DAY 1: Balance is a Verb

Balance isn’t something you find, its something you create
— Jana Kingsford

Day 1: Daily Assignment

Fill out page 2 of your workbook to determine what areas of your life are a little out of whack and which ones are fine and dandy!

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Mindstrength 30 Workbook

PRINT THIS OUT….. If you haven’t already

How to Use Workbook:

  • Complete Exercises on editable PDF and save on home computer or print and keep score the old fashion way

  • Exercises, Videos, etc should only take up 20 minutes of your day

  • Put some skin in the game with your partner: Money on the Line or humiliating consequence of losing always works best.

  • Harass/Manipulate/Guilt trip your partner daily to help keep you both on track

  • KEEP SCORE of your progress ONCE in the morning and ONCE MORE at night.


Daily Micro-Science: Stages of Change

The brain is a creature of habit and doesn’t necessarily like when you start to make changes. It prefers to put as little effort as possible into everyday, just enough to survive and reproduce, thats the brains main goals. So your brain probably put up a hundred different reasons why you shouldn’t do this course. But here you are, so well done! Everyone is going to enter this course in different stages of change. Some people may be gun-ho while others signed up reluctantly to appease their partner. Whatever gets you to the start line is fine with me.

  • FACT: 99% of everyone who starts a marathon finishes a marathon.

  • TAKEAWAY: If you get your ass to the starting line, your have pretty much done the hard part. Now everyone’s watching so keep moving forward.

The path through the stages of change is never quite as straightforward as the theory would suggest. Often people wander around erratically, jumping from contemplation to action, to find only a week later they are stuck in pre-contemplation not understanding why they wanted to make the change in the first place. So give yourself a break, there is not set way to make a change, just keep trying and eventually your brain will give up and stop fighting the change so hard. Watch the video below for a quick explanation of how the stages of change work in the brain.

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Day 1 Meditation: Gratefulness

Cortisol, your bodies stress chemical, is released at its highest amount in the morning time. This is due to evolution wanted to motivate you out of bed and into the world of productivity. It use to help cavemen and cavewomen find the courage to get out of the shadows and hunt down the days meal. In order to counteract this prehistoric tendency we need to divert blood flow away from the stress centers of our brain and towards the parts of our brain that promote positive emotions. Writing a gratefulness list every morning is the best way to do this. When you wake up and start thinking about what is going right in your life a positive feedback loop begins in your brain. Therefore, making it more likely that more positive thoughts will follow, somewhat pushing the first domino over in a long line of positive thoughts.

  • FACT: Writing down five things your grateful for everyone morning increases your “overall life satisfaction” score by 20%, thats the same percentage your happiness score would improve if you doubled your income.

  • TAKEAWAY: Being grateful is the easiest, cheapest way to increase your subjective well being.

Day 1 Meditation: The Mindstrength 30 asks you to complete a list of five things you are grateful for every morning, this activity is suppose to get you started on that trend. The task for today is to get a blank piece of paper, set a timer for five minutes, and write down as many things you can think of that your grateful for.

So much has been given to me. I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied
— Helen Keller

Daily Motion Task: Returning to Baseline

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing, but ignoring stress definitely is. Stress promotes action and is a internal body symptom that can be very helpful in motivating us naturally lazy humans. For instance, if we have a deadline on Friday stress hits on Monday to help us get our ass in motion. However, if we ignore through smartphones or alcohol, the symptom will only get bigger and bigger while we band-aid the emotion through distractions.

Therefor, in order to combat our small daily stressors we must learn how to develop little micro-therapies within our day that bring us back to homeostasis. So our stress doesn’t accumulate and become full blown anxiety.

  • FACT: If your brain is constantly experiencing chronic stress the learning center of the brain, called the hippocampus, can develop holes in it from overheating the cells, up to 30% of this critical brain area can disappear if you’re always feel on edge.

  • TAKEAWAY: If depressed or anxious people destroy this part of their brains, then learning new coping skills becomes that much harder, creating a vicious cycle of continuing to stay anxious or depressed.

Day 1 Motion Task: For todays task, the goal is practice a form of micro-therapy that works in almost any setting. The breathe, for reasons that will be explained later, is the bodies best defense against stress, so that is what will be practicing today. The task is to catch yourself at some point today getting irritated or annoyed. This could be in traffic, with your partner, or the moment you step into work. Once you feel your body start to react to this minor stressor, just find your breathe. Its probably hidden down there somewhere, beneath all the clutter. Steady the breathe to steady to the mind. To fully complete the task make sure you either feel your breathe go in and out or audibly hear the sound your breathe makes. Make sure you don’t slouch on the out breathe thats the part that activates your rest and digest system.

Bonus Material:

#1) Ted Talk: How to stay calm when you know your be stressed

Check out this Ted Talk by Daniel Levitin about how to keep your cool when things get hot. Great talk about how the brain works under stress and how to get the most out of your outdated brain that gets stressed about almost everything.

#2) Best Possible Self Exercise: Greater Good of Berkeley

Check out this exercise by the good folks at Berkeley that help you identify what the best possible “you” might be like in the future.

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