Successful People Do These 9 Things to Boost Their Energy in the Afternoon

Are you at your best only up until about lunchtime? You definitely have company. Many people report feeling a major slump in their productivity in the afternoons. Losing your momentum may stem from sitting in front of a computer for half the day, what you ate for lunch or interrupted sleep from the night before…or a combination, plus any number of other factors.

Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work,” says our dip in energy is also a part of our natural circadian rhythm.

Whatever causes your lack of motivation after you get back from lunch, you still need to be productive. So, what can you do to wake yourself up and get back your drive?

1. Plan your meetings in the afternoon.

Don’t waste your precious morning energy by getting sucked into a meeting.

Meetings in the afternoon allow you to interact with people and that can help you get some pep back.

Photo Credit: Pxfuel

2. Get out of the office.

Take a break when you feel yourself nodding off.

Going outside in the sunlight and fresh air helps relieve eye strain, get your blood flowing and will reset your internal clock.

Photo Credit: Piqsels

3. Grab a coffee.

A mid-afternoon cup of coffee will increase your alertness, as does the physical act of walking to get the coffee and saying hello to people along the way.

Getting a green tea or a water for yourself work too.

Photo Credit: Libreshot

4. Take a power nap.

Not easily accomplished in your cubicle, but if you happen to find the opportunity to close your eyes for a 15-minute nap, you’ll likely wake feeling more creative.

Worth a mention to the boss at any rate.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

5. Exercise.

Like napping, this may be a viable option for people who work from home.

However, if you can squeeze in an afternoon workout, you’ll be rewarded with a boost of motivation.

Photo Credit: Pxhere

6. Drink water.

Kerr says dehydration leads to energy slumps.

He suggests keeping a tall, glass of water in reach.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

7. Record your gratitude.

Countless benefits come from acknowledging all the things in life for which to be grateful.

Kerr suggests starting an afternoon ritual of journaling three of them.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

8. Change up your routine.

Move your workspace from your desk to the conference room, or to your kitchen.

Change your usual meeting location. It all works to rev your brain.

Photo Credit: Pikrepo

9. Be a social butterfly for a few minutes.

Add a goal to connect with someone in your office for a few minutes in the afternoon.

It will be a chance for a break from your workspace and it’ll strengthen the relationships you have with your coworkers.

Photo Credit: Pxhere

The great thing about using these strategies to get out of a midday energy slump is most of them serve more than one purpose. Not only will they wake you up, they’ll keep you healthier, help you bond with co-workers and make you more productive. Your boss will probably notice your increased energy and output too.

Lots of wins there!

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According to Science, Your Second Child Was Born to Be Wild

There have been several studies (and also people claiming to know stuff who basically make it up based on personal experience) about the role that birth order plays in our personalities and development.

It seems first-borns are leaders, and also more prone to anxiety. Youngest kids are spoiled, middle kids are good at fending for themselves, and on and on.

What (real) science has strong evidence for, though, is that your second-born child is more likely to behave badly – even once they’re an adult.

Image Credit: Pixabay

A 2017 study from MIT, The University of Florida, and Northwestern University found that there’s a good chance your second child – especially if he’s a boy – will have more behavioral issues than his (or her) older sibling.

Lead author Joseph Doyle and his team studied thousands of family in Denmark and in Florida, and found that those second-born kiddos are not only more likely to challenge their parents more in early childhood, but also are more likely to have problems at school…or even with the law.

“Second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings.”

Image Credit: Pixabay

The researchers believe the reason for this is mostly “differences in parental attention,” which they consider “a potential contributing factor to the gaps in delinquency across the birth order.”

“Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings because first-born children experience their mother’s maternity leaves and temporarily reduced labor market participation both following their own births as well as following the birth of the second-born.”

They also believe that who the child looks up to for guidance on how to act could play a part.

“The firstborn has role models who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings,” Doyle told NPR.

I take issue with the “slightly” modifier on “irrational,” but the rest makes sense.

image Credit: Pixabay

In the end, we know there’s not a whole lot we can do with the information; younger kids will always idolize the older ones, and there’s only so much time, so many hands, and so much attention to go around.

It’s worth keeping in mind, though. Maybe try to tip the scales by scheduling 1-on-1 time between a parent and each child separately, letting the younger child be the star of the day on occasion, or just being more aware of who is getting the bulk of your time.

Easier said than done, for sure, but you don’t want to spend all of your hard-earned college savings on bail money and legal fees, do you?

Just something to think about…

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Making Children Say ‘I’m Sorry’ Can Seem Meaningless. Try This Instead.

We’ve all seen this, and a lot of us have done it. A small child does something hurtful on accident and, upon a stern look or ‘what do you say?’ from a parent, mutters a quick ‘sorry’ before moving on with whatever they were doing. But while it’s good to teach children manners, are they really learning anything? Are they actually sorry, or are they just doing what’s expected in order to meet as little resistance as possible?

According to Heather Shumaker, the author of It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids, the latter is most likely:

“Young kids sometimes fool us. They can mimic “Sorry” and even cry when another child cries, but most children are not capable of being sorry yet. Children differ – you may have an early bloomer – but most children simply lack the emotional and cognitive development to feel remorse. Remorse requires the ability to take another person’s perspective and fully understand cause and effect. These skills are still emerging in young children. Expecting young kids to say “Sorry” teaches them nothing more than a misguided lesson in sequence: kick, say “Sorry,” move on.”

Okay, so if we’ve been teaching the wrong lesson all this time, what exactly should we be doing to better help children understand until their emotional intelligence matures?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Shumaker has some ideas on how we can teach them that “sorry” has meaning, and help them understand that all actions have consequences. Namely, these easy steps:

1. Bring the kid back to the scene of the crime.

Children who think they’re going to be in trouble tend to run. Put an arm around them, bring them back, and explain that even if they didn’t mean to do it, someone got hurt so they need to come back.

2. Be specific about what happened.

The child might not have noticed what they did, or might not understand the impact of shoving a shopping cart, etc. Explain it briefly and calmly, ie: “Your shopping cart ran over her toe.” If we expect them to be sorry, they need to first know what they should be sorry for.

3. Describe the consequences.

Since children often don’t have a fully developed sense of empathy, it’s up to us to tell them what the offended party might be feeling, ie: “Look, there’s a scratch on her arm. It must sting.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

4. Model empathy.

Ask the other child or adult whether they’re okay.

5. Take action to fix the problem.

Your young one might not truly feel bad, but they can help fix things. Ask them to run and get a band-aid, wipes, a cold towel, etc., in order to help.

6. Make a guarantee.

Promising not to do it again means a lot more to a child than a meaningless word like ‘sorry.’ If they promise not to do the offending action again, trust can be more readily re-established.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

7. Let them see you being truly sorry in your own life.

We do want kids to say sorry and mean it, eventually. One good way to prompt the behavior without forcing it is to let your kids see you making sincere apologies in your own life. Make sure to acknowledge the consequences of your mistakes and do your best to make things better.

As a parent, I love this advice and the notion that kids can learn how to genuinely realize they’ve done something wrong and take steps to make it right, as opposed to being forced to say something they don’t feel or understand. I’m planning to try it soon!

h/t: Offspring.lifehacker.com

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Which Direction Is This Swinging Person Facing?

That memorable dress that was different colors for different people. The shoes that were pink or teal, depending on who was looking at them. The voice that was saying Laurel…or was it Yanny?

The internet has had its fair share of viral illusions that whipped people into a frenzy of side-taking.

And here’s the latest: which direction is this person on a swing facing?

The perception puzzle comes to us from Ana, aka Twitter user @esnycuddles, who posted a video of a kid swinging against a snowy landscape – but is he swinging toward the camera, or toward the building?

People on both sides are just absolutely freaking out, as you can see.

There are even diagrams involved.

Me? I say he’s definitely swinging toward the camera, because of the angle of the swingset. I do see both ways, though.

Boom.

But the people who say he/she is swinging away are wrong.

Sorry not sorry.

What do you think? Do you want to argue with me? Sound off in the comments!

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Next Time Your Child Tries to Manipulate You, Use Game Theory Against Them

If you need even more proof that humans are born manipulators, look no farther than your average toddler. No one teaches them how to manipulate their parents (or try to, anyway) in order to get what they want.

They somehow just know how to make it happen.

And as they grow, their attempts become inevitably more sophisticated – at least a little.

Don’t worry, parents, we’ve got you covered with: use game theory to thwart their manipulations.

The advice comes from professor Kevin Zollman and journalist Paul Raeburn, and you can find more about it in their book, The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting. Below are some of their rules for negating tantrums, deflecting whining, and generally promoting peace in your home.

Force Cooperation

Image Credit: Pixabay

If you’ve got siblings who refuse to work together, Zollman suggests putting the prisoner’s dilemma to work for you. Assign your kids a join task, then give them each the same reward (or punishment) based on their team performance.

It might take time, but the setup will compel them to learn how to make alliances for the good of all.

Don’t Give Them Anything For Free

Image Credit: Pixabay

Instead of handing out privileges like the bigger room, the front seat of the car, or picking where you eat for dinner, make them earn it – they can bid on things that can’t be shared with allowances or extra chores.

Never Make Empty Threats

Image Credit: Pixabay

If your kids sense that you won’t follow through on your threat – or that it might mean making you the parent suffer – they’ll be less likely to see it as credible. So always pick punishments that benefit you, so they know you’ll follow through.

Force Them to Lie

Image Credit: Pixabay

It might sound counterintuitive, but forcing your kid to lie to your face repeatedly creates psychological discomfort they’ll likely want to avoid in the future.

Let Them Have Consequences

You can’t just bail your kids out when things get tough – even if it breaks your heart to let them cry over their own mess. If you swoop in and make it better, all you’re teaching them is that they can get their way by manipulating your emotions, which is exactly what you’re setting out to change.

 

There you go! Good parenting advice, if you ask me, whether you’re familiar with gaming and game theory or not.

If you’ve got a little manipulator on your hands, give these a try and report back!

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Here Are Some Funny and Real Tweets About Going to Therapy

Let’s say this right off the bat: therapy is good for everyone. Even if you think that you’re the most well-adjusted, smartest, happiest person on the planet, it would still do you some good to go talk to a complete stranger about your issues…because we all have ’em.

So, in the spirit of that, let’s look at some funny tweets about getting some good, old-fashioned counseling!

1. Come on in!

2. Might want to change course.

3. It’s not?

4. Oh shit!

5. Don’t do it…

6. Here, here.

7. Can I see your notes?

8. Oh…

9. Never a good thing.

10. Who? Me?

11. That’s a lot to think about.

12. Judging you.

13. Think about that one…

14. Don’t be too honest.

15. Hahahahaha.

Now, don’t you feel just a little bit better…?

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WOOP Is a Research-Backed Method to Help You Achieve Your Goals

All of us could use a little boost when it comes to hitting the goals we set for ourselves, right? A lot of folks out there have tried all different kinds of plans and methods to motivate themselves, but it’s just not easy.

Luckily, there is one that is backed up by research, and you might want to consider implementing it into your own life.

It’s called WOOP, which stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, plan. It’s a mental strategy meant to help you realize and achieve your goals. It’s also been called “mental contrasting.”

Here are the four, easy-to-follow steps to WOOP.

1. Identify your wish.

Your wish or goal could be something big like getting a new job or something small(ish), like going to the gym four or five days a week.

gym

2. Identify the best possible outcome if that wish came true.

Ask yourself how you would feel if you achieved that goal. What would the best possible outcome be from the situation? If a new job would relieve the stress in your life, maybe feeling calmer in your everyday life would be the best outcome.

Roman Cab

3. Recognize the obstacles that currently keep you from achieving that goal. 

Ask yourself this question: what is holding you back from achieving your goal? And, in turn, from feeling the best possible outcome? Maybe you don’t feel like you’re good enough for a new job? Maybe you don’t have any connections that could land you an interview for that new gig?

Manon a Job Interview

4. Make a plan to reach the goal.

How can you start to overcome these obstacles? Maybe you could start emailing or reaching out to a few people every week to make the connections you need to get your foot in the door at a new company. Maybe you can completely re-do your resume and send it out to all your friends and former co-workers, expressing your interest in getting a new job. You should also ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” to try to put your fears to rest.

Smile

As I mentioned earlier, WOOP doesn’t have to be for huge, momentous decisions. You can use this method for smaller things, like cleaning your house or exercising more. The folks behind WOOP say that it can “support all areas of behavior change. It is for people who feel stuck and don’t know what to do. It is also for people whose lives seem just fine but who feel they can do better. And it is for people who face a particular challenge or transition.”

And the research doesn’t lie. Study participants who followed WOOP doubled the amount of exercise they did over a four-month period. They ate 30% more fruits and vegetables over a two-year period. And WOOP helped people with diabetes improve their self-care.

And those are just a few examples of how it was effective.

What do you think about WOOP? Have you tried it? Did it work for you? Maybe you have some other methods for reaching your goals?

Tell us what works for you in the comments!

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When You’re Stressed About Money, This Is What Happens to Your Body and Your Brain

I think a lot of us can say that we’ve felt this kind of stress before: stress about being broke or very close to it. But how does this stress affect us, physiologically speaking?

We all have a fight-or-flight response system in our bodies that developed when our ancestors were roaming the land trying to avoid the many threats that could literally kill them at any time. Stress hormones are released when we’re presented with what we interpret as these kinds of situations – times when we humans have to decide whether to stick it out and fight or to run for our lives.

Stressed

But there are fewer saber-tooth tigers these days, and your fight-or-flight reflex is much more likely to be triggered by social issues – including dealing with money problems. When it does happen, the fight-or-flight reaction is very hard on the body. It can tense up our muscles until they hurt and mess up how our immune systems work, leaving us more vulnerable to getting sick. It can also cause constant stomach aches and headaches.

Stress

Another bad side effect: you might make bad decisions, even though, deep down, you know better. Aimee Daramus, a clinic psychologist, said, “Under stress, blood flow and electrical activity are reduced in the frontal and prefrontal lobes and increased in the survival parts of the brain, such as the amygdala.”

Since the parts of the brain where blood flow is reduced influence impulse control and planning, your decision-making process might get thrown for a loop, causing you to do things you normally wouldn’t do. Basically, you start to feel the walls closing in, which pressures you to act in ways that actually hurt your situation.

Daramus added, “We act quickly and decisively, but not always as accurately as usual.”

Depressed

On top of that, frequent stress reactions – whether caused by money issues or not – may cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Chronic stress might even lead to long-term physical ailments such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, the stress may lead you to take comfort where you can find it – and that can sometimes mean in alcohol and drugs, which may lead to substance abuse problems.

Money problems are hard – really hard – but try to take care of yourself.

Remember, your only real wealth is health.

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An Expert Says That Unmarried Women Without Kids Are the ‘Healthiest and Happiest Population Subgroup’

We all face a lot of pressures in our lives – pressures about marriage, kids, happiness, and what the perfect ingredients are to live a “perfect” life. Well, the older we all get, we know that there is no such thing as perfect,’ and we also know that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else.

As a man, it seems to me that women have it much tougher than men when it comes to societal expectations (though I can only speak from my personal experience). A lot of people still think that women are supposed to settle down, get married, have children, and raise a family. That’s been the ‘traditional’ way for generations, but what if those pressures really aren’t pushing women toward happiness at the end of the day?

Woman pointing

A professor of behavioral science named Paul Dolan published a book in 2019 called Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myths of the Perfect Life in which he makes some very interesting claims. Dolan, who teaches at the London School of Economics, said something quite controversial: he claims that “married people are happier than other population subgroups,”  but only “when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f—ing miserable.”

Wow. That sure turns a lot of ‘common knowledge’ on its head, doesn’t it? On top of that, Dolan said that “the healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children.”

Dolan’s book and his claims are based on research that polled people who are married, single, divorced, separated, and widowed. Dolan also claims that men seem to get more out of marriage because many of them “calmed down” after getting married.

Dolan pointed out the different effects that marriage has on the sexes: For men, “you take less risks, you earn more money at work and you live a little longer. She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married.”

Woman's portrait

Dolan also added this little nugget about his research and findings: “You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children — ‘Bless, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Maybe one day you’ll meet the right guy and that’ll change.’ No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change. Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.”

Yikes.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Staying at Home With Children Is More Stressful Than Going to Work

Parents who stay at home are often pretty misunderstood. While many people assume they sit around relaxing at home all day, the reality is it’s a 24-hour job that is exhausting. Between caregiving and household management, the work seemingly never ends. One new survey found that, for many people, staying at home is more stressful for parents than going to work.

The Aveeno Baby survey, conducted in the U.K., asked 1500 mothers and fathers about their experiences as working or stay-at-home parents.

The survey found that a significant percentage of parents (31%) feel that staying at home with the kids is more stressful than going to work, rather than the other way around.

Photo Credit: iStock

“Becoming a parent is an amazing experience, but we understand that entering this new chapter of life can also bring with it a great deal of stress and worry, so we wanted to discover more about what new parents experience in the first few years, what they wish they had known and how best we can support them,” Aveeno Baby skin expert Rebecca Bennett told The Sun.

“From what you put in your baby’s mouth to what you put on their skin, every small decision becomes much bigger and you worry you might not be making the right choice, or are being judged by others.”

Regardless of whether you work or stay at home, having a baby is HARD, the survey found. 39% of parents reported constant exhaustion while 55% believed that having a baby is hard work even with a strong support system.

In the age of social media, many parents also reported that parenting apps make it harder for them to feel like good parents due to the constant comparisons to others.

Photo Credit: iStock

The lesson? Never assume another parent has it easier than you!

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