“There is no motivator of greatness like deficiency. Not having resources, not having looks, not having finances can often be the barren soil from which the most productive seeds are painstakingly plowed and harvested.”

- Poet Ali in a brilliant TED Talk about the universal language of being human.

Wellness Tip

Detox Your Social Media

If you have something of a love-hate relationship with social media, you’re not alone. It connects us but can disconnect us; informs us and distracts us.

The thing to realize is that social media can have some negative effects on our mental and physical health (there’s a good roundup of the research here). For example, heavy social media users are more likely to suffer from depression. FOMO (that all-too-real “fear of missing out”) can provoke anxiety. And comparing ourselves to others can lead to unhealthy self-scrutiny.

None of this to say is that social media is inherently terrible – rather that it can be useful to do a social media detox once in a while.

What might that entail? Think about:

  • Unfollowing any accounts that are negative, suck up time in an unhealthy way, or encourage you to make unhealthy comparisons to others.
  • Uninstalling any apps that aren’t benefiting you.
  • Putting time limits on social media use. For example, avoid checking your phone first thing in the morning, turn off devices at mealtimes, or keep one day per week social media free.
  • Thinking of your attention as a measurable resource. Don’t just see it as cutting out social media, but as shifting your attention to activities that provide more value - for example, by replacing online chats with meaningful face-to-face interactions.

If you tend to use social media a lot, why not try some of these ideas this week? Paying more attention to what you pay attention to can really make a big difference to your wellbeing.

Productivity Tip

Make Your Bed

Doesn’t sound very scientific, does it? But bear with us: that chore you hated doing as a kid can actually lead to major productivity gains

In one survey, 82 percent of people said they have a more productive day after making their bed. Why is that? In essence, completing a small task early in the day inspires a feeling of accomplishment, which leads to being more productive for the rest of the day.

Admiral William McRaven perhaps put it best in a now-somewhat-legendary commencement address:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

Convinced? Try making your bed tomorrow morning and see what other positivity comes your way. Let us know how it goes!

Routine Breakdown

Brené Brown, Professor, Author & Podcast Host

Brené Brown, bestselling author and presenter of one of the most-watched TED talks of all time, says she gets 8-9 hours of sleep each night. “I don’t think you can out-diet or out-exercise sleep deprivation,” she says. Here’s what she does when she wakes up:

  • Does a short gratitude practice. “I usually say I’m thankful for another day and I’m going to choose courage over comfort today.”
  • Puts on her workout clothes right away.
  • Goes for a walk or swim or does a session with a personal trainer before starting her workday.

Why it works

  • Research shows that positive self-affirmations have measurable benefits in the brain and the nervous system
  • Much like making your bed, putting on workout gear is an easy first step. Even when we don’t feel motivated to work out, we can accomplish that one thing – which makes us more likely to keep going.
  • Working out in the morning helps keep us energized for the rest of the day. Research shows that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue.

One of the best things about Brené’s routine is that she keeps it simple yet effective. A short daily affirmation or mantra, for example, only needs to take a few minutes – yet can have powerful benefits. Why not try using the Affirmation section of your Panda Planner to set your own today?