How exercise can boost work performance

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This is excellent advice via the Courier-Post on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018:

BY ERIC TITNER

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

We’re all familiar with the obvious benefits of exercise — regular physical activity can keep us looking and feeling fit and healthy, increase our energy levels and confidence and help us maintain high levels of self-esteem. Staying active can also help us fight off a wealth of potentially life-threatening illnesses.

If you’re still not sold, perhaps this will help seal the deal — exercise helps fuel and maintain a healthy body, and it can actually improve your ability to think and retain information.

WHAT EXERCISE DOES

Recent studies have shown the following cognitive benefits of exercise:

Boosts brainpower: If you’re looking to take your brain’s ability to the next level, you can’t do much better than regular exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can actually increase the volume of key areas in your brain.

Enhances thinking ability: Regular workouts will help kick away the dreaded “brain fog” that keeps you from thinking clearly and keep your mind and thoughts razor sharp all day long.

Helps you process and remember new information more effectively: If you’re trying to acquire a new skill or task, like learning a new language or tackling a new job responsibility, combining it with regular exercise can help. New research suggests that physical activity can increase the size of the medial temporal and pre-frontal cortex of your brain, key areas that regulate and control thinking and memory, so you’ll be able to master that new skill faster.

Improves ability on cognitive tasks: Do you have an important test for work or school coming up? Whatever your mental goals are, exercise will help you succeed on all sorts of cognitive tasks that test your intelligence and brainpower.

Keeps away the negatives: Regular exercise will help keep your mood positive and upbeat, help you achieve more restful sleep at night and help reduce anxiety and stress, ensuring your brain works at its best.

WHEN, WHAT AND HOW MUCH?

Now that you know it works, let’s explore how you can make it work for you.

Although there’s some debate regarding the type of exercise that best serves to promote brain function, according to a recent article by Harvard Medical School, “researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.”

Research also suggests that although you’ll receive a brain benefit regardless of when you decide to exercise, the most promising results typically occur when you do your workout before or even during a cognitive task.

Another big question you might be wondering about is how much exercise you should do in order to receive a cognitive benefit. The same Harvard Medical School report suggests that “standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week.”

If you’re worried that you’re simply too busy to exercise or find the very idea of exercise daunting, a great way to take a step forward toward a regular active lifestyle is to start small. Try taking a brief yet brisk walk for 10 to 15 minutes each day, and gradually increase your workout in both length and intensity as time passes.

Now that you know all about the many benefits that exercise will bring to your life, put the excuses aside and get up and get moving toward yoursuccessful future!

Eric Titner is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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11 ways to manage year-end stress

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From Dale Carnegie’s Anita Zinsmeister comes this:
 
Knowing the holidays are a busy time, be prepared for the madness and take the time for self-care.  Dale Carnegie has compiled a series of scientifically proven tips to help manage stress as you approach the end of the year.
Here are 11 ways to manage that year-end stress: 

1.  Plan – With so much going on during the holidays, it is best to get what you need to do out of your head and into a task list.  It may be helpful to create two itineraries — one for work tasks and another for home tasks.  Make use of your calendar to schedule blocks of time for upcoming events.   

2. Be Realistic – Understand and accept that the pace of the holidays is different than the rest of the year.  Chances are, projects will not run as smoothly or efficiently around this time.  As a result, adjust your expectations and plan ahead.  Be realistic when developing timetables for projects.   

3.  Prioritize – While you want to scale back your expectations on deadlines, you will want to step up your level of efficiency.  With so many obligations, you will need to prioritize your tasks to ensure that you accomplish what you need to.   

4.  Socialize – Although you want to be efficient with your time, don’t forget to share some time with your co-workers.  Likely, they too will be in the throes of holiday stress.  Share holiday plans and consider doing something fun like a holiday gift exchange or luncheon.

5.  Budget – People often cite money as a main stressor during the holidays.  Plan in advance for the additional expenses that come around this time, such as gifts, lunches, and dinners.  If you have a handle on your holiday finances, you can avoid one of the biggest holiday pitfalls. 

6.  Keep Active – With the days getting shorter and so much going on, it is easy to cut out physical activity.  Not only will staying active keep the holiday pounds off, walking just 15 minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress.

7.  Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle – People have the tendency to burn the midnight oil during the holidays.  Overextending oneself often leads to poor eating habits and a lack of sleep.  Eat right as often as you can and get at least seven hours of sleep.   

8.  Laugh – The holidays can be overwhelming, but they really should be enjoyable. Try not to take things too seriously by keeping lighthearted.  If you find yourself getting too worked up, search the web for some jokes or watch a funny movie.

9.  Volunteer – Sometimes it can help reduce stress to do something for others.  Being charitable with your time or making a donation is a chance to give to others who might not have opportunities during the holidays otherwise.

10.  Reflect – Take time to reflect on how you feel.  Between finishing projects and wrapping gifts, you might feel burned out.  This is natural, and it may help you deal with stress to share your feelings with friends, family, or co-workers. 

11.  Relax – Everyone has different ways to unwind and relax.  Take the time to meditate, read, or do yoga to calm your nerves at the end of the day.
 
Executive Summary:  The holidays are an especially stressful time. For most of us, the clock is ticking to complete year-end projects at work and accomplish all those last-minute holiday tasks at home.  To combat holiday anxiety, we have compiled a list of tips to stay happy and healthy during this time. 
 
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A bit of bathroom cellphone etiquette — A health disconnet

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From The Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct. 10, 2017)

By Mari A. Schaefer – Staff Writer

Next time you want to check your cellphone on the way to the bathroom sink after using the toilet, fight the urge.

You could make yourself sick, warns a microbiologist at London Metropolitan University.

“Toilet seats, handles, sinks, and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff.,which can result in diarrhea, and acinetobacter, which can cause a contagious respiratory infection,” Paul Matewele recently told the London newspaper the Sun.

Those germs could be transferred to the phone, which then might wind up on your table when you eat out.

There’s more.

A small study in the journal Germ looked at the mobile phones of 27 high school students. They found traces of E. coli and even greater amounts of “potentially pathogenic microbes” such as Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus cereus and Neisseria flavescens.

The good news was that no antibiotic-resistant genes were detected on cellphone surfaces, according to the Germ study.

This news bears a resemblance to studies that found kitchen sponges are also teeming with nasty bacteria.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Handbags, wallets, purses and tote bags often test positively for whole communities of germs, including norovirus, MRSA and E. coli,” said Matewele. He suggests taking a vacuum and wipes to those items once a week and keeping them off eating surfaces. mschaefer@phillynews.com                                                        

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Firework safety tips

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  1. Do not allow children to light fireworks, even sparklers, without parental supervision.
  2. Do not allow young children to handle sparklers at all — certainly not those younger than 5, says Jefferson Hospital surgeon Randall W. Culp.
  3. Do not pick up firework debris. It might still go off.
  4. Avoid buying fireworks wrapped in brown paper. That often means they were made for professional displays, and are unsafe for regular consumers.
  5. Never position any part of your body over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Light them one at a time, then retreat to asafe distance immediately after lighting.
  6. Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.
  7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy to cool off used devices.
  8. Never shoot fireworks while holding them in your hand, or in metal or glass containers.

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission; Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

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Emergencies happen — here’s how to be prepared

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As warmer weather approaches, more travelers will be hitting the road, rails and airways. Not long ago, The Philadelphia Inquirer carried some hints from Shary Nassimi, creator of the UrgentCall emergency service mobile app. She offers Seven Ways to Be Prepared for a Travel Emergency:

  • Give your loved ones your emergency contact information.
  • Carry your health insurance card.
  • Set up and have medevac insurance so you can get airlifted to a medical center that can provide proper medical care.
  • Leave copies of your plans with someone at ho,e and tell someone where the copies are.
  • Carry money wisely and in multiple form. Do not just carry it all in your wallet or only as a card or cash. Mix it up. Put some money in your suitcase. Don’t just keep it on your person. Have a credit card on hand for emergencies.
  • Know the lingo. Be able to say I need help, and Please call police in the local language (or carry a card with the words in local script.)
  • Know yourself, know your locale. If you are traveling abroad, know where your embassy is and how to get there. Know where the nearest hospital and police station are.

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13 habits of stressed-out people

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From: 

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey 

We’ve all been there: hearts racing, palms sweating, and panic rising when we realize that there is too much to do and just not enough time.

Stress can be immobilizing, and it can negatively affect many aspects of our lives.

Sometimes we just need to step back, take a mental health day, and seek ways to de-stress.

If you constantly feel like pulling your hair out, you may have some habits causing stress that need to be changed, and there’s no better time than now!

Here are some things that stressed-out people tend to do and tips to break the habits.

1. Drink too much caffeine  

We aren’t going to tell you to stop drinking caffeine altogether — we wouldn’t do that to you!

But downing several cups of coffee a day can overstimulate you and make you unnecessarily anxious and on edge.

So keep the caffeine to a minimum, and try these  tips for making your caffeinated drink healthier .

2. Constantly vent

Sometimes sitting down with a friend and letting it all out is  exactly  what we need. Venting is essential — but only in small doses.

If negative things are all you talk about, they are going to be all you think about too. People who are stressed out usually talk excessively about a problem, drag it out, and don’t let it go.

It’s best to rant your rant, get it off your chest, and then be done with it so that whatever was bothering you doesn’t bog you down.

3. Obsess over things they can’t change

We all need to accept what we can’t change, and dwelling on mistakes isn’t healthy or beneficial.

There is no point worrying about things you most likely can’t do anything about. It’s best to move on and simply do better next time!

4. Eat food that isn’t healthy

Sometimes when we’re worried, turning to a giant cheesy pizza or pint of ice cream sounds like the best thing in the world.

But feeding stressed feelings usually leaves us worse off, both mentally and physically. If you’re tempted to snack while feeling anxious, try  foods that may help with anxiety .

5. Get overwhelmed easily

Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes, but the key is not to get panicked when you realize that you have more to do than you thought you did.

Take a deep breath, choose one item on your list to start with, and go from there.

Trying to multitask or do parts of things here and there will leave everything half-finished and sloppy.

6. Don’t get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation makes you sluggish, cranky, and overall not your best self.

Eliminate this contributing factor to stress by trying some tips to help you get the  best sleep possible  so that you wake up rejuvenated and ready to go! If you’re feeling crafty, you can try making this  DIY   sleep spray .

7. Overanalyze

Ever spent hours after a conversation worrying if you said something wrong, should have said something differently, offended someone, or ruined your chances at a promotion?

You’re probably the only one who noticed any of that, but people who stress tend to pick apart every little thing in life (work or otherwise) and find problems where problems don’t exist.

Stay positive about yourself! You’re awesome, and the worry is all in your head!

8. Don’t exercise

When we are super busy and trying to eliminate tasks to lighten the load, exercise can be one of the first things that goes. Don’t let that happen!

It may take a little time out of your day, but it’s a perfect way to get those endorphins flowing and that motivation going. You can always squeeze in some  light exercises before bed  to help de-stress and get a good night’s sleep!

9. Overload their schedules

There are only 24 hours in one day, and sometimes we try to pack in more than we can realistically handle in that time.

People who stress tend to bite off more than they can chew, and then realize after the fact that they are swamped. Plan out your day ahead of time so that you know what to expect.

Take on what you know you can do, leave room in case something unexpected happens, and pace yourself for each task.

10. Try to do everything on their own

A lot of high-stress people have a “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” mentality, and they have too much on their plates sometimes because of this.

But truthfully, you get by with a little help from your friends!

Let other people give you a hand from time to time — you may be surprised at how well they do the task and how nice it is not to have to go it alone.

11. Focus on the bad instead of the good

Bad days will come, but they will also go. People who worry a lot tend to only focus on the negative, and they forget to leave room for contemplating the positive.

Instead of clinging to the bad news, seek out the good news, and try to do more  things that happy people do !

12. Procrastinate

Procrastination leads to panic — and that’s when stress levels go to the next level. It’s best to buckle down, suck it up, and get things done.

Mapping out your tasks and making a plan can help make things seem more doable and less stressful.

13. Rush through life

Stressed-out people can get so consumed with being anxious about pretty much everything that they forget to enjoy the best things in life.

What’s the point of all that stressing if you can’t even enjoy the hard work you’re putting into things? Take a minute to  slow down  and find your own happiness, wherever that may be for you.

 

Read the original article on POPSUGAR Smart Living. Copyright 2016. Follow POPSUGAR Smart Living on Twitter.

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7 Tips To Make Your Office More Green:

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This week’s blog comes from:

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President — anita.zinsmeister@dalecarnegie.com
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey 

Make Your Office A Mean Green Machine.
 
Making your office greener does not have to be a daunting prospect; there are countless small measures you can take to make your workplace run a lot more efficiently.  Below you will find 7 great tips on how you can make your office a lot greener.
 
Here are seven Tips To Make Your Office More Green:
 
1.  Recycle, Recycle, Recycle – Ensure that your company has multiple trashcans for recycling various materials other than paper.  For example, make sure that there is a recycle bin for glass and plastic and that everyone knows where it is.  Also ensure that the different bins are clearly labeled so there is no cross contamination.
 
2.  Reduce Your Paper Trail – Only print what is absolutely necessary. And, if you can, consider printing things double sided to save paper.  Also consider switching to recycled printer paper.  And, of course, recycle all used paper when you are finished with it.
 
3.  Lights Out – When you do not need them, make sure that you turn off all electronics, such as printers, scanners, and lights.  Also make sure that everything is turned off at the end of the day.  This is, obviously, better for the environment as well as your wallet since you do not have to pay for unnecessary electricity.  Consider also having everyone plug their electronics into a power strip so that at the end of the day they just simply have to switch off the strip.
 
4.  Consider Telecommuting – Telecommuting is becoming more and more popular with companies; it can be a win-win since staff members enjoy saving money and gas on commuting (eliminating carbon emissions), while the company will save a little money as well since it will not have to pay the electricity to run its staff member’s computers, lights, etc.  Even if you can only offer 1 day a week, it could still be a great idea.
 
5.  Motion Sensors – Motion sensors can be a great way to save some green.  You can install them on the lights at your company.  This way you are not wasting unnecessary money and electricity lighting a room with no one in it.
 
6.  Bring In Some Green – Consider bringing more plants into the office. Not only will they brighten up the space, but they will also help filter the air you breathe.  Plants literally filter pollutants out of the air and release oxygen.
 
7.  See The Light – If you can, make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs with an energy star rating.  Even though they can be more expensive up front, these bulbs use about 75 percent less energy and typically last about 10 times as long as traditional bulbs. 
 
Executive Summary:  The environment is definitely in need of some TLC.  Besides doing what you can at home, it is a natural extension to go green at the office as well.  You do not need to take drastic measures. Going green could help build office pride among your staff, and also improve your company’s bottom line.  So what are you waiting for?
 
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How to unplug on vacation

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The first step is to recognize there is a problem. Here are some steps to take to get into the mindset as carried in the Courier-Post on July 23, 2015. It is by-lined by Shannon Eblen

TIPS TO UNPLUG

Plan ahead: Schedule out-of-office emails and assign a main point of contact in your absence.

Limit your availability, so there are only certain times when colleagues can contact you.

Designate “no phone” times for yourself or for your family. Better yet, leave the devices at home. Only one family member needs a phone in case of emergencies.

Schedule activities where you can’t use your phone, but try not to overschedule on vacation, as that can also create stress.

Delete apps that you will be tempted to check, such as work email, Twitter or Facebook.

Try shooting vacation photos with an old-fashioned camera instead of your smartphone.

SEblen@gannettnj.com or @CP_SHANNONBLEN

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Don’t worry — Be happy — It’s good for your health

 

 

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This comes from Aetna’s newsletter:

Don’t worry. Be happy. It’s good for your health.

AetnaThe happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyworld. According to the latestWorld Happiness Report, it’s Denmark, followed closely by its neighbors, Norway and Sweden.

So what puts the Danes in such a blissful state? While a strong economy and low unemployment help, the Danes also tend to:

 

  • Work less
  • Focus more on experiences and less on material goods
  • Volunteer more
  • Enjoy strong social bonds

 

What’s the key to happiness?
The United Nations (UN) report says mental health is the most important factor. With a sound mind, people can do things that bring the most rewards – work or play, and make basic personal and household decisions.

The UN report also states that happy people live longer, are more productive and earn more.

The study aims to show that well-being should be an important measurement of the world’s economic and social development. World socioeconomics aside, happiness is also good for your personal health.

A recent study by researchers at several leading U.S. universities suggests that the more optimistic you are, the better your physical health.

For more on the “optimism” study, read this report from the “PBS Newshour.”

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