Realizations During Lockdown – Life And Music

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Being a battered wife in the past, with a divorce pending, and an ex-husband who is still hanging around the house for “the kids” sake, it is giving me the anxiety vibes. I have always been anxious to the point of having a panic episode whenever he was near me. It was dreadful, terrible, and truly appalling. Many times, I cannot control it. I would want too, but when your mind would work towards anxiety and fear, worry or anger would occupy your being, it would be impossible not to explode. Horrifying. It’s like Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”

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Tips And Tricks Of Interior Designing

The 2017 interior design expo made me realize that I should put my love for art into something useful. That is where I decided to overhaul my tiny apartment and do the tips and tricks on interior design. I managed to come up with a fantastic result that incorporates style and simplicity. Here are a few things I did.

Consider The Room Flow – I thought I had an amazing and spacious living room, that’s why I bought a large sofa to match the living area. But it was a mistake because it blocked the whole room off from the rest of the apartment. So I decided to split-up the sofa and removed the excess chairs. Not only the room tends to look wider, but it also allows more space for air to get in.

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Coordinated Color Combination – Another thing I ensure when it comes to interior design is securing the coordinated color combination of every room. All items and furniture in the apartment should follow every area’s color code. It is a trick that aims to create a balance between the room and the things in it. It inspires a neat and clean surrounding as well.

Declutter – Honestly, I love my stuff, and I have a lot of decorative in my apartment. But recently, it seemed like those decorative are too much. Instead of trying to keep them all placed in every corner of the house, I hide some away. I realized that removing small things can make a big difference, especially when trying to make your apartment look clean and bigger.

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Reuse And Recycle – This tip is probably my favorite. That is because interior designing may come quite expensive, especially if you are overhauling your whole place. So what I did is I tried recycling and remodeling some of my furniture so it can fit in the new setup. Honestly, it saved me a lot of cash.

Choose To Be Happy Even During This Down Time

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I am having the time of my life now, thanks COVID-19 for forcing the entire world into this home quarantine and lockdown. Don’t get me wrong – I am not happy that there is a pandemic out there plaguing millions of people worldwide. I know that the global economy is down and that we are all on the brink of losing our jobs if we haven’t already lost it. At the moment, there are 259,496 deaths attributed to Coronavirus, and 3,757,469 confirmed cases of people afflicted by it. This is not a cause to be happy, but I choose to look at the brighter side of MY LIFE because I do not want to wake up sad every day.

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Habits That Improve Productivity Instantly

If you understand the focus of the 2019 productivity conference, you will realize that the simplest patterns are the ones you often take for granted. Not knowing that this helps improves your productivity. Of course, you may argue that the results vary from one person to another. Nevertheless, if these habits are well-executed, it guarantees a better life function.

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Waking Up Early – It’s agreeable that a lot of people have the same issues every morning. That is to wake up early. Not everyone can master a particular circadian rhythm. Therefore, waking up at the exact time in the morning is a struggle. However, its benefits are more significant than you think. It increases productivity because of the extensive allotted time you can have for the whole day. Aside from that, there is more than enough energy in the morning that can keep you going.

Finish Task One At A Time – As much as you believe in multi-tasking, do not do it. It is not advisable because of the limited time and energy you put into consideration of doing a task. Multi-tasking is better when you want to kill time. However, when you are reaching a goal, finishing it is the best thing to do.

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Eliminate Digital Distractions – One of the reasons why people love technology is due to its effort in providing convenience. However, when your goal is to increase productivity, you are better off without some technological devices around you. Because not only it interferes with what you do, it also takes much of the time you are supposed to need for production.

Get Enough Sleep – Do not underestimate the power of sleep. Getting enough of it always puts you one step closer to your goal. When your brain and body get all the rest it needs, both will perform twice as usual. Therefore, the functions can get you twice the production you need as well.

 

Practicing Your Mind To Become More Creative

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A lot of us believe that creativity is innate, a gift that is endowed to us when we were born. However, if you come to think of it, there are some hobbies or skills that we can learn and polish. Other individuals who are more committed and consistent in mastering what they love can even surpass those who were born with an artistic streak, because just like talent if you don’t hone it and forget about it, your brain will forget that it’s something you’ve always had.

If you realized that you want to be a great painter, writer, cook, or whatever it is that you want to pursue, try following these useful ways of training your mind to become more creative.

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Develop A Hunger for Knowledge. The pursuit for more knowledge will be your ticket to achieving creativity. You should feed your brain with information on things that perk your interest, and perhaps those that don’t just as long as you’re expanding your learning. Be open to fresh insights and approaches. If you have tried a concept that you just learned, don’t dismiss it right away. Give it one shot. You might like it. For example, if you’ve been reading on knitting but find the instructions rather difficult, don’t stop there. Instead, try purchasing some basic tools and try knitting first hand. Who knows? You may even be able to knit yourself a quilt! “When you challenge yourself to learn a new skill, you are building your intellectual health. People who pay attention to their intellectual wellness often find that they have better concentration, improved memory, and better critical thinking skills.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC said.

Use Both Sides Of Your Brain. It’s not true that only those that have dominant right brains get to be creative. Perhaps they’re a step ahead of you, but if they don’t use that advantage, then it’ll all be put to waste. If you are, on the other hand, right-brain dominant, don’t just try to be creative – practice being analytical as well. Use both sides of your brain so equally hone your creative and analytical skills. Studies revealed that appreciation for something physical activates the right brain, while analysis and language stimulate the left brain. Note that “Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP said.

However, creativity uses both sides of the brain, as it needs you to think about how to create something beautiful and to find ways and means to achieve a beautiful art, thing, music, or idea.

Source: scholastic.com

Be Wild And Carefree. The easiest ways to wake your creativity is by seeking your imaginative and original side, such as when you were still a child. If you recall, you would play pretend house and imagine that you were cooking or eating pizza. You would try to munch as if you were eating something, but nothing is inside your mouth. Then you would pretend to fix the house by fixing the table, calling someone on the phone and telling ‘a friend’ how lovely your house is. Try doing this again now – at your current age. Think wild and don’t limit yourself. Imagining that you are in another place may help you appreciate the different colors that you see when you close your eyes and think about the kind of art that you want to pursue. If you have a pen and paper, try sketching your dream house or dream wedding gown. Or if you want to be a great writer, start with writing a blog.

Don’t Exhaust Your Brain. According to Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC, “Rest time is essential to recover from the burden of stressors in our day to day lives. Rest can include sleep, relaxing, time doing something that you enjoy doing such as reading, fishing, calling a good friend.” If you’ve been working on the exercises or approaches above, but you feel like you can’t achieve your purpose, take a break. Don’t push yourself too hard or else once you feel a block somewhere, you might want to give up for good. Take a few minutes of a breather, so the inspiration returns. Creativity can be learned, but it can’t be forced, especially when the brain doesn’t want to work at that moment. Fuel it with food or exercise and be refreshed by hydrating yourself.

Conclusion

If you’ve succeeded in your desire to become creative, congratulations! Now, cherish what you have by practicing it regularly. If you haven’t, then work your way back and try doing it slowly. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll get there.

 

 

 

Science-Backed Strategies That Can Help Your Brain Grow Smarter

 

As we age, everything in us ages, including our brain. We see that in our seniors whose memories slowly decrease, leading them to become more fragile than they used to be. Within the brain, the short-term functions are lost first, and when the right frontal region is deprived of more gray matter, the higher-level functions are finally affected. Brains do age, and that’s even without illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“When people feel disconnected and separated, they are more susceptible to age-related declines in neural pathways. The researchers concluded that loneliness is not a reaction to dementia, but actually a cause of it.” –Marcia Reynolds Psy.D.

Recently, however, more and more studies have led to the discovery that aging can be possibly delayed or reversed by engaging in some activities, which we can consider as hobbies once we practice them regularly.

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  1. Learn A Musical Instrument. Music therapy has long been one of the most common ways to beat stress and anxiety. Now, neuroscience claims that children and adults alike can benefit from learning to play an instrument in terms of brain deterioration. Regularly playing the piano, guitar, violin, and other instruments reportedly increase the amount of gray matter in the brain, leading to the growth of new neural connections. If this is done at an early age, children are said to excel in math, including equation solving and algorithms.

“Reading, doing challenging puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku, debating issues with others who have opposing viewpoints, learning a new language or musical instrument, trying a new hobby, or teaching and tutoring others are all ways to maintain or improve your intellectual wellness.” –Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC

Source: cleverism.com
  1. Open Your Unread Books. Research tells us that reading increasing cognitive function, and it doesn’t matter if you love the simplest comic books or the overly complicated mystery and love stories. There is still new information being absorbed through the stimulation of the brain’s neural pathways when one decides to read that book on the bedside table that you placed months ago. It exercises the brain, increasing imagination, and creativity. Speedreading is a method of processing sensory data quickly and efficiently.

 

  1. Exercise Regularly. Engaging in regular physical activity has always produced positive outcomes. It promotes normal blood flow and subsequently the regular transport of oxygen towards the entire body, including the brain. A particular protein, BDNF, is formed in the bloodstream with regular exercise, and when this protein is absorbed, it tremendously helps in boosting focus and memory.

 

  1. Do Breathing Techniques. You can do this by practicing meditation or yoga. These two practices both involve learning to breathe in patterns while toning the muscles with poses or through concentration. You also learn to have self-control, which, in turn, leads to better memory. The brain is healthy, with sufficient oxygen when breathing is mastered. Children who are taught to meditate or do simple yoga poses were found to have improved their behavior and mood after a few weeks. “Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Other calming and stress-reducing activities include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, Tai chi and yoga,” says Marla W. Deibler, PsyD

 

  1. Learn A Foreign Language. Studies prove that bilingual individuals have more gray matter in their brains compared to those who know only of one language. They can multi-task in areas such as reasoning, memory, and planning because they possess a more advanced brain. Recently, it has been discovered that trying to learn a new language at any point in your life has is similar outcomes as when someone is forced to learn a foreign language – you still become smarter.
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  1. Play Puzzles And Crosswords. Let’s imagine our brain as if it were a computer – the more data you put into it, the more it becomes useful to us, and the more functional it becomes. If we introduce it with new exercises like crosswords and puzzles, the more information it can accommodate, the faster it catches up, and the more intelligent it gets. Its brain plasticity, or the ability of the brain to establish new synapses, is also heightened, as this is a result of individuals who regularly play strategic and mind games.

 

These and many more hobbies can play vital roles in assisting your brain to become quick and intelligent. They’re not very hard to try or keep up. It’s just a matter of commitment and the constant goal of growing old and growing smart at the same time!

 

 

 

Books That Talk About How Technology Can Own Your Life – Or Not!

 

 

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A few decades ago, we never imagined that we’d be able to send photos to our loved ones through this big term called the Internet. We talked on a wired telephone with our families, and when we’re apart, we would cry ourselves to sleep and wait for months before we could see each other again. Now, distance is somehow made shorter through Skype, Face Time, and other video call applications, and we no longer feel so far away from our loved ones.

Another popular channel these days that have the young and the old addicted is YouTube. However, others find it irritating and annoying that people would find it great to be uploading videos of themselves doing something, despite the fact that they’ve gotten so popular for doing so. These people are what you call the influencers. And YouTube is only one of the many features of the new age that have brought good and bad for us. These features make us realize that new technology does have a cost.

Below is a list of books that you might want to read if you want to learn about how technology has managed to invade our lives, helped us in so many ways, yet has hooked us all to everything – the pros and the cons – to the point of owning our lives. Perhaps through these books, you will be able to find ways to NOT let it own yours!

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Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, And Sharpen Your Creative Mind – Jocelyn K. Glei

A collection of notes and excerpts from the world’s most creative brains, this book emphasizes the importance of having quiet time so that one can become truly creative. Amidst the glaring notifications of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other apps on our phones, the author points out that one must learn to focus on being able to extract himself from the hustle and bustle of the Internet and return to particular the task at hand. If you are one of those who are anxious about spending too much time with Instagram, start reading this now.

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads – Tim Wu

Warning: this book is not for the weak and sensitive. It’s a wakeup call to us about how much of our time is being pulled by advertisements, new phone launches, app improvements, and many more. The important commodity being fought for here is our attention, which these major tech companies have gotten from us. But if we try to be more aware of the time and money that we waste every time we watch and crave for these new gadgets, perhaps they won’t be so influential in our lives.

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Irresistible: The Rise Of Addictive Technology And The Business Of Keeping Us Hooked – Adam Alter

“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental.” –Jim Taylor Ph.D.

You won’t put this down book before finishing it. The story of Steve Jobs presenting iPad to an amazing audience, and words taken from his interview stating that he strictly prohibits his children to the gadget frequently because of its ill side effects is pretty eye-opening. Irresistible tells the tales of the digital inventors, how they influence us to dream about having all these devices, and their full knowledge of the impact of these devices on our emotional and mental well-being. This line borrowed from the book says it all: don’t get high on their supply.”

The New Brain: How The Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind – Dr. Richard Restak

The author divulges some of the answers to his questions about modern technology and whether or not the brain is physically affected by it. Can smartphone, tablet, and other gadget use relatively cause a rise in attention deficit cases? What does the brain possibly look like when it’s exposed to too much screen time and blue light?

“People who talk about tech addictions often express frustration with their smartphone use, or they can’t understand why kids game so much.” –Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D.

Conclusion

These are only some of the few great books that have led me to write this blog, not primarily because I love them but because these books have become eye-openers for me to become more vigilant with the way I utilize the technological devices that have been helping me make life easier. I hope you learn some lessons too. If you do, send us a comment here.

All in all, these books do a marvelous job of taking a fairly objective approach to the pros and cons of technological advancement in our society. Technology has done wonders for us in terms of communication, productivity, and even personal expression. But it’s equally important to be aware of the costs that come with that newfound territory.

“You might come away from a good self-help book with a changed attitude, different behavior, fresh motivation, or something else shiny and new to test-drive.” –Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.

 

 

Music And Its Ways Of Affecting Our Mood And Productivity

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I haven’t actually met one person in this life who doesn’t appreciate one kind of music. We all love to listen to that wonderful theme song from our favorite movie or the usual song that’s played over the radio every morning. We hum the wedding song of our best friend like it’s our own wedding song and we instantly feel magical!

“Research shows the benefits of music therapy for various mental health conditions, including depression, trauma, and schizophrenia(to name a few).” Molly Warren, MM, LPMT, MT-BC said. Music has various ways of penetrating through our minds and change the way we feel. It helps us relax, it makes us cry, it excites us, and often times it makes us feel so much better. Recently, a study on several employees in different workplaces has proven that music also has the capacity to increase productivity. Does it really?

Most of us turn to music to change the mood that we are feeling for the day or to set the tone of our atmosphere wherever we are. And despite the many distractions and methods that have been laid down before us these days – television, video games, computer, smartphones – we’ve always looked for a familiar tune or a fresh one to somehow help us move forward and progress throughout the day.

Source: medium.com

Music And Productivity

Going back to the study mentioned above, which was done by professors in a music therapy program, the said study showed that those employees who listened to their favorite music while they were working accomplished their jobs quickly and even presented better ideas than the rest of those who were working without music. However, there are specific genres of music that don’t have an effect on productivity and even worsen it. Some researchers reported that other types of music caused people to get distracted, unable to understand what they were reading, or experienced a decrease in the way they processed information. Thus, it proved that music could have a positive and negative on various kinds of individuals and at different circumstances. “It seems as though – I wouldn’t say music has special properties – but, it has the ability to distract or engage in ways that other stimuli don’t.” Neuropsychologist Daniel Levitin, PhD explains. 

As for me, I can work well with jazz and mellow music, but I feel annoyed when rap or pop music is being played especially when I’m trying to read a mystery book that I need to understand. My sister, on the other hand, loves to listen to dance music when she’s studying for her midterm exams. She says she can process her notes much better. Perhaps these factors determine whether or not music is distracting or stimulating.

·      The Lyrics Of The Song. Some lyrics of a song are simple enough that you don’t have to listen and understand them, which is why I guess it’s stimulating for my sister to listen to dance music because then she is more focused on the beat rather than the words of the song.

 

·      The Type Of Task You Are Doing. This is obvious. When you’re multitasking at the office, like making phone calls and writing some notes, rock music can’t help you concentrate at all, but maybe instrumental or jazz music can. It helps you relax and be stimulated at the same time, making you do your work quickly and effectively.

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·      Genre And Structure Of The Song. I love Aerosmith but I don’t think it’ll get me to finish a speech that I’m making for a parents/teachers meeting. If I’m at home having a manicure, I can listen to the band playing She’s Amazing with a smile on my face.

There isn’t really one situation where music is effective for everyone because each of us turns to music for different reasons. “While music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions, the notion of using song, sound frequencies and rhythm to treat physical ailments is a relatively new domain.” Daniel J. Levitin, PhD said. Music impacts us in different ways too. Classical music, for example, is said to be stimulating to the brain, which usually works for those who are very young and do not understand the meaning of music, and those who are more mature. For those in between, they won’t probably appreciate it is\ being classical or being brain activating.

Did you hear of epic music? If you haven’t, then you are not someone who was born during the times when the epic was magical! The likes of the baby boomers and the millennials are some of the groups of individuals who love to listen to epic music to motivate them at work or just want some inspiration.

You might have listened to ambient music in bars or as background music in an airport, but you didn’t know it was called ambient. This type of music has instruments all over it. It can be lovely to the ears and you won’t mind listening to it in a crowded place like an airport or a café, because it’s tolerable as it is wonderful.

Takeaway

No matter what kind of music you want to listen on your specific type of mood each day, the point is that it has become a significant part of our lives and I couldn’t imagine living without it. Can you?

 

 

Top Songs That Are Relaxing, According to Science (Psychologists Agree To This)

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They say that meditation and yoga can be relaxing but listening to songs can be a form of relaxation too. A study conducted by researchers and psychologists have shown that listening to songs is a form of stress relief and have a lot of calming benefits. 

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Psychologist: How To Take Better Control Of Your Life

Do you often find yourself in a situation where you are clueless about what you are doing? Is it hard or difficult on your part to find your purpose in life? Are you interested in changing your life for the better? If you answered yes to these inquiries, then you came at the right site. For today’s article, we are going to share some of the smart tips and tricks that everyone needs to remember when it comes to taking better control of one’s life. Before anything else, we want to disclose that all the information in this post are inspired from one of our conversations with an expert psychologist who was kind enough to share to us some of the effective strategies that he knows.

 

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Before anything else, it is crucial for you to understand that the secret to a happy life is to know how to control your thoughts and emotions. You must reach a certain level of mindfulness where nothing or nobody can destroy. It can be challenging if you are still at the starting point of making it happen. However, you must never give up because everything is possible as long as you take the processes seriously. Make sure that you learn all the tips mentioned below so that you can gain a better understanding and control of the circumstances that come your way. Here is the list to take note of:

 

Get The Right Amount Of Sleep

 

“The amount of sleep you get and the quality of that sleep can actually affect your physical and mental health in ways you don’t anticipate.” That is according to Julia Hogan, LCPC. In whatever you do, be sure that you do not take sleep for granted. No matter how crazy your schedule is, it is essential for you not to skip on a good night’s rest. Remember that sleepless nights will not make you cranky the following day. At the same time, it can also affect your cognitive functions that can eventually lead to a lack of interest in making the right decisions. Aside from this, it can also adversely affect your point as it can prevent you from seeing things clearly or processing information correctly. On the other hand, if you are well-rested daily, there is a high tendency that you will have a presence of mind in everything that you do. As a result, you will make better choices for yourself.

 

Start The Day Right

 

Once you wake up early in the morning, be sure to say affirmations to yourself Repeat it every single day until you get used to it. Take note that starting the day with positivity can be good for you and everyone surrounding you. It is recommended to keep yourself away from anything that can distract you from being productive early in the morning. For example, you must refrain from checking your mobile phones while you are still in bed. The right thing to do is to say your affirmations, get up, have your breakfast and prepare for the day. Once you have already completed these things, then use your extra time to check your online messages, emails, or social media accounts. All you need is at least twenty-one days to continuously do everything so that you can make it a routine. “The most helpful definition of being positive is having hope and confidence in one’s ability to handle what’s tough, along with remembering that nothing is all negative all the time,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD, a therapist in Austin, Texas.

 

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Keep Negativity Away

 

As already mentioned above, positivity plays an essential role in your success in life. It is the primary reason why you must work hard to have it in every aspect of your day-to-day life. To make things a lot easier on your part, it is ideal for keeping yourself away from anything or anyone that causes stress or anxiety. Keep in mind that you deserve the peace of mind. Once you notice that a friend or work colleague is always getting into your nerves, be mature enough to cut ties, and maintain professionalism. You do not need to hang out or be with someone who makes you feel stressed or anxious at all times. Consequently, find a way to determine who are the nice persons in your life right now and make sure to foster your relationships with them. Remember, “When trying to keep a positive attitude, you must avoid people who thrive on negativity.” Fran Walfish, PsyD said.

 

Conclusion

 

The last and essential thing that you must never forget is to find peace in your heart. As much as possible, stop getting angry or mad at someone for a long time. Train yourself not to hold any grudge to the people who have hurt you. Instead, accept the reality that not everyone deserves to stay in your life. What matters the most is that you know how to forgive those who have caused you pain. Free yourself from any negativity so that you can find peace and happiness within you.

 

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