[:en]Asking for help is essential for personal growth[:]

Hidden Secret for Personal Growth: Asking for Help

Asking for Help is Essential for Our Modern Times

Humans evolved to be the high functioning and social beings. Imagine, where would the human race be if we didn’t have our neighbors to help protect us from predators, or if we didn’t have each other to exchange goods in times of resource scarcity?

We are a social species that rely on cooperation and meaningful relationships to survive, and while our problems have surely evolved from our hunter and gathering days, our need for others, and their help, remains the same.

Learn the importance of asking for help and how it is essential for growth, so that you can not only survive the modern age, but thrive in it too.

Asking for Help is Synonymous with Personal Growth

[:en]Asking for help helps for personal growth[:]

By asking for help, we give ourselves the chance to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable isn’t always easy, but as you show yourself vulnerable, you give others the chance to do the same.

This will lead to forming stronger bonds and building trust with those around you, and those you ask for help.

Better yet, as you become more comfortable in your own vulnerability, you begin a journey of personal growth. Exploring reserved emotions and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone are keys to individual improvement.

The more you grow to your utmost potential, the more success you’ll find, and the happier you’ll be.

Go ahead and ask for help on the next work assignment that puzzles you, or social situation that has you unsure of how to act, and experience the personal growth that will begin to prosper.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset with Guidance from Others

Far too often we feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. This type of held belief is considered a fixed mindset, and fixed mindsets hinder growth. Asking for help takes courage, and acknowledgement that we’re smart enough to know that we don’t know everything.

[:en]guidance from others cultivate our growth mindset[:]

By taking the step to ask for help, you challenge your fixed beliefs, and allow yourself to see that asking for help is acceptable, beneficial, and even normal.

This sensible step forward is a display of a growth mindset, which in turn will open new doors, and spark newfound open mindedness, curiosity, and creativity.

Improve Self-Esteem by Finding a Performance Coach

A performance coach is someone who facilitates in the development and action planning of another, that way beneficial changes can be made accordingly.

Finding someone with the right set of skills for a difficult task at hand, and choosing to accept his or her help, will make you more efficient and successful in the completion of that daunting task.

[:en]improve self-esteem with performance coach[:]

In turn, completing that task will greatly increase your self-esteem. Self-esteem will continue to increase as productivity does too, simply by finding someone who can help you become unstuck, and assist with removing obstacles in your way.

Use Mindshine’s exercises to create a vision of your best future self, and then find that performance coach in your life to help you achieve and commit to each small step towards that vision. Remember, small steps reach big goals.

Giving and Receiving Help Sparks a Positive Attitude

When was the last time that you helped someone? Did it feel good?

That’s because research shows that helping others makes us feel better about ourselves. Helping stimulates the same areas of the brain as eating, and other feel good activities.

As mentioned earlier, asking for help, and giving it, builds trust and fosters a stronger relationship, so the more you ask others for help, the more inclined they’ll be to ask you for the same.

You’ll develop a positive attitude as you find yourself dedicating your time to others, and your interest and appreciation will be reciprocated.

Another benefit of helping others is that it will make you happier.

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody”. – Chinese saying

Main Takeaways

[:en]asking for help helps us grow[:]

Few people can do extraordinary things completely alone. Becoming a lifelong learner as you work towards your goals takes time, effort, and help from others.

As a species, we thrive on human connection, in multiple aspects of our lives. So, the next time you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Give yourself permission to experience growth, by accepting help from a helping hand.

An additional way to ensure you are incorporating reframing and establishing a growth mindset is through going to the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) or reading the Magazine.

Learn more about How to turn positive stress into personal growth or How to boost the immune system.


The key for happiness is aligned values

Align with Your Values: The Key for Happiness in Life

We often ask ourselves what the key for happiness in life is, but seldom pay much attention to it, due to the constant overstimulation, deadlines, and inevitable exhaustion we experience daily.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what your values are?

How are values and happiness related?

Turns out that identifying your values, and living aligned with them is a major source of happiness.

  • If you value curiosity, then you’ll find fulfillment in embarking on an exciting adventure in a new city.
  • If you value growth, then you’ll feel satisfied with your accomplishments at a job that challenges you.

When we behave in ways that reflect what we regard as most important in life, we can be the people that we want to be as we live our lives with purpose and enjoyment.

When we inhibit ourselves from living our values, such as by valuing compassion but failing to express our gratitude to our friends, then we rob ourselves of our ability to generate real happiness.

Luckily, values are forgiving, and it’s never too late to break the cyclical effects of mundane life to pursue them.

4-Step Procedure for Finding Happiness

Follow the mental techniques below so that you can design a life that is in greater alignment with your true self, and happiness will follow.

1. Identify Your Values

Family relationships and key for happiness

Becoming aware of your values is the first step to living in alignment with them, so take a moment to reflect and jot down your values that come to mind. Do you value authenticity? Optimism? Honesty? Next, think of actions that may define those values: when by yourself, around others, and at work. “Self-discipline” may be demonstrated by sticking to a weekly fitness routine. “Creativity” may be expressed by always sharing your opinion at work. Reflect on your values, what their actions are, and write.

2. Acknowledge with Gratitude

Gratitude is a key for happiness

Now that you’ve defined your values by their actions, ask yourself, what values are you already living in alignment with?

  • If you value organization and you already keep a list of tasks to complete each day, then write that down.
  • If you value generosity and you recently surprised your friend with flowers for her graduation, then include that too.

Acknowledging how you may already be living in alignment with your values will help build your confidence to be your ideal self, and consider Giving yourself a thank you, as this can truly make you happier.

What are you most grateful for about yourself? Write a small thank you note addressed to yourself or stick a post-it note on your mirror with some words of encouragement.

Gratitude is a powerful tool, and it can guide you through the necessary steps of self-growth.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” – Gerald Good

3. Turn Self-Growth into a Mindset

Self-growth is a mindset, and not an end point.

We may strive to be ideal, but we haven’t gotten there yet. Ask yourself where the biggest gaps are between your current life, and your life in alignment with your values.

That gap may be difficult to face, and you might even feel guilt, but honesty is key. Do you value reliability but always run late? Are you always on your phone at dinner but value social connection? Don’t judge, just write it all down. Refer to your previously built confidence and you can begin to change your actions for the better by identifying areas of improvement.

4. Develop a Positive Attitude

When it comes to improving alignment, the only obstacle that stands in your way is you.

Choose one of your improvement areas from the exercise above.

Then, change your mindset from “I will” to “I am”. This means rather than telling yourself that you will be reliable by arriving 10 minutes early, tell yourself that you are reliable, and from now on will arrive 10 minutes early.

To make yourself believe that you can align with your values, write down the specific steps that you will take to start implementing each value into your daily life.

With a positive attitude, anything is achievable, including designing a life that radiates happiness and reflects who you truly are.

To Summarize

Values are principles that we find desirable, important, or even essential. When we live in alignment with them, we are really finding the key for happiness. When we don’t, we lose sight of ourselves and our ability to generate happiness.

For more practices like the ones above, check out the “Best Future Self,” “Top Goals,” and “Ideal Self” exercises on the Mindshine app (iOS or Android). Take action to become the person that you want to be and live the life that you’ve always imagined. If you’re hesitant to start, just ask yourself, are you living your best life?


Mind has the power to keep you healthy

How to Boost Immune System: 3 Proven “Mind-centric” Techniques

Have you ever been so stressed that you were unable to eat, or walked into an odd situation and immediately felt queasy?

Among our numerous mind-body connections, our mindfulness-immune system connection is especially powerful, and it holds the secret to staying healthy by boosting our immunity.

Now, you might be wondering how to boost our immune system naturally. Follow the 3 steps below to improve your immune system using the mind

Improving our mental state helps boost our immune system

The immune system is a vital purveyor of physical wellness because of its ability to protect us from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. It communicates with the brain via chemical messengers, and when those chemical levels are altered, our immune functioning suffers.

Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which at normal levels contributes to the healthy functioning of our metabolism and sleep/wake cycles, but at elevated levels, cortisol can weaken our immune systems, causing us to become susceptible to colds, contagious illnesses, and bodily inflammation.

Just as our minds can negatively affect our immunity, our minds can also improve it. Achieving optimal mental health and practicing mindfulness are surefire ways to combat the harmful effects of stress, and in turn, boost immunity.

1. Turn a Calm Mindset into an Ally for your Immune System

A calm mindset helps boost immune system

When we feel stressed, we often breathe shallowly in our chests, limiting the amount of oxygen that our bodies inhale.

Instead, we can practice deep breathing to calm our minds, as we also turn on our parasympathetic nervous system: the part of the body that is active in times of rest and recovery.

This deep breathing, known as diaphragmatic breathing, is easy to accomplish, and can begin with the Mindshine exercise, “Let Anxiety Go.”

You’ll be able to create a sense of calm and ease by intentionally making your breathing deeper and slower, from your belly and not from your chest. Doing so will allow you to inhale more oxygen, as you activate your parasympathetic nervous system.

This will then tell your body that everything is alright.

Applying this technique to any stressful situation will boost immunity, because the less stressed you are, the more your immune system will be boosted.

2. Improving your Sleep will lead to a Stronger Immune System

Improve your sleep for an immune system boost

Just like stress, sleep deprivation can make our bodies more susceptible to illnesses by suppressing our immune systems.

Of course, it’s not always easy to disengage from the busyness of our thoughts as we fall into a quick and peaceful slumber.

But to prevent infection and inflammation, tonight we challenge you to catch the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep with Mindshine’s “Relax Yourself to Sleep” exercise. By having you practice guided visualization and intentional tensing and relaxing of specific body areas, the exercise will help you ease into the sensations of your body, and into deep sleep.

Learn to enjoy the feelings of relaxation, and soothe your mind to sleep. Your immune system will be boosted, in fighting shape, and your overall well-being will improve.

3. Use a Positive Attitude to Strengthen your Immune System

positivity leads to immune system boost

Having a positive attitude has been correlated with stronger cell-mediated immunity, the stream of immune cells that respond to invading foreign pathogens.

Achieve optimal mental, as well as physical health, by taking the time to practice mindfulness and focusing on all that enriches your life.

Mindshine’s exercise “Day Dream” will train you to be more positive by revisiting the best experience that you had on a vacation or trip that you took, with all five of your senses. Reproducing memories from the time you danced all night in New Orleans, or soaked up the sun in Aruba, reproduces the physiological state that you were in as if you were re-experiencing that time right now.

With a little training, you can tap into miraculous feelings, and endless optimism. Your brain will become trained to be more positive, and your immune system will be boosted.

In Conclusion

Our mental state of being has a great impact on our physical wellness, especially our immune system. Improving our mindset, sleep schedule, and positivity are only a few ways that our immune system can be enhanced; so that we’re always ready to fight off stress, as well as invading pathogens.

Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for additional immunity boosting exercises. Check out “Worry Free Zone,” “Stress Less Mantra,” and “Health Blessings.” Your mind, and immune system, will thank you.


Do you want to learn how to be happier by showing more gratitude

How Acts of Kindness Improve Happiness

Engaging in deliberate acts of kindness leads to improved happiness. It’s a proven fact. Performing just one act of kindness per day reduces levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, by our bodies becoming flooded with the hormones responsible for making us happier and healthier. Those hormones include serotonin, which helps us relax and feel good, endorphins, which boost happiness and reduce emotional stress, and oxytocin, which promotes feelings of love and social bonding. With increased happiness, comes improved well-being, and what’s better than improving one person’s well-being? Improving two peoples’ well-being. Not only does your body become flooded with those advantageous hormones, but the body of the person who you’re helping does too. Witnessing an act of kindness is also contagious; it’s a virus that you actually want to catch. Seeing someone perform an act of kindness significantly increases that person’s chance of spreading kindness to others, infecting them with behaviors through which new individuals can express.

With a cascade of happiness at our fingertips, we ask, if being kind is easy, then why don’t we do it more often? Engaging in simple acts of kindness and improving happiness is a chain reaction, and all it takes is one person to start. Follow the mental techniques below so that you can achieve a happier mindset just by being kind, and the rest of the world might follow. Remember, it costs nothing to be nice.

Create a Kinder Inner Mindset

Before being a catalyst of kindness to the world, express your kindness inwards. Sometimes being kind to others is easier than being kind to ourselves, and that’s okay. Tapping into the love that we have for ourselves takes practice, so take a seat in an upright position, and close your eyes as you slowly inhale and exhale. Imagine someone you have strong feelings for: a partner, friend, or even furry companion. Envision the love that he or she gives you, and focus on the positive feelings welling up inside you. Use your inner voice to send them good wishes, such as, “may you always feel fulfilled.” Then, widen those wishes to include yourself: “may we always feel fulfilled.” Repeat this. Feel the love that you have for your loved one and extend it onto yourself by imagining the two of you sitting like a reflection before you. Re-focus your wishful mantra onto yourself: “may I always feel fulfilled.”  Let those words resonate with you, as the love that you have for your loved one, and for yourself, become a caring embrace. When you’re ready to open your eyes, your inner mindset will have become kinder. You’ll be more inclined to spread kindness to others, and to yourself.

Grow Your Generous Well-Being

Like those who are kind, generous individuals feel more at peace and productive in their daily lives. Train yourself to feel more generous towards yourself and others, and you’ll be more motivated to carry out some serious positive deeds. Settle into a seated position, and feel gravity hold you in place. Bring your mind to a time when someone was generous to you, like when your friend gave you her time to listen to you vent, or when your co-worker surprised you with your favorite Frappuccino. Recreate the scene in your mind. Where are you? Who is with you? Imagine that you are there now, and get curious about what generosity feels like in your body. Does it have a location? Does it move? Next, recall a time that you were generous, and capture the scene in great detail. What can you see? What can you hear?  Remember how it felt to be generous, and then let that scene go. Ask yourself, if you could do the most generous thing in the world for a loved one, what would it be? Who would it be for? How would it feel? Connect with those feelings and allow yourself to be filled with boundless generosity. Once you’re ready to let that scene go, focus on your breathing as it comes to a natural rhythm. Enjoy your newfound generosity.

Express Your Gratitude

There is a powerful link between practicing gratitude and feeling happy. Counting one’s blessings can lead to a more optimistic view of life and effortless positive thinking. You can practice gratitude, as well as kindness, by using your gratitude to express an act of kindness. What are you most grateful for about the person you spend most of your time with? Jot those reasons down. Reflection is a powerful tool, but expressing gratitude is where happiness thrives. So text a small thank you note, or leave a thank you post-it where your work buddy can see. Offer to walk your roommate’s dog, or surprise your best friend with her favorite meal. You’ll not only make someone else’s day, but yours as well.

To Sum Up:

Kindness is a proven contributor to happiness; the kinder you are to others, the happier you’ll be. For more suggestions like the ones above, check out exercises like “Cultivate Compassion” and “Praise, Praise, “Praise” on the Mindshine app. With mental fitness made easy, go out and fill up the world with some good. We promise it will make you happier.


Tips to decrease the feeling of loneliness

"I am Always Alone": Steps to Eliminate Loneliness

Feelings of loneliness can be overwhelming and affect most of us from time to time. Have you ever felt alone in a crowded office, or walked into a party and felt that you didn’t belong? Ironically, you are not alone, as most people have experienced this same altercation in perception. A perception, interestingly enough, is all that loneliness actually is. It is a state of mind of how connected we want to be with others, versus how close we actually are. And yes, this feeling can increase our well-being. We may therefore feel alone, even when we are not all that separated.

What causes this flawed mindset is what psychologist and author of Reinventing Your Life, Jeffrey Young, explains as “life traps,” or negative behavior patterns, which originate from our experiences in childhood and go on to develop the core beliefs that we have about ourselves in adulthood (including the belief that we are always alone). A sense of emptiness underlies this feeling of loneliness, and can have devastating effects on both our mental and physical well-being. We may keep others at a distance as to not be disappointed by them, thus preventing ourselves from ever forming meaningful relationships. Cardiologist and mindfulness teacher, Jonathon Fisher, MD, FACC, informs us that loneliness has the same risk of causing a heart attack or stroke as smoking a pack of cigarettes does. Loneliness, as Fisher explains, may even increase a person’s chance of dying early by 30%.

Despite the damage that feelings of loneliness may cause, there are mental techniques that we can utilize to combat its triggers as we work to better understand our patterns of relating to others. Follow the remedies for loneliness listed below so that you too can begin to develop a healthy mindset, fill feelings of emptiness, and improve your overall well-being.

Build Your Self-Esteem

People who feel lonely often feel unworthy and undeserving of others’ love and attention.  To combat these negative feelings, we can build our self-esteem with self-love. After all, if we want others to love us, we must first love ourselves. Begin by thinking of a situation in your life that once caused you emotional stress or loneliness. Acknowledge the feelings that erupt within you as you visualize this situation. Do you feel sad? Stressed? Explore it. Remind yourself that being human means being imperfect. Then, create a mantra, or phrase, that resonates with you in your situation and that you can say to yourself to show self-compassion: “I am worthy,” “I am loveable,” “I am enough.” Repeat your mantra 5 times, so that it becomes part of your conscious, and your negative self-talk becomes positive. This active change in inner-voice will build your self-esteem, and the confidence to believe that you are always worthy of all that others have to offer you.

Make Gratitude an Attitude

Practicing gratitude magnifies positive emotions and heightens self-worth. It can also be transferred onto different areas of your life, such as loneliness, by using it to recognize all that you have and that it is enough. Close your eyes and remember a time that someone did something kind or compassionate for you, and the gratitude that resonated. Allow yourself to re-experience that gratitude, and envision the words “thank you.” Let the words, “thank you,” repeat in your mind. Picture gratitude as a fire inside you, expanding with each “thank you” that you repeat. Enjoy the feeling. Transfer this fire of gratitude to someone that deserves appreciation in your life. Use your inner voice to thank them, and focus on the pleasurable feelings of here and now that you feel as you thank them. Appreciate your health at this moment, and all those present in your life. As you allow yourself to see, hear, and feel moments of gratitude, gratitude will become an attitude, and any feelings of emptiness that you may have will become filled with all that enriches your life.

Connect with Others

Now that we’ve discussed correcting our inner-narrative and have begun to love ourselves for who we are, let’s discuss the external steps that we can take to form connections with others. It’s easy to become distracted in today’s chaotic world of global pandemics and over-stimulation, so take a moment to look around and ask yourself, “Who is there for me to connect more deeply with?” Make an effort to call that person, or send that person a thank you letter. For more daily practice, limit the time you spend on your smart phone during dinner, or when around family. Reflecting on these times of connection will open your mind to recognizing more opportunities to connect with others, as there often are, in the beautiful moments of everyday life.

Remember that Loneliness is a Feeling, Not a Fact

Awareness is key to combating triggers of loneliness. Recognize the life traps that cause your suffering, and notice the thoughts that come into your mind. Accept the fact that you have these feelings, and remind yourself that loneliness is a feeling, and not always a fact. When you find yourself without plans on a Saturday night, is it true that everyone you know has abandoned you, or do you work in the restaurant industry and therefore most of your friends are just at work? By practicing mindfulness and becoming aware of your triggers, you can develop emotional intelligence, which will improve your mindset with not just loneliness, but all aspects of life.

To Recap:

Loneliness can lead to decreased well-being due to the harmful effects that it may have on our minds and bodies. Its origin can be traced back to our experiences in childhood that have shaped the core beliefs that we have about ourselves as adults, but these beliefs do not have to stay damaged as we look to the future. In addition to the practices listed above, we highly suggest you utilize the exercises in the Mindshine app, such as “Self-Compassion Tripled,” “Feeling Grateful,” or the “Attitude of Gratitude” training plan, to combat triggers of loneliness. Micro-steps help build life changing habits, and soon you’ll find with an improved mindset, comes improved well-being.


3 Essential Tips for Staying Productive and Mindful While Working From Home 

Working from home is inevitable for many companies, especially amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, but by no means does it need to be stressful. Working remotely has its perks, such as being able to customize your work space, personalize your schedule, and save time by avoiding long commutes. Of course, the lure of your cozy couch and roommate buzzing about the latest Netflix series may be daunting, but there are indeed surefire ways to stay productive and mindful in your home office. So, whether working from home is a norm or new adjustment, following the tips below can help keep you working at peak efficiency with a peaceful mind during this unprecedented time. 

1. Achieve Laser Focus

Keeping a clear focus on what’s important isn’t always easy, especially if your home office feels like foreign territory. Laser focus is achievable, though, by setting your intentions for the day. Write down the tasks that you have to complete, whether in a notebook or in an email to yourself, and affirm why it’s important to complete those tasks. Perhaps you don’t like feeling lost in the recent chaos of the world, or finally finishing that project makes achieving your goal seem all the more possible. Either way, studies show that setting your own learning and development goals increases motivation and self-efficacy. After all, where attention goes, energy flows.

2. Keep Distracting Thoughts at Bay

While social media and our playful pets are prime distractions, so too are our thoughts. Recent news has especially been alarming, and we are all undoubtedly concerned for our loved ones. Let’s try to set aside our mental chatter because for many, work still calls. When you find yourself getting distracted, walk away from your desk, and engage in some meditation techniques. Take 5-10 minutes to sit silently in an upright position, and acknowledge your incoming thoughts. Focus then solely on your breathing, as you inhale and exhale slowly. Relaxing your mind will bring it back to the present moment, so then you can dive back into work with a well-intentioned mind. 

3. Tense and Relax

If you still find yourself anxious and unable to concentrate in the wake of transitioning from office to home, try performing progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). PMR is a method used to calm the body and tame stress. It involves focusing on one muscle or muscle group at a time by tensing a muscle for 5 seconds, and then releasing and feeling the muscle relax. Before you begin your work, sit upright with both feet on the floor. Relax your shoulders, and close your eyes. Start with the top of your body by raising your eyebrows for 5 seconds. As the muscle relaxes, focus on the changes that you feel. If you feel your mind wondering as you move on to the next muscle, bring it back to the muscle that you’re currently working on. With physical relaxation, comes mental calmness. Your ability to concentrate will be increased as you soon find yourself enwrapped in pure productive bliss. 

To summarize

change is hard for all of us, especially when it involves our work environment. Our daily routines may be altered, but our mental health doesn’t have to be. Following the tips above can help keep you grounded as you make the transition from corporate office to in-home office, so that you can perform at your ultimate best in the wake of any global pandemic. 


5 Healthy Habits to Add to Your Morning Routine

Not a morning person? Me either, but luckily us night owls and early birds alike can achieve a happy and healthy day just by taking a look at our morning routine. The early hours of our morning set the tone for how energized and productive we’ll be, so chances are that the benefits of starting your day off right will flourish way beyond the caffeinated effects of that venti Blonde Café Americano. In fact, embracing routines can positively impact your mental health, as multiple studies have shown that habits are a key to wellness. Habits require little energy, and with them down pack, our brains can conserve its self-regulatory energy for taking on greater issues and making important decisions (Stoewen, 2017). Getting a jump start and beginning your morning with healthy habits can therefore allow you to move more efficiently throughout your day, as you expend less mental energy. So, if you’re looking to not only feel less groggy during those morning meetings but to also improve your quality of life, then look no further than at how you spend the first few hours of your day. Try these positive habits below so that you too can formulate a morning routine that has you beginning each day afresh and anew.

Rewind Time

Let’s rewind and confess that a successful morning routine actually begins the night before (with a good night’s sleep). The average adult needs 7-8 hours, and for good reason. Sleep strengthens learning, consolidates memory, and enhances emotional regulation. Tonight, we challenge you unplug from your smartphone, head to bed an hour early, and catch the recommended amount of z’s. You can thank us in the morning.

Rehydrate

Replace that early espresso with a tall glass of water, to combat the adverse effects of dehydration that often accompanies 7-8 hours of sleep. Water contributes to the maintenance of essential brain functioning, and without it, our cognitive performances become greatly impaired. Rehydrate yourself with an early glass of water as a simple way to boost cognition, and you’ll feel alert and energized to take on the rest of your day.

Clear Your Mind

Set aside enough time in the morning so that you can take 3-10 minutes for deep breathing exercises. Close your eyes, sit upright, and focus on your breathing, as a way to be present and focus on yourself, before you give yourself to the day. These quiet moments are not only calming but can also decrease any mental clutter that may prevent you from performing at your best throughout the day.

Engage in Exercise

Once your mind is clear, engage in 5-10 reps of a fitness exercise, such as air squats or push-ups. If you’d like to go for a morning run, even better, but by just engaging in short movements, you’ll get your blood circulating and be on your way to improving your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost happiness and reduce emotional stress. Exercising early in the day can add a sense of clarity to your morning that will help guide your mood well past the early hours.

Get Excited

Everyday is a gift, and as such should be treated like one. Write down one thing that you’re looking forward to that day, whether it be finally starting that cooking class, or the office getting new chairs. Little things can be exciting as well, so enjoy the anticipation. By noticing these special moments, you’re priming your mind to always focus on the positive (which is something to get excited about within itself).

As a recap:

Balancing work, school, a social life, and fitness schedule is by no means easy, but starting your day on a healthy note is a proven way to benefit you for the rest of the day. Try adding the positive habits mentioned above to your morning routine, because by changing your habits for the better, you change your life for the better.


3 easy ways to cultivate gratitude

In a materialistic culture of over-stimulation that is evolving faster than the human race, it’s easy to find ourselves in a whirlwind of negative thoughts, especially considering that research has shown that positive emotions wear off quickly (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2012). Our emotional systems favor novelty, so once the excitement of that new promotion, loft apartment, or reenergizing trip wears off, our negative mindset is cued to creep in. Actively practicing gratitude, however, can replenish our minds by savoring those positive experiences as we continue to extract appreciation for them. So, what is gratitude? 

Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation for what one has. It means taking the time to recognize the value of all things positive whether they be past or present. Positive psychology has started to explore the benefits of implementing practices of gratitude into our daily lives, and the results have been endless. Robert Emmons, the leading scientist on gratitude, explains that practicing gratitude magnifies positive emotions, heightens self-worth, and combats negativity (insert citation*). He explains that gratitude is a celebration of the present moment by affirming that there are good things in the world, and that gratitude encourages us to take a step back and acknowledge where those good things came from. Now, let’s discuss the steps that you can take to promote the development of gratitude in your mind.

 1. Keep a Gratitude Journal:  

Positive emotions are incompatible with negative emotions (Garland et al. 2010). Reflecting on the goodness in your life in a gratitude journal will elicit positive emotions that in turn, lessen the attention that you pay to any potential negative ones. Start with weekly recordings of 3-5 things for which you feel grateful. Once comfortable, advance your journaling to daily. Try to be as specific as possible, and go for depth over breadth. By doing so, you will begin to train your mind to always focus on the assets in your life, and not the burdens. 

 

2. Write a Gratitude Letter:

 When Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman had 411 participants write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone whom they never properly thanked, participants immediately displayed a significant increase in happiness scores (Seligman et al. 2005). Gratitude is a social emotion that brings to our attention how others have affirmed and supported us. Expressing gratitude to those whom you are thankful can strengthen your bond and even helps to build empathy. Make a habit of writing one gratitude letter per month, and encourage yourself to deliver it in person. Once in a while, don’t forget to write one to yourself.

 

3. Use a Gratitude White Board:

Not much time to write? Try hanging a whiteboard on your fridge and simply jot down one thing that you are grateful for each morning. If there’s no space on the fridge, try placing your whiteboard somewhere that you come across daily, that way you’ll be reminded to take a moment and recount your blessings as you prepare the coffee, or before you sit in lotus position. At the end of your busy week, reflect on your previous week’s work, and all that enriches your life. If you live with family members or roommates, ask them to join in too. After all, gratitude is a celebration, and celebrations are always fun with others. 

 

To wrap up: gratitude is the quality of being thankful, and research supports that practicing gratitude is a leading contributor to happiness. We challenge you to start letting the positivity in your life blossom by cultivating gratitude with the activities provided above. Let’s start by asking, what are you grateful for today?