Tag Archives: mind

5 quick ways to relax (and stop panic in its tracks)

Life is not a straight, flat road which is good since that would be awfully boring. But sometimes it can get a bit too hectic mentally or physically, so here are a few easy ways to catch those runaway emotions, collect yourself, and relax quickly in times of dire stress.

breathe
1. Breathe deeply, very deeply

We are always breathing, but we do not always think about it. Our bodies need oxygen so take in some deep breaths to fill up your entire lungs and bodies like Aunt Marge in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Go outside if you can, sometimes fresh air is all you need.

2. Immerse yourself in music

Grab your iPod and those headphones and blast your favourite tunes. Whether it is your angry, sad, or optimistic playlist, listen, really listen to the music for a few minutes escape from reality to refocus your head.

Girl talking on the phone about a boyfriend, 1951 by Gordon Parks. S)
3. Vent it out

Talk. It is much more efficient than texting and there is something very satisfying in hearing your own voice spew out all the thoughts that have been occupying your subconscious. Just be sure to pick a good listener whom you trust so there is no holding back in clearing your head space.

4. Drink something

It is amazing how much energy is drained from stress, so water is best to hydrate your body. Make a quick cup of tea, drink a  good ol’ glass of tap water (Toronto’s is very good, by the way) or even splash some water on your face for some extra refreshing effects.

Focus

5. Direct your energy

When there is no time, concentrate every particle in your body on the task at hand. Don’t think, just do. Acknowledge your troubles but set them aside, and use any negative energy to do a simple, random task. It will release the bad vibes and you also get to check something off your to-do list.
(Like for literalism!)

It has been a very long day not short of some rough spots. It was a day of big tests and big rehearsals – my brain and my legs are fried. Some of these really helped me today and I don’t want to forget them, so that explains the unexpected advice post. I hope it was somewhat helpful.

Thanks for reading,
-thebookybunhead

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Mindset by Carol S. Dweck: A ‘key to success’ book that actually serves its purpose well

Let’s face it. There are so many self help books out there, it is a difficult task to decide on picking one that is actually helpful despite reading the cover, judging the authenticity of “it will change your life” quotes,skimming through the content. So I have saved that trouble for you, tadah!

Possibly the only book you ever need to become successful:

Mindset

I do not hesitate in saying that this book will change your life. It sounds so cliche, but it is so true! I cannot articulately explain just how (that’s what the book is for) but basically, it enlightens us to the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

There are so many things outside of our control; we can’t change the world around us, our situations, or how others act and think. And it’s hard to change ourselves, our habits and our personality. So this book doesn’t tell us how. What we can change is how we look at ourselves and the world. And that is what this book is about. It is amazing how a change in perspective not only affects the way you think, but also how you act and react. It is an idea that is so wide-spread it can relate to everyone – students, teachers, parents – and be applied to all aspects of life, whether you’re an athlete, a musician, or an accountant.

Here’s an excerpt from her website with a helpful example:

“In the academic arena, mindset plays an important role. Students with a growth mindset are more likely to continue to persist when they struggle, while those who believe their intelligence is fixed are more likely to give up. Dweck has shown, too, that cues from parents and educators about performance can impact students’ beliefs and future actions.

Consider this example: a student completes a challenging mathematics problem successfully and her teacher offers praise by saying, “Great job! Clearly, you are very good at math.” What effect might this feedback have on the student’s beliefs? Dweck’s research indicates that this type of feedback—praising innate ability—reinforces the fixed mindset and the belief that people are born either with mathematics skills or without them. Further, she has shown that praise that reinforces this belief undermines students’ motivation and future learning, leading them to avoid more challenging tasks to protect themselves from failure.

Now consider an alternative: when the student completes the challenging mathematics problem, the teacher responds by saying, “Great job! You must have worked hard at that problem! Nice effort!” How might this feedback have a different effect on the student’s beliefs? Dweck has demonstrated that this response—praising effort instead of intelligence—reinforces the belief that success is developed through persistent effort. Dweck’s research also shows that even when a student fails at a task, this type of feedback indicates that struggle and failure are normal, and that effort is a crucial part of eventual success.”

And the best part about this book is the simplicity of its message. Some of you may have heard of the famous “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, and while I learned from that book too, this one’s better. There aren’t many rules to follow or steps to take that are difficult to remember, instead only one, clear message:

I'm going to succeed cause I am crazy...

Ok, so this is a very crude portrayal of the concept but it gives you the idea.

I have seen a great difference in the way I approach my work in both ballet and school since reading this. Because I am less concerned about what I can do now but rather what I will be able to do in the future, perfectionism has diminished allowing me to take more risks. It also taught me that talent is not enough. Through hard work and perseverance anything is possible, and the book has many examples of that. I don’t procrastinate as much, scared to start a paper, worried that it will not turn out perfect – because it is my effort and how much I learn during the process that counts. This idea persuaded me to work harder by doing extra exercises to supplement the training of my daily dance classes. After reading it, I just felt so enlightened and motivated that I truly can reach, or at least, should try to reach, my full potential.

I hope I have interested you in this book if you haven’t read it already (in which case I’d be interested to hear what you think) because sincerely I’d feel like I’ve contributed to a better mankind with each person that reads this. I guarantee it is a worthwhile read, if not mind-bogglingly life-changing at least moderately interesting.

Read on,
thebookybunhead

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