Tag Archives: positive

Help your brain to not trip over it’s own survival mechanisms

Does thinking make you tired?

I wish that I could energize and focus myself by thinking and (relatedly) by reading. I wish I could set my mind to something and just GO but I find that focus and a state of wakefulness are kind of like trying to keep a spinning top from falling off the sides of a coffee table. You have to herd that mess.

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(See what I mean?!?! I’m writing late at night and while thinking about the impact of this last statement, I nodded off, fingers barely poised above the home row—except for the heavy ‘d’ finger.

I really did write this segment late at night, really was exhausted, and really did fall asleep in the process. But before I banished it to my Ridiculous bin, I wanted to share some good news with you. The good news is that working WITH the human brain and our physiology, instead of against it, is really worthwhile and will help us focus and reach our goals.

Here are some scientifically backed tips for getting more of your potential loosed.

  1.  Eliminate distractions. Our brain wants to follow distractions. Studies show that a distraction happens every 11 minutes throughout one’s day, while it takes one’s brain 25 minutes to ‘get over it’ and move on. Therefore, cutting ourselves off from certain distractions will pull out stops towards accomplishing our goal(s).
  2. Limit work sessions, especially creative ones. With very few exceptions, brainstorming sessions, creative writing workshops, and other productive increments should be limited to an hour. Beyond that, everyone keeps looking like adults but inside we start to naturally resemble pent up children that need to go run around the playground for a while. Therefore, build in mandatory breaks for yourself. If you need more time for a project/task, or if it just isn’t done yet, break it up into sections–taking advantage of…
  3. Chunks. I’m not kidding here–chunking–is a psychological term for how our brain groups things together in order to efficiently keep track of information. This is why we remember things better if grouped into threes. (E.g. phone numbers (555) 555-, “they always come in threes, don’t they?”) This is also useful for planning how to teach and share information: combine it with the fact that in a list of things people will remember the first and last items best, and you can greatly increase the chances they’ll retain some of it.
  4. Git ‘er dun. Okay, so this one isn’t scientifically steeped here. But it’s right up there with “Just Do It.” Simply finishing something–even if it is only one item out of many you want to complete, or if it is something very small–will give you an emotional and cognitive pat on the back. I saw this in action the most working with special-needs children and those with learning disabilities. When these kids are just floundering and on the brink of total shutdown, we quickly bring the finish line to them so that they are guaranteed to at least cross it. (We would try again later.)

Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, what’s 3 + 4?”
Johnny: “AAAAHHHHH!!!!!”–while flailing and writhing in pain.
Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, touch the circle. Good job! Go play!”

These little tips are sufficient to lighten up on  yourself and get tough with yourself simultaneously. Work with your biological inclinations, get serious about building and guarding an environment you’re most likely to succeed in, and then go for it.

😉

Toxicologist

You may have heard motivational materials, self-help messages, and friends telling us we need to protect our environment and surround ourselves with positive people while eliminating or limiting exposure to the “toxic” ones.

But how often do you hear from the said toxic ones? What do they do when they realize they are the toxic ones in each scenario? In each relationship? What do they really need to dump and what healthy actions should they take? How do they detox? All they really know, is what they SHOULDN’T be. They should stop being like themselves, and be like someone else. Be someone better. Someone that they want to be.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t be pushed and should accept themselves. I’m saying the opposite. They would be better off if they changed their negative ways. It’s better to be cancer-free than to have cancer.

As a confoundedly toxic person myself I realize all my efforts come from the same source, and thus fail to change anything significantly. It’s strange to be the Achilles heel. It’s infuriating.

It’s not that people can’t understand. It’s that they don’t, because they think more clearly. It’s not that they are unable to grasp it. It’s me distorting it. Actually it’s probably more accurate to say they understand me better than I do.

That’s when I realize I have nothing to say at that moment. When every word that wants to come out of my mouth–every word I can think of–is negative or pity party in nature…I think it’s best to say nothing……………………..until I have something good to say.

Mental sick day–crack for your confidence

When I was in a key developmental stage (teens) I was granted many “mental health days.” Sounds helpful, right? Sounds like my folks were cool, compassionate, and understanding. That was the intent but the concept was…misleading. And, as it turns out, debilitating.

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(Courtesy MSNBC)

Hindsight is 20/20 (or close to it maybe, but that’s another post) so I can’t be certain, but here’s what I acquired from those days. I gained:

–Sleep
–Temporary relief; taken off the hook
–Escapism and distractions
–Wallowing in my problems

Here’s what I lost:

–Learning opportunities
–Self-respect
–Healthy anxiety and pressure
–Chances to develop a growth mindset by learning how to overcome a real problem.
–Focus on the issues instead of me as the issue.
–Being forced to discover passions, what really matters to me, and striving to reach goals.

I don’t know if I’m bitter or just plain angry, but I really feel a loss. I feel duped. Not that I’m blaming them, but rather I am seeing the choices I made myself. I feel so much regret that I missed the forest for the trees over and over and over. Instead of reinforcing success and stretching, I was reinforcing negativity and quitting.

Sometimes one of the greatest things you can do for your children (or friends, employees, students) is to keep their feet to the flame. Instead of removing the pressure, encourage them and help just enough so that they can know that they did it.

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Mental health days are to mental resiliency what the Lazy River is to sailing.

(From)