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The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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The FightShape Fat-Loss Diet Challenge The fat loss industry is a joke. It seems…

The FightShape Fat-Loss Diet Challenge The fat loss industry is a joke. It seems there is a new machine that promises to incinerate fat just by standing on it. Or the latest pill that burns fat whi… Source by marlondancehooi

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5 Powerful Mantras to Help You Quiet Anxiety, Beat Self-Doubt, Manage Stress, and More

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What if you could stop worrying (or feel more confident, or less stressed) with just a few simple words? That's the premise behind Habit Changers ($22, amazon.com), a powerful little book filled with one-line mantras meant to help you reprogram your brain.

Inspired by a Tibetan Buddhist mind training practice called Lojong, author and executive coach M.J. Ryan has been using simple slogans with her clients to interrupt the habitual thought processes that hold them back. The mantras work, she writes, because they override the brain's automatic response, "help you become consciously aware of what you're doing—and serve as a reminder of what it is that you want to do." 

Below are five of these simple but profound phrases. Choose the mantras that resonate most with you, and recite as needed.

To gather courage: “Handshake your fear”

Whether you’re generally anxious or find yourself afraid in particular circumstances—like public speaking or when expressing opinions to important stakeholders at work—fear can be debilitating. Not only can it keep you from realizing your goals, but it can also prevent you from simply enjoying your day to day life. I know because I was ruled by fear for decades—and I’m not alone.

This is an issue many people talk to me about. Part of the problem is that in Western culture fear is something we’re generally taught to ignore or suppress; when we can’t, we get even more overwhelmed.

The Buddhists have a different approach. They suggest you befriend your fear, turn toward it as you would toward someone you loved who was feeling afraid: “Oh, you poor thing, I see you are afraid. You’re not alone. I’m right here with you.”

In saying this you give your fear attention, neither ignoring it nor making more out of it than there is. It sounds backward, but oftentimes, paying attention to a feeling can make it lessen or even disappear. These words can also help you to see that you’re more than your fear. Yes, there is the scared person inside you. But there is also the bold, wise part of you. Getting in touch with that wiser, braver self helps you act from confidence rather than fear—act not out of fear but in spite of it.

RELATED: Self-Compassion: The New Secret to Being Slim, Fit, and  Happy for Life

To find confidence: "Undistort the distortion"

This is an idea that Sheryl Sandberg wrote about in Lean In, and it’s based on the fact that, according to many studies across a wide range of disciplines, women are plagued by much lower self-confidence than men. This unfortunate phenomenon shows up in various ways. For instance, women consistently judge their performance as worse than it actually is, while men judge their performance as better than it is. And when it comes time to apply for a job, women don’t feel qualified enough to apply unless they match 100% of the criteria, while men through their hats into the ring if there is a 50% match.

Even when we understand this phenomenon is social, not personal, it can be very hard to change. In writing about it, Sandberg noted about herself, “I learned over time that while it was hard to shake feelings of self-doubt, I could understand that there was a distortion. … I learned to undistort the distortion.”

The words jumped off the page at me as fodder for a wonderful habit changer. Since then, women I’ve worked with have used it to recognize when they’re doubting themselves and to act in spite of their self-doubt, knowing that if they waited until they felt self-confident, they would wait forever. As one woman who used it to start her own business put it, “It helps me remember by feeling of unworthiness is a lie so I don’t have to listen to it as much.”

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

To manage stress: "This is only a paper tiger"

When you’re stressed out about something, it can feel a bit like a ravenous tiger is about to devour you, right? The problem seems overwhelmingly daunting and you don’t see how you can are possibly going to cope. But there is a way out—recognizing that what you are facing is only a paper tiger, not a real one.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem, just that it’s not one that threatens your life. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson created this metaphor to illustrate the fact that the stress response was designed to save you from physical danger—like a tiger chasing you. But your amygdala, which is where the stress responsive originates, can’t differentiate between a tiger and a traffic jam. So it responds as if a tiger were after you when you’re only stuck in line, experiencing a flight delay, or anticipating an important presentation.

Using this habit changer whenever you are stressed reminds your body/mind you’re not in mortal danger so you can clam down and figure out how to deal with that line, delay, or presentation. “This habit changer has been a life saver,” one stressed-out client said to me recently.  “It’s made it possible for me to stop, figure out if there even is a problem, solve it when needed, and then proceed with my day more calmly.”

RELATED: 25 Surprising Ways Stress Can Hurt Your Health

To quiet anxiety: “Don’t go in your mind where your body is not”

Do you constantly worry about all the terrible thing that might happen? Many of us torture ourselves with this brand of magical thinking: If I worry now, it will help keep the bad thing away.

Actually all you do is make yourself miserable now as you focus on the prospect of misfortune and the unhappiness you will feel if it occurs, which it usually doesn’t! If you’re a chronic worrier, try this habit changer, which comes courtesy of an English-as-a-second-language client of mine.

I was working with her to stop worrying about all the possible future catastrophes that could befall her and suggested that she say to herself, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.  Soon after that we came to the end of her coaching engagement and she moved on to an overseas work assignment. A couple years later, she called me out of the blue to say how helpful it had been to learn to “not go in her mind where her body is not.” It had completely eliminated her worrying.

I was so delighted with her translation that now I give it to all my worriers. Use it to remind yourself that all worries are in the future and likely will not come to pass. You’re not there yet—it’s all happening in your mind. And if some terrible thing does indeed happen, you can deal with when it arrives.

RELATED: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

To summon strength: "Look how far I’ve come”

This is a strategy long-distance runners use to resist the temptation to give up when they’re tired or in pain. Scientists call it the horizon effect. Rather than focusing on how far they still have to go, they encourage themselves to keep at it based on the progress they’ve already made.

When I have clients with a tendency to focus on their mistakes when they’re learning a new behavior, I give them this habit changer to help them cultivate the resilience to keep at it. Because of the brain’s tendency to be Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive, as Rick Hanson describes our inborn negativity bias, when people encounter a minor setback, they often lose sight of the progress they’ve made.

I’ll never forget the client who called me to say she was a “total failure” at managing her anger because she’d stomped down the hall after a meeting. She was ready to give up on her anger-management efforts altogether. I reminded her that it was the first time she’d lost her temper in three months, whereas before it had been a weekly occurrence. Once she adopted this habit changer, it helped her stick to the techniques she’d found useful. Plus it helped her get back on the horse when she messed up, because she was able to see it as just an occasional slip-up rather than a fundamental failure. Use this mantra when you need help sticking to whatever it is you’re’ working on.

Adapted from Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals by M.J. Ryan, available from Crown Business/Crown Publishing Group.

 

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How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose

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During my quarter-life crisis, I felt paralyzed to make a change. I felt like I was at the intersection of hopeless, stuck, and FOMO (or fear of missing out).

I said to myself, “I hate my job and I want to do something else, but I don’t know where to start. I’m interested in so many things, but none of them seem perfect. All my friends on Facebook are so happy and successful. My friend is a Forbes 30 Under 30. My buddy is traveling around Thailand. My friend just got engaged. I’m tired of being single. I’m a failure.”

Everything feels impossible during a quarter-life crisis, even small decisions like which shampoo to buy, or which show to watch on Netflix. 

But the five simple steps below helped me get through that period of intense confusion—and eventually, find my true purpose. I hope these tips will be helpful as you discover yours.

Stop the comparisons

Social media has made it all but impossible to avoid comparing yourself to others. We see only the coolest parts of our friends’ lives, like when they get a new job, fall in love, or travel somewhere beautiful. We think, “Wow, I really need to get my act together.”  All of us are figuring it out, even our friends whose Instagram grass looks really green. All of us are on different paths, with no right or wrong answer. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Stop worrying about what other people think and start figuring out what you want.

RELATED: Elizabeth Gilbert Shares Her Secrets to Living a More Creative Life

Pursue what’s meaningful to you

If you want to turn your quarter-life crisis into a breakthrough, you have to stop focusing on everyone else’s noise, and start asking yourself why you’re here. What do you care most about? What do you want to do for the world? What are you really good at? What types of people do you want to surround yourself with? How much money do you need to live your desired lifestyle? I call this finding alignment between who you are and how you’re spending your days.

Turn your doubt into action

When I was stuck in my old job, fear of the unknown often kept me up all night. This doubt never really goes away, but I’ve learned that we can turn our doubts into research, into positive energy that takes us closer to our next lily pad. If you write your doubts and fears on paper, you can begin to take tangible action steps toward figuring out what’s next in your life. This might mean reading a book that interests you, signing up for a class, launching a crowdfunding campaign for a creative project, starting a blog, attending a cool conference or event, traveling somewhere you always wanted to go, having coffee with a mentor, or pursuing an apprenticeship or volunteer opportunity that excites you.

Find a community of people who believe in the beauty of your dreams

Surviving a quarter-life crisis is the result of both hard work and finding the right people to support your journey. You can’t do it alone. Building a community of believers is the difference between your breakthrough being a dream and a dream come true. So, start finding people who make you better. People who inspire you; who are creative, who are living for others, who hold you accountable. Depending on where you live, believers might be easy or incredibly difficult to find. Attend conferences, ask your network for ideas, and use social media to find local meet-up groups based on your interests.

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

Practice weekly self-care rituals

When I was stuck in my quarter-life crisis, overworked and stressed, I definitely wasn’t taking care myself—and I got shingles! I didn’t give myself time to eat well, see friends, meditate, write in my journal, or exercise. If you don’t take care of your body, it’s nearly impossible to reach your goals or help anyone else reach theirs. Finding your purpose doesn’t translate to applying to as many to jobs online as you possibly can. Finding your purpose means spending time doing the things you love, with the people you love most. It also means learning how to be kind to yourself. So, what are three things you can do to be kind to yourself this week? Think about ways you can treat yourself, take care of yourself, and create yourself.

If you’re lucky, practicing self-love might even bring you closer to the purpose you’ve been searching for.

Adapted from The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters by Adam Smiley Poswolsky, available from TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House. Subscribe for more career resources at smileyposwolsky.com.

 

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Are You Too Hard on Yourself? This Study Explains Why

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The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

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When you screw up—think misplaced keys, missed deadline, missed opportunity—do you accept it as a misstep and move on? Or do you beat yourself up for not being on top of your game?

A team of psychologists recently published findings in the journal Self and Identity that help explain why some of us are prone to do the latter.

For the study, 161 adults between the ages of 17 and 34 completed a questionnaire that measured their capacity for self-compassion. They also filled out a survey about their values, including what they wanted out of life, and the behaviors or traits they believed were necessary to achieve those things.

Finally, the participants were asked to imagine themselves in two scenarios: One in which they acted with self-compassion, and another in which they were self-critical. Then they described how they would feel about themselves after each scenario.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic 

The researchers found that across the board, the study participants recognized that self-compassion is generally a good thing—but not necessarily for themselves.

Participants who were less self-compassionate thought that practicing self-care would negatively impact their performance. They said being kind to themselves after a failure, rejection, or loss would make them feel less conscientious, less ambitious, and less motivated. They also saw self-criticism as “a sign of strength and responsibility.” In other words, they believed being tough on themselves made them tougher, better, and more driven.

But those folks might want to start cutting themselves some slack: The researchers note that people who are rich in self-compassion typically possess better emotional health. They benefit from higher life satisfaction, and a lower risk of depression and anxiety. They also tend to have a sunnier outlook, and to cope better when crap (inevitably) happens.  

If you're in the habit of treating yourself harshly, try shifting your perspective on what self-criticism actually does for you, suggests Ashwini Nadkarni, MD, a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who was not involved in the study. “You might think [being self-critical is] motivating, and in the short term, it can be. But in the long run, the things that you tell yourself—I should be a better mother, I should have a better job—are demoralizing,” she explains. Over time, that type of self-flagellation can lead to burn out, and keep you from reaching the goals you were pushing so hard to achieve in the first place.

RELATED: 8 Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself

Below, Dr. Nadkarni offers her four-step plan for practicing more self-kindness and understanding:

Be aware. In order to change a behavior, first you need to be convinced it’s a problem. So for one week, write down any self-critical thoughts you notice. 

Talk to yourself like you'd talk to a friend. You are more likely to be kind and empathetic to a loved one. Try treating yourself with the same level of respect. 

Be mindful. Observe your feelings, but don’t judge them. When a self-critical thought pops into your head, recognize it; then refocus your attention to something neutral, like your breath.

Start a journal. When something upsetting happens, write down the most self-compassionate things you can think to say. Ideally, the words will express that you accept yourself exactly as you are, imperfections and all.

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The importance of sleep

 

If you want to give yourself a better chance of avoiding the curveballs, prioritise sleep.

Clocking less than six hours of sleep per night compromises the brain’s ability to regulate emotions, making it that much harder to deal.

And it only takes one night of insufficient sleep to make you vulnerable to meltdowns according to a new Tel Aviv University study that identified the neurological mechanism responsible for disturbed emotion regulation and increased anxiety due to sleep debt.

In effect, the brain loses its ability to discern between what is and isn’t important, reported The Journal of Neuroscience.

Hannah Bailey shows us eight ways to improve your sleep:

Behaviour:

Ditch the macchiato, doughnut and laksa.
“Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and avoid large quantities of food, particularly heavy fatty foods, immediately prior to sleep that may make you feel uncomfortable and prevent sleep,” Dr Eckert says. If you suffer reflux, avoid spicy foods, as when you lie down it may come back to bite you.

Order a mocktail
A couple of vinos may feel like they usher you backstage at lala land, but the sleep you have when you get there is likely to be flawed. “Alcohol prior to sleep can impair sleep quality, cause snoring and in some cases lead to sleep apnoea, and should be avoided,” Dr Eckert says.

Move your workouts
Vigorous exercise just before bed can impair sleep, but Dr Eckert says that exercise at other times is actually a sleep aid. “It is associated with increased levels of slow-wave (deep) sleep.”

Switch off
Working back at the office or with your laptop on the couch can hijack your sleep routine. “Overly stimulating activities prior to sleep can make it difficult to fall asleep and should be avoided,” Dr Eckert says. Likewise detailed tasks.  “Maintaining a regular sleep routine that includes avoiding these types of activities immediately prior to sleep is ideal.” Exorcise the bedroom of any screens, Eckert advises. According to a 2012 Harvard Health Letter, blue wavelengths from fluorescent lightbulbs, LED lights and computer and iPad screens wreak greater havoc than white light on melatonin. In an experiment, blue light suppressed melatonin for around twice as long as green light. Red light, on the other hand, had the mildest effect on melatonin.

Bedroom
Dim the lights
According to the National Sleep Foundation, bright light inhibits the release of ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin, which can only be stimulated in a dimly lit environment. Any bright light can prevent the release of melatonin, preventing the onset of sleep. If you can’t block 100 per cent of light, Eckert advocates using a sleep mask to mimic a dark sleeping environment.

Pull the blinds
Skip diaphanous window dressings – however romantic – and go for a heavy fabric or blinds that completely block light. The first exposure to light in the morning activates a part of your brain called the supra-chiasmatic nucleus according to the National Sleep Foundation. That means processes associated with being awake crank into gear, calling a premature end to quality sleep.

Snuggle up
Sleep temperature is integral to the quality of shut-eye. UniSA’s Centre for Sleep Research revealed that that normal initiation of sleep demands a core body temperature drop. Ordinarily, the body automatically turns down its heat dial about 90 minutes before sleep, while insomniacs who find it hard to nod off tend to maintain a higher body temperature. While your body should regulate its own degrees, a hot or frigid room can mess with the process. Eckert says the ideal room temperature for sleep is 22 degrees Celsius. If you use an electric blanket to take the chill off your sheets, turn it off before falling asleep.

Luxe your crib
You can call high thread-count sheets a health expense. While they’re not a magic sleeping pill, Eckert says good bed linen complements other measures to maximise comfort, including temperature regulation.

NEXT: Lack of sleep not only impacts on your brain function, it also kills your beauty buzz.

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