• Ash Radford

Get more energy & think better by timing these 2 simple habits.

Who doesn't want more energy and better thinking? (and actually better sleep as well...?) If I was a stock brocker, I'd be suggesting that these 2 offer a strong return on investment and advise you to buy, buy, buy ASAP. The investment of course is some time and effort. 25 minutes and a moderate level of effort will do the trick. Like good investing though timing matters. Here's my first recommendation:

1. Cardiovascular exercise in the earlish morning.

Cardio is blue chip stock. You hear so often from experts, various studies and people's personal experience that cardio is great for body, brain and mood. It's a reliable one for more energy and better thinking, so many successful and effective people swear by it. Top priority is being practical and getting it done when you can, however if you can do it early in the morning you go along way to setting your day up physically and psychologically. There is of course the endorphin hit (although it may not actually be endorphins that are responsible) but also just as crucially there is the increased oxygen flow to the brain resulting in clearer more positive thinking. I reckon most people who struggle in the morning are suffering a lack of oxygen to the brain, and a lack of relatively postive hormones & neurotransmitters due to the several hours of inertia. If you start the day well, you are much more likely to finish it well. Try it and see! Tips- *Use music to help drive you * 20 minutes is enough to get the effect, but if that's too daunting to start with then just go for 10 minutes. You'll probably find once you get going you can squeeze out a few more minutes anyway. * Try a 7 out of 10 intensity. Think sustainable but reasonably effortful.

2. Practice Gratitude just before you go to sleep

Nowdays you'll notice every list of recommendations for mental health and positive psychology features gratitude towards to the top. Focusing on the positive take some deliberate effort and structure though, to make it effective it needs to become habit. I learnt during a recent mindset coaching course the reason it's advised to practice gratitiude before bedtime is to set up the mind for positive thoughts while sleeping. This embeds a positive focus in the unconscious. If want the opposite of course watch a horror film or read something depressing just before you nod off! I'm sure if you nourish your mind with this gratitiude practice before bed, you'll wake with a brighter frame of mind (& hence more energised body). I know I certainly do. To further enhance the effects of the gratitude process I suggest 2 things: First focus is on what's gone well, rather than on appreciation for possessions. This could be a personal thing, as I'm not very materialistic but I suspect that generally it's better to focus on something you've done or that's happened. Partly because there's basically a finite number of possessions you can be grateful for and when you inevitably re-visit things you've already expressed gratitude for it just doesn't feel as genuine or impactful. Conversely focusing on what's gone well is more fluid and varied, and more importantly closely related to achievement and purpose. It's more likely to result in a sense that you are making progress, which helps counter feelings of helplessness or hopelessness (that's essentially what depression is) Secondly make a little extra effort by not just thinking about whatever you are grateful for but really feeling it. I do this by simply choosing to feel it in every cell in my body. It's not a long or complicated or particularly scientific technique but for me it brings a lot more conviction to the process, and hence more effectivess. I'd be suprised if you didn't notice the difference too. If you finish the day well, you are more likely to start the next day well. Give it a go it'll take less than 5 minutes. Tips- put a note on your pillow to remind you to do the process each night. Try thinking of a short term thing (last 24 hours) that you did or went well and a medium term positive (past 2-9 months). So there you have it 2 simple but deceptively powerful ways to get more energy and think better, that are most impacful when timed well. Why not committ to trying them for 30 days and experience the difference for yourself...? It could be a game-changer for how you feel and function on a daily basis.

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© 2018 by Ash Radford