Lost Your Motivation? Here’s How to Find It

There are times in life when we don’t feel as if we are as productive as we could be. There are things we want, but sometimes it’s tough to find the motivation to take action. Below are some suggestions on ways to find motivation in your everyday life and at work.

What is Motivation?

As humans, we have a reason for every time we take an action. That “reason”, that “why” we do anything is called the motivator. We are moved to action, and motivation is the core of that action.

For example, if you start running away from a swarm of bees, running is your action and fear is your motivation. If you spend money on a lottery ticket, winning money is your motivation. If you exercise, an endorphin rush or the desire to lose weight may be your motivation.

What all of these examples have in common, along with any motivators, is that they are compelled by feelings. The way our brains are structured, feelings almost always trump thoughts.

What Motivates You?

What motivates you will be specific to what provides you with a compelling feeling. Chip and Dan Heath, in their book Switch, talk about focusing on emotions. How you feel can determine your level of motivation.

If you’re feeling very hungry, that may be your motivation to eat. If you’re excited about getting a paycheck, that may be your “why” you go to work. When you begin to understand your feelings and what can motivate you, you may be more apt to take action.

John O’Leary, in his book On Fire, talks about his motivation to learn how to write with no hands. At nine years old, John was in a fire that burned 100% of his body. His willpower kept him alive and sent him home from the hospital after five months of medical treatment.

Once home, his mom offered, “John, if you learn how to write, you can go back to school!” That feeling did not excite John. Hence, that was not a particularly great motivator. He was not motivated to write.

However, a visit from John’s hero, American sportscaster Jack Buck, made a different impression. Mr. Buck brought John a signed baseball from a player on the St. Louis Cardinals. He then offered, “If you write this player a thank you note, I’m sure he will send you another ball.”

In two weeks, John figured out to write with no hands, and sure enough another baseball arrived by mail. He continued to write notes. And he continued to collect baseballs. His collection finally grew to 60.

What excited John (what connecting to “feeling”) is what became the motivator.

Feeling Good

A psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Fredrickson, writes that positive emotions compel individuals to take action. Her definition of positive feelings include: joy, contentment and love. Her belief and research show that through mindfulness, kindness, and even meditation, people can increase their level of positivity; thus, creating motivation.

Finding meaning in what we do can also be a valuable motivator. In his Ted Talk seminar, Dan Ariely talks about how when people feel they have a “purpose,” they are more apt to take action. Feeling value in what you are about to partake in can be a great motivator.

Reward

Finding ways to reward yourself for tasks completed is an important element in adding to your feelings of success. In the workplace, reward plays a big part in encouraging positive behavior and motivating employees. Reward also plays a large part in motivating students.

Understanding what compels you emotionally may bring you closer to an understanding of what can motivate you. And in learning what motivates you, you may find yourself feeling more productive, fulfilled, and overall more joyous.

 

Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary:

Everyone has their own motivating factors, triggers or events. For me, as a physician and humanitarian, our MSNBC Morning Joe medical reporting trip to the impoverished island country of Haiti, just after category 4 Hurricane Matthew devastated the homes, crops, towns and villages in 2016 was a life-changing journey. Then to read about Dr. Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder clinched it for me.  Dr. Farmer continues to dedicate his life as a physician to treating the poorest of the poor. His altruism is a beacon for all physicians that went into the practice of medicine to help others. Dr. Farmer has triggered and motivated me to practice medicine with the utmost safety, consideration and compassion, and highest quality.

For more interesting stories about motivation, health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com TODAY!

 

Tired Too Often? It’s More than a Gut Feeling

If you’re tired all the time…

your condition may be linked to your gut. A new study shows a link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and gut bacteria.

How Ya Doin’?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Are you extremely tired after doing even the most mundane tasks? You sleep, take naps, and yet you can’t shake the sensation of tiredness. You could be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And it could be caused by inflammation and a bacterial imbalance in your gut.

Getting Diagnosed

Here’s the thing. Many doctors have difficulty diagnosing CFS. It can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There is no specific blood test or easily read biomarkers. Psychological factors, viruses, and infections can cause extreme tiredness. To deem one’s condition with a “chronic” label is a serious diagnosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, CFS has nine signs and symptoms. The first, of course, is fatigue. The others include: enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, random joint pain, and an unusual headache. Other symptoms are: un-refreshing sleep, exhaustion lasting more than a full day after exercise, loss of memory, and a sore throat. You can see why other diagnoses would be considered first.

What are the Causes?

Until now, doctors or scientists who have diagnosed CFS, have been perplexed about exact causes. Some believe certain viruses might trigger the syndrome. Perhaps an impaired immune system leaves individuals susceptible to CFS. Hormonal imbalances have also been studied as a possible cause offsetting the condition.

Finally, a recent study offers more in the way of reason. Your gut bacteria and inflammatory agents in the blood may cause CFS.

Researchers at Cornell University studied stool samples of the 77 participants. Forty-eight had already been diagnosed with CFS, while the other 39 were perfectly healthy. The study, published in the journal Microbiome, showed that those with CFS had less bacterial diversity in the gut. They also had markers showing inflammation. One theory was that “leaky gut” allowed bacteria from the intestines to enter the bloodstream.

What to Do?

As far as the new research shows, the indicators of imbalance in gut bacteria may now be used as one way to test for CFS. Maureen Hanson, a professor involved in the study explained, “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal.” It was an indicator in 83 % of the participants in the study. This is a great breakthrough for those who advocate the condition isn’t just “psychological.”

Restoring the gut microbiome balance may be a path to treating CFS. A variety of probiotics may help along with a change in diet. Exploring ways to get your gut bacteria back to healthy levels is a great start. Discuss options with your doctor or naturopath. With this new evidence and proper treatment, your fatigue may no longer remain chronic.

For more information on maintaining balance in the body and mind, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Tired of the same ole same ole? Here’s a sure way to change your daily grind!

Growing up, at school, we’re tossed into a group of peers who are involved in a similar life experience. The same applies for others’ on sports teams or various extracurricular clubs. Then in college, we meet a whole new slew of people we hope to connect with. Once in the workplace, we may enjoy the company of co-workers, but it doesn’t mean they’ll become our best friends.

Time to Bring in the New?

So, once we grow up, do we need to make new friends? First of all, your old friends can always remain friends, sometimes even for life. But as we shift positions throughout our aging journey, we have to expect that our needs will change too. Your “party” friend from your 20s may not enjoy a visit to the museum when you’re in your 40s.

Other “single” friends may not be able to relate when you are completely enveloped by parenthood. As you drift into your 50s and may be experiencing the empty-nest syndrome or are taking care of your own parents, you’ll need a crony who can relate somehow. With that established, it makes sense that we need to seek out new people in our lives for close friendship.

How do I Make New Friends?

Examine the things in your life that you’re passionate about. Do you love going to the movies? Are you an outdoorsy person? Do you like to volunteer? My mother, for example, loves geology, rocks, stones, and fossils.

She joined a lapidary group where like-minded folks get together and whittle down gems and stones into beautiful little pieces of art. The group chats up a storm while they are creating. That activity led her to find a small group of new friends who now spend Saturdays at fairs selling their jewelry together.

Don’t be afraid to join a class or a group. Everyone there had to muster up the courage to show up the first time. You’d be surprised how receptive people are to newcomers.

Once you get beyond the stage of making a choice in your interests and move forward to find the venue, you may consider brushing up on your social skills. It may sound silly, but after years of hanging with the same folks, our manners get rusty (or sloppy.) Believe it or not, first impressions still matter.

Looking Forward…

The most important element to keep in mind, and exude, is optimism. Others are drawn to positivity and promise. Make eye contact when talking. It’s important for the other person to see that you are listening. Plus, it will give you an opportunity to look at your conversationalist with an authentic stance.

Body language should always be appropriate. That includes not being a “close talker.” Give people their personal space. Also, feel out the situation before you make physical contact. You may be a person who loves to gesture, or tap people while you’re talking.

But remember, if someone doesn’t really know you yet, this may make them skittish to be around you if they don’t like to be touched.

We all need friends. It ‘s our connection with others that makes our lives rich and fulfilling. Keeping old friends is invaluable and precious, but new ones can add spice to our days. Keep Calm and Make Friends.

 

How to Get “You Time” After the Holiday

Everyone’s gone back home. Or you’re back home. It was just first of the many “big” holidays, and you’re already exhausted. Here are some “healthy” ways to communicate your state of mind.

Spa-free Communication

Not all of us can afford to go to a spa for three nights to wind down from the stress. Sure, we may have had a day or two off from work, but the holidays are a different kind of work. Regardless if they’re fabulous and you’ve anticipated these dates, they still take a toll once they pass.

Calm, quiet time is necessary. You know that book that you want to cuddle up with? It’s never getting opened unless you let everyone know what’s going to happen. How about binge-watching that British series? Instead, you’ll be viewing Zootopia for the fifth time if you don’t speak up.

In your gentlest, friendliest tone, feel free to express to your friends and family that you have some ideas of your own.

Sample Questions and Responses

“Mom, can the soccer team come over for leftovers tomorrow?”

“I’ll be happy to pack a large cooler of food and drinks, and y’all can take it to the park for the afternoon. Bring your key because I’ll be home napping.”

***

“Can you make pancakes for breakfast?”

“I certainly can. Which day in 2017 would you like?”

***

“I have nothing clean to wear to the party tonight! Can you do the laundry?”

“Here’s $5. If you run down now, the Goodwill should still be open.”

***

“Honey, what are making you for dinner tonight?”

wait for it….. “Reservations.”

 

Alerting and Taking Action

So many people are used to relying on us that we really have to verbalize our needs sometimes. If you’re exhausted from cooking, cleaning, hosting, listening, driving, etc., you just have to let everyone know that you’re not at full steam.

When we become depleted of energy, it causes crankiness, shortness, and many times, miscommunication. Finding clear, kind ways to tell your family and friends what you need is necessary.

Once you’ve given notice, take the “you time!” Again, it doesn’t have to be an exotic vacation or a shopping spree. It could be curling up in bed with a piece of that delicious apple pie. Maybe it’s just going to the park with your dog. Perhaps you just want to sit and stare out the window.

Communicate and then un-plug. Let yourself relax, and e stay away from social media and the telephone. Allow your brain to turn to mush and rest. You deserve it! (Besides, you need to rejuvenate for the next shindig.)

 

Ladies, Here’s Why We’re Yawning at Noon

A new study points out that women have more difficulty staying asleep than men… And gender difference in the human body clock is the reason why.

Rock Around the Clock

The research conducted out of Montreal; Canada showed that women’s circadian clocks operate at a quicker pace than men’s. Our circadian rhythm is the natural process that registers time for our greatest awake and sleep hours over the course of a day (24 hours).

Because women’s internal clocks run faster, their clock is shifted earlier, eastward. This accounts for them not being able to remain in a deep sleep in the early morning hours. This may be one reason why we get awoken more easily than men—and then get tired in the middle of the day.

Distractions

The sleep signal in the typical circadian rhythm is the strongest between two and four in the morning. But Dr. Diane Boivin (lead author on the study) points out that women’s sleep-wake cycle run about two hours ahead of men’s. That means at three a.m. a woman’s sleep signal may not be as strong as originally supposed.

In the wee hours of the morning, getting woken up can disturb a true, restful sleep. As the results of this study determined, women are more prone to be distracted by a baby crying, a pet needing to go out, or even creaky noises in the house. This can make for a cranky mama later sometime in the daylight hours.

The Study

Over the course of 36 hours, both men and women were observed in a controlled environment. There were each placed in a room without windows. They were allowed one-hour of sleep followed by one-hour of awake time for the entire study period. Researchers put the lights on dim during awake time and shut them off during “naps.”

Changes in melatonin levels, body temperature, sleep, and alertness were all monitored and measured. The men’s and women’s habitual bed and wake times were similar, yet the women’s circadian clocks differed. Women appeared to be less alert at night compared to men. According to a UCLA sleep expert, “…women are falling asleep when their brain and body are more prepared for sleep. But, they’re having a difficult time staying asleep later in the night.”

Sleepyhead

If this sounds anything like your pattern, there are some helpful recommendations. Examine your sleeping environment. Remove elements that could disrupt your sleep during those more “fitful” hours. For example, do not keep your phone or computer in the bedroom. Eliminate possible dings or rings. Share the responsibility of attending to kids or pets with your partner—maybe choose “mommy-full-night-sleep days of the week.” Getting rest is essential to your health. May your circadian clock be on time and allow you to wake feeling rested.

For more articles on up-to-date health tidbits, check out www.GetThrive.com