Self Improvement


  1. Get some closure about your old childhood regrets, resentments and all the things left unsaid. Diffuse your anxiety by letting out your emotions and being heard.
  2. Understand what triggers the old feelings and puts you in hyper-alert mode. Build self-awareness to check your anxiety levels.
  3. Do good to yourself. Avoid negative self-talk and try deep breathing, journaling or listening to soothing music.
  4. Do not indulge with your brain’s never-ending thought patterns that can be destructive.
  5. Get into action mode and solve the core issue, understanding that you are not a little kid anymore.
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Self Improvement

Being Hypervigilant

To be hypervigilant is to have a perpetual vigilance or alertness about what can happen with us or around us. The hypervigilant person is never at peace, never calm, and always obsessed about something or the other.

A lack of emotional stability while growing up, or being a victim/witness of domestic violence, or other environmental factors like being in a war zone, can develop into hypervigilance.

Assume “Good person, Bad Circumstances”

People are often good but their circumstances can change how they come out.

Get clear on the “true facts”: what you know for sure. Then assume that the other person has good intent, and imagine the circumstances that could be causing his or her behavior.

Having an existing solution in mind makes it harder for us to see a radically different but better way to solve our problem.

So if what we want is new thinking, we need to help our brains get out of a rut, to stimulate lots of new connections.

Caroline Webb

"In all the empirical studies on psychological well-being, one thing emerges as a reliable foundation for happiness: the quality of our relationships."

Use one or more of these three techniques next time you want to provide input or challenge someone’s ideas: 

  •  “What I like(d) about that is…” and “What would make me like it even more is…” 
  •  “Yes, and…” (rather than “Yes, but…”). 
  •  “What would need to be true to make that work?”
Approach Goals And Avoidance Goals

There are two types of goals:

  1. Approach Goals: doing more of something good
  2. Avoidance Goals: doing less of something bad

Approach goals are better than avoidance goals as they encourage higher performance.

  • When you want people to do something for you, give them a brief reason
  • Make it easier for people to choose by providing them with mental shortcuts. Ask yourself: “How can I make it easier for people to solve a particular problem?”
  • You can also nudge people by providing visual hints for the outcome that you want. To get people on board with what you want, paint a clear picture of the benefits.
  • Don’t assume that people will automatically understand the benefits. You can use social proof to show that what you are asking works for others too.
  • Let the others contribute to the success. Being part of something is motivating. Ask for their views and assign them tasks.

The brain’s deliberate system likes to take shortcuts. Take note of when that is happening. 

Signs of your brain taking shortcuts are statements like “It’s obviously right [or obviously wrong].” “I recently heard XYZ…therefore…” “Everyone agrees.” “I understand it—so I like it!” “Let’s just stick with what we know.” “There’s only one real option.”

  • The way you treat your body has a direct, immediate impact on your brain’s performance, affecting both its cognitive and emotional functions. 
  • Your brain’s deliberate system performs far better when you’ve had enough sleep, some aerobic exercise, and a few moments of mindfulness.
  • Mimicking the physical actions associated with feeling happy, confident, and relaxed appears to tell your brain that you are in fact happy, confident, and relaxed, creating a selffulfilling loop.

If you disagree on something:

  • Articulate the other person’s perspective as if you truly believe it.
  • Identify what you both agree on.
  • Isolate the real disagreement; explore how you could both be right.
  • Decide what you can do based on what you agree on. 
  • Group together similar tasks (e.g., email, calls, and reading), so you’re not constantly switching from one mental mode to another. 
  • Decide on the best time of day to tackle each batch of tasks. Create longer blocks of uninterrupted time for your most important work. 
  • Minimize interruptions, to help you focus your attention on the task at hand. Which alerts can you switch off? Can you use an app to block access to certain websites? 
  • Plan small rewards for good behavior
  • Make sure your goals are about doing desirable things, or doing more of them, rather than avoiding bad things happening. If they’re negative in tone, turn them around. 
  • Find a personal why. Can you articulate why the goal matters to you or how it will benefit something you care about? 
  • Break off bite-sized chunks. If the actions to take are unclear, break your goal down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. 
  • Make a “when-then” plan. Define clear situational prompts (“when X happens, then I will do Y”).

Getting a message through to other people can be hard because other people’s automatic system gets in the way.

Provide a reward or a dose of intrigue as you communicate. The human brain craves new things.

Experiment with different mediums for your information. Use visuals, charts, and everything else that you can think of to stimulate the mind. Present your information from a different vantage point.

You’re constantly moving along a discover-defend axis in your daily life, as your brain scans for threats to defend against and rewards to seek out and discover.

  • In defensive mode, you become less smart and flexible, as your brain devotes some of its scarce mental energy to respond to a potential “threat”.
  • In discovery mode, you’re motivating yourself with rewards: a social sense of belonging or recognition; a personal sense of autonomy, competence, or purpose; or informational rewards that come from learning or experiencing new things
Planning Deliberate Downtime

Your brain’s deliberate system needs regular breaks to keep it fully functional. When tired, we are more likely to make poorer decisions.

Allow your brain a chance to step back and consolidate the experience. Plan for breaks between “zones” in your day. Refresh your mind after every ninety minutes.


"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

The Two-System Brain
  • Your deliberate system is responsible for sophisticated functions such as reasoning, self-control, and forward-thinking. It excels in handling anything unfamiliar, complex, or abstract. But it has limited capacity and gets tired quickly. 
  • Your automatic system lightens the load on your deliberate system by automating most of what you do and taking fast shortcuts that filter out “irrelevant” information and options. But it inevitably leaves you with blind spots. 
To Think As Clearly As Possible...
  • Think about something positive before getting into the tough stuff. 
  • Break a complex task down into its constituent parts, step by step, to allow you to focus on one thing at a time and reduce the load on your brain. 
  • Imagine parts of your problem as people.
  • Look after the smart basics. Surround yourself with cues that you associate with good thinking; don’t skimp on sleep; do some physical activity.

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."


"The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones."

Knowing How To Reboot Your Energy

For a complete and happy day, you need to focus on your energy and reboot it when needed.

Know thyself by identifying where the typical energy highs and lows occur. Plan for the triggers and events around the highs and lows.

We can tweak our perceptions by being more deliberate in our perceptual filters.

We can do this by looking at things from three angles:

  1. Aim. Think about your aim as you meet people and as you work on your activities. Ask yourself: “What really matters?”
  2. Attitude. Take time to notice the concerns that are dominating your thoughts. Ask yourself: “Do they help me achieve my main goals?”
  3. Attention. Given your priorities, ask yourself: “Where should I focus my attention?”
Poetry begins with reading the words of the poems

Poetry has a reputation for needing special training to appreciate it. In the classroom, poems were often taught as if they were riddles. We were taught that poetry is inherently "difficult" and that it makes meaning by hiding meaning.

Real progress begins when we get literal with the words in the poem. Pick a word that you find interesting in the poem, and start to investigate that word.

Younger poets tend to try and demonstrate their ability by being deliberately obscure, but they unlearn this habit in time.

Good poets do not complicate their poetry. They make poetry feel the words mean what they usually do in everyday life and then move the words into a more activated realm. The placement of the word in the poem can make language come alive and shine forth.

Art Nouveau
  • Emerged as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution of Europe
  • It embraces the aesthetic of the new industrial Europe
  • It features naturalistics but stylized forms that were often mixed with arcs, parabolas, and semicircles
  • Fond of natural forms that have been overlooked such as insects, weeds, and mythical fairies.
Art Deco
  • Emerged as a reaction to WWI
  • Its name was derived from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Mondernes, that was held in France
  • It utilizes chrome, steel, and inlaid wood; when dabbled with natural materials it tends to be graphic or textural like zebra skin and jagged fern leaves
  • It features bold shapes such as broad curves, zigzags, and sunbursts.

In the old TV show Happy Days, the main protagonist literary jumps the shark and goes into history as a metaphor for driving oneself towards irrelevance.

Many great companies which used to be cool, have now lost the plot, lost their magic, by resting on their laurels and due to a lack of constant innovation.

  • As we are generally in a state of rest, we need to fight our psychology and neurobiology to improve ourselves constantly and to be disruptive in our game.
  • Being iconic is to take the high point of today and make it the starting point of tomorrow.
  • Keep innovating, keep optimizing and don’t lose your game.

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