A Daily Journal Could Change Your Life: The 10-minute routine

A Daily Journal Could Change Your Life: The 10-minute routine

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”  — Thomas Edison

Excerpted article was written by Benjamin P. Hardy

Here’s why.

10 minutes before going to sleep:

It’s common practice for many of the world’s most successful people to intentionally direct the workings of their subconscious mind while they’re sleeping.


Take a few moments before you go to bed to meditate on and write down the things you’re trying to accomplish.

Ask yourself loads of questions related to that thing. In Edison’s words, make some “requests.” Write those questions and thoughts down on paper. The more specific the questions, the clearer your answers will be.

While you’re sleeping, your subconscious mind will get to work on those things.

10 minutes after waking up:

Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while you slept, making contextual and temporal connections. Creativity, after all, is making connections between different parts of the brain.

In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, Josh Waitzkin, former chess prodigy and tai chi world champion, explains his morning routine to tap into the subconscious breakthroughs and connections experienced while he was sleeping.

Unlike 80 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 44 who check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up, Waitzkin goes to a quiet place, does some meditation and grabs his journal.

In his journal, he thought-dumps for several minutes. Thus, rather than focusing on input like most people who check their notifications, Waitzkin’s focus is on output. This is how he taps into his higher realms of clarity, learning and creativity—what he calls, “crystallized intelligence.”

If you’re not an experienced journal writer, the idea of thought-dumping might be hard to implement. In my experience, it’s good to loosely direct your thought-dumping toward your goals.

Consider the requests you made of your subconscious just before going to bed. You asked yourself loads of questions. You thought about and wrote down the things you’re trying to accomplish.

Now first thing in the morning, when your creative brain is most attuned after its subconscious workout, start writing down whatever comes to mind about those things.

I often get ideas for articles I’m going to write while doing these thought-dumps. I get ideas about how I can be a better husband and father to my three foster children. I get clarity about the goals I believe I should be pursuing. I get insight about people I need to connect with, or how I can improve my current relationships.

To be sure, you’ll need to practice this skill. It might take several attempts before you become proficient. But with consistency, you can become fluent and automatic at achieving creative and intuitive bursts.

2. Journaling accelerates your ability to manifest your goals.

As part of your morning creative burst, use your journal to review and hone your daily to-do list. Review and hone your life vision and big-picture goals.

As you read and rewrite your goals daily, they’ll become forged into your subconscious mind. Eventually, your dreams and vision will consume your inner world and quickly become your physical reality.

3. Journaling creates a springboard for daily recovery.

People struggle drastically to detach from work. More now than ever, we fail to live presently. Our loved ones are lucky to experience a small percentage of our attention while they’re with us.

But utilizing your journal can curb this mismanagement. At the end of your workday, reopen your journal and review your to-do list from that day. If your morning journal session was excellent, you’ll have likely gotten everything done you intended to do. Private victories always precede public victories.

Journal sessions are your post-work reflection time. Account to yourself what you got done that day and what needs to be moved to tomorrow. Write the things you learned and experienced.

Lastly, direct your subconscious by writing about things you want to focus on tomorrow. As you put work behind you for the evening, your subconscious will be preparing a feast for you to consume during your next morning’s creative and planning session.

This end-of-day journal session doesn’t need to be as long as the morning session. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, recommends writing far less than you want to—only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. This will help you avoid burnout.

A primary objective of this session is to mentally turn off work mode. Just as in physical training, you need to rest and recover between workdays to get stronger.

Use this session to completely unplug and detach from work. This is your time to recover and be present with your loved ones—because there is more to life than work. The higher quality your recovery, the more potent and powerful your creative sessions will be.

4. Journaling generates clarity and congruence.

This keystone habit has so much power. By journaling in the morning and evening, you’ll quickly see what is incongruent in your life.

You’ll clearly see what needs to be removed and what should be included in your life. Journaling is a beautiful and powerful facilitator of self-discovery. My own journaling is how I’ve come to form my sense of identity and path in life.

Not only will you have more clarity about your path in life, but journaling improves your ability to make small and large decisions along the way.

On the pages of your journal will be the future world you are creating for yourself. You are the author of your life’s story. You deserve to be happy. You have the power to create whatever life you want. As the designer of your world, get as detailed as you desire.

5. Journaling clears your emotions.

Several research studies found that writing in your journal reduces stress. These benefits include:

  • Reducing scatter in your life
  • Increased focus
  • Greater stability
  • Deeper level of learning, order, action and release
  • Holding thoughts still so they can be changed and integrated
  • Releasing pent-up thoughts and emotions
  • Empowerment
  • Bridging inner thinking with outer events
  • Detaching and letting go of the past
  • Allowing you to re-experience the past with today’s adult mind

When you are in an intensely emotional mood, journaling can help you more fully experience and understand those emotions.

After you’ve vented on the pages of your journal, you’ll quickly find a release. Objectivity will return and you’ll be able to move forward.

Without a journal, intense emotional experiences can be crippling for hours, days and even years. But an honest and inspired journal session can be the best form of therapy—quickly returning you better and smarter than you were before.

6. Journaling ingrains your learning.

Humans are bad at retaining information. We forget most of what we read and hear. However, when you write down the things you’ve learned, you retain them far better. Even if you never reread what you’ve written, the simple act of writing something down increases brain development and memory.

Neurologically, when you listen to something, a different part of your brain is engaged than when you write it down. Memory recorded by listening does not discriminate important from unimportant information. Writing creates spatial regions between important and unimportant pieces of information, which allows your memory to target and engrain the important stuff you want to remember.

Furthermore, the act of writing allows your subconscious mind to work out problems in unique ways, intensifying the learning process. You’ll be able to work out problems and get insight while you ponder and write about the things you’re learning.

7. Journaling increases your gratitude.

Even if you start a journal session in a bad mood, the insight writing brings has a subtle way of shifting your mind toward gratitude.

When you start writing what you’re grateful for, new chambers of thought open in the palace of your mind. You’ll often need to put your pen down and take a few breaths. You’ll be captivated not only by the amazing things in your life, but by the awe and brilliance of life in general.

As part of your morning and post-work journaling sessions, be sure to include some gratitude in your writing. It will change your life orientation from scarcity to abundance. The world will increasingly “become your oyster.”

Gratitude journaling is a scientifically proven way to overcome several psychological challenges. The benefits are seemingly endless. Here are just a few:

8. Journaling unfolds the writer in you.

I became a writer through journaling. While I was on a mission-trip, I wrote in my journal for one to two hours per day. I got lost in flow and fell in love with the writing process.

If you want to become a writer one day, start by journaling. Journaling can help you:

  • Develop strong writing habits.
  • Help you discover your voice.
  • Clear your mind and crystalizes your ideas.
  • Get closer to the 10,000 hours Malcom Gladwell says are required to become world-class at what you do.
  • Produce gems you could use in your other writing.

9. Journaling records your life history.

I started journaling in 2008 after reading an article about the importance of journal writing. In the article, the author described how much journaling had changed her life. She said after all these years, she now has 38 recorded volumes of personal and family history.

After finishing that article, I have never stopped writing in my journal. In my family room on a bookshelf are 20-plus journals filled with my thoughts and experiences. I’m certain they will be cherished by my ancestors as I’ve cherished the writing of my loved ones who have passed on.

This post originally appeared on BenjaminHardy.com.


Athletes and government officials sometimes get quicker access to MRIs

By Steve Lambert


WINNIPEG _ Manitobans are waiting longer for magnetic resonance imaging tests, partly because some people such as injured workers, professional athletes and government officials are given faster service, the province’s auditor general said Thursday.

“Some patients were given higher priority for non-medical reasons,” Ricard wrote in his 43-page report.

“On average, members of professional sports teams received MRI scans within a day of referral. And some patients with influence such as government officials, donors or people working in the health care system received quick scans, often the same or next day and without any priority code assigned to their request forms.”

The report said some facilities give priority service to people covered by private insurance, such as pro athletes. One Winnipeg centre has an agreement with the Workers Compensation Board, which pays for the service, to scan injured workers within 20 days.

The report did not delve into which government officials might have received faster service. Ricard said in an interview he did not get into names because of confidentiality rules in the health system. He also said any influential people may have been given priority service without their knowledge.

“We didn’t find any conclusive evidence that these people sought expedited access,” Ricard said.

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the issue would be examined.

“Any time I hear that somebody might be getting a treatment not based on what they need, but who they know or who they are, I would be concerned.”

NDP health critic Matt Wiebe, a backbencher in the NDP government before the Tories won last year’s election, said he had not heard of any government officials being fast-tracked.

As of last June, the average wait time for an MRI scan in the province was 23 weeks  almost twice as long as the wait five years earlier.

While the increase is due largely to a fast-rising demand for scans, Ricard pointed to a number of aggravating factors that occurred under the former NDP government.

The government did not properly compare the benefits of different locations before announcing some new MRI scanners, Ricard wrote. There was also no review to see whether expanding the operating hours at existing centres might be more efficient than adding new machines, he added.

The province lacks a centralized system to process requests for scans, leading to different wait times in different areas. And there are very few measures taken to cut down on the number of unnecessary tests, Ricard wrote.

“Several … staff told us inappropriate MRI requests are a problem and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health reports that evidence indicates 10 to 20 per cent of medical imaging exams are unnecessary or inappropriate.”

Wiebe said the former government was focused on getting MRI scanners to different areas of the province to address growing demand and reduce travel time for patients. There were only two scanners in the province in 2004. The NDP had added nine by 2011, Ricard noted.

The Tory government has left the door open to following Saskatchewan’s lead and allowing private clinics to charge for MRI scans as long as they perform an equal number of free scans for people on the public waiting list.

But Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has condemned that system as bad policy, bad medicine and a violation of the Canada Health Act.

“We remain open to those suggestions or options,” Goertzen said.

“We’ve had … a few proposals that go along that direction. We need to review them more in-depth.”

You’ve got 25,000 mornings. What will you do with each one?

Read more
Dieters beware. The office is a danger zone.

Dieters beware. The office is a danger zone.

Excerpted article By Lisa Lillien, a.k.a. Hungry Girl

It’s one thing to stick to your diet in the comfort of your own home: You’ve stocked up on cut veggies and fat-free Greek yogurt, and the only person who sees you write in your food journal is your partner, who’s pretty nonjudgmental about the whole thing. But dieting at the office – with the endless supply of home-baked goods in the communal kitchen and the frequent fast-food lunch breaks – is another thing altogether.

I wish I could tell you to keep up the good work at home and let your guard down when you’re at the office, but because you’re probably spending half of your waking hours at work, that’s not going to fly. Outsmart the whole scenario by doing the following:

Eat Breakfast, Seriously

Everyone from your kindergarten teacher to your know-it-all best friend has extolled the virtues of eating breakfast. Studies have shown that if you eat breakfast, you’re likely to consume fewer calories overall throughout the day. Plus, eating in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism.

Bring Your Lunch

This isn’t exactly rocket science, but the BEST thing you can do to follow your diet at work is to bring a bagged lunch. If there’s anything that derails a diet, it’s feeling that fierce mid-day hunger and not having healthy food handy. Then it’s “hello vending machine!”

The beauty of brown-bagging is twofold:

  1. Packing your own lunch puts you in complete control of your afternoon meal.
  1. A healthy balanced meal will keep you from feeling snacky an hour later.

If You Have to Go Out for Lunch

I get it – you’ve been cooped up in the office all day or you feel the need to socialize with your coworkers or you’ve been bringing sandwiches from home all week and you can’t stand eating another meal at your desk.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting your local lunch economy every now and then. And there are some surprisingly smart options at major fast food chains.

Pack Snacks

Not only will packing your own snacks help keep your hunger at bay, but it’ll give you something to munch on when you’re summoning all your willpower to avoid that birthday cake in the break room. And make sure to pack a few craving busters for the tempting foods you encounter at the office. Those pastries will look a lot less inviting when you’ve got a dessert-flavored snack bar at the ready.

A breakdown of pain management treatments

Pain management is a branch of medicine aimed at reducing patient suffering and boosting quality of life. While some experts distinguish between pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to treating pain, Dr. Fiona Campbell, a pediatric anesthetist based in Toronto and the incoming head of the Canadian Pain Society, breaks the strategies into three areas: pharmacological, physical and psychological. Marc White, a medical researcher and president of the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability says there is good evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these alternative options for treating some subsets of the population.

Pharmacological: The drugs and medications available over the counter or through a doctor’s prescription. These methods tend to receive the most research funding and better coverage within Canada’s medical system, making them easier to access for people who don’t have private health insurance. Examples of the drugs include anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, narcotics.

Physical: These interventions range from behavioural modifications, such as exercise or physiotherapy, to more invasive procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections. Examples for the intervention include steroid injections, exercise, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, heat/cold application

Psychological: Mental techniques tend to focus on a person’s relationship with pain, engaging with the behaviours, feelings and thoughts that accompany physical suffering. Techniques include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques

Sources: American Psychological Association, American Chronic Pain Association


Alberta website lets people see ER wait times, rates quality of care

Albertans can now check how long it will take to see an emergency room doctor, as well as overall quality of care at 16 emergency rooms across the province.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta says its website is designed to make access to emergency room information easy for health-care providers, decision-makers and the public.

Much of the information is already publicly accessible, but council CEO Andrew Neuner says it’s important to bring all the data into one easy-to-use website.

The website uses simple graphs and colourful icons to help users track down information in 18 categories, including how long to see an emergency room doctor, number of people who leave an emergency room without seeing a doctor, and overall quality of care.

The website can be found at http://focus.hqca.ca.

Neuner says it’s hoped people will recognize areas that are performing well, have conversations about how to improve, and that measures will improve over time through that process.

“I think the bigger message that we’re trying to deliver here is that by working with patients and providers, we’ve pulled together the most important measures so that there’s a single source of truth,” said Neuner.


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