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9 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
Episode 6 - 6 Steps to Negotiate Yourself to Sleep
Today's episode is one of several tools you can use if you're having trouble sleeping or to calm your anxiety in general. It is good specifically for when your anxiety comes from unfinished tasks. Tool: Negotiate with ourselves to sleep better Instructions: 1 - If you're having trouble sleeping and you're sure it's not gonna happen any time soon, just get up and go to a comfortable place where you can sit, think and write. Grab yourself a piece of paper and a pen and maybe some warm drink that might help you sleep (maybe tea or milk). 2 - Start imagining a conversation with yourself and maybe start by asking "Hey brain, what would you be happy for me to do that would be enough for you to let me sleep? 3 - Start writing things that you come up with in the form of tasks. For now don't worry a lot about the feasability of these tasks. Just write everything that comes up in your mind. Maybe it's even a good opportunity to do a bit of Freewriting, like we talked about in our first episode of this podcast. 4 - When you have a good list of tasks, then you start negotiating with yourself which ones you're willing to do tonight and which ones you're going to plan for the next day or another day of this week. If it's a lot of things, break it down into a small steps towards them that would be reasonable to do in the near time. For instance, if your brain says "I would like you to get back into practicing violin" just negotiate with yourself that you're going to do 30 minutes of practice this week as a start. Try to get at least 1 very small task done that same evening. And remember that making the plan is already one task. So give yourself credit for that. If you're schedulling tasks for other days, you should put them directly into your calendar, whatever form it has. 5 - After you feel your list of tasks is reasonable, and that they are well defined and scheduled in your calendar, take a bit of time to end your drink, admire your work, and let yourself know that you have just set wheels in motion to take control of your life. It doesn't matter if any part of this plan fails. You will be there to reassess and re-negoatiate with yourself again. 6 - Go to bed and try to get some sleep. If you end up not being able to, you might have missed something. You either get up and try again, or just tell yourself that you will work on it again the next day. All part of the larger plan.
7 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Episode 5 - Rubber Ducking, the power of talking to yourself
In this episode we will explore how the act of talking to a rubber duck can be a tool for better learning. If you want to see the transcription of this episode and other notes like links to more things to read, just follow the link to http://mindtoolbox.live.
11 minutes | Sep 6, 2020
Episode 4 - Crying as a tool
In this episode we’ll be talking about a tool we've probably used before, which is crying. I know you probably don’t see it as a tool but give me a chance to change your mind. One of the things I would like to talk about and hopefully get out of the way is the stigma about crying. For a long time seeing someone crying was like seeing weakness. Men were taught that we're not supposed to cry, and women would be seen as too fragile. I hope this is way less the case nowadays. We cry because it's a mechanism that our body has to cope with things. And it bares no weight on how we act and if we're "tough" or not. It can actually help on solving issues as we will see in a moment. From all the things I've read I think we can safely summarize the advantages of crying as: 1 - It soothes us emotionally. After crying we release our stress hormones and toxins and we produce hormones that make us feel good. That can help us deal with problems we need to deal with or simply cope better with situations out of our control. 2 - It can help relieve physical pain for the same reason as the previous point, the release of "feel good" pain easing hormones. 3 - It can create empathy in others, and because of that we increase the chances of someone helping us in our time of need Tool: Crying in a controlled environment Instructions: 1 - Find a place where you're alone and you can be alone for a while without anyone disturbing you. I highly recommend the time you're taking your shower. Like I said, it cleans up your tears, has great acoustics and the sounds of the shower will muffle any crying to the outside of the bathroom (if you're not alone at home. 2 - Find in your memories things that make you very sad. If you're using this tool to cope with a circumstance that is happening right now or happened not long ago, use everything you can from memory that makes you sad about it. I believe this even helps you organise your thoughts about the issue and will have benefits in the long run. 3 - Build up the tears with all the memories. Cry the most you can as if you're trying to empty a box. Try even moaning. I know a bit of it helped me a lot. It has some sort of soothing feedback from the bathtub. 4 - Dry your tears (or wash them away) and compose yourself. Calm yourself down, forget those memories and think of very practical things you are going to do afterwards. You can also think about things you look forward to do soon, even if it's small stuff like watching a movie, having a nice dinner or playing a game. Maybe it's even a great day to order takeout from your favourite place. 5 - Notice the next few days how long it goes until you feel the need to do it again. If you're in the middle of a bad phase of your life, just do this often. As often as you feel it helps. Links: 8 benefits of crying - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631 The Health Benefits of Tears - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201007/the-health-benefits-tears Hypotheses on the Development of Psychoemotional Tearing - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1542012412701842 Is crying a self-soothing behavior? - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035568/
16 minutes | Aug 24, 2020
Episode 3 - Help others to help yourself
In this episode we explore the act of caring for others as a tool to help ourselves. Studies show the benefits are immense! I share my experience with it and try to structure it into an actionable tool. Tool: doing charity work Instructions: 1 - Look at your schedule and determine how much time you are willing to spend on this experiment and when it’s the best time to do it. Start small. Even if it’s na hour of your time every fortnight. Just make sure it’s confortable for you. You can also change it later if you need to. 2 - Start exploring what volunteer work exists in your area. I know we are under very restrictive and special circumstances due to the world pandemic, but explore what type of things you can help with that are safe for you. Even if it means simply doing work online. And choose something that means something to you (although sometimes we only find it does after we start doing it). Remember what I said before: the benefits we get from volunteering seem to be linked to the amount of meaning we put into it. And remember, you can change it later if you don’t feel like it’s working out. 3 - Even though you can maximise your results finding something that matches your skills, maybe it would be interesting trying some work outside them. This is an opportunity to grow so take some chances. I know I learned a lot about warehouse organisation, logistics and maybe a bit about supply chains. I also got used to driving vans full of goods. And later, when I started getting management roles, I ended up practicing my leadership skills. 4 - Make sure you are are not harming yourself with the volunteering activity you chose. We need to be in a good shape to help others, or else you’re just wasting time and resources. I remember my work distributing food to the homeless and it was tough. And a lot of people burned out being confronted with so much pain. And then if you’re suffering yourself, it will show, and it will have em effect on them, on your performance as a volunteer and in your life. 5 - Put an effort into being as effective as you can during the time you’re volunteering. That will mean you won’t need to put a lot of your time to make a difference. It will also maximize the chances that you will get all the benefits we talked about 6 - Decide how much contact you want to have with people. There’s always roles that are more backstage and roles that place you more in contact with the person being helped. It all depends on your personality. I would also say that, if you’re a more introvert person, maybe at some point you could try something small and simple that puts you in contact with people, to help you deal with that (if it’s something you would like to improve upon).
7 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Episode 2 - Pillars of your life
In today's episode we explore a very structural tool that will probably serve as a base to some future tools. This tool is supposed to help you balance several areas of your life in a very visual way. Tool: Pillars of your life Instructions: 1 - Get a piece of paper or a new computer document 2 - List what areas of your life are important to you and are your pillars. Again, things like Work, Health, Relationship, Friends, Family, etc. Don't worry if you miss one, the idea is that you will revise this list from time to time, and it's your list so you can change it at any time. 3 - Now you're going to think of each one of your pillars and write what actions you have been taking towards improving each one. Have you been in contact with your friends or family? Have you been doing well at work? Have you been doing actions that will contribute to your relationship like doing those small surprises or taking her/him out to dinner, or anything. It's not just about how you perceive that area is going. It's also about how much effort and actions you've been performing to make it better. 4 - Based on what you listed give a score of 1 to 10 for each one. Try to be the most honest with yourself you can. You won't be showing this list to anyone, so just make the effort to be transparent, even if it hurts. 5 - Now draw the several pillars in the paper and each one should be as thick as the number you assigned to it. 6 - Evaluate. Look at your pillars. Where are the weak parts of your structure? Which pillars need more work? 7 - Create a small list of simple actions you can assign to the pillars that have the smallest score. This can be treating your partner with a surprise massage, or arranging for a dinner party with your friends, visiting your aunt, or even reconnecting with someone you lost contact with because of some fight you had. These should be actionable and not complex at this stage. 8 - Schedule those actions. Decide a date for each one. Make it so it's comfortable for you. 9 - Execute those actions!
8 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Episode 1 - Listen to your subconscious using Free Writing
In today's episode we explore a very interesting tool that might give you some interesting insight into what's going on in your mind. Tool: Free Writing Instructions: Get a blank piece of paper and a pen, or an empty document in your computer. Start writing anything at a steady pace, no need to be quick but try not to slow down Don't care about how you spell or for any mistakes you make Don't care about what word you're using and if there's a better one. There's probably a reason you're using the wrong one anyway! Don't worry if you start repeating things. That's very normal! Let it flow even if it feels like you're repeating yourself a lot. I think sometimes that's just us unblocking the thought stream, but other times I actually think it's just us repeating the important stuff. Tips: Start with a sentence like "Today I feel..." or "I want..." or "I need..." Links: Psychology Today on Free Writing: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-creative-life/201708/the-magic-freewriting Tim Schaefer, Double Fine Adventure EP2, Free Writing: https://youtu.be/E47d8BlizGI?t=212
1 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Mind Toolbox Podcast Trailer
Hi there. My name is Fausto Fonseca and this is Mind Toolbox. We all struggle sometimes with how untamed our mind is. We procrastinate, we get depressed, we have toxic thoughts. And we try ways of coping with it but it doesn't always work. Well, maybe you just haven't been using the right mind tools for yourself. The fact is, there are tons of mind exercises, thought mechanisms and good practices out there, and some of them might just work with you. Well that's what I've been trying for a while to find out for myself, and while doing it I will be sharing them in this podcast. Each episode will be about another tool I found or simply some thoughts in ways we can deal with certain mind issues we might have . I'm not a doctor and I'm also not offering you any magic pill. But you might want to try some of these tools yourself and maybe it will work. I would love to hear from you if it did! This podcast is hosted in Mintoolbox.live and I hope you'll join me in this journey to get better equipped to deal with our minds.
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