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How to lead a Balanced Lifestyle

Part 1

By Rhys McDonald, Personal Trainer at Hawthorn

Over the past nine months, a lot has happened to everyone, both worldwide and personally. And during daunting times like these, one can find themselves feeling a little lost, and lack their sense of ‘drive’ and ‘passion’. Experiencing this myself, it got me thinking of how to overcome this. Recently, through a little digging, a strategy to do exactly that became very apparent.

So, what is it? Well there isn’t any magic pill or fairy dust that you sprinkle on yourself that instantly makes you superhuman. What is about to be shared with you is simple yet effective habits that, by incorporating into your lifestyle, can develop your ability to think clearly, stay focused, and broaden your conceptual sense in problem-solving. In essence, being productive. 

  • Exercise: No doubt that exercise is good for your health. One surety is that exercise helps the body adapt to new stresses. For example, regular runners tend to have a lower resting heart rate. Consequently, the brain is going to function more efficiently in stressful situations. Whether you’re at your job or completing a mundane task, you will notice over-time that these activities become easier to complete automatically. If you are not an avid runner however, there is no need to panic. There are other exercises that can give similar benefits. For example, walking has been shown in many cases to invoke creative thinking as it allows the mind to wander. Not to mention that exercise in general releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormone in the body. Furthermore, this mode of training can influence more efficient thinking.
  • Music: Whether playing an instrument or listening to music, there are many benefits associated with music. Music has been shown to enhance your neurons and brain plasticity, in other words, your brain’s ability to adapt to new conditions. By doing so, you increase your ability to learn, recall important memories, improve motor skills, be more perceptual, and the list goes on and on. All of which are important for completing everyday tasks.
  • Learning a new skill: “Practicing a new skill and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skill’ ~ [Harvard Health]. When it comes to cognitive skills, there are several core principles. For now, we can think of them like reading, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and paying attention. The more you practice this new skill, the stronger your neural pathways, or in other words, your abilities, will be. Strong cognitive skills are the tools for productivity.
  • Reading: Again, there is a list of benefits that come with this habit. Reading can help you be more productive as it assists in increasing attention span ability, lowering stress levels, and increasing your memory.
  • Handwriting: A skill that is slowly becoming outdated (while typing has become more accustomed), hand-writing has been shown by a university study to promote creative thinking that is rarely found in other ways. Writing or journaling is also an excellent method of expressing your emotions and creating a capsule for future reflection. It is also an easy way to help your mind “wind down” before bed – setting aside 10 minutes at the end of each day to commit your thoughts to paper is a great way to help your eyes and brain relax from the stress of blue light emittance from phone/electronic screens, which will help aid you with a better nights sleep.

There are other ways that have not been mentioned to encourage productivity. Although what’s more important is to consistently make progress with your work. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we explore some additional tips to increase productivity, and how we here at Vision can help you!

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