The health of your mind and body has a direct correlation with your productivity and the quality of your work. Some of the most highly productive people in the world are also some of the healthiest. Even The CDC will inform you that “in general, healthy employees are more productive.” However, between balancing work, family, and social life it is often difficult to find the time to focus on our health. But do not fear! There are a few simple habits that you can incorporate into your day to boost your productivity, mood, and general well-being.
Get Up Earlier
Getting a jumpstart on the day is one of the easiest ways to increase your productivity. Numerous studies have shown that most highly successful people are early risers, with most billionaires waking up around 4:00 am, according to Psychology Today. Waking up just an hour before your usual alarm can give you extra time to read, journal, meditate, cook a healthy breakfast, or spend a few extra minutes setting up your day for success.
Get Quality Sleep
While waking up early can set up your day for success, the real journey to a successful day begins the night before. Many people believe that because they are sleeping the recommended 8 hours of sleep they should be waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. However, not all sleep is created equally. In order to get a “good night's sleep” experts say that you need to fall asleep within 30 minutes and stay asleep for more of the night. This quality of sleep can be affected by stress, lighting, room temperature, nighttime routine, and daily intake of stimulants. To increase your productivity and overall quality of life you must be getting quality rest during these hours. Tip: Waking up earlier is also proven to help with the quality of your sleep.
Stick to a Routine
From sleeping routine to daily routine, keeping each day's routine similar to the day before is important for increasing productivity. Going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time each day is one of the easiest ways to get your routine on a positive track. Choosing to eat each meal at roughly the same time each day is another simple habit that can increase your overall health and aid your body to properly digest your food and extract the nutrients needed to keep you full and focused all day. A simple way to ensure that you are sticking to a routine is to time block your day. This means taking a few moments to write out exactly what tasks need to be completed and when you are going to complete them. This habit will not only add to your productivity but will also help to ensure you stay organized and meet your deadlines.
Move Your Body
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Sitting at a desk all day is one of the most detrimental things that you can do to your health. Use that extra hour in the mornings, or at night, to get up and go for a walk, do some yoga, or even a few jumping jacks. Bonus points if you can use this time to exercise outside as nothing is better for your mind and body than some fresh air and sunlight. Another easy way to get your body moving is to time block in a few minutes each hour to get up and do a few quick exercises. With consistency, you will begin to see incredible results from committing to just a few minutes a day. Getting up and moving can also help to improve your mood and energy levels helping you to become your most productive self throughout the day. Regular exercise can also help to promote quality sleep, which by now you know is important.
Focus on Incorporating Whole Foods Into Your Diet
Instead of reaching for that candy bar, soda, or coffee for your mid-day pick me up, focus on incorporating healthy, whole snacks. Tip: if it has more than a few ingredients on the label, it probably doesn't fall into this category. “Adequate nutrition can raise productivity levels by 20 percent on average” according to WHO. This is because healthy foods contain vital vitamins and nutrients that help to stimulate our cognitive functions. While we're on the topic of nutrition, don't forget the importance of staying hydrated. Experts recommend that the average adult drink 75-150 ounces of water daily.
Take Time for Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation is one of the oldest practices for improving your health, and there's a reason that this practice has stood the test of time! Science says that meditation can help to decrease stress, enhance creativity, and improve memory and focus. Along with increasing blood flow to your brain which can help increase productivity. The amount of time that you should set aside each day to practice meditation and mindfulness varies from person to person, but a good number to aim for is 20 minutes a day.
About the writer, Brenda Geer
By Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC
Gain control over your life and go after your goals by controlling your breath. According to a Frontiers in Psychology study, belly breathing triggers the body’s relaxation responses, which can aid in improving mental and physical health. In just twenty sessions over an eight week period, participants in the study were able to reduce their stress levels and improve their attention span significantly. This breathing technique is also called “diaphragmatic breathing” or “deep breathing", and is considered to be an integral part of yoga practices.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Begin to breathe from your chest to fill your lungs with air. Relax and push the air out from your belly. You can also place your hands on your chest and abdomen to feel motion as you inhale and exhale with each breath.
There are multiple forms of diaphragmatic breathing. The use of one in another study seeking to treat anxiety found that this method is less invasive than drugs because it doesn’t involve using neurotransmitters in the brain. Controlled breathing has been shown to offset the harmful effect of stress and negative thought patterns.
Try it now: While sitting or standing, image a balloon is attached to your head and extend your spine. In as little as five breaths or as long as five minutes, relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Breath out a specific color and breath in a different color. Chose colors that represent things that you would like to get more of (breath in) and get rid of (breath out). Try this for one to five minutes daily.
Nina Sonovia Brown, MS, LPC is an Emotional Intelligence Expert for corporations, schools, and individuals. She is also a Mindfulness Teacher, College Professional, and CEO of Solonco, an emotional intelligence, and mindfulness training company.
Believe it or not, your geographical location has serious impacts on your happiness and health. Numerous studies have proven how the city you live in can affect your well being and health in many different ways. The way a city (or state) has been designed influences the willingness of individuals to partake and revel in the many glories it has to offer. With more places to go, more scenery to see, and experiences to have, your well-being will be positively affected as compared to if you are living in a dull place with little to do.
Amongst many beautiful places around the globe is Colorado. From cosmopolitan cities to adventure filled activities to historical monuments and richness in arts and culture, Colorado is the place to be all year long. The best part is that there's so much to do that no individual will ever feel left out of the endless benefits to their well-being.
For people that have recently moved to Colorado, it is important to know that the locals of the state are extremely friendly and welcoming. As compared to the welcomes in other states, Colorado makes sure everyone feels comfortable at all times. Whether you are talking to your neighbor or someone on the street, you will always be in for a good conversation. Moreover, the type of people you surround yourself with will indeed benefit you in all aspects of life.
From modern sky scrapers to exotic art museums and large shopping malls to the great mountains, endless green trails and natural springs, Colorado is the state that will give the taste of all experiences in one boundary. While some can go to the mall as a getaway, others can hop on their bikes and go on hiking trails without having to worry about anything. Within this one state, every individual (resident or not) can unlock ample experiences.
Colorado is known as the state that has 300 days of sunshine, mild temperatures, and some rainfall, which is why there is no “bad time” for this state. Whether you like to enjoy the – somewhat - chilly breezes or the occasional rainfall, when the sun is out and about, it is important to take full advantage. With the fresh smell lingering in the air, trees greener than ever, and the breeze hitting your face, the national parks featured in this state are not to be missed.
Colorado is full of greenery, natural beauty, and wilderness but attractions do not stop there. This state has historical significance and monuments, art and culture along with shopping malls and thrift stores. Since there is so much to do, you have the freedom to mix things around. One day you can be soaking up sun at Mesa Verde National Park or dipping your feet in Strawberry Park Hot Springs and the other you can be at the mall buying your favorite purses.
How it Affects Us
Studies suggest, “where we live is a matter of medical interest.” The study of geospatial medicine explains how a person’s location can influence their health and well-being in both positive and negative ways. Alongside bearing genetic DNA, people also bear environmental DNA. Biologist and geographer Amy Blatt states, “I don’t think people take into account how importantly a place impacts their health until it’s too late.”
Dan Buettner wrote in “The Blue Zones of Happiness,” that people live happier, longer and healthier when they are surrounded by sunshine, green spaces, and access to whole foods while also taking fitness in account. The geographical location of an individual determines their happiness more than anything else.
Researchers have proved that sunlight is the “natural antidepressant” for the brain. Recent and past studies have proven that spending time in the sun produces serotonin (mood regulating) so an individual’s mood can be great even on darker days. If someone does not spend quality time in the sunlight, it can lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). With this disorder, it becomes hard for individuals to function as they become becoming lethargic, and physical activity can then be lowered.
All in all, your geographical location plays a big role in your happiness, health and well-being. If you plan to move to Colorado, then you can rest assured that your happiness, health, and well-being will be as high as possible.
by Nina Sonovia Brown, LPCC
According to Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, it is rare for a person to achieve meaning and purpose in their life without first meeting other needs, like shelter, love, safety, and confidence. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I will outline how entrepreneurs can establish an inclusive, emotionally intelligent business with the end game (EG) legacy or contribution to society in mind.
“Getting what we want out of life is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” -Albert Maslo
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, referenced above, the bottom tier of the pyramid sets the tone for all other levels and ultimately helps individuals self-actualize or find meaning and purpose in their lives. Once the essential physiological needs (e.g., food, clothing, shelter) are satisfied, you can proceed up the pyramid towards finding inner potential. For the entrepreneur, the crucial physiological needs are simple: get paid for your product or service!
Once psychological needs are met, an individual moves towards the safety and security tier according to Maslow. As a business person who is paid, you will want to establish financial security, which will create stability for your company.
When financial security is established, you can move on to Maslow’s love and belonging tier. This is where you will focus on building significant business relationships. These relationships will establish a sense of belonging for you, and is where you find your “safe place.”
With financial security and a “safe place,” you are ready to create an emotional intelligence culture in your company. According to Maslow, this tier is where your uniqueness starts to grow and respect happens with peers and others. Building emotional intelligence will be critical to your success and performance as you begin to achieve status and business results.
Lastly is what I refer to as the “End Game”. This is why you ventured into business and will become your legacy. For Maslow, this is what turns into self actualization, and is the place where individuals develop purpose and their inner potential.
About the Author:
Nina is an Emotional Intelligence Expert for corporations, schools, and individuals. She is also a Mindfulness Teacher, College Profession, and CEO of Solonco, an emotional intelligence, and mindfulness training company.
Psychoneuroimmunology. Ok so it's not a household word although it should be. It is a fairly new field of medicine that studies the affect our mind has on our immune function. MIND over MATTER. Now THAT's something everyone's heard of. We've only begun to scratch the surface in this field of study to understand how what we think affects us on a physical and cellular level.
When we think of stress, it's hard to imagine having less of it in this instant gratification, instant exchange of information, technology always at the ready, modern world in which we live. But we've never before had more unhealthy eating patterns, an obesity and diabetes epidemic added in the mix. Not only are we swimming in stress but our children our modeling that behavior.
I'm not talking about acute stress such as seeing blue lights in your rearview mirror - that quickly abates. The stress that is literally killing us, slowly, is chronic stress. It is this level of stress that affects us on a cellular level. It increases our cortisol levels (stress hormones), contributes to insomnia, illness, weight gain and even our ability to fight infection and cancer cells. So how does this all work?
We have cancer fighting cells in our body called natural killer cells (NK). It is the job of these cells to search and destroy any invading organisms that are present to cause disease or illness. When we have chronic stress, these cells are not only decreased in number but their ability to do their job is diminished as well.
Cancer cells are in all of our bodies trying to take hold but when we have our normal functioning NK cells, they quickly destroy them and our body excretes them, keeping us healthy. So imagine how susceptible we are to a wide range of illnesses when our immune system is at such a disadvantage.
How do we begin to mitigate stress and keep our immune system healthy? Finding ways to manage stress can help a great deal. It's not about avoiding stress, it's about how we respond to it. Some examples are:
These are but a few examples, there are many more and if you want to further explore them, I recommend a great textbook by Brian Luke Seaward entitled Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being.
LISA DIAMOND, DNP-FNP-C
With that goal in mind, I founded Journey Into Wellness, LLC to educate people on wellness using a holistic approach encompassing mind/body/spirit/emotion. I facilitate a variety of workshops & retreats on self-discovery, journaling, mindfulness, meditation, knitting, nutrition and stress management. I am also the founder of The Happiness Knitting Project: Spreading Happiness, Reducing Stress One Ball of Yarn at a Time. I enjoy travel, spending time with family, running, yoga, and journaling. My passions are knitting and the study of psychoneuroimmunology - how our mind affects our immune system.
Learn more about Lisa