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How To Skyrocket Productivity When You’re Stressed Or Depressed

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It’s the morning of February 11, 2017. Lester will never forget it.

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His alarm rings, he tries to get out of bed, but…he can’t.

Lester’s body feels like a sandbag forced down to the mattress, his mind races, and his eyes well up with tears. The first emotion is fear. I’ll be late for work! Lester attempts to leave the bed. No luck. He calls his boss and asks for a day off for health reasons.

That day turns into weeks spent in bed with thoughts about pointless life, loneliness, and useless work. Lester is stressed. Or, as they say, he has emotional burnout.

And here’s Lucy. Her mornings start with crawling out of bed with nothing but an awful headache. Negative thoughts will accompany her throughout the day: on the way to work, in the office, during her dinner with friends, and through sleepless nights.

Lucy smiles as if nothing is wrong, does her job reflexively, and no one from her surrounding realizes she has dysthymia, a high-functioning depression that causes changes in her body and mind.

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Both Lester and Lucy tell no one about their condition. Like 300 million other people worldwide, they try to live a full life and work efficiently. In fact, they have to work to do so:
When in depression, a person finds it costs larger-than-life effort to do something. That’s because stressed people are not just in a blue mood, but in painful physical condition, either.

It goes without saying, both stress and depression are not problems to ignore. They require treatment, so don’t join the 80% of sufferers who don’t receive it simply because they see symptoms but don’t want to admit something is wrong. Yes, treatment works.

But while in the process, you need to make everything less exhausting for you to do. To manage your stress, recover from depression, and maintain productivity even when unmotivated, try the following:

1. Write

It may sound counterintuitive, but writing has a therapeutic effect on your mind. Doctors admit the value of transmitting thoughts to paper, though it’s not a perfect panacea, of course. But practices such as keeping a diary, writing long lists or unsent letters, paraphrasing from others, and free writing lead to better self-confidence and help us to process emotions and old wounds.

It might help to draw a clear picture of what you should change in your life to recover from stresses or depression. Dasha Amrom (Career Coaching Ventures) suggests a cause of stress might be the feeling you can’t control things.

And here’s where writing helps, too.

If you prioritize tasks and plan ahead by creating to-do lists, breaking projects into small steps, and scheduling meetings, you’ll feel accomplished, on-task, and prepared. Writing will not prevent tasks from piling up, but it does allow you to analyze your thoughts and decide how to delegate your responsibilities.

2. Learn Calming Techniques

According to researchers, interruptions affect your work satisfaction and performance, keeping you from reaching that flow state of pure focus and creativity. So, to skyrocket productivity, try to avoid interruptions whenever possible: Listen to calm music in earphones, practice deep breathing techniques, or try different variations of meditations.

These all have calming effects, help you find internal peace and balance, soothe nerves, and help you manage negative emotions, all of which makes you feel better. To enhance your productivity, change your perspective: Don’t dig yourself into stress or depression, but try something you’ve never done before. Take a nature trip, find a new hobby, whatever. It will distract from a brooding frame of mind and steer your energy in the right direction.

3. Take Care of Your Health

As Shawn Achor, positive psychology researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, says, four barriers exist to creating a positive reality. He nicknamed them HALT — hungry, angry, lonely, or tired — so if you feel any of those things, it’s time to change that for better mood and productivity.

How?

  • Eat well. As you probably know, food impacts both physical condition and mood, so try for healthy and frequent meals. They will keep you focused and energetic. Also, maintain the level of sugar in your blood to avoid irritation, mood swings, and anxiety.
  • Sleep well. Though insomnia is the best friend of your stress or depression, lack of sleep can compound matters. Try to avoid stressful situations before bedtime and be sure to get your eight hours.
  • Go for sports. By alternating brain work with physical work, you can enhance productivity. Exercise stimulates endorphin secretion, making you less angry and tired. And, paradoxically, expending physical energy makes you feel more energized.
  • Groom. It’s not about mere hygiene, but protection from stress and depression as well. So buy a massage chair or head massager, try practicing hug days in your office, and stroke your pet to increase your level of endorphins.

Aside from these physical things that influence our mood and condition, there are also mental tricks we can practice, through what’s called positive psychology, to improve our mood.

In his TED Talk “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” Shawn speaks about… writing (yes, it seems we go back to the point one of this article). But he changes the perspective (okay, here we go back to the point two) and details another three steps to more productivity:

  • Write gratitude lists.
  • Journal about a positive experience you had in the last 24 hours.
  • Send emails of appreciation to someone you love.

Together with exercising and meditating, these lead you to the positive thinking necessary for happiness and balance, the only powerful weapon for struggling with stress.

Leigh Steere says there can be both internal and external causes of stress and depression. Internal ones include work-life imbalance, interpersonal discomfort, wrong fit role, and financial struggles; external ones might be a poor engagement or working conditions, bullying, or unreasonable demands from your boss.

Whatever your reason is, longstanding fatigue might be a signal to leave a job or change your lifestyle. Don’t hurry to give up everything once you feel sad, but don’t let stress run your life, either. Sometimes, just talking it out or making small changes are all you need for a happier life.

About the author:
Lesley Vos is a professional web writer and contributor to publications on digital life, style, and productivity. She is a nature lover and passionate traveler, willing to see New Zealand one day. Feel free to follow her on @LesleyVos.

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Awareness

30-Year Study Finds Weekly Use Of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Chances Of Lung Disease

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research determined that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% of developing lung disease.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many other natural alternatives out there these days. Some are listed in the article, be sure to do your research!

One of the most versatile cleaning supplies in the home, bleach disinfects anything it comes into contact with and can not only clean every surface but remove stains from fabrics, too. Despite its cleaning power, we’ve also long heard of the effects such chemicals can have on our health and wellbeing. The labels on such products make some of these clear, explaining they are corrosive and can irritate  eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, often through simple inhalation. Despite these warnings signs, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda.

As previously stated in an article of ours from 2013:

It is important to note that there is no FDA-type organization that regulates the cleaning products that are brought into your home. Instead groups such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make warnings of the use of Chlorine Bleach publicly available. Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach within their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:

  • Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The lower concentration poses a potentially lesser risk of unwanted exposure.
  • Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
  • Only use chlorine bleach in a well ventilated area to allow for sufficient air flow and to prevent the unwanted gasses from remaining stationary in the working space.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaners.

It’s unlikely people exercise these precautions when dealing with this chemical, and it’s also interesting to note that even more studies have come forward since then confirming these risks.


A new study has found that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing,” according to the American Lung Association.

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The 30-year study was conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. This new study could potentially link COPD to specific cleaning chemicals, as two other studies in European populations showed that “working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,” according to Orianne Dumas, a researcher at Inserm. Dumas goes on to say, “Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”

In 1989, the Harvard researchers found 55,185 working female nurses in the U.S. who did not have COPD, then analyzed those who were still working in 2009 over the next eight years. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine which disinfectants they used most frequently and why they used them. The disinfectants included glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as “quats”). In addition to the questionnaire, they took into account factors such as age, weight and ethnicity.

During this period they found that 663 were diagnosed with the condition. “In our study population, 37% of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19% used disinfectants to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis,” says Dumas.

The study aims to highlight the lack of health guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfectants, especially in healthcare settings, and researchers hope their results will prompt further investigation and better safety precautions.

There are many substantial alternatives to bleach like vinegar or essential oils, and if you’d like to further rid your home of harsh chemicals, check out this article (click here).

We need more people like these researchers, who dedicate their time to ensuring our safety when it comes to items we have incorporated into our lifestyle and assume are safe, doing this kind of work. This information isn’t meant to scare anyone, especially those of us who actively use these materials, but rather to bring more awareness so that we can educate ourselves and make healthier choices. There are countless healthy and safe alternatives when it comes to what we clean with, what we wear, and what we eat. You have to play the role of researcher in your own life if you expect to make positive change, and by having an open mind, you allow yourself to accept opportunities that can further your growth, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

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Alternative News

Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.

  • Reflect On:

    When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.

Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.

One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’

For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.

The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.

Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research.  This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.

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It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:

If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.

Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary

One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:

“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)

She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.

Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy

“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)

With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks,  “The Game Changers” documentary

“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)

A Related CE Articles With More Information: 

Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat – Leading Microbiome Scientist Explains

12,000 Doctors Urge The FDA to put Cancer Warnings on Cheese 

Scientist: Milk From Cows Has “The Most Relevant Carcinogen Ever Identified” & “Turns on Cancer”

Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker

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Awareness

Half of All Commonly Used Drugs Seriously Affect The Gut Microbiome, Scientists Warn

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many commonly prescribed medications have been found to have a drastic affect on the "good bacteria" in our gut.

  • Reflect On:

    It is important to be aware of all potential side effects before taking a new drug to decide whether or not it's worth it for you.

The link between a healthy gut microbiome and overall well-being has been established in recent years as we are learning that around 95% of the serotonin (commonly referred to as the “happy hormone”) produced in our bodies actually comes from our gut! This is one of many reasons why it is important to take care of our health, be mindful of the foods we are eating and be aware of adverse reactions from any drugs we are taking.

A recent study presented at UEG Week 2019 (United European Gastroenterology) has found that 18 commonly prescribed prescription drugs extensively affect the taxonomic structure and metabolic potential of the gut microbiome. Another eight drugs from different categories were also found to increase antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in study participants, and that’s not good.

According to the official press release regarding the findings of the study,

“Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center looked at 41 commonly used drug categories and assessed 1883 faecal samples from a population-based cohort, patients with IBD and patients with IBS intermixed with healthy controls. The researchers compared the taxonomic and metabolic functions profiles of drug users to non-drug users, looking at the effect of single medication use and then combined medication use. The changes observed could increase the risk of intestinal infections, obesity and other serious conditions and disorders linked to the gut microbiome.”

In a healthy gut, we all have a microbe population living inside our intestines. This microbe population consists of tens of trillions of microorganisms, which include over 1000 various species of bacteria. There are many different factors that can affect the microbiota population in the human gut, including various forms of medication.

The drug categories that were concluded in the study to have the biggest impact on the gut microbiome are as follows:

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  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – used to treat dyspepsia which affects between 11% and 24% of the European population. PPIs are also used to treat peptic ulcer, H. Pylori eradication, Gastro reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus.
  • Metformin – used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, affecting 10% of European adults
  • Antibiotics – used to treat bacterial infections, taken by 34% of the European population each year
  • Laxatives – used to treat and prevent constipation, affecting 17% of European adults

More Important Findings

The study also showed that the gut microbiota of PPI users resulted in an increased level of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria as well as increased fatty acid production. Metformin users showed higher levels of bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli).

The research also showed that seven more categories of drugs were linked to significant changes to the levels of bacteria populations found in the gut. Oral steroids were related to higher levels of methanogenic bacteria, which has is associated with an increased BMI and obesity. Also, certain antidepressant drugs (known as SSRIs) used by those who also suffer from IBS was linked to an abundance of a bacteria species called Eubacterium ramulus, which can be harmful.

Lead-researcher of the study, Arnau Vich Vila said: “We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use.”

Final Thoughts

It is important to understand all potential side effects when deciding on introducing a new drug into our system. The bacteria in our gut is there for a reason and it assists our bodies with many functions and if they are killed off or thrown off-balance it could result in more serious issues down the road.

If you are experiencing any of these issues and taking any of these medications it may be worthwhile to talk to your doctor about it and see if there are any alternative methods for treatment.

Our health is our greatest wealth!

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