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How to make pandemics optional, not inevitable | Sonia Shah

TED Talks Daily - 1. April 2020 - 19:10
What can past pandemics teach us how to tackle the current one? Tracing the history of contagions from cholera to Ebola and beyond, science journalist Sonia Shah explains why we're more vulnerable to outbreaks now than ever before, what we can do to minimize the spread of coronavirus and how to prevent future pandemics. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by science curator David Biello and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 31, 2020)

How you can help save the monarch butterfly -- and the planet | Mary Ellen Hannibal

TED Talks Daily - 1. April 2020 - 18:01
Monarch butterflies are dying at an alarming rate around the world -- a looming extinction that could also put human life at risk. But we have just the thing to help save these insects, says author Mary Ellen Hannibal: citizen scientists. Learn how these grassroots volunteers are playing a crucial role in measuring and rescuing the monarch's dwindling population -- and how you could join their ranks to help protect nature. (You'll be in good company: Charles Darwin was a citizen scientist!)

Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It)

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 1. April 2020 - 18:00
There is one way to make sure that you wake up every single day feeling calm, joyful and blissed-out, and that is to adopt an attitude of gratitude. When you make it a conscious habit to express appreciation for your life, the Universe listens and responds with more love. Let me be clear... this doesn't mean that you're a bad person if you aren't able to see the good on a bad day. Life is far from perfect. Sometimes things happen that cause us to react negatively. Having a pity party is okay now and then. However, it does nothing good for your mental and emotional well-being. An attitude of gratitude forces you to get outside of your problems and look at the bigger picture. In turn, you are better able to bounce forward when challenges occur in life. What Is an Attitude of Gratitude? An attitude of gratitude means that you operate from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity and fear. Each of us always has a choice of what we will focus on. Grateful people give thanks for everything in their life, even on the days when it feels like nothing is going right. To turn an attitude of gratitude into a sustainable habit, your foundation for feelings of gratitude must be independent of your circumstances.((Emotionally Resilient Living:Why We Sometimes Struggle To Feel Grateful: Emotionally Resilient Living)) Hence, even on the days when it feels like nothing is going right, you have to find the silver lining and give thanks for what is working. As Melody Beattie says, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion to clarity." Why Is Gratitude Important? We all know how important it is to have a positive attitude. We’re taught to look at the world as a half-full glass, rather than a half-empty one. There's good reason to adopt this mindset. Studies show that if you express gratitude, it raises your happiness by 25%.((Forbes: The Power of Gratitude and How It Raises Your Happiness Levels)) When you take a moment to give thanks for what you have, instead of ruminating on what you don't have, it fills you up. If gratitude is so good for your mental and emotional health, then why do so many people struggle to practice it? As humans, we are hardwired to dwell or fixate on the bad. Psychologists have found that negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones, referred to as the negative bias.((Very Well Mind:What is the Negativity Bias?)) As a result, a lot of people tend to move farther away from gratitude, which is an essential precursor to happiness. As Lewis Howes says, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” 4 Simple Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude Let’s look at 4 simple ways that you can develop an attitude of gratitude. 1. Keep a Gratitude Journal If someone were to ask you right now what you’re grateful for, would you be able to answer, without overthinking? We often experience things that we should be grateful for, only to forget about them the next day. This is why writing down what you are grateful for is a good idea. By doing so you are rewriting your brain to focus on the good. Gratitude journaling is the habit of recording and reflecting on things (typically three) that you are grateful for regularly.((Happy Feed: What Is A Gratitude Journal?)) When it comes to practicing gratitude, consistency is key. Get into a routine of writing in your journal daily, preferably in the morning. This is a great way to start your day with a grateful heart. Here's How a Gratitude Journal Can Drastically Change Your Life 2. Express Your Gratitude Once you have developed an attitude of gratitude, you are free to share that love with others. How often do you take the time to tell people in your life how much they mean to you? Research shows that on the days that individuals strive to express their gratitude, they experience more positive emotions and are more likely to report helping someone and to feel connected with others.((Gratefulness: Expressing Gratitude)) Think about the people in your life who have made a positive impact on you. Reach out and tell them how much you appreciate them. There are plenty of ways to express your gratitude. Start writing thank-you notes to anyone who has helped you along your journey, give out meaningful compliments, and celebrate the joys of others as if they are yours, too. Now, more than ever before, we need to uplift and inspire one another. 3. Celebrate the Small Things We are conditioned to focus on and celebrate our big achievements, instead of our small wins. However, if you fail to ignore the small things and keep rushing from one thing to the next, you will quickly become demotivated. Who you become isn't determined by the end goal. Rather, it's determined by the person who you become along your journey to success. When you celebrate the small things, what you’re doing is celebrating your habits.((Fabulous: All The Small Things: Why You Should Celebrate The Little Wins In Life)) Take time to pause, slow down and savor the small things. Instead of obsessing about the future or dwelling on the past, be more aware of the present moment. It's all you've got. Relish in it. 4. Meditate on Gratitude Meditation is a powerful practice in self-awareness. The goal isn't to silence your thoughts. Rather, it's to become an active observer of them. The process of meditation is all about allowing the mind to do its thing and accept it as it is. I've always struggled with meditation. Sitting in silence for long periods of time isn't my cup of tea. However, once I started combining meditation with gratitude, the game changed. I began the process of transforming my inner and outer world. Today, meditation has now become a non-negotiable ritual in my life. Through meditation, we can build up areas of our brain and rewire it to enhance positive traits like focus and decision making and diminish the less positive ones like fear and stress.((HeadSpace: The Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation)) When you master the mind, you master your emotions. All of a sudden, everything in your life flows with more ease. You become less reactive and are better able to handle life's challenges with grace. The beauty of a gratitude meditation is that you can practice it anywhere. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule each day to reflect upon the things and people whom you are grateful for. If you've never tried meditation before, this guide is for you: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners Watch your mood change instantly. It's powerful. Final Thoughts It’s never too late to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude. What are you grateful for? Give thanks for whatever that is every single day. Life is beautiful. Take the time to stop and appreciate it. Gratitude has the power to transform your entire life. More Ways to Practice Gratitude

How 30 Minutes of Daily “Me Time” Improves Your Productivity

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 1. April 2020 - 17:00
Living in the twenty-first century is fantastic. The things we have access to every day allow us to live lives of immense convenience. We can now talk to our friends across the seas in real-time, and we can order our favorite food via a phone app and have it delivered within 30 minutes. This is a far cry from 50 years ago when it would have taken up to a month for a letter to go from London to New York. And if you lived in London in 1950, you probably have never heard of pizza. We have a lot to be grateful for, but with all this convenience comes a few downsides. As it is so much easier to contact other people, we are have now become more dependent on our electronic devices, demanding our attention every minute of the day. Long gone are the days when if you wanted some quiet time, you would take the phone off the hook. Or if you decided to go hiking in the hills on a weekend you could enjoy complete solitude. Now, not having your phone on you would attract weird looks from other people. We have to make an excuse like the battery went dead or your phone was stolen. All You Need is 30 Minutes All these interruptions and demands for our attention destroy our ability to focus on ourselves. Instead, we are pushed to focus on other people. But if you were to set aside a bit of time each day to yourself, you would be able to identify and focus on your priorities and the things you want for yourself. It is when you focus on your priorities that you start to achieve the things you have always wanted to achieve. This can also make you a positive beacon for other people. You start to lead others instead of just following. Robin Sharma has spoken and written about what he calls The 5 AM Club. This is where you wake up at 5 AM, do twenty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of planning, and twenty minutes of learning. Giving yourself this one hour each day to focus on yourself helps set up a fantastic day. This may not be for everyone, but if you can go to bed early enough, you will wake up every morning feeling better. You do not need to spend a whole hour on yourself each day to get the productivity benefits of solitude and "me time". All you need is 30 minutes. There are a lot of things that you can do in 30 minutes, and most of them can give you a boost in productivity. Here are a few: Focus on Your Priorities Many people have goals and aspirations they claim they never have time to work on. But if you give yourself enough time to reflect on your day and plan the next, you will be able to focus on your priorities better and plan how you will spend your time doing them. There is a simple method that can help people focus on their priorities called the 2+8 Prioritisation System. In this system, you set two objectives that you absolutely have to accomplish within the day and set eight other tasks related to these objectives that you will try to complete. It only takes ten minutes to do, but the results can be incredible. It means you begin the day with a plan and an intention, and this helps you resist the urge to give in to other people’s priorities. As the late Jim Rohn wonderfully said: “If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Your productivity increases dramatically when you begin the day with a plan. When you do not have a plan, the least important things may hijack your day. Me Time Gives Your Mind a Chance to Rest With so much going on in the world, it is easy to get caught up in the drama and fears of everyday life. The reality is that very few of these dramas and events have any real impact on you. Your mind is designed to seek out dangers and make these perceived dangers seem more important than they really are. This is how our ancestors survived on the savannahs hundreds of thousands of years ago. Yet the dangers we are pre-programmed to avoid no longer exist. However, news organizations discovered that sensationalized news sells. They fill the void by feeding us scare stories that make us react in predictable ways—panic buying toilet paper, for example. Giving yourself a little time each day to jump off this cycle and to focus on your priorities gives you some much-needed perspective in this volatile world. This will help you get your most important works done without being caught up in other less important things. Scheduling downtime for yourself and your mind is very important. It keeps you focused on the here and now and the things that matter the most for you. Anchors Keep You Grounded Having a few anchors in your life keeps you focused on the important things. Have a morning routine dedicated to self-care, make time for daily exercises, and spend quality time with your family. These are essentials that should be non-negotiable. Your boss, customers, friends, and colleagues should never be allowed to take that time away from you, and the only way that can happen is if you let them. People like Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Niestatt work hard. Yet if you look at their schedules, they dedicate two or three hours of family time each day and at least an hour for exercise. These are their daily anchors, and these anchors are non-negotiable. Your time is your most valuable asset. The time, health, and energy you have today are never guaranteed and could be taken away from you in an instant. It is important to protect your time, and you should learn to say no to the things you have no interest in. Of course, it easier to write that and a lot more difficult to do, but so is learning to play golf or the guitar. With practice and a few weeks of consistent practice, you start to play these at a reasonable level and the same goes for learning to say no. At first, it will be very hard and uncomfortable, and you will feel guilty. But after some time, you will stop being a yes-man. Instead, you will learn how to say no and protect your own time. You will be able to focus on the activities that you think are important to you. Make Your Me Time a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Day Schedule 30 minutes every day for yourself. Put it on your calendar and make sure you never allow anyone to take it away from you. Use this time to plan the day, read books, meditate or just get some fresh air without any distractions. If you find it difficult to include your me time as a non-negotiable part of your day, you can always try to learn how to find time for yourself. Allow your mind to wander to enjoy the things around you and to get new perspectives in life. Doing these keeps you focused on your life and your priorities, and you will then notice an improvement in your productivity because you are more focused on the truly important things. Learn More About the Benefits of Me Time

How to Get Your Life Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 1. April 2020 - 16:00
I felt emotionally flooded, and he could see it in my face. Before he could respond, I sighed, “With everything going on in the world, I just want to watch ‘Love Is Blind’ on Netflix, eat chocolate recklessly, and nap like I’m training for a sleep competition.” I was certifiably overwhelmed and wondering how to get my life together. There is no denying how overwhelmed we all are amidst global pandemics, natural disasters, political challenges, economic downturns, family drama, and work deadlines. It’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands, jump in bed, and pull the covers over their head until 2030. Yet, every storm has an end, and you are strong enough to weather it. When you are overwhelmed, you feel like things are too much to deal with. Put simply, there is an all-consuming sentiment that emotions are just too strong. Overwhelm can be situational or general. Situational overwhelm is linked to a particular set of contingent circumstances, like when there is a big project due at work, but you are not sure if it will go well and your promotion is hanging in the balance. General overwhelm is linked to the everyday pressures of showing up for yourself and others. Regardless of which type of overwhelm you encounter, it can be a truly challenging ordeal. Everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time. It is a natural part of life. Overwhelm doesn’t have to upend your progress or thrust you into a downward spiral. In order to help you navigate these treacherous waters, here are some tips to help you get your life back together when you feel totally overwhelmed.((Harvard Business Review: How to Deal with Constantly Feeling Overwhelmed)) 1. Slow It Down The first thing you need to do when you feel flooded or overwhelmed is to slow everything down. The sensation you are feeling is like an alarm. Your body and spirit are trying to bring your awareness to something important, and now they have your attention. In order to process the data you are being given and assess what is happening, you have to slow everything down. The breath is your best tool for slowing it down. The power of your breath is incredible. Since the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems are connected, any intentional manipulation of the breath is going to directly effect your blood pressure and emotional state. Doing something as simple as taking a moment to take 3 slow deep breaths when you are in the throws of overwhelm can start to slow everything down. When you give yourself permission to slow down your thinking, it is as if you have put the brakes on. You are forcing yourself to be present for what you are feeling and thinking in the moment. The experience of overwhelm can feel very chaotic and out of control, but when you slow it down you are reclaiming control over the experience.((PsychCentral: Overwhelmed? These 6 Strategies May Help)) 2. Step Back, Reflect, and Reframe Once you have slowed down, it's time to step back and reflect on what led up to the overwhelm. Some good questions to ask yourself are:
  • Did I put too much on my plate? If so who can I get to help me? What can I set aside for now?
  • Am I prepared enough? If not, what else can I do to prepare? Is there anything getting in the way of my preparation?
  • Were there signs I ignored that would have kept me from getting to this point?
  • Is there any self-sabatoge at play?
  • What is the single most important thing I can do right now that will move me towards my goal?
Reflecting is great because it helps you to sort through the data you received from being overwhelmed. Taking the time to decipher this data will also help you to better understand what your body is trying to tell you in the future if you experience these sensations again. Having a frame of reference for overwhelm ahead of time is invaluable. Instead of it feeling like a chaotic incoming tornado siren, it will feel more like a monotone, preventative early warning system. Reframing happens when you have collected, processed, and reflected on the data and can now place the experience in a new perspective. For example, when I failed the bar, I thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I was extremely upset. I was overwhelmed by the thought that I had wasted $140,000 in loans and would not be able to pay my bills, get a job, or create the life I always wanted. My body felt sick, weak, and tired. My mind was heavy with all manner of negative thought patterns. It sucked. Yet when I gave myself permission to slow it down, step back, and reflect, I realized that I would have hated being a lawyer. It took a while, but I was able to reframe that experience as a blessing that allowed me to identify my true calling – helping others achieve the success they truly desire. 3. Release, Regroup, and Redirect It's easier said than done, but when it comes to overwhelm the best thing you can do is let it go. Your effort to slow down, step back, reflect, and reframe have made it a lot easier for you to release the cause of your overwhelm. Once I gave myself permission to reframe failing the bar, I was able to release it without any regrets. The release of the source of overwhelm is critical to the “getting your life back together” component of this process. In order to truly get your life back together, you have to regroup and redirect. The overwhelm put a chink in your chain, which halted your progress. Now that the chink has been worked out, you can place your chain back on the cogs and get back to work. Regrouping is important because it allows you to close the feedback loop on all the slowing down, stepping back, reflecting, reframing, and releasing. It is like a metaphorical period on the sentence of the lived experience. It allows you to hit the reset button, and with all you know now, you can move forward in an informed, prepared, and empowered manner. The last act is to redirect. Thankfully, all the work you have to done leading up to this moment will make it much easier for you to identify your new trajectory. Remember that redirecting doesn’t mean you must move in a radically new direction; even if your trajectory only slightly altered its course – that’s ok! What is most important is that you have processed, integrated, and learned from your overwhelm so that you are both better prepared for future overwhelm and more equipped to avoid it all together. Final Thoughts We have all been overwhelmed. Some of us are more easily overwhelmed than others. Yet, your progress doesn’t need to be completely compromised because you experience overwhelm. You are strong enough to overcome it. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to slow it down by using your breath. Give yourself permission to step back and reflect on what led up to the feeling of overwhelm because there is valuable data there. Reclaim your power by reframing the experience and releasing the source of overwhelm. Lastly, close the feedback loop by regrouping and redirecting. You got this. More Tips on Dealing With Overwhelm

5 Steps (And 4 Techniques) for Effective Problem Solving

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 31. March 2020 - 18:00
Problem solving is the process of reviewing every element of an issue so you can get to a solution or fix it. Problem solving is a series of steps that you work through, covering multiple aspects of a problem until you can find a solution. Whether that's in a group collaboratively or independently, the process remains the same, but the approach and the steps can differ. To find a problem solving approach that works for you, your team, or your company, you have to take into consideration the environment you're in and personalities around you. Knowing the characters in the room will help you decide on the best approach to try and ultimately get to the best solution. 5 Problem Solving Steps No matter what the problem is, to solve it, you nearly always have to follow these steps. Missing any of these steps can cause the problem to either resurface or the solution to not be implemented correctly. Once you know these steps, you can then get creative with the approach you take to find the solutions you need. 1. Define the Problem You must define the problem before you start, whether you’re solving it independently or as a group. If you don’t have a single view of what the problem is, you could be fixing something that doesn’t need fixing, or you’ll fix the wrong problem. Spend time elaborating on the problem, write it down, and discuss so you’re clear on why the problem is occurring and who it is impacting. 2. Ideate Once you have clarity on the problem, you then need to start thinking about every possible solution. This is where you go big and broad as you want to come up with as many potential solutions as possible. Don’t just take the first idea; build out as many as you can as the more you create, the more likely you’ll find a solution that has the lowest impact on the team. 3. Decide on a Solution Whichever solution you pick individually or as a team, make sure you think about the impact on others if you implement this solution. Ask questions like:
  • How will they react to this change?
  • Will they need to change anything?
  • Who do we need to inform of this change?
4. Implement the Solution When you implement the solution, be prepared for feedback, and plan for this. When you roll out the solution, request feedback on the success of the change made. 5. Review, Iterate, and Improve Making a change shouldn’t be a one time action. Spend time reviewing the results of the change to make sure it's made the required impact and met the desired outcomes. Make changes where needed so you can further improve the solution implemented. 4 Techniques to Encourage Problem Solving Each individual or team is going to have different needs and may need a different technique to encourage problem solving. Try one of these to stimulate the process. 1-2-4 All Approach + Voting The 1-2-4-All is a problem solving approach that can work no matter how large the group is. Everyone is involved, and you can generate a vast amount of ideas quickly. Ideas and solutions are discussed and organized rapidly, and what is great about this approach is the attendees own their ideas, so when it comes to implementing the solutions, you don't have more work to gain buy-in. As a facilitator, you first need to present the group with a question explaining the problem or situation. For example, "What actions or ideas would you recommend to solve the company's lack of quiet working areas?" 1 With the question clear for all to see, the group then spends 5 minutes to reflect on the question individually. They can jot down their thoughts and ideas on Post-Its. 2 Now ask the participants to find one other person to discuss their ideas and thoughts with. They can be in threes if the numbers aren't even. Ask the group to move around to find a partner so they can mix with new people. Ask the pairs to spend 5 minutes discussing their shared ideas and thoughts. 4 Next, put the group into groups of two or three pairs to make groups of 4-6. Each group shouldn't be larger than six as the chances of everyone being able to speak reduces. Ask the group to discuss one interesting idea they've heard in previous rounds, and each group member shares one each. The group then needs to pick their preferred solution to the problem. This doesn't have to be voted on, just one that resonated most with the group. Then ask for three actions that could be taken to implement this change. All Bring everyone back together as a group and ask open questions like "What is the one thing you discussed that stood out for you?" or "Is there something you now see differently following these discussions?" By the end of the session, you'll have multiple approaches to solve the problem, and the whole group will have contributed to the future solutions and improvements. The Lightning Decision Jam The Lightning Decision Jam is a great way to solve problems collaboratively and agree on one solution or experiment you want to try straight away. It encourages team decision making, but at the same time, the individual can get their ideas and feedback across.((UX Planet: Lightning Decision Jam: A Workshop to Solve Any Problem)) If, as a team, you have a particular area you want to improve upon, like the office environment, for example, this approach is perfect. The approach follows a simple loop. Make a Note - Stick It on The Wall - Vote - Prioritize Using sticky notes, the technique identifies major problems, encourages solutions, and opens the group up for discussion. It allows each team member to play an active role in identifying both problems and ways to solve them. Mind Mapping Mind mapping is a fantastic visual thinking tool that allows you to bring problems to life by building out the connections and visualizing the relationships that make up the problem. You can use a mind map to quickly expand upon the problem and give yourself the full picture of the causes of the problem, as well as solutions. The goal of a mind map is to simplify the problem and link the causes and solutions to the problem. To create a mind map, you must first create the central topic (level 1). In this case, that's the problem. Next, create the linked topics (level 2) that you place around and connect to the main central topic with a simple line. If the central topic is “The client is always changing their mind at the last minute," then you could have linked topics like:
  • How often does this happen?
  • Why are they doing this?
  • What are they asking for?
  • How do they ask for it?
  • What impact does this have?
Adding these linking topics allows you to start building out the main causes of the problem as you can begin to see the full picture of what you need to fix. Once you’re happy that you’ve covered the breadth of the problem and its issues, you can start to ideate on how you’re going to fix it. Now start adding subtopics (level 3) linking to each of the level 2 topics. This is where you can start to go big on solutions and ideas to help fix the problem. For each of the linked topics (level 2), start to think about how you can prevent them, mitigate them, or improve them. As this is just ideas on paper, write down anything that comes to mind, even if you think the client will never agree to it! The more you write down, the more ideas you’ll have until you find one or two that could solve the main problem. Once you run out of ideas, take a step back and highlight your favourite solutions to take forward and implement. The 5 Why’s The five why’s can sound a little controversial, and you shouldn't try this without prepping the team beforehand. Asking why is a great way to go deep into the root of the problem to make the individual or team really think about the cause. When a problem arises, we often have preconceived ideas about why this problem has occurred, which is usually based on our experiences or beliefs. Start with describing the problem, and then the facilitator can ask “Why?” fives time or more until you get to the root of the problem. It’s tough at first to keep being asked why, but it’s also satisfying when you get to the root of the problem. As a facilitator, although the basic approach is to ask why, you need to be careful not to guide the participant down a single route. To help with this, you can use a mind map with the problem at the center. Then ask a why question that will result in multiple secondary topics around the central problem. Having this visual representation of the problem helps you build out more useful why questions around it. Once you get to the root of the problem, don’t forget you must be clear in the actions to put a fix in place to resolve it. The Bottom Line To fix a problem, you must first be in a position where you fully understand it. There are many ways to misinterpret a problem, and the best way to understand them is through conversation with the team or individuals who are experiencing it. Once you’re aligned, you can then begin to work on the solutions that will have the greatest impact. For the more significant or more difficult problems to solve, it’s often advisable to break the solution up into smaller actions or improvements. Trial these improvements in short iterations, and then continue the conversations to review and improve the solution. Implementing all of these steps will help you root out the problems and find useful solutions. More Tips on Problem Solving

How to Relax, Unwind and Reduce Stress

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 31. March 2020 - 17:00
Many of us work hard to achieve a successful career. We spend years in school, and then get a good paying job that we think will bring us a comfortable life. Then one day we realize that all we seem to do is work and have forgotten how to relax. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and trying to attain a comfortable living. The problem that many of us have is that we don’t maintain a good work-life balance. We know how to work, but we don’t know how to unwind and enjoy life when we're not. “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” ~ Mark Black In this article, I’m going to show you how to relax with some simple and enjoyable activities, so you can find more peace and balance in your life. Why Should You Relax? Some of the reasons for relaxing may be obvious. You will feel more calm and at ease, and less stressed out. Some of the less obvious reasons are improvements in your health. Relaxation can have a significant impact on your health. Some of the benefits are lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, fewer digestive problems, and more. Relaxation can also help you think more clearly, which leads to better decision-making and improved memory. Overall, your quality of life will be much better. You’ll feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Through the course of your life, you will preserve your good health as long as possible. That is, you’ll live longer, healthier, and happier. Unwinding Is Easy Relaxing and unwinding is easier than you might think. It is actually more normal for you to be relaxed than stressed out. You see, if we leave our mind alone, it will naturally slow down. It is much like driving your car down the road. Take your foot off the accelerator, and eventually the car will slow down to a crawl. The problem is that we never leave our mind alone. We’re always agitating it through our various activities and background noise. Relaxing and unwinding is a process. It takes a little time of reduced sensory stimulation. How to Relax As you’ll see, most of the suggestions below revolve around doing less, or diverting your attention to more pleasant things. They will help slow down your mind and give you a break from the things that cause you stress. 1. Take a Warm Bath A warm bath has several benefits. It will help you relax physically and mentally. The warm water will relax your muscles and relieve tension and soreness. In addition, the quiet environment will help calm your mind and improve your mood. By promoting both physical and mental relaxation, the warm bath will help you sleep better, which reduces stress and anxiety.((Town & Country Magazine: 8 Reasons Why Baths Are Great For Your Health)) 2. Take up a Hobby Get involved in your favorite hobby, preferably one that is relaxing. The ones that are most relaxing are passive activities, such as watching television, reading a book, or listening to some soothing music. The important thing about choosing a hobby is doing something you love. This will help you divert your attention from the things that cause you stress, and give your attention to things that bring you joy and happiness. Remember, your job is only one aspect of your life. Its purpose is to provide you with the things you need to survive and that bring you fulfillment. Don’t neglect the latter.((Thrive Global: 3 Easy Things You Can Do to Relax and Unwind from Stress)) 3. Create a Bedtime Ritual Before turning in for the night is an ideal time to relax and unwind. It is a time we associate with tending to our personal needs, a time for rest after a busy day. The important aspect of a bedtime ritual is repetition. This will train your mind to automatically go into a relaxed state as you begin your ritual.((No Sleepless Nights: A Bedtime Routine For Adults: 10 Calming Activities)) Here is a sample bedtime ritual to unwind: Turn down the lights; maybe light a candle. Climb in bed and feel the cool sheets on your body. As you sit there, take a few mindful breaths to begin calming your thoughts. Read a few passages from an inspirational book, and take a few moments to savor the wisdom and beauty of the reading. Turn off the lights, get comfortable in your bed, and go to sleep.((PsychCentral: 20 Ways to Relax & Unwind)) 4. Take a Bathroom Break It’s amazing how much a bathroom break can help you relax. I think there a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s easy to give ourselves permission to go to the bathroom. Second, by closing the door behind us, we can shut out the world for just a few minutes. The great thing about a bathroom break is that we can do it anytime, and by nature, most of the things we do in the bathroom are relaxing. 5. Go Outside Like a bathroom break, going outside can get us away from the busy world for a few minutes. The fresh air and change of scenery can help us clear our mind.((The Knot: 10 Tips to Relax and Unwind)) In addition, seeing the rest of the world helps us put things into a larger perspective. It helps us see beyond our own busy lives. So, go outside: smell the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, admire the beauty of the trees and flowers, and just take it all in. 6. Spend Time With Loved Ones For many of us, our family and friends bring us a great deal of joy and fulfillment. Spending time with them helps us relax and unwind, especially after a busy day. When spending time with loved ones, it’s important to make sure you are fully present. Don’t let your job or your troubles dominate your attention when you are with them. It is truly disheartening when you are with a loved one whose mind is somewhere else. This simply creates more stress and conflict in the family. 7. Take a Vacation One of the best ways to relax and unwind is to take a vacation. Make sure it is a real vacation, that is, at least a week or two long. It can take several days for you to get your mind off work. Another aspect of a good vacation is that you go some place you’ve never been to before. The reason for this is that unfamiliar surroundings force your mind to be in the present moment, which can help you relax. On the other hand, if you have a place that you really love and where you have an easy time relaxing, then by all means go there. The important thing is that you’re able to forget about work for a few days. It is also a good idea to go some place where there isn’t cell phone reception, or at least keep your phone off and put away most of the time you are on your vacation. It’s hard for many of us to get away from our mobile devices, which are a source of mental agitation. And last but not least, make sure you relax while you’re on your vacation. Don’t schedule a bunch of activities that will keep you busy your entire vacation. Schedule in some quiet time to relax and unwind. You don’t want to go back home needing a few days to recuperate from your vacation. 8. Try Meditation Meditation is a powerful tool to help you relax. A recent study found that just 15 minutes of meditation is the equivalent of one day of vacation in helping you relax.((PsyPost: Study: 15-minutes of meditation associated with similar effects as a day of vacation)) Now, that is pretty amazing! There are various forms of meditation. The one I recommend is mindfulness meditation. I like mindfulness meditation because the practice is simple, robust, and flexible. You can use it to fit your schedule and suit your lifestyle. The other great thing about mindfulness meditation is that it is non-religious, so you don’t have to adhere to any religion or doctrine. All you basically have to do is sit quietly for a few minutes and follow your breath. You don’t have to do it perfectly, and you don’t have to meditate for long periods to get the benefits. There are lots of resources for learning mindfulness meditation, such as books, CDs, and articles. Find a resource that actually teaches you the techniques. Final Thoughts On our path to a successful career, most of us are never taught how to relax and unwind. We learn all about our field of study and how to be successful in our careers, but rarely are we taught how to be successful in life. A successful life consists of a good work-life balance. It’s important to work hard at something we like and be able to relax and not let our work consume our whole lives. We need to learn how to enjoy our lives along the way. If we don’t, then what is the whole point of working so hard? If you want more balance in your life, then make relaxation a part of your routine. Not only will you feel better, but you will also be more productive and gain more satisfaction from your work and your personal life. More Tips on Relaxation

3 Time-Management Myths You Should Stop Believing

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 31. March 2020 - 16:00
Time management has become something of a cultural obsession, and like any cultural phenomenon, it’s surrounded by some myths — including around the term’s true meaning. What we really mean by time management is our ability to plan and control the time we have in order to efficiently accomplish our goals. It’s about balancing our tasks with the amount of time we have to get them done. The last thing time management means is productivity for the sake of productivity. Unfortunately, the endless number of apps that promise to boost our productivity only reinforce that notion. However, that only scratches the surface of time management myths. If you buy into them, you could develop habits that actually decrease your productivity. To overcome some of these misleading ideas, it’s important to understand why everyone — not just business professionals — needs to manage their time well. Time Management Goes Beyond Business We tend to think about time management in terms of how office workers balance their day-to-day tasks, such as answering emails, attending meetings, and contributing to team projects. However, time management is also important for getting the most out of our home life and hobbies. Effectively managing your time brings you a host of benefits. It can boost your confidence by giving you a sense of accomplishment, reduce your stress levels, and allow you to spend more time on things like self-care. The trouble is, the way we think about time management has not kept pace with technological change. Time management is not taught in school, despite being one of the key skills of adult life. Many time management experts still teach the “ABC” method((Harvard Business Review: Time Management Training Does Not Work)), despite the fact that modern life cannot be broken down into a neat little list of three priorities per day. In fact, even many productivity experts misunderstand the realities of time management. They, as well as many students, professionals, and everyday people, believe three key myths about time management. 3 Common Time Management Myths Spend enough time thinking or reading about time management, and you might start to believe the following myths. 1. If you could just get your schedule right, you’d be more productive. One of the more dangerous time management myths is the idea that scheduling tasks better is all that it takes to manage your time. It can make you feel like you need to redo your whole schedule in order to be more productive. The same goes for to-do lists. Well-meaning advisors can make you believe that writing out your tasks is a cure-all for your time management issues. In reality, these methods are likely to leave you feeling discouraged when you can’t seem to accomplish what you set out to do. Harvard Business Review notes that these kinds of tasks fall under the time management category of “Arrangement.” However, there are two other domains of time management((Harvard Business Review: Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks)) that matter just as much, if not more, than the arrangement of tasks:
  • Awareness: This refers to having a realistic view of the time you have. For example, knowing that you shouldn’t schedule a doctor’s appointment in the middle of a busy workday shows time awareness.
  • Adaptation: This refers to being able to adjust to unexpected interruptions or changes while performing tasks. If your doctor's only available appointment is in the middle of that workday, adaptation means that you’re able to move things around to make it all fit.
These two skills are more difficult to develop than arrangement, which explains why we are so drawn to changing our schedules or making new plans. Arrangement is a good skill to have, but it cannot substitute for awareness or adaptation. 2. Time management tactics are one-size-fits-all. Another consequence of the endless information about time management is that the tips and suggestions are often presented in a one-size-fits-all manner. In clothing and in time management — and frankly, in just about every area of life — there’s no such thing as something that works for everybody. For example, some people prefer to start their day by doing their most difficult task first, a tactic known as “eating the frog”((Calendar: How to Schedule Your Day for Optimal Productivity)). Morning people might find that the system works well, but for those who are most productive in the afternoon or evening, it doesn’t make sense to tackle the toughest task in the morning. If you fall into the latter group, it might be better to start with smaller tasks to get your brain moving in the morning. After a couple hours of work, then you can tackle the big-picture task. This is also true of non-workflow factors, such as waking up earlier, and tools like apps. Instead of assuming that what works for others will work for you, try out different methods until you find what actually does. 3. Time management is about getting as much done as quickly as possible. When you believe that effective time management is about the quantity of the tasks you complete, you’ll inevitably sacrifice quality of work for quantity of work. What’s more, you will also be drawn to inconsequential tasks as opposed to your higher-order concerns. Our media environment encourages multitasking, and that’s what makes the myth so tempting. However, the best way to see multitasking is actually as rapid context switching, which can reduce your productivity by as much as 80%.((RescueTime: Context switching can kill up to 80% of your productive time (here’s what to do about it))) Rather than doing a bunch of multitasking, I tend to advise people to find tools that will help scale personalization. Get those in place and then move on to another important task. For example, Hubspot's free email marketing tools are something I use for some of my startups to scale personalizing email. Find a tool that allows you to scale, then focus on it so you can set things up for success and move on to another important task. Time Management That Works for You Although there’s no one time management tactic that makes sense for everyone, there are some things you can do to find what works for you: Think About Time Management on Your Own Terms The first step to becoming a better time manager is to stop feeling guilty if a certain approach doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t mean you’re a poor time manager or that you’ll never be able to accomplish your goals. Time management should lead to less anxiety and more productivity. If a certain tactic isn’t accomplishing those things for you, then feel free to scrap it. Practice Time Awareness Time has a way of passing without you noticing it, especially when you feel busy all the time. But it doesn’t have to work that way. Leadership speakers((Inc: These 10 Leadership Speakers Can Help Transform Your Company Culture)) are starting to incorporate the concept of multiplying time into their talks: track your time, create moments of waiting and anticipation, and let yourself be comfortable with boredom. You might also reminisce about past experiences and accept feelings of awe and fear. As you might notice, most techniques for time awareness are rooted in mindfulness. More importantly, they will allow you to enjoy your personal and social experiences without feeling rushed through them. Say “No” to Some Tasks One of the best strategies for time management is simply to reduce the number of tasks on your docket. Don’t think of it as letting others down; think of it as filling your own cup first. If your glass is empty, you won’t be able to give sips to others. The key to saying “no” is being honest about why. If you have a time conflict — or even if you’re short on self-care time — most people will respect that. Saying “no” gives you a sense of agency and control over your life because declining a task that isn’t important to you is actually about saying “yes” to yourself. Final Thoughts Time management is tough, so there’s no need to feel like you have to be great at it right away. But until you get those time management myths out of your head, you’ll struggle to do what actually works for you. Stop believing in myths and start believing in yourself. More Tips on Time Management

How we can navigate the coronavirus pandemic with courage and hope | Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

TED Talks Daily - 31. March 2020 - 2:37
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks offers thoughts on how we can navigate the coronavirus pandemic with courage, hope and empathy. With wisdom and clarity, he speaks on leadership, fear, death, hope and how we could use this moment to build a more just world. Watch for a special, impromptu prayer about halfway through the conversation. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and head of curation Helen Walters. Recorded March 30, 2020)

How forgiveness can create a more just legal system | Martha Minow

TED Talks Daily - 30. March 2020 - 22:57
Pardons, commutations and bankruptcy laws are all tools of forgiveness within the US legal system. Are we using them frequently enough, and with fairness? Law professor Martha Minow outlines how these merciful measures can reinforce racial and economic inequality -- and makes the case for creating a system of restorative justice that focuses on accountability and reconciliation rather than punishment.

How to create meaningful connections while apart | Priya Parker

TED Talks Daily - 30. March 2020 - 18:39
Author Priya Parker shares tools for creating meaningful connections with friends, family and coworkers during the coronavirus pandemic -- and shows how we can take advantage of gatherings that are unique to this moment of social distancing. "We don't necessarily need to gather more," she says. "We need to gather better." (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 27, 2020)

How to Access Your Personal Power to Create Success

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 30. March 2020 - 18:00
You don’t notice the power that charges your phone or boils the water in your kettle, but you sure notice it when it’s not there. Power is something that can’t be stopped as it is meant to flow. When it gets blocked, things go wrong. Whether that’s causing electrical faults in your laptop or making your car cough and splutter, when power goes wrong it’s not good. Our personal power as humans is no different. Alas, we can’t just plug into a charging unit as we tuck ourselves up in bed at night and wake up the following morning fully charged and raring to go. This doesn't refer to physical power that keeps our bodies going, but to the power we all have inside us: personal power. This is the kind of power that can’t be seen but can be felt by you and everyone in the world around you.((Kent Academic Repository: Does Influence Beget Autonomy? Clarifying the Relationship between Social and Personal Power)) Personal power plays a big part in our ability to be successful and happy. It also helps us get what we want, feel safe, and remain confident that we are playing a part in this world and not that the world is playing us. What Is Personal Power? You may not be able to spot your own personal power; however, you have likely noticed these traits in others:
  • Organized
  • Grounded
  • Capable
  • Successful
  • Confident
  • Happy
People with personal power don’t need to shout about what they want, and they rarely make people feel inadequate or unappreciated. They have a way of being comfortable in their own skin, believing what they believe, and confidently saying their own opinions while being able to respect and honour others without feeling threatened. This makes them best placed to serve their goals. It also makes them great leaders, great colleagues, and stable friends and loved ones. When I think of people with personal power, I don’t necessarily think of world leaders, pop stars, or literary giants. So often these people, while brilliant, are trapped in anxiety and a lack of self-belief. This often leads to tragedy and shorter lives. I’m talking about that silent power that we feel a person has that impacts us without stopping our own power from flowing freely. Qualities of People With Personal Power There are some qualities that are obvious giveaways that a person exhibits personal power. Some great examples of people with real power are people who:
  • Enable others without needing any thanks or acknowledgement.
  • Are happy to learn, fail and own up to mistakes.
  • Happy to hear other views and don’t feel threatened by their own beliefs or convictions.
  • Can lead others without needing to be at the front.
  • Communicate powerfully, not forcefully.
  • Are great listeners because they don’t need to ensure the other party knows what they think.
  • Get more done than most.
  • Achieve their goals.
  • Do as they promise, even if it is at the visible detriment to them.
These are just some of the things you will recognize in a person with personal power. So, before we look at how to find yours, if the above ideas don’t inspire you let’s look at what not understanding and appreciating your personal power can do to you.((Frontiers in Psychology: The Power of Good: A Leader's Personal Power as a Mediator of the Ethical Leadership-Follower Outcomes Link)) Benefits of Learning Personal Power Learning and accepting personal power has a plethora of benefits that will generally make you a happier, stronger, more accepting person. Here are more of the benefits of personal power and what it might lead to:
  • Self acceptance
  • Promotion
  • New career paths
  • Ability to stand up for what you believe in
  • Flying in the face of populism
  • Increase in clients
  • Learning new skills
How to Access Your Personal Power There are several things you can do to begin the process of developing your personal power. Try these to get you started. 1. Stop Stressing Stressing that something is not working the way it has for others just further reduces your power, making you feel more powerless, worthless and not in control. Learn to accept that not everything is in your power. People that get stressed by bad weather, for example, are often good at reducing their own power – they're so busy concentrating on the grey day that they forget all the things they actually do have control over. If you really struggle to stop stressing, look for people that will help reduce or alleviate your stress, people that help you see another perspective. Power is often about perspective. Often a new client comes to me feeling powerless, and after just 2 hours they leave feeling fearless and capable of anything. Clearly, I didn’t give them super human powers in those 2 hours; it was more about helping them get a new perspective on their life so that they could think in a better way. 2. Learn to (Really) Listen In a world filled with thoughts and opinions and ideas, it can be hard to distinguish between our own thoughts and someone else’s. Learn to notice where thoughts come from.
  • Is that really your thought? Or did someone share that idea and you are now adopting it?
  • Is it working for you, or are you trying to mould yourself to fit it?
3. Practice Confidence When you learn to listen to yourself and what you feel, you can easily be rocked into dropping your new ideas if you lack confidence. Confidence may very well be the underlying power to all of our happiness and success in life. When it comes to personal power, when your confidence drops, your power can, too. Failure, unkind comments, passive aggressive work colleagues, bad days, and lost opportunities should not permanently affect your confidence. Yes, you may have a day where you want to scream into the wind or hide under the bed, but negative moments can’t steal our personal power if we have internal confidence. Also, be careful not to conflate confidence with arrogance. Arrogance involves putting others down when you have the chance, while confidence does not. Ways to Find Confidence
  1. Look for the evidence of your brilliance: Don't downplay your successes and wins. Accept and celebrate them.
  2. Know that one song that instantly reminds you of one of the happiest days of your life. Have it primed and ready to go!
  3. Create a positive, supportive network of people around us.
  4. Look for the positive in any situation.
4. Have Fun If you love dancing, paintball, surfing, or yoga, don’t let it disappear out of your life. Many clients have found positive changes in their professional lives just by reintroducing the things they love. We are quick to drop these things when we are mega busy, but don’t. It can have long term repercussions. 5. Find Bounceability Bounceability is the ability to bounce back from negative experiences. When you're down, have had a bad day, or feel like nothing is right, try to pull yourself back to a place where you can reset and restart. With this, you'll be able to move forward and implement more of your personal power. 6. Accept Failure Personal power can be hard to hold onto when you face failure. However, if you ever need a boost, look up all of the amazing inventions, companies, discoveries and opportunities that have come out of failure. I met a consultant recently who works for some of the biggest corporations in the world. They told me, “Like you and me, these CEO’s have faced who they really are, faced adversity and decided to use that knowledge to do great things.” We all have that power if we learn that failing can be good for us. If someone tells you you've done a great job, you get that warm feeling, but if you don't ask for further feedback, there is little chance for growth. Don’t fear failure, embrace it. It is only truly failure if you learn nothing from it. How Will You Know You've Developed Personal Power? When you own your power, you have no issue looking behind you and discovering that you’ve got a lot of people following your lead. Personal power means you can influence and change things without hurting others. Personal power is more than being an influencer. It's about accepting that you have a positive influence on people and accepting your power to do so without abusing that power. Personal power can be seen in confidence and a level of self acceptance that others are quick to recognize. When you embrace your personal power, it will likely have an impact on:
  • Your work
  • Your personal life
  • Your goals.
  • Your friends
  • Your business colleagues
  • Your happiness
  • Your health
When you find your personal power, own it. It helps us all experience a real world. More Tips on Personal Power

Mastering the Democratic Leadership Style (How-to Guide)

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 30. March 2020 - 17:00
A common myth of leadership is that the company executive is the most important person in an organization. Perhaps you can understand why this myth exists. The CEO is paid the most, has superb benefits, and receives the lion share of praise (at least when things are going well). The CEO is also the most visible person in many organizations. While the leader may be the most visible, the most important people are often behind the scenes. We benefit from their work even if we cannot see their hands working. We enjoy the fruits of their labor, even if we never know their names. Good leaders know that their secret sauce is not only in their unique skillset, but in the people they have around them. Leaders who appreciate the contributions of others and believe that those contributions greatly benefit the company are more likely to embrace a democratic leadership style. What is Democratic Leadership? The democratic leadership style is one that values participation and inclusion of all team members. Rather than allowing a select group of people, or the CEO, to make all decisions, the democratic leader creates systems and processes to solicit and implement input from others. While the leader retains final decision-making authority, the individual prioritizes inviting and receiving team members’ perspectives. In a 2016 article, Tamara Lytle notes why it is so crucial to solicit input from one’s team: “Effective leaders pay close attention to what workers have to say and then act on the feedback, according to the 2016 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report from Aon. That’s one of the reasons annual employee surveys are being increasingly replaced or augmented by quarterly or monthly pulse surveys and performance conversations are occurring more frequently. Not only does a comprehensive approach to listening help an organization pinpoint and quickly address problems, it makes people feel valued.”((Society for Human Resources Management: 7 Tips to Increase Employee Engagement without Spending a Dime)) Leaders committed to the democratic leadership style understand that their organizations rise and fall with the people they have around them. And the best way to encourage employees to give their all is to listen to them and make space for their contributions. Leaders who embrace the democratic leadership style understand that they need not be the smartest person in the organization, the smartest person at all times, or the person with all the answers. A part of their job is having the discernment to hire great people and the wisdom to create the conditions for those people to thrive. Part of creating the conditions for success includes creating checkpoints to gather team members’ perspectives. This is best done via the democratic leadership style. The Benefits of Democratic Leadership In organizations where the democratic leadership style is used, employees are more productive, have higher morale and report higher levels of engagement. This is to be expected because all of us react positively when our opinions are welcome and when we have an opportunity to make our voices heard. If we feel our input is unwanted, we shut down. Employees will eventually stop sharing feedback if they believe their feedback isn’t wanted or won’t be acted upon. In fact, one key to employee ownership in decisions and outcomes is first making space to consult employees.((International Journal of Development Strategies in Humanities, Management and Social Sciences: Democratic Leadership Style and Organizational Performance: An Appraisal)) Common Challenges of Using Democratic Leadership Given the benefits of this style, one may rightly question what keeps leaders and teams from using it. What holds companies back from adopting the democratic leadership style? I believe three factors get in the way of the democratic leadership style. Ego The democratic leadership style is about shared power and individual agency. Everyone, regardless of title or tenure, has an opportunity to contribute to organizational decisions in workplaces where leaders use the democratic leadership style. For leaders who believe that they must be at the center, controlling the outcomes of decisions big and small, the democratic leadership style conflicts with their ego. Their ego conveys an overinflated sense of importance, and that sense of importance causes them to undervalue the contributions of others. If leaders do not identify and check their ego when it shows up, the democratic leadership style can never thrive. If leaders feel that they are diminished when others shine, they will not invest in this crucial leadership style. Crisis Management Mode I won’t say all bets are off during a crisis, but it is not always possible to operate one’s usual playbook during times of crisis. A crisis is anything that takes one off purpose and off message. The leadership styles appropriate during a crisis may be the autocratic style, where teams benefit from receiving clear direction and directives. The autocratic leadership style is effective when leaders do not have the luxury of polling everyone in every department before acting. In a crisis, when time is of the essence and team members expect guidance from their supervisor, the democratic leadership style may not work. Also, when organizations move from one crisis to another, either from a lack of strategic planning or out of sheer necessity, leaders may skip gathering feedback from their colleagues and team members. Failure to Plan If leaders want to use the democratic leadership style, they must plan for it by building in time to include the perspective of others. That means that the timeline for innovating, launching new products, and evaluating product performance must include time for input. Regardless of how pressed for time an entity may be, leaders cannot forsake the step of gathering input on the campaign’s direction, impact, and post-launch. When projects are fast-tracked, employee input is sacrificed. But the democratic style cannot happen without time and planning. How to Implement Democratic Leadership There are two main factors that go into a democratic leadership style. These will help you begin to implement it in your own workplace. Place Value on Participation Considered one of the most effective leadership styles, the democratic leadership style is an approach that shuns top-down directions in favor of information that flows vertically and horizontally. Far from an executive who doles out orders for others to follow, democratic leadership values participation and involvement from all persons on the team. One’s title doesn’t need to be a deterrent, because people at all levels of the organizational hierarchy have an opportunity to share input. Allow Input from Everyone The democratic leadership style could look like consulting team members before making a crucial hire and allowing staff to give input on areas within their scope of work and outside of it. Input isn’t reserved for people with the fanciest titles. It’s wanted from everyone. 4 Essential Qualities of Democratic Leaders While we now understand what inhibits the democratic leadership style, it is worth exploring the qualities of democratic leaders. 1. Confidence Democratic leaders are individuals with the capacity to share power. They are confident in their abilities, and that confidence keeps them from feeling diminished when other people excel. 2. Curiosity Democratic leaders are curious by nature. When things don’t go as expected, their knee-jerk reaction is curiosity not judgment. They are genuinely interested in the why behind failure, rather than the who. Their curiosity inspires them to solicit input from others. 3. Ability to Delegate In addition to being curious, democratic leaders delegate. If there are 10 things on their to-do list, they find a way to outsource seven of those things. They understand that delegating is a way to provide leadership opportunities for others while enabling themselves to focus on other matters. 4. Being Intentional Finally, democratic leaders are intentional. They make an intentional practice of listening to everyone, regardless of title. They are as intentional about acquiring the perspective of others as they are about any other leadership priority. The people around them see and feel this intentionality. Final Thoughts Democratic leadership is a strong tool that can be weilded in order to improve team motivation, employee job satisfaction, and company production. When input is given from everyone on a team, trust and productivity both grow. More Tips on Leadership

What the world can learn from China's response to the coronavirus | Gary Liu

TED Talks Daily - 27. March 2020 - 18:55
From Hong Kong, South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu tracks China's response to the coronavirus pandemic -- from the initial outbreak in Wuhan to the shutdown of Hubei province and the containment measures taken across its major cities. Sharing insights into how the culture in places like Hong Kong and South Korea contributed to fast action against the virus, Liu identifies lessons people across the world can use to stop its spread. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 25, 2020)

The quest for the coronavirus vaccine | Seth Berkley

TED Talks Daily - 27. March 2020 - 18:36
When will the coronavirus vaccine be ready? Epidemiologist Seth Berkley (head of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) takes us inside the effort to create a vaccine for COVID-19. With clarity and urgency, he explains what makes it so challenging to develop, when we can expect it to be rolled out at scale and why we'll need global collaboration to get it done. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 26, 2020)

10 Core Values of a Lasting Relationship

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 27. March 2020 - 17:00
Building a successful relationship takes dedication. There are untold life situations that can spring up, and test the strength and unity of your partnership. Having compatible core values will provide you with the necessary strength and camaraderie to be able to navigate through those stumbling blocks together. Imagine a passenger getting on a train. Now imagine that the train is headed for San Diego, and the passenger wants to go to Sacramento. The passenger is going to be quite disappointed when he realizes that he's arrived in San Diego, and not at his destination of choice. Both the train and the passenger need to be headed in the same direction for successful travel. The same holds true for relationships. Similar core beliefs are fundamental for you and your partner in order to feel safe, protected, connected, and comfortable, to name but a few.((Bustle: What Should You Look For In A Partner? Here's How To Figure Out Your Core Values In Relationships, According To Experts)) So what are relationship values? They are the guiding principles that dictate your behavior; your personal perspective, not only about yourself, but about others and the world. Core values are the underpinnings of how you live your life. Be sure your relationship values have substance when discussing them with your partner. Here're 10 important core values for a successful relationship: 1. Trust This core value stands above all others. It is the foundation of your relationship. Without trust you basically have nothing. According to an article in Strategic Psychology,((Strategic Psychology: Importance of Trust in a Relationship)) "Trust is integral to happy and fulfilling relationships in both our personal and professional lives. We require trust to develop over time to build successful and meaningful partnerships." You and your partner need to trust each other with all you have. You need to feel confident that they will have your back, that you'll have theirs, and that if there are children involved, their welfare comes above all else. Your beloved and you can have a triumphant relationship. How? Trusting that each of you will always do the best for the greater good of the relationship. If you truly trust your partner, and they you, you are on your way to conquering any hurdle that stands in the way. If you are working on building trust in a relationship, see this article for advice. 2. Loyalty This core value is extremely important and goes hand in hand with trust. Being loyal and having a loyal partner assures that both of you are on the same team. According to Relationship Advice: How to Define Loyalty in a Relationship,((The Couples Expert: Relationship Advice: How to Define Loyalty in a Relationship)) "Loyalty is dedication; knowing that you’re devoted solely to each other. That all of the choices and decisions you make have been considered with your partner and the impact on your relationship in mind. Your commitment never wavers and your bond is unbreakable." If both you and your honey are reliable and true to each other above everyone else, you're on the right path. If not, it could be a warpath. I once treated a couple in which one of the partners was missing the loyalty "chip." He was loyal, but not to his wife. His family came first and foremost. This did not bode well with his wife, obviously. His parents had to have the last say in their big decisions, and when they directed negative comments at his wife, he did not step up to defend her. He remained silent and allowed her to take their verbal beating. This is not being loyal to your partner. Loyalty is a key core value for the health and survival of your relationship. If you are loyal to each other, your love will thrive in the best possible way. And isn't that the goal of every successful relationship? Learn more tips about building loyalty in this article: How to Build Loyalty in Your Relationship 3. Religion This core value is paramount, especially if you are going to raise children together. Religion has a strong place in many people's lives. Despite possible difficulties, you might still decide that your partner's different faith isn't significant. In her article, Why Religious Compatibility Matters in Relationships, Kelsey Dallas, states,((Kelsey Dallas: Why religious compatibility matters in relationships)) "Religious differences don't always spell doom for relationships, but they can lead to arguments and tensions. Religiously mixed couples should be proactive about addressing the role faith will play in their family life, according to experts on religion and romance." It may be true that religious differences might not end the relationship, but consider the effects on your children if you happen to have them? How will you raise them? Will you let them make up their own minds when they're old enough? Or are you going to say, "The children must be raised Christian/Muslim. And that's final!?" Even if the couple comes to a similar conclusion, there is also the issue of extended family. If they are intricately involved in their religion—the one you were raised in—they may expect that their grandchildren should be as well, and apply undue pressure to make it happen. If it's important to you, make sure you discuss this core value, and that you're both on the same page. And if you are, you're adding another building block to your already solid partnership. 4. Family Your dream growing up may have been to get married, have children, and extended family nearby. That's always been a core value for you. But what happens if your partner wants no children, and plans to move to Africa to study elephants? You're not going to get too far. Family is a highly critical value, and one that both of you need to share. I knew a couple who initially decided they didn't want to have children. It all went smoothly until the wife decided she wanted to have children, after all. Unfortunately, her husband hadn't had a change of heart. A choice had to be made. Did she leave her husband of 12 years to try and meet another guy, fall in love, then have children? Or did she stay with the man she loved, and give up the idea of having a family? She chose the latter, but with painful consequences. Decide early on what your values are on family. Do you want to live near your extended family? How often do you want to visit? Do you want to have a family of your own? If so, how many? This core value, if not shared, could mean the end of your relationship. In his article, Family Values: What are family values and why are they important, Bryan Zitzman, Ph.D, LMFT, writes,((Bryan Zitzman, Ph.D, LMFT: Family Values: What are family values and why are they important)) "Ultimately, your family values will be specific to you and your family unit. They represent the ways you want to live your family life, and they may have been passed down through multiple generations throughout the decades. Knowing what a family–both the nuclear family and extended family–values can help solidify bonds among family members. Family values help kids and young men and women make good choices because they have a set of beliefs to help guide them." When you both hold this core value near and dear to your hearts, it can be very rewarding, bringing you closer together, and expanding the great thing you already have. 5. Communication Without a doubt, this core value is crucial to the development and well-being of your relationship. In an article by Saminu Abass, 3 Benefits of Effective Communication, he states, "Living together as husband and wife (or any romantic partnership) can only work when there is an effective back and forth of information between the couple." Communicating with each other will bring you closer; allow you to get to know each other as deeply as you can. If you like to keep things to yourself, believing that no one needs to know your business, not even your partner, and your partner loves to talk about every feeling, then the relationship will more than likely fail. Maybe you're the type of person who likes to process situations before talking about them, and your partner wants to talk about them immediately. That's OK. As long as you both want to keep the lines of communication open, it can still work. You and your honey can decide on a time to talk about the issue/s, and resolve them. The problem arises when there is no talking at all. Remember to also communicate the good stuff. Communicating with each other is a way to invest in your relationship. Any time you are sharing a piece of yourself and your life, your relationship will benefit, and you'll be rewarded with increased intimacy. 6. Lifestyle You like to go hiking every weekend and your mate loves to stay home binging New Amsterdam. Lifestyles are important to every relationship.((Keay Nigel: Love Q&A #1: “Lifestyle differences make me want to break up with my boyfriend”)) If you both like to do different things all the time, spending no more than a few minutes a week together, then your relationship is less likely to prosper. I'm not saying that you have to be glued at the hip, but it's a good idea to spend fun, quality time with each other. If you're an outdoorsman, and your partner is a homebody, or you love to go out partying every weekend, and your partner sits in the corner counting the minutes until they can go home, then again, that could create a stumbling block. As a couple, it's important you do things together; that for the most part, you enjoy participating in the same activities. But even if you like chasing tornadoes, and your spouse likes taking walks in the park, your relationship can still function totally fine. Just make sure that most of your other core values are on point. 7. Honesty This core value is critical to every relationship. In an article by Trudy Adams, TBH: 5 Reasons Why Honesty is Important, she writes,((Trudy Adams: TBH: 5 Reasons Why Honesty is Important)) "Without honesty there is no foundation for a lasting or enjoyable relationship in any context, whether that be with a family member, friend or romantic interest. Honesty is a voice for love that builds trust. Without it, even 'I love you' becomes a lie in itself and there's no real security in the relationship." The value of honesty is priceless. When you and your partner are honest with each other; when you both believe that honesty is the only way to carry on your relationship, you are saying that your union is decidedly important to you. If you and your partner are both genuine with each other, you are elevating your alliance to the highest place. There is no guessing game for either of you; you both know where you stand, and that is the best way to grow together. Honesty can sometimes feel awkward, especially if what you have to say is difficult, but in the long run, it's better than concealment, which can cause irreparable damage. If both you and your partner share this beautiful core value, your chances are good that your relationship will thrive in the best way possible. 8. Self-discipline You may wonder what self-discipline is doing on this list. Let me explain. Let's suppose you get up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to work out. You are disciplined about your eating habits, maintain a clean home, and delay gratification for future benefits. You regard self-discipline as a strong virtue. But what if your partner hits the snooze button every morning? What if he doesn't get out of bed until 9:00 a.m. and then runs out the door with a bag of chips for breakfast? How would you feel? In a case like this, resentment could easily fester. It's important to share similar core values in this arena to avoid constant arguments If you, as the self-disciplined partner, don't care about your partner's habits, then it could work, but there's a strong possibility that if you're highly self-disciplined, you will expect the same from you mate. 9. Self-improvement When I was working on my Master's Degree, we were told that many marriages resulted in divorce during this phase of the program. It was then explained to us that if one partner is on the path of learning and self-improvement, and the other partner remains stagnant, the gap between the couple could widen. If you are on a continual quest to become the best version of yourself, and your mate doesn't care to go beyond the knowledge he/she acquired in high school, consider this a cause for alarm. Whenever you learn something new, it's natural to want to share it. And who better than with your partner? If they're not interested, it could lead to disappointment and frustration on your part. Learn and grow together, and you'll be on your way to a successful relationship. For more on the role of self-improvement in relationships, I suggest a blog post by Mel Robbins, You're Growing but the People in Your Life Are Not. Here's What You Can Do. She provides some valuable ideas on how to manage self-improvement and growth with your partner. 10. Finances In order for your relationship to flourish, you must have similar thoughts and goals about how you manage your finances. If one of your core values is saving money for a rainy day, and your partner's is to throw it away like it grows on trees, then this is going to create havoc in the most fundamental parts of your partnership. According to Dave Ramsey, financial infidelity endangers the future of your relationship.((Dave Ramsey: The Truth About Financial Infidelity)) If you or your partner are making big financial decisions without consulting the other, then this shows a total disregard for the economy of the relationship, and the relationship itself. Your core values on finances need to be the same, or frustration is going to plague the saver and the spender. In her article, Keeping Money Secrets From Each other: Financial Infidelity on the Rise, Yoki Noguchi states,((Yoki Noguchi: Keeping Money Secrets From Each other: Financial Infidelity on the Rise)) "Marital infidelity is well-known, but financial infidelity might actually be more common. The few academic studies have estimated that as many as 41% of American adults admit to hiding accounts, debts or spending habits from their spouse or partner." If you don't share the same core values on finances, it will more than likely lead to lying on the part of the partner responsible for the financial infidelity. The lying will lead to broken trust and feelings of betrayal. This is significantly difficult to repair. Make sure that you and your honey have the same core values regarding money. This will fabricate a more solid relationship, and a future where both of you, working together, will determine your financial future, and all that that includes. Final Thoughts Core values are deeply held beliefs. Those beliefs dictate how you behave in your life, and with others. Having a significant other who holds those same beliefs is a wonderful complement to the relationship, and the stuff that strong unions are built upon. Having said that, your core values may change over the course of your life. You may have one set of values when you're twenty, and then experience situations that alter those values when you're in your thirties, forties, and beyond. Still, whatever changes occur need to be in sync with your partner's for your relationship's success. If you appreciated learning about core values, be sure to post this article and share some of your relationship's core values.

Indigenous wisdom should be at the heart of climate activism | Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

TED Talks Daily - 27. March 2020 - 16:55
To tackle a problem as large as climate change, we need both science and Indigenous wisdom, says environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. In this engaging talk, she shares how her nomadic community in Chad is working closely with scientists to restore endangered ecosystems -- and offers lessons on how to create more resilient communities.

20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 27. March 2020 - 16:00
I'm sure you've heard of a million different smoothie recipes for weight loss, right? Let's be honest...they are quick, easy, flavorful, filling, and so delicious! On top of that, you can easily adjust smoothies to meet your macros. Plus, they can make incredible low-calorie subs for some of those sweets you might be craving.  Maybe you're wondering, are smoothies good for weight loss? Yes and no. Smoothies can be great meal replacements and a way to sneak in extra protein! However, they also can lead to lots of unwanted calories if used incorrectly. You've probably heard it said before: Don't drink your calories. In a lot of cases, that can be true. It's not necessarily that smoothies or liquid calories are bad, but it can be hard to justify a smoothie as being a meal, even if it has the calories of one. For that simple reason, some people trying to lose weight might use smoothies more as a snack than a meal, and with that could come unwanted weight gain. That being said, smoothies are generally healthy and can be amazing at curbing cravings! On top of that, the macro profile (portion of carbs, fats, and proteins) can be spot on as well. Sometimes it actually makes more sense to reach for a copy-cat smoothie version of your favorite dessert (made out of whole ingredients that will keep you satisfied) instead of reaching for a dessert that will spike your blood sugar. Because of these differences, we need to make a distinction between smoothies that are used as a meal vs ones that can be snuck in as a snack: Meal Smoothies These should have a mix of fiber, protein, carbs, and fat. These types of smoothies should generally be used as a meal substitute. An 8 ounce smoothie of just fruit isn't enough to satisfy most people for long. However, this blend of macro-nutrients will ensure your body feels satiated until your next meal. Why is that? Fiber, protein, and fat tend to be slower to digest, so your body gets a steady trickle of nutrients that will last a longer time. In contrast, pure fruit is easily digested and will quickly boost your blood sugar only to drop it soon after. Snack Smoothies These are lower calorie and nutrient dense. In contrast to meal smoothies, these light and fresh smoothies can give you a quick boost of energy. These smoothies are an amazing way to sneak in extra greens and super-foods. However, they aren't likely to keep you feeling full for long. Use snack smoothies between meals or when you need a pick-me-up. But be mindful! Too much snacking of any kind throughout the day could still lead to too many calories. Now that you know the difference between snack and meal smoothies, dig in to my top 20 smoothie recipes! With options ranging from decadent desserts to light and fresh pick me ups, you'll find everything you need below! It's time to satisfy your cravings the healthy way! 1. Snickerdoodle Smoothie Is there anything better than that sweet and unique tang of a snickerdoodle cookie? I grew up with this cookie as an infamous family dessert (we even named our rabbits after this favorite treat). However, if you're looking to bring back that taste without the calories, all hope is not lost! This snickerdoodle smoothie registers at under 400 calories and rings in 14 grams of protein. If your looking to lower calories and sugar, there are also modifications to use stevia or monk fruit as a sweetener instead! Check out the recipe here! 2. The Best Green Smoothie Okay, let's be real. We all want to add a little more green into our lives. However, sometimes it can be hard to gag down. Change all of that with this 5-star smoothie recipe. Not only is this smoothie incredibly delicious, but it's also packed with nutrients. Chug those greens the easy way! Check out the recipe here! 3. Detox Smoothie This smoothie is fresh, light, and green, giving your body the nutrient boost it needs. In addition to that, it packs a bonus boost of cilantro, which is said to aid in reducing heavy metal toxicity. Check out the recipe here! 4. Detox Smoothie #2 This incredible smoothie recipe not only gives you the ingredients, but also a step-by-step guide to designing your own fantastic smoothie recipes! Once you get a taste of this, you will never want to go back! Check out the recipe here! 5. Easy Weight Loss Smoothie If you aren't a fan of bananas, then this one is for you! Instead, this smoothie uses zucchini as a thickening agent and buckwheat to keep you full and satisfied all day long! And for you celiacs out there...yes, buckwheat is gluten free! Check out the recipe here! 6. Creamy Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie Part of the struggle with trying to lose weight and create healthier habits is the struggle of having to give up some of your favorite foods, like chocolate. Say no more. This chocolate mint smoothie is the perfect blend of protein and chocolate to satisfy your cravings for good! Why avoid what you love when you can indulge the healthy way? Check out the recipe here! 7. Creamy Cacao Avocado Smoothie Speaking of chocolate, give this smoothie a go! The blend of avocado and chocolate will keep you feeling satisfied and healthy all day long. Not to mention, the creaminess of this one will blow your mind. Check out the recipe here! 8. Copy-Cat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and felt the agonizing sting of realizing you can't order anything but a black coffee? I feel your pain. Personally, I am a huge frappuccino girl, and life without my blends sounds agonizing. Is it a smoothie? Technically no. But this recipe could easily double as one! It's lower in calories, healthier, and still delicious. Feel free to add some collagen for an added protein boost! Check out the recipe here! 9. Frozen Fruit Smoothie Sometimes, you don't need to venture far past the basics to find your ideal smoothie. With a base of apple juice and yogurt, this smoothie provides the best blend of sweetness and creaminess! Check out the recipe here! 10. Strawberry Keto Smoothie Yes! You can still have smoothies while on a keto diet. As it just so happens, berries are very low-carb! In addition to that, this smoothie uses avocado to add an extra boost of creaminess and healthy fats. This one is sure to keep you burning fat all day long! Check out the recipe here! 11. Real Fruit Smoothie Stick to the basics to get a maximum boost of nutrients! This smoothie gets straight to the point by using the best fruit medleys to blend you the ultimate weight loss drink. Check out the recipe here! 12. Citrus Energy-Boosting Smoothie Feeling tired and run down? Instead of running to the coffee pot when you first wake up, try running to the blender instead! This amazing smoothie mix is an incredible way to give your body a nutrient boost while giving you the energy you need to get through the day. Check out the recipe here! 13. Skinny Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie This vegan recipe will have you drooling for more! It's vegan, low calorie, and delicious! What makes it different than any regular strawberry smoothie? The secret is in a butter extract that gives it a rich pastry flavor while keeping it low in calories. If you feel like leaving your chair to blend this one up right away, you are in good company. Check out the recipe here! 14. Banana Split Smoothie This rich and decadent smoothie will have you feeling like you're indulging at an old fashioned ice cream parlor. This recipe is absolutely delicious and will have our cravings flying out the window. It stays deliciously smooth and creamy with the banana base and dates for an extra touch of creaminess. Fair warning: this smoothie does have a slightly higher natural sugar content. However, it is much lower than going crazy and diving into a tub of Ben and Jerry's. Of course, if you feel like having a lighter version of this same drink, you can always sub a little banana and dates for zucchini and stevia. Check out the recipe here! 15. Skinny Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie And here we have it! Yet another healthy smoothie version of your favorite dessert! If you're getting sick of eating oatmeal in the mornings, try using it in a shake instead! Because of the high fiber in oatmeal, it helps keep you feeling full and satiated longer while giving the smoothie a fun new texture. Check out the recipe here! 16. Pineapple Kale Smoothie If you're looking to sneak some extra greens into your day (and let's be honest, aren't we all!) this pineapple kale smoothie is for you! Not only are the ingredients incredibly nutrient dense, but they're also light and fresh. Pineapple is known for helping digestion because of an enzyme it contains called bromelain. Just for that reason, this smoothie can keep you feeling light and energized after you sip! Check out the recipe here! 17. Healthy Shamrock Shake You don't have to be Irish to enjoy a good shamrock shake! Also, it turns out you don't have to be unhealthy for it either! This shamrock shake is made of entirely healthy ingredients and even sports Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost. Have a bowl of yogurt or a shamrock shake? It's your choice, but I know which one I would go for! And the ingredients turn out to be almost exactly identical at the end of the day. Check out the recipe here! 18. Cinnamon Roll Smoothie Once again sporting Greek yogurt for a good protein boost, this smoothie could make an amazing low-calorie meal replacement. It contains yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and fruit, offering a great blend of fiber, protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Not only does it taste fantastic, but it could very well curb cravings while remaining relatively low-calorie and satiating. Check out the recipe here! 19. Golden Glow Turmeric Smoothie The sound of having turmeric in your smoothie might make some of you cringe, but it is definitely worth trying. For one, pineapple has such a strong flavor in and of itself that the turmeric's taste is almost completely masked. Secondly, turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that everyone should try adding it to their diet. You might be surprised to find out that it is actually pretty tasty as well! Check out the recipe here! 20. Copy-Cat Disneyland Dole Whip Smoothie   If you really want to take a taste of magic home, try out this fantastic recipe! Made with only two ingredients, you will get that creamy indulgent taste you love without the sugar or extra calories. Curb those cravings the right way! Check out the recipe here! Bonus Smoothie Additions For an extra weight loss boost, try these fun additions! Greens Sneak in greens wherever you can! Smoothies tend to be very flavorful, so you usually won't even notice a few added greens in there. However, the nutrients will keep you feeling extra energetic throughout the day! Protein Add in a small scoop of protein powder to almost any smoothie. Especially if you are looking for a meal replacement, the simple addition of protein powder will ensure you're staying full throughout the day! Frozen Zucchini Did you hear me right? Yes you did! Zucchini is actually a great thickening agent in smoothies. Translation: Less sugar and more fiber! Since zucchini is so low in calories and almost flavorless, you can use it in smoothies for a rich and creamy texture while keeping things low-calorie. Plus, the extra fiber will have you feeling like you had a full meal for way less calories. Sweetener Subs Most smoothies use extra honey, syrups, or fruit for their sweeteners. However, that can add up very quickly to unwanted calories. Instead, try subbing low calorie sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia once in a while to cut down on the high sugar count. That being said, avoid artificial sweeteners like Splenda. They won't do you any good. Sub Desserts Try making healthy smoothie renditions of your favorite desserts. We're only human, and it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet sometimes. Instead of giving something up, find a sub for your favorite meals! In this case, getting that amazing flavor you are craving in the form of a low-calorie smoothie could be just the thing for you! More Healthy Recipes

Overcome Fear and Anxiety with These 4 Mindset Shifts

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 27. March 2020 - 15:00
It's your first day on the job. You're at a meeting of 40+ colleagues. "Listen up every one, here's our newest team member!" All eyes turn to you. "Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us all an interesting fact about you?" Instant panic. Adrenaline levels? 11/10. All words gone, replaced by sub-Saharan dry mouth. Blushing, trembling or total amnesia...Sound familiar? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority. This is just one of the many common types of anxiety we can experience. Whether it's social gatherings you've talked yourself out of, holding back at work in fear of judgement, or catastrophizing situations before they happen, anxiety can manifest itself in different ways for all of us. If this is a daily battle for you — an exhausting and defeating inner battle that's preventing you from truly living authentically and being in the moment — then you should be applauded. You’re already ahead of the pack because you’ve made that conscious decision to find out what anxiety is and how to overcome it. Rest assured, you’re going to find out. What You Need to Know About Anxiety Did you know that nearly 300 million people((Our World in Data: Number with a mental or neurodevelopmental disorder by type, World, 2017)) suffer from anxiety in some form? These feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease that arise in reaction to (or in anticipation of) something painful or uncertain are, sadly, “normal” feelings to experience. It may be normal because many people experience it, but it's not something you were born with (although there are some genetic tendencies that can mean you’re more prone to it). It’s actually something your brain has learned how to do. Have you ever seen an anxious or self-conscious baby? Coming out of the womb worrying if they sound weird or look funny? So you see, anxiety is something that we’ve learned to do. It's "normal" because a lot of us have learned it. How? Glad you asked... The Subconscious Mind: A Friend or Foe? To understand how anxiety can be "learned," it’s crucial to understand that anxiety isn’t something that happens on a conscious level. It begins in the subconscious mind. It’s the reason you can’t just switch the anxiety off (as much as you want to!) because it’s not a conscious process. The distinction between the conscious and subconscious was effectively illustrated by Sigmund Freud's((Project Gutenberg: A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis)) iceberg analogy. He likened the tip of the iceberg – the bit that sits above the water – to the conscious mind. It’s the bit we can “see,” and it’s the smaller of the two. It’s the least informed and it helps you talk, think, move, and act in daily interactions. For example, if you’re hungry or if you trip and hurt yourself, your conscious mind sends the signal to get food or find painkillers. Then there’s the rest of the iceberg, the part that’s submerged underwater – seemingly invisible – and crucial to the structure as a whole. This, Freud said, represents the subconscious mind. It holds your memories, feelings, and habits and controls your emotions. It can learn things like how to create anxious feelings because it’s malleable, meaning it can change and be influenced by our life experiences. Scientists call this phenomenon neuroplasticity((Frontiers in Psychology: Consciousness, brain, neuroplasticity)). “The idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity is, I believe, the most important alteration in our view of the brain since we first sketched out its basic anatomy and the workings of its basic component, the neuron.”((Norman Doige, M.D.: The Brain that Changes Itself)) From the time you were born to the age you are now, your mind has been changing and forming new neurological patterns. Whether they are good or bad depends on what you’ve been through. Panic attacks, depression, and suicide are all things that happen when your subconscious has taken on some pretty destructive thought patterns, telling you that you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve to be here, or you can never be “fixed.” This is because, as human beings, our subconscious minds((Marisa Peer: Marisa Peer's Rules of the Mind)) are programmed to lead us away from pain and toward pleasure. It’s human instinct, and it likes what’s familiar to it. Moments of impact in our life cause us to make new patterns or break old ones, but ultimately the longer you do or think something, the more it just feels natural and begins to happen automatically. How Did I Learn Anxiety? When it comes to anxiety, your subconscious mind learned to cause feelings of worry, unease, and stress when a specific trigger was pulled. It's different for all of us, but if your trigger is public speaking, for example, your automatic reaction after being told about it could be a knotted stomach, dread, and images of you failing or looking nervous. And those images are played over and over again. Take a moment and think back to a time in your life — your first ever memory of feeling anxious, scared, or judged in some way. You might struggle to think of this consciously if it’s a particularly painful memory. That’s something the conscious mind has the power to do (not the subconscious). It can prevent the immediate recall of painful memories so that you don’t have to feel that pain again. However, sometimes we need to address them, but it's more effective to do so in a trance-like state during mediation or hypnosis, so you can really remove those conscious limitations...because your subconscious remembers everything. It remembers being bullied at school. It remembers when you struggled to make friends. It remembers that traumatic car accident. Whatever it might be, your subconscious filed that memory along with the pain associated with it, and it’ll do anything it can to stop you from feeling that pain again. How does it do that? It makes you feel anxious, of course! The more anxious you feel, the more likely you’ll refrain from facing that pain again. Anxiety is actually trying to help you, but if you’re still reading, then chances are anxiety is not doing anything good for you now. It’s preventing you from living a happy and free life where you can make friends easily, or get up and speak confidently, or feel relaxed in everyday situations, etc. Knowing all you know now, you’re well on the road to overcoming fear and anxiety. The next step is putting it all in action. Mindset Shifts to Overcome Anxiety First, to learn how to overcome fear and anxiety, you need to reflect on some situations that might have led your subconscious mind to form this understanding – everyone’s different, and your brain has created this reaction for you solely because of something it heard, saw, or felt in the past. If you really struggle with this part, therapists (particularly hypnotherapists who specialize in communicating with the subconscious mind), can lend a hand here. Then, in order to change the pattern, you need to change it at a subconscious level – by shifting your mindset – and there are few ways you can do this. 1. Hypnosis One of the most effective ways to reprogram your subconscious mind is through hypnosis. It’s a trance-like state, similar to meditation, where you can dialogue with your subconscious mind and give it positive suggestions. During hypnosis, your brain waves shift from beta to alpha, meaning your subconscious mind is open and willing to listen to new thoughts and ideas. Hypnosis is not scary, and it's not mind-control. It's a direct way to talk to the subconscious, and it's something you can do with a certified hypnotherapist or RTT therapist, or you can simply find the hundreds of free downloadable resources on the internet that can help you shift your mindset. 2. Creative Visualization Start meditating. Ultimately, the more you practice calming yourself down, the better you’ll be at it. Visualize yourself in the state in which you’d like to be. See yourself living calmly, happily and confidently – see it in great detail. Spend some time every day doing this with a good soundtrack and you’ll see that your thoughts and your mindset will begin to change. 3. Change Your Language Stop identifying with anxiety and fear. If you’ve ever said, “my anxiety,” “I’m an anxious person,” or “it’s just the way I am,” then you’re owning it. Anxiety and fear are NOT who you are – it’s just something you do, and that’s ok. Soon it’ll be something you used to do (i.e. say “I feel anxious sometimes” instead of “I’m an anxious person” or “I have anxiety”). 4. Self-Talk Did you know that your mind will believe to be true anything you continually say to it? If you tell yourself every day that you’re bad at public speaking or you always get anxious at work, then guess what? That’s exactly what’s going to happen. Whether you write it down or say it aloud every day, list out the attributes of the person you want to be and tell yourself every day, for as long as it takes, that you’re that person. You’ll see just how effective this is. When you identify the cause of anxiety and fear, it’s important to say thank you. Speak to the anxiety: “I understand why you came into my life, but I know now that I attached the wrong meaning to [event], and I no longer need to believe that I'm [not good enough/different/a bad communicator]. Today I’m deciding that I don’t need it anymore. Anxiety no longer serves me.” Final Thoughts These are genuine, proven methods that not only reduce anxiety but will help you overcome it for good. Your brain is malleable, and it can change. You just need to tell it how you want it and be gentle with yourself. You’re only human! More Tips on Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

The Lifehack Show: Yoga to Combat Stress and Improve Your Life with Nicole Lovald

LIFEHACK PRODUCTIVITY - 26. March 2020 - 18:44

In this episode of The Lifehack Show our guest is Nicole Lovald, former corporate addict turned yogi, life coach, and self-care advocate. She is the author of the book Om Sweet Om: A Corporate Junkie's Search for Enlightenment .

Nicole has a background in counseling veterans, at-risk children, and victims of trauma as she has always been passionate about helping people overcome adversity and change their limiting beliefs into a more progress based mindset.

Here she shares her insights on how yoga can act as the ultimate form of stress relief and help you change your life.

Listen to the episode here: View on You Tube

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