it on your nightstand if it’s iOS), and let it get to work. The app will track your activity throughout the night and wake you up within a 30 minute window of your chosen time, depending on when you are in N1—your lightest sleep stage. Granted it doesn't completely eliminate the shock of the alarm clock in the morning, but it can make that groggy and irritated feeling a thing of the past. One of the nicest things about this app is the data it accumulates. Soon you will begin to see a pattern in your cycles, how many you need, and be able to start optimizing your sleep. I’ve found waking up after 4 sleep cycles works best for me, which usually means getting around 6 to 6 and a half hours sleep. In summary, it’s not about the number of hours we get, but rather the quality and consideration of our sleep cycles that dictate how fresh we feel in the morning. So disregard broad averages, eliminate disruptive factors like artificial light and stimulants, along with the cat, and let the tech and your body do the rest. Want to take the next step to rising fresh and optimizing your mornings? Grab a free copy of our new eBook: MORNING MASTERY: The Simple 20 Minute Routine For Long Lasting Energy, Laser-Sharp Focus, and Stress Free Living. ------------ Joseph is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to lead a more free and fulfilling life.

You've read The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

May 15

Suffering from Bipolar Medication Side Effects? – What to Do

By Natasha Tracy | treatment issues

Suffering from Bipolar Medication Side Effects? – What to Do

I have experienced so many bipolar medication side effects that I can’t remember them all. They have ranged from the common that many people experience like weight gain and dry mouth to the more unusual such as falling out hair and me falling over. When I started taking bipolar medication and started experiencing side effects, I tended to just grit my teeth, bear it and suffer. And I see this all the time in people. People constantly contact me and ask what to do about bipolar medication side effects because they are currently suffering.

I don’t believe in needless suffering. I believe there are things you can do about many, if not most, of the bipolar medication side effects.

Why Do People Suffer with Bipolar Medication Side Effects? – The Two Main Reasons

There are two main reasons people continue to suffer with bipolar medication side effects. (Well, three, but I’ll get to number three in a bit.)

  1. Patients don’t honestly and frankly tell their doctors about the side effects.

I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken to people with bipolar disorder who are suffering from nasty bipolar medication side effects and they haven’t even adequately explained this to their doctors. I do understand this. It can be hard and even scary to talk to a person in a position of authority and tell the doctor what he or she doesn’t want to hear. After all, the doctor just wants you to say, “Great! I’m all better!” Most of us don’t get to say that, certainly not all the time. Really and truly, most patients are not completely honest with their doctors.

  1. Doctors don’t listen when patients talk about their bipolar medication side effects.

On the other hand, some patients do express their concerns over medication side effects but their doctors just aren’t listening. This, too, is shockingly, and unfortunately, common. (This is especially prevalent if you’re bipolar and high-functioning.)

Both of these are very serious reasons. But, luckily, both of these can be fixed.

How to Address Bipolar Medication Side Effects with your Doctor

Many people suffer from bipolar medication side effects and don't know what to do. Here's the best way to handle bipolar medication side effects.Of course, the first situation is fixed by being blunt and honest with your doctor. I’ve found that doctors don’t hear you unless you yell (metaphorically speaking).

Don’t say things like:

  • “I feel kind of foggy.”
  • “I feel okay, I guess.”

Do say things like:

  • “I can’t understand words when I’m reading. This is impacting my ability to study for school.”
  • “I feel very sick on this medication. I feel dizzy, my mouth feels like it’s stuffed with cotton and no matter how much sleep I get, I never feel rested. I’ve been late to work three times this week because of it.”

The things you do need to say have two important parts: you need to say how you are feeling – in explicit language – and you need to say how that is impacting you. Because if you say, “I feel dizzy,” the doctor might just make a note in your file and that’s it. If, on the other hand, you say, “I’m so dizzy I have fallen over trying to get up from the couch three times,” that may require a more active response.

And you need to be specific as to whether you can withstand the side effect and see if it reduces over time (because many do) or whether you simply cannot tolerate it and need a change – now.

If your doctor is not listening to what you’re saying, then be more explicit. Say something like, “I’m so groggy in the mornings I can’t pack my kids’ lunches. This is not acceptable. I need to be more functional than this in the morning. I’m the only one who can do it. My kids need me.”

And if your doctor doesn’t listen to that? Well then he doesn’t sound like he’s worth your time. Remember, a doctor works for you – you pay him/her – and if he or she aren’t getting the job done then you need to find one that does.

What Might a Doctor Do about Bipolar Medication Side Effects?

Because here’s the thing, I cannot tell you what to do about any specific side effect. Yes, in some cases I could make some suggestions, but in all cases, you should be talking to your doctor about them and making a plan to deal with them.

A doctor might respond to a bipolar medication side effect by:

  • Reducing the dose of one or more medications
  • Increasing the dose of the medication more slowly over time (if just starting a medication)
  • Stopping a medication altogether
  • Suggesting lifestyle changes that can address the issue (such as in the case of insomnia)
  • Adding another medication to deal with the side effect

Your personal situation is what will dictate what the doctor does. And that is why I cannot give you specific advice. Only your doctor knows your history and only you and he/she can make the best decision for you together.

The Third Reason People Suffer from Bipolar Medication Side Effects

The third reason people continue to suffer with bipolar medication side effects is this: it’s because they think they have to. It’s because they don’t have another viable option for treatment. It’s because the medication’s benefits outweigh its side effects. I am in this position and so are many others.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there truly is nothing to do about bipolar medication side effects, though. For people like me, people who have been in bipolar treatment for many years, we may think that suffering is just part of the gig. And, to some extent, it may be for some. And I know that I’ve been really lax in relaying all the bothersome side effects, and even new bipolar symptoms, to my doctor because I’m just used to the suffering. It’s just part of what I live with.

The thing is, I’m not always right about that. I learned, recently, that there actually was another option for me in dealing with a new side effect that had emerged. And I never would have discovered this if I hadn’t have been very straightforward with my doctor and told him how awful the side effect was.

And even if your doctor has nothing to offer, you may be able to get a second opinion for help. Or even try an alternative medicine treatment (don’t do this without your doctor’s okay). If you do want to look at alternative medicine, a good place to start is at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. This guide provides lots of information on these options along with a review of any available evidence.

The Low-Down on Bipolar Medication Side Effects

So, while I admit that some bipolar medication side effects are things we have to live with, I think most of them we do not. If you are experiencing side effects, you need to take the problem into your own hands and insist that it be addressed, if at all possible. You won’t always be happy with the results, but sometimes you will. Remember: your quality of life is very important, you deserve to have a great one and it should always be maximized.

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May 14

6 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

By Dr Dain Heer | confidence , find happiness , happiness , inner critic , self confidence , self esteem , self improvement

You're reading 6 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

how to silence your inner critic Do you get stuck in negative self-talk trying to figure out where you went wrong? If you spent one whole day listening to your thoughts, you might be quite shocked at just how much self-criticism you do. A recent study shows that many women berate themselves numerous times throughout the day, but don’t even view it as self-judgment, thinking they are being truthful or realistic. Most will judge themselves daily before 9.30am ( And from personal experience, I can tell you that it’s not just women who fall prey to this self-judgment trap. Most of us have been taught that if we criticize, analyze and judge ourselves enough that we will somehow find out how to make our lives better. But in truth, no amount of criticism, no matter how ‘constructive’ it might be, is going to help things get greater in your life, or anyone else’s. What if you didn’t have to continuously look for what is right or wrong about you? What would your life be like if you stopped the judgment of you? Here are 6 things you can do right now to break the cycle of self-criticsim and judgement that is only designed to stop you from becoming as great as you could be!
  1. Become friends with the big, red STOP sign!   It may seem ridiculously simple, but often-times, simple is the most effective. The next time you go down that rabbit hole of negative or critical thoughts, feeling or emotions, see a big red STOP sign in your mind and tell yourself to just STOP. Seriously - just stop it! We make the nasty talk in our head so significant and meaningful, and we decide we have to overcome it and figure it all out in order to go beyond it. What if you don’t? What if you can just go, “Oh ok, hello judgment, and no thanks. Goodbye!” You can. Try it and see.
  2. Choose to be happy. A lot of us think we have to have external circumstances just right in order to at last be happy. Sorry, not true. The easiest and fastest way to get happy is to choose it. Stop looking for what’s wrong about you, and see what’s right about you instead! When you see what’s awesome about you, judgment and criticism will take a backseat. When you catch yourself criticizing, stop and ask, “What’s right about me I am not getting?” instead. This is a great tool to break down the judgment “machine” that you have been running on the same cycle over and over.
  3. Celebrate yourself daily. What you put your attention on grows. Prioritise putting your attention on what you would like more of in your life – like celebrating you rather than bringing you down. Take a moment to sit and ask yourself, “If I were celebrating me and my life today, what would I choose?” and see what different ideas show up. And then, take action and do them!
  4. Shake your booty. Chemically, moving your body is a great way to get out of negative thoughts and feelings. Go for a walk somewhere beautiful. Dance in your living room with the music turned up. Do cartwheels in the back yard. When you move your body and allow your head to clear out, suddenly things that were so terrible and bad a few minutes ago aren’t so serious anymore.
  5. See the funny side. Laughter heals. When you laugh, it’s hard to make things significant or hold on to the negative. Laughing allows you to see the lightness and humour in everything. Allow yourself to laugh at all the craziness that you tie yourself up in knots over and it will no longer have power over you. And when you no longer give it power, it can change.
  6. Hang around happy people. If you find that the people in your life tend to be negative and judgmental, this will rub off on you and you will feel like that is all that is available. Spend your time with people who are happy and grateful and inspire you to see the beauty and joy available in life. Think of 3 people in your life who are like that, make the time to call them, and spend time with them. If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, maybe now is time to seek out new friends!
------------- Dr Dain Heer is an internationally recognized author, speaker and workshop facilitator, best known for his unique energetic transformation process, The Energetic Synthesis of Being. He hosts a regular radio show, Conversations in Consciousness and is the author of nine books on the topics of embodiment, healing, money and relationships. His best-seller, ‘Being You, Changing the World’, has been translated into 6 languages. Find out more at DainHeer-5276

You've read 6 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

May 13

5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals

By Shelly Drymon | goal setting , how to reach your goals , motivation , motivation tips , productivity tips , self improvement

You're reading 5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

5 Real Reasons You Aren't Reaching Your Goals

how to meet your goals You’ve been setting goals for years. In fact, you’re a damn good goal setter. You write SMART goals, lay out the activities, action plans, deadlines and measurements. You put your goals in a place where you could see them every damn day! Problem is you rarely meet your goals. I get it. I was there. In fact, the process would go something like this:
  • I really want to make some changes. I set goals based on what changes I think I need to make. Goals are soon forgotten.
  • I really want to make some changes. I set goals based on what changes I think I need to make. Goals are soon forgotten.
  • I really want to make some changes…
So what’s the problem? With all your kick-ass goal setting skills why in the world are you failing to meet your goals? Perhaps it’s because most of us are just taught the process of goal setting. If you were to research goals you will find numerous writings on “how-to” set goals. Blog, lessons and videos only focus on the mechanics of setting goals.  That’s the easy part.

Goals can give your life structure, but they won’t give your life purpose.

Here are five rarely addressed reasons you aren't reaching your goals:

  1. You don’t understand what you really want for your life. “I didn’t stand for anything so I fell for everything.”
  2. You have too many short-term, “let’s get this done in three months,” goals, only looking at tomorrow and not long term.
  3. You believe self-improvement is trying to fix yourself. You don’t understand that self-improvement is about fully accepting and expressing yourself.
  4. Your self-control is non-existent. You can’t handle the big emotions or employ any self-motivation.
  5. Your goals were based on what others said you should be experiencing, like losing weight. Instead of creating your goals on something you are truly passionate about.
Many women I have spoken to and know, me included, grew up with expectations placed on us by others. It’s a familiar tune, we hear it said over and over. We experience it ourselves.  By the time you are 50 and even 40, these expectations we’ve taken on are so ingrained in us, we are not even aware these weren’t ours in the first place. We forget or we don’t even know what we wanted. To add an additional layer, we’ve lived a life of many varied experiences.  Some disappointing, some truly wonderful, yet these experiences have placed us right where we are today. All the baggage we’ve packed over the decades is right beside us. Goals are an important piece of change. They give you laser focus, hold you accountable, help you achieve your highest potential. Goals will also help you reign in behaviors such as procrastination.  So, yes, set goals, however, there are five important pieces to have in place before you set goals:
  • Make a commitment to your goals. When you get married you don’t declare that you will make it a habit to be faithful to your partner. It’s a commitment you make. You believe in the greater purpose of the relationship so therefore you don’t have to develop a habit to stay faithful.
  • Become more self-aware. Step outside yourself to see what is really going on. Gather s much data about yourself as you can. How do you handle the big emotions? What are your go-to stress relievers? Do you have your unwavering core values in place? Are your goals set to make sure your strengths are best utilized?

         When setting goals it’s important to know what YOU want your life to look like, and feel like in the future.

  • Place your focus on your day to day activities. Don’t make the goal the end      result. When we plan a vacation we have an end destination in mind right? Our day to day activities of reaching that goal are what will get us to our vacation. So that when the goal of planning our vacation is over we go on vacation.
  •  Employ less willpower and more I Want Power. Is your why strong enough? Do you even have a why? Why is this goal important? Why are you even putting yourself through this hard work? You why is the strength you need when the going gets tough.
  •  Do you know what habits are holding you back? Our “bad” habits can really derail any goals and good intentions. However, habit breaking is not as black and white as some would lead you to believe. Some habits are easier to ‘break”. We can replace sitting on the couch eating ice cream after dinner with a 30 minute walk. Pretty soon the 30 minute walk replaces the ice cream and walking becomes the habit.
However, other habits such as procrastination, hanging on to outcomes and less tangible habits are extremely difficult to break. These are not habits, they are behaviors produced by our bad habits. Seems like a lot right? Just a personal thought about me for a second. I spent many years just playing at my life. Most of the reasons I was not able to achieve what I wanted for my life are listed here in this article. I also wanted to take the quick and easy way. Unfortunately the quick and easy way produced half-assed results.  I also didn’t truly know who I was and what I wanted. What about you? Where are you in the whole process of goal setting?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Shelly is a personal development strategist and founder of The Rescue Yourself Project helping women over 40 step into their unique selves so they can create a life they love!  A few years ago, she found herself living a life that wasn't of her making. Deciding that wasn't what she wanted she ran away from home and spent eight months "re-branding" herself. Today Shelly helps women find their unique selves by becoming experts about their values, strengths, passions, goals and purpose so they can design a life they love.    

You've read 5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.