background preloader

Why Focus Makes Us Smarter

Why Focus Makes Us Smarter
by Jason Selk Focus makes us smarter. In a recent study using mice, when their attention improved, so did their cognitive performance. The same is true for humans. Here are eight ways to sharpen your focus and become smarter.Stop putting out fires.Stop allowing yourself to be distracted by dramas and emergencies. Be willing to disappoint.When focusing on getting your top three process goals done every day, you may disappoint colleagues, clients, and customers from time to time by not dropping everything to help them. Resist temptation.There's only so much self-control in your personal budget, so spend it on what's most important. "Over-practice" discipline.Just as baseball players practice swinging with a weighted bat so that batting feels easy when they get up to the plate, you can improve your discipline by pushing yourself to be more disciplined than usual. Moderate "performance arousal." Maintain a healthy body.Sharp focus is dependent on good health. Dr. Related:  For All of Us

Life: What are the top 10 things that we should be informed about, in life This Is Your Body On Stress (INFOGRAPHIC) Your boss reams you out for a bad presentation -- you break out into a sweat. Your demanding mother-in-law comes for a visit -- your head pounds. Rumors swirl about possible layoffs at work -- you can't sleep. An unexpected expense takes a hit on your bank account -- your stomach aches. Here's why: Historically, the majority of stressors facing humans were physical (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!), requiring, in turn, a physical response. Humans are equipped with a sophisticated fight or flight response that allows us to outrun a grizzly bear or fight off an animal far more powerful than we are. The problem, though, is that while just a few hundred years ago our stressors were primarily physical, today the vast majority of stress is psychological -- work, finances, families and the like. What's more, the brain isn't always particularly good at evaluating how serious a particular stressor is. Sources: Stanford School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, A.D.A.M. Suggest a correction Contact Us

Meditation Apps For Inner Peace (On The Go) In our non-stop contemporary lives, it helps when mindfulness can be practiced on-the-go. Fortunately, you don't have to carve out a full 30 minutes, twice a day to feel the benefits of cultivating mindfulness through a regular meditation routine. Just a few minutes can go a long way toward lowering stress levels, stabilizing mood and improving focus. In fact, a 2011 brain imaging study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that even very brief instruction in mindfulness meditation (four 20-minute sessions) was effective in relieving pain by reducing the brain's emotional response to painful stimuli. So if you're looking for a way to incorporate meditation into a jam-packed schedule, put your phone on airplane mode and unwind with one of these eight meditation apps for portable serenity, whether you're on the subway, waiting at the airport or just catching a little quiet time at home. Loading Slideshow For more on meditation, click here.

Three Fun and Easy Things Science Says Will Make You Happier | The Happiness Initiative Be Happy This webpage is an archive and no longer reflects current information about the Happiness Alliance – home of The Happiness Initiative. Please visit Research tells us about 1/3 of your happiness is predetermined (your “set point”). De Neve, 2012. The rest – your thinking and the circumstances around you – you can change. Three Fun and Easy Things Science Says Will Make You Happier 1) Sit Silently for 5 minutes a day. 2) Practice gratitude: every morning and every night, list five things for which you are thankful on paper or in your thoughts. 3) Give every day with a small act of kindness to someone in their presence or so they know it is you who gave. Improve your happiness! There are many ways to improve your happiness. Material WellbeingPhysical HealthTime BalancePsychological WellbeingEducation and LearningCultural VitalityEnvironmental QualityGovernanceCommunity VitalityWorkplace Experience What is Your Path to Happiness? Each of these paths has pitfalls.

10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy | The Happiness Initiative This webpage is an archive and no longer reflects current information about the Happiness Alliance – home of The Happiness Initiative. Please visit Back to Individual Happiness Yes! Magazine: In the last few years, psychologists and researchers have studied people all over the world to find out how things like money, attitude, culture, memory, attitude, culture, memory, health, altruism, and our day to day habits affect our well-being. Here are 10 scientifically proven strategies for getting happy. Savor Everyday Moments Pause now and then to smell a rose or watch children at play. Avoid Comparisons While keeping up with the Joneses is part of American culture, comparing ourselves with others can be damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Put Money Low on the List People who put money high on their priority list are more at risk for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, according to researchers Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan. Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

How to Be a Gentleman Behind the Wheel We’ve covered the art of being a gentleman at work, on the field, in the air, and at a party. But there’s one area of well-mannered comportment that often gets ignored: how to be a gentleman on the road. Bad behavior behind the wheel has its roots in the same thing that plagues internet civility: anonymity. We could all use some friendly reminders on auto etiquette from time to time. Some of what we’ll talk about today is already enshrined in law, but often gets ignored. On the Highway Don’t drive slowly in the left – passing – lane. If you’re stuck behind a car in the left lane that won’t move over, it’s common to want to tailgate until they get the message. Maintain a consistent speed. Do the zipper merge. Ah, but here’s the twist. The safest, most effective way to merge when a lane ends on the highway is the zipper merge. On the Streets Don’t block parking lot entrances/exits. Let people into traffic when appropriate. Don’t forget the thank you wave! Use the horn sparingly. Parking

How Our Machine-Based Way of Life is Not Only Destroying Nature, It Is Also Destroying Us Photo Credit: February 12, 2013 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. The following is an excerpt from Eros Over Logos: A Revolt of the Instinctual Mind Amidst the Madness of Modern Life. We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about. As human beings living in the modern world, we must ask ourselves, “How does our being coexist with all our going?” Even our foremost pastimes, the movies, television shows, and sporting events we view—things we do to recover from all our work and busyness—exemplify this glorification of non-stop, nerve-riveting action, of violence, crime, sexual exploits, and destruction.

How to master your life - Leading a better life - Quora It’s a game where you lead a person’s complete life with a mouse. Want to talk to that girl right there? Just click on her and pick something: Left to their own devices, your Sim will do whatever they feel like, which is usually strikingly stupid. (In real life, that may sound familiar). In real life you think about getting fit. The second lesson from The Sims is to nurture your state.If your Sim is tired, desperate for company or wetting themselves, they won’t get much done. The third lesson from The Sims is to build selected skills.Almost every action your Sim can take makes them better at something.

The Way of the Bodhisattva: Living in the World If we desire enlightenment only for ourselves, then living in society will seem like a hindrance. Everything will appear as an obstacle keeping you from your spiritual lifestyle and practices. You will feel a drive to escape, perhaps to nature or to an ashram. A key component is Motivation. If we want to live in a beautiful and awakened world of majesty and harmony, then all change must start with ourselves. This is not a matter of teaching or outreach. Part of the Bodhisattva Vow is: "The beings in all the worlds are numberless, I vow to save them." This does not mean going one by one and leading each by hand down the path to enlightenment. Living in the world requires you to understand the interdependence of all things, not just below the surface but also ON the surface. When you can get on everyone's side, not their ego's sides mind you but the Soul's side, then you will no longer find society to be a hindrance to your path. Bodhicitta This is the practice of Tonglen. Step One: Openness

The World Is a Kinder Place When You’re Kind “Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.” ~Unknown Sometimes I stop to think about how in the world I ended up where I have. I started off with very little, and somehow along the way I have ended up generally happy and on my own two feet. My adolescence up to my early twenties had its share of dark days. For a long time through my rough days, I held a sort of grudge against the rest of the world. Where was that feeling of community? The world felt large, dark, and lonely. What I didn’t realize at the time was that as much as those close to me have influenced my growth and my life, those I consider strangers have made just as strong an impact. I had an accident a few years back, and unfortunately, I was far from home and by myself when the incident occurred. Many strangers witnessed the accident and casually passed by. They had no obligation to help, and in fact, had places to be. My world was jolted—and I kind of liked it. That was it right there. Photo by oh_pretty_love

Manvotional: 4 Rules on How to Make the Most of Life “How to Make the Most of Life” From Every-day Religion, 1886 By James Freeman Clarke Some persons make a great deal of life; others very little. To some it is intensely interesting; to others, very vapid. Some are tired of life before they have begun to live. This…is the first rule for making the most of life: Forget yourself in some interest outside of yourself. But, you may say, we cannot all be inspired apostles or great philosophers. In the great storms which have lately swept over the north Atlantic, a steamer from our shores discovered another, dismasted and rudderless, drifting before the gale, its decks swept by terrible seas. The poor steamer foundered because it drifted; because its steering apparatus was lost. These men, however, it may be said, were enthusiasts; they had enthusiasm for some pursuit, to which they devoted themselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson is another striking instance in our times of a man who made the most of life.

A Powerful Lesson in Self-Compassion: Are You Allergic to Honey? “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama When things don’t go as planned, is your go-to explanation that it’s because you did something wrong, or because there’s something wrong with you ? For many people, self-compassion is a real challenge. Most of us want to be kinder to ourselves, but our self-critical, perfectionistic patterns are often well-established, and it’s hard to know how to interrupt them. When I was in graduate school, I was driving home from school one evening when I noticed that my car was overheating. It was 5pm on a Friday, I was blocking the bike lane, and traffic was backed up behind me. As I dialed Triple A, the self-critical thoughts and stories started to spin: “Why didn’t I notice earlier that the car was overheating? I heard more car horns beeping as the woman at Triple A promised that a tow truck would be there within 30 minutes. “I’m in the way; inconveniencing everyone around me. “Thanks.”

Lessons We Can Learn from Jiro Ono Specialization is how we've gotten this far. You think we'd have heart surgery, cancer treatments, space-flight, atomic energy, swiss clocks or the internet if people didn't specialize? Variety in life is good, but without our specialist experts we wouldn't have our society. Exactly! @HiMyNameIsJay: I do not understand where your "specialization" argument comes from, Jay. That's actually a quote from Robert Heinlein ("Specialization is for insects"), from "Time Enough for Love" (a good book, not his best, but definitely worth reading if you're into SciFi). I've always taken it to mean that you shouldn't specialize in one thing at the expense of all other things. The full quote is: -Robert A. What are trite factoids for?

We Have to Let Go of Who We Are to Discover Who We Can Become “When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lau Tzu In the spring of last year, a number of events challenged my sense of self and my sense of direction. In March I realized my tax liability would be much larger than I’d anticipated, effectively depleting my entire savings account. Less than a month later, while my boyfriend was on a vacation I had to miss because I was recovering, a burglar broke into my apartment and stole everything of significant financial value that I owned. One month later my grandmother passed away, surrounded by her closest family members. Never before in my life had I experienced so much loss in one season. And then, without really understanding my intentions, I tossed another loss onto the heap: I stopped writing every day for this blog, as I’d done previously for almost three years. A part of me felt this urge to write about the same things over and over. And then I’d stop. I was hesitant to believe that—or maybe, more accurately, allow it.