The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More

You’re reading The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less & Living More

sleep and depression

I think I’ve cracked this sleep thing.

For months now I’ve been waking up feeling great after only being in the sack for a few hours.

The revelation came after years of obsessing with getting the recommended 8 hours in. As a night owl who loves coffee, it rarely happened, but even when it did, I often rose feeling worse.

After eventually realizing that something wasn’t right, I did some digging and found out not everyone thinks 8 is the magic number. In fact, some believe there isn’t one at all.

Another number that’s thrown around by the media is 7—the average number of hours we sleep. This is more likely an effect of society not biology, regulated by television schedules and working hours. Looking back on the sleep patterns of pre-industrial societies supports this as you can see back then we slept between 5.7 and 7.1 hours a night.

So the jury is still out on how many hours we need, but one thing is clear: getting too much sleep is worse than getting too little.

Less is Always More

In an analysis of 16 studies that looked at the sleeping habits of over one million people, Prof Franco Cappuccio, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Warwick, found surprisingly that longer sleepers tended to die earlier than shorter sleepers.

However it is difficult to measure the impact of too much or too little sleep on our health as they can often be symptoms of underlying diseases and illnesses. For example, sleeping too much is often correlated with depression, and sleeping too little with stress. But when Professor Shawn Youngstedt of Arizona State University, understanding the problems with mass sample groups, conducted a small study with 14 young adults, he saw similar results that supported those of Cappuccino.

Participants of his study were instructed to spend an extra two hours in bed for three weeks. At the end of the study Youngstedt found there was an increase across the board in stiffness, back pain, inflammation, and depressed moods.

His results, although limited, make the long term effects of long sleep sound similar to the effects of prolonged periods of inactivity. Could it be that lying down barely conscious for hours and hours every night is actually detrimental to our health, and even threatening to our life span? Well, just as someone can live a long and happy life sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day, while someone else needs to be doing non-stop physical labour, the numbers each of us need in the pit are just as varied.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 64, it’s said you’ll function on anything between 6 and 11 hours. Though even these figures are only a guideline, and according to the National Sleep Foundation are secondary to your individual requirements. We know Margaret Thatcher could run a country on just 4 hours, whereas some teenagers can’t leave the house on anything less than 10.

So What’s Your Magic Number?

When we’re all tucked up in bed, the sand man begins to work his magic, kicking off our five state sleep cycle. This is made up of four non-rapid-eye-movement or ‘NREM’ stages, and one rapid-eye-movement or ‘REM’ stage.

We quickly pass through the light sleep state of N1, hang around in N2 for a while until our brain waves slow down, fall into the deeper ‘slow wave’ state of N3 and N4, and finally reach the temporarily paralyzed dream state of REM in N5.

It’s commonly believed this cycle occurs over 90 minutes, but in reality, it can range from anything between 70 and 120 minutes. Just like with ‘the magic number’ of hours, the figure we’re told is just a population average which overlooks the unique and diverse needs of the individual.

We do know however, according to the science, that we need four to five of these sleep cycles in order to feel at our best—meaning, at least theoretically, Thatcher could have been firing on all cylinders after crashing for just 4 hours.

But with the varying cycle times, it’s pretty difficult to predict when you’re in-between your forth and fifth cycle and therefore in the ideal state for waking up.

That’s not all, as the night draws in, the length of our sleep cycle increases.

This should give you an idea of how varied your sleep cycle can be over the course of a night:

  • N1: 1-7 minutes
  • N2: 10-25 minutes (generally)
  • N3: 20-40 minutes (decreasing every cycle)
  • N2: Jump back to N2 for around 5-10 minutes before entering REM: 1-5 minutes (increasing every cycle)

So what does this teach us?

  1. Don’t believe anyone who tells you how many hours sleep you need unless they’ve first monitored your brain waves with an EEG machine while you’re sleeping (with your consent of course).
  2. Get yourself a bit of tech that’ll monitor your sleep cycles and wake you up in the right stage every morning.

So technology is the way to help better regulate our sleep patterns. But before we get on to that, it’s first important to recognise its role in disrupting them in the first place.

Get Back in Tune With Your Circadian Rhythm

Technology is one of the main reasons we’re out of touch with our biological ‘body clock’, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm. Gadgets, electronics, street lights and any other light-emitting devices disrupt our circadian rhythms and push us further and further out of sync with solar time (the rising and setting of the sun).

The body’s circadian rhythm is managed by the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), a group of cells that invoke a bodily response to light and dark signals. These signals send messages through the brain to wake the body up, raising its temperature, producing the hormones we need like cortisol, and reducing others we don’t, like melatonin.

The problem is that when we’re exposed to artificial light in the twilight hours, our SCN responds, believing it’s already time to rise and shine, and engaging the body’s systems for its waking state.

It’s not only the fault of technology though, other factors like noise, hormones, exercise, and stimulants also have similar effects in disrupting our circadian rhythm.

However, the good news is that for over 6 million years our ancestors have lived by the rising and setting of the sun. Therefore, when it comes to changing our habits and resynchronising our circadian rhythm to solar time, all it takes is a little effort to avoid these disrupting factors like artificial light between dusk and dawn.

With that in mind, we can stop exercising and drinking coffee too late, start to wear ear plugs and eye masks while sleeping, and overall make our bedrooms the sanctuaries they need to be in order to foster deep, uninterrupted sleep.

Cheap and Cheerful Sleep Cycle Monitoring

Anywhere from $0 to $500+, you can find a gadget that claims to improve your sleep by monitoring your cycles and picking the right time to bring you back around. Luckily for us, one that does it particularly well comes in right at the bottom of that range.

The majority of the sleep monitoring devices and applications work by picking up on the specific characteristics of the cycle stages. Each stage is characterised by changes in the body like temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Now these are hard to measure without a plethora of sensors, but some of these changes we display externally with our movements and breathing rate.

The Sleep Cycle app (available on both iOS and Android), is a nifty little system which uses your phone’s accelerometer and microphone to monitor your sleep cycles according to changes in your movement and breathing rate.

getting a better night's rest pick the brain

An average night’s sleep

Before you drift off, you set your alarm like usual, tuck your phone under the sheets (or leave it on your nightstand if it’s iOS), and let it get to work. The app will track your activity throughout the night and wake you up within a 30 minute window of your chosen time, depending on when you are in N1—your lightest sleep stage.

Granted it doesn’t completely eliminate the shock of the alarm clock in the morning, but it can make that groggy and irritated feeling a thing of the past.

One of the nicest things about this app is the data it accumulates. Soon you will begin to see a pattern in your cycles, how many you need, and be able to start optimizing your sleep. I’ve found waking up after 4 sleep cycles works best for me, which usually means getting around 6 to 6 and a half hours sleep.

In summary, it’s not about the number of hours we get, but rather the quality and consideration of our sleep cycles that dictate how fresh we feel in the morning.

So disregard broad averages, eliminate disruptive factors like artificial light and stimulants, along with the cat, and let the tech and your body do the rest.

Want to take the next step to rising fresh and optimizing your mornings?

Grab a free copy of our new eBook: MORNING MASTERY: The Simple 20 Minute Routine For Long Lasting Energy, Laser-Sharp Focus, and Stress Free Living.


Joseph is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to lead a more free and fulfilling life.

You’ve read The Ultimate Guide To Sleeping Less and Living More, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

You’re reading 5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

how to silence your inner critic

Do you get stuck in negative self-talk trying to figure out where you went wrong? If you spent one whole day listening to your thoughts, you might be quite shocked at just how much self-criticism you do.

A recent study shows that many women berate themselves numerous times throughout the day, but don’t even view it as self-judgment, thinking they are being truthful or realistic. Most will judge themselves daily before 9.30am ( And from personal experience, I can tell you that it’s not just women who fall prey to this self-judgment trap.

Most of us have been taught that if we criticize, analyze and judge ourselves enough that we will somehow find out how to make our lives better. But in truth, no amount of criticism, no matter how ‘constructive’ it might be, is going to help things get greater in your life, or anyone else’s.

What if you didn’t have to continuously look for what is right or wrong about you? What would your life be like if you stopped the judgment of you?

Here are 6 things you can do right now to break the cycle of self-criticsim and judgement that is only designed to stop you from becoming as great as you could be!

Become friends with the big, red STOP sign!   It may seem ridiculously simple, but often-times, simple is the most effective. The next time you go down that rabbit hole of negative or critical thoughts, feeling or emotions, see a big red STOP sign in your mind and tell yourself to just STOP. Seriously – just stop it! We make the nasty talk in our head so significant and meaningful, and we decide we have to overcome it and figure it all out in order to go beyond it. What if you don’t? What if you can just go, “Oh ok, hello judgment, and no thanks. Goodbye!” You can. Try it and see.

  1. Choose to be happy. A lot of us think we have to have external circumstances just right in order to at last be happy. Sorry, not true. The easiest and fastest way to get happy is to choose it. Stop looking for what’s wrong about you, and see what’s right about you instead! When you see what’s awesome about you, judgment and criticism will take a backseat. When you catch yourself criticizing, stop and ask, “What’s right about me I am not getting?” instead. This is a great tool to break down the judgment “machine” that you have been running on the same cycle over and over.
  2. Celebrate yourself daily. What you put your attention on grows. Prioritise putting your attention on what you would like more of in your life – like celebrating you rather than bringing you down. Take a moment to sit and ask yourself, “If I were celebrating me and my life today, what would I choose?” and see what different ideas show up. And then, take action and do them!
  3. Shake your booty. Chemically, moving your body is a great way to get out of negative thoughts and feelings. Go for a walk somewhere beautiful. Dance in your living room with the music turned up. Do cartwheels in the back yard. When you move your body and allow your head to clear out, suddenly things that were so terrible and bad a few minutes ago aren’t so serious anymore.
  4. See the funny side. Laughter heals. When you laugh, it’s hard to make things significant or hold on to the negative. Laughing allows you to see the lightness and humour in everything. Allow yourself to laugh at all the craziness that you tie yourself up in knots over and it will no longer have power over you. And when you no longer give it power, it can change.
  5. Hang around happy people. If you find that the people in your life tend to be negative and judgmental, this will rub off on you and you will feel like that is all that is available. Spend your time with people who are happy and grateful and inspire you to see the beauty and joy available in life. Think of 3 people in your life who are like that, make the time to call them, and spend time with them. If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, maybe now is time to seek out new friends!


Dr Dain Heer is an internationally recognized author, speaker and workshop facilitator, best known for his unique energetic transformation process, The Energetic Synthesis of Being. He hosts a regular radio show, Conversations in Consciousness and is the author of nine books on the topics of embodiment, healing, money and relationships. His best-seller, ‘Being You, Changing the World’, has been translated into 6 languages. Find out more at


You’ve read 5 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals

You’re reading 5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

5 Real Reasons You Aren't Reaching Your Goals

how to meet your goals

You’ve been setting goals for years. In fact, you’re a damn good goal setter. You write SMART goals, lay out the activities, action plans, deadlines and measurements. You put your goals in a place where you could see them every damn day!

Problem is you rarely meet your goals. I get it. I was there. In fact, the process would go something like this:

  • I really want to make some changes. I set goals based on what changes I think I need to make. Goals are soon forgotten.
  • I really want to make some changes. I set goals based on what changes I think I need to make. Goals are soon forgotten.
  • I really want to make some changes…

So what’s the problem? With all your kick-ass goal setting skills why in the world are you failing to meet your goals? Perhaps it’s because most of us are just taught the process of goal setting. If you were to research goals you will find numerous writings on “how-to” set goals. Blog, lessons and videos only focus on the mechanics of setting goals.  That’s the easy part.

Goals can give your life structure, but they won’t give your life purpose.

Here are five rarely addressed reasons you aren’t reaching your goals:

  1. You don’t understand what you really want for your life. “I didn’t stand for anything so I fell for everything.”
  2. You have too many short-term, “let’s get this done in three months,” goals, only looking at tomorrow and not long term.
  3. You believe self-improvement is trying to fix yourself. You don’t understand that self-improvement is about fully accepting and expressing yourself.
  4. Your self-control is non-existent. You can’t handle the big emotions or employ any self-motivation.
  5. Your goals were based on what others said you should be experiencing, like losing weight. Instead of creating your goals on something you are truly passionate about.

Many women I have spoken to and know, me included, grew up with expectations placed on us by others. It’s a familiar tune, we hear it said over and over. We experience it ourselves.  By the time you are 50 and even 40, these expectations we’ve taken on are so ingrained in us, we are not even aware these weren’t ours in the first place. We forget or we don’t even know what we wanted.

To add an additional layer, we’ve lived a life of many varied experiences.  Some disappointing, some truly wonderful, yet these experiences have placed us right where we are today. All the baggage we’ve packed over the decades is right beside us.

Goals are an important piece of change. They give you laser focus, hold you accountable, help you achieve your highest potential. Goals will also help you reign in behaviors such as procrastination.  So, yes, set goals, however, there are five important pieces to have in place before you set goals:

  • Make a commitment to your goals. When you get married you don’t declare that you will make it a habit to be faithful to your partner. It’s a commitment you make. You believe in the greater purpose of the relationship so therefore you don’t have to develop a habit to stay faithful.
  • Become more self-aware. Step outside yourself to see what is really going on. Gather s much data about yourself as you can. How do you handle the big emotions? What are your go-to stress relievers? Do you have your unwavering core values in place? Are your goals set to make sure your strengths are best utilized?

         When setting goals it’s important to know what YOU want your life to look like, and feel like in the future.

  • Place your focus on your day to day activities. Don’t make the goal the end      result. When we plan a vacation we have an end destination in mind right? Our day to day activities of reaching that goal are what will get us to our vacation. So that when the goal of planning our vacation is over we go on vacation.
  •  Employ less willpower and more I Want Power. Is your why strong enough? Do you even have a why? Why is this goal important? Why are you even putting yourself through this hard work? You why is the strength you need when the going gets tough.
  •  Do you know what habits are holding you back? Our “bad” habits can really derail any goals and good intentions. However, habit breaking is not as black and white as some would lead you to believe. Some habits are easier to ‘break”. We can replace sitting on the couch eating ice cream after dinner with a 30 minute walk. Pretty soon the 30 minute walk replaces the ice cream and walking becomes the habit.

However, other habits such as procrastination, hanging on to outcomes and less tangible habits are extremely difficult to break. These are not habits, they are behaviors produced by our bad habits.

Seems like a lot right? Just a personal thought about me for a second. I spent many years just playing at my life. Most of the reasons I was not able to achieve what I wanted for my life are listed here in this article. I also wanted to take the quick and easy way. Unfortunately the quick and easy way produced half-assed results.  I also didn’t truly know who I was and what I wanted.

What about you? Where are you in the whole process of goal setting?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Shelly is a personal development strategist and founder of The Rescue Yourself Project helping women over 40 step into their unique selves so they can create a life they love!  A few years ago, she found herself living a life that wasn’t of her making. Deciding that wasn’t what she wanted she ran away from home and spent eight months “re-branding” herself. Today Shelly helps women find their unique selves by becoming experts about their values, strengths, passions, goals and purpose so they can design a life they love.  


You’ve read 5 Real Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

The 3 Major Benefits of Being a Morning Person

You’re reading The 3 Major Benefits of Being a Morning Person, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The 3 Major Benefits of Being a Morning Person

how to create a morning routine

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise” said by Benjamin Franklin is a well-stated and authorized quote as it has a lot to prove in regard to an individual’s life. Let’s face it, most of us love to sleep for long and that too during the daytime, but trust me that’s not a healthy attitude. Being a night owl is not actually being too bad but yes of course being a morning has a few more benefits. A little lifestyle change in terms of sleeping habits can totally change the way of life you need.

The practical example of this is the big businessmen and successful people about whom there is no one who doesn’t know about. These people tend to their strict morning schedule, even the Former Apple CEO had followed the morning ritual as he says “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Here are the benefits of waking up in the morning to make your life healthier, beautiful and happier:

#1. You’ll stand out at work:

If you are a person who works from 9 to 5, you must have realized the importance of morning already. Waking up earlier in the morning, firstly helps you to have a proper breakfast. As it is even recommended and is the most important meal of the day, it could make you feel lighter and brighter and active enough to work efficiently.

If you think that half an hour further snoozing of alarm which results in hopping up from your bed, hurrying up, just grabbing what you find in your fridge to eat, getting dressed up in 5 minutes would complete your sleep, this could totally turn the opposite! Rather than making your day, it can totally break it. Researches show that morning people can anticipate problems and can minimize them. The big problems for such people are not really big and who knows you are now next to get a big promotion!

#2. Waking up early makes you feel less stressed:

People in this busy world today have one thing in common: they feel stressed! And then in this stressful world, people are running around like crazy people, in a hurry or in a full-work mode to get their work done and tasks completed. You keep on working more than 24 hours a day and still run short of time? It couldn’t be only because of the burden or too much work to do. Note your timings what you do at what time of the day. Try analyzing it. There might be a possibility that you are thinking you are working it all right but the first thing you need to know is the importance of a good night’s sleep. Try improving your sleeping habits and wake up early in the morning and you will notice you’ll be less stressed, less depressed, happier and healthier.

#3. Lose an hour in the morning and all day you’ll be hunting for it – So reap the extra benefits

Apart from the discussed benefits above, sleeping earlier at night and waking up early in the morning gives so many extra benefits that one wouldn’t think of.

  • If you are the person giving enough time to yourself and work for your fitness, making yourself a morning person can add benefit to it as it has an effect on your weight. Getting the exposure of light during the day can lower your body mass index helping you not to gain weight, thus keeping fit, active and healthy.
  • Morning persons have advanced problem solving skills that help them to figure out solutions really quick. They have a better immune system and look positive towards daily activities. They even have a strong willpower.
  • Morning persons hold the edge when it comes to business success. Studies have revealed that morning persons are more proactive and seen to perform better at work having higher wages and career success.
  • Not relatable but very true, you might not even believe but morning persons are said to be more safe drivers. A Spanish research has shown that people who sleep late at night were asked to drive in the morning and the results were quite drastic as compared to morning persons.

And then after all the early bird catches the worm!

You’ve read The 3 Major Benefits of Being a Morning Person, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

7 Wrong Ideas About Happiness You Need to Eliminate

You’re reading 7 Wrong Ideas About Happiness You Need to Eliminate, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

7 Wrong Ideas About Happiness You Need to Eliminate

how to find happy

You know you want to be happy. You try to do things to be happy.

But it eludes you. Happiness seems so hard to get. And it’s frustrating because you’re rational adult with intelligence.

Perhaps then, it’s time to admit that you’re doing something wrong.

It’s not really your fault though, for there’re so many wrong ideas out there by malicious people!

1) Success brings happiness

Straight up: Success does not bring happiness.

It’s the other way around.

More often than not too, we view success in the form of money, relationship, marriage or a good career in the works. But all of that may make you realize that once attained, it’s not a big deal at all and you aren’t feeling any better.

Happiness brings success. It is when you’re happy that you attract the best things in your life.

2)  Money does not buy happiness/Money does buy happiness

This is a little paradox here.

Most commonly, people say that money does not buy happiness.

Oh come on. Money definitely makes your life a lot easier and solves a lot of problems. I am sure from there, you can easily be happy without all the stress, worry and struggle. So make you have enough saved and work hard to get that money.

Yet, always remember that money, at the end of the day is a material thing that cannot solve your spiritual or mental problems. It can only give you so much ease in life. Why do you think there’re so many rich people and celebrities going through depression? Remember to always take a step back and look at the bigger picture in life.

3) A self-help program will cure all your problems

Be it a book, a seminar, inspiring YouTube video or even a mentor. They can’t cure all your problems.

Sure, they may inspire you and give you some short-term happiness, but it’s not going to last.

At the end of the day, happiness depends on you, not them. So learn all you like, but apply yourself and eventually do it your own way.

4) Happiness is ‘instant’ and it won’t take any kind of work at all

You know how in movies, when the main character sees a therapist, has a flashback, hits an epiphany and then his life turns around completely?

That is a fairy tale.

Happiness doesn’t come in an instant and stays with you forever.

If you want to heal yourself and rid yourself of your problems, it’s going to be a long-term process. I know because I’ve been through therapy myself. You must put in the effort and give yourself time.

That’s how it actually gets better.

5) A relationship will make you happy forever

If you feel lonely, it’s easy to think that getting a partner will make you happy.

But as with life, everything takes time and effort. A relationship will only last to be a happy one if both parties are putting in the work.

And sometimes, even that is not enough. The relationship may have to end. You WILL be unhappy if you do not have the courage to break away from a toxic and loveless relationship.

Again, happiness does not depend on your partner. It depends on you.

6) Passion brings happiness

Ideas on passion today are seriously overrated. Successful people all around keep talking about passion as if it’s magic.

It’s not magic. Passion does not solve all your problems or automatically makes you happy. You still need to do the work!

And nobody can indulge in their passion 24/7. Take a break some time! You’re only human so you’re bound to feel less-than-stellar from time to time.

7) Happiness depends on everything else apart from you

In case you haven’t gotten it by now…

Happiness is a choice.

It’s up to you to choose it.

As long as you refuse to choose it, you’re not going to be happy. Period.

It’s all on you now baby.

Just for Pick The Brain readers!

Sick of all the wrong ideas out there on personal development and happiness?

Check out what I have to offer: The Happy As F**k Membership!

I just launched this bad boy. Get in on it if you want zero-bullshit advice on life!

Alternatively, you may get my free book here: 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!

You’ve read 7 Wrong Ideas About Happiness You Need to Eliminate, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

5 Ways To Deal With Life’s Most Stressful Moments

You’re reading 5 Ways To Deal With Life’s Most Stressful Moments, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

5 Ways To Deal With Life's Most Stressful Moments

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

We think that those who have gone through an easy uneventful life are fortunate enough to have such a blissful experience. But are they?

Among the many things that make a person strong, its experience that creates the biggest change of all.

The truth is, an easy life doesn’t prepare you for anything. People who have not been exposed to any kind of pain and suffering while growing up are not well equipped to face the dangers of the real world.

More often than not, children who grew up with strict overprotective parents grow to be shy inhibited individuals incapable of standing up for themselves. The lot of them doesn’t have the mental tools to successfully cope with life’s nerve-racking moments. Because to be able to succeed and bounce back through life’s stressful moments, one must know how to cope. Here are ways to cope through some of the most challenging days of your life.

1. Understand the Stressful Situation

What have I learned – Any experience good or bad, is a chance to learn something new. Your failure might have taught you not to forsake study time again. Your failed marriage is an opportunity to find a better partner. Your bullying high school classmates taught you everything horrible about human nature. There is always a lesson to learn, in each mistake. So don’t be too blind not to see that.

What can I change? – You feel stuck, frustrated and lonely for a reason. And this is because of something that you did, or you’re currently doing. Now that you have acknowledged your faults. It’s time to think up of solutions and things to change.

What do I want? – Your thoughts are important. So does what you think of yourself. When you’re feeling unsure what to do. Trust your heart. Soon you’ll realize that you’re capable of achieving whatever you want. It’s time to stand up for yourself, stop following what others expect you to do.

2. Let out Your Emotions

Bottling up your emotions may do you more harm than good. It’s not only bad for your mental and physical health. Studies say it also knocks years off from your life. The next time you feel frustrated, and feel like you want to shout, cry or throw tantrums. Don’t stop yourself. Do it. The sooner you release that emotion, the better.

Cry. – You’re crying because it matters. Tears do not symbolize weakness. Tears are a sign of humanity. The strong are those who can shed a tear. If you haven’t passed the licensure exam, and feel frustrated, don’t be shy to cry. It’s a good way to let out your frustration and ease the pain away.

Have a Journal – Writing on your journal is a good way to articulate your thoughts. If you’re not feeling up to sharing your ideas, or realizations to friends or loved one, then a journal is your best choice to let out how you feel.

Get out. A busy lifestyle is always depicted by lack of sleep and more time indoors – in office or at home, working your ass off 24/7. What people actually don’t know is. Too much time of staying indoors can actually be bad for you. To keep your mind and body healthy, you need some time outside. Go out, take a walk along the park, look at the birds, the trees…

3. Reach Out

During life’s stressful moments what we need is a helping hand. Don’t do this alone. As humans we are always in search of connection, a chance to share our selves. Who knows? Maybe all you need is a good conversation.

 Call a friend – Nobody ever got into life without a friend. Friends are treasures forever. If you’re undergoing one of the most stressful moments of your life, take a break, hang out with a friend and share your thoughts.

Professional services – Sometimes we may need to seek professional help. If you’re undergoing one of the toughest and most stressful moments in your life, it will give you a peace of mind if you ask help from the experts. For example if you just had a fight with your wife, and can’t seem to patch your relationship you can hire a marriage counselor. If you’re about to move with your family, and having a stressful time thinking what to and not bring, hire a mover. There are many professional services out there that can help you during your life’s most stressful moments.

 4. Give up the Drama

You can spend all day moping about your regrets. That won’t change anything.  Wipe your tears and get a hold of yourself. It’s not the end of the world. You have the capability to work through your situation and achieve what you intended to.

 5. Gratitude

Practice gratitude.  You must acknowledge that there is always goodness in everything. People are naturally good at heart. And most of the time, they wish you good rather than bad. When you exemplify gratitude, you can achieve true happiness within you. Happiness that can bring out your true potential and help you achieve greater life satisfaction.

Remember life doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger with each challenge you face.

You’ve read 5 Ways To Deal With Life’s Most Stressful Moments, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

5 Practical Ways to Better Yourself

You’re reading 5 Practical Ways to Better Yourself, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Better Yourself

Every person in their right mind looks for opportunities to improve their lives on a daily basis. While the road to success can be challenging sometimes, the biggest mistake people often make, if failing to try after setbacks. If you have discovered the passion for improving your life, it’s worth sharing your experiences to help others grow. Simple steps taken every day will eventually lead to the path of success and achievement of your goals. You simply need to act. Here are 5 practical ways through which you can make your life better:

1.    Fight Your Fears

Uncertainty about what the future holds for us keeps us in fear. Everyone has his/her own fears. Some people fear starting a business, speaking in public, becoming famous, trying a new career, getting sick and much more. Whatever that you fear keeps you stagnant and hinders your growth and advancement. It’s recommendable to find out what your fears are and identify the most effective means to overcome them. For instance, if you are afraid of public speaking, attend events that require public participation and air your opinions. Eventually, you will gain self-confidence in public speaking.

2.    Try Something Different

Every person becomes accustomed to a regular lifestyle based on their career and family life. There are the things you enjoy doing while there are many others you have never tried. Identifying a new hobby is one of the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Introduce yourself to other entertaining endeavors such as volunteer work, home grooming, making friends or learning a new language. Anything that you feel enjoyable should be embraced with passion and turned into a hobby. This will help you wind up as you discover your new talents. Who knows, whether your new adventure will help to improve the lives of others.

3.    Get Your Body Moving

Majority of the working population spend most of their time seated in their offices. The hassles and strict working deadlines rob them time to engage in workouts. Aware that lack of regular exercise makes your body prone to many medical conditions, it’s the right time you should establish a weekly workout routine that is easy to stick with. If you are a starter, avoid workouts that are very intensive and instead embark or achievable commitments. For instance, use stairs instead of elevators. Build on your workout routine after sometime. You will be surprised to see how your life improves within a short time and into the future. By exercising regularly, you will avert some illnesses, remain physically fit and build your strength among other countless health benefits.

4.    Improve Your Skills

If you have been doing something for quite some time, you must be aware of the concept of developing the skills. For example, if it normally takes you an hour to complete a task, improving your skills can reduce the time taken to 40 minutes. This happens as you gain experience and becomes more proficient. Leveling up your skills will create more time and enable you engage in more rewarding activities for self-improvement. You can get time to exercise if you complete your chores at work 30 minutes ahead of the schedule. If you are on the work-piece, you will earn some extra cash by improving your skills – which means a better you.

5.    Adopt Healthy Lifestyle

Some people are accustomed to living with unhealthy habits to break, such as smoking, excessive use of alcohol, use of illicit drugs, and irresponsible sexual behaviors just to name a few. While giving up addiction is an uphill battle that requires commitment and dedication, there is still a way out for any person who has the will to quit. If you can’t do it on your own, there are plenty of professionals and free resources that can guide you step by step on how to get rid of unhealthy habits. You can explore online for free information about a certain habit that is holding you back from achieving your goals in life. Get experiences from people who have struggled with addictions and how the managed to break the chains of their captivity.


If your goal is to better yourself, you must first learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and break free from what could be blocking your road to success. You simply can’t become better unless you are ready to make some effort with your goal in focus. If you don’t try, then don’t expect any change. It’s your responsibility to ensure that you make a step every day in the right direction for self-improvement. While it may seem challenging at first, the journey eventually becomes a smooth ride. However, don’t give up even if you are faced with overwhelming tides in the course of making your life better.


Daisy Grace, who is a US native and a professional women’s health expert. She is passionate about health, fitness and beauty and has been working as a freelance content writer for many online websites. She loves to write about different issues related to women’s physical as well as health conditions. Recently, she is researching beauty and skin care problems.

You’ve read 5 Practical Ways to Better Yourself, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

4 Ways Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Compliment Each Other

You’re reading 4 Ways Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Compliment Each Other, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

4 Ways Traditional Chinese Medicine & Western Medicine Complement Each Other

TCM western medicine

For those looking for a 100 percent natural way to address health conditions at the body–mind–spirit level, you can join the club at the platinum level by using the complete system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its Five Element energetic framework. If you want to join at a different level, there are effective ways you can mix and match this ancient self-healing system with Western medicine.

While a lot of people in the U.S. are familiar with acupuncture, it’s only one treatment option of TCM. So, here are a few things you need to know when looking at integrating TCM and Western medicine. Each has its own principles and theories; each has its own strengths. For example, TCM is a by-product of a deep spiritual practice of ancient Qigong masters. It’s not a man-made system. Western medicine developed primarily through scientific experimentation and observation. TCM is an energy-based medicine that looks at the body, mind and spirit from the perspective of Oneness or inseparability. Western medicine is increasingly a technology-based system of analysis, differentiation and separation. It focuses on various parts of the body. You could say that TCM has a specialty in the body’s “software or energy system,” while Western medicine has a specialty in its “hardware or physical systems.”

One way TCM and Western medicine can work well together is when a prescription medication causes side effects and a second one is prescribed to take care of these. For instance, strong pain medications often cause opiod constipation. Today, new drugs claim to eliminate the constipation caused by the first drug. Unfortunately, the second drug produces its own set of side effects. Sometimes, even a third medication might be proposed. TCM is very effective at understanding the root cause of side effects caused by Western medications and alleviating them so the body can come back into balance and the patient can continue treatment.

Many people today are familiar with acupuncture for pain; however, its efficacy goes far beyond pain since it allows the body’s energy system to rebalance itself. This, in turn, sparks the body’s ability to self-heal. TCM and Western medicine can team up a second way when it comes to conditions like hay fever, which TCM doesn’t consider an illness or disease. In this medical system, hay fever results when the body isn’t strong enough to smoothly navigate Nature’s seasonal energy transition—be it spring or fall, or both. Here, TCM works well with Western medications to diminish and eventually heal hay fever symptoms completely by addressing the root cause. When hay fever season arrives, with only a few acupuncture treatments, many individuals can go through the spring or fall season without any medication at all.

A third way TCM and Western medicine complement each other is in the area of an adjuvant cancer therapy called tamoxifen—prescribed as a five-year, follow-up treatment for breast cancer. Unfortunately, tamoxifen’s side effects—night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, among others— are so severe that 50 percent of women decide to stop therapy. This step alone can cause great fear in a woman who has to abandon treatment. This kind of deep fear can also prompt new cancer to occur. TCM can help resolve this dilemma by relieving tamoxifen’s side effects with natural treatments like acupuncture, acupressure, Qigong movements, herbal therapy and lifestyle changes. The result? Treatment can be completed.

A fourth way TCM and Western medicine work well together is in the area of infertility. Couples try so hard to become pregnant and spend a lot of time and money on IVF treatments. When they don’t work, it means the woman’s body is not functioning well and her organ systems aren’t working in harmony. Undergoing IVF treatments only creates an added burden for her. If the couple takes a break for a few months, gives their bodies time to rest, rebalance themselves and work with TCM to improve the woman’s overall health, couples often see tremendous benefits and real success.

In China, it’s common practice for traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine to be practiced side by side. Hospital and clinics know how, when, where and why they can be integrated for optimum patient results. This is especially true for cancer treatment, where individuals are prescribed certain herbal formulas to alleviate the serious side effects of chemotherapy and radiation so cancer treatment can be completed.


Nan Lu, OMD, Grand Master of Wu Ming Qigong, is the country’s foremost spiritual leader, practitioner and teacher of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) because of his unique dedication to the preservation of ancient lineage knowledge not found in textbooks. He is the founder of New York City’s Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, which is the leading educational organization in the U.S. for TCM. For more than two decades, the Foundation has inspired tens of thousands of individuals with health and wellness programs that have allowed them to discover their self-healing abilities. Master Lu is also founder of the long-running educational forum Building Bridges of Integration for Traditional Chinese Medicine for integrative healthcare professionals. His latest book Digesting the Universe: A Revolutionary Framework for Healthy Metabolism Function is out now. Learn more about the book and Master Lu on his websites, and

You’ve read 4 Ways Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Compliment Each Other, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

21 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Create Your Destiny

You’re reading 21 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Create Your Destiny, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

you are the of your own destiny

Many people are not living the life they want. They think their destiny is not their hand. Are you one of them?  If so, then have you tried to find out the reason for this? Try asking yourself, why are you not living the life of your dreams? Did you find some excuse? I’ll be surprised if you didn’t.

One and half years before I was not living the life I wanted to live and I kept blaming other things for my situation. But, once I learned that we can become whatever we want to, things changed.

It’s easy to blame other things (situations, other persons, the universe, god etc…) for what is happening in our life. But, it’s hard to take responsibility. I mean it’s funny, how we can do this to ourselves.


Many things helped me to bring out of this thinking and I should say that quotes are a great source of motivation. Anytime I was going off-track, reading a simple quote had set me on track. Now I’m having the total sense of control over my life.

So, here are 21 simple but powerful quotes which can inspire you to take control of your life:

  1. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. ~ William Shakespeare
  2. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. ~Steve Jobs
  3. It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. ~Tony Robbins
  4. The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. ~Albert Ellis
  5. Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved. ~William Jennings Bryan
  6. Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something. ~Ralph Marston
  7. I believe that you control your destiny, that you can be what you want to be. You can also stop and say, ‘No, I won’t do it, I won’t behave his way anymore. I’m lonely and I need people around me, maybe I have to change my methods of behaving,’ and then you do it. ~Leo Buscaglia
  8. Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. ~John F. Kennedy
  9. If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny. ~Andre Maurois
  10. Every people should be originators of their own destiny. ~Martin Delany
  11. Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny. ~Paul Tillich
  12. I do believe that one way to have a destiny is to choose one. ~Melinda McGraw
  13. Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, and destiny. ~Alfred A. Montapert
  14. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny. ~Charles Reade
  15. Every man got to right to decide his own destiny. ~Bob Marley
  16. There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  17. I think that by going on the path that I am, my destiny will just come to me. ~Jason Derulo
  18. Control your own destiny or someone else will. ~Jack Welch
  19. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  20. We must regain the confidence and drive to decide our own destiny. ~Roh Moo-hyun
  21. You are the creator of your destiny. ~Swami Vivekanand

Hope you enjoyed these inspiring quotes. So are you ready to create your own destiny? Let me repeat once again: You are the creator of your own destiny.

If you are serious about creating your destiny then, I’ve a BONUS for you! Well, I’ve written an e-book that can help you in creating your destiny. It’s free.

Create Your Own Destiny

Grab your copy of the ebook through this link and start taking control over your destiny from now onwards.

You’ve read 21 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Create Your Destiny, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain

I Am Not Perfect (and why that’s OK)

You’re reading I Am Not Perfect (and why that’s OK), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

I Am Not Perfect (and why that's OK)


In this blog I wish to address one of the biggest causes of failure in the world today. I am calling it the I-AM-NOT-PERFECT syndrome!

The I-am-not-perfect Syndrome

Are we perfect beings?

I can hear you say a resounding “NO” on that.

And you are right. I agree with you.

What am I then making such a big fuss about?

There was a world once where Success Success and Failure: Ying and Yangand Failure were best friends. Success and failure used to go around hand in hand, and where one stepped up, the other stepped down. Success knew, it wont last long, soon it will be taken for granted. And it wanted to feel important, so it gave way to failure and that’s when failure stepped up. Failure knew it was only a state of transition for him – eventually it would give way to Success, and eventually life would be happy again. Yet, in all this, it had its part to play. It had its job to prepare for Success to come in and take over. It had its time to dwell, and then leave smiling.

It was a perfect life where nothing was so perfect, yet things were in sync. They enjoyed their own times, and there was no one to blame. The circle of Night and Day, Ying and Yang continued and Success was simply the other side of Failure. Life went on with its ups and downs, and in retrospect, there was little to feel bad about in this Mind Palace.

Then one day something tragic happened. There came a Demon who would tear these best friends apart. It had a pleasant face. It promised to take away the pain of failure, and it was given a pass to enter the Mind Palace. Once it was in, it tore apart the sacred bond and took away Success forever, leaving Failure alone to dwell. It broke the sync and plunged the mind into a spiraling vortex of sadness, which went on as a self sustaining chain-reaction.

This Demon had a sweet name. It was called ‘Excuse”. 

I want to address today something which is separating winners from whiners  – PERFECTuniversally!!  

It’s called the I-Am-not-perfect syndrome!!

It took me a while to realize this in me and in others, and once I did, it propelled me in a different direction altogether. I never had to look back in my life. Decisions, even after years, made sense.

If you understand this and accept it, I can assure you it will change your life forever.

Failure, and the purpose of an Excuse: The world has changed in many ways over the past couple of years. It rotates faster now. The rapid change tags along obvious problems. As in – you are far more busy nowadays and you are now competing with a far diverse database. Our children seem to be born geniuses, they are seeing a more evolved world -heading for more challenges and competition. Think about it. No excuses

If you want a job, there are several people opting for the post. If you want to start a business, more often than not, someone else will have thought about it before you. Even in your personal life, if you want someone’s undivided attention today, you are not only competing with people around him or her, you are now competing against Facebook and Whats-app as well. It gets frustrating.

You would not win every time, and at times, we fail.

Now here is the twist. See, Failure is a very  natural thing, it was meant to teach you and help you to pick up from where you left off. It was supposed to be, as the saying goes – “a stepping stone to success” But what comes next was not something God designed human beings for. The Excuse for it.
Of course its not a great place to be if you have failed in a certain battle of life. And no matter what others think of you, you have to face yourself everyday!! At times it is so gut wrenching that you wold do anything to get a moment of solace. So what is to prevent you from feeling pathetic and breaking down?

Here comes your inherent Defense system. That coping mechanism inside you asks you to divert responsibility.

It tells you – “Hey, it was not your fault. You tried, not everything was in your hands.”

People across all ages and across all countries do it. When a failure stPERFECT SUCCESS FAILURErikes, we try to justify to ourselves saying it was not our fault. It was the other person, it was the circumstances, and so on.

Excuses makes you feel a sense of relief in all this pain of failure. Keeps a warm hand on your shoulders when the whole world is against you. Makes it a bit easier to justify the failure to yourself. They are like self-generated Best-friends-in-need. Like your mother, who would forgive everything you have done wrong.

But then at times we find that it is our fault!! There really is no one to blame.

What do we say then??

The obvious – I am not perfect. 

I am not a perfect person – I make  mistakes, I have shortcomings. I do realize that they are not good, but do I need to be perfect? Am I not allowed to make my share of mistakes? There are a whole lot of variations to this reasoning but I think you get my drift.

Tools_For_Parenting_A_Teen_With_Behavioral_DisordersNow Come on!! You cannot beat this. This is the mother of all Justifications! And apparently it seems to be a very reasonable assumption. We have been told so many times we cannot be perfect from the time we were a child.

There is Only one problem – You are just not reaching anywhere with that reasoning.

If you have lived alone for a big part of your life, and if you have taken care of yourself and others, or if you have reached a position of utmost responsibility in your career, you will see – there really are no excuses in life. You make a mistake, you suffer its consequences, you fall down, you get hurt and then you get up and start running again. No one, after your parents will let you off with a clean chit. That’s life. That reasoning of “Why you failed” may make sense to you, but it will not save you from its consequences. No one else cares. They will simply single you out as a failure.

With that in mind, how wonderful would it be, if, instead of creating a way to make us temporarily feel good, we learn to WIN in life and feel good all the time?

Take responsibility: Don’t take the shortcut


Here is where winners get ahead in the game.

Lets assume for a moment: All that you have not achieved in life – personal or professional, all that you could have got – imagine all that is and was in your hands. Imagine you are able to achieve anything and everything you really want to.

Absolutely no one else and absolutely nothing else is to blame.

With this premise in mind, something beautiful happens. Things come under your control. If you could have done it once, you can do it again, isn’t it? You start feeling that every setback in life is merely a step ahead, an early attempt to success, and you will not feel like a Victim ever. You will not justify anything that went wrong – not on your watch. There is no need to justify, the best is yet to come. The show is not over because you will try and try until you succeed.



Hence there is really nothing like failure.

Sure you cannot get back some of the things that are lost in life, but believe me, there is a overall peaceful feeling in realizing that you are in control of your successes and failures. In feeling that you would never make the same mistake twice. You will feel the need top take things in to your own hands, make things happen rather than wait for them to happen.


Isn’t it true for any place in life? You see someone make a mistake, you expect that person to learn from it and never repeat it, isn’t it? What if all of us started excusing ourselves and stopped learning? Would it not be a dull place to live in? That’s how our brain learns new skills too, neurons fire up and join hands to learn and every time you make a mistake it corrects itself creating a new neural pathway which makes us more efficient and targeted. That is how the whole system was meant to work. Unfortunately many of us see this pattern years into our lives when it does not matter anymore.

PERFECT key-to-success
If we relinquish responsibility it is peaceful for a while, but then it is out of your hands. Take responsibility, tell yourself : This is not done! I cannot give up. I will strive till I win. And WIN you will.

This is how achievers think. They take responsibility for their failures. If you don’t do that, you will never feel the joy of success either.

Remember the story in the beginning? 

Success and failure in life go hand in hand all the time. One gives way to the other. That is how the symphony of life creates a perfect melody.


You’ve read I Am Not Perfect (and why that’s OK), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Source: pickthebrain