Viewing posts categorised under: Focus

How do you start your day? I start mine by playing…

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 Children and play

Have you ever observed how children wake up and just play?  How they start their day quietly exploring, happy and content in their own company? It’s something we adults can learn from.  For most of our lives we’ve been domesticated away from playing when really, the practice of quietly playing can set you up for the day, and regular breaks to play or just watch the clouds in the sky can make SUCH a difference in your day. Whether you like to play Angry Birds (like former British Prime Minister David Cameron), Candy Crush (like PSU CEO Neroli Jones) or build Lego like Soccer Icon David Beckham, play doesn’t just reduce stress and contribute to overall wellbeing, it’s an incredibly rich mindfulness tool. Let’s keep this quiet play separate from physical play – we’re talking about starting your day mindfully, but in a way that is light and playful.  Physical play is a separate topic, here we’re talking about mind play rather than body play…

Play as a mindfulness tool

There’s a huge amount of psychology research material around the importance of play for both children and adults, but much of it focuses on the benefits and positive outcomes relating to stress, relationships and wellbeing etc. What hasn’t been well documented is how play relates as a mindfulness tool.  When I play candy crush in the mornings I just love it.  It’s a quiet part of my day where I’m just me, not a wife / mother / grandmother / CEO and business owner – just me and the game.  Each level of the game has a purpose, and for each game I set an intention and I celebrate the outcome.  As I play I observe myself – why am I choosing to make that move?  What is motivating me?  Am I playing for more of the positives or fighting the negatives?  What elements in this game can I see reflected in my day – ie is this game about precision and alignment or is it more about expansion and conversion? And as I play I am stimulated by these questions as well as by the colours, the spatial reasoning and the wisdom that comes with my observations.  Every next step I take in that game clearly adds up to a result and each one is completed with utter joy.  I learn from the losses and I know when I’m stuck on a level for a spell that it will be reflected somewhere else in my life – somewhere I feel ‘stuck’ but with that awareness can now ‘unstick’.  Play reveals thought and can be incredibly illuminating in a way that thinking something through often can’t reach or quite connect to. At the end of my play I’m ready to be a part of the world and later when I meditate, I already have insight into the intention I will set for the day that is mine to create. So you see, I don’t switch off when I play, I switch on… What do you play?  Please write in and share what starts your day and why it’s so great?     Neroli Jones  Personal Life Coach;  Founder and CEO Paradigm Switch  

What is Intuition and how can we access it?

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Are you intuitive? 

Is intuition something that only a few people have? Are they special and gifted and the rest of us have to find answers from our logical left brain and its supply of facts? The simple answer is that we all have intuition. We are all ‘WIFI enabled’ to the mind of the Universe, to infinite intelligence. So how is it that some people can access intuition easily and the rest of us struggle to get some kind, even any kind of guidance. We are born sentient empathetic beings but many of us have lost our way through lack of recognition and practice of the intuitive skills and have come to rely on our left brain. This leaves us out of balance and when we don’t pay attention to that ‘annoying little voice’ then it eventually becomes quiet. So how do we begin to wake it up again and how will that benefit us?

Gut feelings

Waking up our intuition takes practice and a bit of dedication but it will be well worth it. Intuition is both non-judgmental and clear and when it is working properly, there is no struggle to access it. Becoming aware of how intuition speaks to you is essential. Where do you get your ‘gut feeling’? It will usually be a sensation in your body somewhere. You may get prickles or shivers when something is true for you. Perhaps you may feel your stomach tense, hear a word or even see something that is not physically there. You may get messages or answers from nature but whatever way the information comes, you must pay attention and act on the information. Paying attention and then acting on the intuitive promptings means that your intuition will begin to develop. As long as you relax, stay open and out of the right brain, then intuition will guide you. The information will come in patterns that are particular to you and soon you will be receiving flashes of understanding that appear randomly but are always right on target.

Have some fun with it

Try having some fun with your internal guidance. Check the names of horses running in a race and see if you can pick the winner. The name should feel different in some way, maybe louder, darker font or even a different colour. You could choose wine this way or even look at the stock market, but whatever you do to practice notice how your intuition is becoming stronger as you learn to trust it. Then you will have an indispensable tool that many successful people use.    

Barbara Callan is an International Intuitive Consultant for Paradigm Switch.

To book a session with Barbara please click here

Change often means Challenge

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    So here we are, well into 2018 and probably already struggling with any new year’s resolutions we proudly listed, as the clock struck midnight. However small though, for we humans a change is always tricky, especially since we seem to have a habit of getting hung up on predetermined outcomes or ideas. We limit ourselves with our beliefs:  “I can’t possibly start yoga, I’m not flexible enough” or “Meditation is not for me, as my mind's too active”. Any of these excuses ring true? It’s time to disrupt our limiting beliefs, if we are to change in any way. And we all know that without change, we can’t progress, move on, learn or improve. Challenge those thoughts that say - you can't — or shouldn’t — do something because of your own automatic narrative.

How to change Simply and Effectively

  • Create teeny tiny habits In his programme Tiny Habits. Social scientist, Dr Fogg recommends we execute three tiny tasks each day for five days. The idea? We learn the process of habit creation; and once we master these, we can tackle the bigger ones.
 
  • Be Brave Our default setting often goes to waiting, postponing, doubting, or researching too much — it’s not useful! Taking action is better than doing nothing and don’t be afraid of the outcomes, as each one is only a stepping stone away, moving you closer to the change you want.
 
  • Believe it will happen. Yes, our thoughts will determine our behaviour; we all know that and also that we can change our thoughts. If only it were that easy!  But the reverse is also true, in that our behaviours (and environments) can also create internal states. Jumping into the ocean on a hot day, will trigger a whole new set of emotions and thoughts (or lack of them) as a change from sitting in an office, or taking an early walk will create a very different mindset to sitting on a commuter bus. Often just by changing up the surroundings, we can facilitate change.
  Try to include these three simply rules to change and you might just find you might achieve the changes you are aiming for this year. Don't forget to be kind to yourself (you are your best friend), don’t expect miracles immediately and maintain a healthy sense of humour. Slow, baby steps and determination is what will make it happen.  

The power of breath

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Conscious breathing

Lung Power

 Did you know that our lungs are enormous? If you laid them out flat they would cover an entire tennis court.
The significance of this vital organ may suggest the importance of mastering the technique of breathing, if we are to ensure optimal health. Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that we can do both unconsciously and consciously, and for thousands of years, ancient cultures have understood the control of the breath - to increase focus, awareness of self and slow the mind. Modern western science has also woken up to investigating the benefits of breathing consciously as a way to manage stress, boost mood and energy levels and even manage weight. Our breath is an indicator of our mood and our mood is an indicator of our breath. This means that if we change how we breathe we can change our mood. It also means that when our mood changes so does our breath.  

Conscious Breathing

There are several ways to consciously breathe, such as the Kapalabhati (breath of fire) and pranayama yogic breathing. They all share one thing in common, they induce rest in the body, by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

The Alpha State

When we ground ourselves through the breath, we move into a lower vibrational state, close to the alpha state. In this highly focused but calm state, we turn on our creative brain, become more aware of our surroundings and can observe life from a different perspective. Doctors Brown and Gerbarg’s Sudarshan Kriya Yogic Breathing Study in the Treatment of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression found that yogic breathing balances the autonomic nervous system, which influences stress-related disorders.

Breathe to Release Stress and Anxiety

Becoming more aware helps us to differentiate between experiences that induce fear or stress and the physiological changes that arise from them. By noticing our perception and physical reaction to them, we are able to enhance and safeguard our health in a more conscious and responsible manner.  

Better Mind, Body and Spirit.

We are each born with billions of brain cells, and when we deprive them of oxygen, our performance will suffer. For example when we hyperventilate, we expel too much CO2, meaning less oxygen can be absorbed by the body, which leads us into a cycle of breathing even faster. By practicing balanced breathing we allow oxygen to circulate evenly, to saturate the blood - feeding every cell in the body, muscles, brain, organs, and skin, while allowing the metabolism to burn fat and work more efficiently.

Have you Met Yourself?

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“I was dissatisfied with most areas of my life, I had a job I hated, my health had suffered, the family were in disarray and my self critic made me feel I was failing at everything.”

  A familiar lament we hear only too often? Steve Grant, PS practitioner, certainly says so. It's hardly surprising, when you weigh up the the multi-tasking, juggling lives most of us lead. He has been using the practice of Voice Dialogues for over 16 years, to help patients suffering from problems ranging from sleep disorders to relationship breakdowns at both home and work. Steve believes it is most important to DEVELOP OUR INNER AWARENESS. “This is critical in understanding who is in control of our personal psychological car.” He explains. According to psychologists, Hal and Sidra Stone, we are all made up of many sub personalities - many selves; each one of them having been programmed as we developed and grew up. This practice of “Voice Dialogue” and the “The Psychology of Selves” was developed more than forty years ago, when The Stones identified each self to have its own agendas, memories, desires, physical needs and prejudices. We switch from one to the other regularly and often everyday, depending on what we are doing. Consider how different we act when we are at the office as compared to when we’re on a dinner date, or how our parenting varies to our friendships. Most of us display the following sub personalities: the people pleaser, inner critic, rule maker, the analyst, clown, rebel, or achiever. We also own the ‘being’ personalities such as being happy, vain, fearful, or sad.

Sub-Personalities have the Power

The problems arise when many people express only a tiny percentage of themselves, by getting locked into and limited by only a small group of these sub personalities. This creates our whole life experience and forms patterns we repeat in relationships, with inner feelings and emotions, leisure activities, career and financial status. Our health, creative expression, view of the world and so forth is further influenced by these sub personalities. If your life’s experiences are constantly repeating or not playing out in the way you want, don’t look for an outside cause. It is vital to consider the workings of the sub-personalities within your mind. Without having knowledge of these, it is very difficult to alter the dynamics of a relationship, or change other areas of your life to run smoothly. Our rational mind does not understand joy nor does it feel joy. Rather it uses a sub-personality to interpret the experience. Try to notice which sub-personality is being used - only one can be used at a time. The modality of Voice Dialogues allows us to unlock the key to understanding ourselves better. It provides a safe environment to access our subconscious voice, expose patterns and behaviours that sabotage or ‘block’ us from success.

By releasing your fears you become stronger

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”  advises Professor Brené Brown, who shows us through her work, how we can turn fear into power.
Neroli Jones, PS founder has a more amusing analogy: think Nancy Ganz shapewear – “you can push and squeeze the unwanted pounds around but they won’t just vanish – they have to go somewhere!” A very big thank you to Steve Grant  Paradigm Switch Osteopath, Acupuncturist and Voice Dialogues Coach.      

5 Ways to Instantly Boost your Wellbeing

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Nurture from within

“Wellbeing is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment."

Martin Seligman     Paradigm Switch founder Neroli Jones identifies 4 pillars of wellbeing; mental, physical, purposeful and the one that is often the most overlooked - emotional. To experience a true sense of wellbeing we need to balance all these elements. Here are some effective wellbeing practices you can incorporate into your week.

MASSAGE

Boost your wellbeing through relaxation

Boost your wellbeing through relaxation

Massage is a recognised way to reduce stress and produce deep relaxation. Consider a massage when you are feeling particularly tense or anxious. The practice of using touch as a healing method began over 5000 years ago as a sacred system of natural healing when ancient civilizations found that massage could heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent and cure illnesses. Todays therapists practice a multitude of techniques originating from the ancient methods. From those origins comes the inspiration to help with healing physical and emotional wellbeing.

 

GET CREATIVE

Whether it’s with arranging a vase of fresh flowers or crafting your own garden, putting some inner creativity into your life will develop a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Not all of us are budding artists but most will take pleasure in cooking a delicious meal, or creating a calm space in the home. Whatever your ‘thing’ - just lead with the heart. In her best-selling book Elizabeth Gilbert explains the untold benefits of living a life creatively –

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”  

Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
 

BORROW A DOG

Boost with a pooch

Boost with a pooch

This is a good one because not only does it provide the value of spending time with a furry friend, but gets your body moving too. The benefits of animal therapy are well documented. According to http://www.pawsforpeople.org spending time with a friendly pet lifts our physical, mental and cognitive focus. Many hospitals now encourage dog visits as a form of natural healing while a number of studies have found that people who spend time with animals experience some real positive effects such as lower blood pressure, a sense of belonging, fewer colds and flu, less stress and elevated moods.

   
smell lifts the spirit

Smell lifts the spirit

SENSORY BOOST

Our most primal sense is that of smell as it exerts surprising influence over our thoughts, emotions, moods, memories, and behaviours. Scents are experienced in the brain, long before we develop a conscious awareness of it. This is why it's nearly impossible to describe them with language. For this reason, scents can have a powerful influence over how we think, feel, and behave. Try burning some essential oils to suit your mood, match them up to add energy, focus or calm into your life.

 

BE KIND

Something as small as writing a few thankful words to someone who supports you, or giving a compliment to a stranger can work wonders for the soul. By giving, you boost your internal sense of value and wellbeing. Studies have shown that volunteering promotes better psychological and mental health as well as increased longevity.
kindness breeds kindness

Kindness boosts wellbeing

Next time you’re out and about be ready to offer a seat to someone need or lend a hand to a struggling mum with a pram. It’s tempting to overlook these small acts, while we rush through life, not realising that it’s a simple way of actually making us feel better. Psychologists recognise that doing something positive for someone else can lead to a feeling of well-being in both the helper and the recipient, even a sense of elation. If you develop a balanced wellbeing, other areas of your life will benefit. Kindness attracts kindness.

MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION REVEAL PROVEN BENEFITS

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Recently our CEO Neroli Jones, had the privilege of attending a prestigious HR summit in the Gold Coast which proved to be enlightening on many levels, one being the growth and acceptance with which meditation and mindfulness has been accepted into the workplace. What might once have been judged as all a bit too ‘out there’ or ‘kooky’ within this environment has now become widely embraced as a proven technique to manage stress and enhance productivity.

INCREASE YOUR PERFORMANCE BY CALMING DOWN

The term “stress” was coined in 1942 by neuroscientists and was identified as a common life event placing physiological overload due to undue pressure. This potentially leads to long-lasting effects on our health and behaviour. Source Think of an ocean that can be choppy on the surface, but is always calm underneath. In a similar way, stress works on the surface, on our frontal lobe of the brain provoking the fight/flight reflex. If we are to bypass it, we need to delve deeper. Sadly, we live most of our lives on the surface. This is where meditation comes in, allowing us to access this calmer part of our brain, by shutting down the limbic brain and frontal lobe.   Stop being busy by staying on the surface While our fight or flight activation was important for survival, traditionally it was intended to be used only once a month or so. However today, in 2017 we tend to live there far too frequently - just like having our foot on the accelerator continuously, without using the brakes! Meditation helps us to take a break and heal.   With meditation our mind forces the body to slow down, allowing it the time to heal. Meditation lowers the body metabolic rate by 24%, while sleep lowers it by only 8%. When we meditate we cause the heart rate and lungs to slow down, as well as dropping our body temperature. This means less wear and tear on our body organs and cell mechanisms, less toxic chemicals are produced, more energy is saved and the natural processes of repair and rejuvenation are allowed to flow easily.    

MEDITATION GIVES US PERSPECTIVE

As meditation is soothing our overheated metabolism and slowing down body function, it allows us to look inside and see how we have allowed ourselves to speed up in the first place. We are given a new perspective by becoming aware of our roles, how we have been taught, trained and conditioned to act in set patterns without perhaps questioning them. Meditation first teaches us to be aware, and then gives us the capacity to slow down, take control, and focus. Meditation promotes mental clarity and coherence, as shown when we have an MRI that can measure transcendental consciousness - a state of restful alertness or meditative state. The body is allowed time to repair, the mind can focus and our general state of wellbeing is brought back into balance. It is no wonder the workplace has joined the rest of the world and is implementing the power of meditation. What works on an individual level is just as effective in a workplace.    

The Essential Ingredient Happy People Share

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“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”    Helen Keller

  If you look around at the people you admire, the ones that inspire you, that make you feel good, and the ones who have that contagious energy you just wish you could catch…. What is it they have in common? Chances are, you’ll find that they have a reason to get up in the morning. In other words they are motivated by an innate purpose or sense of moving forward to achieving something they feel passionate about. Being happy can take on a number of disguises – it deceives us into thinking we’ll get happy if we:

Get a new car

Go on holiday

Find a partner

Go shopping

Eat our favourite food

Go to the gym

Go partying with friends

  These are all enjoyable but temporary happiness moments. More often than not, once the holiday is over, we are faced again with having to find another happiness distraction. And so the cycle spins around and around. Continuous research findings have shown that a lasting sense of happiness or contentment comes with being useful. If we are being useful to ourselves, friends, family, the planet or even our pets, our sense of identity or pride is lifted, thus inducing a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. You just need to look at a new mother to witness a purpose surge of happiness. According to Volunteering Australia, 96% of volunteers said it made them happier people. It’s also worth noting that volunteers are healthier and sleep better. They experience a ‘helpers’ high’ akin to an emotional and physical sense of wellbeing. Financial security, a sense of purpose in life, and good personal relationships are said to make up the "golden triangle" or 3 pillars of happiness according to one of Australia's largest wellbeing surveys. Unfortunately, the toughest one to harness is to find your purpose, which essentially underpins the other two happiness pillars. Finding your purpose can be both challenging and elusive, often taking many years to discover.

The Answer is always Inside Yourself

Spiritual teacher and Hindu Priest, Dandapani gave up a promising career in engineering, to train with a guru in a cloistered monastery for 10 years. It wasn’t until he settled in New York City, before he could pinpoint the key that unlocks our authentic purpose, lodged deep within each one of us. The challenge of course, is to allow it to surface. “We are all too busy distracting ourselves to let our true sense of why we are here become apparent.” Dandapani tells us. “How can we hear what’s within if we don’t listen? You can’t meditate however unless you are taught how to concentrate or focus and that takes practice. Purpose is hard to find for many of us and there’s no easy shortcut to find it.” One tool that will help you to measure how in touch you are with your purpose is by completing our Paradigm Compass test, which you will find by clicking here. We invite you to talk this simple exercise that allows you to assess how far you are from finding your true purpose, and then will direct you to the most appropriate help, if necessary.  

Lighten your Life with Energy Intelligence

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By Barbara Callan, International Intuitive Consultant for Paradigm Switch. Our guest blogger for the month. Have you ever felt totally exhausted after what should have been a perfectly pleasant coffee morning with a friend? Or perhaps you dropped into your neighbour’s for the mail and rushed home feeling flat? Energy levels fluctuate for each person, every day. We all pick up on the energy around us, so if you spend time with someone positive or excited your energy levels will automatically lift, while someone with a bout of the blues might deplete you. coffee morningThe trick is to learn and to manage your own energy to keep yourself balanced and effective all day. We are all energetic creatures Anyone who does martial arts will tell you that you will feel the energy of your opponent’s move before the move arrives. This of course requires discipline and training and we are not all at this level of awareness. So what can we do at the level that we operate, in our own lives? Firstly we must become familiar with our own energy so that we know what it feels like to be us. If we know what our energy feels like then we know what works for us; it becomes an 'energetic match'. The opposite also, is true. Note, the match can sometimes be subtle or sometimes be loud. Finding the match is the clue. We all know people who drain our energy but with our compassionate hearts it often becomes easy to say “yes of course I’ll have a coffee with you,” only to find that our listening and counselling muscle is overstretched! We can often be caught unawares of an energy mismatch only too late - when we are left exhausted and relieved to say goodbye. How can we manage our energy? Firstly we must be aware of any feeling of exhaustion or energy drop when we leave someone’s company. This indicates a deficit; We have been giving out our energy, but receiving less in return. Once we identify where our energy is draining, we will gain an idea of who to hang out with less! Try saying this to yourself “How does this feel for me?” and put yourself first. By being consciously aware of staying in the observer space, we protect ourselves from their energy, thus preserving ours. In this manner, we can leave our friend with a feeling that our energy remains balanced. Being energy aware when we are with loved ones and family can be especially challenging as we often have emotional charges both positive and negative, triggered by those that we have an attachment to. Notice these are often our greatest opportunities for learning and practicing the observer skill. waterfallChoose your space. Places can drain us of energy as the land also emits an energy. Do you recall an experience of visiting an area and feeling uncomfortable, for no obvious explanation.? You intuitively know areas where you can quite categorically say “I could never live there”. The reason being, there is too much of an energy mismatch between the energy of the land in that area, and your own personal energy. A sense of relief is often experienced as we leave that area, and return to a familiar place, that ‘feels more like us’. Being by the sea can be balancing while topping up our energy. The presence of negative ions by the ocean or running water (even the shower) has the power to enhance our mood, putting us in a good space. The head feels clearer and we feel more optimistic. We can also find negative ions around trees. That is why being out in nature - the sea or the forest, is a great way to increase our energy bringing ourselves back into balance. Conversely, living in the city can be exhausting, as we are surrounded by so many people pumping out their differing energies. Try to be aware of when your energy experiences possible ‘overload’ in crowded, shared spaces. crowded-mallShopping malls can turn into a dazed experience. You’ve been overloaded, your brain has a tough time focusing - is it a wonder you return to your car often, without the items you set out to buy? Food has the power to drop energy levels. Some foods take more energy to digest and leave us with feeling sleepy, while eating easily digestible food makes us feel light and energised. Think a plate of sushi versus a Sunday roast! Notice how your body reacts and understand how it affects your energy levels. Say Grace! Believe it or not, saying a prayer or showing gratitude for your food before eating, energises your meal positively. Pausing and thinking about what we are grateful for will change the energy of the food. The work of Masaru Emoto proves this where he showed images showing the effect words have on water. Thoughts influence energy levels which is why mindfulness has gained popularity in recent years. By focusing on gratitude, love and the positives, we lift our energy. Awareness is key - do more of what uplifts you and keeps you in that good space.      

You can Beat the Afternoon Slump

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It’s early morning and you’re feeling pumped, firing on all cylinders, getting through the to-do list, answered all your emails and you've even churned out a report. Then, shortly after lunch, you slump. Why? The afternoon slump is your body responding to two things

  • the natural circadian rhythm — that internal clock that tells us when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to bed
  • the highs and lows in blood sugar levels determined by what you eat.
Paradigm Switch nutritionist, Christine Blanchard shares the following: “Each organ has a particular time of the day when it has its peak of performance. For example, the stomach is 7-9 am - the time when ideally we have breakfast. 1-3 am is liver time which can pinpoint detoxification issues if people wake at this hour. Between 1-3 pm  energy moves to the small intestine and we go from the speedy Yang energy to the slower Yin phase, allowing the body to absorb nutrients. For about an hour after we eat, our blowind-up from the slumpod rushes towards our digestion, away from our brain and muscles, making us feel tired and unfocussed. This is why ideally all the hard work should be done in the first half of the day, leaving easier or fun tasks for the afternoon. If you can structure your day like this, you'll be more in tune with your body’s natural rhythms.” Recent studies suggest the sugar and other carbs in food directly affect a specific group of brain cells that play a key role in keeping us awake. Those cells located deep inside the brain turn off when they sense a large amount of sugar in the blood, leaving us feeling sleepy. Unfortunately, the demands of modern life require you to be on the ball all through the day. So here are a few simple  ways you can trick your body into staying alert and avert the mid-afternoon crash.   protein and salad keep you alertAvoid eating too many empty carbs and fatty foods.Fats are slow to digest, so we become tired as our bodies work harder to process them, while carbs often   create a ‘spike’ in energy making us plummet a few hours later, when we experience a “crash” in energy levels. “A lunch of protein and vegetables or salad and some healthy fats is preferable, if we are to minimize the afternoon slump,” adds Christine. Choose nuts over fries!   Take a brisk walk. Try this instead of reaching for another coffee. A little bit of exercise is often all it takes to encourage blood flow, boost creative thought, help the brain think more clearly and increase energy levels again.  
energetic

A couple hours of bright light early in the morning helps set our circadian rhythm for the day, which increases our alertness, performance and even helps to regulate   weight.