25 Productive Ways To Deal With Criticism

However way we look at it, criticism is judgment, and most people don’t do well in managing or accepting either.

Perhaps only a micro percentage of the population can claim to have control over their bearings while being told what’s wrong with them.

The criticisms themselves may not sting as much as how it is delivered or who delivers it. Sometimes or ever so often, it’s the person at the receiving end who tends to blow things out of proportion.

However, it is important to recognize that not all criticisms are essentially true or hurtful. A lot of them might actually be helpful when assessed with an open mind, regardless of the manner by which it was made known to you.

One fact of life that many don’t seem to get is that we can’t please everybody. Not everyone will give us a standing ovation or a pat on the shoulder when we most deserve it. There will always be the doubters, the envious, the pessimists, and the natural critics.

We all have these characters in our homes, families, communities, jobs, civic clubs — you name it. While it’s not your life’s purpose to please such people at the expense of your own happiness, learning how to properly acknowledge their innate tendencies will help you respond to them better. Response, and not mere reaction, is the key that unlocks a healthier attitude in the face of crippling criticism.

Here are 25 simple yet rather useful ways to train ourselves to respond better:

1. Recognize the benefits of criticism.

Criticism can serve as the fertilizer that aids in our personal growth. Aside from teaching us to be humble, it also allows us to tap into different people’s perspectives. It serves as feedback that can help us improve how we conduct ourselves or perform a certain task moving forward.

2. Listen.

Let people talk. It’s important to hear them out first. By listening, you will be able to evaluate what the criticism is really about. Take note of the words used. Maybe the person is just curious and not really criticizing. It’s important to listen before replying — we don’t want to worsen the situation by misunderstanding the intention behind it.

3. Identify if the criticism is constructive or destructive.

There are such things as good and bad criticisms, and it will make our lives so much easier to know how to distinguish between the two. Some criticisms are constructive, meaning they are designed to help you improve something. There’s always a lesson to learn or a realization to keep that makes you want to be a better person.

Destructive criticisms don’t work that way. They tend to tear people down rather than build them up, especially when the person who’s letting you have it is someone you highly respect or greatly love.

While not all constructive criticisms are delivered carefully wrapped and tied with a red bow, focus on what’s inside. See if there’s anything you can learn from it. Again, it’s how you perceive things, what you take away from these situations, and how you respond that are of most importance.

4. Don’t take criticisms personally. This is easier said than done because it is difficult to disassociate a criticism over a particular action, output, or behaviour from the person as a whole. We can’t always be on our best behaviour, and even when we are, critics are there. What then when we’re at our worst?

After sifting through what’s constructive and what isn’t, recognize which ones are merely targeted at something you said or did rather than who you are entirely.

5. Don’t lash back with anger and bitterness. Breathe in. Breathe out. Stay calm and evaluate the situation. Remaining calm and composed isn’t an act of submission. It means you are not letting your emotions take charge. A premature reaction will only make matters worse or result in you taking a well-meaning criticism negatively.

6. Don’t be defensive. Don’t feel that you need to always save face and defend yourself. Don’t feel that you have to clear yourself of any blame or fault. Again, listen and stay calm. Even if the criticism is destructive, just listen it out and don’t let it affect you. Let the person finish talking, and then move on.

7. Consider and accept your flaws. Accept the fact that you are not perfect. After listening, evaluate yourself. See if there was something you could have done better. Check your flaws from time to time. Even though everyone makes mistakes, what is important is that we learn from them and constantly challenge ourselves to do and be better every day.

8. Don’t blame others. Do not drag other people into the situation just to make yourself feel better or to absolve you of any fault. It often heightens tension and worsens the situation. When it’s a case of misunderstanding, allow yourself a different time to explain, especially when you feel your emotions approaching the red zone.

9. Apologize when you’re wrong.

When you know you’re wrong, sorry is your best friend. Humility tends to soften any hurt and offence. Being the first one to settle an issue and acting humbly even eliminates the need for criticism at times because you already expressed recognition over your faults.

10. Respond with grace.

This is an attitude that you can actually practice and master. Regardless of the situation, even if you’re on the critic’s side for a change, respond with grace — with a gracious manner and with gracious words This is a common trait of mature individuals. They are not easily shaken by the negative and can even react and respond in a kind and gracious manner.

11. Ask questions.

Do not be afraid to ask questions—especially open-ended ones. Ask for possible suggestions for improvement. This shows that you are sincere and interested to learn.

12. Be honest.

Honesty these days is extremely rare. People will try to do everything to cover up the magnitude of a fault to avoid taking responsibility. While you may be tempted to do otherwise, start pushing yourself toward honesty’s side. Lying only aggravates the situation and, when found out, causes many more problems.

13. Never accept abuse.

You don’t need to sit through an entire destructive session when the obvious objective is to attack you rather than help you. Even though it’s important to listen, you should be keen in discerning what not to take from people. If you discern the criticisms as abusive, you can point this out in a calm manner. If it continues, people can’t hold it against you for turning away.

14. Inject humor only when applicable.

This depends on who is giving the criticism. If this is someone you trust or share a good relationship with, injecting some appropriate humour can lighten the situation. Chances are the person at the other end isn’t comfortable delivering the criticism as well but has to for your own benefit.

15. Say thank you.

Again, respond graciously. Though criticisms may hurt, the lessons learned could last a lifetime or beyond. Be grateful to people who care enough to point out your mistakes. They could actually save you from creating more.

16. Look for similarities and patterns.

If you’re getting the same criticisms over and over again and from different people at that, then some serious personality check is in order. Improve on those recurring points. Our habits make up who we are. Don’t let an oversight or a stubborn behaviour define you.

17. Help others, too.

Help other people grow by giving them constructive feedback as well. Criticisms given in a kind manner in a safe and appropriate setting could mean the world to someone who’s exposed to the harsher equivalents. You may even be setting a standard for how to properly go about giving criticisms, thereby helping them more than you intended.

18. Unwind and destress.

All the thinking, processing, and keeping a tight hold on your self-control and bearings can get quite taxing. Don’t stay in that bubble, especially if you’re one to pore over details and emotions. End things on a happy note by taking time to relax and destress. I’ve learned that meditation does wonders in relaxing the mind.

19. Use criticisms as motivation.

Accepting and acknowledging criticisms are already big steps to personal growth. However, the best way to make the most out of the situation is actually doing something about them and taking the steps necessary to improve. Use the feedback as motivation in your journey.

20. Don’t try to please everybody.

As much as people hate conflict, it cannot be avoided. Our differences will clash from time to time, and bending over backwards trying to please everyone will only make you lose your individuality. Let the criticisms come if they will, and rise above it all.

21. Preserve relationships.

Relationships are so fragile that some people do away with the need for honest criticism completely. This isn’t healthy, as people tend to explode from all the bottled up emotions they are keeping inside. Having the understanding to agree to disagree when it comes to personal opinions keeps people from treading the fault line.

22. Don’t be afraid to fail.

As you journey through life, it’s a guarantee that you will make and encounter more mistakes. That’s okay, because these are exactly what you need to grow and learn. Failure should not be feared but treated as a catalyst for change.

23. Focus on your goals.

Don’t let the criticisms stop you from reaching your dreams. Remember your goals, and focus on them. Use the feedback as tools, road signs, a push, or a hand up that all lead you closer to where you want to go.

24. Let go of worry and anxiety.

Don’t carry criticisms like a burden over your shoulders, and don’t let your fear of them keep you from living an authentic life. Constantly being anxious of other people’s opinion will take more of a toll on you than the criticisms themselves. Don’t do that to yourself.

25. Notice points for improvement.

The ultimate goal of criticism after self-reflection is action. As we journey along life, we get to know ourselves better. This leads to noticing how we can improve before others point them out.

We’ve pretty much established how criticisms can play an essential role in helping us become who we want and need to be in the future. Practice handling them well and wield them to your advantage.

Sleep Debt: Can We Compensate For Sleep Deprivation On Weekends?

The idea of “paying off sleep debt” that accumulates throughout the work week has thus far been widely dismissed as wishful thinking. The general consensus is that you either get enough sleep each night or you don’t – and cramming in a few extra hours on your days off, although it might feel good, can’t possibly fix the physiological damage caused by sleep deprivation.

But here’s some great news for all of us who’ve been hoping that the sleep debt we pile on could somehow be paid off on those blissful weekend mornings. A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Sleep Research suggests that we may be able to “catch up on sleep” after all, by sleeping in on our days off.

It’s not that straightforward, however.

A different take on sleep deprivation research

For this study, researchers gathered the data of more than 38,000 adults from Sweden, which was collected in a medical survey in 1997. The survey included two questions that were keys to this research: one about sleep duration during workdays/weeknights, and the other concerning sleep duration on days off.

And that’s exactly what makes this study stand out from the previous research concerning sleep deprivation and mortality risk. Previous studies focused on questions about the “usual” sleep duration of participants, while this one focuses specifically on the link between the “usual” sleep duration and the occurrence of sleeping in.

Using Sweden’s national death register, the research team followed up on the cohort for 13 years, controlling for the factors that can contribute to health or mortality risk (gender, smoking, BMI, etc.)

They found that those who slept 5 hours or less per night had a 65% higher risk of death during the study period than those who slept 6-7 hours nightly. However, the participants with short weekday sleep who habitually slept in on weekends didn’t appear to have an increased mortality risk.

Now, these findings clearly lead to the assumption that we could compensate for lost sleep in some way, but it’s far from definitive proof. A weekend sleep-in may be able to mitigate the effects of weeklong exhaustion, but there’s certainly a limit, as many physiological changes induced by cumulative sleep debt can be long-term.

Perhaps a more important factor than the number of extra hours of sleep is consistency and the possibility of establishing well-timed cycles of regular sleep and sleeping in.

In the end, no matter how we put it, our search for recurring sleep compensation reflects a deeper issue.

Night owls in a morning lark’s world

Another study published in 2018 concludes that “night owls” have a 10% higher mortality risk than “larks,” AKA “morning people.” Drawing from data of nearly half a million participants, this study also stands out from the rest in the field as it is the first to focus on mortality risk.

The researchers took into account the expected health problems identified in night owls in previous studies (such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic dysfunction) and still found the increased mortality risk.  

The findings, although new, aren’t very shocking, considering the adjustment evening types make to adapt to the socially imposed timing of work and all other activities.

Kristen Knutson, the co-lead author of the study, puts it best, saying in a statement: “Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies. It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn’t match their external environment.”

The study further shows higher rates of diabetes, psychological disorders, and neurological disorders among people who stay up late. The researchers emphasize that this is a public health issue that we need to pay attention to, both in regards to making work schedules more flexible and researching the possibility of shifting owls’ body clocks.

Becoming a lark

The issue with relying on weekends to make up for lost sleep, despite the reported benefits, is that come Monday, things are bound to get really tough when that alarm rings. The study on weekend sleep examined mortality rates – not the optimal hours of extra sleep, or the difficulty of getting your circadian rhythm back on track. In short, it might sound like great news at first, but if you’re eager to overdo it with sleeping in every weekend, you’ll still be stuck in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.

This is difficult to embrace for night owls, myself included. But in the end, shifting your body clock to become more of a morning person is a better solution for so many reasons. And it’s easier than it sounds at first. With the rising popularity of natural sleeping aids such as CBD oil and techniques such as meditation, millions of people are finding a healthy alternative to dangerous sleep meds to help them start going to bed earlier, get quality sleep, and establish a consistent rhythm.

Don’t worry, you’re not doomed. Committing to going to bed early and keeping a consistent sleeping schedule is just the formation of a habit. It’s shifting your behavior which, with time, will adjust your internal body clock.

And remember: it’s easy to slip into old habits and binge-sleep on weekends, and then count sheep on Sunday night. Forming any good habit takes effort and discipline, which means you might have to go back to square one a few times before you get the hang of it.

An Interesting Interpretation of Recurring Dreams & Nightmares

You’re being chased, but you’re not sure what or who is chasing you. It feels like there’s something truly malevolent behind your back. You better not look over your shoulder. Your legs are turning into jelly, your breathing is heavy. Or maybe you’re actually terribly late and it seems like you’ll never get to your destination, no matter how fast or how far your strides take you. You can’t really make any sense of what’s going on; you just know that stopping is not an option. So you run and you run and you run until your feet can carry you no more.

And then – a jolt.

Thankfully it was just a dream, but you’ll need time to shake off that feeling.

In fact, the dream of being pursued or chased is one of the most common dream themes – along with dreams or falling, sexual experiences, and all kinds of dreams regarding school and studying. Moreover, one study shows the theme of being chased as both the most prevalent dream among participants and the one most often reported as the earliest theme the participants recall from childhood.  

These common themes recur often in individuals, and they span across different cultures and geographical backgrounds. What could be standing behind this marvellous mystery of the human mind, and are we even looking at it from the right angle?

Unresolved problems

Dream theorists generally agree on the psychology-based interpretation of recurring dreams. Certain images, such as the image of being naked in a classroom or running through corridors, serve to contextualize powerful emotions or internal conflicts of the dreamer. Being naked, for example, is associated with feelings of shame and helplessness. Thus, the image could appear from your subconscious as you suppress these feelings in waking life.

This kind of explanation even feels intuitively right for many dreams you experience.

For example, you might often find yourself straight back in the classroom in your dreams, failing an exam, or trying to get out of trouble. And when you think about it, there’s plenty where that could come from. Perhaps you’re still not over the trauma of your school years and the childhood fear of the consequences you might face if you’re not good enough. Maybe you’re going through a stressful time and your subconscious habitually associates stress with the classroom, even though you finished school years ago.

These types of images and experiences from our childhood get buried in our minds so deeply that they become underlying themes in our adult lives, both when we’re awake and asleep. After all, that’s what psychoanalysis has been drilling for decades. However, assigning meaning to these images blurs the line between the mystical and the overly literal, and it’s often misguided.

Providing context

It’s crucial to understand that there can be no definitive answer – as in, a certain theme might be commonly interpreted to represent something, but our own experiences and personality will give it context. Carl Jung himself suggests that “dreams are doing the work of integrating our conscious and unconscious lives” in a process he calls ‘individuation.’ As such, they don’t need to be interpreted in order to perform their function.

A recurring dream could provide insight to a trauma or issue you need to resolve for the sake of your wellbeing and mental health. But in this quest to better understand ourselves and our subconscious, there are numerous factors standing between us and the clear-cut, cathartic dream interpretation we’d all like to have.

The way we approach our dreams

Looking at the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, we can clearly see how scientific explanations alone fail to provide answers for the mystical world of dream experiences. And the truth is, the same goes for all dreams and nightmares.

From psychology to physiological mechanisms in our sleep, there are many factors that shape our dream experiences. Hence, our perspective on it can’t be one-sided. For example, the commonly shared dream of teeth falling out can have a symbolic interpretation, like it may be connected to your fear of the dentist, or these types of dreams may occur more often among people with bruxism, which would factor in the physiological aspect.

The physiological aspect might sound painfully mundane for something as spiritual and mystical as the world of dreams. But we would miss out on so much if we were to underestimate it (or overestimate it!) because of its prosaicness. For example, each sleeping position impacts your sleep in a different way as pressure is put on different parts of your body and internal organs. Personally, I’ve found myself waking up from nightmares most often when I sleep on my left side. Doing my research, I was delighted to find that there are even studies pointing to the connection between left-side sleeping and terrifying dreams.

However, there’s one more extremely important aspect that’s too often overlooked: the cultural factor.

The shared nightmare

When we talk about the cultural factor, we can’t not mention the nightmare shared worldwide: The Hat Man.

The mysterious shadow with a hat has appeared to many people who have suffered episodes of sleep paralysis. Well, when I say he has appeared to them, I mean it in the broadest and most ambiguous sense. These terrifying episodes where the central figure is the man with a hat coming to harm you when you’re in your most vulnerable state definitely felt as real as anything to the dreamers. So real and gripping that one man haunted by the vision started a blog called The Hat Man Project after doing research and finding others also describing a similar figure during their experiences with sleep paralysis. The blog is now a space where others can share their experiences and thoughts on the terrifying figure.

How is it possible that all these people are dreaming the same taunting person? And if the state of sleep paralysis is like a portal to worlds that exists within our reality, is it really possible that the reality parallel to our own is such an ominous one?

One explanation simply suggests that people faced with the unfamiliar are going to look for the next culturally available explanation, even in their subconscious.

The state of being paralyzed in your sleep is, to say the least, unfamiliar. It’s an extremely vulnerable state where your natural instinct is to panic.

Evil spirits who sit on your chest as you sleep, as this phenomenon was portrayed in art centuries ago, is one viable explanation to craft in your psyche. The hat man, on the other hand, sounds a lot like Freddy Krueger. The Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie based on the experience of sleep paralysis, and Freddy was created as a symbolic representation of the terror. It doesn’t matter what came first, the chicken or the egg. The man with the hat has become very real in the minds of the dreamers.

So, where does that leave us? What is behind your recurring dreams and nightmares?

Most likely, a bit of all of the above, and perhaps something we haven’t even begun to grasp yet.

The Takeaway

The world of dreams is a realm we know so little about, and that’s exactly why our minds need to be open to all sorts of possibilities. If we want to understand our dreams and ourselves, we need to tune in to them and gather all the bits and pieces. If we dare to immerse ourselves, the unfamiliar might feel less terrifying. We could be opening the doors to new realities.

1 % of the World’s Population Doesn’t Sleep Like Everybody Else – Are We Doing It Wrong?

You’ve surely heard somewhere by now that Tesla slept only two hours each night, and Margaret Thatcher slept only four. And they’ve lived well into old age, and never seemed to have been stopped by daytime fatigue!

We marvel so often at famous geniuses, successful entrepreneurs, political leaders and others who’re known to thrive on less than 5 hours of sleep each night. We love to talk about it – doesn’t this make it obvious that we don’t, after all, need 7-10 hours of sleep per night? Did they have specific methods? Is there a direct correlation between their ingenuity and unusual habits?

But let’s leave the notion of history’s giants and their influence for a while – their prominence inevitably steers the discussion about sleep in another direction. The thing is, they don’t all actually fall into the same category regarding sleeping habits. While some relied on alternative sleep cycles or maybe forced themselves to adopt a certain sleeping schedule, others were, in fact, natural-born short-sleepers. There are people – regular, non-famous people just like me and you – who fall into this category as well.

The world of natural-born short sleepers

You’ve surely encountered plenty of people who get by with six or less hours of sleep each night. But while the majority of adults who sleep little actually have a sleeping disorder or are restricted by busy schedules, natural-born short sleepers are completely different.

They simply don’t have the need to sleep more than a few hours. They wake up refreshed and well-rested and they don’t experience daytime fatigue, whereas the majority of us would definitely feel shattered. They keep their sleeping schedule consistent even on weekends, rarely ever sleeping in – and none of it feels remotely like a burden to them. They’re simply guided by their biological clock.  

It’s fascinating to even imagine that someone can get by their entire life with approximately four hours of sleep each night, at their own will, and actually thrive and be entirely healthy. But there are people like that, and although this topic has gained interest in the scientific community fairly recently, it’s estimated that about 1% of the worldwide population are natural short-sleepers.

Just how is this possible, you may ask?

What the research says

Professor Ying-Hui Fu of the University of California in San Francisco is the prominent name behind the ongoing research on short sleepers. She started examining the phenomenon back in 1996, when a woman reported to her that her entire family got by on only a few hours of sleep. Having seen that none of them suffered from insomnia or any other sleeping disorder, but on the contrary, woke up energetic at dawn and stayed that way throughout the day, Fu delved into the family’s genetics and expanded her research.

The result: Fu and her team of researchers discovered a mutation in the gene DEC2 among all the subjects who were short-sleepers, but the mutation wasn’t present among their family members who slept longer or among other unrelated participants.

Although more research needs to be conducted, it seems that we have an invaluable clue: being a short-sleeper is the result of a gene mutation. Essentially, our genes largely dictate how much sleep we need, and we don’t all require the same amount of sleep. But the thing is, each one of needs to find their specific rhythm, and we’re much too constricted by society’s views of what presents a “normal sleeping pattern”.

Do you wish you’d sleep less too?

Let’s not kid ourselves – you probably do. Even if you didn’t wish you’d get more done each day, spending more time awake would mean you could take things slowly. The problem is – we wish we’d be short-sleepers too, so we try and sleep less. But it doesn’t work; we’re fatigued and miserable, waiting for vacation so that we can cram in some decent sleep.

So instead of forcing ourselves to sleep less, let’s first try and find out how much sleep feels good to us. This is actually not that easy to determine, and not just because we don’t have the luxury to sleep in most of the time. It’s because the number of hours we sleep each night is affected by the quality of sleep.

With noise and light pollution being the major issues, the quality of our sleep is largely trumped, so we actually require more sleep than usual in order to get proper rest. If you want to determine how much sleep you actually need, focus on sleep hygiene first: wear a sleeping mask to align your circadian rhythm, ensure your bedroom is entirely quiet or wear earplugs, avoid electronics two hours before bedtime, calm your thoughts down, and so on.

It takes time and conscious practice, undoubtedly, but the truth is that we all need to pay much more attention to our sleep. And for the most part, we need to start ignoring all the jabber about when we’re supposed to go to bed and how much sleep we need. We’re not all the same and our collective knowledge about sleep is very poor actually. So if you’re eager for some experimentation, you can even try a different sleep cycle to sleep less and see the results for yourself (just do it responsibly, of course).

Lastly, let’s not forget that there are long-sleepers too – people who need more than 10 hours of sleep each night to function their best. Who knows, you might even fall into this category. It’s kind of a bummer because your days are literally shorter if you end up sleeping as much as you should. But let’s not look at it that way. We need to embrace our sleeping patterns, whichever they are, just as long as we’re positive that they’re the most natural and healthy to us. Forget the sleep recipes of various productivity gurus – find your rhythm and structure your day around it to maximize your time on Earth.

What CBD Oil Could Do For The Health of Your Pets

More and more people are using CBD oil to maintain their health and treat various conditions. The benefits of CBD oil stretch far and wide, and it’s especially getting a lot of buzz today because of its effectiveness in relieving stress and anxiety – conditions that are almost unavoidable in the modern world.

But the wonders of CBD oil shouldn’t be reserved for humans only. Not just humans, but all vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which fine-tunes numerous vital physiological functions and helps the body regain internal balance. So when pets ingest cannabinoids, the cannabinoids will interact with the ECS receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors) just like they do for humans. This supports a healthy ECS and triggers beneficial responses throughout the body, helping it fight various ailments.

If you have a furry friend whose health and wellbeing depends on you, you’ll want to know all about this. Here’s how you can use CBD oil to take care of your pet and help them live a happy, healthy life.

And just in case, we’ll get over with it right away: CBD is a compound that won’t get your pet high just like it won’t get you high – that’s THC.

Reducing anxiety and stress

Extensive research has been conducted to prove how cannabidiol can help people with PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety disorders and overall stress relief. Because other mammals respond to CBD via receptors the same way as we do, it’s no surprise that it has the same calming effects on pets.

Most pets, dogs especially, suffer from separation anxiety, which is something that leaves their owners worried and feeling guilty every time they leave the house. This is a real problem and we could never fathom the stress our pets experience when we leave them alone, but CBD oil can be used to help them feel calm and peaceful. Pets can also suffer from anxiety and phobias to various extents for different reasons, most often as a result of previous trauma, so CBD oil can be used as a cure for their condition in the same way it’s being used to treat people with PTSD.

Antibiotic properties

Pets are often affected by various bacterial infections, and unfortunately, a lot of visits to the vet result in prescriptions for antibiotics. Synthetic antibiotics have numerous side effects, most notably disrupting the gastrointestinal system by killing the “good”, healthy bacteria along with the bad. Research has shown that all cannabinoids have antibiotic properties so CBD oil can be an equally effective but more healthy and gentle treatment for a pet’s bacterial infection.

Treating seizures

Unfortunately, dogs are no stranger to epilepsy as well, and a fewer number of cats may experience seizures. Cannabinoids are now being used extensively to treat seizures in humans, as they’re proving to be more effective than any other kind of treatment. It’s no surprise to see that a lot of CBD oils for pets are now used as an alternative and efficient way to treat epilepsy and reduce or completely stop seizures, tics, tremors, and spasms.

Fighting cancer

The effect that cannabinoids and other substances found in hemp and cannabis have on treating tumors has been studied extensively, and it’s completely changing cancer treatment (for the better). Cannabidiol is known to kill cancer cells as it blocks their energy-producing abilities, and some studies show that CBD can even stop cancer cells from growing. Inarguably, CBD oil can be used not just to treat cancers and tumors in pets, but to prevent them from developing in the first place.

Pain relief

Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) has the most analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in comparison to other cannabinoids. That’s why CBD oil is often used to reduce inflammation and pain in injured cats and dogs, as well as for relieving chronic and intestinal inflammation. This helps with a wide variety of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. It’s a more healthy and natural alternative to painkillers and other drugs which can potentially harm a pet’s internal organs just like they do for humans.

Increasing appetite and helping with nausea

A healthy pet never has an appetite problem – far from it. But when something goes wrong or when they’re just healing from an injury, it’s heartbreaking for owners to watch their pet’s unusual disinterest in food. It’s our responsibility to keep them healthy and well-nourished so many owners resort to CBD oil for increasing their pet’s appetite when they’re injured or for treating vomiting and nausea, as it has the same effect it does on humans.

Protecting the nervous system

Lab research conducted on rats shows us that CBD and other cannabinoids have a neuroprotective effect. CBD is a powerful antioxidant that helps cells fight free radicals which have a degenerative effect on the entire system, and it has been used to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Thus CBD oil can be especially effective for ageing animals to protect their brain cells and keep the nervous system intact.

Overall, CBD oil is not only a powerful treatment for conditions your pet could be suffering from, but it’s also a great supplement to help healthy pets stay that way their entire life. The most important thing when choosing a CBD oil for your pet is to make sure that the product is natural and organic because any other form can contain pesticides and other chemicals you want to avoid. Then you’ll have to go through the usual shenanigans of slyly mixing it in their food – but they’ll have no idea once it’s in there. Here’s to healthy and thriving pets!

 

8 Healthy Ways To Deal With Work-Related Stress in Your Life

Everybody gets stressed now and then, but if it’s a persistent problem, you need to find some new strategies to deal with it.

A negative attitude in the workplace would be bad enough if it was the one problem, but attitudes are a lot like yawns: contagious.

That’s why so many organizations take workplace stress seriously–including prestigious medical centers like the Mayo Clinic.

Here are some tips to make sure that you’re spreading the right kind of attitude around your office, by dealing with work-related stress in healthy ways in and out of the workplace.

1. Treat Yourself Better

Even if you have a difficult boss, chances are you’re still your own toughest critic.

If you’re engaging in negative self talk (such as “I always screw up my presentations” or complaining about similar workplace shortcomings), you’re putting negative energy into your work and your coworkers can feel that.

Start by congratulating yourself when you do something well, and try to be more patient and understanding when you experience difficulties.

A quick word about health, if you don’t mind: it’s hard to get the nutrients your brain and body need to perform at their optimal levels from diet alone.

This is where supplements that can help to reduce cortisol levels may work wonders. Results obviously vary from person to person, but many people are seeing great results at effectively managing their cortisol through supplementation.

2. Treat Other People Better

When you are more patient regarding your shortcomings, you’ll be a little nicer to others throughout your day.

The phrase “everybody is fighting a battle that you know nothing about” has become a cliche in recent years, but that doesn’t invalidate its sentiment; you see your coworkers for a fraction of the day, and likely don’t have a “big picture” view of what their life is like.

When work is stressful, turn your best face toward your coworkers–positive energy and attitude is rewarded tenfold.

3. Let Go of Grudges

If you work somewhere long enough, you’ll develop a lot of resentments.

Some are small (somebody ate your lunch when it was clearly marked, etc.); some are much bigger (a seemingly unqualified coworker getting a promotion or raise ahead of you).

The thing is: grudges only hurt you. That’s why letting go of grudges is one of the tips recommended by the American Psychological Association.

You might think that holding onto the emotions of an old dispute shows a coworker that you “mean business”, but it’s mostly affecting your own attitude, productivity, and not to mention all of the negative thought processes involved in holding it long-term.

I advise you to take the advice of my daughter’s favorite Disney song and “LET IT GO!”

4. Why Are You Still Sweating the Small Stuff?

There’s a reason you’ve been advised not to “sweat the small stuff”: it doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter yesterday, and it’s not going to matter tomorrow.

This is a symptom of workers who seek out trouble in the workplace; even when nothing is really wrong, they get heated up about the broken copier or the way Kelly taps her pencil on her desk.

Our prescription for 99% of “small stuff” is to take a deep breath.

5. Exercise After Work

Exercising regularly lowers your levels of stress, aggression, and anger. If you’re having a tough day, consider skipping lunch to go for a quick jog.

Exercise is far from a “one size fits all” activity, find what works for you (and allows you to get out a little pent-up aggression that’s been burning in your belly).

6. Go Above and Beyond

Sometimes, the best way to deal with workplace stress is to dig right into it.

Difficult long-term tasks require a lot of effort every day–start thinking of things you can do today to make your tomorrow significantly better.

Working through a break or a lunch every once in a while can help you accomplish things a little faster (consequently, allowing you to breathe a little easier too).

7. Talk to a Supervisor or Your Human Resources Department

Chances are, at some point working your current job, you’ll find you need to talk with your boss or somebody in the Human Resources Department.

You shouldn’t worry or stress about expressing your feelings, although you should probably put a good deal of thought into the points you want to express.

Remember to avoid using definitive “you” statements (“You aren’t listening to me), focusing instead on expressing your own sentiments using “I” statements (“I feel a little overwhelmed by my share of responsibilities for this account,” etc.).

If you’re nervous about reaching out, why not check out a few of the tips offered by the aptly named Stress.org, compiled by the American Institute of Stress; their site contains a lot of “outside of the box” strategies to deal with stress in your workplace.

8. Evaluate Whether the Stress is Worth It

There’s a reason we saved this option for last: you don’t want to run around quitting jobs every time a difficult or stressful situation arises.

That said, there are some conflicts that are just untenable. These workplaces are commonly referred to as “toxic”.

Check out a few online resources to see if your job fits the “toxic” criteria–we particularly like the one published by Forbes.

For more helpful strategies to deal with stress in and out of the workplace, check the resources on this one from the stress management experts at Collective Evolution.

Remember–only you can figure out the best stress-relief techniques for your individual situation. We wish you the best of luck incorporating them into a happier, healthier life!

We always enjoy interacting with readers; let us know if you have any comments, questions, or stress-relief suggestions of your own below.

Thanks for reading–have a peaceful day.

The Closest I Ever Came to Having a ‘Perfect’ Day at Work

The perfect work day is one of those days some of us have come close to experiencing but have probably missed. I came close once or twice but never planned for it.

I found out that I can have a perfect day every day and will share some of the steps I have taken to create that day.

1. I Got Rid of Clutter

The first thing I learned was how important it was to organize my desk. My desk is normally messy, and I am the only one who can find things on it.

I have a proven system that I use. I always said that because I was being defensive, organizing a desk is not something I wanted to do.

Not too long ago, an article was brought to my attention that highlighted how clutter affects the brain. It seems to absorb too much energy because the brain tries to keep track of the mess around you while you work.

This stresses the mind and makes it harder for you to concentrate, which is why I decided to keep an organized desk.

2. I Took Effective Breaks

One major mistake people make is taking ineffective breaks. We take breaks that do not allow the brain to rest, like checking our phone’s messages or jumping to a social media application. Believe it or not, these activities exhaust the brain when you are already pretty tired.

What you want to do is put away your phone when you are at work as much as possible. The best thing you can do when you take a break is go to the nearest natural setting and walk around there.

I could not believe how energized and uplifted I felt after my nature walks, which was scientifically proven to be effective recently, so try to enjoy a little nature.

3. I Got a Good Night’s Sleep

I love to sleep more than I’d like to admit, yet I found myself going to sleep pretty late.

There is a lot to do when I get back home, from house chores to left over work that is expected the next day, which made it hard to stick to a sleep schedule. Turns out that this might be part of the reason it is so hard to have a good and productive day.

You might not believe this, but sleep can also help make you more productive and focused. The brain does most of its work at night. It helps create neuro-connections, which help improve long-term memory, and it also helps you understand information received that day.

Sleep improves your knowledge and skills, not to mention it helps moderate your mood and productivity. All of this should be helpful when you finally wake up. I started to stick to my schedule more often, and it really helped me the next day.

4. I Started Early

I love my snooze button. Getting a few more minutes of sleep is just irresistible to me, but I started to get away from that.

It was more and more obvious to me that my love for the snooze button stemmed from a poor sleep schedule. Waking up earlier was a lot easier for me once I started going to sleep early.

Waking up early gave me the opportunity to do early morning tasks that would ultimately help the day go a lot smoother. What you can do is start or finish up some of your household chores in the morning before getting started on the rest of your morning activities.

You can also finish up some work if you were not able to finish something the night before.

5. I Actually Did-The-Work

It is very important that you work when it is time to work. Too many times I have caught myself paying attention to my phone or the latest gossip around the office, which makes me lose some of the time that should be dedicated to work.

The problem deals with focus, but I am glad to report that sleeping more and taking effective breaks has helped me focus a lot better.

You should also take precautions, like closing the door to your office or closing the blinds when you are working. Turn off the phone or have your secretary hold all calls while you work. Dedicating undivided attention to your workload should help you get more done.

I’m keeping this between us, but work that used to take me an hour I can get done in 30 minutes.

6. I Managed Interruptions

Nothing is perfect, and working with others makes it hard to keep up with your intense work hour. There is going to be a time when a co-worker or someone else is going to try to interrupt you.

You are going to have to figure out a polite way to say that you are not available at the moment. Just try to be courteous but curt. Do not try to explain yourself because you can do that when your intense work hour is over.

You might also want to consider hanging out signs or telling everyone around you that you will be working. For example, you can hang a sign over your door or cubicle that says you are working and cannot be disturbed.

You do not have to go out of your way to find a professionally made sign. I started with a regular graphics program on my computer, a printer, and a laminating machine for my first sign.

7. I Was Mindful About What I Ate

Food is vital, and the way you use it can help improve your day. I started to notice that I got tired and felt bloated when I ate heavy meals.

I started to let go of these types of meals and switched to lighter meals. It might sound a little extreme, but I started to eat meals like fruit salads or vegetable salads. I even made cucumber spaghetti pasta.

Eating smaller meals like these made me feel alive, light, and ready to keep on taking on the day.

This did not mean I stopped enjoying heavy meals, but I would wait to get home for my heavier dinners, which felt like a treat after the first day of changing my eating habits during work.

Be sure to start preparing for the next day. Keep in mind that it is going to take a while to get this schedule right, but be patient because you will.

Dedicate yourself to your home once you do get there because family is just as important as work. Hopefully, these tips help turn your work life around like they have helped me.

6 Ways To Prevent A Catastrophic Burnout Before it Ever Happens

Burnout can happen in any career, and if you become too burned out, you may start to lose interest in other areas of your life as well.

When burnout becomes catastrophic, it can feel as though you have no energy, and as though you will never have energy again. This may seem dire, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure that you do not become burned out.

By making time for each of these seven steps on a regular basis, you dramatically reduce your risk of running into burnout.

1. Regularly Reflect on Your Life

Reflecting on your life and what you’ve accomplished and been through can be helpful in all aspects of life, but regular reflection is vitally important for avoiding burnout.

Many people tend to automatically go through the motions of work, and doing this without thinking about how your work fits in with the rest of your life can be a recipe for burnout.

Periodically asking yourself how you feel about your job and the rest of your life can help you to determine whether you are headed for burnout. Asking yourself how you feel about your job can also help you decide whether it’s time for a career change.

If you find your job to be chronically exhausting, it’s wise to pursue a change of career before you reach extreme levels of burnout.

2. Realize That Not Everything Needs to Be Complicated

Frequently, burnout happens when we expend extensive mental energy over a long period of time. Many people who eventually burn out are high achievers and problem-solvers, and they may have a tendency to overcomplicate things.

While it may take some getting used to, developing the ability to sort out what tasks need complex thinking and which ones don’t can help you to conserve valuable mental energy.

And when you are able to do this, you’ll be less likely to burn out from feeling as though your work takes up too much mental energy.

3. Eat Well and Exercise

Some of the classic signs of burnout include chronic low energy and a defeated attitude.

While burnout can certainly happen to those who live a healthy lifestyle, you will be less likely to suffer from it if you take the time to eat nutrient-rich foods and exercise.

Exercising can improve cognitive function and mood, and making sure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet can help you feel energized and better equipped to handle the challenges your job poses.

4. Disconnect from Technology Regularly

Often, in our fast-paced world, many of us get caught in the trap of feeling always “on,” or as though we always need to be connected to technology.

For instance, even outside of work hours, some of us feel compelled to keep up with work e-mail or other commitments. Getting out in nature or otherwise physically removing yourself from your regular routine is a great way to make this disconnect more complete.

Making time to completely disconnect from all technology on a regular basis can help prevent burnout because, by disconnecting for a short period of time, you are essentially giving yourself a regular mini-vacation.

Rather than working hard non-stop at your job and then burning out, taking technology breaks can help to remedy exhaustion before it builds to catastrophic levels.

5. Cultivate Hobbies and Outside Interests

We often hear about the importance of work-life balance, but for many people, talking about that balance is a lot easier than actually achieving it. Often, many of us try to achieve a balance but run into problems with mentally disconnecting from work.

For example, we may take days off, but then have trouble avoiding stressing about work and other responsibilities.

One way to work on fully achieving work-life balance, both mentally and physically, is to find a hobby you enjoy.

When you have a passion outside of work, it gives you something to mentally invest in that is removed from work. The right hobby can be energizing, and it can help you to fully disconnect from your work.

Additionally, hobbies can help ensure that you build an identity that is not completely tied to work.

6. Pay Attention to Your Body

We’ve all probably heard “listen to your body” at some point or the other. This advice is often applied when training athletically, but it also can apply to avoiding workplace burnout.

For instance, if you start to feel chronically tired, instead of simply pushing through it, it can help to examine what might be contributing.

Exhaustion may mean that you aren’t sleeping enough or that you need to eat more nutritious food. By trying to troubleshoot exhaustion when it first appears, you may be able to help remedy it before it reaches all-consuming levels.

While the above methods can all help you to avoid burnout before it becomes catastrophic, many of them come down to remaining reflective and aware of your mental and physical state, as well as working to achieve balance.

While these processes may feel challenging at first, making them a habit will help you to find satisfaction in both your career and the rest of your life.

Awake vs. Conscious: How They Differ & Why it Matters

It seems like a very abstract idea to think of being awake as something completely different than being conscious, but they actually are two very separate functions.

Just opening our eyes when it is time to get up each day gives us the impression we are mindful of what we see and how we feel, even if we may need a cup of morning coffee first to feel that way.

Then at night as we lay down to try to sleep, we may momentarily feel ourselves begin to lose our conscious state and we equate this with not being awake anymore. So, is there really any difference between the two?

Awake vs. Conscious

When trying to define the idea of wakefulness and consciousness, the problem of subjectivity when it comes to things that each of us experiences and how we experience them arises.

If we were to look up the meaning of consciousness in any dictionary, the word included in its meaning that sets it apart from wakefulness is “quality.” So, consciousness can be said to have an added element of this within the scope of our experiences.

You can say that to be conscious is to function in a state of being enveloped in the content of life that surrounds you and makes you more than just awake but aware as well.

One of the most well-known experts in the study of the idea of consciousness is William James. He puts forth the idea that any state of our consciousness must have an element of analysis to it in order for it to be defined in those terms.

So, he believed that a conscious state was one that was a series of perceptions coupled with our thoughts and emotional responses to what we are experiencing and how we can control it and monitor it all at the same time.

So, as we monitor our surroundings, we are focusing our attention on specific things and using our critical thinking skills such as identifying a problem, assessing how to solve it, and then making a decision about how we will act on it.

This can only happen if it is coupled with an element of conscious control of our thoughts and ways in which we react to things around us.

This differs from just being awake, which is more of a scientific functioning of our brain. Being awake can simply mean that you are taking in some form of stimulus from the environment that you find yourself in or even your own internal thoughts.

According to Medical Daily, this is why there is some question about whether individuals who are considered unconscious while they are in a coma state can still take in external stimuli and actually are in some form of wakefulness but cannot physically respond to it.

Experiment With Awake vs. the Conscious States

For many years, individuals have performed experiments on themselves to try to understand consciousness and wakefulness. You can also try to do this on your own to give you a better understanding of the two concepts.

Pick an evening that you are able to go to bed fairly early but are also able to fall asleep quickly and wake up early enough in the morning that it will not be light out yet.

Make sure that before you go to bed, you close your blinds so that when you awaken the room will be completely dark.

Then, as you awaken in the morning, make sure to make a mental point of remembering the exact second that you felt conscious. Make up a trigger phrase like “up now” or even the word “conscious” and say it as you make this mental note.

Ask yourself in that moment: Am I completely aware of my surroundings or am I still a bit hazy from sleeping? If the answer is that you feel like you are completely awake, then the odds are, you awakened earlier but your brain was not conscious for a period of minutes until that moment you said the trigger word.

If your answer is that you still feel hazy, then you have probably experienced being awake and conscious all at the same time just as you said your trigger word.

If you experiment with this a half a dozen times, you will likely begin to feel that consciousness and wakefulness are happening simultaneously, and gradually your awake state will seem to occur before you actually became conscious.

This proves that, to be conscious, there must be an element of content (the trigger word in this case) added to the state of being awake. Think of waking up to the alarm on your phone; you hear it, and simultaneously are forced to be conscious by the sheer act of reaching and shutting it off.

If you try this, report your findings. I will keep a log of everyone’s results and report them in a blog in the near future.

You can also consider a brain supplement, which is not necessarily a bad thing to try, especially if you are tired constantly and don’t seem to be able to find the time to practice some physical and mental exercises that will help you fully engage instead of just being awake.

Maybe you find that your job is so boring that by the middle of the day you can’t help but begin to disengage in the activities you are performing and you are starting to feel like your co-workers are noticing.

Are there things you can do to combat restless nights that put you in a state of wakefulness in the middle of the night and conscious of every sound and every minute ticking away on the clock, only to go through a day of torturing yourself with trying to stay awake? Yes.

This is no way to function on a daily basis. There are a few things you can do to try and alleviate the problem.

We’ve previously written on how to stay completely conscious and engaged at work.

Try any of those tips, or consider an over-the-counter supplement that will help you to not only stay awake and focused but remain conscious of your surroundings and effective in your activity.

Either way, you are taking the necessary steps toward achieving a way of life that allows you to be consciously involved in your most important moments.