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The #1 Predictor of Unhappiness & 5 Trainable Tips to Overcome It

The #1 Predictor of Unhappiness &  5 Trainable Tips to Overcome It

Are you rarely present in the moment? Are you constantly on autopilot in your life? Are you frequently feeling guilty about the past or worried about what might happen tomorrow?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. According to a Harvard study, 47 percent of the time you're doing this 1 (fixable) thing that kills your happiness.

THE #1 PREDICTOR OF UNHAPPINESS: The Wandering Mind

Distracted and wandering mind
The study revealed “that a wandering mind is not a happy mind”, as not being present in the moment best explained subject unhappiness. As Killingsworth reported: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness. In fact, how often our minds leave the present is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we're engaged." (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010)

TRAINABLE SOLUTION: Mindfulness (but not just any kind)

Although mindfulness and meditation as concepts have been around for thousands of years, we can now - thanks to fMRI brain scanners and other high-tech instruments - measure what happens in the brain during meditation, and what the effects are.  Systematic reviews and meta-analysis show that mindfulness meditation practice leads to beneficial structural and functional changes in areas of the brain related to attentional control, emotion management, and self-awareness. (Fox et al., 2014; Tang et al., 2015).

TIP 1: Acknowledge how distractions are ruining your joy

A Yale study by Judson Brewer showed that the wandering mind was associated with an area of the brain called the “Default Mode Network”. While practicing mindfulness this area of the brain becomes less active. Also, it is less active at base line in experienced meditators. This suggests that training mindfulness changes how our brain works (Brewer et al., 2011).

TIP 2: Develop your self-awareness through mindfulness



Mindfulness meditation helps us to develop self-awareness.  What do we mean by self-awareness? It can be moment to moment awareness of our thoughts and emotions. But also, at a more macro level being able to notice our strengths and weaknesses, our ways of doing things, our thought patterns – our tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic, our emotional states and our habitual tendencies. Self-awareness is an important step to being less distracted and more mindful.

TIP 3: Move from auto-pilot to choice

What happens once you increase your self-awareness?  You regain your power to act. You are no longer hypnotized by your daily routine and running on automatic pilot. Snapping out of your distracted state of mind allows you to “wake up“ and smell the coffee. Becoming present in your everyday life allows you to make choices. As Victor Frankel points out “between stimulus and response there is space and in that space is our power to choose” (Covey, 2004).

TIP 4: Train your brain every day

You can retrain your brain to be more self-aware. Neuroplasticity (Neuroscience) is the big discovery in the early 21st century. It implies that your brain remains trainable – in other words, it can change its shape and function throughout your life. Neurons and synapses in your brain are constantly wiring and re-wiring based on your changing experiences. You can use this to your advantage and always be developing new habits and skills as you age – including that of being more present and aware. (Goleman Davidson Richard J., 2017) .

TIP 5: Start by practicing being self-aware today

meditation
Start by once a day being self-aware.  The most important thing you can do to start a good habit is to make it easy to do (Clear, 2018) . One easy way to start is to do a 2 minute (even one minute if you’re in a hurry) mini meditation every morning.  Sit comfortably in a chair. Set an alarm for 2 minutes. Then feel your feet on the floor. Just notice the sensations, or the lack of sensations. That’s all. When you notice you’re distracted or following the story of your thoughts, simply come back to the sensations in your feet. That’s 2 mindful minutes.  One daily practice will allow you to make micro investments in your positive future. Overtime these small micro investments can result in positive thinking and compound into real, solid, mental health and wellbeing.  By making right choices you can have good positive outcomes in many areas of your life.

CONCLUSION

Upgrading your awareness - starting with our self-awareness, is the number one factor to increasing your happiness and mental wellbeing. The practice of mindfulness is the highway that can lead you in the positive direction you want to go. It reveals areas you can work on to improve your circumstances no matter where you begin.

NEXT ARTICLE: 5 Easy To Implement Ways to Be More Mindful in Your Everyday Life

Robbie Fenlon is a mindfulness-based Emotional Intelligence Certified Teacher of Search Inside Yourself, a Certified Integral Coach (ICF/PCC Certified), and a IFMGA professional mountain guide. Download FREE his new Mindfulness 101 Guide. En francais: Pleine conscience 101

References

Brewer, J. A., Worhunsky, P. D., Gray, J. R., Tang, Y.-Y., Weber, J., & Kober, H. (2011). Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20254–20259. https://doi.org/10.1073/PNAS.1112029108

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Avery Publishing Group.

Covey, S. R. (2004). Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People.html?hl=fr&id=upUxaNWSaRIC

Fox, K. C. R., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M. L., Floman, J. L., Ellamil, M., Rumak, S. P., Sedlmeier, P., & Christoff, K. (2014). Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 43, 48–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEUBIOREV.2014.03.016

Goleman Davidson Richard J., D. (2017). The science of meditation : how to change your brain, mind and body.

Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6006), 932. https://doi.org/10.1126/SCIENCE.1192439

Tang, Y. Y., Hölzel, B. K., & Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 16(4), 213–225. https://doi.org/10.1038/NRN3916

What are Herbal Supplements and Why do they Work on the Brain

What are Herbal Supplements and Why do they Work on the Brain

We’ve always turned to herbs and roots for their healing properties. It’s funny how the majority of the drugs and treatment procedures we have today still thrive on herbal compositions.

Even with the continuous evolution in the medicinal world, people still turn to herbal supplements for their natural and less-evasive nutrients. But do they work on the brain? Can they achieve similar effects of brain supplements? Let’s discuss that briefly;

What are Herbal Supplements?

Herbal supplements are medicinal derivatives from plants and/or their oils, roots, seeds, berries, or flowers. We've had herbal supplements evolve over the last centuries into the easy-to-digest pills we get today. They come in various forms for internal and external use to provide the body with numerous healing properties. We can ingest herbal supplements in liquid extracts, teas, capsules, bath salts, oils, and ointments.

We now have access to herbal supplements like Aloe vera, Black cohosh, Chamomile, Echinacea, and Flaxseed. These help the body to treat cases like Flu, Psoriasis, Low cholesterol, hot flashes, Menstrual symptoms, and a few others. Herbal supplements like Ginkgo treat Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears) and memory-related issues in the brain. Common ones of all like peppermint oil and tea tree oil provide numerous health benefits to the body.

Why Do They Work on the Brain?

Herbal supplements unlike chemically-induced brain medication have several components in them. For example, the drug Amphetamine applies what is known as “monotherapy”. In drug therapy, monotherapy refers to the use of a single drug to treat a disease or condition.

On the other hand, most herbal supplements for the brain are made from a combination of several compounds.  Perhaps this is why people doubt that they truly help to boost mental activity.

Take Ginkgo Biloba as a case study; the herbal supplement helps to increase attention span. To the brain, Ginkgo Biloba thins the blood thereby increasing oxygen flow to boost our attention span. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is another herbal supplement for the brain known for its anti-inflammatory abilities; preventing long-term brain disorders.

Other herbal supplements provide the brain with brain food which increases alertness for improved productivity as well as improves retentive memory. All of these are achieved by the numerous but approved natural ingredients present in herbal supplements for the brain. Most herbal supplements for the brain come with similar actions of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on our cognitive abilities.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) serves as a brain booster to help the billions of nerve endings in the brain communicate effectively. Think of it as the regular operating system update on your phone to increase the processing speed of the device. With herbal supplements, your brain gets an adequate supply of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which increases your brain's capacity to learn, adapt, and function better.

Lastly, unlike the fear with most chemically-induced brain boosters, herbal supplements have subsidized to zero long-term effects on the brain. This makes them serve the purpose of a brain booster without the scares of amnesia or other brain deteriorating effects when we grow old.

ABOUT: SHINE Health is a natural and effective way to improve mental wellbeing without hassle. All ingredients and doses are backed by research studies.

The Best Time of the Day to Take Brain Supplements

The Best Time of the Day to Take Brain Supplements

Taking the appropriate daily dosage of brain supplements has proven to have a tremendous effect on improving the brain’s capacity. Brain supplements contain nutritional elements that are highly beneficial to the brain. However, knowing what time of the day to ingest them would get you more swift and lasting results.

Before now, taking brain supplements alongside breakfast seemed to be the most logical time of the day to ingest them. But is that truly the best time to take brain supplements? We’ll see in a bit!

When is Best to Take Them?

People argue back and forth on when should be the best time of the day to take brain supplements - which can make things confusing. We are here to set the record straight!

Some brain supplements work the best with fewer side effects during the early hours of the day. For example, Caffeine from the cup of coffee or tea you take every morning to keep you alert and active. While caffeine consumption might have little to zero effect on the body metabolism during the day, the reverse might be the case at night. Repeated consumption of caffeine at night may lead to Insomnia, hence not serving as a brain supplement.

Alongside caffeine, taking fish oils brain supplements, Acetyl-L-Carnitine supplements and Phosphatidylserine supplements in the morning would get you going for the day. Interestingly, these three can be taken repeatedly during the day to improve the cerebral structure and functions and also serve as great anti-inflammatory producers which protect the brain from damage.

One significant reason why many blindly go against taking brain supplements at night is that they believe "Digestion slows down during sleep." Truthfully; it does. However, this would be a debatable topic if we were discussing nutritional or dietary supplements. The human brain relaxes at night causing about two-third of the nerve endings in the brain to be in hibernating mode. The typical "Sleep mode" of your PC where the CPU cools down.

If there was ever a better time to feed your brain with enough brain boosters to improve your brain’s capacity, it was at that time. Brain supplements that contain S-Adenosyl Methionine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Ginkgo Biloba are made of herbal and medicinal compositions. Taking them at night would not only supply your brain with enough brain food but also contribute to getting a good night’s rest.

Which Should You Go For?

Most brain supplements come with a recommendation to be used more than once daily with no specifications on the time of the day. For the best results during the day, however, you should use them before, during, or after breakfast. This way, they become active in your bloodstream enough to provide your brain with adequate brain nutrients for the day. Keeping you active, alert, and increasing your productivity all day long.

Unless otherwise indicated, mornings (with food and water) 2 hours before or after taking medication, are the best times of the day to take your brain supplements.

ABOUT:
SHINE Health is a natural and effective way to improve mental wellbeing without hassle. All ingredients and doses are backed by research studies.