How A Daily Planner Can Help Your Brain

I mentioned keeping a calendar in yesterday’s post as a means of getting information out of your brain. Today, I’d like to talk more about using a calendar and give you some tips that can help you make the most of this planning tool. If you’re like I used to be, you may have a planner, but fail to use it regularly because it becomes more of a chore than a help. By implementing a few organizational tips, you’ll see that your planner can be your best friend. Join me as I share with you how a daily planner can help to clear some space in your brain so you can get more done.
Use What Works for You
Your planner should serve as your lifeline. If you don’t choose a form that works well for your needs, you’ll likely abandon it altogether. Discover what works for you before you decide to invest a ton of time and effort into keeping a daily agenda. While you may not know exactly what will be best until you start filling in the pages, it’s wise to put some thought into the most practical system to suit your purpose. As we talked about yesterday, decided whether to go paper or digital. Then figure out if you’ll need space for jotting notes (I recommend this), if you require a large space for daily planning or if a week-at-a-glance structure will do. Make some notes, and then go shopping for your perfect planner.
Take It with You
In order to use your daily agenda consistently, it’s important that you have it with you at all times. It won’t do you much good if it’s sitting at home on your desk. Things come up all the time that you need to keep track of. Perhaps you remember an item you want to add to your shopping list or you may need to jot down your next hair appointment. Make sure you choose a planner that can be easily carried with you if it’s in paper form or that your digital calendar is easily accessible on the device you have on hand.
Add Important Events Immediately
As soon as you get your planner, whether it’s paper or digital, set it up with all the important dates you can think of. Add the birthdays and anniversaries of important people in your life. Record your vacation plans. Include anything you can think of that you will want to remember, including long-standing appointments. Doing this will help to ensure you keep on top of all the notable events that can get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life.
Don’t Forget the Mundane Stuff
I recommend adding the more routine stuff to your calendar, too. If you’re a student, pencil in regular study hours to help make sure you fit them into your day. Write down date night with your significant other or best friend, too. Don’t forget to include leisure time for yourself. Perhaps a daily block of time for meditation or a weekly pampering session. When you add these things to your schedule, you’re likely to ease your stress. And that’s definitely good for your brain health.
These are some tips I think can definitely benefit you when it comes to optimal planner efficiency. Be sure to check off activities as you complete them and keep everything as organized as possible. Feel free to experiment until you find what works for you. Soon, you’ll find that keeping track of your daily activities is a breeze, and your mind will feel lighter.

Find Your Spirituality

When you’re anxious for a long period of time, it can be incredibly difficult to focus on anything positive. Just getting through a day is a monumental task at times. So the thought of investing yourself in ways to overcome your anxiety seems downright impossible.

However, as we’ve already seen, taking proactive steps to engage your mind in other things is often exactly what helps to move past anxious thoughts. A focus or belief in a spiritual way of life is one very effective tool for improving your mood. When you find your spirituality, you begin to see things differently and to invest your energies in things that are important to you.

Let me show you how it can work.

First of all, know that you don’t have to belong to one specific religion or to attend worship services in a fixed location with other people. A solitary spiritual practice can be just as effective in helping to manage your stress as formal worship with a group. One of the primary ways that spirituality helps to lessen anxiety is that it places emphasis on something other than yourself.

When you’re preoccupied with your problems, you get stuck in a holding pattern that only intensifies your anxious feelings. Spiritual practice allows you to dedicate your thoughts and actions toward a higher being, God, the Universe, your fellow worshippers or practice-related philanthropies. Any steps to put your energy out into the world is a beneficial one toward overcoming the cycle of negative thinking anxiety can cause.

Spiritual activities and practice can require a great devotion of your time. Even if there’s not a formal time requirement, you’ll likely want to get involved in learning as much as you can about your faith and figuring out the best ways to implement it into your life. Frankly, this time spent creates a wonderful distraction from the nagging pain of anxiety. You’re using your time constructively to better yourself in person and in spirit. Any type of learning or self-growth is actually good for combatting negative and self-destructive emotional patterns.

The concept of faith is one that lends itself well to overcoming distress. Part of the reason anxiousness takes hold of people so strongly is that such thoughts become ingrained in the mind. When you’re focused on anxious thinking, you tend to not believe that things will improve.

Most forms of spirituality are actually based on belief, the belief or faith that there is something greater determining life’s outcome. This type of faith can be one of the most powerful tools in overcoming a negative hold like anxiety. Therefore, taking up a spiritual practice just might make more sense in your pursuit to deal with this dreaded issue than you ever could have imagined.

When you find your spirituality, you’ve embraced a number of actions that help to fight off anxiety. Take some time to explore the process and follow a path that feels right to you.

Recognizing Anxiety Quickly: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Recognizing Anxiety Quickly: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Struggling with anxiety is almost inevitable when you’ve dealt with a narcissist in a toxic relationship, and one of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to recognize it quickly. The problem with this state of mind is that it quickly spirals out of control. The sooner you recognize that you’re getting more than a little anxious, the better you’ll be able to combat the effects it has with various techniques that help you calm back down.

Whether you use breathing techniques, meditations, positive thinking, or any of the other tips and techniques you come across during this challenge and elsewhere, the key to being less anxious is to notice it as soon as it starts. It’s much easier to calm down when you’re feeling a little stressed and worried than when you’re in the middle of a full-blown anxiety attack.

Your approach to noticing when you’re getting anxious without a valid reason – remember, sometimes anxiety is helpful and necessary – should be two-fold. You want to pay attention to both your mind and your body. Each will give you clues long before you start to feel out of control. Staying in control and forcing yourself to calm back down is the entire point of this exercise. The earlier you can disrupt the feeling of anxiety, the easier it is to break through and stop yourself from spiraling out of control.

You’ll experience both physical and mental symptoms long before you get too nervous and anxious to do anything about it. Before I share with you what to look for, I want you to be aware that it varies from person to person and event to event what you’ll experience. Sometimes you’ll notice most of these, while you only get a few symptoms here and there at other times. Don’t wait until you show every single symptom before starting to work on alleviating your anxiety.

The physical symptoms are comprised of what we talked about in yesterday’s post. They include trouble sleeping, insomnia, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, increased heart rate, headache, fatigue, and weakness.

The mental signs that you’re starting to get anxious are a feeling of dread of fear, having a hard time concentrating or having a blank mind, feeling high strung and on the alert for danger, being tense and unsalable to sit still, and being irritable. Again, you won’t feel all of these mental and emotional times every time, but they are good signs to look out for.

Pay attention to your body and mind. Recognize the signs of anxiety early and then make an effort to relax and rationalize your fears. Break the vicious cycle and avoid spiraling down into a pit of anxiety.

Practice Self-Care to Speed Up Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Practice Self-Care to Speed Up Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

One of the most underrated ways to accelerate your healing in narcissistic abuse recovery is to focus on your own self-care. It’s a MUCH bigger deal than a lot of people think.

While we’ve previously discussed yoga as a form of self-care and exercise. It combines a number of strategies that help to curb the toxic effects of anxiety. If yoga doesn’t seem like your thing, that’s okay. There are plenty of self-care methods that you can take up instead. The important thing is that you mindfully set aside time that’s dedicated only for yourself.

This time is to be spent doing something you enjoy, not on completing a task or other duty in your life. This is important because your choice of self-care must actively interrupt the fight or flight cycle your mind is going through when feeling anxious if you hope to get past the anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at this process and what taking time for yourself does to short circuit it.

Whether what’s causing your anxiety is a real threat or merely a perceived one, your mind and body will react in the same way. So even if you’re experiencing a mini panic attack that has no logical cause, the symptoms will still be felt. The response to threat sets off a cycle in the amygdala of your brain, which then goes onto the hypothalamus.

These signals set off a chain reaction of various hormones to be released. Cortisol and adrenaline are the main hormones involved in the stress process. Individual symptoms will vary, but some of these are:

  • Shaking
  • Tunnel vision
  • Racing heartbeat
  •  Dry mouth
  •  Dilated pupils
  • Flushed face
  •  Slowed digestion

All of these feelings add up to what is known as anxiety, which can lead to a host of negative associations. The cycle that starts in your brain must be interrupted in order to overcome these crippling symptoms.

That’s where self-care comes in. By proactively taking time to engage in something to take your mind off of the anxiety, you’ll be purposefully shutting down the fight or flight response of your brain. Acts of self-care often involve your overall health.

Things like eating well, exercising regularly and indulging in beauty rituals often come to mind when we think of the concept. However, self-care can be practically anything you enjoy that leads you to feel relaxed.

The key to choosing an effective method of self-care is that you deliberately are involving yourself in a fun activity that isn’t likely to lead to stress. Choose a much-loved hobby, a regular social night with good friends, an appointment to get your hair done, a shopping trip or even just some quiet time to read a book. You’ll be amazed at the difference doing nice things for yourself makes in your anxiety levels and your mindset.

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Boost Self-Confidence After Narcissistic Abuse

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Boost Self-Confidence After Narcissistic Abuse

Self-confidence can often be in short supply for survivors of narcissistic abuse, but there are many ways you can get it back. When your self-confidence is lacking, take control of the situation and make yourself confident again. You can accomplish a lot more with self-confidence than you can without.

Once you know how to create confidence, you become a powerful person. Self-confidence is yours for the taking if you try these simple little life hacks.

1. Make a short to-do list and accomplish it. Many experts advocate starting with the toughest task first, but if your self-confidence is in the basement, this might not be the best option. Try doing a few of the easier tasks first. Show yourself that you can be productive and successful.

  • Each time you make a plan and execute it, you have more confidence in yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it’s following through on your plan to go to the gym or to clean out your sock drawer. Make a to-do list and get it done.

2. Keep your biggest goals to yourself. Revealing your big goals to others can be enough to make you consider quitting. You’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of negative comments that will make you question yourself and your goals.

3. Improve your posture. How you use your body affects how you feel. If you sit and stand tall, you’ll feel more confident. Think about someone you know that always seems to be confident. Notice how they move. Try to mimic their movements and posture. Notice how much more confident you feel.

  • Movies can be a great source of inspiration. Think of a confident movie character and watch how they use their body. Practice standing, sitting and moving the same way.

4. Remove those things from your life you’ve been tolerating. We tolerate too much. Get the riff-raff out of your life. This includes toxic people, items you no longer need, the rattling muffler on your car, and everything else that annoys you. Tell yourself that you deserve better and then make it happen.

5. Do something you’re good at. What are you good at? Whatever it is, you feel better after doing it. Try to spend time each day doing something that you know you’re great at. Your self-confidence will increase.

It’s probably not possible to feel confident 100% of the time, but you can come a lot closer than you think. Even in challenging circumstances, you are the same. Self-confidence is always right there, you just have to see it. These simple actions are an easy way to find the self-confidence you’ve temporarily misplaced.

Get Inspired: Watch this video Angie did with Spartan Life Coach Richard Grannon!

Why We Need to Be Concerned About Brain Health: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Why We Need to Be Concerned About Brain Health: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Did you know that your brain can be affected in some big ways by narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships? It’s true.

If you think of your body as a computer of sorts, your brain acts as your operating system. It helps you to navigate and make sense of the world around you. The term “brain health” refers to how well your brain is able to perform such tasks as learning, concentrating, remembering, playing and managing your bodily functions.

During times of stress, including during toxic relationships – along with aging and other particularly stressful periods in your life, your brain will work at differing capacities. A number of factors influence your brain’s health or how well it functions and performs its necessary duties. In addition, there are habits and activities you can engage in that can improve your overall brain health.

Your memory is another component that makes up brain health and influences the ways in which you navigate the world. Your memory acts as the filing system of your brain, storing and organizing information learned for later retrieval. Everything you’ve ever learned is stored away in your memory.

Approximately 100 billion neurons come together to form your brain. Over time, the neurons form pathways and connections. These connections occur through synapses, which allow the neurons to communicate with each other. Memories are made as the pathways between neurons are strengthened.
In order to keep your brain and memory functioning in tip-top shape, you need to exercise them and take good care of them regularly.

It’s true. Though the brain isn’t technically a muscle, it has to be taken care of in a manner similar to the ways you work out your muscles and care for the rest of your body.

Over the next 30 days, we will address these methods, along with other information pertinent to getting the most from your mind. It is my desire that, by the end of this month, you’ll feel enthusiastic about the potential your brain holds and will be eager to put your newfound knowledge to work for you.

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This video offers some explanation on how trauma bonding in narcissistic abuse affects our brains.

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