6 of the Reasons You Need to Toughen Up and Try Cold Exposure Therapy

Cold exposure. As the name suggests, this popular new treatment is all about submerging your body in extreme cold environments for a limited amount of time to take advantage of some unreal health benefits. Cold exposure isn’t just the latest health fad though—it is a proven science that actually works.  

Yes, it is cold.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable.

And yes, you are probably going to hate it the first time you try it.

But, if you can toughen up and get through the treatments (which I know you can) you will be amazed by what it can do for your body. Designed to help enhance the nervous system, decrease inflammation and promote longevity—cold exposure can do things that most modern medical treatments simply cannot.

If you have seen the cyro-tanks in your neighborhood, read about cold exposure therapy or seen videos of the men and women that submerge themselves in the wild—and have thought about trying it before. Now is the time.

There is no better time than the present to suck it up and give cold exposure therapy a try—because I promise you, it will be worth those few minutes of cold.

Don’t believe me, here are just six (of the many) proven reasons why you should toughen up and try cold exposure for yourself.

  • It Can Help You Lose Fat

Real, sustainable fat loss is very difficult. It takes a great deal of diet and exercise and a lot of discipline. However—cold exposure therapy can also help with your fat loss efforts.

Humans store what is known as brown fat tissue, which is what essentially turns calories from food into heat for your body. Cold exposure can increase the activity of this brown fat tissue, and essentially as the body gets colder and colder, this fat burns more and more food calories as a result.

Losing fat takes hard work and discipline, and having the discipline to sit through cold exposure can help you reach your fat loss goals.

  • It Can Help You Live Longer

I am so disciplined about taking care of myself and my body because I want to live as long as I can for my wife and for my children. Sure, cold exposure therapy can be a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes—but it can help you live longer.

There have been numerous studies on different animals and cold exposure therapy and it is thought that cold-exposure can increase hormesis. This is what makes animals stronger and more efficient when they are exposure to environmental stresses.

If you want to be stronger, more efficient and ready to take on the stressors of your environment—give cold exposure a try.

  • It Can Help You Heal Injuries.

If you have been suffering injuries from working out, sports or just manual labor on the job—you know how frustrating it can be when injuries start to hold you back. The good news is cold exposure can help.

One of the key benefits of cold exposure is that it can reduce inflammation, which can help reduce blood flow and swelling to those injured areas. It can also help with muscle spasm and metabolic demand.

Think of how you immediately submerge a sprained ankle into ice after an injury—and how much that will help with the pain, swelling and recovery.

Now imagine doing this for your entire body.

Whether you have a serious acute injury or you are just dealing with the aches and pains of everyday exertion—this therapy can get back to you feeling like yourself.

  • It Can Help You Get Better Sleep.

I am very strict with my sleeping schedule because I truly believe in the benefits of getting a good night’s rest. I go to bed and get up at the exact same time, seven days a week, because I know how important it is.

However, if you are unable to get the quality rest that you need—then cold exposure therapy can help. You may have already heard about the benefits of keeping your sleeping temperatures cool, and cold exposure therapy can only help in improving your sleep cycle.

Getting good sleep will help with every other part of your life—which is why this is such a vital benefit of sleep therapy.

  • It Can Help Strengthen the Immune System

We all need a strong immune system—and all of the things that you do to take care of yourself, from sleeping and eating right to working out can all help that immune system. And so can cold exposure therapy.

This type of therapy can increase natural killer cell count and activity, can increase the number of white blood cells and circulating IL-6s. Basically, it can help your body maintain all of those things it needs to fight off diseases.

If you are constantly getting sick, catching colds or feel like you’re taking time off to deal with illness, you need to work on your immune system, so you can be a better, more productive version of yourself.

  • It Can Increase Will Power

This is probably one of my favorite reasons to go ahead and give cold exposure therapy a try. It will increase your will-power. Trust me when I say, if you can get through cold exposure therapies because you know it is good for you and your health—you will have the will power to take on even more obstacles in your future.

This is something that can help you in your everyday life, whether it is your workouts, your job, your personal relationships—will power is important.

Now that you have a few reasons to go ahead and give cold exposure therapy a try—it is time to literally take the plunge and give it a try. This is a therapy I truly believe in and one that can help change your life for the better.

Embracing the Carnivore Diet

There are so many different diet fads out there right now. Diets that limit gluten, those that give you “eating windows” or those that have you carb cycling. While each of these diets has their own detailed philosophy—there is one diet plan out there that takes the opposite approach and actually makes things simple; the carnivore diet.

You won’t need a 300 page book, ongoing coaching or a detailed calendar to stay on the carnivore diet, and you won’t need to give up your paycheck just to pay for organic groceries. In fact, the details on this diet plan are quite simple…just eat meat and water. That is it. In fact, it is so simple that I can go through the entire diet plan in this single article.

What You CAN Eat on the Carnivore Diet 

When I said the carnivore diet was all about meat and water, I wasn’t kidding. And there are a few different types of meats that you can easily incorporate into this diet plan.

Your primary focus should be on beef, such as ground beef, roasts, prime rib and brisket. Steak should also be a big part of your diet plan, particular cuts like ribeye, sirloin, strip and chuck eye. If you like the organs, you can include those as well—particular liver. If not, you can still stick to the other cuts.

There are other meats you can be eating as well on the carnivore diet, especially as you ease in to eating only meat. This includes:

  • Lamb chops and shank
  • Pork shoulder and butts
  • Pork Ribs
  • Pork Belly
  • Chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks (they have all of the good fat on them)
  • Goat
  • Turkey
  • Wild game
  • Duck
  • Oyster
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Shrimp and scallops
  • Lobster and crab

As for your beverages, you should be drinking water and bone broth (if you want a different liquid in the mix). We will discuss coffee and tea later.

What you CAN’T Eat on the Carnivore Diet 

This is the list with any diet plan that has most people cringing. And to put it simply—you can’t eat anything that is not meat while on the carnivore diet.

This means avoiding all of the seasonings and sauces that often come with meats. It also means avoiding processed meats as much as possible. Many times, these processed meats are filled with additives. 

You should also be careful about aged meats. This type of meat is often high in histamines, which can increase inflammation in the body as well as your sensitivities and intolerances.

A note on alcohol. You should also not be drinking alcohol on this diet. Not even red wine. 

Other “normal foods” to avoid include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Bread 
  • Pasta 
  • Grains

When the carnivore diet says meat and only meat—that’s really what it means.

Details and Exceptions 

Like every diet plan, there are a few rules and exceptions. After all, we aren’t living in the stone age, so there needs to be a little wiggle room.

Coffee 

One of the biggest questions that people tend to have about embracing a diet plan like this is “what about coffee?”

Many of us can’t imagine starting our days without coffee, and if you are already a coffee drinker, you can keep drinking it, especially during your first month as you transition into the diet plan. 

Coffee is a plant extract, not a meat, but if you are going to struggle without it or if it is going to convince you to give up the diet, then it is OK to keep coffee as part of your routine.

Tea also falls into this category.

Eggs

There are some people who believe in being very strict with the carnivore diet, and only allow eggs on special occasions. However, many carnivore dieters will include eggs into their diet regularly—although it shouldn’t be the main/only food in a meal. Think of eggs as a side not a main dish.

Dairy 

Dairy is another grey area for many people looking to the carnivore diet.

Hard cheeses, heavy cream and butter are also a big topic of discussion among those who are new to the carnivore diet and should also be considered sides that you can have on an occasion, but meat should still be your primary food source. 

How to Start Embracing the Carnivore Diet 

The great thing about the carnivore diet is that it is not only simple in terms of what you can eat and what you can’t eat, but it is also doesn’t have many restrictions on how much or how often you are eating either.

For most people, it is best to start with 30 days on the carnivore diet and then seeing how you feel. Chances are, when you take the time to reassess, you are going to notice better energy levels, less aches and pains, better sleep, weight loss and more. Give it more time, and you will start seeing better blood test results as well. In fact, many people try the carnivore diet to help with inflammation and autoimmune issues.

The better cuts of meat you can get, the better off you will be. If you can find, and afford high-quality grass-fed beef, you should try to only eat this type of meat.

So, now that you think you have the rules, here is an example of how you can embrace the carnivore diet with a sample meal plan.

Breakfast: Bacon, three hard boiled eggs, glass of water

Lunch: Hamburger patties, glass of water

Dinner: Rib eye steak and a side of cooked shrimp, glass of water

Everything you eat should come right from an animal. It can take some time to get used to, but you may be surprised by how much of a transformation you can make by embracing the carnivore diet. Now the only question is—do you think you are up for the challenge of this all-meat way of living?

Vitamins That Could Help You Focus

If you struggle to stay focused at important times, whether you are studying for a test or trying to stay focused at work, when you are easily distracted, it can make it almost impossible to be as efficient and as effective as you want. There are so many different strategies out there to helping people stay focused, but one approach that you can try that may help with your focus lies within taking the right vitamins.

The great thing about taking vitamins to help with focus is that they can help ensure that your brain is getting everything it needs to thrive and function properly. Many times, issues with concentration don’t have to do with outside influences making it difficult to focus, but with how your body is operating from the inside.

With this in mind, there are several vitamins that you can start adding to your daily regimen that will not only help your focus and concentration, but they can also provide a number of other great benefits as well that can greatly improve your memory, brain function, overall health and well-being.

Gingko Biloba

When it comes to studies regarding vitamins for the brain, there are very few vitamins that come up as much as Gingko Biloba. This vitamin comes from the leaf of the ginkgo tree from China and actually helps improve oxygen flow to the brain and helps people focus more. It is also helpful among those who have memory loss and among young people who need help with improving their concentration and their attention span.

Folate

Folate is a great vitamin for those who have issues focusing because it can help not only with focus but energy and alertness. In addition to helping maintain oxygen levels in the blood, this vitamin also helps you produce healthy blood cells. In short, folate can not only help bring up your alertness levels but it can help you with memory recall and concentration as well.

Acetyl L- Carnitine

When it comes to brain-boosting vitamins, very few can compare to Acetyl L-Carnitine. This powerful amino acid is often hailed as “Super Fuel” for the brain. This vitamin is readily available and is actually very popular among those with dementia, memory impairment and early Alzheimer’s. This is because there have been several studies that have found that this vitamin can help boost mental performance and memory.

It can also help with focus and concentration, according to several studies. It also helps increase blood flow to the brain which can be very helpful for people with poor concentration and attention spans. If you have difficulties focusing, here are some ways to minimize distractions.

Vitamin E

When vitamin E first started to become popular, it was being used for heart disease and other related cardiovascular issues, now it is mostly used for its anti-oxidant powers and for its effect on memory. In fact, vitamin E has become extremely popular in those with Alzheimer’s and memory loss. In addition to helping with memory, vitamin E can also help boost other areas of the brain, meaning you can see better focus and concentration when you take this vitamin regularly.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

If you start taking Omega 3 Fatty Acids regularly, you are doing yourself, and your brain a major favor. These acids are known to increase brain size and help protect the heart. They can also repair damaged neuroconnections in the brain. A study on babies who have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet found that these children tended to have fewer concentration issues while in school. You can take these acids by taking DHA or EPA regularly, or change your diet to include more sources of natural omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3s are so powerful as a way to help with concentration and alertness that the FDA even approved prescription-strength doses of this vitamin for treatment for ADHD.

Zinc

If you are struggling with focus because you feel hyper or impulsive, then you may need to start taking some zinc supplements. Zinc has been studied recently as it relates to ADHD in kids and many studies have found that children with this concentration issue actually tend to have low levels of zinc in their body. If you want to work on being more attentive and focused try adding zinc to your rotation of vitamins.

Before you start taking any vitamin, you should always speak to your health care professional first so you understand what you are taking and why you are taking it. However, in general, these vitamins are a great place to start if you want to start changing your brain’s ability to focus in a safe and natural way.

How To Minimize Distractions When Trading

Trading online can be a very exciting practice and something that can help make any person a great deal of money right from the comfort of their own homes. However, online trading isn’t exactly simple. It can be stressful, overwhelming and it requires a great deal of focus if you want to really find success while trading online.

However, one of the biggest challenges that online traders often face when it comes to finding this type of success is learning how to minimize distractions when trading. The more focused a trader can stay, the more successful they will likely be. It may seem relatively simple, but avoiding distractions can be extremely difficult. The good news is, there are a number of ways to minimize these distractions while trading at home so you can start finding even more success with your efforts.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

If you don’t have the right tools in place, then you are setting yourself up for failure when it comes to distractions. A slow internet connection, an old platform or the wrong apps that don’t work in the way they are supposed to are all distractions. They can get you off-focus and cause you to spend your time adjusting to, fixing or messing with your tools instead of staying focused on your trades. If you don’t have the right tools, it is best for you and your ability to be productive to invest in the ones that you need.

Choose the Right Spot

When it comes to trading online, it is all about location, location, location. You need to make sure that you have the right spot to trade from. Choose a spot that is quiet, comfortable and void of distractions like appliances, televisions, magazines or anything else that may get in your way while you trade. You also need to make sure that you are paying attention to the view.

Different people have different preferences when it comes to their ideal view. Sitting by a window and being able to look outside may be calming for some people. However, others may be distracted by everything that is going on outside and around them.

Schedule Yourself Some Fun Time

The key to avoiding distractions that are “fun” is to make sure that you schedule time in your day for the fun that you enjoy. For example, if you are easily distracted by Facebook and like to get on Facebook when you need a break, then schedule a few minutes into your day just for Facebook. When you know that you have scheduled time for fun, you are less likely to have issues with having these types of distractors get in the way of your ability to stay focused.

Find the Right Time to Work

Different people have different times during the day when they are most productive. If you aren’t going to be productive during a certain time, there is no point in working or trying to get things done. Be honest with yourself and figure out what time you are most productive, then create your schedule around that peak productive time.

There is no point in trying hard to change what time you are most productive. You can want to be an early morning worker, but if you aren’t naturally an early morning person, you are not going to be your most productive in the morning, no matter how much you want to be productive. If you are most productive in the evening, then work during this time and do other things that require less attention earlier in the day.

Turn Off The Gadgets You Don’t Need

There are many gadgets, tools and programs that you are going to need while trading online, but there are also just as many tools and gadgets that you don’t really need. Turn off the things that you don’t need to use, they will only distract you. Make sure that you are honest with yourself about what gadgets that you actually need.

Keep Your Emotions Under Control

Trading is so exciting. There is such a rush that can come with making trades and earning money off of those trades. However, it is important that you learn to control your emotions and keep them in check. This is perhaps the most distracting thing that can get in the way of your trading efforts.

During a single trade, you can feel a roller coaster of emotions ranging from anxiety to fear, greed, excitement, joy, depression and anything in between. You never want to trade only on emotion. You need to learn to block off those emotions and stay focused on the strategy and system that you put in place.

If you are able to stay in control of your emotions so that you aren’t trading based off of your feelings or making decisions based off of your feelings, you are much less likely to be distracted. Blocking out emotions while trading will not only help you stay focused but it will help you train yourself to stay focused no matter what comes your way.

Keeping tips like this in mind and making sure that you are sticking to a strategy you have in place for yourself can only help you minimize distractions while you trade.

Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks

Energy drinks. They are sugar and caffeine-packed beverages that for many, are the key to making it through a long day. Whether you use them first thing in the morning or to get over that afternoon slump, there are so many people out there that rely on energy drinks each and every day. However, if you are one of the energy drink-addicted, these little power-packed cans may be way worse for you than you think.

Although they seem relatively harmless, a 16 oz. can of Red Bull alone has 52 grams of sugar. Plus, most of these energy drinks, including Red Bull, tend to only provide about an hour or so of energy, until the person who drank the beverage crashes completely. In addition to being filled with sugar, many of these energy drinks also have and exorbitant number of stimulants and caffeine in them that can cause sleep issues, increased blood pressure and even anxiety and irritability.

Most experts will agree that energy drinks are simply bad for you, no matter what brand you drink or if you decide to go with the “lower sugar” options. The good news is, there are healthy alternatives that can still help you get that extra energy that you want and may even help you get better, longer-lasting and more clean feeling energy to get you through your day.

Here are some of our healthy alternatives to energy drinks that you may want to try next time you need a little pick-me- up: 

Water

So, water may not have caffeine in it, and it may not seem like a particularly energizing liquid, but it actually may be just what your body needs to feel ready to take on the day. Many times, when we are dehydrated, our body’s natural metabolic reactions start to slow down. This often results in people feeling tired or sluggish. All of those naturally occurring metabolic reactions actually happen in water inside our body.

In short, one of the main reasons people start to feel less energy in the middle of the day is because they are simply dehydrated. Instead of reaching for sugar next time you are feeling down and sluggish, drink a few glasses of water—you may be surprised to find it was just what you needed. Besides, water is one of the best and healthiest things you can drink.

Green Tea

Green tea is one of those magical beverages that just seems to be filled with perks and benefits. Green tea has a small amount of caffeine in it, which can give you that boost you need, yet it has less caffeine than coffee, which gives you a more natural source of energy and less of a crash after words. Green tea has also been linked to a number of different health benefits includes faster metabolism, improved mental clarity and some studies have even found it can decrease chances of cancer and heart disease—how is that for a healthy beverage alternative?

Green Juices

Juicing has become extremely popular over the past few years, mostly because there is so much evidence to support how good all natural juices are for you. However, rich green juices aren’t just great for those who are dieting or looking to eat healthier—they are also great for people who need a little pick-me- up during the day as well. If you drink juices that are made of dark green leafy vegetables, you are not only getting a whole bunch of vitamins and nutrients, but you are getting a major source of B vitamins—which helps the metabolism run at its highest level.

Get your entire day started off right and beat that mid-afternoon slump by starting your morning off with one of these juices—by the time 2 o’clock rolls around, we know you will be happy you did.

Protein Shakes

Dehydration is typically the number one cause that people tend to feel sluggish during the way, but a lack of protein actually comes in a close second when it comes to fatigue. A simple solution? A hearty protein shake. This can be a great way to fill an empty stomach, give your body the nutrients it needs and to get an extra boost of energy to help you through the day.

However, in order to really take advantage of the benefits of protein shakes, you need to make yourself a real shake—not just protein powder in water. This means soy milk, yogurt, fruit, quinoa and other healthy, natural sources of protein. Blend them together and you will have something that can get you whatever mid-afternoon hump that may be getting in your way.

Easy Yoga Moves That Can Refresh Your Mind

The ancient practice of yoga has been around for years and has helped many people get in shape, improve their flexibility and gain a better mind-body connection. There are so many different types of poses in yoga that can not only help the body but help the mind, and many people have yet to see the full potential of their practice and just what it can do to help them mentally. In fact, countless people actually use yoga as a way to help with anxiety, stress, mental alertness, memory and focus. 

If you want to start using yoga as a way to refresh your mind, the good news is you don’t have to be particularly seasoned in yoga or particularly flexible either. In fact, there are several very easy yoga moves that you can do with little experience that will help refresh your mind and leave you with a new, healthy perspective.

Paschimottanasana

You don’t need to know how to pronounce this pose in order to use it and to benefit from its brain-boosting powers. This simple yoga pose is meant to be held for up to four minutes at a time and it can actually help promote better brain activity.Here’s how you do it:

  • Sit on the floor and spread your legs forward
  • Adjust yourself so you are in a comfortable position and place your hands on one side
  • Bend forward and feel a nice stretch through your back and into your tailbone
  • Keep extending your hands and try to get as close to your toes as possible, where you can still hold your stretch comfortably
  • Breath deeply and switch sides

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is perhaps the most simple, and relaxing pose in all of yoga. Many people use child’s pose for the back or when they need to rest, but it can be great for the brain as well. This simple mood isn’t just restorative for the muscles but for the brain as well and it can help you feel refreshed and leave your mind feeling clear.Here’s how you do it:

  • Sit in your knees with the tops of your feet facing down
  • Bring your chest towards the ground, stretching your hands as far out in front of you as you can
  • Keep your arms by your ears and rest into your stretch, resting your forehead on the ground or turning your head to rest your cheek on the mat
  • Hold the pose for several minutes, breathing deeply, until you feel your whole mind and body relaxed and reenergized

Cobra

If you are looking for a pose that will help relieve fatigue, clear your mind of distractions and help you feel refocused and reenergized, then cobra is the pose for you. This is a simple yet effective pose that you can hold and breathe into for 30 seconds at a time.Here’s how you do it:

  • Lay on your stomach and put your palms down on either side of your chest
  • Tuck your elbows in towards your body
  • Inhale and lift your chest off the ground so it faces the wall in front of you, putting yourself into a gentle, yet comfortable backbend
  • Keep your shoulders strong and push the tops of your feet towards the ground. If you can’t comfortably breath into the pose lessen the bend

Sukhasana

This is a great pose to help soothe the body and the mind and to bring peace to your life while stimulating the brain.Here’s how you do it:

  • Sit straight but comfortably and spread your legs forward
  • Take a deep breath in and place the sole of one of your feet into the opposite inner thigh, folding at the knee joint
  • Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, positioning your hands on your knees
  • Switch sides after a few minutes

Mountain Pose

Mountain pose is a really simple, yet effective pose that helps restore balance to the body and the mind. It is very easy and something you can do with hardly any space. This is a great pose for those who feel as though stress prevents their brains from working the way they want them to.Here’s how you do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your legs parallel to one another
  • Tighten your muscles and tuck your tailbone, leave your head lifted and looking forward
  • Inhale deeply and fill your lungs, raise your arms above your head and keep your palms facing each other
  • Look straight ahead, breathe slowly and deeply hold for 30 seconds
  • Release your arms for 10 seconds and repeat the process several times

One of the great things about doing simple yoga poses such as these is that they can not only help boost your brain but they can help with everything from flexibility and muscle tone to posture and digestive health. Yoga is a great practice for your entire mind, body and soul and with these simple poses you can start seeing the brain benefits almost right away.

The Hidden Art of Free Form Journaling

For most people, journaling is something from their past; something that they did when they were younger to recount their days or stretch their imagination. However, for those who abandoned the idea of journaling with the rest of their childhood habits, it may be time to start the process up again. 

The art of free form journaling has become one of the most proven and successful forms of idea generation for today’s busy and creative minds. Even if you don’t work in a particularly creative field, journaling can help you think out loud, form ideas, clear your mind, and help set up free-flowing ideas for the rest of the day.

It is a practice that has become so popular, that different organizations such as 750Words.com are helping those who want to begin free-form journaling to start making it a daily habit. The concept was actually based on the concept of Morning Pages, as depicted in the popular Julia Cameron book, the Artist’s Way.This site in particular, brings hundreds of thousands of individuals together so they can keep each other motivated and on task with this exercise. 

So, what exactly is free form journaling?

One of the most important features of free form journaling is that there is no real structure and there are no real rules. Most experts recommend writing between 500-1000 words at a time, but it can really be any length. 

For those who are new to the idea of journaling, three whole pages can seem like a lot, however, with free writing, this many words can be anything at all. There is no structure. You don’t even need to write in complete sentences. You can write out ideas, names, thoughts, stories, or partial phrases.

Think of free writing as a form of meditation that requires a little more effort and delivers even more results. With free form journaling you need to hold on to your thoughts just the slightest-bit longer, bringing a little more brain power to your relaxation technique. This is a great exercise for those who appreciate the serenity and clear-mindfulness that meditation brings, but who may find it to be too simple, or who may find it juts sends them to sleep every time they let their mind relax.

If you are just getting started, here is how free form journaling works.

  • Give yourself a limit on time, or on length, depending on which you prefer. When you reach your limit, stop. You are done writing, even if you think you could do more.
  • Make sure to write quickly so you can get as many ideas out as possible, but don’t write in a hurry. Don’t pause to think or to edit or read what you have already written. Your goal is to write until you have reached your goal and to do as much writing as possible in your allotted time.
  • Let the grammar rules go. For those who normally obsessive over commas, style, syntax, flow and proper punctuation, let it go. You don’t need to cross your t’s and dot your I’s even. These things do not matter, all that matters is the act of writing.
  • As you continue to write for your allotted time, don’t worry about running out of thoughts or ideas. If one stream of thought ends, start writing on something else. The words should always be flowing. It doesn’t matter if what comes into your head is nonsense or not.

It is really that simple. Chances are you will notice some of the parallels to meditation, and as soon as you begin implanting free form writing into your everyday routine you will see why free journaling has become so popular. If you are nervous about getting started and feel as though you won’t be able to write that long 750Words.com has a great little trick for those new to the practice.

If you are bored or uncomfortable with writing, what you’re writing about or this exercise in general, ask yourself why and start writing about that. It can be as simple as “I’m bored because I don’t like writing,” but it is a great way to start getting the thoughts flowing.

Many individuals who start participating in this daily exercise are shocked by the thoughts and ideas that come from their subconscious. They are thrilled with the mental clarity that their daily activities bring and they are often able to come up with new thoughts, ideas and solutions that they never thought were possible before.

While you may not be a writer, or particularly creative for that matter, or aspiring to create the next great American novel, it doesn’t mean that free form journaling isn’t for you. Push yourself, give it a try and see first-hand the way this activity can clear your mind.

What is Kaizen And How Can It Change Your Life for the Better?

Chances are, if someone came up to you and started talking about the term kaizen, you probably wouldn’t have much interest in the word or be eager to hear about what they have to say. While the term kaizen isn’t exactly a head-turning term for most, it is one that you may want to start paying more attention to, as practicing the art of kaizen can dramatically change your life for the better. 

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese term that describes the art of continuous improvement. While many in Japanese culture have been familiar with this term for some time, most people were first introduced to kaizen in the book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Whether you are familiar with the book and this concept or not, the idea of kaizen is regarded as one of the important core foundations of Japan’s long-term success. 

Simply put, kaizen is based on the idea that big results can come from small changes that you make over time. It is not about big changes or quick results, it is about doing the little things to see the changes you want, and to constantly be improving and constantly doing these little things to make change.

It doesn’t just work in Japanese culture, although it is a way of life for many people living in Japan. Organizations from all over the world are starting to create a culture of continuous improvement within their workplace, to harness the power of this idea and turn it into actual results for their company.

So, How Does it Work?

Applying kaizen to your everyday life is actually extremely simple.

Think about kaizen in the way that you would think about losing weight through diet and exercise. You can starve yourself and run yourself ragged for a week if you want to drop a few pounds fast, but is that sustainable? No. You may lose some weight at first, but chances are you will only gain it back.

If you want to lose weight that you can actually keep off, you need to make small changes that are sustainable. It doesn’t mean cutting out every piece of junk food in one sitting, it will only cause you to relapse back to your old ways. It is about making small, sustainable and maintainable changes that can lead you to a healthier lifestyle.

Kaizen works the same way. It is all about making these small changes that you can sustain and utilize to become the best version of yourself possible. 

Here is how you can apply it: 

1. Come up with a small change or activity that you can repeat. What small change can you make to better your life or your work?

2. Use data to determine whether this new process is effective. Can you measure how it’s working?

3. Compare this process to the results you were seeing before. Are you saving time?

4. Continue to find new ways to achieve the same results and improve on efficiency. Can you make more small changes to get even better?5. Make a detailed, defined process that you can repeat. How can I write this down in a clear manner?

Then, go back and do the entire process over again.

This many seem very minuscule in terms of changes and rather exhausting when it comes to repeating the process, but it is a very manageable approach and one that is worth putting the time into.

Kaizen in the Professional World 

For many, Kaizen is a personal journey and a personal way of life to constantly be bettering themselves so they can be the best version of themselves they can be. However, kaizen can also be applied to the workplace.

In a work environment, a kaizen strategy challenges employees at all levels of the company to work together in a proactive manner to start making small improvements to their process. The idea is, if everyone does something small to improve their efficiency and work every day, as a whole the company will make big changes and big strides. 

Most work environments today focus on finding ways to make major changes by ramping up productivity, whether it is for a single project or for the long-haul. Kaizen, on the other hand, is all about small, improvements to better yourself. While it isn’t as extreme as some productivity solutions, it isn’t support to be. It is a way to streamline productivity and improvements and to make actual changes that are both sustainable and effective.

When all members, at all levels are utilizing kaizen to make small, instrumental changes in their workplace productivity, it can lead to massive results across the entire organization.

Whether you want to make changes at home or in the boardroom, give this practice a try and start making the small changes today that can lead to big changes in your future.

How Developing a Consistent Daily Routine Will Affect EVERYTHING

What is your daily routine like? When do you get up? What do you have for breakfast? Do you have coffee? Do you brush your teeth? Do you shower? Which one do you do first?

If you could sit down and write out exactly what your daily routine is for each and every day, what would it look like? Do you even have a daily routine, or do you generally do similar things every day? Having a routine is one of the best ways to add some structure into your day and to help improve virtually every aspect of your life. In fact, if you look at today’s most successful individuals, you will find that they all maintain detailed daily routines that don’t just give them structure but that actually help them become better, more successful individuals.

A book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work,” takes a detailed look into the lives and routines of some of the most inspired and intelligent people on the planet. The books looks at everyone from historic legends like Pablo Picasso and Charles Dickens to modern day inspirations like Anne Rice and Andy Warhol. While the list of artists, philosophers and scientists contains drastically different individuals, all of these individuals had some type of set routine. Some of them set goals for themselves, such as writing a certain amount before every day, others maintained strange hours, some preferred to work in bizarre locations, such as Maya Angelou’s “tiny, mean hotel room.”

Either way, looking at the lives of these individuals will highlight a few key things for readers. In general, these wildly successful talents all have a few things in common:

  • They work very long, very hard hours
  • Most profiled individuals got up early
  • A majority of these individuals work within two hours of waking up
  • Most of the individuals featured followed a strict daily work schedule and set goals for themselves (such as number of hours or number of words)
  • The artists profiled in this book adhere to their routines almost fanatically

What is most important is the ritual, the routine habit they created to better their lives. If you haven’t developed a routine such as this for yourself, there is no better time than the present to jump on board and start making a routine that works for you.

If there is one major takeaway from this study of successful individuals, or virtually any other look at the lives of today’s most successful artists, it is that habits are the key to successes and productivity. 

The main reason that successful people like the artists in this book, or virtually any successful individual you meet, tend to be so focused on their routines, is because it helps them get more things done. Having a routine that includes blocking out sections of your day means, having time for specific tasks, whether it is working, doing projects or going to the gym.

Procrastination can also become a thing of the past with a routine. So many of the talented individuals highlighted in “Daily Rituals” are actually writers, who would set daily writing rituals for themselves so that they could stay focused on their work and getting their deadlines meant and projects done in a timely manner. 

However, routines are about more than getting things done. When you have a set regimen you are much less likely to have stress and anxiety impacting your life. Living a daily, chaotic and unorganized life is only going to breed more feelings of chaos and disorganization. This is why setting strict schedules and routines are valuable tools used for those with conditions ranging from bipolar disorder to dementia. This type of routine can also have a positive impact on the quality of sleep you are able to get during the night as it can help regulate your body’s internal clock.

In addition to the mental health benefits, those with set routines are actually much more able to set good habits and break bad habits while they’re at it. Since the key to making something an actual habit is repetition, it is easier for those with routines to replace their bad habits with good ones. Experts say it will take a few weeks in order to turn an action into a habit, but with time it can actually become a new, more positive part of your life.

Whether you are finishing your novel, trying to make more time for the gym or just want to get a better evening of sleep, the best place to start making a detailed daily routine for yourself. With time, it can change your life in ways you never thought possible. What rituals are you going to start creating for yourself this year?

Detaching From Technology- The Benefits And How You Can Actually Do It

Chances are you have read some type of article about how you need to start letting go of all the technology you use and “disconnecting” from your devices. While so many experts and gurus will tell you the importance of taking a break from technology, it can still be a rather difficult undertaking. 

Before you make an effort to actually detach yourself from your technology, it is important to understand the benefits of detaching from your technology. Here are some of the key perks of taking the time to turn off your devices.

  • It can give you a sense of renewal as you enjoy some peace and serenity away from technology and the information overload that comes with it.
  • It can help you recover from stress. For most people, staying hooked to their devices means staying hooked to the stresses from their job. Unplug to allow yourself time to recover from the stresses that get you down.
  • It helps you set healthy boundaries. If you are looking to maintain a better work-life balance, then your key may be turning off your technology when you are home. It can give you time away from work and time for yourself.
  • It gives you time to spend with your friends and family. There are more important things in life than checking emails and getting social media updates. Instead of keeping your head buried in your screen, start focusing on those that matter most to you and spending time with the ones that you love.
  • It can help you sleep better. Countless studies have shown that those who turn off their devices before bed time and give themselves space from their screens are able to fall asleep faster and get a better quality of sleep.

So, you know just how beneficial turning off your devices can be, but how do you actually start creating some healthy distance between you and your favorite devices. It can be more challenging than it seems to just turn off your connection to the outside world, but here are some tips to help you get over the hump.

  • Give yourself a schedule. Just as you schedule time to do certain things, make sure you schedule time to not be on you devices.
  • Set a pre-bed routine for yourself that doesn’t include technology. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get quality sleep. Yet, if you spend most of the night staying up in bed reading emails, you aren’t exactly going to get the best quality sleep.
  • Tell yourself the world can wait. Sometimes, the lure of the internet is the biggest draw of technology for people. Whether you are watching the markets or looking to see what your friends are doing on social media, tell yourself these things can wait.
  • Go on a digital detox. If you really want to “shock the system” after spending too much time with your technology, go off the grid and keep your devices off for a day, a few days or even a week, it will detox your system and help you start fresh with a new, less technology-dependent routine.
  • Start your day off on the right foot. Instead of getting up and immediately turning on the TV or checking your phone for emails, boost your brain with some non-tech activities such as meditation. It will help you get in the right mindset for the day and won’t have you feeling bogged down with tech-overload.
  • Exercise. It is easy to find yourself in a tech haze during the day when you have been buried in your technology. A great way to give your mind a much-needed break is to get a little exercise. It will help you detach, it is good for you and it will help boost your endorphins, leaving you in a better mood.

Once you make disconnecting part of your daily routine, you may be surprised to find just how easy it is to take some moments from your day away from the screen. Chances are you are not only going to feel more rested and refreshed, but you are going to enjoy these additional opportunities to spend quality time with those that matter most.

Detaching from technology can be a big challenge for any person, but it is an important part of finding balance in your day. How do you detach from technology when you need a break?