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BEAT PROCRASTINATION ONCE & FOR ALL

It’s common to think setting the goal is the key to beat procrastination, but that can lead to frustration and demotivation. Before you set your productivity goals, you should first stop anything that’s making you procrastinate.

Procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done and it can cause some serious damage once it becomes a constant. Whenever you give into that voice in your head telling you why now is not the right time to complete a certain task, you build your procrastination muscles. No matter what you end up doing instead, even if it’s productive in a different way, reinforces your habit of putting certain tasks off. It’s easy to listen to, and often the things you end up doing aren’t the things you need to do to reach your goals.

Here are five things to help you figure out why you’re procrastinating and how to beat it.

1. ANALYZE WHY YOU PROCRASTINATE

On the surface, analyzing why you’re procrastinating is easy: you don’t want to do the task. But why? There’s a deeper reason behind this bad habit and if you don’t uncover it, you risk ruining your productivity. The sooner find your why, the faster you can take action and become more productive.

Maybe it’s fear of failure. You might imagine only worst-case scenarios every time you start the task. Or you might not know where to start or how long it might take to reach your goal. Or maybe the idea of being less than perfect stresses you out to the point of paralysis. But even these can be surface level reasons.

There’s a fallacy among higher performers that they function better under pressure. You might put off projects until the last moment, often staying up all night to complete a project. You achieved your goal, but that doesn’t mean that you weren’t procrastinating. And finishing at the last minute can have its own downfalls that potentially hold you back.

Another type of productive procrastination is taking on too much at one time. Busy is not productive and can actually keep you from achieving your goals. When you’re overloaded, you might put tasks off because you agreed to do other, less important tasks instead. This can lead to you becoming overwhelmed and exhausted.

Finally, you might procrastinate because your goals aren’t clear. Do shiny new ideas take precedence over the one you’re currently working on? Do you reach a certain point in a project and just get bored? There are a lot of reasons that might happen, including ADD, stress, or fear. But this can also happen when you’re unclear on what you want to achieve and why.

Once you know the why, you can start working on solutions to beat procrastination once and for all.

2. IMPLEMENT A PLAN

Understanding why you’re procrastinating gives you the knowledge to implement a plan. You can deal with your fear of failure by shifting your mindset. Start by breaking each task into the smallest, simplest step and only focusing on that task. Whenever you feel fear and doubt creeping in, remind yourself why you want to achieve your goal. It might help to make a vision board with various images you associate with success in reaching your goal.

One of the biggest ways to tackle fear is welcoming failure. You’ll never know how things turn out unless you try, so change your perspective on failure. Instead of failing to achieve a task, define failure might as not doing the task. Even if you don’t complete it, take time to analyze why and what you learned. The more awareness you develop, the more tools you’ll unlock for the next project.

If the bigger picture scares you, take your time to write a detailed plan on what to do exactly to complete your project. You might make a chart so you can track your wins and progress. Crossing items off a list can be very motivating and an easy way to build momentum, which are both effective in eliminating procrastination. It takes the project out of feeling too big to wrap your arms around and makes it feel manageable.

Understand your goal with crystal clarity and anytime you want to do a task, ask yourself how that task affects your goals. If it interferes, distracts, or even sets your back, put it at the bottom of your priority pile. Practice saying no and be protective of your time. To beat procrastination, you have to always have a clear vision of your goal and stay focused on it, no matter what.

3. TRACK YOUR REACTIONS

As you work through this process, you’re going to have reactions. If you say no to extra tasks, you might experience fear. If you get specific about every tiny step to reach your goal, you might feel stressed. Awareness is always key when trying to break a habit and replace it with a new behavior. Noticing how you feel is a big part of this.

You might not notice these emotions or reactions until you’re already procrastinating. That’s okay and part of the process. Take the time to evaluate how you felt before you picked up your phone. You might find that you’re pushing yourself too hard, and need to take more breaks. Or that you’re taking on more that you have time for without risking burnout.

Anytime you focus on the unknown, your brain redirects you to a safe task. The more stress or fear that’s triggered, the harder it is to stay on track. Make sure you allow time to meditate and regroup, where you can sit with your emotions and sort them out. You might want to keep a journal to help you analyze these emotions and keep track of your progress. Make sure to note how you felt throughout the day, capturing before and after both activities and procrastination events.

The more you are aware of your reactions, the better you’ll get at recognizing when procrastination is trying to take over. That’s a big step in the right direction as it helps you come back to the present moment and say ‘no’ to it.

4. ELIMINATE THE OBSTACLES

You want to make everything as easy as possible. This involves planning, but also preparation. You have your plan, now you put the pieces in place to get it done.

Some of this can include building your calendar with all of your tasks scheduled in time-allotments. Set alarms so you know when to start and set a specific time to stop. If you need notecards, pens, highlighters, exercise equipment, cleaning supplies—whatever items you need for that task, make sure you have them ready to go when your alarm goes off.

You might need to set deadlines to help engage your brain in work mode, but make sure that they account for time to check your work. Having deadlines for each individual task can create a sense of urgency that motivates you to start. And these multiple deadlines can help you feel momentum in achieving a series of tasks rather than one big deadline for one big project.

Stay organized. Whether that’s your task chart, a series of to-do lists, a project management tool, notecards and post-it notes, or a planner. You want to know exactly what each day brings before you get started in the morning, and what tasks you need to prepare for the night before.

When you free your mind from trying to assess what needs to be done and how, you don’t give yourself time to succumb to stress and worry. It helps you focus on the single task in front of you rather than trying to figure out what to do next. The more prepared you are, the easier each step becomes. You’ll beat procrastination and find yourself accomplishing more in less time.

5. REWARD YOURSELF

Motivation and momentum are tied to your reward system. When you finish a task, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and this releases feel good hormones in your brain. The more you do this, the more your brain seeks that behavior out, and you end up feeling motivated to do even more.

But procrastination is also tied to this system, which is why you do other things and getting distracted. Scrolling social media is more rewarding than working on a spreadsheet. To beat procrastination you have to tie each task with a specific reward.

You want to make sure the reward is strong enough to overcome your procrastination rewards, but not bigger than the task itself. That means small but effective rewards for small tasks, big but effective rewards for bigger tasks. Things like taking a five-minute break or getting to eat that snack you’ve really wanted. You might read a book for ten minutes or call your friend for a brief chat. Sometimes crossing off a to-do list or filling in a chart can feel rewarding and satisfying, but you want to mix actual rewards in, too.

Take the time to really consider what you find rewarding. Perhaps buying those super cute socks after you finish a majority of your daily tasks is a good reward. Or going to see the newest movie after work. Different things motivate everyone, so don’t be afraid of what anyone else wants or thinks. Find the right rewards for you.

If you find that you’re not actually that excited about a certain reward, change it. The things you think might motivate you might not be as important or exciting as you thought. Give yourself the opportunity to be flexible. The only important thing is that you’re looking forward to whatever that reward is, no matter how silly or how small. And be sure to add larger rewards for milestones and larger achievements.

Motivation is key to being more productive. Procrastinating is tempting, but with the right rewards in place, you’ll be far more motivated to achieve your tasks all day, every day.

Conclusion

Procrastination happens. But it doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your dreams and getting the most out of your day. By understanding why you’re avoiding a task, you can find the right tools and tips to beat procrastination, unlock your productivity, and start achieving your Limitless goals—no matter what.

Watch this video for more tips on how to FINALLY beat procrastination:

HOW COLD WEATHER AFFECTS BRAIN PERFORMANCE

Have you ever wondered if cold weather affects brain performance? Some find winter weather invigorating. To them, the cold is energizing, making them sharp and at the top of their game. For others, it’s completely different. It makes them tired and sluggish. Cold weather aside, the shorter, cloud-filled days can induce seasonal depression.

Whether you’re a cold weather enthusiast or prefer your chilly days bundled up inside, research has been exploring if weather affects the way the brain works. Is the invigoration simply your perception? Or is there something else at play? They’ve found some surprising results.

Cold And The Brain    

It’s important to clarify that even though you put a hat on your head to stay warm, the brain doesn’t actually feel cold. Your skull and layers of protective tissue made up of the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid act as an insular heating system. Even if your head feels cold, your brain is warm. So, what is it about cold weather that produces either sluggish thinking or invigorated creativity?

There’s a pervasive belief in society that cold weather slows you down. Some of this belief stems from comparing human behavior to similarities in hibernating species. The cold makes your fingers and limbs slower, so it makes sense that your entire body reacts in the same way. But research is finding that this isn’t true. At least, not entirely.

In cognitive performance tests focusing on math skills and verbal tests, men performed better at cooler temperatures. However, the primary indicator of whether someone would perform cognitively better or worse was if they were comfortable. Comfort is one of the most important factors in cognitive performance. There are ways you can increase your comfort levels with the cold, and decrease the effect it has on you. Listen to our podcast episode with Wim Hof for more on that.

But cold weather does impact one key area in your body, which affects your brain.

Our Brain and Glucose

One key finding in cold weather studies is how cold weather changes glucose production. Again, while your brain doesn’t feel cold, keeping your body warm requires more energy. Glucose is your brain’s primary energy source. If you don’t increase the amount of glucose levels in your body to both maintain temperature and feed your brain, the result can be sluggish thinking and slower cognitive performance. Remember that your brain uses up to 20% of your total energy every day. If your body starts using more of that energy to stay warm, your brain will struggle to remain sharp, and cognitive functioning will slow down.

When your body temperature struggles to regulate, it can kick the thyroid into hyper-drive. The thyroid is important in maintaining your mood, weight, and energy levels. If lack of glucose causes your thyroid to work overtime, it can overproduce hormones trying to find the right balance, and this can lead to brain fog and feeling overly tired. Unfortunately, because this can also induce weight gain, it can trigger you to eat less, which only makes the problem worse.

In order to produce glucose, it’s essential to eat the right foods in the right amounts. Otherwise, your entire body can become unbalanced. This explains why you might crave heartier meals in the colder months. Your body and brain need the extra energy to function.

Other Key Factors

Researchers have also been studying the implications of winter and mental health, primarily as it relates to Seasonal Affective Disorder or seasonal depression. Almost one-fourth of the population will suffer symptoms of this disorder in their lives.

Seasonal depression has less to do with the weather and more to do with decreased exposure to sunlight, which leads to lower levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps keep you healthy, but it also maintains the balance in your neurochemical levels of important mood hormones like serotonin and dopamine. Drops in these chemicals can cause depression and anxiety, both of which interfere with your cognitive functioning.

Lack of sunlight also impacts your circadian rhythms. With less of the blue light sun rays that stimulate cortisol production, the hormone that tells your brain and body to wake up and get moving, you can begin producing too much melatonin instead. Too much melatonin can lead to you feeling groggy throughout the day. If it’s too cold to exercise outside in the morning, you can help balance your circadian rhythm by adding a sunlamp to your desk.

When combined, this can make it seem like the cold weather is causing you to have slower reaction times, difficulty thinking, increased sleep, and other behavioral symptoms.

Conclusion

Whether you like cold weather or not is a personal preference. Your brain and body may function differently, but the temperature itself does not have a direct impact on the brain. It’s important to understand what causes negative reactions from the cold, however, and adjust both your nutrition, sleep, and exercise routines to help balance your increased energy needs.

Cold is a state of mind. If you’re taking care of your body’s needs, you can use the cold to your advantage through cold therapy training. No matter what the weather brings, you can take measures to ensure that you stay happy, healthy, and productive throughout the year.

For more on how to use cold to your brain advantage, check out our YouTube episode with Wim “The Iceman” Hof:

HOW GOAL-SETTING WORKS IN YOUR BRAIN

Have you ever wondered how goal-setting works in your brain? Setting goals helps you achieve tasks. In fact, goal-setting can be one of your most powerful tools to change your habits and shape your life. They motivate you to go after the things you want, help you overcome obstacles you find difficult, and even make things you thought were out of reach become attainable.

But goals do more than help make things happen. They shift your perspective on what you believe is possible. Goals restructure your brain by creating new neural pathways that allow it to work more efficiently. This helps you focus your energy into making new behaviors habits.

Here’s how goal-setting works in your brain:

A Deeper Look at the Brain

Just as your skin will heal from a cut or a scrape, your brain has the power to heal and restructure itself through neuroplasticity. This incredible process means your brain not only reorganizes synaptic pathways after a brain injury, such as a stroke, but it can also adapt and change your behavior in response to new information.

Your brain loves direction. That’s why this process is incredibly effective for goal setting. Goals give it a purpose and it will actively seek information in your environment to help you achieve your goals. This creates new neural pathways, which helps change your behaviors towards your goals.

In a study of multiple sclerosis patients at the University of Texas, researchers found patients who set aggressive goals regarding their health and wellness had fewer and less severe symptoms. Focusing on their goals healed their brain. That’s the power of neuroplasticity.

The Importance of Meaning

Setting a goal is only one piece of the process. Research shows that the more a goal means to you, the more likely you are to reach it.

Your brain routes information through the amygdala. It evaluates and determines the level of emotional significance to events. It then loops to the frontal lobe for higher-level cognitive processing. Having goals rooted in meaning will always get a boost in importance.

It’s easy to understand the process in terms of your own experiences. For example, saving money so you can go on the vacation of your dreams is a lot easier than paying off debt. Though debt can be stressful, imagining yourself on vacation can have a much larger emotional significance tied to it, giving it higher priority in your brain. This helps your brain filter out everything that will stand in the way while alerting your attention to the situations, information, and behaviors that will help you achieve the goal.

You might set goals because you have to, not because you want to, and that can hinder your ability to reach them. In order to attach to emotional significance, you need to find a solid emotional reason for wanting to complete that goal. Getting a good annual review at work might be something you want logically, but if you don’t attach emotion to it, this long-term goal is difficult to focus on and prioritize. However, if you decide that getting an excellent review leads to a raise, and that will help you buy your dream home, the emotional significance of that goal is now elevated.

Every time you have to fill out a report or complete a mundane task, you can envision that house and your motivation will increase. The more emotion you attach to a goal, the more your brain work to minimize obstacles and difficulties. In short, the more it means to you, the more likely you’ll achieve it, no matter what.

How the Brain Works on Achieving the Set Goal

Goal-setting in your brain comes down to the amygdala and the frontal lobe. It’s combining logic with heart that creates the powerful drive known as motivation. But the third aspect of your brain that guarantees goal-setting success is your reward system.

Your brain reinforces behavior by releasing the neurochemical dopamine whenever you engage in activities that keep you alive. Eating food, drinking water, even falling in love, as you’re more likely to survive when you build relationships. Your brain ties the reward system and learning together. When you learn something new, your brain rewards you with a dopamine surge that boosts your mood and makes you feel happy. Because dopamine is so potent, your brain craves more of it, creating motivation for you to seek more.

This process is the reward loop, and you can use it to create habits. Once you’ve attached emotional significance to your goal, you can use the reward system to break them down into smaller goals. Your frontal lobe evaluates and assesses the logistical breakdown of your goals, which allows you to visualize and plan each minor goal within your larger one. Each step should have a defined measure for success and a specific way that you want to celebrate that success. These external rewards will activate your internal reward system, giving you even more motivation to continue to the next step.

Conclusion

No matter what your goals are, your brain is hard-wired to help you achieve them. By understanding the power of neuroplasticity, connecting emotion to logic, and creating a system of external and internal rewards, you can overcome any obstacles for whatever goal you strive towards.

Watch this video for more on how to reach your goals:

5 WAYS TO START THE NEW YEAR IN A POSITIVE MINDSET

How important is a positive mindset? For many, the New Year is a definitive marker to signal a time for change. But without the right mindset, these goals can feel overwhelming and too easily slip to the wayside. Before you launch full speed into going after your resolutions, take some time to reflect on 2022 to strengthen your mindset and achieve everything you want in 2023 and beyond.

1- Outline your accomplishments and successes

When you think about what you want in the new year, it’s common to focus on the things you didn’t do or achieve in the previous year. You might find yourself saying things like, this is the year you get that promotion or learn that hobby or lose that weight. It may not seem like focusing on the things you want is starting in a negative mindset, but when you think about what the new year can bring that the current one didn’t, you’re actually focusing on failure instead of success.

Instead, take time to focus on every single accomplishment and success you’ve had throughout the year. No success is too small for this list. Write down personal accomplishments and professional achievements. Did you help your neighbor shovel their driveway? Write it down. Did you lead your team in a project at work? Write it down. If you find that it’s hard to remember the success, this might be a good time to start a journal and list your wins at the end of every day so you can flip back to celebrate not just on New Year’s Eve, but throughout the year.

By focusing on your successes, you are reminding yourself of every positive event you achieved. This triggers the reward system in your brain, triggering the release of feel-good hormones. Success is addicting for exactly this reason. A positive mindset helps you embrace optimism and joy of the previous year and is paramount for continued success.

2- Internalize lessons learned

While you’re riding the joy of success, this is the time to reflect on what didn’t work. This may seem like following your positive thought process with a negative one, but you don’t want to simply list your failures. Instead, you want to think about what didn’t work and why.

Emily Fletcher from Ziva Meditation encourages you to change the question, “Why is this happening to me?” to “Why is this happening for me?”. It’s changing one word, but that word changes your mindset from a negative to a positive. It isn’t the event that matters, but what lessons you can learn from it.

Your brain doesn’t like an open loop. If you ask yourself why things happen to you, it will seek out examples of how you were wronged. So by changing the question, your brain then starts to seek out examples of what you can learn and gain from each event. It’s a small distinction that makes a huge difference in how you process events in your lives. There’s always a lesson in every event, both the good and the bad. By focusing on those instead of the events themselves, you can change into a positive mindset by always seeking opportunities instead of focusing on the downside.

3- Write down the possibilities

This is where you welcome your dreams and put them on paper. Write down everything you want to accomplish. Again, this list isn’t limited to things you think are possible or realistic. This is a list of every single thing you want for the year. Focusing on a long list of potential events and achievements may feel overwhelming, but if you open yourself to exploring what you want without limit, you may end up being surprised what lands on that list.

Often, you choose goals that you think are achievable or that you think others want you to achieve. These aren’t bad goals, but they may not be the right goals for you. A goal should make you nervous. It should make you a little afraid because that’s when your brain goes out of the comfortable habit loop and becomes active. When you write down all of your possibilities, you will know what stands out, what makes you nervous. What you really want shines through like a beacon and those are the goals you should focus on for the new year.

4- Make a plan

It’s normal to think of setting a goal as a finite thing. If you want to lose weight, you go on a diet and go to the gym every day. If you want to learn a foreign language, you buy a program and practice every day while you commute. If you want to write a book, you sit down and write 1,000 words every day. Sound familiar?

Knowing what you want and what you need to do to get there is only part of making a plan. The other part is planning for everything else. What happens when you have a bad day, or even a bad week? What do you do when you feel stuck or unmotivated? How will you work through any obstacles that come up? Can you think of what those might be?

Making a plan for success is trying to answer as many questions as you can about the reality of executing your goal. You should have small goals to mark success, a list of people you can turn to for advice or motivation when things get hard, an understanding of what tools and resources you will need as you make progress, and an idea of what you think is going to happen as you work towards your goal. Having a plan is vital to maintaining a positive mindset where you believe success is possible.

5- Be flexible

Part of getting in the right mindset is also knowing that things will go wrong. No matter how well you plan, or how achievable your goals may seem, things will go wrong. You will hit roadblocks and obstacles. There will be tough days and rough weeks where you doubt and question if you can reach your goal. But if you know that this is normal, you can prepare for these hard times in advance.

Flexibility also means being aware that your goal may shift or change as you progress. Maybe the thing you set out to do isn’t feasible anymore in terms of getting you to your longer-term goals. Or perhaps a new opportunity arises that makes more sense. Knowing that goals shift and change happens helps you adjust your mindset well in advance.

Conclusion

Setting a goal or resolution isn’t a set it and forget it process. It requires getting into the right mindset by adjusting how you look at difficulties and obstacles while preparing rock-solid plans to achieve your goals.

Watch this video for more on the power of mindset:

5 TIPS TO FOCUS ON HAPPINESS IN THE NEW YEAR

Depending on your day, it can be hard to focus on happiness, sometimes. By definition, happiness is a state of well-being, joy, or contentment. It can be a sense of satisfaction after completing a job or a task. Or the positive feeling you get after helping others. Because happiness means different things to different people, it often feels like an elusive emotion that is difficult to attain.

Neurologically, happiness is the release of chemicals in your brain. Specifically, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins all contribute to the feelings associated as happiness. This means there are things you can do every day to help increase the release of these chemicals. In turn, this will elevate your overall feeling of happiness.

1: Engage in physical activities

The fact is, physical activities—aerobic or anaerobic—have multiple positive effects on the brain. It improves blood flow, and a well-oxygenated brain functions better. Exercise also helps the brain produce endorphins, a neurochemical that not only helps elevate mood but helps decrease pain as well. In addition, not only does exercise release dopamine, regular exercise can increase the amount of dopamine receptors in your brain.

Over time, exercise changes the brain’s structure by growing new neurons, specifically in the hippocampus. This is the region of the brain associated with emotions, learning, and memory. Restructuring the hippocampus helps stabilize your moods and leave you feeling emotionally balanced throughout the day. When you feel better, it’s easier to focus on happiness.

The good news is that you can gain these benefits by doing as little as ten minutes of exercise a day. If getting exercise is a new habit, start small. Doing things like taking the stairs whenever possible or parking at the end of a parking lot instead of upfront are great examples of starting small. Maybe walk around the block or in the park during your breaks or after work. Of course, if it’s too cold or you prefer to stay indoors, you can jump rope, do jumping jacks, practice yoga, do push-ups, or any other activities that elevate the heart rate while you move around.

2: Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is when you center yourself in the present moment, so that you can assess your actions and thoughts without judgment. This sounds more complicated than it is. You can meditate, do deep-breathing exercises, say affirmations, focus on your body, and avoid multitasking for short, deliberate periods of time either daily or weekly.

When you engage in mindfulness for at least five minutes a day, it helps rewire your brain. Meditation in particular helps shrink the amygdala, the region of the brain that is tied directly with your sympathetic nervous system and triggers your fight-or-flight response. Stress increases the amygdala which makes you more susceptible to reacting to situations with fear or anxiety. By shrinking the amygdala, you become more open to reacting to the same situations with a calmer outlook.

Practicing mindfulness also reduces the levels of cortisol in your brain. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can disrupt your sleep patterns, cause your moods to become volatile, and decrease your productivity. Mindfulness increases dopamine and serotonin, which lower cortisol levels. It also increases your brain’s production of melatonin, which stabilizes your sleep schedule.

3: Sleep better

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep daily helps keep the brain functioning effectively. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can lead to sleep deprivation, and a sleep-deprived brain affects your cognitive functionality, making it difficult to pay attention, make decisions, and think critically. This then works to diminish your focus and eradicate your productivity.

To sleep better and enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep, avoid using phones or other devices in bed. Screens emit blue light, which is the same wavelength as sunlight. This sends a signal to your brain that it’s still daytime, raising cortisol and inhibiting the production of melatonin. Without melatonin, it’s difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, and your overall sleep-wake cycle will be disrupted leaving you groggy and tired in the morning.

Other ways to help ensure you’re getting the right amount of quality sleep, is by setting up your bedroom to be sleep-friendly. Keeping your bedroom clutter-free helps your brain relax so you can fall asleep faster. You can put up curtains to keep light out or use a sleep mask to help block light that could wake you up. To alleviate noise, you can listen to calming sounds or use ear buds. All of these are small ways that can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and get more deep sleep to rejuvenate your body and brain.

4: Practice gratitude

Gratitude helps you appreciate the value and importance of the people in your lives and the things you have. When you reflect on these things, it helps raise your feeling of satisfaction. This is more than simply being thankful. Gratitude is also engaging in behaviors of giving and generosity.

When you feel gratitude, your brain activates your ventral and dorsal prefrontal cortex. These areas are responsible for your emotional responses, and enhance things like bonding and morality. It also is a key element in your reward system, helping to strengthen your habits. Every time you’re grateful, your reward system is activated, which motivates you to engage in this behavior again.

You can actively practice gratitude in multiple ways. Keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down what you’re grateful for every day keeps you focused on the more positive aspects of your lives. You can also make more of an effort to express gratitude to people in your life on a regular basis. Making the commitment to say thank you or otherwise show your appreciation to one person a day is an easy way to practice gratitude daily.

5: Build and embrace self-love

Self-love is when you not only believe in yourself, it’s also when you make your well-being a top priority. And it goes beyond simply saying you have confidence in yourself or believing in yourself. Building self-love means you take actions to support your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth.

One of the most important things you can do is practice self-care. This means taking time to nurture yourself throughout the week. Doing things like taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, practicing meditation, or engaging in creative endeavors or hobbies can help relax and restore your well-being.

Other ways to build self-love is to create boundaries and uphold them. These can be to maintain your work-life balance and protect your emotional well-being in all relationships. You can remind yourself of your value, pay attention to what you’re afraid of, and work on overcoming those obstacles, stop comparing yourself to others, and allow yourself to make mistakes. By taking the time to take care of yourself, you’re giving your brain the rest and resources it needs to be emotionally balanced and physically rejuvenated.

Conclusion

The path to happiness is attainable for everyone. By creating daily habits that promote neurochemical responses in your brain you can help promote your emotional well-being every day. A healthy brain is a happy brain, and that allows you to reach your truly limitless potential in the New Year and beyond.

For more on how to focus on happiness, watch this episode:

7 AMAZING BRAIN FACTS

Every day, neuroscientists discover incredible, new facts about the brain. These findings all helps doctors, scientists, and researchers learn more about how to maximize and develop overall brain functionality, but it also helps them understand how to boost brain capabilities, as well. And this base of knowledge can help you as you work towards better brain health. Here are seven facts you probably don’t know about your brain.

Brain Fact #1: Your Brain Functions Are Equal to Billions of Micro-Computers

The number of neurons in your brain range from 86 billion to 100 billion. Neurons are the specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses throughout the brain.

In a study done by MIT, researchers placed thin electrodes in the dendrites of several neurons. Dendrites are small, branchlike structures that send electrical signals to each neural cell. Researchers discovers that the human dendrite have fewer ion channels per dendrite than other species. This means that each individual dendrite has to make a decision on whether to send any electrical impulse down the chain to the neuron. These collective decisions mean that rather than relying on larger structures in the brain to control electrical activity, each neuron functions relatively on its own, behaving like a miniature computer.

Imagine having 86 billion computers in your brain helping you in all the aspects of your life. It’s incredible.

Brain Fact #2: Your Brain Makes Neurons in Every Moment

Your brain is constantly making brain cells. During intrauterine life, the brain makes about a quarter of a million neurons per minute. After birth, the process of making new neurons slows down, but your brain continues to make neurons until it stops working. An adult brain creates roughly 700 new neurons every day. While that may seem like a small number given the billions of neurons in your brain, remember that this is already a fully formed network, so this new growth serves to optimize your current brain activity.

You can encourage neural growth through constant learning, exercise, a healthy diet, and engaging in creative endeavors. Studies show that aerobic exercise stimulate overall neural growth, but also activate neural cells in your hippocampus, the area of your brain responsible for learning, memory, and spatial awareness. Another study on intermittent fasting indicates you can stimulate new neural growth by as much as 20%.

Even though your brain develops faster in the womb, research shows that it continues to grow new neurons every day of your life.

Brain Fact #3: Our Brains Are Constantly Programming & Reprogramming

Each neuron is connected to thousands of other neurons through synapses. And each grouping of neurons performs specific tasks and functions. In order to perform optimally and effectively, your brain will constantly work to ensure each network of connections are able to communicate quickly.

When you learn something new, your brain will work to create new connections or build onto existing neural networks to enhance your learning. This process is called neuroplasticity and helps keep your brain healthy. But you don’t want to stop challenging yourself because once you have something entrenched in your knowledge base, or you stop using that particular knowledge, your brain will also prune away unused networks. That’s why it’s so important to continue challenging yourself to both learn new skills, but to also continue building on your current foundation of knowledge.

It doesn’t have to be technical learning to keep your neural networks operating at full capacity. Hobbies are fantastic ways to keep adding new connections. Learn a musical instrument or another language. Take up dancing or pottery. Even doing challenging puzzles or playing learning games can help keep your brain happy and healthy.

Brain Fact #4 Your Brain Needs a Huge Amount of Energy

Your brain requires a huge amount of energy to work. It’s only 2% of your overall body weight but it requires over 20% of your energy stores, oxygen levels, and nutrients to operate. To put that in perspective, in a 2,000 calorie diet, the brain takes 400 calories alone. That’s why a healthy diet and exercise are so vital for overall good brain health.

Part of the reason your brain is such an energy hog is that it is constantly working. Sending signals to your brain and heart, keeping your organs functioning at all times—including when you’re asleep. It’s also designed to react at a moment’s notice. Thoughts constantly bubble up and there is no advance notice for when you want it to remember something. Even your habits are thanks to neural networks that have automated and memorized certain behaviors, acting almost effortlessly whenever you need it to.

Brain Fact #5: Your Brain Produces Electricity

Don’t let your brain’s small size deceive you. If you were to take the blood vessel in the brain and stretch them out end to end, they would make a street over 400 miles long. This takes a lot of power to maintain, and on average, your brain produced roughly 25 to 30 watts of electricity—enough to power a ten watt lightbulb!

It would take over 3,000 years to count all the neurons in your brain and because it’s constantly working, your brain sends more messages in a day than all the phones in the world. But it isn’t the amount of messages that produces electricity, or what makes the brain truly impressive. It’s that the speed of these messages is incredibly fast. Neurons send information to your brain at a mind-blowing 150 miles-per-hour, or 241 kilometers per hour. That’s how you can feel a raindrop on your skin within milliseconds of it landing.

Brain Fact #6: Your Brain Is Mostly Water

It isn’t just nutrients your brain needs, but water, as well. Your body is made mostly of water, and the same is true of your brain. Roughly three-quarters, or 80%, of the brain is water. Even losing as much as 2% due to dehydration can lead to impaired thinking, fatigue, headaches, and general brain fog.

Even if you aren’t significantly dehydrated, not drinking enough water can reduce your brain’s efficiency. Water helps conduct and send the necessary electrical signals needed to communicate with the rest of your body. Half of all your brain’s energy is used sending and receiving signals, so the harder it has to work, the less efficient it will be. This means even being slightly dehydrated can reduce your ability to focus and concentrate, can hinder your problem-solving and decision-making capabilities, and can even impact your memory.

If you start to feel sluggish, drink a glass of water and watch your attention, focus, and energy levels increase.

Brain Fact #7: Each region of the Brain is Specialized and Versatile

Each region of the brain has specific functions. But in order to operate your body efficiently, those functions require cross-collaboration with other regions of the brain. And often, these regions and functions operate independently and simultaneously with each other.

This amazing versatility is how the brain can heal itself after traumatic injuries. Other areas and regions will step in and take over to compensate for the lost functions. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about her healing process when she lost the use of her entire left hemisphere in her book, My Stroke of Insight. You can listen to her episode on our podcast, here.

Conclusion 

Your brain is the most complicated organ in your body. Every year, scientists learn more and more about how it works, yet much of the brain remains a mystery. It’s a powerful part of your body and knowing how it functions can help you keep it happy and healthy, allowing you to unlock your truly limitless potential in learning and in life.

For more brain facts, watch this episode: