, , ,

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts” – Allan Lokos, author

Most of us want a mindset that helps us feel good and helps us be productive, kind, helpful and just all round awesome. But our mindsets are not always an environment of roses and fluffy clouds as we’d like them to be. This is often hard to be aware of and hard to change.

Think of the set in mindset.  It’s rigid, stubborn …. it’s set.

Why does this happen?  It’s a cumulation of past experiences, previous thoughts, relationships, what others have done and said (even as small children), what we’ve seen in the media and what the most important people in our lives have said or done that make up our current mindset. The beliefs, opinions and attitudes that make up our mindset are pretty much hard-wired in us but this hard-wiring can be changed.

There are so many ways to look at a situation, so many different ways to think about the things that happen to you and around you. Remember the story of Pollyanna? She saw the good in everything, even in the worst situations.  The first step is to be aware of your thinking choices.  We have around 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and many of these are repeated and many not logical.  

Cognitive bias, false assumptions, misinformation, ego and limited beliefs are just a few patterns of unhealthy thought that interfere with our judgement. With a rise in mental health issues wordwide, there are a lot of us out there with unhealthy thought patterns. One in 4 people worldwide are affected by a mental health disorder (1) and 4 million people in Australia are experiencing a Mental Health issues (2) with Tasmania ranking the highest for hospital admissions due to mental health issues.(3) Mental health can be a complex issue.  Having awareness of whether you have a positive or negative mindset can be a help.

If you tell yourself you’re a failure, you believe you’ll never be good enough, you believe that people in the street look at you because they’re judging you, you believe you could never get to where you want to get to – you may want to start challenging these limiting beliefs.  

Here are some tips for rewiring your brain to create a positive mindset – often referred to a ‘growth mindset:

  • Use positive words instead of negative ones. Words create thoughts which create feeling, so try and keep them positive.
  • Be grateful. Research is showing us that a daily gratitude ritual makes us happier. Add the gratitude ritual on the Ritualize app and make a note of something you are thankful for each day.
  • When talking or thinking about something you’d like to have or do, use aspirational and positive language, for example:
    • Instead of “I can’t run 5km” you’d say “I can’t run 5km yet”
    • OR
    • I can’t run 5km yet/however I can go swimming more often.
    • OR
    • I’m not sleeping well YET but it’s something I’m working on.
  • Be empathetic to others. We are often so entrenched in our own beliefs that we don’t see others points of view.

Taking control of your thoughts is the first step to a more positive and happier mindset.  Listen to your thoughts before you react.

 

REFERENCES

http://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-14/community-based-care-needed-to-curb-mental-health-hospital-admi/9049808

, , ,

Not all calories are created equally

Calories are often at the centre of our decision as to whether or not to eat a certain food.  Many of us are counting our calories and many weight loss programs require you to do the same, but is it an effective long-term strategy?

We would say no, for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s very time consuming, and not a realistic long-term strategy for most people.
  2. Manufacturers are allowed up to 10% leeway when estimating calories in their products, so you may be eating more or less than you think.
  3. Calorie amounts found on food labels are based on something called the Atwater system, which basically involves estimating energy of foods by measuring the heat given off when it is burned. However, the accuracy of the system is strongly disputed –  for example, a 2012 study by a USDA scientist concluded that the measured energy content of a sample of almonds was 32% lower than the estimated Atwater value. Furthermore, it is known that some calories are lost in waste, without ever having been chemically converted or stored. It is really just generally accepted as true because there is no better way to estimate calories from food at this point.
  4. Calories from different foods are not all equal. 

Calorie Inequalities

Professor Robert Lustig carried out a study. For example, you could eat a doughnut which is around 240 calories. The same calories are in a cup of avocado.  One is a highly processed food and the other is picked off a tree.  Same calories, same effect?  Absolutely not.

With that in mind, let’s look at some examples at how the body breaks down, metabolises and uses food. Food contains the macronutrients fibre, protein, fat and carbohydrates.

  • Fibre

Nuts are high in fibre and there is some research to say that lean, healthy people tend to eat a lot of them. How can this happen given they’re high in calories?  Let’s say you eat 160 calories in almonds. Because of the fibre in the almonds, some good things happen. First the fibre keeps your blood sugar from rising too high, which keeps your insulin down.  Secondly, the fibre bipasses the small intestine and goes intact to the large intestine and the good bacteria living there end up chewing it up instead of you absorbing them. So, even if 160 calories entered your mouth, only around 80% of those are actually available for you to absorb. This is because not all calories are created equal.

  • Protein

Digestion of food requires energy to create energy. This is called the thermic effect of food and protein requires over twice the energy to digest it if you compare it to fat and carbs.

  • Fat

Next let’s look at the demonised fat. There are good fats and there are bad fats. Some fats are incredibly good for you and and others will, over time, make you sick.  Good fats are like omega 3s of salmon, flaxseed and walnuts or monounsaturated fat from avocado. Bad fats include trans fats which are found in many processed foods and junk food. Calories from fat are not all equal either.

  • Carbohydrates

Let’s look at carbohydrates. Like fat, there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Like fat, there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Good carbs from from real, unprocessed food such as vegetables, legumes, fruit and whole-grains which are high in fibre. Refined carbohydrate is found in processed food, which is low in fibre.  This is the reason the current western diet is low in fibre, which is a major factor as to why people are getting sick.

Ritualize has a simple approach to nutrition – we call it the 80/20 Lifestyle where 80% of your daily food intake is from real, whole food that was recently alive and 20% is your treat food.  This approach means you don’t feel deprived, but maintain control of the treat food while getting all the nourishment your body needs to stay healthy.

, , , , ,

Sleep, Focus and Cognitive Performance

Do you wake up feeling exhausted?  Or have trouble concentrating at work? Or maybe your tolerance levels area lower than usual. It might be you are not getting enough sleep.

Cognitive performance is our ability to utilise the knowledge acquired by the mental processes in our brains. A well-functioning brain controls a range of voluntary and involuntary actions, such as our sleep-wake cycle, attention, perception, mood, emotions, hunger and memory.

When you lose sleep, it interferes with the functioning of certain brain areas and people who are exposed to Sleep Deprivation usually experience a decline in cognitive performance, changes in mood, decreased reaction times, loss in free recall and in facial recognition.

While losing sleep here and there won’t have much affect, ongoing loss of sleep can have a big impact over time, and can impair our ability to do well in school, at work, and in our daily life. Sleep Deprivation can make it significantly harder to focus, and pay attention and be productive.. This affects school performance and job productivity.

A lack of sleep can also slow your reaction time, which makes for dangerous driving and other safety related risks at work and at home. This can put not only your life in danger, but others as well.

We also need a good sleep to achieve our best innovative thinking and problem solving abilities. As you sleep, memories are reactivated, connections between brain cells are strengthened, and information is transferred from short to long-term. Without enough quality sleep, we can easily forget new information, old information and even memories. Getting a good night’s sleep can be crucial for school and university students throughout their semesters.

If you’re having trouble with any of the cognitive abilities mentioned above, you maybe not getting enough sleep.  Work at increasing the hours of sleep you get a night. Everyone is different as to how many hours you should get. We have lots of tips on how to improve your quality of sleep in our Ritualize program, with an entire Quest dedicated to it and a Learn section within the app accessible at all times. Check it out and set yourself the challenge of increasing the hours you get a night, and see if you notice any improvements in your work, school and daily life. Good luck!

 

References:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/387c/4ba8b0a5bd5533a52d63a2324f02d0183797.pdf

https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-lack-sleep-impacts-cognitive-performance-and-focus

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackie-nagel/how-to-stay-sharp-when-youre-sleep-deprived_b_7344964.html

https://hbr.org/2006/10/sleep-deficit-the-performance-killer

, ,

Talk to alleviate stress

There are many ways to deal with stress.  Exercise, mindfulness, spending time in nature are all effective ways to manage your stress. There is another way to manage stress which is very simple and incredibly effective – talking.

In military settings, research has shown that soldiers of war who talked about the stress they experienced suffered less PTSD than those who didn’t talk.  Talk therapy has also shown to be a powerful treatment for people suffering depression or anxiety and can often ease symptoms when used alongside medication.

Talking alleviates stress in many ways.  You may not be seeking the answers to what is stressing you, but just giving voice to your concerns can allow you to see the wood from the trees and even discover solutions for yourself.

Alternatively, you maybe wanting feedback or advice from another person. Bouncing ideas off someone and getting their input can often help you see your problems in a different light.  We are innate social beings, so it’s natural and normal to reach out to others for advice.

Family and friends can be a great to talk to (providing they are not the problem in the first place). A trusted work colleague or even relevant online forums can be a great resource. It’s important we don’t bottle our stress up, which, over time, can affect our health.  

How to approach tough conversations

If the thought of having a tough conversation with someone is stressing you out, a great model to follow is the SBI model – Situation, Behaviour, Impact.  For more on this watch our video or print out the SBI model framework

Simply talking can take the weight off our chest and help alleviate the symptoms of stress.

 

 

, , , , ,

Make Stress Your Friend

Our lives are busy juggling work, finances, marriage, kids, family, friends – the list goes on. We are constantly hearing from health experts that stress is bad for us and that we need to be less stressed which, ironically, often makes us feel more stressed. This is making us sick and people are even dying from stress-related diseases.

What if it’s not the stress that’s killing us, but instead it’s our responses and  perception of stress that’s killing us? Research is showing that it’s in our body’s natural mechanism to cope with stress, and our reaction and belief around whether stress is a good or bad thing, that is the most harmful to our health.

A popular TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, a Health Psychologist,  “How to make stress your friend” is about approaching stress as helpful rather than being the enemy.

She based her talk on a study of 30,000 people in the US over eight years.  They were asked questions such as “How much stress have you experienced in the past year?” and “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?”.  Interestingly, those who expressed a great deal of stress but didn’t view it as a harmful experience had the lowest risk of dying, whereas those who said they had experienced a lot of stress and viewed it as harmful had a 43 percent increased risk of dying.

McGonigal says if change our mindset and view our responses to stress as helpful to our performance, we will be less stressed out, less anxious, more confident. That pounding heart? It’s preparing you for action. Your increased breathing rate? It’s simply getting more oxygen to your brain. Your body will naturally manage the stress response and calm the nervous system down, as long as you don’t allow yourself to get worked up over a stressful situation.

There’s even a term for ‘good’ stress – Eustress, pronounced YOU-stress. It is the type of stress we feel when we are out of our comfort zones, but working towards something bigger or feel excited or challenged in a good way. Eustress provides us with an energy boost to perform challenging activities – especially where we need to focus and put in extra effort. So, what if you were to consider all stress as Eustress? There’s no difference between Eustress and Distress, other than our reaction to it.

As you can see, how you think about stress matters. The next time you are stressed, stop, take a deep breath and say to yourself “This is my body, rising to the challenge.”

Watch the full Ted Talks here: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

 

 

, , , , , ,

6 motivational quotes for inspiration

If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…

 

It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts in your head are telling you “this is too difficult”, “you’re not strong enough for this”, “what’s the point”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too old”.

 

Instead of letting this negative thoughts cloud your mindset, find quotes that inspire you. Jonathan Fader, psychologist and motivation expert says the message that someone else believes you can achieve what you want to achieve can be a powerful incentive to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading [motivational quotes]. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” Fader says.

 

Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

  • “It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels, Well-known American Personal Trainer, author and presenter.

 

 

 

  • “Little by little, a little becomes a lot” – Tanzanian Proverb and a bit of a mantra of ours here at Ritualize. Think of change as small steps you repeat over time to that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

 

 

  • “Become a priority in your life” – Lori Bregman – Author of  The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth

 

 

 

  • “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?”, say “Try me!” – John Assaraf, spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher.

 

 

 

  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

  • If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit— Michael Jordan 

 

 

Do you have a favourite quote? We’d love to read them, so share them with us in the comments below!

 

Thinking about your why can also be a motivation to reach your goals. More on that in our next blog post…

, ,

Being grateful makes us happier

Be Grateful

Imagine feeling thankful and full of joy on an ongoing basis.

A major step in that direction is through a daily gratitude ritual.

Each day expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life for both the big and small things alike means you concentrate on what have, not what you don’t have enough of.

Here are a few hints to develop a daily gratitude ritual:

  • Wake up every day and tell yourself (or someone else) what you are grateful for
  • Get each member of your family to say one thing they are grateful for at the dinner table
  • At the end of the day list the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Start a gratitude journal – Write down all the things you are grateful for every night.
  • Recognise and be grateful for the positive things you have done in in your life, no matter how big or small
  • Let others know how grateful you are for who they are or what they have done.

Being grateful has shown to make us happier and healthier and even help marriages work! The physical and psychosocial benefits of this simple rituals are quite amazing.

Try adopting a gratitude ritual each day. If you’re on the Ritualize app, you can enter what you’re grateful for on your ritual board and either let others know through the Ritualize feed or keep it private.  Either way, you will start feeling the benefits for yourself and others around you almost straight away.

Watch our video on Gratitude for more information!

, , ,

Binge-watching before bedtime…

Are you guilty of it?

Since the introduction of streaming companies, such as Netflix and Stan, the era of scheduled programming has seemingly come to an end. Everyone can watch the content they like when they like. This unprecedented access has introduced a new viewing style: Binge Watching. Binge watching is defined as “watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen, be it a television, laptop, computer or tablet.”

Prior research has indicated that media bingeing was associated with more anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Binge viewers also reported higher levels of loneliness and depression. In more recent studies, conducted by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it was reported that binge-watchers had more fatigue, insomnia symptoms, poorer sleep quality, and feeling more alert before going to sleep. Those who binge-watch before bed had 98% more chance of having poor-quality sleep than those who didn’t.

Looking at bright screens, especially at night, can wreak havoc on your biology, because it is one of the cues that helps maintain our circadian rhythm, or body clock. When it gets dark, our bodies start to prepare for sleep, but bright lights can trick our brains into thinking it’s still daytime and it reduces our ability to secrete melatonin, which makes it not only harder to fall asleep, but also reduces the amount of sleep you get once you do fall asleep.

While we don’t expect you to stop watching shows, there is a way to help combat the binge-watching addiction. Dr Robert Oexman, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says the best way to do it is on the weekend, and earlier in the day instead of the late evenings. Ideally, binge-watching should occur before 6 pm, and if that’s not possible, you should at least stop watching shows an hour before you start getting ready for bed.

For more tips and information on how to help improve your quality of sleep, check out our Ritualize app!

 

References:

https://www.google.com.au/amp/variety.com/2017/digital/news/binge-watching-health-risks-netlfix-1202447516/amp/

http://jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=31062

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tv-binge-watching-can-damage-your-health-2017-9

 

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave