I have many more, but here are my top 5 to use to keep positive and fight off the bombardment of negativity that we are faced with each and every day. Keeping positive will improve your life in all areas. These are in no particular order:
1. Eat more meals per day
Just like that Superbowl Snickers commercial where Willem Dafoe is playing a very hungry Marilyn Monroe, your mood, personality and overall ability to perform and deal with stress are greatly affected by hunger and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). I’m sure that you, just like me, are sometimes so busy you don’t even realize you’re hungry.
[box type=”shadow” ]In Psychology Today, Dr. Patrick Bongiorno says “While the primitive animal goes into food-finding mode, sometimes our more complex human brain doesn’t realize it is a food issue, and instead simply feels anxious, depressed, angry, or even all three. That primitive part of us starts to stress about other issues (work, relationships) and the real culprit—low blood sugar—is not addressed. In a panic, sometimes a person who is hungry and stressed out might even go for more sugary foods (like sodas, cookies and cakes) which will cause even greater blood sugar fluctuations and keep the cycle going.”[/box]
To avoid this, schedule small healthy and balanced meals every 2-3 hours throughout your day. This will not only improve your performance and mood throughout the day, it will also train your body to not store fat and, therefore, burn fat. In another post on my blog, I write about Preparing meals in advance is the key to healthy food choices so you can take meals to work. Be proactive…be prepared.
2. Take a break from news and social media
I’m a real news junky, but now more than ever both the media and social media offer very little in positive reinforcements for a positive attitude. I suggest taking at least one day per week off from listening to the news, going to online news sources or any social media. In fact, if you can swing it, completely unplug for the day.
Sometimes I go for weeks at a time without following the news. I learned this from one of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss in his book, “The 4-Hour Work Week” where he said that if it’s really that important you will find out from other means (friends, colleagues, etc.). The news and social media put you in a reactive mood. In an interview with Eric Johnson on an episode of Recode.net, Ferriss said, “I’ve noticed the more reactive I feel, the more miserable I am, The worse I treat myself, the worse I treat other people. Social media is just jet fuel for reactivity.”
So, unplug from news and social media at least a day a week and see the difference it will make in your mood. Get out and do some activity that does not require technology. This is a great segue to one of my favorite one on this list.
3. Start your day with something proactive
Find a ritual that works for you, but it’s important to start your day off with a proactive action rather than reacting to someone else. You have control of your day this way. Never let someone else determine how your day will go. I choose to exercise first thing in the morning. I’ve had this ritual for over 20 years. Before I check email, before I look at social media, I eat a quick meal and head to the gym. Starting my day with something I choose to do rather than reacting to what others want me to do is very powerful.
If not exercise for you, try meditation over morning coffee. Anything that is proactive and and not reactive will work.
4. Only check email twice per day
Yeah, you read that correctly. I borrowed this from Tim Ferriss’ book, “The 4-Hour Work Week”, too. Here’s the idea: Check email right before lunch, and then check it again at the end of the day. Checking at the end of the day allows you to make your priority list and plan for tomorrow, and you know of any scheduled meetings or deadlines. Checking again around mid-day allows you to handle any emergencies should they arise. If something comes up that requires immediate attention, eventually people will be trained to know that you are NOT checking your email constantly and will call you. If you are worried about missing something, try putting an auto-responder on your email stating when you check your email and that if an emergency arises to call instead.
5. Exercise daily
I know, you probably saw this one coming from me. Working out and being active every day releases “feel-good brain chemicals” as the Mayo Clinic puts it.4
[box type=”shadow” ]Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. Research on anxiety, depression, and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood. 4[/box]
In all boils down to this: The more you are in control of your day, the more positive you will be. While this is a fitness blog, I am really focused on hacking the mind and getting the most out of life. Nothing in life can be accomplished until the mind is healthy. I go into depth about this in my book, “Fat Burning Secrets” available on Amazon. You can preview the book here.
Please be feel free to share this with someone who can use it (sources are listed at the bottom).
Here’s another of my posts you might like:
Good health is the Greatest Wealth,
- Psychology Today: Is There a Blood Sugar Monster Lurking Within You?
- Recode.net: Self-help author Tim Ferriss says social media is making us miserable
- Tim Ferriss: The 4-Hour Work Week
- TheMayoClinic.org: Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms