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These 4 'harmless' habits are sapping your brain power

https://www.fastcompany.com/90372808/these-4-harmless-habits-are-sapping-your-brain-power

fastcompany.com

These 4 'harmless' habits are sapping your brain power
If someone asks you how you spend your time when you're not at work, do you know where most of your day goes? It still surprises me that most busy people have their workday mapped out meticulously, yet they don't realize how their time outside of work slips away.

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Checking the headlines

Checking the headlines

The news  can bring negativity: our impotence to do anything about most of what we hear can lead to a sense of hopelessness. It saps mental energy and focus.

Opting out of following the news won’t work for everyone, but try setting some clear boundaries around it. Consider deleting, even for a while, apps that you’re tempted to open all the time.

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Toxic comparison

Toxic comparison

To break free from the temptation to compare, audit your social media feeds.

If you find yourself thinking about how your life matches up to a friend’s when you’re not on social media, try to shift your perspective. Think about their human traits, vulnerabilities, and things that you have in common. When you change your mindset, you can move from a place of jealousy to a place of empathy. 

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2 types of comparisons

2 types of comparisons
  • Downward comparison (comparing ourselves to those less fortunate): It activates the brain’s “lack” network, emphasizing our insecurity and focuses on safeguarding the status quo at the expense of risk and adventure.
  • Upward comparison (comparing ourselves to those we envy): it can excite feelings of envy and low self-esteem.

Both of these types of comparison can be bad for the brain

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Comfort eating

Comfort eating

The first trick is to notice you’re doing it: Is it out of boredom? A self-soothing activity? Or some type of mechanism for coping with stress and anxiety?

Try to keep a diary for a few days. Spot the patterns. When you notice your cues and responses, you’ll learn to pause before you eat, rather than doing it automatically.

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Multitasking

Multitasking

Each time we try and batch unrelated tasks together, we tax our brain and use up energy in the transition. 

To stop making multitasking a habit, you need to set boundaries around what you will be working on when. Give yourself longer chunks of time to complete one thing at a time, and shut down other distractions such as email when you’re working on something.

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Shockingly Unproductive

  • Studies show that employees spend more than five hours per day reading and replying to emailsWhile it may seem like urgent work, email is not the best kind of work.

Facilitate Deep Work

A few smart strategies that can be deployed:

  1. Installing pods for deep work while having common areas for collaborative work.
  2. Wearing headphones that are easily seen to signal that you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Turning your office into a library, following the same culture of quietness where everyone is hushed and respectful.

Email is not Real Work

Real work, by definition, should be rare, valuable and cognitively demanding.

Email does not check any of these boxes, and is, therefore, a pseudo work.

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You Are Not Your Thoughts

Our life situation is shaped by the quality of our thoughts. However, most of us assume that we are our thoughts.

You can decide what thoughts to ignore in your mind

The only way to stop identifying yourself with your thoughts is to stop following through on all your thoughts ✋ . Instead, decide to live in the present moment—where you don’t have time to think, only to experience.

4 Steps to stop overthinking 🧠

1. Raise your awareness throughout the day. 

2. When you raise awareness, immediately start observing your thoughts

3. Only limit your thinking to specific moments that you need it.

4. Enjoy your life! Let go of all your thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow. 

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