The Four Sleep Stages: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to Improve Them

In general, we tend to think of sleep as a binary: you’re either asleep or you’re awake. Yet the reality is far more complex and fascinating. Sleep consists of four distinct phases, all of which are essential to short-term energy and long-term health.

In this post, we’ll take a look at each of the stages, examine how they affect your health and explore ways that you can optimize each stage of sleep in order to improve your overall health and well-being.

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Can’t Focus at Work? Try These 6 Tips

Let’s admit it, while we all put in a hard day’s work it can be difficult to stay focused throughout the day. There are social media networks to check. There are TV shows to watch. Why work when you could be instant messaging your best friend? Internet access means distractions are easily accessible. When you can’t focus at work, the end result is that your mind wanders away and your to-do list gets even longer. Read more

What Is Oxidative Stress? How to Identify and Overcome It

Antioxidants. Inflammation. Metabolism. Free radicals.

If you’re interested in health, these terms have at least entered your periphery. They are hard to avoid: During the last few decades, these terms have gained a lot of steam. They are popping up in every conceivable space in the health world — from listicles to food labels to instructions coming from your dietitian’s mouth.

So how do they all relate and how can you process all of this information to make good decisions about your health? Read more

9 Ways to Think Calm and Happy Thoughts

Many, if not all of us, are on a journey to find happiness. But happiness isn’t an end destination — it’s an ongoing practice, much like patience or mindfulness. More often than not, we can choose to be happy. We can train our brain to be positive. We can let happy thoughts flow in and out of us. A happy life is within reach; we just have to make sure we’re equipped with the right tools to reach for it. Read more

6-Step Morning Routine for Less Stress and More Productivity

A good morning routine can completely overhaul your life. But waking up is hard, and you don’t want to do something complicated. Very few people have the time or energy early in the morning for a hour-long workout and reading book chapters, as some recommend.

Instead, consider this easy, effective morning routine. Read more

How to Concentrate for Higher Productivity and Happiness

Concentration is a state of mind. It’s a way of engaging with our work, regardless of what that work may be.

This state of mind is not neutral: Concentration can be either unpleasant or energizing. Good concentration can best be described by the concept of flow. Coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, flow describes a state of mind which is energized, focused and fully immersed in the process at hand. During flow, time moves by imperceptibly and you become completely engrossed in the work. Read more

Why Do We Sigh?

“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.”
— Shakespeare

Why do we sigh? It’s a gesture which expresses emotions ranging from exasperation to restlessness to frustration with an uncommitted lover, as Shakespeare bemoans in the quote above.

But it’s not all gloom and doom: Sighs don’t always represent a negative expression. Read more

How to Gain Self-Control in 4 Steps

We all struggle with self-control at times. Resisting an urge to act on an impulse or deciding to not follow through on a craving is tough. When we’re hungry, it’s easier to reach for the most convenient or tastiest snack instead of the healthier option. When we’re tired, it’s easy to give up on tasks and procrastinate instead of powering through to accomplish a task. When our willpower is depleted, self-control is out of reach. Read more

How to Breathe While Running to Boost Endurance

Confession: It wasn’t until about five years ago that I ran my first mile.

It happened one day while walking Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail in Austin, Texas. A fast walk turned into a jog, which turned into a slow run.

One mile turned into four. Running gave me a rush of endorphins and sense of accomplishment. I loved feeling the exhaustion in my legs: it made me feel energized and clear-headed. I was hooked. Read more

How a Positive Attitude Affects Your Health

If you’re already on the path to a fit and healthy lifestyle, you know the importance of proper nutrition. You know the effects that eating clean and whole foods can have on your appearance, energy levels, endurance and overall feeling of well-being. You do a good job of nurturing your body, but are you aware of the importance of nurturing your mind, too?

A positive attitude isn’t just critical to your mood, it’s essential to your overall health. Read more