Tag Archives: mental health

Work

Five ways to make the most of your commute

Commuting can be a drag – especially if you are already running late, your train or bus is delayed, and there’s nowhere to sit down. However; for some people, their commute to and from work is their favourite time of day, mainly because they don’t see it as a waste of time, instead choosing to reclaim these moments as valuable ‘me time’. To help inspire you, try five benefits of maximising your daily commute, making it work best for you.

You can use your commute to learn
In 2018, time is one of our most precious commodities. It is difficult enough to balance the time you spend working and socialising, let alone anything else. Fortunately, your commute is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into your interests, without having to carve out time specifically for this. Whether you want to know more about politics, history, science or just gain some insights into improving personal relationships, this is the time to get it done!

You can improve your mental health
Commuting might seem like an odd time for focusing on your mental wellbeing, but arguably, it is the perfect opportunity to set yourself up for the day ahead or to decompress after a long day’s work. The better you are at looking after your mind, the happier and more relaxed you will be. Mindfulness is a great technique to try out on your commute and there are plenty of sensations to focus on. No idea where to start? I suggest giving Search Inside Yourself by Chade Meng-Tan, or Meditation for Fidgety Sceptics by Dan Harris a read or listen, to get yourself started.

See also: What is learning in ‘blinks’ and why you should do it

Maximising your time prepares you for the day ahead
Perhaps a more obvious one, but you can use your commuting time to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Mentally check your to-do list, think of your priorities for the day and if you have a meeting first thing – take time to figure out what you want to discuss and the questions you want to ask. Doing this on your commute means that you won’t waste any time at the start of the day, making you more productive and efficient as you go about your day.

Listening to podcasts while travelling makes you open to new ideas
If you like to spend your commuting time listening to podcasts, then congratulations, you are already spending this time wisely. Listening to podcasts makes you more aware of the opinions and ideas of others, whether the hosts are discussing science, comedy or politics. Being aware of the perspectives of others is likely to make you a better listener, as well as more accepting of others. If you haven’t listened to any podcasts yet, I’d suggest Simplify, a podcast which hosts amazing authors, discussing anything from productivity, through to sex and happiness.

You can teach yourself to be more comfortable in your own company
Lastly, commuting is the perfect opportunity to just be in your own company (mentally, at least!). If your day-to-day life is all about meetings, conversations, kids and socialising, these moments of quiet can help you focus on yourself, your needs, your interests and anything else you might have neglected in the last couple of weeks. Make a concerted effort to leave your phone in your bag or pocket, so you’re not tempted to scroll mindlessly through social media, and spend time with your own thoughts, working out what you need to do, and not to do, to feel more relaxed and at ease.

 

Ben Hughes is Head of Content at micro-learning platform and app Blinkist

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Health

Seven ways to look after your mental health this spring

With spring finally here, many of us will think about things such as clearing away clutter, doing a thorough spring clean and storing away our bulky, winter things. However, the spring is also a good time to focus on our mental health, which can take a setback during the winter months, as the days are short and dark, and motivation is low. Try to avoid doctors advice because some can give you treatments that may not work,
but if you do be careful. If the treatment doesn´t work and affects you even more, you have the right to a wrong diagnosis compensation.

With recent research by Harvard University finding that positive thinking can prolong life, here are some tips on looking after your mental health this spring, as well as changing your negative thinking to positive: 

Declutter in and out
Spring is the time most of us will get down to spring-cleaning and decluttering our homes – the same can be applied to our minds, so find a Maid for hire and let yourself take care of your own health. Doing small things like decluttering your email and unsubscribing from irrelevant subscriptions can make your digital life a lot easier. Similarly, keeping a calendar of reminders and an effective to-do list at hand will stop you from feeling stressed. The more information you keep outside of the mind (in apps or calendars), the more decluttered and calm your mind will be.

Look for beauty
A great way to change your mind-set and be more positive in spring is to look at something beautiful. It is guaranteed that in the course of any spring day, you will come across numerous beautiful things – trees blooming, the warm breeze, the smell of fresh grass, or even the happy face of your loved one. Take the time to find something beautiful whenever you start to feel blue and look at it for a few moments – it is almost certain that you will feel better after.

Use all of your senses
As we wake up after the winter months, this is a great tip to help you achieve new things. Whether you want to get out and exercise more or simply take on a new project, this is a good way to motivate yourself and be more present. Focus on how warm the air feels, the smell of fresh grass and even how much more energised you feel as the days get longer. Engaging all the senses will make you feel more present and positive about whatever it is that you are doing.

Change your body language
Whenever we feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do, or worry about any given situation, you might subconsciously tense your body, which in turn signals to your mind that you are stressed. Instead, make a point to stand up straight, breathe in deeply and expand your chest – this will signal to your brain that you are strong and full of energy, making you feel more positive.

Change your inner dialogue
Your inner dialogue is a constant presence and it has been estimated that you have about 60,000 thoughts a day. As your inner monologue happens, you shouldn’t be afraid of questioning your thoughts. Instead of thinking ‘I will never be able to finish everything that needs doing today’ think ‘what can I do to finish what is important?’ – this will encourage you to think in a more positive way.

Imagine success
Many successful people across the world use the power of imagination to become more positive and achieve success. Whenever you are faced with a big task, close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine the best possible outcome and how it makes you feel. Holding on to this feeling can make you more optimistic in achieving success and more likely to succeed.

Track your mood
There are plenty of apps, such as my own Remente, that allow you to track your mood. The beauty of this is that it helps you learn about the things that make you happy and others that might make you sad. Knowing how certain factors make you feel will help you steer away from negativity and towards being more positive.

David Brudö’ is the CEO and Co-Founder of personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente, a free-to-use personal development platform for individuals and businesses. The app combines psychology with brain and mental training to help users reach their full potential, complete personal goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Available to download on iOS and Android.

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Health Work

The app that turns your phone into mental health coach

A new app promises to measure and help alleviate stress by turning your phone into mental health coach, according to its developers.

The app, called Mindset, has been extensively tested by successful news anchor, mother, wife, and daughter to an ailing parent, Carol Daniel. She knows stress  – she just isn’t always aware of how much it affects her.

“Being aware of it and acting on it, not just feeling it and letting it overtake me, but being aware of it. Ok right now I am a little frustrated about what’s happening but I don’t stay there. This has allowed me to move past that.”

‘This’ in Carol’s case is a new phone app called Mindset. She was part of a trial to test out the new technology. Unlike technologies like Fitbit that warn of physical stress, Mindset gauges the psychological kind – by continuously monitoring heart rate.

Ravi Chacko, the co-founder of Mindset says: “We take the signal that comes out of these monitors and we built algorithms that process the information to bring the stress measurement out of it. It’s a combination of bringing that awareness to where you are but also right at that same moment giving you the tools to make things better.” … tools that gauge your psychological state and offer mental exercises that range from cognitive behavioral therapies to journaling and meditation.

Carol Daniels says: “I went in desiring a way to deal with what I knew was very real in my life and it gave me that.”

There are many start-ups in the burgeoning field of wellness apps. While this app isn’t a replacement for mental health care, Chacko says the programming of the exercises was overseen and approved by a board of mental health professionals.

In a world where your phone can be the cause of much stress, this App aims to make you feel a little bit better.

Currently the app is available on Android and in beta testing for iOS.

 

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Work

4 simple ways to stop Internet addiction

The topic may come up most often in jest. Something along the lines of – “Hey man, put your phone down, are you addicted to that game/Facebook/Instagram/random app”? You’ve seen challenges that encourage people to leave their smartphones alone during dinner by putting them in a pile and the first person to cave and check their phone has to pick up the tab. You’ve seen various articles showing that many people feel that addictions to things like their smartphones and social media are real. But is technology addiction a real thing? Can you actually be addicted to the internet in the same way you could be addicted to a drug or alcohol?

The short answer is that the jury is technically still out, but all signs point to yes.

internet addiction

The longer answer is that the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the US doesn’t officially recognize it yet. But there are a growing number of treatment clinics that specialize in treating internet addiction. There are a huge number of these types of clinics in China, which was the first place to open this type of clinic. The first US clinic was opened in late 2013, with others slowly following. More recently, an article was authored that indicated a subject who was addicted to Google Glass.

Develop healthy habits to stop Internet addiction

In a world where devices and information are so easily accessible, and we can slip away from the real world into whatever corner of the internet we please, how do we know where to draw the fine line between spending a lot of time online and real addiction? There’s obviously a huge difference letting a day slip away as you sit in front of your computer getting work done while intermittently checking social media, blogs, and shopping online. At least to some degree, procrastination is normal and it’s ok if it happens online. The problems start when you can’t stop. Some folks will be more naturally predisposed to these addictive behaviors, but we can all do a few things to prevent us from getting too attached to our devices.

Take breaks

You don’t need to be connected every minute of every day. If you need to, schedule non-screen time for each and every day. If you can, try to take a weekend day off from technology or social media altogether.

Engage with real people

The internet may enable us to stay connected with far flung friends and to meet new friends from afar that we might not know otherwise, but don’t forget to engage in real-life. This may mean joining a group to help force you off the couch/chair/desk. Find a group to work out with or a group with a similar hobby (that isn’t online gaming!). Do things with them in person.

Tweak your routine

I once read that your smartphone shouldn’t be the last thing you touch at night and the first thing you reach for in the morning. “But what about my alarm clock?!”, I pathetically wailed to my husband. Get a real alarm clock, and leave your phone somewhere that isn’t right next to your bed. Take a tech-free lunch, or leave your phone behind when you’re walking the dog. There are a number of little tweaks you can make to your routine that will weed out a bit of the unnecessary technology usage.

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