How to Keep Your Mind Sharp and Help Your Inspiration & Creativity

There are several factors in life that can make you feel as dull as a brick.

And the sad thing is that by the time you realize it, it’s very hard to returned to that focused state you remember you once had. Repeating curriculum, long periods of inactivity due to illness or other reasons may render a person not entirely able to function the way he or she once did.

Thus the need is born – to keep your mind sharp at all times. This stimulates your creativity and allows you to be inspired more easily.

The Underlying Factors

Ever notice how as soon as you passed elementary school you stopped doing math by hand, and started using the calculator?

Suddenly, you never multiplied anything using your brain anymore, and the next time you actually tried (after several years, no less) you could barely remember how it was done, let alone manage to pull it off quickly.

Same thing happens in many other spheres of life – your brain stops to work at full power once you find quick workarounds.

Doing lots of menial tasks and having a gray and monotonous everyday schedule can contribute to that too. These are things you should avoid at all cost.

Some Useful Tips to Promote a Sharp Mind

Here are a few valuable tips you can use to keep your mind sharp all the time.

  1. Take Care of Your Body

Most of us don’t have the time, resources or good will to be health nuts, however there are some simple things nearly everyone can do to keep their body fit to a certain extent, which will help the mind as well.

Romans used  to say that one should  have a “A healthy mind in a healthy body”, and to keep up to that proverb you can do a few simple things –  dedicate half an hour once or twice weekly for jogging, walk to work if that’s an option, or at least walk a mile every day, in whatever pace you want.

Reduce caffeine intake 4 to 5 hours before bed – this will make your sleep quite a lot healthier and will make you more productive in the morning.

  1. Read, Read, Read

A piece of advice you likely see quite too often.

It’s very likely that you’re already doing it, as you’re reading this article right now. But to keep up the good work, try finding lots of information and sifting through what might be relevant and interesting for you. Don’t be afraid to dig further into complex topics.

The other way is also an option – read less and more general information but for a variety of different topics. Once you explore lots of different things, you’ll be able to cross-reference and abstract them in your head, allowing for better creativity.

  1. Give Your Mind Some Rest from Time to Time

Leading psychologists suggest dedicating ten minutes per day to doing absolutely nothing.

That’s right, basically staring at the ceiling!

One might wonder what the purposes of that would be at first glance, but when you think about it , this is actually the most primitive form of meditation that anyone can do!

By doing this you’ll help prevent your mind from overloading.

  1. Find New Challenges, New Hobbies and New Tasks

An old proverb says that the mind is like the blade – it gets rusty if it’s not used. So to keep your mind from “catching rust” you’ll need to present it with a variety of new difficulties and challenges.

What better way to do that than to learn how to play an instrument for example? Or start a new hobby, like knitting, origami or any sort of applied art.

There are a plethora of tutorials and helpful communities online, and for most hobbies you’ll need to invest only a little money on the basic necessities you’ll need at first.

You can also find a pen pal to help you learn another language.

The opportunities are all around you!

Conclusion

In conclusion, following some kind of loose schedule can help direct your mind to becoming a more productive machine, or rather a furnace for new ideas and creations, making you a person who can derive inspiration from nearly everything around him.

Biography

Zohaib Akhlaq is the founder of HowEntrepreneur.com where he teach entrepreneurs and startup owners something new daily. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

 

 

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Train Yourself to Be More Positive in 5 Steps

Today´s blog post is written by featured guest blogger, Zohaib Akhlaq, the founder of HowEntrepreneur.com

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We often come across tough times in our life where it’s difficult to stay positive.

When your job is miserable, money is tight and life is just generally challenging, it’s often easier to slide into a funk, thinking that things are never going to get better and you’re destined to be a grump.

But if you let that happen, you open yourself up to a whole host of problems, ranging from strained relationships (who wants to hang out with a Debbie Downer?) to serious health problems, including cardiovascular problems and substance abuse.

The good news is that you can take control of your thoughts and shift your thinking from “negative” to “positive.”

Try practicing a few of these behaviors the next time you catch yourself spiraling into negativity, and watch your mental and physical health improve dramatically.

1. Practice Mindfulness

In today’s always-open, 24/7 world, it’s easy to be pulled in multiple directions and feel like you need to keep multiple plates spinning all the time; however, constantly trying to pay attention to the messages coming in on the phone and the computer while you have a conversation and watch television is a sure fire way to cause stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Instead of constantly multitasking, take time to notice the world around you — pay attention to the sound of leaves rustling as the breeze blows or how the sun feels on your skin as you walk to work.

Focus on one thing at a time and be in the moment, and you’ll see your stress and negative feelings diminish.

2. Is This Real?

One simple trick that forensic psychology graduate programs recommend to immediately defuse negative thoughts is to ask a simple question: Are these thoughts true?

Many times, we get caught up in negative thoughts that aren’t really true. Perhaps you hear a voice saying that something terrible is going to happen or that you aren’t capable of doing something.

Before allowing that thought to take hold, stop for a moment and consider whether it’s really true. Unless there is a compelling reason for the thought to be true, dismiss it.

Turn it into something positive: “I’m going to try my best on this project” instead of “I’m doomed for failure.”

3. Make a Gratitude List

It’s quite simple: When you acknowledge and feel grateful for what you have, you don’t have time for thinking about what you lack.

And if you’re like most people, when you start listing everything good in your life, you’ll immediately start feeling better and more positive.

4. Help Others

Helping others accomplishes several things when it comes to shifting how you think.

First, giving back to those who are less fortunate — or even just easing someone else’s load — provides perspective.

You might be frustrated with your job and wish you had a bigger or nicer place to live, but spending some time volunteering in a homeless shelter can help you see how much you have.

Second, being kind and helpful to others increases the chance they will extend the same courtesy to you, helping you feel better and more positive about your life and the world around you.

5. Picture Your Safe Place

There’s no denying it: Maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude is good for your health. Multiple studies and anecdotal evidence have proven those who stay optimistic, even when facing setbacks, are generally healthier and less stressed.

Sometimes, taking a short “mental break” can help you get your thoughts back on a positive track. Taking a few moments to slow down and picture yourself in a relaxing place — whether that’s the beach, the mountains or simply a quiet room — helps you refocus your thoughts and clear out any worries or negative feelings that threaten to take over.

Focus on your breathing, and visualize yourself relaxing. Once you do so, you’ll feel the negativity floating away.

Conclusion

Some people are naturally positive thinkers and don’t have any trouble keeping a cheerful and upbeat mindset.

However, even the happiest and most positive people have rough days, so having some go-to strategies for stopping negativity in its tracks can stop problems before they start, and keep you healthy mentally and physically.

Biography

Zohaib Akhlaq is the founder of HowEntrepreneur.com where he teach entrepreneurs and startup owners something new daily. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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Improve Your Chances Of Success In Life

success-784350_1280Your success in life depends, in part, on your attitude. There are easy ways though to embrace a more positive attitude and improve your chances of sustainable success.

Start the Day Right
Start each day in the right direction by choosing to wake up with a smile. Eat a good breakfast to give yourself a good, positive foundation for the day. Remind yourself that life is short; make the most of each and every day. Not only will this help you to have a positive attitude, but it will help you to feel more alert and focused throughout your day.

Choose the Right Words
The words that you use have an impact on whether you have a positive or negative attitude. Use the following phrases in your daily conversations:
– “I have a positive attitude about my life.”
– “I will find a solution.”
– “I can do it.”
– “I can be successful in anything that I choose to do.”
Using positive phrases helps to put you in a positive mindset.

Keep Positive Company
Do you associate with people who have a negative attitude? If your friends have a negative attitude about life, chances are good that you will, too. If you feel that your friends or acquaintances are pulling you down, try to separate yourself from them or learn to recognize when their negative attitude is affecting you. You may consider looking for friends who will encourage you to have a more positive attitude.

Be Thankful
Take an inventory of your life and learn to appreciate what you have. Family, friends, job, housing, food, and education are all things to be thankful for. Remember that no matter how difficult life may get, there are still things to be thankful for. This can have a profound impact on your attitude, about work and other aspects of your life. If you continue to have difficulty seeing the positive aspects of your life, consider doing volunteer work with those who are less fortunate. This can help you to put things into perspective.

Deal with Negative Triggers
What situations make you upset, angry, or frustrated? When you identify what these situations are, you can take steps to work through them. If it is a friend that is confrontational, deal with the situation. If it is a situation that causes you high levels of stress, work through your issues regarding the situation. If there is a situation that is unavoidable, plan to go into it with a positive attitude. Tell yourself that you will not allow it to affect you negatively. Try to make the best of it.

Make the Change!
If you recognize that your attitude is negatively affecting your road to sustainable success, take action to reverse it. Refuse to be dragged down by a negative attitude. This may be a difficult thing to do, but it is worth it. If you need help with moving toward a more positive attitude, seek the help of a professional life or leadership coach.

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1-Minute Playbook: Memorize 5-3-2 for Positive Thinking

sunglasses-635269_1280Did you know that three single numbers can make a big difference in how you view life? Memorize the numbers 5, 3 and 2 and become more positive.

Sounds like science fiction? It´s not. A scientist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA has developed an easy technique to help you become more positive, the 5-3-2-technique. This is how it works:

  • 5 stands for the five people in your life that you should think about – with gratitude for the being in your life – as soon as you wake up in the morning,
  • 3 is for the first three minutes of meeting your family and friends, when you should be nonjudgmental and
  • 2 stands for the first two seconds of meeting another person, when you should send them a loving ”I wish you well”-thought.

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Words You Lead By

Are you aware of what words you lead by? Are you using words that empower or disempower your employees? And are you setting a good example for your employees with a positive language?

As leaders, we not only set the tone for communication in our workplaces but our choice of words also affect our work culture. The impact of the words that you have chosen to lead by might be greater than you think. Hear more about it in our video “Words You Lead By”.

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1-Minute Playbook: Don’t Play “the Blame Game”

_DSC0305-2Blaming other people or situations for difficult circumstances in our life is an energy-draining and counterproductive way of dealing with life. And it will not get you out of your unfortunate situation.

On the contrary, by blaming someone or something else for what’s going on, you put yourself in the position of a victim who is not in control. And since you are not in control, you can’t take action to change your circumstances, right? Wrong.

“Victim thinking” affects not just individuals but entire organizations. It’s a paralyzing way of thinking that hinders individuals, teams and organization from successful progress. But there’s an easy solution to it. By acknowledging that you are ultimately responsible for the results of your life, thoughts, and actions you will create a level of freedom not experienced by anyone who chose to be a victim.

By taking ownership of your own life, you will be empowered to act. Successful – and courageous – individuals are driven by the knowledge that they create their own success in life.

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Are you communicating effectively?

students-703003_1280Communication is the key to overcome differences and to understand one another. Effective communication is simple yet complex, easy to do and easy to blunder. Communicating effectively helps build trust and respect, encourage learning, and accomplish goals.

Practice some of these tips for effective communication:

– Direct & Assertive
You must be able to speak what you think and feel in a clear and concise way. Be clear about what you want and are willing to give. When being direct and assertive use “I” statements so the listener does not feel blamed. For example, instead of saying “you are wrong” say, “I see it differently”.

– Active listening
To improve communication, recognize the importance of listening. Listening is more important than speaking.
Here are five steps of active listening:
1. Acknowledge the thought first.
2. Rephrase what you heard.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
4. Summarize and clarify.
5. Give an opinion.

– Body Language
We communicate more through body language than speaking. Body language includes facial expressions, eye contact, stance, and movement of arms, hands and legs. Be aware of the body language you use and the body language that is being used on you. This is an example of the body language of an engaged versus disengaged individual;
– Engaged: Open body stance. Sitting on the edge of the chair, and strong eye contact
– Disengaged: Crossing arms. Slouched and sideway glances.

– Dialogue
Dialogue is a continued, thoughtful exchange about what matters the most. Its purpose is to honor the development of individuals, teams and organizations. Important dialogue skills include:
– Allow others to finish their thoughts.
– Respect others’ thoughts and ideas.
– Listen without need to argue or resist.

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Are you afraid of losing your job or are you really afraid of failure?

Happy living
Many Americans only take half of their paid vacation because they are afraid of losing their job if they are away longer. In the UK a fifth of employees fear job loss. And in Sweden employees are afraid of speaking up against wrongdoings because they fear they will be replaced, even though they have a legally protected right to their job.

But does it really have to be this way? Are you simply a victim of external forces, a global culture where there’s no job security to find? Or could it be that the fear of losing your job is a sign that you are not fully living the life you should be? There’s an easy way to find out.

Ask yourself, are you doing what you most want in your life right now? How would you live if you had no fear at all? If your answers are not the way you are living your life right now, take an honest look at why you haven’t changed that. What is it that you’ve been afraid of?

“Fear and ‘pain’ are touchstones for all spiritual growth.”

The most common explanations people give for not stepping up and changing something, is fear of failure. However, being afraid to fail is in reality an excuse in disguise for your failure to work through your fear. Fear is a powerful instinct that serves a valuable purpose in some circumstances, but it can also misfire badly in situations. Fear tends to paralyze most people or at the best, slow us down to the point of non-action. Remember that fear and “pain” are touchstones for all spiritual growth. Make friends with your fear and learn to use it as an indicator for action!

When you are doing your lifework, you will no longer be governed by fear of losing your job. The courage to live consciously will far exceed any fear of loss. You will be living with the knowledge that you will be taken care of, regardless of the circumstances. When you are living your true purpose and are of service to others, there will always be “more to come” positively for you. So step into action, be courageous, take charge of your life and live your purpose!