“Habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals choose the way they think.”

- Martin Seligman, pioneer of Positive Psychology, in Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life.

Wellness Tip

Learn Something New

Feeling stressed? Rather than sit down to relax, why not get up and learn something new?

This strategy may sound surprising. Surely learning new skills will just add to your stress?

Research says otherwise.

One study from 2018 found that, when faced with stress, employees experienced less anxiety and entered into less unethical behavior on days when they engaged in more learning activities. Doing more relaxing activities, on the other hand, didn’t have the same positive effect.

In another, medical teams that engaged in more learning behavior reported significantly lower levels of burnout.

Here’s another benefit: Learning new things is like a youth serum for the brain. “It’s the willingness to leave the comfort zone that is the key to keeping the brain new,” says Michael Merzenich, a pioneer of plasticity research.

If you’ve ever wondered why the weekly section of your Panda Planner includes that “Learn Something New” box – now you know!

Try new experiences that challenge your mind. It could be anything from dance classes to coding to carpentry.

What new things are you going to try this week?

Productivity Tip

Supercharge Your WiFi

So you’re working or studying from home. Problem is, so is everyone else – meaning things aren’t moving so fast on the information superhighway.

Good news is there are some tricks for removing bottlenecks and bumping up your internet speeds.

  • If your router is behind furniture or in a closet, move it out into the open. (Here’s more on where to put your router.)
  • Set a strong wifi password to ensure no neighbors are netflixing off your bandwidth.
  • Disconnect any unused devices (like printers, smart tech, etc) from the network.
  • Upgrade or replace your old router.
  • Use ethernet. If wifi is still iffy, try going back to good old cables!

Another neat trick is to check your computer’s activity monitor to see what programs are connecting to the net in the background. Switching off updates for these can make your connection snappier.

Got any other tips for faster internet? Let us know!

Routine Breakdown

Lori Greiner, Inventor & Entrepreneur

Not all powerful and productive people are early risers. Shark Tank judge and entrepreneurial powerhouse Lori Greiner says she’s most energized at night. She:

  • Gets on the treadmill at midnight. “I love it. I watch the shows I’ve recorded. It puts me to sleep.”
  • Gets to bed at around 2 am and wakes up and 9.
  • Eats breakfast. “I eat an egg-white omelet every morning. Usually with mushrooms and cheese.”
  • Does yoga. “I try to do yoga every day. I follow a DVD.”
  • Answers emails.

Why it works:

  • Contrary to popular belief, exercise at night is fine as long as you avoid vigorous activity for at least an hour before bed.
  • While rising early has benefits, it’s also important to do what works best for you and your personal chronotype. The most important thing is getting enough quality sleep.
  • Protein for breakfast leads to positive changes in hormones and appetite, according to some research.
  • Yoga has a bunch of science-backed benefits.

If you tend to avoid activity in the evening for fear it will interrupt your sleep, it’s time to reconsider.

A 2018 study found that “not only did evening exercise not affect sleep, it seemed to help people fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep”. Sleep problems only occurred for those who did high-intensity exercise less than an hour before bed.

At the end of the day (no pun intended), any exercise is better than none. So if the evening is the only time you can make workouts work, don’t be afraid to fit them in whenever you can!