Power of Sleep

The Power of Sleep

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind but what about those afternoon naps? This article will talk about the benefits of afternoon siestas!

We all love to sleep. Its one of the most peaceful moments of the day. But most of us don’t know the important benefits related to sleep. Apart from rebooting our system, in a way, it also helps in memory formation. In this article, we are going to talk about the overall benefits of sleep but also the power of taking naps in between.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep plays a very important role as it helps crystalize emotional information, that we gather throughout the day. It also helps us control how we feel. When we are asleep, our brain is encoding information based on the experiences from the day. Which makes the act of sleeping extremely essential for preserving memories.

Emotional memories, researchers argue, are unique because of the way the influence our amygdala, our brain’s emotional core. This core is what makes our memories of wedding days or funerals or anything emotional, remembered carefully. Such emotional days are better remembered than other days.

A good night’s sleep is extremely good at transforming these experiences into emotional memories. That is why it is recommended that we get at least six-eight hours of sleep every day.

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Not All Sleep Are Equal

However, not all periods of sleep are equal. The sleep we get a night, the long 6-8-hour ones, are the ones in which we go through several phases of sleep. This is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is closely associated with our emotional memories. Researchers argue that more REM sleep makes people better at assessing other people’s emotional intentions and also in recalling emotional stories.

Another thing that happens when are in the REM phase is related to our Prefrontal Cortex. Prefrontal Cortex is the most developed part of our brain. Researchers also call this location of our brain where we have the impulse to keep calm and not react to things immediately.

When we are awake, this part of the brain keeps our emotions in check. But this connection is reduced when are in REM sleep. Our brain also paralyzes our body during REM phase, otherwise, we would be constantly moving, which could hurt us.

 

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Naps or Slow-Wave Sleep

But there are also other kinds of sleep which do not feature the REM phase. These are naps. Naps are also known as ‘Slow-Wave’ sleep and it’s usually the phase of sleep. It also helps consolidates memories. But are they effective in keeping our emotions in check as the REM sleep does?

Researchers in order to answer this did a study with children to see the effects of naps. The study found that the children who didn’t take naps were grumpier and mentally exhausted. And the children who took naps were, as the researcher called ‘cool as a cucumber’.

In adults as well, research has shown that afternoon naps help one destress and feel better during the day. Any stress or headaches or just normal issues of the day make the brain stressed, so afternoon naps help one feel better.

 

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To Conclude

The overall science of sleep is still complicated as research is still discovering new things. For example, a recent paper has argued that a longer duration of REM sleep leads to people getting depressed. The reason is not yet known but there are strong linkages.

This sort of findings just makes the overall phenomenon of sleep more complicated. But for now, what you should take away from this article is that sleep is essential for us. In the end, the best prescription for a heartache or a confused mind or a headache is to get a good sleep!

So, the next time your feeling low or feel stressed, try to take a nap. As science says it will help. Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits.

11 Signs You Are Stressed

11 Signs You Are Stressed

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stress is common to all. People stress often. Stress happens both in humans and animals. We are sure that the majority of us are dealing with stress on a regular basis, maybe even right now.

11 SIGNS YOU ARE STRESSED

What is stress?

Term stress was coined by Hans Selye in 1936. Stress is a way of response in our body that usually affects us in a negative way.

There are various stimuli that work to produce stress. These stimuli are both external and internal.

However, there are situations where we are not even aware we are dealing with stress.

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Here are 11 signs you are dealing with stress:

  

1.    The most common symptom in this category is muscle stiffness and pain. Headaches and Chest pain is also observed when a person is stressing.

    

2.    Change in metabolism, people who often go through stress report upset stomach or stomach pain.

3.    Problem with sleeping, also another common symptom that you are stressing is a problem with sleeping. It can manifest in sleep advancing, change in sleep pattern and simply not being able to sleep.

4.    Increased susceptibility to cold or feeling feverish often is also a common sign that you might stress chronically.

5.    Getting easily frustrated or irritated. The most obvious sign is a typical moody behavior where one gets easily angry or annoyed by small triggers.

6.    Avoiding others is another common sign that indicated we are stressing. Generally, when we are stressed, we usually aren’t interested in socializing.

7.    Stress induces lack of motivation in a person makes him much more pessimistic in his outlook. The drive is missing.

8.    Getting overwhelmed is not a good feeling. Results in the loss of control and emotion. Our emotions become overbearing. This is also another common sign of stress.

9.    The surest sign that is common to all is racing thoughts. Ever had a feeling that you a jumping from one thought to another. These thoughts are usually unresolved thoughts that bombard us off-guard.

10.   Inability to focus is a classic symptom of stress. Often when one is stressing then are retentivity and ability to focus reduces.

11.   Forgetfulness, research shows that stress can have a debilitating impact on our memory. Stress makes it difficult for one to create short-term memories or turning short term memory to long term.

These are commonest signs that you might be stressing. We suggest you kindly talk to someone or seek help.

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Improve conentration

How to Improve Concentration in the Age of Distraction

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With our eyes being constantly bombarded with images and information, how can one build and retain concentration in such a distracted age? This article shares some tips just to do that.

Our life in today’s world seems to be always switched on. We seem to always have our smartphones in our hands, laptop screen in front of our eyes. In the west, an average person spends around 10 hours a day in front of a screen (mobile and computer). In the context of India, a poll found that the connected youth of India spend around nine hours a day on the phone or a computer screen.

These have become, without us knowing, an integral part of your lifestyle. But what these devices have done is hampered our concentration and retention spans.  A study found that distraction by emails and phones have led to drop of 10 points in a person’s IQ. Another recent report estimated that we get interrupted every eight minutes, that is around 60 interruptions in our waking day! And all these interruptions contain a lot of information of some kind. A recent survey by the University of California estimated that we are bombarded by at least 30gb worth of information a day!

The overall impact of all this is on our concentration levels. We may be living in a constant state of alertness but never really giving full attention to one thing. This means the development of short attention spans, never able to retain information for a longer duration, and forgetting things very easily. In this article, we will tell you tips in regaining your concentration levels and adapting yourself in the age of constant distraction.

How to Improve Concentration

 

The Five More Rule

One of the simplest ways to boost your concentration levels in the five more rule. It’s simple, whenever you feel like quitting or giving up, just say to yourself five more – be it minutes, be it pages – as it will enhance your focus. The idea is to go beyond the point of restlessness or frustration which helps build mental strength. It is training your brain to endure and help develop concentration levels.

 

One Thing at a Time

These days people argue that we have reached new levels of multitasking. But in reality, we are not multitasking but rather switching between activities and not doing each one of them properly. Multitasking leads to a continuous partial attention, which lowers your overall concentration levels. So, the best way is to do one thing, properly, at a time. Before moving on to a different task take a 5-10 minutes break to organize your mind.

 

Meditation

Trying to fend off external and internal distractions is not an easy task. One of the best ways is to meditate and becoming more mindful. Meditation leads to mindfulness which helps develop overall concentration levels.

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Counting Backwards

counting-backwards

Another unique way, which you can do in your free time, is to start counting backward from a thousand, sounds simple enough. Well, the catch is to count backward in sevens. It may sound annoying but it is actually a very effective way to develop your concentration levels.

Similarly, spelling words backward is also a good exercise to do. Start with simple words like pen, tip, etc and then move on to bigger words.

 

Exercises

Doing regular exercises also help the brain and the body to be in sync. During exercises, the brain is engaged with the body as it works out, which itself requires concentration.

 

Good Sleep

Lack of sleep also affects your concentration levels. One needs to have at an average eight hours sleep daily. But being surrounded by phones and laptops screens we almost go to sleep while using them, which is harmful to the eyes and the brain. It is recommended to have good sleep to keep away from phones or any form of screens at least an hour before sleeping.

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Read a Book!

 Improve Concentration

I know you must be saying, then what will we do if we are not on our phones or on our laptops before we sleep? Then the answer might shock you – Read an actual book! We have gotten so used to skimming information from a screen that most of us have forgotten what reading an actual book feels like. Reading a book not only is good before going to sleep but it also helps you develop your concentration levels as it requires careful reading of the intricate plot structure, complicated characters and the flow of the narrative.

 

Eliminating Distractions

 Improve Concentration REMOVE DISTRACTIONS

While you cannot do away with a phone in today’s world but you can make it less distracting. For one, turn off all non-human notifications from apps. It means turning off notifications that are sent by non-humans. Another tip is grayscaling your screen. These days hidden in settings is the option to turn your screen into full black and white. The advantage of this that most apps are designed in a way to distract you from your work by using ‘eye-catching’ colors. So, by grayscaling you avoid this trap and you can choose what to use and what not to use.

To sum up, these are eight ways to help you develop concentration levels and help you be more productive in any work that you do. While you are at it don’t forget to explore yourself at Brainpundits, till then cheers and be awesome.

the-growth-mindset-approach-by-Dr-carol-dwyek-

The Growth Mindset Approach

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Growth Mindset Approach

(How it can help you cope up with daily struggles and challenges in life?)

Growth Mindset book

What is the mindset?

 

Mindset can be described as a belief or set of beliefs to which a person ascribes, determining how one handles a problem/challenge/task/situation. It differs from person to person.

 

Doctor Carol S. Dweck (Ph.D.) is one of world’s leading researcher in the field of personality, social psychology and developmental psychology. She has coined the term Growth Mindset. Her research has contributed immensely to developmental psychology which in simpler sense indicates the approach to tackle problem/struggles/challenges in our lives.

Growth mindset vs Fixed mindset: She has proposed that people at best can be categorized into two growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Growth mindset individuals are those who believe that abilities can be developed and improved upon. Fixed mindset individuals see abilities and talent as fixed traits of oneself. She presents a contrasting image between the two.

                                                    Diagram by Nigel Holmes

Two Approaches

 

Risk and Effort: Growth mindset individual relies both on risk as well as the effort to gain from such a mindset. A belief should be drawn on suggesting that one’s abilities can be improved with effort. One should allow themselves to take the risk to gain experience, should view it as a stepping stone/hurdle.

 

Alfred Binet, a Frenchman, inventor of IQ test, had created IQ test not to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence but designed it to identify children who were not profiting from Paris public school. This test should have worked as an identification tool to establish who were benefiting from the current education system and that those who were lagging in it be identified and catered to by reforming education.

 

 

 

How this approach can help you in your daily struggles?

Growth mindset approach simply allows for an open mindset over problem areas/events/situations. Most essentially you should tell yourself that whatever problem has arisen, can be resolved through effort (can be physical/ mental). Your traits/talent/skills are not fixed but can be developed through the right amount of effort and time.

For eg. Supposedly, you are concerned to see that going to the gym regularly has not resulted in much loss in weight. Now you can apply Growth Mindset approach to telling yourself that this challenge/goal has not resulted into failure but that your effort is not producing effective results and more grinding or change in exercise regime is what is needed.

This allows you to see it not as the failure but merely as an event which is taking more time/effort. This will allow you to stretch and persevere for longer. Both these traits are seen in Growth Mindset individuals. You also don’t see it as the task but a process to gain from. Hence you are not failing but working on a project which is taking little longer.

 

Using Growth mindset to overcome the challenges of life:

 

To overcome challenges in life, one should not view them as success and failures. These labels usually signify positive and negative emotions in one’s mind. This makes one see themselves as persons who constantly seek to validate that they are good at somethings and bad at others. Think about it this way since you know you are good at something you will only choose those and avoid others. This makes your approach limited to the area or field of expertise. Most great leaders, champions, CEO’s who were of growth mindset saw the challenge as an opportunity, learn to grow and develop intellectual capacities and not as the window to validate themselves.

Michael Jordan embraced his failures. He was not selected in his high school basketball team. He saw this merely as a setback not as a failure.

Michael Jordan in two mindsets:

 

growth mindset

 

 

Three important pointers to view a challenge in growth mindset frame:

1.    See a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.

2.    There are only setbacks no failures. These setbacks are like a wake-up call.

3.    Keep up with the pace. Do not pause. Michael Jordan maintained his best game throughout his career meaning he reoriented, reformed, improved and practiced more after winning championships.

 

Growth Mindset provides an opportunity to change our beliefs about ourselves. More importantly, it provides us with a positive outlook towards life and its challenges, giving an affirmative approach by giving a hopeful and a meaningful way of dealing with problem, task, challenges, and issues. It certainly improves the way we think about our problems and changes us for the better.

 

Do check out series of free tests to know yourself better. 

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13 Easiest Ways to Cope with Stress

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In today’s world, it is quite easy to get overwhelmed with balancing the workload at the office and one’s private life. It is no surprise then recently Word Health Organisation called Stress a worldwide epidemic and have called for actions across the countries to deal with this issue and how to cope with stress.

In this article, I will highlight some of the ways you can manage and deal with your stress issues in an effective manner. The best thing about these tips is that it doesn’t involve any medication of any kind but tinkering of your overall routine.

 

Cope with Stress [13 Easiest Ways]

 

 

What is Stress?

But first of all, what is stress? It is often a physical response in the body to either mental or a personal situation. In such situations stress hormones are released in a body that triggers in the body what is called ‘fight or flight’ response. It is a state of the body which meant only for emergency situations like facing a tiger or an accident. But in today’s world stress is being triggered by our daily routine, and the workplace is the most common trigger. For students, stress is often triggered by anxiety driven by exams.

The harmful effects of stress are manifold and range from physical problems like headaches, fatigue, and even upset stomachs to mental problems like depression. Research has also linked stress with issues like high blood pressure, heart diseases and other serious issues.

 

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How to Deal with Stress in the Most Effective Way

Now, this all sounds ominous and you may be wondering how to deal with increasing issues of stress. Do not worry as I will provide you with a comprehensive list of ways to deal with stress in your daily life. I have divided this list into three broad aspects of your life that you can bring in to counter stress: Mind, Body, and Action

 

Mind

There are certain things that you can do in order to curb your rising stress levels. The first, Mind, deals with things that you can do on the mental level.

  1. Changing Perspective – One of the ways you can reduce your stress is the change the way you think about work or any situation that may arise. It is always important to keep reminding yourself of the important things in life.
  2. Doing Your Best – Instead of thinking being perfect at everything you do, try to think of giving your best so that you don’t pressure yourself into trying to achieve something unachievable.
  3. Being Positive – You should always try to be positive when approaching anything as any negative thought can lead to anxiety and stress.
  4. Learning About Triggers – Another thing that you can do is writing down your feelings whenever you feel stressed in order to find out what triggers it. This will help you know about the triggers which will enable you to deal with them efficiently.

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Body

 

This section focuses on the things that you can do physically to deal with stress.

  1. Exercise – First and foremost you should workout daily in order to keep your body fit. Anything from jogging to a full body workout will do as the key is to keep your body physically fit to face the problems of the world.
  2. Balanced Diet – A well-balanced diet is also a vital part of being physically and mentally healthy. Having a balanced diet complements your workout routine in keeping the body fit.
  3. Limit Alcohol and Cigarettes Intake – If you are a regular drinker or a smoker, it is advisable to limit these two as studies have shown a higher consumption of alcohol and cigarettes leading to stress issues. An occasional drink or two won’t be an issue but heavy drinking should be avoided.
  4. Good Sleep – Finally, it is essential to take care of your body and get in a good number of hours of sleep. It is recommended to get at least 8 hours of sleep to keep your body healthy.

 

Action

Steps that you can take in your daily routine in order to curb your stress levels.

  1. Staying Organised – One of the best ways is to keep yourself organised by making and following a set routine. Make realistic goals for yourself to achieve so that you can feel good after achieving them.
  2. Breathing Exercises – Another unique way to keep a check on your stress is to practice breathing exercises. Just try taking deep breaths whenever your feeling stress creeping up your sleeve and repeat this for few minutes.
  3. Take Short Breaks – You should also keep taking little breaks in between work in order to give yourself a little cool down before you begin with your next project.
  4. Help Others – Sometimes it helps to help others deal with their problems. This not only creates a sense of fraternal bonding with others but also it allows you to be active in things which are not work-related which may help in feeling good about yourself.
  5. Seeking Help – Getting help from a professional is also a wise option. You should definitely consider doing this if other tips aren’t working out for you.

 

So, friends here you have 13 tips to deal with and reduce your stress levels and help you enjoy a stress-less life! Till then, cheers and be awesome

13 Common Causes of Stress at Workplace

13 Common Causes of Stress at Workplace

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we all know that stress becomes a disease in our daily life. It’s important to recognize the common causes of stress at work so that you can take steps to reduce stress levels where possible. Workplace stress can be caused by a number of factors – from heavy workloads and over-promotion to bullying and blame culture. Stress is harmful to your mental health it can also take a toll on your physical health as well.

People who have been suffering from stress are more prone to heart attacks and other heart-related issues.

Today we have compiled a list of some 13 Common Causes of Stress at Workplace.

Have a look:

 

13 Common Causes of Stress at Workplace include:

 

  1. Excessively high workloads, with unrealistic deadlines making people feel rushed, under pressure and overwhelmed.
  2. Not able to fully utilize your skills, lack of work.
  3. A lack of control over work activities.
  4. A lack of interpersonal support or poor working relationships leading to a sense of isolation.
  5. Not enough experience for a particular job.
  6. Difficulty settling into a new promotion. Having a hard time adjusting with new people and not sure if people are listening to you. 
  7. Concerns about job security, lack of career opportunities, or level of pay.
  8. Bullying or harassment.
  9. A blame culture within your business where people are afraid to get things wrong or to admit to making mistakes.
  10. Weak or ineffective management which leaves employees feeling they don’t have a sense of direction. Or over-management, which can leave employees feeling undervalued and affect their self-esteem.
  11. Multiple reporting lines for employees, with each manager asking for their work to be prioritized.
  12. failure to keep employees informed about significant changes to the business, causing them uncertainty about their future.
  13. A poor physical working environment, eg excessive heat, cold or noise, inadequate lighting, uncomfortable seating, malfunctioning equipment, etc.

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These were the 13 Common Causes of Stress at Workplace. Do you think we miss something? Let us know it the comment section below.