Unnecessary Stress.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing.

Some of it actually serve as good motivation for us to get stuff done and step out of our comfort zones.

Other times, it’s just unnecessary and a result of our own doing.

And unfortunately for us, we actually face a lot more stress from our own doing.

Like allowing yourself to be affected by negative thoughts.
Like procrastinating and leaving things to the very last minute.

These are all stress caused by us.

Imagine if you ignored those negative thoughts and didn’t let them faze you.
Imagine if you didn’t procrastinate and worked on your projects early.

The stress wouldn’t exist.

And depending on how often you’re stressed by negative thoughts or procrastination or anything else.

Eliminating those sources of stress means eliminating a lot of anxiety and inner turmoil.

But it’s easier said than done.

Because it essentially means undoing years of ingrained behaviour.

But it’s about time we stop stressing ourselves out.

Take a deep belly breath and let it all go.

Bring your awareness to the present moment instead of fixating on the negative thoughts in your mind.

Notice how your breath feels as you inhale and exhale.
Notice how your rear feels as you’re seated on a chair.
Notice how your feet feel against the ground.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by life, just say this to yourself.

“Here and now”.

Get out of your head and bring awareness to the present.

There’s nothing else that’s free of worry, judgement and anxiety than the present moment.

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Why It’s Time To Stop Running Away.

Whenever we’re faced with difficult situations, our natural instinct is to run away from them.

That sounds like a good idea.

And from an evolutionary point of view, it makes sense.

Animals run when they sense predators to avoid getting eaten.

Our cavemen ancestors ran when they sensed danger to ensure the survival of the human race.

But it’s time to go against that. 

The ‘dangers’ we face now aren’t the same.

Our ‘fight or flight’ response gets triggered even though most of the situations we face now aren’t life-threatening.

They’re simply tough situations that we don’t want to face.

And constantly running away from them actually creates more problems for us.

We don’t learn how to be good at dealing with tough situations.

We learn how to be good at running away from everything.

And that’s bad.

Like having to work on a tough assignment.
Or asking a seemingly silly question in class or at work for fear of being judged.
Or telling a crush that you like them.

It’s easy to run away and not have to deal with the possible pain, hurt, rejection or embarrassment.

But you gain nothing from running away.

Absolutely nothing.

That ‘comfort bubble’ you’re in continues to be the same size as it was.

Never expanding, never growing.

And this small bubble of yours will stay that way for as long as you’re running away from everything.

This is why some people don’t seem to mature as they get older.
This is why some people go through life struggling instead of thriving.
This is why some people seem to find that everything is against them.

They’re just not well-equipped to deal with life’s tough times.

And it’s time to stop that.

It’s time to stop running away.

Getting The Most Bang For Your Time.

You’ve probably heard the term ‘getting the most bang for your buck’.

It’s about getting the most value from a certain amount of money you have.

Although its origin of use was for the concept of money, that’s not the only area we can apply it for.

We can also use it for the betterment of our lives.

But the true currency for our lives isn’t money.

It’s time.

And it’s an extremely limited resource.

The best part is, everyone’s given the same amount of time.

So it’s a level playing field.

As much as we want to spend our time on meaningful activities, there are three that will ‘bring the most bang for your time’.

Meditation.
Exercise.
Drinking water.

Invest a significant amount of time into just these three activities and you’ll be ensuring that your emotional, mental and physical health will always be at peak condition.

Your mind is razor sharp.
Your confidence is sky high.
Your body is constantly active and ready to go.

Then everything else in life falls into place.

Social interactions, productivity at work, energy and motivation levels, business meetings, sports, activities, anything.

You’ll be making the most of every situation you’re in because you’re always in peak condition, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Top form. All the time.

Sometimes, all it takes is to strip the unnecessary so that the necessary can work.

How To Wake Up Early Without Feeling Like A Zombie.

We all know how waking up early is good for us.

Self-made millionaires and CEOs do it all the time.

They get up early to get a head start on their day.

And it’s arguably the most productive time anyone can have if done right.

But it’s tough.

You know how hard it can get to fight the snooze monster when your alarm rings.

You want to get up at 5 am but at the same time, you don’t want to get up from your comfy bed.

What do you do then?

Well, fear not for all hope is not lost.

Waking up at a certain time is all about building the habit of waking up at a certain time.

If you’ve never woken up at 5 am before, your body is going to give you hell when that alarm rings at 5 am.

Your body’s in shock that you’re telling it to wake up at 5 am.

“I’ve always been asleep at 5 am and now you want me to get up at 5 am?!”

Is probably what your body is saying when your alarm goes off.

And it’s not a good feeling either.

A strategy that has worked for a lot of people is to gradually set the alarm earlier every week.

This strategy increases your chances of actually waking up at 5 am, compared to just jumping in cold turkey like what I did.

So if you usually wake up at 8 am, set the alarm to 7 am for the entirety of the week.

AND TURN OFF THE SNOOZE FUNCTION.

That’s right.

No more snooze from now on.

Snoozing is perhaps one of the biggest contributors of a term I call ‘waking up procrastination’.

The alarm goes off at 5 am, you hit snooze and sleep on for 10 minutes.

Then when the alarm rings, you hit snooze again. 
And again. 
And again.

Before you know it, it’s 8 am and you’ve just been a victim of ‘waking up procrastination’.

Turn off the snooze function and set your alarm an hour earlier than usual.

Which means you’ll also need to sleep an hour earlier than your usual bedtime.

That goes without saying.

You need to have adequate sleep for this to work, by the way.

Or maybe even more during this adjustment period so you won’t feel so groggy when the alarm goes off.

Another thing you have to do is to drink water before going to bed and after waking up.

Not so much before going to bed because you don’t want to interrupt your sleep and have to use the toilet.

But right after waking up is the perfect time to load up on water.

Your body’s just gone through hours without water during sleep.

So part of the sluggishness you experience when waking up is also due to mild dehydration.

Turn off that snooze and start rising early.

Pain.

“No pain, no gain”

Probably one of the most well-known cliched quotes.

But very little do we actually take it into consideration when we’re going through it ourselves.

Be it pain, suffering, discomfort, uneasiness.

We avoid them as much as we can.

But they’re actually clear indicators of growth and progress.

If your quads are sore from an intense leg workout, expect some degree of muscle growth.

If your heart aches from a recent breakup or betrayal, you will get emotionally tougher.

If you’re feeling out of place in a new environment, you will eventually adapt and learn quite a lot in the process.

Pain and discomfort are not problems, just situations.

You choose how you frame them. 

They’re either opportunities for growth or they’re just problems.

It’s up to you to decide.

There are opportunities for growth in everything and pain/discomfort is no different.

We probably learn best when we’re in pain or discomfort.

It’s almost the same concept as punishment.

Get punished, feel pain/discomfort and learn to not let it happen again.

But there might be cases where it’s just unavoidable.

You could have just gotten a new job and you’re feeling slightly unaccustomed to the environment, causing unwanted anxiety and stress.

Or you could have been given a new assignment at school and you realise that your group members are people that you don’t particularly like.

Or you could have been part of organising an event that went horribly wrong on event day.

All these scenarios have different and interesting learning opportunities.

But they only matter only if you choose to view them as such.

There are no problems, only situations.

What Real Productivity Is All About.

A lot of us are obsessed with being as productive as possible.

But do we actually know what productivity really is?

When we talk about being productive, we most likely relate it to accomplishing as much as we can within a given period of time.

But that’s actually not all there is to it.

Real productivity goes beyond that.

It’s not just about getting as much work done within a short period of time.

It’s also about your energy and mood.

True productivity means being able to do a lot while still being energised and happy.

And not just short-term but also in the long-term.

It’s about energy and mood management.

If you can accomplish so much but you’re miserable and drained all the time, that’s not being truly productive.

You can only keep that up for so long before you burn out and require downtime to recover.

There has to be balance.

Being too productive while sacrificing your health, happiness and personal relationships isn’t a good way to live life.

Work is just one part of life anyway.

As important as it is, we also have our health, relationships and sanity to keep.

We need to stop being so fixated on wanting to get things done all the time.

It’s time to think of ways to be productive while feeling awesome at the same time too.

It goes both ways.

You can’t possibly be 100% productive if you’re tired, drained, pessimistic and unhappy.

A truly productive person is mentally, emotionally and physically well.

Like a machine that works at its best when it’s well maintained.

Your body is no different.

Always schedule time during the day to chill out and ensure you don’t go into burnout mode.

No matter how busy the workday is.

Even if it’s just 10 minutes of doing something that you really like doing.

Go do it!

If you can’t find the time for it, that’s actually when you need it more than ever.

Go get things done while feeling awesome at the same time.

Why Your Body Language Matters.

People tend to perceive and treat you differently based on your body language.

It’s no surprise too since about 90% of communication is made up of your body language and vocal tonality.

If you exhibit closed body language, people can pick up on that, interpret that as a cue that you don’t want to be disturbed and leave you alone.

This could make them think that you’re not approachable, something’s troubling you, or associate your closed body language with something negative. 

Some examples of closed body language include crossing the arms and/or legs, a tense facial expression, looking down or away and covering certain body parts like the genital area, chest and or stomach.

If you’re exhibiting open body language, you exude an aura of warmth and openness which others will interpret it positively and see you as an approachable and friendly person.

They might instantly have a good impression of you, think that you’re an honest person, and not associate you with anything negative (unless you’re being too open and taking up too much space).

Some examples of open body language mainly include the opposite of closed body language such as having the arms and legs open, a relaxed facial expression and an overall pleasant demeanour.

Let’s also not forget that body language also includes facial expressions such as smiling or frowning since they are also considered non-verbal expressions.

Even the direction of where you’re looking at matters too.

Looking down symbolises submission and guilt.
Looking up symbolises thought and critical thinking. 
Looking forward symbolises purpose and direction.

It sounds like there’s a lot to think about when it comes to body language but let’s simplify it.

Instead of having to think about individual parts of your body like how your face is like or the position of your arms and legs, just think of this.

As long you adopt an open and pleasant body language, you’re all set.

It’s going to feel unnatural since we’re not used to it but eventually, it’ll be second nature to adopt such body language.

All it takes is consistent awareness and adjustment.

Research has also shown that closed body language says a lot about a person’s state of mind too. 

The person is either feeling defensive, withdrawn, anxious or just uncomfortable in the environment they’re currently in.

And that’s an impression you want to avoid.

Especially if you’re working with others, at a social gathering or even if you’re alone with a person you’re close with.

Get rid of any possibility of negative impression by adopting open body language as much as you can.

Always think open.