9 Tips on How To Disconnect From Work And Stay Present

Have you ever wondered why you are bringing so much work back home? We all have personal lives, and our work lives shouldn’t be brought home.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you check your emails shortly after waking up?
  • Do you skip lunch or make it very short to get more work done?
  • Do you work longer overtime and lose track of time?
  • Is your mind always filled with tasks and you struggle to fall asleep?
  • Do you feel guilty hanging out with friends instead of working?

If these sound familiar, you are bringing work to different aspects of your life where it shouldn’t be. [1]

How to Disconnect From Work?

By learning how to detach from work emotionally, you will live in the present without feeling guilty and stressed. First, we must understand where the work guilt anxiety comes from.

Every action you undertake in the office has direct consequences:

  • You could be promoted next week
  • You can sign a contract with a new client
  • You can get terminated
  • You can relocate to a new location

Because there is a lot at stake and you are directly responsible for the outcomes, your work is eating a good chunk of your time. This is perfectly normal and most people experience this but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Why Is It Hard to Emotionally Detach From Work?

Unlike a workout session where you have to stop because your muscles are exhausted, it’s more complicated to find the limit with your work because:

  1. Your brain muscle is more subtle, it doesn’t suddenly say stop
  2. There will always be more work to be done
  3. The demands from the workplace can pile up
  4. New clients may mean working overtime

Without proper work boundaries, you’re missing out on the other important aspects of living a full life.

You should be able to spend time with your kids without checking your emails or being away or spend quality time with loved ones without feeling work guilt anxiety.

Common Work Misconceptions

Before we dive into 9 tips on how you can disconnect from work, here are two misconceptions people often try to justify working without boundaries.

1. More Work Equals More Results

The brain is a muscle and experiences fatigue. The quality of work being produced decreases as you’re going through a long exhausting day.

The idea of doing overtime work, working over the weekends, or simply doing the “extra mile” can cause burnout. Any employer loves an employee doing more than what is requested. But this doesn’t always mean it works. [2]

Most of the time, it’s just overtime work and exhaustion. If you’re unlucky, it can even cause health problems and relationship hurdles.

2. Tomorrow Is More Important Than Today

A brighter tomorrow is the force that pushes us to exceed ourselves and produce quality work. But tomorrow shouldn’t be paid at the cost of today. Kids grow up quickly and you don’t want to miss this.

Your relationship with your family and friends shouldn’t be set aside because of work. You should be able to invest in the future without risking what you have today.

Realizing that work should have its own boundaries is the first step. Now let’s discuss how to disconnect from it.

9 Tips to Break Free From Work Guilt Anxiety

Breaking from work guilt anxiety is never easy. Years of working for an employer have programmed us in ways that push us toward overworking. But you can still manage your habits and if you’re willing here’s how to disconnect from work stress.

1. Exercise Regularly

You work 8-12 hours a day. There is so much information for your brain to hang onto. The fastest way to disconnect is to preclude you from thinking about work. Exercising is an excellent way to do so while keeping you in shape.

Do at least a short workout at home followed by an intense workout. Working out for 20 minutes is the sweet spot. It does not require much willpower and it’s enough to break free from unexpected work thoughts.

Plus your body benefits from the activity. Aside from work, you’re also investing in your body – that’s two birds with one stone.

2. Create Spatial Boundaries

Our mind associates physical spaces with an activity. The more we engage in specific activities in specific places, the more likely our minds can create spatial boundaries. [3]

Sleep experts recommend getting out of your bed if you can’t sleep. This keeps the idea of the “bed is for sleeping” linked in your mind. This also goes the same way in sleeping in different areas aside from the bed. When you’re sleepy, try to maintain sleeping on the bed if you can.

When your work over your laptop in the office all day, your brain creates the “office is for working” link. If you’re working from home, make sure to create a space to work. Separate your workspace from the rest of your personal life so that when you get out of your home office, you’re done with work.

3. Distract Your Neurons

Work guilt anxiety is mostly happening in your mind. It’s sticky and follows you wherever your go. Sometimes, the best way to turn the voice off is to be too busy to think about it.

Schedule activities that require mental attention:

  • Go to dinner with an old friend
  • Book an escape room with your family
  • Try hiking, swimming, fishing, or any other outdoor activities
  • Play your favorite video games
  • Attend a group session with your churchmates

Anything that can take your mind off work will help distract your mind and help you disconnect from work.

4. Add Friction to Work

Learning how to disconnect from work becomes relatively harder. While it’s getting easier and easier to work from a smartphone. That means you could literally work anywhere. It’s tempting to glimpse at your emails after dinner at home to check if there’s anything urgent.

But you might end up working for 2 hours and missing family time. When you’re done with work, make it hard to get back to it. Here are a few things you can do to make that happen:

  • Turn off your computer and your phone
  • Turn off your data or wifi
  • Don’t connect your email on your mobile phones
  • Have a separate work phone and leave it at home

Sometimes, adding a little friction to impulses or setting boundaries with work is all that’s needed to stop an unexpected behavior and one way how to disconnect from work.

5. Change Your Clothes

Just like spatial boundaries, our mind associates clothes with an activity. Different physical activities require different kinds of clothing styles. This is the same with work and personal lives.

A common tip to get the motivation to exercise is to wear your workout clothes. Once you wear it, you usually go for it. If you wear your biking attire, chances are you’ll grab your bike.

Use this hack to disconnect from work. When you come back home or end your day if you’re working from home, change your clothes and wear something comfortable. Maybe a pajama? Who wouldn’t want to snuggle under the sheets then?

6. Value Your Sleep

Have you ever noticed how easier it is to get irritated over minor things when you sleep less than 5 hours? When you lack sleep, your brain hangs onto negative thoughts easily and it’s harder to manage stress. [4]

Getting enough sleep is crucial to detach from work. Here are 5 tips to help you sleep properly:

  • Sleep 7-9 hours a night
  • Use blackout curtains
  • Sleep at the same time every night
  • Do not eat or work 3 hours before sleep
  • Keep the bedroom temperature between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius

7. Take a Well-Deserved Time Off

It’s tempting to trade a relaxing movie time for 2 hours of productive work. Things won’t get any better by just sitting on the couch, right? Surprisingly, they will.

  • Have you noticed how ideas flourish when you’re taking a shower, cooking, or just walking outside?
  • Does your idea suddenly pop when you’re least expecting it?
  • Have you ever woken up in the night only to have overflowing ideas in your brain?

There is a lot of background work happening in your mind that you’re not aware of. It’s the solution to a bug in your code, an inspiration for an email, an idea for a new product design, or the perfect story for a book.

For that background work to start, you need to be away from work. You can’t control it, but you can influence it by resting, relaxing, and getting that time off.

8. Learn the Mantra “Not My Problem”

There is so much happening on a typical day of work. Your colleague disagrees with your opinion, the app you work on gets buggy, or a potential customer cancels a contract.[5]

All these stressful events nourish your brain with anxiety and make disconnecting from work even harder. In reality, a majority of those events are just noise. It doesn’t impact your long-term goals and should be ignored.

Identify a stressful event and give it a repercussion rate. If it’s not critical, consider saying, “Not My Problem,” and move on.

9. Define Working Hours

It’s easy to get drawn into work. Time flies, you look out the window, and it’s 9 pm.

To break free from work, you can kill the work guilt with overwork guilt:

Let’s say you define working hours like this:

  • 8am-12pm: work
  • 12pm-1pm: lunch
  • 1pm-7pm: work

When you read your emails at 6:50 pm and likely work past 7 pm, overwork guilt strikes. It’s easier to disconnect from work when you’re committed to a fixed schedule.

9 Tips on How To Disconnect From Work And Stay Present

6 Actions

Common Work Misconceptions like overworking or the idea of doing something for the future can be counterproductive. In reality, overworking can exhaust you, and focusing on the future disregards your present.
Create Boundaries: Train yourself to work in specific workstations, change clothes after work, and work on a schedule. This creates a wall between your personal and work life so that the two don’t overlap.
Distract Your Neurons: Other than going to the gym, there are other activities out there you can engage in. Maybe riding a bike, talking to an old friend over the phone, or learning a new hobby.
Add Friction to Work by making it harder for you to work during non-working hours. These actions include disconnecting work emails from your device or simply turning off your devices.
Value Your Sleep And Time Off to regain your energy. Being well-rested is important to be more productive. Similarly, having a relaxing weekend should ease your mind.
Learn the Mantra “Not My Problem.” There are little things we can do to matters outside our power. If it’s not critical, just move on.

Bottom Line

Struggling to disconnect from work is a good sign and everyone should practice doing quality work. It shows involvement, fulfillment, and dedication to hard work.

But work isn’t everything. Family, relationships, mental strength, spiritual wellness, and psychical health are the other pillars to live a full life.

By learn learning how to disconnect from work, you will stay present and enjoy every other aspect of life. The 9 tips above are actionable. Now it’s time for you to take action to start living a better life free of work guilt anxiety.

Featured photo credit: charlesdeluvio via unsplash.com

Reference

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How to Forgive Betrayal in Marriage and Move Forward

Betrayal as defined by Merriam-Webster is a violation of a person’s trust or confidence, neglect of moral standards, and the revelation of a secret. Betrayal can happen between friends and families but the worst kind is when it shatters a marriage.[1]

Unlike friends and families, you can’t simply forgive and forget betrayals that can happen in a marriage. You live day by day being reminded of the pain that has caused you and this can ultimately end even the most founded marriages.

Betrayal in some form or another is destined to come up in any marriage and can cause a lot of hurt between couples. So how do you forgive betrayal in marriage as a couple and move forward?

Moving on from betrayal is a painful and long journey but it doesn’t have to always lead to separation. If you care enough for your spouse, there may still be hope for saving your marriage.

So, How to Forgive Betrayal in Marriage?

This pain, if not addressed and healed will repeatedly tear at the fabric of a relationship leading to constant conflict and possibly ending the marriage.

This article will discuss several mistakes couples make and key remedies needed to forgive betrayal in marriage and move forward together as a renewed and recommitted couple.

As mentioned, betrayal can come in many forms and this can range from simple acts of betrayal to the most grieving acts a spouse can do. If one or both partners decide to act in a way that goes against the “agreements” made in the relationship and continuously make efforts in hiding it, this can be considered a betrayal.

This can impact all facets of a couple’s relationship such as finances, co-parenting, friendships, extended family relationships, physical health, career, intimacy, and sexuality.

Let’s look at the most common causes of heartaches in a marriage.

Most Common Form of Betrayal: Infidelity

Although betrayal can come in many forms within a marriage, the most referenced betrayal is infidelity. In fact, according to research, up to 60% of all spouses will commit adultery or infidelity in one way or another at least once in their marriage.[2]

Adultery is defined differently across cultures, religions, and social norms. Most would see adultery as an act of physical intimacy with someone other than your spouse. But in some religions, a simple gaze of desire is considered adultery.

It has been reported that in the United States, 17% of all divorces can be attributed to infidelity by one or both partners.[3]

Thus, because of this large propensity of betrayal occurring in marriage, many couples struggle with what to do and how to recover when it occurs. This leads them to either stay in a dysfunctional relationship or simply go their separate ways.

Unfortunately, going separate ways is not always the best solution as this in turn affects the children and causes irreparable damage.

Seeking Counsel

Like most people who ask, “how to forgive your partner after betrayal?” you might think of consulting a marriage counselor.

However, marriage counseling has been proven to be less effective than any other counseling therapy out there. This leaves many couples lost as to what to do and ends up acquiring bad habits that can eventually break their marriage.[4]

In fact, due to the lack of appropriate guidance, most couples end up creating a cyclical argument pattern in their relationship centered around the first betrayal. This cyclical pattern of arguing is similar to a pattern dynamic that John Gottman termed, The Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic.[5]

1. The Pursuer

After the betrayal is revealed in a relationship, it inevitably is brought up again afterward. This can happen from time to time when the betrayed partner is reminded of the betrayal.

Like most pain reminders, simple things can bring up the event like the date you were told, the food you ate that day, how you were told, a tv sitcom, or even a glass of juice. As long as there is a simple connection, the betrayal can resurface easily and this makes it harder for both to move on.

This causes the betrayed partner to “pursue” their partner for comfort, explanation, reassurance, or any kind of guarantee that the behavior will not occur again. It is hard to blame the pursuer as the betrayal has already caused trauma.

2. The Distancer

The partner that caused the betrayal will eventually feel attacked, criticized, blamed, and guilt-laden by their partner. They start to “distance” themselves so that they don’t feel the guilt of being reminded of what they’ve done.

This leads to a small separation of both spouses and slowly turns them away from each other. Both spouses will start to find new things outside of their marriage, such as a hobby, a friend, or a career.

Unfortunately, this cycle repeats itself over and over again. According to John Gottman’s research, if the pattern isn’t corrected, the couple has a greater than 80 percent chance of divorcing in the first four or five years of marriage.

How to Forgive Your Spouse’s Betrayal?

Given the grim statistics, a couple can still recover from a betrayal, find forgiveness and move forward in their relationship. However, four things need to be present for a couple to be successful.

1. Genuine Willingness to Change

The only way that a couple can recover from a mistake or hurt is if the person who caused the pain has a genuine willingness to change. Change happens if there is no ultimatum or if the person is not just trying to be compliant.

The person who caused the betrayal must take personal responsibility for the hurt they caused and possess a desire to make amends with their partner and right the wrong things they have done. They must truly show remorse for their actions and understand not only the betrayal they caused their partner but also the betrayal they caused themselves.

2. Transparency

Once the betrayal is out in the open, it is important for transparency to be a key element in the relationship. If anything is kept from the betrayed partner, no matter how small it may seem, it will only serve to feed distrust, suspicion, and an urge to “pursue” the other partner to uncover the truth.

Nothing should be kept in the dark such as bank accounts, passwords, social media accounts, friendships, or who you have lunch with on your break at work. This may seem like a violation of privacy, however the more severe the betrayal, the more there is a need for complete transparency.

The betrayed partner will naturally question whether they are being told the truth and wonder if they will be betrayed again, and it is the other partner’s job not to feed it.

3. Get Ahead of the Pain

The pain of betrayal comes and goes in waves. It can be triggered by places, people, and things you encounter in your environment. It can be brought up by what you watch on TV or what you listen to on the radio.

Just like taking pain medication before you feel the pain after a medical procedure, recovery from a betrayal should be addressed in the same way. It is important for the partner who caused the betrayal to pay attention to environmental triggers and be the first person to mention the trigger to their partner.

This may seem counterintuitive and seem like you may be starting an argument. However, the pain of the memory of the betrayal will inevitably come up anyways. By making mention of the trigger before your partner experiences the pain, you demonstrate to your partner that recovery from the betrayal is important to you.

You should stay ahead of the pain and facilitate healing. Getting ahead of the pain is one way how you can forgive your husband after a betrayal.

4. Approach the Healing Together

In forgiving betrayal, each partner in the relationship must learn to face it together as a team and as an “Us.”

Although it was the actions of one member of the partnership that caused the betrayal, it can only be healed by the couple together. Each member of the partnership must understand why the betrayal occurred in the first place, and why they are facing this challenge in their relationship at this time.

Mistakes are bound to happen in any relationship and if a couple is willing to move forward past any hurt caused in the relationship, they must rise above blame, shame and guilt, and embrace compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

This can only be done as teammates and not opponents.

How to Deal With Betrayal in Marriage and Move Forward

5 Actions

Infidelity is one of the most common betrayals that can be done in a relationship and one also the most painful things you can do to your spouse.
Seeking counsel and the Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic is a wise choice but without proper guidance, the couple may end up in a downward spiral. This can lead to a Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic.
The Pursuer: When you betray a spouse, he or she can inevitably become insecure and seek assurance. Thus, bringing up the act of betrayal again and again.
The Distancer: The one who betrayed in turn would feel the guilt and may distance him or herself. This slowly separates them and never really reaches a point of healing.
How do you forgive your spouse? Be willing to change, be transparent, get ahead of the pain, and find peace together.

Finding Peace

As mentioned, betrayal can come in many different forms within a marriage with different severity. The pain of betrayal is gut-wrenching and doesn’t go away very quickly.

Those that remain in the pain cycle are destined to experience the pain of betrayal as if it happened yesterday and will unlikely find forgiveness and healing in their marriage.

Depending on the severity of the betrayal, it can persist for the duration of the marriage. Like a physical wound, it can either be reinjured repeatedly, or it can be healed and remain as a scar. Couples who take the time to grow from the betrayal and work together to heal from it. The pain can lessen over time and couples become stronger from it.

So how to forgive betrayal in marriage? Find peace.

It will be a long and hard journey. But as with any other solid foundation, hardships will come to test the relationship. If both are willing, moving past any kind of hardships such as betrayal is just a matter of time.

Featured photo credit: Foto Pettine via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Betrayal
[2] Health Research Funding: 26 Surprising Statistics on Cheating Spouses
[3] Divorce Statistics: Latest Infidelity Statistics of USA
[4] American Psychological Association: The effectiveness of psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports study
[5] Gottman.com: The Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic

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How to Use Social Stories for Kids with Autism

Many children on the autism spectrum struggle with social situations in their everyday lives. They have trouble understanding certain behaviors or have difficulty accepting change. Being autistic is not easy but it doesn’t mean we can’t help them.

So, stories are specifically made for autistic children, and these are called social stories.

For these reasons and many more, social stories can be an excellent tool for informing kids about what they can expect in various scenarios and also what might be expected from them by other people.

Let’s start by talking about what social stories and where they came from.

Starting Your Social Stories for Autism

First developed by pediatrician Dr. Carol Gray in the early 1990s, social stories for kids with autism have seen increasing popularity over recent years. There are many social stories to be found and downloaded online at your disposal.

These stories cover topics such as washing hands, dealing with transitions, keeping safe during the pandemic, and much more. The range stretches as long as social stories for kids can be helpful.

However, creating your own social story from scratch is often the best way of relating to your individual child and telling a story they will truly engage with. This allows for specific scenarios or events that can be added to the story letting your child relate better to the story.

Starting Your Social Stories for Autism

If you’re wondering where to start, this article should help you as we take a look deeper at how you can effectively use social stories for kids with autism.

A social story is quite simply a narrative created to demonstrate specific situations or problems and how people might be able to interact and handle them. For children with autism, social stories are often used to help them understand social expectations, build their communication, adapt behaviors, and accept change. [1]

Social stories for autism allow the children to learn as they read through the materials. It helps them digest social situations that can be normally difficult for them to conceptualize verbally. This becomes a learning experience as if practicing when the real situation comes up.

Social stories are highly visual and are best when they are custom created for specific situations and individual personalities. When writing social stories, it is recommended to include specific step-by-step information for the child to follow.

We will delve into this further below.

What Do Social Stories Help Children With?

As parents, it’s our duty to teach our children effectively using the best resources out there. Research studies suggest social stories can help children with autism to relate to others and understand what might be best to do or not do when they encounter unfamiliar situations. This prepares your child by processing the best reaction or interaction so that they can carry it out in the right situation.

Social stories can also help kids with autism by:

  • Improving social skills and overall communication among other people.
  • Helping them understand both their own emotions and other people’s emotions.
  • Reducing their levels of anxiety, especially when they are put in the spotlight.
  • Understanding how they can practice self-care and self-appreciation.
  • Working on their behaviors and how they can interact with others.
  • Coping with life changes and transitions such as moving houses or changing personal belongings.
  • Developing and maintaining lasting friendships.
  • Using their imagination to help them explore new things.
  • And much more

How to Write a Social Story for Children With Autism?

Most autism experts would recommend that parents create social stories using the child with autism’s own voice and building from his or her personal perspectives. This makes the social stories for kids more relatable so that they can easily digest and learn from them.

Here are some more tips for creating a useful social story:

  • A good social story should have a specific goal like targeting the desired behavior of the kid(s).
  • A good social story should be factual with lots of information that is centered on the personality of the child.
  • A good social story should easily describe things while following positive language with simple encouraging words.

When you are writing social stories, you should ensure you are using visuals as much as text. Depending on how regularly you want your child to be exposed to the story, you might want to think about using it in the classroom/homeschool, as light reading during recess, or even as a bedtime story.[2]

Types of Sentences for Creating a Top Social Story

According to Autism Parenting Magazine, there are seven types of sentences that are generally used in social stories for autistic children. These sentences can be used as guides on how you can create your own social stories.[3] The types of sentences include:

1. Perspective Sentences

These are descriptions of the inner facet of another person like knowledge, thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and motivations including physicality.

  • “My sister likes to run at night.”
  • “My brother doesn’t like horror movies.”
  • “My mom will do anything for us.”

2. Descriptive Sentences

These sentences answer the question of “why” an event or an action is happening. These are real physical sentences that cannot be assumed or filled with opinions.

  • “Children eat fruits and vegetables to get healthy.”
  • “Grown-ups go to work so they can buy stuff.”

3. Directive Sentences

These are sentences that respond to any kind of situation or action positively. These sentences are not consequences but rather a choice of action from doing another action.

  • “I will pray before going to bed every night.”
  • “I will look at both sides when crossing the street.”

4. Control Sentences

These sentences are mostly written by a child after just having heard a story or action. These sentences can be used to help children with autism as a reminder to do an action or set of actions to solve a particular event.

  • “I need to wake up early every day to get to school on time.”
  • “I need to drink milk every night to keep my bones strong.”

5. Affirmative Sentences

These are supportive sentences that can reinforce the meaning of any statement. It also emphasizes an opinion or a value. These sentences add to the gravity of the action and give it more importance.

  • “I will take respect my classmates. It is very important to be nice.”
  • “I will listen to my mom and dad. It is good manners to listen and stay obedient.”

6. Cooperative Sentences

These sentences explain the importance of the roles of other people in an activity or situation. This teaches autistic children to learn that other people are dependable and that they trust them.

  • “There is a lot to learn in school and lots of things to remember. My teacher can explain these to me so that I can understand.”
  • “There are so many animals in the zoo. The tour guide can introduce me to the animals so I can learn about them”

7. Partial Sentences

These sentences encourage autistic children in looking for the right response to any kind of situation. These are very helpful sentences as the child learns the significance of understanding different social situations and they can be managed.

  • “My sister loves to play volleyball at school.”
  • “My dad loves watching sports.”

General Tips for Using Social Stories for Kids With Autism

Bearing all of the above in mind, here are some more general ideas for parents of kids on the spectrum on how to use social stories to support the needs of an autistic child:

  • Determine which topic can be included in the social story and keep it specific. Avoid adding too many topics and information.
  • To help your child relate more, create your main character with your own child’s features. You can add specific facial or body features or things they’ve done in the past.
  • Always keep the stories in positive behaviors and associate comfort, understanding, and patience. Try to avoid negativity and always create the mood lightly.
  • Separate different concepts in different stories to address every specific need. If there are too many topics in your story, maybe making another story would be a better choice.
  • Observe and consider your child’s mood whenever you tell a social story. They will not always be in the mood to hear the stories so pick your time wisely.

How to Use Social Stories for Kids with Autism

5 Actions

Who Started Social Stories for Kids With Autism? Pediatrician, Dr. Carol Gray in the early 1990s.
Social Stories for Autism is a narrative that demonstrates situations to kids allowing them to handle these situations.
What Do Social Stories Help Children With? It helps them improve their social skills, understand emotions, learn self-care, cope with life changes, use their imagination, and many more!
How to Write a Social Story for Children With Autism? Have a specific goal using facts centered on the child’s personality to describe things in positive language.
Types of Sentences for Creating a Top Social Story. Perspective, descriptive, directive, control, affirmative and partial sentences. 

Summing Up

Social stories for autistic students can be a wonderful tool for helping children to develop their social skills, respond to situations appropriately, and much more. In fact, a 2015 study of 30 children with autism, half of which went through social stories training, showed that those in the group who received a social story exhibited improved social interaction. [4]

Of course, it is always worth bearing in mind that every child is unique, and what works for one young mind might not work for another. Social stories can be great fun to write, though, and are a creative way of learning and growing with your autistic child.

Featured photo credit: Stephen Andrews via unsplash.com

Reference

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8 Tips on Adopting a High-Performance Mindset

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a performance mindset as “the execution of an action.”

On the other hand, it defines a high-performance mindset as “better, faster, more efficient than others” and “producing results much higher than expected.”

A high-performance mindset is necessary for achieving peak performance and is something that most athletes try to achieve. Under each concept are examples from the world of athletics that can be applied to you as well.

Let’s take a look at the eight qualities you can do to achieve a high-performance mindset.

How to Adopt a High-Performance Mindset?

People with a high-performance mindset possess eight characteristics. These are developed through the years as these are not something people are born with.

They are achieved through hard work, effort, and consistency.

1. Setting Goals

People with high-performance mindsets create goals that are clear, specific, and realistic. [1]

When Hubie Brown took the head coaching position for the Atlanta Hawks NBA team, he knew he was in for a tough year. He had just coached the Kentucky Colonels to the championship of the American Basketball Association (ABA). Of the two leagues, the NBA had many more talented players than the ABA.

Hubie’s problem was that his Kentucky team was considerably more talented than his new Atlanta team. He knew that his Atlanta team would have difficulty winning in the tougher NBA.

He decided to see how many games Atlanta could lose under 10 points. This number was a clear, specific, and realistic goal. He knew they were not capable of winning, but if they could keep the games close, they would be showing the other, much more talented NBA teams just how competitive they were.

This initial attitude eventually led to 50-win seasons and the NBA playoffs.

2. Effort and Consistency

Effort alone is not enough. To develop a high-performance mindset, your effort must be consistent.

Bishop Kaffer, principal at Providence High School, led the school from near bankruptcy to solvency. He annually visited the homes of every freshman and every transfer who entered Providence. His consistent work ethic had him often working into the early morning hours at his desk and even attending a 7 am mass.

Dr. Orr, President of the University of St. Francis saved the institution from closure. He accomplished this in three ways.

  • First, he joined numerous community organizations. Prior presidents had little participation in community affairs, and therefore St. Francis had little local interest. Dr. Orr changed all that and made St. Francis an integral part of our community.
  • Second, he changed the enrollment from 500 full-time students to 4,000 students. St. Francis was asked to start a program where nurses with an RN degree from a nursing school could earn a BS degree by taking part-time hours while still working.
  • Third, he brought that St. Francis program into 19 states nationwide with over 3,000 part-time students.

High-performance men and women consistently bring great effort and energy to their work. [2]

3. The 5 P’s

“Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” – James Baker, President George H. W. Bush’s former Chief of Staff

Gordie Gillespie was an extraordinary coach in football, basketball, and baseball. He was named the Baseball Coach of the Century in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and was inducted into 18 Halls of Fame.

His practices were very organized and intense. One of his beliefs was “playing as you practice.” It was through his practices, with the emphasis on repetition, that he gave his players a high-performance mindset. He made his players believe that they were better than they thought they were!

Ed Spiezio, who played for Gordie, had a ten-year career in the Major Leagues. Ed devised an innovative way to practice batting. Whenever a cover was knocked off the ball in practices, Ed would take the cover, put socks in it, giving it the size of a baseball, then sew it back up.

His father and kids from the neighborhood would take those sock balls and pitch them to Ed from only 20 feet away. Through that practice, he became an outstanding hitter, especially against fastball pitchers. He carried this practice with his son, Scott, who played on two Major League World Series championship teams.

High-performance people know the value of the 5 P’s and practice them throughout their working years.[3]

4. Focus

A high school teacher once explained that to be focused, you can use a pen and summarize a paragraph or two in your own words when reading books. This method leads to laser-like focus while reading because it forces you to concentrate on the material.

When tested for studying for exams, you’ll realize that it doesn’t require much to reread the book. Instead, the summaries and interpretations will be enough.

In coaching, you will always look for concepts that can lead to laser-like focus for your players. You can use two techniques; one for mental focus and another for free throw shooting.

Saying the Expression “Give Me Your Eyes”

You only have seconds at time-outs during basketball games to get your points across. The idea is that when the coach has the players’ eyes, they very well may have the players’ brains.

Middle Ring Theory

When shooting free throws, most players look only at the rim. You can use the “Middle Ring Theory.” There are 7 ringlets on the rim that the net goes through. One of them is in the middle of the rim. The ball is 9 inches in diameter, and the rim is 18 inches in diameter. By focusing on the middle ring, the shooter can be slightly off to the right or left and still make the basket.

High-performance people eliminate distractions and give laser-like focus to the task at hand.[4]

5. Caring and Listening

People with a high-performance mindset give others more time, attention, and caring. They understand and execute that insightful maxim from John Maxwell that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

One of the best ways those with a high-performance mindset show they care is by developing the ability to listen. Listening is respect.

A survey of CEOs asked them how they spent their time. The results were:

  • 10% – Writing
  • 15% – Reading
  • 30% – Speaking
  • 45% – Listening

Almost half their time was spent listening.

An interesting take on listening is that it controls the conversation. Very few of us give that kind of credence to listening, but high-performance people do.

In a room of 1,000 people, when talking to you, they listen so aggressively that they make you think you are the only person in the room!

High-performance people show they care by listening.

6. Failure Quotient (FQ)

Most accomplishments have failure in their background. High-performance people work their way through failure. They turn obstacles into opportunities, and they do so because they have developed strong FQ.[5]

  • Thomas Edison failed in 10,000 experiments until he founded electricity.
  • Abraham Lincoln lost most of his elections until he was elected president of the United States.
  • Winston Churchill flunked 6th grade, and his teacher wrote that he was “dumb and hopeless.”
  • Mother Teresa often questioned her faith.

High-performance people conquer setbacks because of their strong FQs.

7. Think Differently – Courage

High-performance people are not afraid to think differently and have the courage to follow through on their instincts.

The gymnasium at Providence High School was not only exceptionally small but also had a tile floor! The gym was needed badly, so a position paper was written to start a fundraiser.

Sixteen wealthy people from the community were gathered by Bishop Kaffer to hear the story of why the gym is important for Providence’s future. Unfortunately, no one voted for the gym, and Bishop Kaffer was very disappointed. However, he decided that he would build the gym, despite the financial times.

He traded unions and got them to volunteer to build the gym. The ironworkers, pipe fitters, carpenters, plumbers, etc., all got behind the project. Everyone worked hand-in-hand with the tradesmen to make the gym a reality.

Bishop Kaffer thought differently and, with courage, pursued the completion of the gym. He surely has a high-performance mindset.

8. Have Fun and Humor

Humor dissipates pressure.

Most high-performance leaders are demanding. If the leader does not demand, nothing will get accomplished. However, the best leaders insert fun and humor into the workplace.

Coaches must demand that their players work hard mentally and physically every night in practice. One of the most demanding coaches in our country’s history was the great Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi. His two players, Paul Hornung and Max McGee were always testing his rules. One night they both missed curfew.

In front of the entire team, Lombardi gave them a substantial fine for the missed curfew. He then said if they missed again, he would give them an exorbitant fine. He thought for a minute after presenting the new fine, then told them, “if you could think of a place to go for that kind of money, take me with you!”

The University of St. Francis football team initially practiced at a park district field that was right next to a graveyard. In one practice, the offensive team was running plays for timing purposes with no defense.

The coach was Gordie Gillespie, a National Football Hall of Fame inductee. The players completely failed to run a certain play correctly and Gordie said nothing. They ran it incorrectly a second time with still no response from the Coach.

The third failure sent Gordie to the fence that separated the field from the graves. The baffled players stood and watched Gordie go the fence, face the graveyard, and yell to the graves, “hey, fellas, make room for Gordie. These guys are killing me!”

High-performance people do use humor to dissipate pressure.[6]

Tips on Achieveing a High-performance Mindset

5 Actions

Set goals that are clear, specific, and realistic. Be consistent, as effort will not be enough if you keep doing things differently.
Proper preparation prevents poor performance, or in short, keep practicing!
Focus and do anything and everything to keep your mental awareness at top levels.
Failure Quotient (FQ) can only be called a failure if you give up. Otherwise, they’re called experience.
Think differently and outside the box even when you’re alone and have the courage to follow through!

Final Thoughts

To have a high-performance mindset, you have to perform higher than you already know. One can have all the gifts and resources in life. But only with making the effort, consistency, persistency, courage, and humor as part of your everyday life, can one reach that higher level of performance.

In achieving peak performance, you have to take it one step at a time. The best mindset training starts by setting a goal. Then consistently following through and making every effort to complete a project. Mastering these values doesn’t have to happen overnight.

Soon, you’ll see yourself inspiring others as you show how a high-performance mindset separates losers from winners. Then at the end of the day, no matter what happens, don’t forget to laugh and smile.

Featured photo credit: John Aranoh via unsplash.com

Reference

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Why Power Walking Beats Running: 3 Hidden Benefits

Back in our younger days, we were probably avid runners. Running track and cross country could be an easy task for some, while some even joined 5k mud runs or color runs for great causes. These days, however, all that high-impact running has taken a toll on our knees. This is why you’ll love power walking!

Here are some of the benefits.

What Is Power Walking?

Power walking, or speed walking, is more than just a brisk walk. When power walking, you walk at a speed at the upper end of the natural pace for walking. A normal walking pace for most is 3 mph, so for power walking, aim for anywhere between 4 to 5.5 mph.

Power walking requires that you have at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times. This means that if you are standing still, you will not be able to walk at a normal pace.

During power or speed walking, your heart rate increases. The number of calories burned by power walking can be the same as running without all the high impact on your joints!

Power Walking vs. Running

Running can provide you with many health benefits, and it is one of the cheapest ways to exercise compared to other types of workouts. Its intensity promotes fitness and efficiently burns more calories than other activities. However, running is a high-impact exercise that can frequently lead to injuries if you’re not careful, and it won’t do much in developing your upper body.

Runners can be at a particular disadvantage because they can develop numerous injuries quickly from all the impacts on their feet, knees, ankles, and other joints, such as:

  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Achilles tendonitis

Power Walking vs. Jogging

Power walking or speed walking, on the other hand, is different from running, jogging, or traditional walking because of its increased intensity emanating from arms movement, longer strides, and a faster pace. This allows you to get all the benefits of running without the abovementioned disadvantages.

Hidden Benefits of Power Walking

It’s just so amazing that power walking is a form of exercise that requires no expensive equipment, no special athletic ability, no apps or technology, and no gym membership.

Power walking can be done in any open area, and it’s easy to do. Let’s take a look at why you should start power walking now.

1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Power walkers have increased heart rates, especially when done at a moderate to high-intensity level. Exercise that boosts your heart rate is excellent for combatting heart disease and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, a new observational study shows that taking more steps each day – even if you walk at a regular pace – is linked with living longer.[1]

Power walking puts a higher demand on your cardiovascular system because it requires more steps per minute and more involvement from your major muscle groups.

If you are new to working out, starting with a regular walk can help ease into a new routine. Walking at any pace will still help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness, and when you are ready, you can increase your pace to power walking levels.

2. Reduced Risks

Power walking at 4.5 mph for an hour would burn the same amount of energy as a 30-minute run without all the impact on your joints. Making power walking the perfect exercise for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.

While power walking and regular walking work the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and hip abductors, power walking also tones the shoulders, upper back, and glutes!

Power walking helps burn calories while toning your muscles more than a regular walk would. It is even a great core workout. The more intense you move your arms during power walking, the more you can engage your entire body, challenging your balance and stability.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a regular brisk walk can help you maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat.[2]

3. Improved Bone Health

Power walking is also good for your bones. A recent study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found an hour per day of moderate-intensity exercise like power walking prevents disability in people who have symptoms of joint problems in their lower extremities.[3]

The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits!

How to Power Walk

It’s important that you use proper form and posture while power walking. This helps to prevent injury and ensures you can keep up the proper pace. You want to ensure you’re using the proper muscles in the right way to turn the energy you’re expending into steps and calories burned rather than risk rolling an ankle or tweaking a knee.

Keeping proper posture is always important while walking, but when power walking, it’s especially important. Your eyes should look ahead, your shoulders should be back, and your head should be upright. Set your gaze about 20 feet ahead, and don’t slump forward.

If you realize your posture is off or you’re slumping forward, correct your posture right away, even if it means slowing down. The better posture you can maintain, the faster you can walk, and the more steps you can get.

Take some time to work on your posture because proper posture allows you to walk faster and tire less quickly.

Starting Your Routine

If you’re new to exercise or increasing the intensity of your walks. Start slowly and gradually—and you’ll still get great benefits from it. Try this interval walking plan to get started. Exertion is rated from level 1 to 10, with 1 being in a rested state and 10 being on the verge of breathlessness.

Pyramid Style

This simple interval session gradually builds in intensity to a peak, then eases back down.

  • 5-minute warmup walk (level 5)
  • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
  • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
  • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
  • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
  • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
  • 5-minute cool-down walk (level 5)

Always speak to your primary care physician before starting a new exercise routine.

How Much and How Often?

When it comes to any exercise routine, the duration and intensity depend on your schedule. Ideally, 30 minutes of power walking 3 days per week is a great starting point.

Walking at a steady state can get boring, and it also limits the calories you can burn. Adding in intervals can burn more calories during and after your workout by increasing your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

There’s no wrong way to do interval training. You can increase your pace for a certain number of minutes or a certain distance. For example, pick a landmark in the distance, like a stop sign, and walk at a faster pace where talking becomes difficult until you get to it. Then, keep alternating that way between easy and harder efforts. Or, you could walk with exaggerated arm movements, like holding your hands overhead, until you get to the landmark.

For an extra challenge, you can do power walking hill sprints. Walk at a comfortable pace to a nearby hill, then walk at an effort where it’s hard to talk up the hill, and recover at an easy pace downhill and repeat. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to go all out at once.

Tips for Implementing a Power Walking Routine:

To get the most out of power walking, consider these tips:

  • Get the right gear: Unlike running shoes, which may be slightly thicker at the heel, your shoes should have good arch support and a flat sole.
  • Make sure you’re visible: Walk on a path or sidewalk where you’re safe from traffic. If you’re walking at dusk or in the dark, use reflective tape or clothing, or bring a flashlight.
  • Make it fun: Walk with a friend or colleague. Walk somewhere you find beautiful and restorative. Walk while listening to music you like – just make sure you can also hear traffic sounds. Do whatever makes it fun for you!
  • Know the terrain: To keep from falling, notice uneven sidewalks, tree roots, and other obstacles.

Hidden Health Benefits of Power Walking That Beats Running

4 Actions

Power walking is better than running because it burns the same amount of calories yet eliminates the risks of running.
Power walking improves cardiovascular health. It engages more muscle and requires more steps per minute. This boosts your heart rate, which is excellent against heart diseases and other chronic illnesses.
While running can burn more calories, power walking is a much safer choice to maintain the health of your joints. 
Given that your joints are engaged in a safer routine, you can then improve the health of your bones.

The Bottom Line

If you haven’t tried power walking or speed walking, now is the time to give this low-impact, effective exercise a try. This go-anywhere exercise is great for all fitness levels. The reduced risks of joint deterioration and injury make it more appealing to most age groups.

If you want to stay fit, become fit, or get back at getting fit, adding this movement to your exercise regime today will be a great investment in your body!

Featured photo credit: Sincerely Media via unsplash.com

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Work-Life Integration vs Work-Life Balance: Is One Better Than the Other?

In today’s always-online economy, workers spend a share of their time on job-related tasks. This has been great for business productivity, but it’s been a disaster for workers’ mental health. As a result, cases of burnout are more common than ever.

To combat that, the notion of work-life balance began to gain traction as a solution. Businesses started mentioning it as a core part of their work culture, and employees began to apply its principles to establish boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

But what’s the difference between work-life integration vs. work-life balance?

Which is Better: Work-Life Integration Vs. Work-Life Balance

A growing chorus of experts suggests that workers should aim for work-life integration rather than work-life balance.

The idea is to stop trying to fit your daily responsibilities into neat little compartments. Instead, they claim workers should find ways to make their personal and professional lives coexist.

For all of the talk, however, there’s little evidence that much has changed since work-life balance was introduced. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average worker still spends less than 15 hours per day on personal care. That includes time spent sleeping, eating, leisure, and family activities.[1]

In other words, it appears most workers in the developed world still lead lives dominated by their jobs.

Does Work-Life Balance Really Work?

All of this begs the question: Why do workers have such a hard time keeping their work time in check?

The answer may be that they’re going about it in the wrong way. This is when a new idea steps into place, and the question is asked, “is work-life integration better than work-life balance?”

So which is the better approach? Is it work-life balance, with its idealized concept of building walls between work and your personal life? Or is it the new paradigm — work-life integration — that ditches personal and professional life balance in favor of workable solutions?

Here’s everything you need to know about the two approaches and which is the one you should be working toward.

What Is Work-Life Balance?

The funny thing about work-life balance is that it means something different, depending on who you ask.

The general idea, however, revolves around allocating a precise amount of time for work each day — and keeping that work from overlapping with the rest of your time.

Perhaps the best definition of the work-life balance concept comes from the United Nations Department of Operational Support [2]

They summarize the concept as an actionable set of principles, which include:

  • Not scheduling work-related meetings outside of office hours
  • Not scheduling meetings during lunch breaks
  • Not scheduling meetings in the afternoon on the last day of any work week
  • Avoiding sending (or tending to) urgent work-related emails on weekends
  • Considering flexible work or other compressed schedules

Building Walls and Boundaries Between Personal and Professional Life

In other words, the objective of work-life balance is to keep work-related tasks confined to work hours and to look for ways to alter work schedules to avoid infringing on personal time.

This is a great idea — if it were possible for most people.

For one thing, most workers don’t have the power to control the demands placed upon them by colleagues, bosses, and others in their work sphere. And even when they can, it’s not a complete solution.

Even when not taking work home, people tend to bring the stress of the work week home with them. Studies have found that about 52.3% of Americans are unhappy, uninspired, and disengaged at work.[3]

Under conditions like that, who can say that true work-life balance is a realistic possibility?

For most people, the answer is that it isn’t. It’s nothing more than an idea — and an ineffective one, at that. But that’s something that the concept of work-life integration aims to remedy.

What Is Work-Life Integration?

The core idea behind the concept of work-life integration is simple. It’s that in ways large and small — it’s simply impossible to build walls between your professional and personal life.

So, instead of swimming against the tide, it proposes that it’s a better idea to look for ways to make the two parts of your life coexist.

Under the work-life integration model, there’s no implicit goal of reaching a 50-50 split between the professional and the personal. It accepts the reality that emergency emails will happen, that sometimes a 40-hour workweek isn’t enough and that some meetings can’t wait until the weekend’s over.

The goal, instead, is to see all daily professional and personal responsibilities as a part of a greater whole and to schedule each day accordingly.

Work of Life and Life of Work

Approaching things in this way sidesteps the core problem of the work-life balance paradigm. It eliminates the inherent tension that comes from trying to maintain artificial barriers between work and the rest of your life. Therefore, it also eliminates the sense of guilt that people tend to feel when work intrudes on their personal life.

Conversely, it also eliminates the guilt workers report when they feel like they’re not being productive enough; that’s an issue that doesn’t get as much attention within the work-life management conversation. It also leaves room for schedule improvisation and flexibility.

In short, work-life integration represents a reality-based approach to accommodating the needs of your employer and your own needs at the same time.[4]

So, Which Approach Is Better?

The truth of the matter is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the problem of managing one’s work as a component of one’s life. If your employment circumstances grant you a high degree of control over the demands of your job, work-life balance may be possible to some degree.

But if not, the true work-life balance would be a tall order, if it’s possible at all. And then there’s the matter of personality.

Some people have little difficulty handling stress at work and may even turn it into motivation to work harder. For others, work-related stress is debilitating.

A recent study found that one in four workers in the US quit their job due to mental health concerns over the past two years. They’re the victims of the failure of the work-life balance model.[5]

How Work Affects Us Now

With work from home becoming the norm, employees are unable to disconnect, check emails on their phones, take calls during lunch, and create reports late at night. This inability to disconnect has been reflected in countries’ daily hours spent on apps increasing from 3 hours to 4-5 hours.[6]

As the lines between work, school, and social life blur, people find they are using over 10-19 apps in one week. This increases their work hours which then causes personal issues.[7]

Eliminating Other Causes of Stress

That reality, however, yields yet another argument in favor of the work-life integration approach. By eliminating the added stressors created by the work-life balance approach, it seems possible to reach something of a happy medium. Common stresses at work remain — as motivators for some, as impediments for others — but no additional stressors end up in the mix.

As a whole, integrating work is a balance that should be a net positive for most workers. As long as they’re handling the responsibilities of work and their personal life in whichever ratio works best for them — they can consider their work-life integration efforts a success.

Which Approach Suits You Best?

The main takeaways here are simple. The first is that people who’ve managed to create a work-life balance they’re happy with don’t necessarily need to change. But for those who haven’t, the work-life integration approach seems like the one with the highest odds of success.

For one thing, work-life integration should be a far more attainable goal for the widest cross-section of workers. It doesn’t require any wholesale changes to their workload. And it destigmatizes the idea of devoting too much time to work or to other priorities, respectively. It also prioritizes flexibility in both parts of one’s life.

So, devoting extra time to work tasks when necessary is a perfectly acceptable practice. And it also means doing the same for personal matters, be it family obligations, health issues, or even vacations, is fine too.

The Bottom Line

The idea of work-life integration means going with the flow and making adjustments as necessary. Rather than trying to compartmentalize one’s work life and personal life. It is, therefore, an acknowledgment of reality in a way that the idea of work-life balance does not.

For that reason alone, it would seem that work-life integration should soon replace work-life balance as the go-to goal for the majority of the workforce.

In the end, however, only time will tell, and each person will have to find the solution that works best for them. Just as how work-life integration tries to blend work with life issues, choosing between the two approaches should not mean right or wrong.

Ask yourself which works for you and which one will give you more satisfaction in life. In the end, your peace, happiness, and satisfaction are what matter.

TL;DR

Don’t have time for the full article? Read this.

Work-life balance is the concept of separating life and work by following a set of rules and actions. Everyone has different practices, but it all boils down to time allocation.

Work-life integration aims to remedy work-life balance by accepting that work and life will inevitably reach. Unplanned meetings, emails, and overtime may happen, and they will. So why prevent them?

Like any other concept, no approach suits every situation. We are built differently, and we have different circumstances.

Work-life integration eliminates other causes of stress as you try to be more flexible in life. Removing that guilt of working overtime or taking care of your mental health shouldn’t pressure you to compensate for the lost time.

If work-life balance works, why change it? But if it doesn’t, then maybe integrating a work-life approach will be better for you.

Featured photo credit: Aziz Acharki via unsplash.com

Reference

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Childhood Friends: When to Stay and When to Move On

Making friends when you were a child seemed to be much easier than as an adult.

Do you remember your first interaction with your first friend? Walking up to someone, saying hi, and from there, you form the foundation with that person who can now be called a childhood friend.

Having childhood friendships is an important part of discovering who we are. We get to interact with varying identities and learn how to have positive relationships with friends. Aside from that, we also discover our own desires and preferences.

We learn how to understand ourselves and others by learning how to share and consider their feelings. We learn to trust and how to build it by giving countless efforts. In return, we realize who we can and cannot trust.

It’s a time of exploration.

Whether to Stay or Move on From Childhood Friends

Sometimes we make decisions that can change the dynamic of a friendship that started in childhood. As we get older, we meet people more in line with who we are. People who are more in tune with our personalities.

There is nothing wrong with outgrowing people at any stage of life. We are fluid as human beings, and change is inevitable. As we grow and come to know ourselves and who we want to be, we may seek others on a similar path we want to take. And as a result, old friendships may slip away.

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself when deciding to stay or move on from a childhood friendship.

1. Has the Dynamic of the Friendship Changed?

Life changes, and we live hours apart versus living with our houses in the same town. There was never a decision that changed the fluidity of our friendship, but sometimes the logistics of life itself can change things.

Past friendships only consisted of “coming out to play” or, as we coined, “hanging out” as we got older. Life was much simpler and straightforward as a child. By asking yourself questions, you can decide whether to continue your childhood friendship or allow it to end.

2. Do Childhood Friendships Last Forever?

A friendship forged in childhood does have the potential to last forever, just like any other relationship. As with any strong relationship, we can grow and change within the context of this childhood friendship.

The experiences and memories from your childhood can act as the glue to your relationship well into the future. However, if you were shy as a child and did not make many meaningful friendships, you are more likely to allow those friendships you did make to end.

Life circumstances can test the strength of a friendship. If you’ve been through a traumatic event, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, and you’ve changed due to a new healing path you’ve taken, your friendship may change or end.

Or if you find your friends are not there for you during your difficult time, continuing a healthy friendship may seem so hard. No matter how good the friendship had once been, sometimes you need to make a decision to end it.[1]

3. Does Your Childhood Friendship Inspire You to Grow and Learn?

Having a friend who has your back is the epitome of a good, solid friendship. Friendships should push each other to become better versions of themselves. A bubble that encourages growth and trust.

When a friend continually shows you that he or she has no concern for your wellbeing, is just not there for you in times of need, or is not there to celebrate your successes, you may want to reconsider whether you should continue spending time with this person.

Gauging the health of your friendship can help you make decisions that are for your highest good.[2]

4. Do I End a Friendship Due to a Misunderstanding?

Sometimes things that happen in our friendships can lead to misunderstandings. This can sever even the longest friendships between buddies.

If this happens frequently, it may be time to consider what is going on. Try to understand why things are happening and how they can be avoided.

Our friendships, like all our relationships, can be a mirror to our souls and be our greatest source of healing. It may also be more beneficial for you to ask the question, “what is going on within me at this time?”

When we focus on doing our inner healing work, the dynamic of the relationship changes. Either communication with this friend will improve, or you will notice the friendship slowly dissolves naturally.

5. Is Your Past the Only Thing You Have in Common?

It’s true that childhood memories hold a lot of power and having your childhood friend be a major part of that can be hard to pass up.

But if the only thing you have in common with your childhood friend is the memories you made, then you may find it difficult to keep the friendship going. Wants, needs, preferences, and overall path of your life can drastically change at any time.

If you can find new common ground, the relationship can continue to grow and thrive. It’s up to you whether you value the effort it would take to continue to find things you have in common.

6. Have Your Values in Life Changed?

As a child, we attract friendships that mirror what we are feeling inside. If we value having fun, then a friend who likes to have fun will be who we gravitate toward.

If our values change as we grow into adulthood, but our friends’ values stay the same, it’s more difficult to continue with the friendship.

Your friend may continue to want to have fun while you are now focused on your future and working hard. It doesn’t mean there has to be a definite end to the friendship, but the time you invest in this friendship may naturally decrease.

7. Has the Friendship Become Toxic?

When a relationship of any nature becomes toxic, it’s usually best to avoid or end it. This doesn’t mean you have to have a break-up talk.

Minimizing communication is one way that can gradually fade the friendship. Sometimes, the toxic part of your friendship can fade out if you set firm boundaries within yourself. This is another way to continue and honor your lifelong friendship without having to cut the person out of your life.

8. How Do You Feel When Spending Time With Your Friend?

A good rule of thumb is to be aware of how you feel while being around your friend and then after.[3]

  • Are you excited to see them?
  • Or do you feel obligated to meet up with them?
  • Do you sense a heaviness and frustration when you are around this person?
  • What about when you leave?
  • Do you feel lighter?
  • Are you more fun when you’re not around them?
  • Is there a lingering pain whenever you see them?

Pay attention to any energy shifts you may feel. You will notice if you continually feel off when you are around your friend or feel pressured to see them, it may be time to at least decrease the amount of time you spend with them.

If you decide to end the friendship based on your answers to any or all the above questions, there are three ways to go about it.

  1. You can meet up and have a conversation about how you are feeling. Using “I” sentences to tell them how you feel will lessen the chances of offending the person.
  2. You can gradually decrease the amount of time you communicate with your friend in hopes the friendship will fade away.
  3. Or you can decide to change the context of the friendship and create stronger boundaries for yourself. Ultimately, do what feels right for you.

Childhood Friends: When to Stay and When to Move On

5 Questions to Ask

5 Actions

Has the Dynamic of the Friendship Changed? Life circumstances can change a friendship, especially when living in two different places, starting a family, or venturing into a business.
Do I End a Friendship Due to a Misunderstanding? Misunderstandings are inevitable. Ask yourself if your friendship is worth saving or if you should let go.
Is Your Past the Only Thing You Have in Common? Having a lot of past connections can be very powerful. But that can’t be the only thing you have.
Have Your Values in Life Changed? As we grow older, our life values may change, and our friends may not or may have new but different values from us.
How Do You Feel When Spending Time With Your Friend? Ask yourself how you feel when you’re with your friend. Eventually, you’ll find the answer to whether you should or not continue your friendship, especially when examining toxic behaviors.

To Sum Up

There are benefits to continuing a life-long friendship. There is something to be said about continuing a friendship that started when you were young. You may have amazing memories and have forged a path in your life based on the shared intimacy with someone who knows the real you.

As children, we are usually more open and freer. We don’t yet have to guard our hearts. This childhood friend may know our most precious dreams for our life. In adulthood, they can remind us of the carefree days and encourage us to live like that again. The decision whether to continue or not a friendship from your childhood is up to you.

Learning to trust your inner guidance will see you through all of life, including navigating relationships and making these kinds of decisions.[4]

Featured photo credit: Duy Pham via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] New York Times: How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship?
[2] Psychology Today: Is Your Friendship Healthy?
[3] Reachout: What makes a good friend?
[4] National Society of Leadership and Success: 7 Ways to Develop Your Inner Guidance System

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9 Tips on Leading With Integrity And Building Trust

Integrity in the workplace is foundational for building a trusting and productive team that can function during good times and bad times. Why is this? Because integrity involves honesty, respect, and vulnerability. These three traits are essential ingredients in maximizing engagement and productivity.

When you choose to lead with integrity, you intentionally set yourself up for success by allowing yourself to be open to change and feedback.

As a result, you expose your actual state of thinking and facilitate others to do the same. When leaders can actively engage their team, they instill purpose in their mission and outcomes.

Here are some tips on building trust and leading with integrity.

How to Lead With Integrity

Leading with integrity isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves emotion, critical thinking, and the willingness to be exposed to the opinions of others for the benefit of the team.

High-level leaders with integrity understand these fundamental ingredients for success and actively choose to use them in their day-to-day communications.

To lead with integrity, today’s leaders must be aware of their actions and respect their team members’ perspectives. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take intention and follow-through to make it happen.

1. Have Hard Conversations Early

Set the tone early to establish trust and, more importantly, show respect. Hard conversations are inevitable in the workplace, so good luck trying to escape them.

They’re essential because businesses solve problems, and where there are problems, human emotions and feelings get involved.

Those who lead with integrity understand this concept and choose to own it every single step along the way. They frame discussions by asking questions, taking inventory of the importance of the conversation, and trying to approach the topic from a neutral perspective.[1]

As they work through the discussion, they utilize emotional intelligence to understand both viewpoints and create solutions to move forward. Keeping it simple is the recipe for success, especially when it’s a conversation that you don’t want to have but need to.

2. Clear is Kind When It Comes to Communication

Whether cultivating a relationship in the office or with your partner, this concept can pay dividends for a lifetime.

In Kim Scott’s book, Radical Candor, she describes the concept of using “clear is kind” in communication with peers and colleagues.[2] In her experience, muddled communication and a lack of clarity caused more problems. This is why she supports the phrase “caring personally and challenging directly.”

Specifically, when most leaders attempt to provide feedback, they try to be kind and shelter the individual receiving feedback to soften the blow.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t help either party and, in the long run, could cause more problems. If peers don’t receive the necessary feedback about their job performance or expectations, they will continue to operate at the same level of inefficiency.

Furthermore, this could hurt the team or inhibit their chances of making the needed improvements to enhance their ability to execute. There’s a difference between being a jerk and being clear. Those with integrity in their leadership know the difference and confidently walk this line.

3. Be Transparent

Your peers and colleagues pick up a lot more than just your words. Body language, subtle nuances, and processing things you didn’t say can significantly affect your ability to lead with integrity and build trust with your team.

To lead with integrity, you must be aware of your actions and be transparent with your motives. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest.

For example, are you having a bad day because of external factors outside the office? Tell your colleagues within reason. Or maybe you’re struggling with a new role and don’t feel fully equipped to tackle it on your own? Ask for help.

This transparency can be crucial for success and team building because it shows that you’re human, open to feedback, and willing to be vulnerable to improve. Your team will be able to relate to these aspects and be more open to doing the same.[3]

Being transparent is worth the investment!

4. Recognize Mistakes, Then Move On

We all make mistakes. It’s just whether or not you choose to acknowledge them. Businesses exist to solve problems, and where there are problems, there will be miscalculations.

But a mistake is only a label; what matters is what you do with it. Many of the greatest inventions throughout the world came about as mistakes and turned into massively successful companies and initiatives.[4]

Trial and error is a beautiful thing, especially in the business world. Unfortunately, traditional schools teach us that making mistakes is wrong, so we rarely challenge this dogma. But in business, taking calculated risks and making mistakes is the secret to success because it allows a company to learn quickly.

Mistakes are a part of the journey, so embrace them. Regardless of who makes a mistake, be open about it and the subsequent learning opportunities that arise from it.

Embracing this philosophy will destigmatize the mistake-making process and create a trustworthy haven for trying new things. Innovation doesn’t happen in an echo chamber; It happens with intentional and repeated trial and error. Learning from those mistakes is where the actual value is created.

5. Show Vulnerability

Perfection is a fallacy. Yet, those who try to portray it usually shoot themselves in the foot.

Vulnerability doesn’t mean being weak or predictive. It merely means being your genuine self, with no strings attached. Brene Brown’s research has shown that vulnerability and being your authentic self is the underlying root of human connection.[5]

Forming authentic relationships with your peers can create ripple effects that could last far longer than your tenure. Plus, when you get to know someone, you will get the best out of them, as both parties are willing to work harder to help the team grow and prosper.

Being honest and genuine won’t cost you any money, but it could make you a fortune in the long run.

6. Say “I Don’t Know” When You Don’t

The “fake it til you make it” mentality may work in some situations, but not when you’re working within a team and having to make decisions.

Saying “I don’t know” can be one of the most empowering phrases in your playbook because it shows that you’re open and willing to hear other perspectives. It also shows that you’re human. And while that may seem scary, it’s the reality.

We’re imperfect beings, so why do we work so hard to act like we’re not? This whole movement of perfection throughout social media and glorifying those who either aesthetically or financially accomplish significant tasks is overrated.

Influencers post their best photos, not their worst.A nd those who brag about their finances rarely post their checking or savings accounts, so how can we take them for face value?

Actively deciding to lead with integrity involves the willingness to know. And that will allow you to know who to trust and seek answers from in the future.

7. Ask For Feedback; Then Give It

When you actively ask for honest feedback from a coworker, you open up a dialogue of discussion that can facilitate high-level conversations and discussions. By asking first for feedback, you allow reciprocity for your colleague to be open to feedback, creating a give-and-take relationship.

Feedback is inevitable, especially in business. Businesses solve problems, which is why continuous and authentic feedback is crucial for success. Those who can receive feedback but also give it are the ones who accomplish incredible feats. They’re able to work together with others to achieve goals that are greater than themselves.

And when the ego is involved, we must find ways to work around our emotions. Integrity in a leader is shown when you are willing to put your ego on the line to create a stronger bond. These bonds can make or break a team.

8. Listen to Understand, Not to Respond

How many of us make this mistake over and over again? We find ourselves sitting next to someone, engaged in a conversation, when they suddenly ask us, “what do you think?” and we have no response. It’s embarrassing and, more importantly, downright disrespectful.

Sadly, this happens more often than most of us admit. A majority of our population is distracted. And even when we’re engaged, we’re not that engaged.[6]

Being physically present looks and feels very different than being mentally and emotionally present. Choosing to lead with integrity involves active listening and understanding.

It requires intention and cognitive processing behind the words and phrases we communicate with colleagues, and it is needed to create trusting relationships.

Active listening comes through our body language and lack of interruptions. To seek to understand, you should be able to repeat to them what they stated, with a thoughtful response that answers the question or problem they posed.

Building trust takes time, just like a thoughtful conversation. Choose your actions wisely and watch your relationships flourish through active listening.

9. Begin With the End in Mind

Leadership is an ever-evolving wheel of investing time, energy, and resources into a relationship. But if you don’t know where you want to go, you will have no idea whether or not you will get there.

When Stephen Covey wrote his NY Times Bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he laid out the foundation for success and achievement in life.[7]

Interestingly, the second of the seven habits was “begin with the end in mind.”

Not because it sounded cool but because he realized it was essential for success.

As you choose to lead with integrity, you will realize that your actions today have consequences tomorrow. Every day matters. And when you decide to begin with the end in mind, you can reverse engineer what you want the final result to be and work backward to create it.

Success looks different for everyone. It doesn’t always come down to financial goals for each individual.

For example, each person might require a different approach to getting there, which is why individuality matters. Using this approach, you can facilitate a high-level success roadmap and ensure the path to getting there.

How to Build Trust and Lead With Integrity

6 Actions


Have hard conversations early to avoid mistakes in the long run. Frame discussions by asking questions, take inventory of the importance of the conversation, and trying to approach the topic from a neutral perspective.


Be transparent and ask for help when needed, and be transparent about not knowing everything. 


Recognize mistakes, then move on. There will always be problems along the way, and we learn and grow from them.


Show vulnerability. There’s no such thing as perfect, and being vulnerable doesn’t mean you’re weak. It just means that you’re like everyone else – human.


Listen to understand, not to respond. Just as you are human, so are those around you. Actively listen to them so that you can form better connections.


Begin with the end in mind. It’s just good sense. If you know where you’re going, more often than not, you’ll get there!


Final Thoughts

Leading with integrity starts with small daily habits. They will eventually turn into tremendous outcomes and the accomplishment of lofty goals. And Barry O’Reilly states “think big, but start small.”

This process will allow you to lead with integrity and create trusting relationships with your colleagues and peers. Those who have been successful in business or life will tell you that it’s all about the people. So as you establish your dream team, make sure you intentionally invest in them.

It’s the best investment you can make in business.

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Center for Creative Leadership: 5 Steps for Tackling Difficult Conversations
[2] RadicalCandor.com: Radical Candor
[3] University of Florida HR: Creating a Culture of Transparency
[4] Business Collective: Why Making Mistakes Is Actually Good for Business
[5] Harvard Business Review: What Bosses Gain by Being Vulnerable
[6] Forbes: 10 Are You Really Listening Or Just Waiting To Talk? There’s A Difference
[7] Franklin Covey: Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

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What Are the Warning Signs of Prediabetes in Adults?

Prediabetes is a common condition. The CDC reports that 96 million Americans or 1 in 3 people or about 34% of adults have prediabetes.[1]What’s alarming is that over 84% or 8 in 10 of people have prediabetes and don’t know they have it.

Are you among this group?

Here are some relevant details and facts on prediabetes and the action you need to take to stay healthy. The first step in managing prediabetes is understanding what a prediabetes diagnosis means. Read on to learn more about this diagnosis and what you can do.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Prediabetes?

What’s Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is named as it is a precursor or an early stage of type 2 diabetes.[2] It means you have a higher than normal blood sugar level, but it’s not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes are also referred to as:

  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) indicating a higher-than-normal blood sugar after a meal.
  • Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) indicating a higher-than-normal blood sugar in the morning before eating.

A normal blood glucose level is less than 70 mg/dL. If you have prediabetes, your blood glucose levels will rise to 100 mg/dL-125 mg/dL. When your blood glucose level goes above125 mg/dL, you are diagnosed with diabetes.

What Causes Prediabetes?

The prediabetes condition, which is marked by abnormally high blood sugar or glucose, is because your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas which regulates the blood sugar levels for energy.

The glucose in your body comes from food. Your pancreas releases insulin into the blood when you eat. During digestion, sugar enters your bloodstream. Insulin lowers the sugar levels in your blood and facilitates its entry into your cells.

When you have prediabetes, this process doesn’t work, and your body doesn’t respond to insulin normally. It means people with prediabetes cannot process blood sugar or glucose properly. Sugar starts to build up in your bloodstream because of the following reasons:[3]

  • Your cells become resistant to insulin
  • Your pancreas may not make enough insulin
  • Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get your cells to respond
  • Increased metabolic disturbance because of a combination of worsening hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

Apart from the above insulin-related causes of prediabetes, your family history, genetics, and lifestyle are also contributing factors.

5 Warning Signs Of Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a serious condition. Without intervention, people with prediabetes have up to a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next 5-10 years. Having prediabetes also puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.[4]

As you know, prediabetes is an early stage of type 2 diabetes. You could have prediabetes for many years and yet show no symptoms at all. This is because prediabetes rarely has any symptoms.

So, like most people with prediabetes, the chances are that it often goes undetected until you develop serious health problems.

The good news is that prediabetes is completely reversible, provided you take the right action, which can only be possible if you know the warning signs.

If you have prediabetes, here are the common warning signs you should look out for. You may have some or all of them.

1. Risk Factors For Prediabetes

Unless you know the risk factors for prediabetes, you may not be able to talk to your doctor in the early stages to reverse your prediabetes condition.

Here are some of the risk factors for prediabetes:[5]

  • Being 45 years and above older
  • Being a smoker
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high blood sugar levels
  • Having low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Having high levels of triglycerides
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having obstructive sleep apnea
  • Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Giving birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds
  • Consuming a heavy diet with processed, red meat and sugary beverages
  • Having certain drugs, steroids, antipsychotics and HIV medications.
  • Having hormonal conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and acromegaly.
  • Belonging to certain ethnic races such as African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.

If you have the above risk factors for prediabetes, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar checked regularly.

If you’re still not sure if you’re at risk for prediabetes, you can take this 1-minute online prediabetes risk test. Alternatively, you could ask your doctor about getting a blood sugar test.

2. Changes In The Appearance Of Your Skin

One of the warning signs of prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes is changes in the appearance of your skin. Some of them include:

  • Skin tags: If you have prediabetes, you may notice skin tags or small skin growths on your body, especially on the eyelids, neck, and armpits.
  • Open Sores, Wounds, and Blisters: People with diabetes can develop open sores, wounds, and blisters on their hands, feet, arms, and legs. Having prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage and poor circulation, making it hard for your body to heal wounds.
  • Skin infections: If you are prone to getting skin infections, you may have diabetes. You may notice symptoms such as hot, swollen, itchy, dry, or scaly skin with rashes and blisters that may also be painful. You could have a white discharge and experience irregular periods and frequent yeast infections.
  • Acanthosis Nigricans: Acanthosis Nigricans is a sign of insulin resistance related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It does not happen in every case of PCOS, though. When you get Acanthosis Nigricans, you will notice the development of dark, thick, and velvety patches on your skin. You will see this darkened skin or discoloration usually around the knees, elbows, neck, armpits, and knuckles.[6]

3. Blurry Vision

Prediabetes and diabetes can affect your vision and put it at risk. Diabetes is the leading cause of the latest cases of blindness in adults. Retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract are some of the common eye diseases caused by diabetes.[7]

Retinopathy can develop in the prediabetic stage. Retinopathy refers to the eye condition when the blood vessels in the retina become swollen, leak, or shut off completely. Abnormal blood vessels can grow on the retinal surface area and cause bleeding that obscures vision, the formation of a retinal detachment, advanced forms of glaucoma, and eventual blindness.

Blurred vision is a prominent warning sign of prediabetes. If you experience any vision changes, it’s time to get your blood sugar levels tested.

Sometimes, you may not experience any visible signs of vision problems and yet have prediabetes. Your best bet is to schedule regular preventive eye exams to avoid vision loss.

4. Fatigue

You may feel unusually tired all the time if you have prediabetes. One of the first symptoms of prediabetes is feeling tired all the time.

People who have prediabetes often feel exhausted even when they have done no strenuous activity. They also sleep more than usual, even during the daytime. Tiredness and fatigue may have to do with the high and low blood sugar levels combined with the inability of your body to use insulin effectively.

5. Weight Gain

Another sign of prediabetes is weight gain or being overweight.

You may be having insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance tend to put on weight easily. As a result, they will probably also see an increase in their waist circumference.

You could also notice having fat around your waistline if you have prediabetes. This may be because of weight gain and a loss of muscle mass owing to insulin resistance.

When To See A Doctor

If you’re prediabetic, you should regularly get your blood glucose screened.

Additionally, if you follow an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle or have a family history of diabetes, it’s a good idea to schedule a screening.

If you’re 45 years and above, you should get a blood glucose screening once every three years. If you already have diabetes, keep in regular touch with your doctor to adjust your insulin or medicine dosage.

Final Thoughts

Prediabetes refers to the condition when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be considered as type 2 diabetes. Unmanaged prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes doesn’t always have symptoms, but it comes with the listed warning signs in this article.

Early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes can return your abnormal blood sugar levels to a normal range, effectively delaying and even preventing type 2 diabetes.

So it’s critical to visit your doctor regularly and get your blood sugar levels tested, especially if you’re at risk for prediabetes.

TL;DR

Don’t have time for the full article? Read this.

Prediabetes refers to the condition when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be considered as type 2 diabetes.

The prediabetes condition, which is marked by abnormally high blood sugar or glucose, is because your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

One of the warning signs of prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes is changes in the appearance of your skin

Retinopathy can develop in the prediabetic stage. Retinopathy refers to the eye condition when the blood vessels in the retina become swollen, leak, or shut off completely.

If you follow an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle or have a family history of diabetes, it’s a good idea to schedule a screening.

Reference

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What Is Prediabetes?
[2] Mayo Clinic: Prediabetes
[3] Cleveland Clinic: Prediabetes
[4] Cleaveland Clinic: How to Protect Your Heart When You Have Prediabetes
[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Type1 Diabetes
[6] U.S. National Library of Medicine: Acanthosis nigricans
[7] American Diabetes Association: Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Test

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Us in Adulthood

According to research, two-thirds of us have experienced at least one adverse childhood event. Did you know these instances of childhood trauma continue to impact us as adults?[1]

Trauma describes not only the nature of an event but how it affects you. So, the same incident can affect people differently based on their unique needs and temperaments.[2] Trauma is not limited to physical abuse or neglect. It can show up as emotional abuse or witnessing something too much for a child to handle.

You’d be surprised to learn that your shortcomings or perceived weaknesses may actually be symptoms of unresolved trauma.

Here’s a look at how childhood trauma affects us as adults.

Signs of Childhood Trauma in Adults

1. Relationship Struggles

Your attachment style influences the quality of your relationships. It’s how you connect and communicate with friends, family, and romantic partners.

People who grew up in healthy homes generally have a secure attachment style. They feel worthy of love and seek intimacy in their relationships.

If your emotional and/or physical needs were unmet in childhood, there’s a possibility that you could have developed an insecure attachment style. There are many signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults, and the two main insecure styles are the anxious style and the avoidant style. [3]

Avoidant Style

If you have an avoidant style, you don’t like asking for help. You’ve convinced yourself you don’t require intimacy in relationships and come across as self-sufficient.

In childhood, you may have learned that emotions don’t bring people closer. In fact, they pushed your parents away. As a result, you’re uncomfortable with vulnerability and sharing your feelings.

You might run hot and cold in dating relationships. For example, you pursue someone until things start to get close, then pull away.

Anxious Style

On the other hand, if you have an anxious attachment style, you may come across as “needy.” You fear abandonment and put others ahead of yourself. You may over-value them and think less of yourself.

You spend much time preoccupied with your relationships and getting your needs met. This has the opposite effect of pushing people away, which feels extremely painful to you.

Overcoming Being Avoidant

If you have an avoidant attachment, challenge your habit of distancing yourself from others. Next, reciprocate when friends share their troubles with you. Take yourself out of the listener role and share your feelings and struggles with others.

You may worry opening up will invite rejection and contempt. But you’ll find many people understand you better if you let them in.

If opening up feels threatening, this may go back to your childhood and bring up feelings and moments of abandonment. Remind yourself it makes sense to feel this way, but you’re an adult now.

Overcoming Being Anxious

If, on the other hand, you have an anxious style, seek out securely attached partners. Let go of relationships and people with insecurity attached to them, as it will only exacerbate your pain.

Although being alone can feel terrifying, it’s a worthwhile fear to face. You might decide to take time away from romantic relationships while you work on nurturing yourself.

Develop self-validation rather than seeking approval from outside sources. This means finding ways to meet your own needs rather than relying on a partner to meet them for you. Talk to others besides your partner about your feelings. Practice relying on friends or counselors to help you regulate your emotions.

2. Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a symptom of childhood trauma in adults and it can show up at any time. This is how your inner child tries to keep you safe in ways that actually hold you back.

These self-defeating behaviors may have worked in the past. For example, staying quiet and small helped you avoid getting into trouble with your caregivers.

As an adult, the same self-protection stops you from speaking up in meetings or promoting yourself. This results in being passed over for promotions or failing to attract clients. As a child, you may have been rewarded for hiding your needs and feelings. Hiding helps you avoid the risk of rejection for who you are.

Another outcome of childhood trauma in adults is the difficulty of meeting your own needs. As a result, you’re susceptible to burnout from not knowing when to stop on your way to a goal.

When self-sabotage presents you with the next distraction or compels you to give up before the finish line, it may be answering your need for rest.

3. Perfectionism

Perfectionism shares many of the characteristics of unresolved childhood trauma in adults. These include setting unreasonable standards for yourself, becoming a harsh inner critic, instilling terror of making mistakes, and trouble trusting others.

With this in mind, perfectionism is more nefarious than many of us think. It can be a conditioned response to a childhood in which “good enough” was not an option.

You have a loud inner critic that never seems to let you off the hook. You compare yourself to others and come up short. Never mind if they have decades of experience, you don’t. You feel as though you have to get things right the first time.

The need to be perfect paralyzes you due to your fear of making mistakes. This leads to underachievement and disappointment with yourself. While others are throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, you’re fretting about criticism that might come if you put yourself out there.

Overcoming Perfectionism

Strive for “good enough” rather than perfect. Allow yourself to do things badly at first.

These are some of the best lessons writers learned from writing “crappy” first drafts. You can edit a draft, but you can’t improve on something that doesn’t exist.

  • Celebrate your attempts and failures as well as your victories. These are growth opportunities and necessary steps on the road to success.
  • Get outside your comfort zone.
  • Say yes when you normally say no.
  • Stop overthinking and fretting over what might happen.
  • Congratulate yourself not for your achievements but because you took the risk.
  • Value courage more than accomplishment.

4. Social Isolation

If you ask, “what does childhood trauma look like in adults?” social isolation is one of the most common symptoms.

Chronic feelings of loneliness and a tendency to avoid social interactions are other signs of unresolved childhood trauma in adults.

You might decide it’s easier to be alone because of how other people trigger you. If you grew up without learning how to handle your emotions or resolve conflict, dealing with others can be uneasy.

It’s not other people you’re avoiding but your reaction to what they might say or do. We can’t predict how others will behave and can easily become dysregulated by a comment or opinion.

That’s why being around others is not relaxing or comforting but challenging and counter-productive. It feels better to be on your own where you can rest safely knowing that no one will “trip you up.”

Overcoming Social Isolation

Growing up, you probably learned to suppress your emotions. Instead of giving yourself compassion, you criticize yourself for your feelings.

Shame around isolation overrides the primary feeling of loneliness. That only makes you want to hide and prevents you from reaching out to others. Acknowledge your feelings of loneliness instead. Give yourself the care and compassion you would give another in the same situation.

Reach out to someone you trust. Tell them the truth about your feelings instead of pretending you’re okay. You may be surprised how your honesty prompts them to open up about their insecurities.

If you have no one you can safely share with, consider talking with a therapist or joining a group online with whom you can unpack your feelings anonymously.

Get out each day. Walking and being near nature are balms for your mental health and can improve your mood. Interact with someone in a low-stakes way, like petting their dog or making a friendly comment.[4]

How Childhood Trauma Affects Us in Adulthood

4 Actions

Relationship Struggles. Connecting with people becomes a hard task that requires lots of energy. You either adapt to an avoidant style or an anxious style. Open up more, and you might be surprised at what others might say.
Self-Sabotage. Being so repressed causes your inner self to start holding back, resulting in losing opportunities and not being able to speak up for yourself.
Perfectionism. Striving for excellence is a good thing, but not when you overly criticize yourself, which can lead to the fear of making mistakes and eventually stopping before even trying. Try to celebrate your attempts and failures. Be happy that you tried.
Social Isolation. You shouldn’t be suffering alone. Overcoming isolation starts by conversing with more people and engaging more by putting yourself out there.

Final Thoughts

The impact of childhood trauma on adults manifests in many complex ways. If you’ve blamed yourself for these outcomes, it’s time to give yourself a break.

Using the tools in this article, you can overcome the symptoms of these unmet childhood needs. No matter how long you’ve suffered, you can easily find your way to a life that’s self-supportive instead of self-defeating.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

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5 Tips For Reframing Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones

Sadness, fear, loneliness, anger, and disgust are a few negative emotions that one may experience.

Negative thoughts are normal and will arise from time to time. However, when negative thoughts become habitual, these thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and many other mental health disorders. Thus, possibly impacting us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially.

According to the non-profit, Small Steps, reframing can be explained as “when you actively notice unhelpful thoughts in your mind and reframe them into more useful thoughts.” [1]

Our thoughts are the cornerstone of our success. How we view ourselves impacts our progress and persistence towards our goals. Positive thinking is a cognitive pattern that requires effort and focus.

This article will define what reframing negative thoughts mean and the importance of reframing negative thoughts into positive ones.

5 Tips for Reframing Negative Thoughts

Recent research reveals that we have about 6,000 thoughts a day. However, we have had the same thoughts before – our thoughts are on autopilot. Often we do not even recognize negative thoughts since they have become so familiar. [2]

This internal dialogue can range from what we want to eat for dinner, work scenarios, assumptions about circumstances, observations, what others think about us, how we feel about ourselves, and so on. Once the negative thoughts take over, many self-destructive behaviors may also take over. Therefore, learning to reframe thoughts will help one remain hopeful, grounded, and motivated.

Reframing is a powerful tool to help people effectively manage negative thoughts and stress. The way we think about what’s happening affects the way we feel and behave. Below are five strategies to help you quickly reframe negative thoughts into positive thoughts:

1. Understand the Types of Negative Thoughts

The first step is to become aware of our negative thought patterns. These are thoughts that enter your mind when something goes wrong or thoughts that may have continually entered your mind whenever you experience the same scenario. Some thought patterns which cause negative thinking are:

All-or-Nothing Thinking

We often think of extremes, such as always or none, all or nothing – which are opposite ends of the extreme. For example, a person thinks: “I always work late” or “If I mess this project, then I’m not worthy of working for this company.”

All-or-nothing thinking is a negative thinking pattern that polarizes situations, experiences, choices, and people. [3]

Prancing on the Positive

Yes, often, we discount the positive events of our lives as mere flukes or lucky breaks. When we fail to celebrate these positive events in our lives, we tend to think of negative events as normal. We begin to accept negativity more often than we used to. Celebrating big and small wins is just as important to our overall success.

Get Rid of Should

You set rigid expectations, filled with what you “should” do. The additional pressure and expectations contribute to our fear and worry. This can lead to exhaustion, causing a build-up of negative energy.

Lack of Self-Compassion

Our thoughts and words are filled with self-blame. We even blame ourselves for situations that are beyond our control. Things that happened in the past can come back and weigh us down, thus increasing our negativity.

Catastrophizing

Our thoughts automatically go to the worst-case scenario. If your partner runs late for weekday date night, you naturally think your partner was in a terrible accident. This thinking causes us to go into fight-or-flight mode, operating from a space of fear.

2. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Once we have identified negative thinking, next, we challenge these thoughts. Ask yourself if the events in your life justify your thinking or are your thoughts based on negative assumptions. Think of other ways and instances that you have made a positive action, contributed, or will be making one.

Quick Challenge on Negative Thoughts

A quick, and easy way to challenge negative thinking is to think in terms of, “Yes, __________, but____________”. For example,

  • “Yes, I worked late, but I am taking a long lunch break tomorrow.”
  • “Yes, I overspent on groceries, but I am packing lunch for the next couple of days.”
  • “Yes, I overslept, but my body feels more refreshed.”

Combat negative, harsh inner dialogue with concrete compliments. Make a list of characteristics and traits which you are complimented for or things you know are your strengths. Try to reframe overgeneralized negativity with specifics:

For example, as you think, “I always work late,” grab a pen and paper, then jot down times that you took a vacation, left work early, called in sick, etc. This will silence the overgeneralized inner critic.

3. Say Positive Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements used to challenge negative thinking. According to recent studies, affirmations are a great way to overcome negative thinking and build yourself up. [4]

According to Dr. Lauren Alexander,

“We live in a society where it ’s easy to get bogged down with lots of negativity, Positive affirmations are a way to help shuttle out some of that negativity, in terms of the things that we say to ourselves.” [5]

Here are some examples of reframing negative thoughts:

  • I welcome positivity into my life.
  • I abandon old habits and choose new, positive ones.
  • I am gentle with myself and others.
  • I control my thoughts.
  • I release all thoughts that don’t serve me and empower me.
  • I choose peace.
  • With each breath I take, I release negative thinking.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. I release comparing myself to others.
  • I am beautiful. I am strong. I am worthy.
  • I am resilient when I face challenges.

How to Create Positive Affirmations

To create positive affirmations, start by becoming aware of your negative thoughts. Write a list of your negative thoughts, then turn them into positive affirmation statements. Here are a few more reframing thoughts examples to support you in creating affirmations:

  • I am open to believing ….. (I can overcome my negative thought patterns)
  • I believe I am capable of … (reframing my negative thought patterns)
  • I know I am … (loved, and supported)
  • I intend to …. (release negative thoughts one thought at a time)

Remember, positive affirmations work through repetition. It’s not enough to just read them once. Just as your negative thought patterns formed through time, reframing them will require some time. Identify the affirmations that resonate with you, then it may help you in reframing negative thoughts.

  • Write the affirmations on index cards, and place them where you see them regularly.
  • Record yourself saying the affirmation, and listen to it during the morning walk, morning commute, or instead of that favorite podcast.
  • Write your affirmations in your journal as you say them aloud.

4. Practice Journaling to Reframe Negative Thoughts

If you have trouble being aware of how to reframe negative thoughts, try writing in a journal. Journals are one of the best ways to reframe our thinking and begin to replace negative thought patterns with positive and empowering thoughts.

Below are some journal prompts you can use to practice reframing negative thoughts:

  • What negative thoughts am I experiencing?
  • Is there truth behind this thought?
  • What do I secretly believe is true about myself that’s causing me to think this?
  • What evidence do I have to disprove this thought?
  • How can I look at this differently?
  • What happened to cause me to think this way?
  • What can I learn from this thought/situation?
  • How might I approach this differently next time?

5. Give Yourself Grace and Patience

Practice self-compassion when reframing negative thoughts. Give yourself grace and patience with challenging, unproductive thoughts. It is never too late to combat the negativity in your life. Therefore, there is no need to rush and feel pressured when these thoughts are still there.

Remember, life is a beautiful journey. On this journey, you have been thinking many of the same thoughts for an extended period. Recovery is never an easy and fast process. You can improve your thoughts, and you will eventually overcome the negative thought patterns. But give yourself grace and patience!

Be kind to yourself as you owe it to yourself. And once you are already there, celebrate your success!

Reframe Your Thoughts

5 Actions

Understand the Types of Negative Thoughts that enter your mind. These can vary from thinking extremes, neglecting the positives and celebrations, regrets, lack of self-compassion, and thinking of the worst-case scenario.
Challenge Your Negative Thoughts and focus on the positive things that you’ve done on the contrary. While you may have been late once, think of when you were early or stayed a few hours after work.
Say Positive Affirmations to yourself – do it loud and proud! Being positive starts in the mind. So train your mind to become positive by always hearing and indulging in the positive. You can start by simply saying, “I can do this,” and slowly work on adding more.
Writing in a Journal also helps solidify your action.
Give Yourself Grace, and as all things take time. It may take you a long journey to finally say you’ve reframed your thoughts. But it will always be worth it.

Final Thoughts

Negative thoughts erode your confidence by causing you to lose trust and belief in yourself. You can reframe your negative thoughts and build confidence by noticing the negative thoughts, stopping them, then choosing more positive or empowering thoughts. This can be hard, and time will only tell if you have made it.

Start paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day. The more you are aware, the more you can make changes in yourself. Each time you notice a negative thought, note it, remember it, analyze it and say “stop,” then choose a new thought.

Featured photo credit: Fransiskus Filbert Mangundap via unsplash.com

Reference

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