Blog Archive

Only the Dead Man

A rich man looked through his window and saw a poor man picking something from his dustbin ... He said, Thank GOD I'm not poor.

The poor man looked around and saw a naked man misbehaving on the street ... He said, Thank GOD I'm not mad.

The mad man looked ahead and saw an ambulance carrying a patient ... He said, Thank GOD am not sick.

Then a sick person in hospital saw a trolley taking a dead body to the mortuary ... He said, Thank GOD I'm not dead.

Only a dead person cannot thank God.
Why don't you thank GOD today for all your blessings and for the gift of life ... for another beautiful day.

Relieve Anxiety With Simple Relaxation Techniques

Relieve Anxiety With Simple Relaxation Techniques
It's sometimes hard to determine the origin of your anxiety. Over time, stressful situations can build up and cause feelings of helplessness and a general worried feeling.

Anxiety can pose a real challenge for you and your health. There may be days when you feel like you're unable to do things you've done all your life. This condition plays tricks on your mind and wreaks havoc with your mental health.
Luckily, you can reduce your anxiety by incorporating some relaxation techniques into your life. For best results, be patient with yourself as they begin to work. Clear your schedule and your mind. Embrace the relief you're about to experience so you can live anxiety-free!

Implement these simple relaxation techniques and kick anxiety to the curb:

1. Get fresh air. When you feel an anxiety attack coming on, run for fresh air! Fresh air inhaled slowly can help you relax almost instantly. Give yourself 10 minutes to take in the freshness and feel it calming your entire being.
  • Enclosed spaces like offices tend to worsen episodes of anxiety. This is why it's a good idea to head outdoors the minute you feel an anxiety attack coming on.
  • Closing your eyes while breathing deeply can help to expedite the process.
2. Participate in guided exercise. Exercise in itself is a great meditation tool. But sometimes, you need the guidance to get your mind in the right place. Instructors can guide your thoughts and breathing patterns for best results.
  • There are great DVDs available where the Instructor gives instructions and explains how a particular pose positively impacts the physical and spiritual being.
  • Taking a class can help reduce stress and anxiety in several ways. Having other people around you who are calm can help put you in a healthy state of mind.
3. Remove clutter around you. A cluttered space contributes to heightened anxiety.
  • Ensure your office is free of clutter. Remove mounds of paper or file them away.
  • Get the rooms in your home in order so there is no sign of mess around you.
4. Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, especially when it's causing anxiety. Exercising releases the "happy" hormones and helps free you of anxiety and fill you with joy.
  • Choose an exercise activity that demands your complete attention. This helps to get your mind off the anxiety triggers.
5. Remove possible food triggers. Some foods trigger a negative response to stress. Do some research on those foods and try to eliminate them from your diet.
  • Caffeine has been tagged as the enemy for anxiety sufferers! Take a break from your morning coffee and see if you feel less anxious.
6. Avoid watching the news. While it's a good idea to keep up with current affairs, if you have anxiety it might be better to avoid the news! Because there are so many troubling stories on the news, you're bound to be affected.
  • Instead of watching, ask someone to update you on the lighter news stories.
  • Use your news time to watch something lighter like a comedy or a home renovation show.
Anxiety has become a way of life for many people. However, it's something you can eliminate much of your anxiety by making a few easy adjustments. Get rid of anxiety and allow yourself to experience a calm existence by making these changes in your life. It may take a little while to get rid of anxiety completely, but just be patient and your efforts will be well worth it.

The post Relieve Anxiety With Simple Relaxation Techniques appeared first on My Self Improvement Daily.

Eliminate Wastage

When the auditors are coming, everyone is on their toes. It is time to give account of what has gone on. All the details we regarded as unimportant before now are most vital. It is easy to perform action but when it is time to give an account for those actions, unless we have done our best at all times, there is not a good feeling.
To do our duty to ourselves, our country and to God is a good thing. To do our best at all times brings a blessing of peace of mind. Useless expenditure and wastage prevents us from doing our best. Even if we do not value materials, energy and time, the fact remains that they are valuable and sooner o later an account has to be given one way or the other.
We may feel that no one is aware of our wastage. Accounts are kept not only in books but in the Laws of the Universe. Keep a check on yourself daily and you will find ways to eliminate wastage.

6 College Habits that Lead to Success

College can be a treacherous journey for students who find themselves not fully informed on the best practices and habits to give them a survival edge. It is possible to live an interesting life in college and have good grades irrespective of the program. There are a few habits that edge you closer to success whilst ensuring you reap all the best from the college.

Develop task management skills
Developing a task management plan can be an effective way to maximize your time and ensure you allocate sufficient time for each activity based on its importance and urgency. According to one study, on average, full-time college students spend 15-hours per week studying, but with good time management skills, this time is enough to earn an ‘A’ for a student. The skills necessary to manage your time efficiently are simple and require objective organization based on your priorities and ensure you break tasks into smaller units with sufficient time allocated for each. Task management skills help in ensuring all tasks are performed in time and perfectly without straining while avoiding postponing of tasks and piling them near deadlines.

Take challenges and get out of the comfort zone
Living in the comfort zone in college can lead to detrimental results in your academic and social life. Comfort zone settles you into believing you do not need to attempt to take opportunities that show up in your college life. Living in comfort zone while in college can make you miss many opportunities and even affect your performance in school since college demands focus, commitment, and hard work to earn good results. Therefore, as a student, be proactive, creative and innovative and take a shot on all opportunities in school since they will either make you succeed or learn new things applicable to your college life and after.

College offers an irredeemable chance of networking and expanding your social circles. College life is a preparatory ground for later life especially in your career trajectory and it is imperative that you know many people professionally and personally in your field to help you get a job or navigate other problems that might come up through your career. College is one of the best places to network since you have the time to socialize and evaluate the value of your network in regard to your career trajectory and personal objectives. The network should be inclusive of your colleagues in class to lecturers and other people who you might come across in your college life because you know not what the future holds for you.

Be thirsty for knowledge and everything new
Thirst for knowledge should spark your desire to conquer new fronts ideologically and intellectually to test your knowledge and learn new things. Knowledge is never enough and you can never reach a saturation point of the same; therefore, challenge yourself with new things, adventures and be open-minded to people and situations. This will set you on course to learn more and apply your knowledge to different situations that sharpen and crystallize your understanding on a particular subject.

Learn to say ‘no’
While in college, learn to say ‘no’ to the things that do not resonate with your personality and objectives you have set for yourself. Such things are distractions that threaten to take away your goals which you have envisioned for your college education and after. Saying ‘no’ and not conforming to the systems or the people who aim to use you or do something that is against your interests is a sign of maturity and understanding of your position and goals by taking into account where you envision yourself in the future. Therefore, always evaluate every gesture, invitation or request that comes your way in regard to your goals and achievements and kindly say ‘no’ to them if they do not match. Remember, saying ‘no’ also applies to yourself when your ulterior desires do not reflect your goals and objectives.

Turn criticism and negative feedback into your self-growing
Throughout your college life, you will be criticized and judged unfairly and negatively, but it is of great importance what you make out of them. If you allow these issues to take away your self-esteem, pride, efforts or dedication, then you will not make much progress; rather, you will be afraid to attempt and learn. Therefore, turn criticism and negative feedback into growing yourself and overcoming these temporal barriers to your success. Criticism offers a chance to learn and improve yourself and therefore always welcome it and find ways of incorporating the feedback to better yourself. Therefore, it is important to take in advice and corrections from your instructors positively and use them to enhance the quality of your work for you to get better grades and learn more. If things get tough, you can enlist help from some custom essay writing company or check out their well-written essay samples for guidance.

Wrapping it up
Succinctly, college life can be an enjoyable experience filled with fun and indelible memories or a nasty experience and waste of time and resources if handled carelessly. The aforementioned habits and ways can help you make best of your time in college and leave enough time and resources to enjoy. Though they are not entirely comprehensive on how to live your life in college, it offers invaluable insights on some of the best practices that guarantee you success. Finally, college life has no definitive formula on how to approach or live it, it is based on personal principles that are founded on your life and career goals which enable you to backtrack and evaluate your habits against your dreams.

Story: Everyone Is Unfaithful To Me

A person asked a question to his Town Elder, a Wise Old Man, "My workers are not true to me. My children, my wife and the entire world is very selfish. No body is correct"

The Town Elder smiled and told a story:

In one small village there was a room with 1000 mirrors. One small girl used to go inside and play.! Seeing thousands of children around her she was joyful. She would clap her hands and all the 1000 children would clap back at her. She considered this place as the world's happiest n beautiful place and would visit often. This same place was once visited by a sad n a depressed person. He saw around him thousands of angry men staring at him. He got scared and raised his hands to hit them and in return 1000 hands lifted to hit him back. He thought... this is the worst place in the world and left that place. This world is also a room with 1000 mirrors around you... What we let out of us is what the universe will give back to us. This world is like Heaven Or Hell. It's up to us what we make out of it..." said the Wise Old Man.

Story: Three Dolls

A sage presented a prince with a set of three small dolls. The prince was not amused.
"Am I a girl that you give me dolls?" – He asked.
"This is a gift for a future king," Said the sage. "If you look carefully, you'll see a hole in the ear of each doll."
The sage handed him a piece of string. "Pass it through each doll." – He said.
Intrigued, the prince picked up the first doll and put the string into the ear. It came out from the other ear. "This is one type of person," said the sage, "whatever you tell him, comes out from the other ear. He doesn't retain anything."
The prince put the string into the second doll. It came out from the mouth. "This is the second type of person," said the sage, "whatever you tell him, he tells everybody else."
The prince picked up the third doll and repeated the process. The string did not come out. "This is the third type of person," said the sage, "whatever you tell him is locked up within him. It never comes out."
"What is the best type of person?" – Asked the prince.
The sage handed him a fourth doll, in answer. When the prince put the string into the doll, it came out from the other ear.
 "Do it again." – Said the sage.
The prince repeated the process. This time the string came out from the mouth. When he put the string in a third time, it did not come out at all.
"This is the best type of person," said the sage. "To be trustworthy, a man must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and when to speak out."

Story – The Boy and the Girl
Story – The Law of Garbage Truck
Story - How I Became Honest
Story - The Father And His Son
Story - Cold Weather
Story - The Best Payback
Story - No One Can Hurt You Without Your Consent

Great Professional Tips for Your Office & Business

ü        Keep track of what you do; someone is sure to ask.
ü        Be comfortable around senior managers, or learn to fake it.
ü        Never bring your boss a problem without some solution.
ü        You are getting paid to think, not to whine.
ü        Long hours don't mean anything; results count, not effort.
ü        Write down ideas; they get lost, like good pens.
ü        Always arrive at work 30 minutes before your boss.
ü        Help other people network for jobs. You never know when your turn will come.
ü        Don't take days off sick unless you are.
ü        Assume no one can / will keep a secret.
ü        Know when you do your best morning, night, under pressure, relaxed; schedule and prioritize your work accordingly.
ü        Treat everyone who works in the organization with respect and dignity, whether it be the cleaner or the managing director. Don't ever be patronizing.
ü        Never appear stressed in front of a client, a customer or your boss. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: In the course of human events, how important is this?
ü        If you get the entrepreneurial urge, visit someone who has his own business. It may cure you.
ü        Acknowledging someone else's contribution will repay you doubly.
ü        Career planning is an oxymoron. The most exciting opportunities tend to be unplanned.
ü        Always choose to do what you'll remember ten years from now.
ü        The size of your office is not as important as the size of your pay cheque.
ü        Understand what finished work looks like and deliver your work only when it is finished.
ü        The person who spends all of his or her time is not hard-working; he or she is boring.
ü        Know how to write business letters including thank-you notes as well as proposals.
ü        Never confuse a memo with reality. Most memos from the top are political fantasy.
ü        Eliminate guilt. Don't fiddle expenses, taxes or benefits, and don't cheat colleagues.
ü        Reorganizations mean that someone will lose his or her job. Get on the committee that will make the recommendations.
ü        Job security does not exist.
ü        Always have an answer to the question, What would I do if I lost my job tomorrow
ü        Avoid working at weekends. Work longer during the week if you have to.
ü        The most successful people in business are interesting.
ü        Sometimes you'll be on a winning streak and everything will click; take maximum advantage. When the opposite is true, hold steady and wait it out.
ü        Never in your life say, Its not my job
ü        Be loyal to your career, your interests and yourself.
ü        Understand the skills and abilities that set you apart. Use them whenever you have an opportunity.
ü        People remember the end of the project. As they say in boxing, Always finish stronger than you start.

Drama of Life!

Every passing moment is like a passing act in a play. Each of us are actors playing out parts very well. An actor is never focused on another actor’s part, continually criticizing it. He just gets on with his own part, playing it as best he can. This Drama of Life is eternal, predestined and accurate. Whatever anybody else says and does is their role, not mine. My task is to play my part right.
Right thoughts restore rightness to the whole play. Practice detaching yourself from your role and experiencing the truth, behind the role and you will find yourself loving every instant of your role and the Drama, too.

The Mind is Like Garden

The mind is like a garden - as you sow, so shall you reap. When you cultivate it and nurture it, it will blossom beyond your wildest expectation. But if you let the weeds take over, you will never reach your potential. What you put in is what you get out.

So avoid violent situations, trashy novels and all other negative influences. Peak performers are meticulous about the thoughts they allow into the gardens of their minds. You truly cannot afford the luxury of a single negative thought.

The Cost of Envy

Photo credit: Source
By Leon Ho
 In our competitive environment today, it’s very easy to become envious of others’ successes. In the startup field, there are always a few phenomenal individuals who bloom quickly in their respective industries. I know of one that produced an app that quickly gained 20 million users, and another that won several outstanding business awards and garnered lots of attention from the media. Another small startup quickly grew to have 200 employees.In our competitive environment today, it’s very easy to become envious of others’ successes. In the startup field, there are always a few phenomenal individuals who bloom quickly in their respective industries. I know of one that produced an app that quickly gained 20 million users, and another that won several outstanding business awards and garnered lots of attention from the media. Another small startup quickly grew to have 200 employees.
When a colleague outperforms you, a friend has a bustling social life, or when someone has a seemingly perfect relationship, it is easy to turn to resentment.1 Most of the time, we don’t admit to these feelings, but the green-eyed monster lurks beneath the surface.
Whether or not we’d like to admit it, we’ve all felt jealous of someone else in the past.
Competitive and jealous feelings are an adaptive strategy. Humans are naturally inclined to compare to others because it was essential to outperform others in order to survive.2
While it seems natural to become envious or resentful of others, the feeling does more harm than good.

Envy Costs Your Entire Mind

Envy interferes with people’s ability to think and act. Instead of working on attaining a high level of success, it focuses a person’s energy on what they lack.3 An envious person is blind to their own progress since their only aim is to have what someone else already has. Without benchmarks for their progress, envious individuals quickly lose their motivation altogether.
Those who worry about the final outcomes that others experience don’t think about the journey that their competitors had to take to reach that level of success.4 Envious people are blind to their own strengths, and they’re unable to see the weaknesses of rivals.
If you spend your whole life envying others because you think they are more efficient, more easily promoted, or better at solving problems, you’ll never become better. A person who wastes time worrying about others’ successes will not be able to see his or her own potential. Even when the envious person succeeds, he or she will likely still be so focused on the other person that there is little cause for celebration. The vicious cycle continues, and the envious individual never feels satisfied.
The reality is that there will always be someone smarter, better, or stronger. Enviousness condemns people to lead lives in which they constantly hope to have more. The green-eyed monster can never be satisfied. Intrinsic motivation for success yields better outcomes than resentment of others’ accomplishments.

Cut the Chord and Stop Depending on Envy

I understand that even the most altruistic and optimistic among us may be tempted to envy others from time to time. When I face envy, I revisit my purpose and desire to succeed. I find motivation through grounding myself in my vision.
When I first started Lifehack, it was a struggle. This was during a time when the web was becoming exponentially popular each day, and lots of new companies were popping up everywhere to fill in the space.  During that time I heard about a startup close by that quickly grew to fill a huge office. Their building had four floors, a fancy layout, a big canteen, and a rec room with a pool and a dartboard. Almost immediately I thought, “Wow! That sounds cool. I wish I could have those things too. It must be nice.” I was impressed, but started to have that uncomfortable feeling comparing myself to this suddenly successful startup.
I could have allowed this feeling to fester, but instead I turned inward to remember what was important to me. I reminded myself that I am most interested in creating an environment that boosts productivity. Anything that doesn’t increase productivity is superfluous, and could actually create distractions.
Then, I thought about the goals of my work. I want to create a product that has a positive influence on others. It doesn’t matter whether my office space seems cool. What is truly important is how the work that we do in these offices can change lives.
My team doesn’t need all those bells and whistles to create a fun work environment. My team members are fun and creative all on their own. If I spent all my time worrying about how big their offices were, I’d be upset with myself for not being able to offer them what that other startup has. I’d be too busy worrying about my feelings of guilt to push my mission forward.

When I focus on my aspirations and work to improve myself, it brings me closer to achieving my mission. Knowing what I really want is the best motivation, and it wards off envy better than vain attempts to have what everyone else has. There’s just no reason for me to envy what others have because those things don’t align with my vision for this company.
Freeing myself from the control of envy has liberated me from unrealistic and counter-productive desires. I can see the progress I’ve made as well as the areas in which I’d like to grow, and I allow my work to stand on its own merit instead of constantly comparing it to the work of others.
Not only is freeing oneself of envy critical for staying focused on what is important, it also makes life much more pleasant. Being able to applaud another person’s success without having a negative reaction has led to more opportunities and partnerships than if that success had created an adversarial relationship.
When you start to covet the success of others, realign yourself with your vision, and recognize that we are all on a journey to become the greatest versions of ourselves.

Story: The Cow with the Owner

The Teacher was walking through the market place with his students. They saw a man dragging a cow by a rope. Teacher told the man to wait and asked his disciples to surround them. "I am going to teach you something" and continued...

"Tell me who is bound to whom? Is the cow bound to this man or the man is bound to the cow?

The students said without hesitation "Of course the cow is bound to the man!. The man is the master. He is holding the rope. The cow has to follow him wherever he goes. The man is the master and the cow is the slave."

"Now watch this", said the teacher and took a pair of scissors from his bag and cut the rope. The cow ran away from the master and the man ran after his cow. "Look, what is happening", said the Teacher .

 "Do you see who the Master is? The cow is not at all interested in this man. The cow in fact, is trying to escape from this man." This is the case with our mind.

Like the cow, all the non-sense that we carry inside is not interested in us. We are interested in it, we are keeping it together somehow or the other. We are going crazy trying to keep it all together under our control.

The moment we lose interest in all the garbage filled in our head, and the moment we understand the futility of it, it will start to disappear. Like the cow, it will escape and disappear." We can allow disappearing of all the unwanted things from our mind and feel relaxed.
Story: The Hotel Consultant from Japan
Story: The Lovely Girl with Two Apples
Story: The Lady and the 4 Turtles
Story: The Shark and the Glass Wall
Story: The Wooden Bowl
Story: Old Parents
Story: The Farmer and Onions
Story: The Ant In The Balcony

27 Prompts for Reflecting Integrity

The word integrity is related to the roots of words like "integrate" and "entire," and its Latin root means "wholeness." Integrity thus implies the state of being complete, undivided, intact, and unbroken. Such a state contrasts with one that is scattered, fragmented, and incomplete.

When you profess to one principle, but act in a way contrary to it; when you say you'll do something, but fail to fulfill that promise; when you disregard a business's or your employer's rules, even though you implicitly agreed to them in using its service and taking your job; when you act one way as an anonymous avatar online, and another in real life — in short, when you treat others in a way you wouldn't want to be treated yourself — you create a rupture, a rift, in your character. You divide one part of yourself from another.
In contrast, when you act in line with your conscience, and follow the golden rule, your life becomes a consistent, unified whole. Integrity is really the bond that holds a man's other virtues together; it is the mark of a man who has successfully integrated all good principles.
In behooves us, then, to regularly check in on how we're living day to day, and with that in mind, we've created 30 questions designed to act as prompts for reflection on your integrity. I originally got this idea from What's Your Emotional Age? — a book published in 1936. I took some of the questions provided in it, updating some with more modern language, and then created more having to do with contemporary ethical quandaries.
Some of the questions may seem to deal with very small, even trivial issues, where the decision one makes doesn't really carry much moral weight. But research has shown that people don't suddenly wake up one day and commit a huge ethical violation; instead, studies have demonstrated that big moral mistakes are invariably preceded by smaller ones. The slide towards ethical ambiguity begins with little, seemingly insignificant choices. Once someone makes such a sidestep, he rationalizes his choice, and his view of what is right and wrong subtly shifts. His ability to commit such acts, and still see himself as a good person, increases. To soothe any cognitive dissonance that remains, he will then act dishonestly again, to further cement and justify his choice. A cycle thus begins that can put a man on a path that takes him further and further from his original principles and intentions.
Thus, in both small choices and big, it pays to be vigilant in assessing whether we're acting with integrity. It requires the acknowledgment that we can be dishonest by way of commission (a direct action) and omission (the failure to do something) alike. And it calls for the kind of frank, unflinching self-awareness born of introspection. Reflecting on the questions below, as well as those you come up with yourself, will be a help in this ongoing, and never-ending, process.
  1. Have you ever borrowed a book or another item from a friend without returning it?
  2. If a cashier hands you more change than you're entitled to, without noticing it, do you accept it?
  3. Have you ever borrowed small sums of money and failed to return them?
  4. Have your ever kept somebody else's newspaper or magazine when it was wrongly delivered to your home?
  5. Have you ever returned goods as damaged or defective when you yourself damaged them?
  6. Have you ever sent a text, had an online interaction, or searched the internet for something you would be ashamed to have your spouse or kids read?
  7. Did you ever keep library books without paying for them?
  8. If you find a wallet or purse with money in it, do you attempt to find the owner or give it to an official, or do you keep it and say nothing?
  9. Did you ever buy something at a store, use it once with entire satisfaction, but then return it and claim it to be unsatisfactory?
  10. If you could obtain a million dollars by some shady trick without much danger of being found out, would you take it?
  11. Did you ever take a towel or other object from a hotel?
  12. In school did you ever cheat at examinations?
  13. Have you ever taken some small thing at a store — when nobody was looking — a piece of candy or fruit or even a small piece of merchandise?
  14. Have you ever tried to get a child's price on a meal or attraction for a child who in fact exceeded the age limit for the discount?
  15. Did you ever push ahead of somebody in line or get ahead of your rightful turn?
  16. Have you ever told someone you would be praying for them, but then failed to say a single prayer on their behalf?
  17. Do you accept a paycheck for 40 hours of work, when you really do significantly fewer and spend a lot of your hours goofing around/surfing the internet?
  18. If you get to the parking lot of a store, and realize there's an item in your shopping cart you didn't pay for, do you go back inside to pay for it or take it home with the rest of your items?
  19. Do you show up for meetings and appointments at the time you agreed to be there?
  20. Do you visit a blog/website (which costs the site's owner money in server costs) while using ad-block, without financially supporting the site in another way?
  21. Have you ever inflated or outright fabricated something on your resume?
  22. Have you ever accepted the credit for an idea or project that was really due someone else?
  23. Have you ever taken home your employer's office supplies for personal use?
  24. Have you ever made an anonymous comment online that you would have been ashamed to have attached to your real name?
  25. Have you ever framed and filtered a picture on Instagram in a way that made the experience depicted seem far more interesting/exciting/exotic than it really was?
  26. Have you ever said you'd go do something and failed to show up?
  27. Have you ever disclosed a piece of information to others that a friend told you in absolute confidence?
source: unknown

Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival

Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival
Posted: 21 Nov 2016 11:59 PM PST
Travel Laundry Just Got a lot Easier with Nival
Travelers know this problem all too well. You have one of two options when traveling for longer than a week. You can either stuff as many outfits as you can into your suitcase, or you succumb to paying for laundry services wherever you're staying. Sometimes, no launderers can be found and you're forced to wear a smelly or stained garment yet again.
[Image courtesy of Nival/IndieGoGo]
The Nival portable washer looks to solve that problem. The palm-sized device can turn any bucket, sink or basket into a washer.
Nival looks like a computer mouse and plugs into a USB port attachment.
Read More at Interesting Engineering

Today's Inspiration: Parle Biscuits

Many of us who encounter children in tattered clothes begging at traffic signals and busy intersections in big cities, often look the other way. We are afraid any money we give may be used by an alcoholic father, or to buy drugs, or simply be taken away by the person who sent them to beg in the first place. And although we would love to buy them a meal, we are often to busy to get down from our cars to do so.

Visha Suchde, who stocks numerous packets of Parle G biscuits in her car to give to impoverished children, tweeted this picture on social media and received an overwhelming response.



Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain: Five Strategies for Reversing This Effect

We all know that living under stressful conditions has serious emotional, even physical, consequences. So why do we have so much trouble taking action to reduce our stress levels and improve our lives? Researchers at Yale University have the answer. They found that stress actually reduces the volume of grey matter in the areas of the brain associated with self-control.
Sometimes we create our own stress...

The Yale research shows that stress actually makes it more challenging to deal with future stress. But don't be disheartened. It's not impossible to reduce your stress levels; you just need to make it a higher priority if you want to reverse this effect. The sooner you start managing your stress, the easier it will be to keep unexpected stress from causing damage in the future.
The Yale researchers also found that stress affects physiological functions in the brain, contributing to chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Luckily, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors. So implementing healthy stress-relieving techniques can train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.
Here are five strategies to help you manage and reduce your stress levels:
1. Take A Mini Break.
For many people, just thinking about adding stress-relieving activities to their schedule stresses them out. If this sounds like you, don't worry. You don't have to make huge additions or changes to your daily schedule to begin reducing your stress levels. Instead, try introducing a few mini stress relievers throughout your day. This can be as simple as letting yourself indulge in a coffee break, taking five minutes to stretch, listening to your favorite, or taking a short walk outside during your lunch hour. Spending even a short time on a relaxing activity will help establish stress relief as part of your routine.
2. Put Things In Perspective
Our worries often come from our own skewed perception of events. So before you spend too much time dwelling on what your boss said during the last staff meeting, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren't sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you are thinking in broad sweeping statements like "Everything is going wrong" or "Nothing will work out" then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just one or two things—not everything. The key to keeping your cool is to remember that your feelings of everything, nothing, or always are rarely accurate, and the scope of the stressor is much more limited than it might appear.
3. Practice Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a simple, research-supported form of meditation that is an effective way to gain control of unruly thoughts and behaviors. People who practice mindfulness regularly are more focused, even when they are not meditating. It is an excellent technique to help reduce stress because it allows you to reduce the feeling of being out of control. Essentially, mindfulness helps you stop jumping from one thought to the next, which keeps you from ruminating on negative thoughts. Overall, it's a great way to make it through your busy day in a calm and productive manner. To learn more about practicing mindfulness, read our article "How to Stay Focused, Calm, and Productive."
4. Use Your Support System.
It's tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insights and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can't because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your anxiety and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
5. Take A Break From Technology.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you will cut the cord and go offline. You'll be amazed by how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you are worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, try first doing it at times you are unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with this, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
As simple as these strategies may seem, they are difficult to implement when your mind is clouded with stress. Force yourself to attempt them the next time your head is spinning, and you'll reap the benefits that come with disciplined stress management.
Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart,