Category Archives: Self Improvement Tips

6 Productivity Hacks for Freelancers

By albert

You’re reading 6 Productivity Hacks for Freelancers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

All freelancers struggle with productivity ups and downs. It’s not so simple to work from home. There’s no one there to push you to work, and there are even more distractions than in a busy open-space office.

Luckily, there are some amazing productivity hacks you can try to maximize efficiency and productivity on a daily basis.

1. Create a Routine

Routines are great. They keep you on the right track at all times, and your mind and body work almost subconsciously through that routine.

Wake up at the same time every day, and start working at the same time. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be “programmed” to start working at a certain time. The same goes for your breaks. Schedule your lunch each day at 2, or any other time that suits you, and stick to this schedule.

Familiarity makes it easier for the brain to stay clear of the distractions.The more routines you have, the easier it’ll get to stay focused.

2. Track Your Work

Start using a computer monitoring software while you’re working, to track how much time you spent on which task and establish your productivity patterns.

Once you’ve run the software for a few weeks, you’ll have a great insight into which tasks take up more of your time. Consequently, you’ll be able to organize your workload more precisely.

You’ll also manage to determine which apps and websites are making you less productive. This way, you can cut down the time you’re spending using these tools.

Another great thing is that you’ll be able to charge your clients more effectively, as you’ll always have screenshots and exact data as proof of work.

3. Make Lists

To-do lists help you get a sense of structure, as well as plan out your daily/weekly/monthly workload. Before you’re done working for the day, create a to-do list for tomorrow.

When you start working, scratch or erase the things you’ve finished. This will give you a sense of accomplishment, and push you to finish even more tasks.

Furthermore, by writing tasks down you’ll be sure you haven’t missed anything you were supposed to do.

You can either use online tools, or good old pen and paper for this – whatever suits you best. The most important thing is that they are organized by days, weeks, or months, so you can always be aware of your deadlines.

4. Take Care of the Hard Tasks

Hard and unpleasant tasks cause everyone to procrastinate until the last moment. If there’s an uncomfortable call you have to make, or there is a complicated project on your plate – deal with them as soon as possible.

Otherwise, you’ll keep thinking about how hard or unpleasant it’ll be, and you’ll just keep losing focus. Take a moment to breathe, understand what is making this task so tough and deal with it.

5. Treat Yourself

A good approach to stay clear of social media and texting while you’re working is to reward yourself. Each time you finish a task, treat yourself with 5-10 minutes of activities that are not work-related.

Before you start working again, turn off all notifications, and turn on website blockers.

Also, you can reward yourself after a productive day. If you managed to finish a project before the deadline, take the night off and go out with your friends. Order pizza instead of cooking. BUT ONLY if you really deserved to be treated.

Once you “train” your brain with rewards, you’ll become more productive because you’ll want more treats. It’s that simple.

6. Head to the Co-Working Space

Every city is filled with them nowadays, and if you’re one of those people who start working better as soon as someone else is productive this will be heaven.

Co-working spaces are filled with freelancers who are just like you. Besides motivation, these can bring you great new friendships, or even new clients.

In Conclusion

It can be hard to stay motivated and on top of your game while you’re working from home. Yet, it’s far from impossible! Yes, the above hacks are easy, but their are extremely effective.

It will take some time to develop each of these into a proper habit, however, once you manage to do that you’ll be set for any project that comes your way.

You’ve read 6 Productivity Hacks for Freelancers, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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5 Surprising Things Stress Can Do to Your Body

By annabelle

You’re reading 5 Surprising Things Stress Can Do to Your Body, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

You just
got off a terrible meeting, your boss gave you an impossible deadline for the
next project, your team is pushing you to make extra hours, and you still need
to pick up the kids at school. Your body is in a “fight or flight response.”
Your stress levels are high, you feel your breath get quicker and even feel
your heart beating faster than usual. Although this is all a natural response
from your brain, if you submit yourself to this kind of situation too often,
chances are your health will be at risk.

stress is a common issue in current society. According to a study, at least 25%
of Americans claim they are dealing with high-stress symptoms, and 50% say to suffer from
moderated stress levels. The causes for stress may vary, but 46% say it is
caused by an excessive workload.

Are you stressed?

A small
level of stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can help you deal with
different situations, such as having extra attention during an event planning,
enhancing your focus for a new job or motivate you to improve your performance.
However, too much stress can affect your health, both mental and physical.

persistent stress symptoms might include:

• You might get easily agitated, frustrated
or have mood swings

• Feel overwhelmed, have difficulty in

• Depression, low self-esteem, irritability

• Constant worrying, racing thoughts

• Inability to focus, poor judgment

• Insomnia

What stress can do to your

hypothalamus is a tiny but powerful controller in your brain. It is this
controller that “says” to your brain to release stress hormones into your
system, which triggers your body to an emergency state. It will affect all your

Obesity and eating

might be increased during tough times, mostly caused by a hormone called
cortisol, which is released during stressful periods. When you ingest food, it
is like having an instant reward. Especially if you go with carbs and sugar.
These two types of food tell your brain to release a chemical called serotonin,
responsible for promoting instant better mood and energy. The problem is, this
won’t solve your stress and might even make you feel guilty for overeating.

side effect is just not eating at all. Some gastrointestinal problems might
keep you away from food, and in some cases, can even trigger severe eating
disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. These both disorders tend to be a
coping system, as a way to get back control of life.

If you are
suffering from one of these problems, specialists recommend trying a few
healthy ways to handle. One of them is keeping a food diary. You can write down
how much you have been eating daily and what might have triggered your urge to
eat, or not eat. You can also add exercises in your routine, meditation and try
out some comfort food recipes.

Skin and hair problems

Your skin
and hair reflect how healthy you are. High levels of stress might make your
skin more sensitive and reactive. It could also affect its ability to
regenerate and heal. Skin problems might be aggravated, such as psoriasis,
eczema, and herpes. Hair loss is also associated with stress. Trichotillomania and Alopecia Areata are some of the most related

possible ways to cope with this problem is t: practice some relaxation
techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga, eat a healthy diet, treat your
skin and hair with care and try to keep away from negative people. Your
environment and people around can add up a lot to your stress levels.

Gastrointestinal problems

gut-brain connection is something to take seriously. It can link anxiety to
stomach and vice versa. Heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and constipation
might be a few of the short-term digestive problems caused by stress. In the
long term, stress might exacerbate existing conditions such as irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, indigestion, and constant nausea.

This is one
of the most challenging problems to handle, mainly because it might provoke
pain and discomfort. Try to understand what makes you stressed during the day
and try to find a solution for that. You can also talk to people about your
concerns, suffer in silence might add up to your pain. Remember to eat well and
take breaks during your day. Don’t be afraid to make changes. It is your health
at stake.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Stress can
lead to excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding at night. This can lead to
aching pain and complications that are even more serious, which might also
raise your stress level. Bruxism can cause teeth sensitivity, jaw pain,
headaches, and tooth erosion.

working on your mental health state, to reduce stress levels, you can also use
a night mouth guard. Mouth guards can be customized to fit your mouth for better comfort, protecting your
teeth from damages. It also relaxes muscles and redistributes occlusal forces.

Heart and Lungs problems

hormones might affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems too. The
distribution of oxygen-rich blood can be jeopardized, maximizing issues such as
asthma and emphysema. Your heart also might have to work double to pump enough
blood through your body, raising the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

If you are
constantly feeling tired and out of breath, don’t put yourself at risk and ask
for professional help. Therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists are the
professionals that can help you find the right path to cope with stress.
Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone outside your environment, who will
be able to give you serious advice. Stress-related problems can escalate
quickly and evolve to severe mental health issues such as depression and panic

You’ve read 5 Surprising Things Stress Can Do to Your Body, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Top tips for cleaning up your system Hard Drive

By contactforinfo

McAfee Activate

You’re reading Top tips for cleaning up your system Hard Drive, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

No free disk space for
your favorite game? Well, it’s time to clean up your disk space for installing
your favorite game. Here we have discussed some techniques for freeing the disk
space by removing junk and unnecessary files from your device.

Windows Disk Cleaner

Windows disk cleaner is
a vital and beneficial tool for you. If you haven’t used this tool; follow the
given steps and clean lots of junk files quickly.

  1. Open my
    or computer window
  2. Right-click on hard-disk
  3. Choose Disk
  4. Wait for some time; the disk cleaner will take
    some time for calculating the disk space
  5. Now select all unnecessary files such as
    temporary files etc
  6. Hit the OK

You can also use the
Cleanup system files option. With this function; older Windows restore points
will be removed from your system. Follow the mentioned steps for using Clean up
system files tools:

  1. Hit on Clean
    up system files
  2. Choose More
    tab from Disk Cleanup
  3. Choose
    Clean up.. from System Restore and Shadow Copies

Remove Duplicate Files

You can see numerous duplicate files here and there. These files take lots of your space. Windows do not provide any kind of tool for removing duplicate files. You should probably go for a third-party tool. With; you can easily remove all duplicate files easily. Now you don’t have to manually choose all the files. Just one click and your all duplicate files will be removed and you will get a good amount of free disk space.

Uninstall programs

Most of the disk space
is usually occupied by application such as games, SNSs, etc. If you think,
there are no more things to remove then you can uninstall unnecessary
applications. Follow the steps given below for uninstalling programs/applications.

  1. Click on the start
  2. Go
    to Control Panel
  3. Click
    on Programs
  4. Select Programs
    and Features
  5. Click
    on Uninstall
  6. You will get a list of software installed in
    your device
  7. Select the application you want to uninstall
  8. Click on uninstall
    from the ribbon

Remove Browser junk

Due to net surfing, lots of junk files get created on the browser in the form of cookies, history files, caches, etc. When we use Windows disk cleaner files; it does not remove browser files. You manually have to remove these files. You can also use a third party application for this job. www McAfee com Activate LiveSafe provides expert cleaner tool which removes all system junk files, temporary files, browser files and other unnecessary files from the system.

Store your data in the
cloud or in an external HDD

Still facing low disk
space error? Now you should think about storing your data in cloud or external
drives. If you have movies, videos or photos in your device then cloud backup
can be a good option for you. If you don’t want to store your data in the cloud
then keeping your data in external disk is also a good option.

You should regularly
clean out the junk files from your device. This will not only increase your
disk space but also increases the PC performance and keeps your data clutter

You’ve read Top tips for cleaning up your system Hard Drive, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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10 Simple Concentration Exercises You Should Try

By maryjames

You’re reading 10 Simple Concentration Exercises You Should Try, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Nowadays it is tough to keep our minds still even for one single minute. And there are always halves of ideas and unfinished projects around every one of us.

If you came here wondering how to escape today’s numerous distractions, then you’re in the right place. Here are 10 simple exercises to strengthen your attention.

1. Count Backward

Counting is a great way to increase your focus. Start by finding a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed by day to day activities and worries.

Once you have found a comfortable place, start counting backward. If you are new to concentration exercises, start by counting down from 100 to 1. In time, you can increase the count to 500 or 1000 and even include variations by skipping numbers.

2. Counting Words

For this exercise, you will need to get a book or a magazine. Start by counting the words in a paragraph, then, if you feel like doing more, on a page, several pages, or even an entire chapter.

Remember not to point your finger at each word. Use your eyes only!

3. Analyze Interesting Objects

While focusing your senses on one object at a time might seem like a small deed, it will help your attention efforts long-term.

Choose any article that captures your curiosity and analyse it thoroughly. It can be anything: a fruit, your wallet, a pencil box.

Notice its colour, texture, shape, maybe even the smell. While doing this, don’t let any other thoughts in. Focus only on the object at hand.

4. Water Fascination

This particular exercise aims to help you control involuntary muscle movements.

After you have filled a glass full of water, grasp it by the fingers and stretch your arms in front of you. Now, fix your eyes on the glass. At the same time, try to stop any uncontrolled movements of your arm. It is not as easy as it seems.

5. Candle Gazing

From the legend of Prometheus to the actual cavemen, and up until today, there’s just something about fire that has always fascinated people. Flames capture attention and help focus one’s thoughts.

What to do? Simple. Take some time one evening to sit in a quiet room and light a candle. Next, take a comfortable seat nearby and focus on nothing else but the flickering light. Try to engage your attention this way for about 5 minutes.

6. Use Cannabidiol

When you hear of cannabidiol, your thoughts might wander off to marijuana. However, there are some major differences.

Marijuana contains two main substances. One of them is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a psychoactive compound and the other one is CBD or cannabidiol, which on the other hand, has no psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD has many positive properties on the body. One of them is enhancing one’s ability to focus.

How? Maybe you’ve heard of Lexapro or Zoloft, which are synthetic substances used to fight depression. CBD works in a similar manner and increases the serotonin flow inside your brain. Therefore, you are less anxious and more focused.

If you are curious about trying it, head over to Palm Organix and check out their CBD products.

7. Sit Still

You might long for a comfortable chair at the end of a tiresome day. But have you ever noticed how difficult it is to actually keep still in it?

To complete this exercise, you will need to stand still for at least 5 minutes. Of course, if you can do it for 10, or even 15 minutes, that’s even better.

This might sound simple, however; controlling your involuntary muscle movements is not an easy task. Just remember to choose a comfortable position.

8. Use Your Reflection

Making eye contact with another person is one of the most rewarding shapes concentration can take. It gives us a sense of confidence and strength, but also calmness.

While keeping eye contact for too long with an actual person is not really possible, you can practice this by using your own reflection. Start by finding a mirror and making two marks on its surface. These marks will be drawn at the same level as your eyes.

Imagine these marks as a pair of human eyes that are looking deeply into yours. Focus on keeping your head still and take deep breaths. Slowly, you will feel all your inner timidity be replaced by calm and strength.

Do this for about 3 minutes each day.

9. Think Without Words

If you take just one moment to analyse your own cognition, you will realize that, although unspoken, most of your thoughts take the shape of words.

This simple concentration exercise revolves around letting go of inner verbalization. To get started, take a small item in your hand, like for example a fork or a decorative object. Then, for about 5 minutes, analyse it from all sides, but without using words in your mind. Just observe it as blankly as possible.

10. Add ‘Brain Foods’ To Your Diet

There are several types of foods that enhance your ability to concentrate. They also work by relaxing your mind and relieving stress.

Try to add the following brain foods to your diet:

  • Green Tea – intake of caffeine and theanine;
  • Blueberries – intake of natural antioxidants;
  • Leafy Greens – intake of carotenoids and vitamin B;
  • Fatty fish (salmon, cod) – intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Of course, eating blueberries once will not increase your ability to focus. But if you aim for long-term improvement, then you need to start taking small steps.

Final Thoughts

It is the age of overwhelming stimuli and distractions and regrettably, our attention span decreased to only 8 seconds.

It is tough to advance in between everything that transpires around us, but it’s never too late to learn how to focus on what’s truly essential.

You’ve read 10 Simple Concentration Exercises You Should Try, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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The Impact of the Media’s Glamorization of Drug Abuse on Mental Health

By NicoleClarke

mental health portrayed in the media

You’re reading The Impact of the Media’s Glamorization of Drug Abuse on Mental Health, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

We often hear about celebrities with addictions from various news outlets.

Addiction and mental health issues can affect anyone. In fact, about 19% of all U.S. adults have dealt or are currently dealing with a mental illness, according to a national survey held by SAMHSA in 2017.

The Role of Media in Drug Abuse

It has been shown that the media contributes to the stigma
of mental illness through poor language choice, shocking or comical images and exaggerated
and inaccurate portrayals.

Dozens of research studies conclude that the type of news
coverage presented affects the likelihood of drug abuse and suicide in
vulnerable individuals.

The media disservices the public when mental health issues are presented dramatically. Untreated drug and alcohol abuse, mental health disorders and death are public health issues.

Is the Media Glamorizing Mental Illness?

One professional study
found that young people have over 250 labels used to stigmatize people with
mental illness. The media propagating these labels sensationalizes and
glamorizes the pain families go through when a loved one dies from mental
illness. Some journalists even degrade victims of suicide with language like
“crazed” or “disturbed”.

The personal stories of celebrity overdoses and the promotion of anorexia, among other things, are glamorized on social media with widespread images and hashtags. Romanticizing stories of overdose and self-harm is influential.

What Are the Repercussions of Sensationalized Reporting?

When a repetitious story describes the method of suicide in
explicit terms, the risk for individual suicide increases.

This sensationalized dispersion of information, though
skewed, has many believing people with mental illness are violent.

Actually, people struggling to deal with mental issues are statistically less
likely to commit violent acts than people without mental illness. In fact, many
people suffer mentally because of the
violence and abuse they have suffered at the hands of someone else.

Roadblocks to Recovery

It can be hard to get treated for mental health and
addiction issues for a number of reasons, like:

  • Cost
  • Availability or access to quality services
  • Not knowing where to start
  • The illness itself preventing the energy or
    motivation necessary to seek treatment

But perhaps the most stifling reason people don’t get medical treatment is the pervasive stigma around mental health.

Do Health Stigmas Still Exist Today?

Some of us would cringe at hearing, “Oh my! They are in a
mental hospital? How awful!” or, “Wow, they were in a facility. They must be
nuts.” Yet these archaic ideas still exist among those unfamiliar with mental
health conditions.

When a person breaks their leg or develops cancer, people
don’t judge them because they have a health condition. However, when someone deals
with a mental health condition, that person does not receive the same sympathy.

Depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse are diseases affecting the brain.

Unfortunately, people with mental health difficulties are
still among the most stigmatized demographic.

What People Fear

Sadly, only about half of people suffering
from mental health conditions will ever get treatment.

People worry about:

  • Losing employment
  • Losing relationships
  • Being ostracized
  • Losing custody of a child
  • Difficulty obtaining future employment

And these fears are not entirely unwarranted. Admitting to a history of mental illness can potentially impact these things in America.

How Stigma Impacts Addiction Treatment

Unfortunately, those with mental health issues internalize
what is preached in popular society and develop self-stigma. These toxic
beliefs discourage them from seeking treatment.

People often feel disgraced about seeking treatment because
of the negative associations. Songs about drugs rarely encourage addiction
treatment and can put one at risk.

Additionally, those struggling with drug and alcohol
problems often feel downtrodden because of their illness and are embarrassed to
seek treatment.

How Can You Help?

These things are improved by diligent and accurate media

  • Myths and misperceptions are dispelled
  • The public becomes more knowledgeable and
    supportive regarding mental health concerns
  • People at risk are more apt to get help

However, there are ways we can make a positive impact on
mental health awareness.

Complain to News Outlets

News outlets being careful about how they report on suicide
can change things. When you hear comments about mental health that are
inappropriate, you can contact those responsible, whether a news source or
social media.

Help Someone You Know

As people become more educated on mental illness and become more
accepting, healing can take place.

If you know someone that is dealing with substance abuse, you can help them seek drug and alcohol treatment. Dispelling stigmas one person at a time, you can encourage families and individuals to take the steps necessary to get well.

There are a number of other ways you can help reduce mental health stigma, and every effort truly helps make a difference – no matter how small.

Breaking the Chains

There are many instances of people, including celebrities,
that have overcome their addictions and mental health problems, including
suicidal crises.

Mental health conditions are treatable. You don’t have to
suffer alone. Things do get better for those who get the right help.

If you or someone you care about is going through suicidal
struggles, you can go to the ER and call the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also have an option to chat online at

You’ve read The Impact of the Media’s Glamorization of Drug Abuse on Mental Health, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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How to Talk to Someone with Depression

By Psychology Tools

You’re reading How to Talk to Someone with Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

is something that has always been around and most people will experience it at
some point in their lives, often without even realising it. If you are lucky
enough to have never experienced it then it’s can be difficult to understand
how it feels.

more than just having a bad day, or going through a ‘rough patch’, depression
is very serious and can have far-reaching consequences if left unchecked.
Depression is a common mood disorder that can affect everything from social
interactions and family life to the workplace.

are ways of speaking to those suffering from depression that avoid belittling
them or making them feel worse, as there is still an unacceptable stigma
associated with the disorder. Equally, there are ways of speaking that should
be avoided. In their guide
to depression
Psychology Tools explain that some of the most unhelpful things to say are
things like “come on, it’s not that bad” or telling someone they need to “get
over it”.

As well as being disrespectful, this approach can only serve to
reinforce the negative thoughts they are already having about themselves and
their situation. This is why understanding is important when speaking to
somebody suffering from depression.

How Should We Talk To Someone With Depression?

is important to let the person know that you are there
for them
and want to help them. It’s tempting to want to try and console them but this should
be avoided, despite your positive intentions this is actually dismissive of how
they feel and can make them feel worse.

Equally important is to let them know how unique they are and how special they are to you. This kind of thing is much more meaningful and beneficial than saying something like “this happens to everybody at some point”. Again, this is dismissive and unhelpful.

powerful as positive words can be, sometimes a hug can be just as important.
Depending on your relationship with them, simply grabbing them may not be
entirely appropriate, but there’s certainly no harm in asking. Offering a hug
is another way to show you understand how they are feeling and care about them,
which can help reduce their feelings of negativity or low self-worth.

can also be beneficial to remind them that depression is a mood and may pass.
It might be difficult or even impossible for them to remember a time when they
didn’t feel depressed, so reminding them that it will pass, even if it means
with help, can give them a much-needed boost.

suggestions are welcome also. Offering to go on a walk or helping them make a
list of the things they want to achieve that day. These small suggestions can
help a person feel as though they’re not alone and reminds them that they don’t
have to face depression by themselves.

Whichever approach you take, remember that empathy is welcome, pity is
not. Depression can be life-altering and should always be treated with care and
understanding, try to imagine what it must feel like to have your feelings
dismissed and try to avoid doing the same.

You’ve read How to Talk to Someone with Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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5 Surprising Things Productive People Give Up

By BenTejes

Productive arrow pointing up.

You’re reading 5 Surprising Things Productive People Give Up, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Being productive is not just about taking up a set of new traits and habits although that is important. It is equally about reflecting on your current habits. You will see whether there is anything holding you back from being more productive. Let’s jump into five surprising traits that productive people give up that help them be more productive.

1) Comfort zone

When I worked at Google many years ago, I was fascinated by the comfort that surrounded me. I had just moved back from Northern Uganda in East Africa where everything was anything but comfortable. There was one instance where the power went out for many hours. I had to start working on a notepad as my computer’s power died.

I eventually moved from Northern Africa to the Google Mecca in Mountain View. Often it felt like I was getting paid to go to college and the food was catered. It was fun, but it was also too comfortable. When you’re used to comfort it can create a higher threshold to cross in order to push yourself to learn new things and find/solve problems. Personally, I felt that I had become less productive during that time.

Productive people see the world as a means to learn and grow. If you’re a lifetime learner, you will realize that staying in a comfort zone means that you may not be growing and learning. Your comfort zone is not always your friend. Get out and explore and learn as quickly as possible.

2) Independence

I am a very confident person. Looking back, I believe it’s this confidence that has allowed to me fail so often and yet also persevere. Confidence can lead to a temptation to be independent. Unfortunately, independence can be an enemy to productivity. I realized years ago that I could do much more through collaboration and teamwork than through trying to do everything on my own.

This results in delegating and moving together towards a common goal. I see the benefit of giving up independence in all areas of my life whether it’s leading Ascend, in my marriage, and even with my wife as we parent our two young daughters.

3) Inconsistency

After graduating from college I found that my life was full of inconsistency. I remember screening my phone calls to make sure that I was only speaking to some people. I would schedule times to speak with friends and bail out last minute. My brother-in-law was kind enough to point out this inconsistency, and I was finally ready to make a change.

If you say something, you should do it. Why is inconsistency something that you give up? Well, life is built on relationships and your productivity is only as strong as the people you have surrounded yourself with. Inconsistency in your life sometimes shows unreliability, which is detrimental to productivity in any organization or relationship.

4) Fear of failure

Everyone fails. I like how the author of PickTheBrain’s article on 4 Ways to Eliminate the Fear of Failure, states, “Accepting failure is a part of the “process”. Failing is part of the process and having the humility to understand that can be an essential part of your success.

In the first year of co-founding and leading Ascend, I probably failed a hundred times. I would be confident to build something, spend a great deal of engineering resources to build it, and ultimately realize that what I built was a dud.

Thankfully my surrounding team was gracious with me to allow me to continue to dream up new ways to serve our customers. As a productive person, you need to allow margin in your life to take smart risks and fail. Be gracious to yourself for your failures and express your failures to others. You will be productive because you will allow yourself to try new things. You will also become closer with your co-workers or friends because you create a safe place for them to share their failures as well.

5) Being reactive

I actually only learned that I was reactive a few years ago. A manager had asked over and over again that I provide insights to the areas I was working on instead of them asking about everything I was working on. I thought I was proactive. It wasn’t until something clicked in my brain that I wasn’t proactive that I started to see gains to be more productive

Why is giving up being reactive important to increase productivity? Reactive people let life happen to them and often do not plan ahead or try to find problems before they happen. In the workplace, I would wait until work was provided to me instead of proactively finding what was broken and fixing it. I started excelling much more in my job when I proactively found problems and solved them. I also enjoyed my work much more because I was solving the problems that I found instead of problems that were given to me.

Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as Chapter 7, Chapter 13, collections and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.

You’ve read 5 Surprising Things Productive People Give Up, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Move Beyond Mindfulness: Why Awareness is More Powerful

By Gary Douglas

You’re reading Move Beyond Mindfulness: Why Awareness is More Powerful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

you’ve been to the personal growth section of your local bookstore lately, it’s
likely you’ve seen books written on the topic of mindfulness. It’s become a bit
of a buzz word. The concept of mindfulness has to do with being focused, paying
attention, considering your environment and the people in it when making
choices for you and your life. Sounds good, right? What’s wrong with thinking
about things and people other than yourself? While there is nothing wrong with
mindfulness, it is not without flaws and limitation.

requires the individual to work hard continuously. It requires a constant state
of being alert, observing everyone and everything, because the moment you stop
paying attention is the moment things get missed. You practice mindfulness so
you don’t miss things but the moment you lose focus you miss things so then you
try harder not to miss things which only makes you miss things even more.
Exhausted yet?

If you have been practicing
mindfulness, you may know how much work it is to keep the level of focus that
is required. If you would like something easier, something greater, I invite
you to look at awareness.

Awareness is something you are
born with. It is the ability to perceive and know all things. It’s the ability
to be totally present with who and what is right in front of you while still
maintaining awareness of the environment around you. Awareness doesn’t require
you to focus only on one thing. It’s doesn’t force you to work hard to pay
attention. Awareness invites it all, includes it all, welcomes it all without
judging or cutting off anything.

Here are my top three tips to go beyond mindfulness and function from the gift of your awareness.

Be willing to see what is

we are born into the world, most of us are taught to judge. We learn what is
“good” and what is “bad.” We are told to do what is right and avoid what is
wrong. When you have a judgment of anything, your brain only allows information
that matches that judgment to enter.

Mindfulness often comes from the place of only looking to see what’s good and right with others and in the world. The problem with this, is that even though it’s positive, it’s still judgment. If there is a poisonous snake in front of you and you have decided you must only see good, then you will not see the danger that is present.

To move beyond mindfulness and into awareness, you can use a tool called “Interesting point of view.” Every time you notice that you have a judgment, whether positive or negative, say to yourself, “Interesting point of view I have that point of view.” Keep saying it until things lighten up. What occurs when you say these words is that every judgment you have becomes simply interesting rather than real and true.

Be aware of what your choices create

operates from the assumption that there are right choices and wrong choices. From
the place of mindfulness, you observe, judge what is best and then choose.

Awareness has no judgment. Awareness includes everything and judges nothing. When you function from awareness you ask, “What would I like to choose?” And, “If I choose this what will it create?” Awareness is about empowering you to choose and then to notice what your choice created and then choose again.

When you don’t have to be right, you get to be free

back for a moment, at times in your life where you knew if you made a
particular choice it was going to turn out badly, but you chose it anyway. That
knowing was your awareness. Often times, what occurs, is we have an awareness
and then we go to our brain, to our cognitive mind, to try and sort it out.
This is where we give up our awareness in an attempt to get it right.

you start to look at the places in your life where you chose to try and figure
things out rather than going with that instantaneous knowing, then you start to
reconnect with your awareness.

As you
look at these places, it’s not about making you wrong. It’s about acknowledging
what the choice to cut off your awareness created so that you can choose
different as you move forward.

Awareness is the greatest gift
you have and, rather than hard work and striving, awareness comes with ease.
Choose awareness and discover the joyfulness of life and living.

Gary Douglas is an
internationally-recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business
innovator and founder of
Access Consciousness®, a set of simple-yet-profound tools currently
transforming lives in 173 countries. He has authored and co-authored numerous
books, including the Barnes and Noble #1 bestselling novel, The Place. An
avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary is a vocal advocate of
Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership. He has been featured on TV
shows, and in print media and online publications around the world. He is
renowned for his unique insights on love, relationships, money, business,
aging, leadership and emotional freedom. Follow

You’ve read Move Beyond Mindfulness: Why Awareness is More Powerful, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Top 5 Effective Ways to Deal with the Narcissistic Partner

By Sylvia Smith

You’re reading Top 5 Effective Ways to Deal with the Narcissistic Partner, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Having a narcissist as a partner can be extremely challenging. Narcissists think that the world revolves around them, and they often get close to someone only for their own wish-fulfillment. They are completely self-centered, and their needs always come first.

You certainly know that this isn’t the way to go in a relationship. Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect, honest communication, trust, and real connection. This isn’t something that a narcissistic partner can offer.

If you fell in love with a narcissist, only to realize it later, when the personality traits you were initially attracted to started to annoy you and get in the way of your own happiness, you should definitely do something about it.

Getting out of the relationship may be the easiest thing to do, but it’s not always the smartest. Choosing the path of least resistance is easy, but what if you’re married? What if you have children together? Even if you don’t, it may be really worth to fight for your relationship, but you first need to know what kind of narcissist your partner is.

What Type of Narcissist Are You Dealing with?

Not all narcissists are alike, so you need to know which one your partner is so that you can effectively deal with them.

There are two types of narcissists:

  • Vulnerable narcissists
  • Grandiose narcissists

Vulnerable narcissists are quiet, reserved, and sometimes even appear shy. They’re introverted, very sensitive, easily offended, and seek a lot of attention and sympathy.

They often resort to manipulation, playing the victim card to get the attention they need. They mask their low-confidence with arrogance. Their narcissistic traits are often difficult to pick up, as they kind of fly under the radar.

Grandiose narcissists are hard to miss, with their huge confidence, self-esteem, charm, and extroversion. They believe that they are better than everyone else, have a huge sense of entitlement, lack empathy, take people for granted, and want other people to admire them.

That’s what makes them feel powerful, which helps them compensate for their deep insecurity. They often seem cold and selfish, and they’re actually proud when people call them out as such. To get the admiration they need, they resort to guilt-tripping and trump their partner’s confidence and self-esteem.

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Partner

Whichever type of narcissist you’re dealing with, the following tips will help you take huge steps toward effectively improving your partner’s behavior.

  1. Identify the Source of Their Narcissistic Behavior

Knowing where your partner’s narcissistic behavior comes from will help you know exactly what to do. Maybe their parents pampered them too much or expected too much from them. Perhaps their parents taught them to hide their emotions, which bottled up for years.

It’s also common for physical violence, or witnessing any kind of abuse as a child, to turn someone into a narcissist. Find out where your partner’s insecurity, anger, and arrogance come from so that you can effectively reassure them, and calm them down.

  1. Kill Them With Kindness

Being kind and positive all the time isn’t the best solution, but finding the right balance will help you. Don’t add fuel to the fire whenever your partner starts a fight, or become mad at them when they criticize you or get on your nerves in any way.

Communicate with your narcissistic partner in a kind way, without sparking arguments, even if they try to do so. Speak to them about acceptable behavior, as well as about consequences for breaking the rules, without any reprimand.

Talk to your partner without fear, showing them that you are a kind, loving, caring person who deserves love and respect.

  1. Stay Positive and Keep Your Self-Worth

You need to understand that you truly deserve love and respect and that you’re capable of admiration. This is why you should try and stay positive, even when you feel like burying your face in the pillow and crying.

That would only irritate your partner, and fuel their aggressive behavior. If you choose not to show that you’re ruffled by your partner’s behavior, they’ll eventually stop getting under your skin. They’ll see that they’re not making you suffer, so they won’t find any more pleasure in it.

  1. Keep Your Sense of Humor

Narcissists have no sense of humor, and they often don’t appreciate wits aimed at them, as they offend very easily.

However, you can crack a joke about your partner’s egocentric traits, and make them actually smile. You can point to the stuff they need to change that way, but make sure you’re not cruel about it. Make humor constructive, and it may become your most powerful weapon for battling narcissism.

  1. Seek Counsel from a Professional

It’s important to know when a narcissist may need professional help to change their behavior. As many experts suggest, narcissists can change, but they need to truly want to change.

It’s an enormous step for a narcissist to even admit they have a problem, let alone to decide to take a very long road for treating it. If you recognize that your partner can benefit from professional counseling, kindly and very carefully advise them to do it.

If they’re not comfortable with in-office therapy right away, suggest taking an online marriage course. There are plenty to choose from, so take the time to find the best one for dealing with narcissistic partners. An online marriage course will help you strengthen your marriage, teach your partner how to value you, and help you build a better future together.

What If Your Narcissistic Partner Can’t – Or Rather, Won’t – Change?

You need to understand that changing anyone’s personality traits is extremely difficult. It will take a long time for your partner to cure, so to speak, their narcissism, if they do decide to try.

But if they remain stubborn and don’t want to try and change for the sake of your relationship or marriage, you should seriously think about whether they deserve you. Ask yourself if that’s the life you want to keep living and make a smart decision for yourself. Put yourself first, and choose to be happy.

Living with a narcissistic partner can be a chore, but the aforementioned tips can help you turn it into something better that’s worth fighting for. But regardless of whether your partner decides to improve, or you choose to move out of your relationship, remember that you deserve love and happiness. Let that guide you, and you’ll emerge victorious.

You’ve read Top 5 Effective Ways to Deal with the Narcissistic Partner, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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The 8 Limbs Of Yoga

By chandrainternational

You’re reading The 8 Limbs Of Yoga, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Yoga is tremendously popular these days as a way to find inner peace, find calm and reduce anxiety. Perhaps the most effective type of yoga is Patanjali Ashtanga Yoga. This yoga form is also considered the most important part of various yoga teacher training programs in India but there are many multi-style yoga trainings including Hatha, Ashtanga, Kundalini and etc.

What Do Eight Limbs Of Yoga Mean?

The eight limbs of yoga are the eightfold path known as Ashtanga (ashta-eight, anga-limb).

The eight limbs of yoga construct a structural framework for yoga practice. These are like steps to yoga. It is believed that the practice of the eight limbs of yoga leads to spiritual realization. The eight-limbed yoga has been described as a way towards enlightenment in The Yoga Sutras.

What is the significance of eight-limbs of yoga?

The eight limbs of yoga are considered as guidelines on how a person can lead a purposeful life. These are like disciplines or steps which lead to the path of enlightenment and towards a meaningful life. The eight-limbed yoga provides completeness to a practitioner with the attainment of divinity and spirituality. These are considered important to attain moksha or Free State of existence.

What Are the Eight-limbs Of Yoga?

The eight limbs of yoga are:

  1. Yama

The Yama is the step which refers to restraints. It is mostly about the don’ts. It is concerned about ethical and moral standards. In general, it is about the treatment you give to others present around you. It follows Universal Morality Codes.

There are five elements that constitute the Yama. These are:

  • Ahimsa Or Non Violence

Ahimsa is about being compassionate to other creatures in each and every circumstance. It suggests being kind, helpful and friendly to others, even in one’s dreams and thoughts.

  • Satya or Truthfulness

As the name suggests, this discipline Satya is about being truthful and honest. It is because any communication or thing which is based on untruthfulness and dishonesty leads nowhere.

  • Asteya Or Nonstealing

This discipline of Yama suggests not to be in possession of anything which does not belong to you. Asteya implies not to take or use anything unless it is given freely. Using or taking something without the permission of the owner is not acceptable and commendable. It is also applicable and non-material things.

  • Brahmacharya Or Continence

Many people have this perception that BrahmacharyaJust means not to get married ever. It is generally connected with continence as its sole objective. It is not true. In addition, it also suggests that one should avoid being self-centered and self-absorbed. In a way, it teaches about self-restraint.

  • Aparigraha Or Noncovetousness

This step is about leaving the greed of materialistic things. According to it, one should take what is necessary to live rather than accumulating or collecting things which are not the necessity.

  1. Niyama

Niyama is the step which refers to observance. It includes the practices of self-discipline. It is more about the do’s. In a way, it is the extension of moral and ethical codes of Yama. The Niyama is consists of five elements. These are:

  • Saucha or Purification

Saucha refers to purification and cleanliness of mind, soul and body. It includes external as well as internal purification. External purification can be achieved by regular ablutions, clean atmosphere, and surrounding. Internal purification means the removal of toxins from the body through practicing asanas, pranayama, etc. Clean, fresh and healthy food, tidy surrounding, et cetera also come under Saucha. Anger, hatred, greed, pride et cetera are considered as the root cause of impurity.

  • Santosha or Satisfaction

Santosha refers to contentment or satisfaction. It means to be completely comfortable in what you have in your life. Santosha is about being free from unrequired sufferings, wants, and desires. It teaches to be grateful and thankful for what one has in life.

  • Tapas or Asceticism

Tapas or Asceticism refers to self-discipline and willpower. In a way, it is an extension of Santosha. It teaches how a being can attain satisfaction through a strong will and self-discipline. It is about practicing austerity. Tapas requires to practice beyond the comfort zone.

  • Svadhyaya or self-study

Svadhyaya promotes the study of self. It is generally done with meditation and asanas. It is about examining our conscious and unconscious deeds and moves. It is a way to learn about our flaws which can help us to grow into a better human being.

  • IshvaraPranidhana or surrender to the divine

Ishvarapranidhana is final niyama. It is about devoting and surrendering to the universe or divine. It teaches to be more open and connected.

  1. Asana or Posture

Asana simply refers to body posture. Being one of the eight limbs of yoga, it prepares the practitioner’s body and mind for the meditation.

  1. Pranayama or Breath Control

Breathing is a function that human being does voluntarily and involuntarily. In Pranayama, one consciously controls and is aware of its breath. It relaxes mind as well as body to practice asana and meditation.

  1. Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses

In Pratyahara, one consciously filters the external experiences so that one can enhance internal awareness and see beyond the things. It helps in the attainment of focus and concentration. It is considered as the link between the internal and external aspect of yoga.

  1. Dharana or Concentration

Dharna is usually practiced by concentrating on a specific object. It trains the mind to be quiet, stable and focused. Pratyahara helps in practicing Dharana by filtering distractions and disturbances.

  1. Dhyana or Meditation

Dhyan refers to contemplation and meditation. It is a state where the practitioner is aware but without focusing intentionally. It is being in the moment which occurs due to Dharna which leads to Dhyana.

  1. Samadhi or Super Conscious Awareness

Samadhi is the final stage in eight limbs of yoga. It is attributed to ecstasy. It is considered as the unification with the divine. In Samadhi, a person is in the state of deep meditation. In this stage, a person is free from all kinds of illusion and is in a higher state of awareness. All the Eight-limbs of yoga are interconnected and lead to one another. Eight limbs of yoga is not an easy-going practice and should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher.

You’ve read The 8 Limbs Of Yoga, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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