These days, it’s almost impossible to escape the near-constant presence of cellphones in our daily lives. 92 percent of Americans now own one, according to findings published by Pew Research. It comes as little surprise that people tend to answer their phones everywhere imaginable – the library, the park, the cinema and so on – locations many people consider inappropriate.
The American public certainly have varying views about when it’s ok or not ok to answer their cellphones. Phoning while walking down the street, traveling on public tranportation or waiting in line are all viewed as generally ok by the vast majority of people. However, at a restaurant, six out of every ten respondents said it is generally not ok to answer that buzzing or ringing cellphone.
Surprisingly, some people (just 5 and 4 percent respectively) even think it is generally ok to take a call at a movie theatre or during a church service.
It happens like this. Your co-worker comes strolling down the hallway and peers around the corner at you. You look up, annoyed by the interruption. She then quickly asks, “I was not able to finish my report for the boss. Can you wrap it up for me?”
Time slows. You are now thinking about how to respond, but nothing feels quite right. So, as always, you say, “Sure.”
You might say “Sure” because you really should help. But most often, this is not the case. “Sure” often comes from a place of defense — a need to please and be liked by the right people.
But let me share a secret. We often say “Sure” because we lack confidence to say and do what we know is right. When it comes to confidence, those who have it always seem to shine, while those who are meek and afraid are taken advantage of.
I am referring to the type of confidence that gives us internal fortitude, not the outlandish bravado that some show to mask deep fears. Confidence is easier said than internalized; it usually develops over time, with practice, patience, and perseverance. But there is no doubt that to succeed in life, it is a must.
So, do you know the one word that confident people say most? It’s obvious when you think about it — that word is, “NO.”
Here are a few reasons that saying, “No” can help you be your best and those around achieve as well. It’s also why confident people are not afraid of the word.
Reaffirms your priorities
The most confident people plan ahead. They have clear goals and know what it takes to get there. This helps them prioritize what is important in their lives — and ignore what does not align with their goals. Every “Yes” should align with these goals; if something does not, the answer is “No.”
Sets clear expectations
The word “Yes” is often said out of obligation. The problem is that “Yes (wo)men” tend to make promises that they can not always deliver on. Frequently, they fail to get every job done. If you do this, it damages the confidence and trust that your team will start to place in you. And when real chances to shine arise, you will be passed over.
Broadcasts your value
We all know the stars whom we can count on to produce great work with a positive attitude. We rely on them. Saying, “No” to irrelevant requests reminds people that you are important, have clear priorities, and your work matters. You do not have time to focus on less important efforts.
The most confident people know who they are and how they add value. They don’t need to prove their self worth by saying yes to every request that is made of them.
We all get paid to set boundaries and clearly communicate what we should work on. This is what confident people do best. The next time someone asks you for a favor, do not blindly accept it without questioning its value. Over time, this habit will make you great and increase your confidence that every day you are getting even better
How One Simple Breathing Technique Can Induce Better Health
We all do it, all day, every day. Even while we sleep. In fact we never ever stop doing it. If we did we would die. But do we ever think about it? Do we realise just how much of an impact it has on our bodies, our minds and our overall health?
It is the simple act of respiration. That’s right – breathing! Believe it or not, there are different ways to breathe, which have different effects on the body and our health. But let’s just take a look at two. Nose breathing which induces relaxation, calm, and improves health, and the other mouth breathing, which most of us do by default, because of the lives we lead, which contributes to many health concerns like elevated blood pressure and an increase in resting heart rate.
“Breathing is something that is all too often overlooked but is of the utmost importance in correct biomechanical function. The human body will sacrifice everything to maintain respiratory function and this includes posture. Nasal breathing is the way we are pre-programmed to breathe and mouth breathing is triggered by stress. Interestingly, when posture is poor, it is easier to breathe through the mouth and harder to breathe nasally. The reverse is also true, illustrating the close relationship between breathing and posture. Additionally, mouth breathers often breathe much less deeply, only using the upper chest, whereas nose breathers tend to use the diaphragm making full use of the lungs, oxygenating the blood and brain. If the diaphragm becomes inhibited through poor posture, stress or bad habits, the accessory inhibitory muscles will overwork, becoming overactive, leading to trigger points and chronic tension.
“There are many different yoga breathing exercises. Pranayama breathing, which is the practice of voluntary breath control, when practised slowly has been shown to have positive effects on immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances and psychological or stress-related disorders. It has been hypothesised that voluntary slow deep breathing functionally resets the autonomic nervous system. Investigations have demonstrated that slow pranayama breathing techniques activate the parasympathetic (inhibitory) nervous system. This type of breathing employed with deep stretching will have a combined effect on stimulating parasympathetic activity while concurrently decreasing sympathetic activity. This will lower the heart rate, blood pressure and induce relaxation”.
So by simply working on our breathing technique we can induce better health both physiologically and mentally.
Try this exercise for a few minutes each day
Either lie down or sit with a lengthened spine, to open the airways fully. Close your eyes and your mouth and place your hands on your belly and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose feeling your belly rise as you do. Now move your hands to the base of your ribs and continue the inhalation into the mid-section of your lungs and feel your ribcage expand laterally. Lastly move your hands to your upper chest breathe into the top of the lung and feel the chest rise. Hold that breath for a moment, before very slowly exhaling from the top, then the middle and lastly form the base of your lungs. Do this for at least five minutes. Try to focus on this and think of nothing else; give it your full attention. Take note of how you feel after this exercise.
The more you practice the deeper your breathing will become and the more benefits you will achieve. And the best thing? It’s totally free!!
Have you ever souped up a motorcycle? Your engine’s roar permeates your nerves. You, the rider, godded everybody around your bike. That’s how powerful I feel every single morning after doing my morning success ritual. I know that I will be ultra productive. And feel confident enough to build a future for my family.
But I was never a morning person
…until a year ago.
Here’s my daily routine before my transformation:
When the alarm blares off, I would groan and hit the snooze button 4 or 5 times. My working hours were unproductive and filled with slimy laziness. I would complain so much that nothing much gets done. Worse still, in the evenings, I just can’t sleep early to get me enough rest. Imagine repeating that for 365 days. Yuck.
All this negativity is why I decided to kill this vicious cycle, and become a morning person. After reading this post, you will know exactly how I (and many night owls) trained ourselves to wake up early.
For a change today, stop waking up like a sloth. Own your mornings like a boss! Stop waking up like a sloth. Own your mornings like a boss! Also, you will discover how your mornings will set yourself up for success – using 3 ninja techniques. If you want to feel great and rejuvenated about life, this post is for you. Excited? Let’s get started.
Ninja Technique # 1 – How to Jump Over Bamboo Trees
A raging army is pitting you against a 5 meter high wall. You, the Grand Master Ninja, grinned, and nonchalantly jumped over it. Crazy, huh? How do ninjas do that? It started when their parents planted a seed of bamboo tree. The future ninjas would then jump over the tiny bamboo shoots, every single day. The bamboo tree will grow at 2 – 3 cm (about 1 inch) every day. Imagine how high they can jump after a year.
When I decided to change from a night owl to a morning lark, I did it 15 minutes at a time. I started by turning back my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. Once my body adjusted few days later, I turned the alarm back another 15 minutes earlier. After a month, I wake up at 5:57am sharp every day – 3 minutes BEFORE the alarm clock rings.
There’s an old Chinese saying, “Don’t try to run when you are learning to crawl”.
You need to take it slow, and let your body adjust. Build up your “wake up” muscles, 5 or 15 minutes at a time. Now, stop reading this post, and turn your alarm back 15 minutes. You will be amazed of how easy it is to wake up tomorrow morning.
Ninja Technique # 2 – Send pleasure hormones gushing
When you were a kid, you woke up super early on your birthday and on Christmas – before everyone else. Ever wonder why? Once you understand why, waking up (and conquering your day) can be ridiculously easy. Because you were EXCITED. Your brains were pumping endorphins, dopamines & adrenalines (pleasure hormones) like a fire hose. Let me explain. With so much pleasure hormones gushing around, it is impossible to be groggy.
“But… I am not a kid, and Christmas is only once a year!”
True. But you can hack your body to produce these hormones at will, just like a magic wand. Ever wonder how? There are 2 simple steps. The first step starts with meditating BEFORE you sleep:
Researchers from University of Southern California and UCLA found that practicing mindfulness meditation is way more effective than those who went to a class to learn about good sleeping habits. In their own words:
We were surprised to find that the effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality was large.
– David Black (Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine)
I found that by doing that myself, I sleep better than before, and wake up way more energized. Once you wake up, you now need to get your Endorphins pumping.
Step 2, is simply exercising. No, you don’t have to go to the gym in the morning. Whenever I feel like going back to sleep, a few jumping jacks will just kill the sleepiness. After going for my usual run, I feel physically and emotionally stronger. (Contrary to what night owls tell you, exercising gives you MORE energy.)
Ninja Technique # 3 – Sleeping for Smart People
Let me guess. Right before you sleep, you play with Facebook or other social media using your smart phone. By the time you doze off, you probably forgot to turn off some bedroom lights. Your phone stays right beside you, of course. The next day, you wake up with really heavy eyes. And you wonder why you are so exhausted after 8 hours of sleep.
Let me explain. Over millions of years of evolution, our human body evolved to naturally secrete Melatonin (sleep hormones) in darkness – e.g. at night. Melatonin is the hormone that encourages deep, rejuvenated sleep. For the cavemen, this makes lots of sense. If you live in a cave, you are safer by sleeping in the cave at night – you may be eaten by some wild animals if you are running around outside.
Well, nowadays we have lights everywhere – we can create a “mini day time” in our house at a flip of the switch. After the iPhone popularized, we bring these mini lights into our bed room. Recent scientific research found that these lights STOP Melatonin at its doorstep.
In addition to sunlight, artificial indoor lighting can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin.
This means these lights are STOPPING you sleeping properly. Here is what I did to reverse my bad sleep habits (it’s super simple, you can do this now):
– 30 minutes before I sleep, I turn OFF all lights and all electronics (including my phone and PC)
– I sit down in the dark silence, and do a short meditation and breathing exercise. This empties my mind and gets me ready to rest.
– After 10 or 15 minutes, I feel really sleepy, and go to the bedroom to sleep. (Remember to turn OFF all lights in your bedroom though)
(Great, I slept 15 minutes earlier than planned!)
That’s how I sleep more effectively. If you want a deeper sleep that lets you take on the next day with bravura, try my 3 steps sleep smarter routine above.
Let’s have a quick recap…
3 Ninja Techniques to Wake Up Earlier
Wake up earlier, 15 minutes at a time. Allow your body to adjust. Then wake up another 15 minutes earlier.
Let your “pleasure hormones” wake you up: When you wake up, do some simple exercises, e.g. jumping jacks.
Sleep smarter. Sleep in total darkness (no lights at all), keep your smart phone away before you sleep.
To make it even easier, here is a list of the DO’s and DON’Ts, just for you:
Turn off ALL lights and electronics (smart phones, tablets etc) before your sleep.
Perform short meditations and breathing exercises before you sleep
Turn back your alarm clock 15 minutes at a time. Allow your body a few days to adjust – it takes time.
No technology in the bed room, especially smart phones and tablets.
Don’t snooze. If you feel groggy, exercise a little to release endorphins into your body and feel energized naturally.
Don’t try to wake up 1 hour at a time. Your body won’t be able to adjust properly.
Are you ready? If yes…
Wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow morning.
Of course you can make it – easily.