THE INC. LIFE

4 Habits That Can Trick Your Brain Into Being Smarter, Happier, and Healthier

No fancy life hacks or productivity secrets required. All you need is a commitment to basic behaviors.

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BY Julian Hayes II - 13 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

A lot of people may assume the secret to success and becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson requires starting a specific productivity hack. But that is the furthest thing from the truth.

If you dig a little deeper, you'll learn that the commonalities of the top leaders and innovators in the world are their control of their internal world. Specifically, they're mindful and proactive with their day rather than following random thoughts and playing catch up to the day.

Mindfulness is most often presented through the lens of developing a meditation practice. The benefits of meditation for CEO's is a proven benefit.

But, you can't meditate all day. After all, there's work waiting to be completed. While that is the case, you can easily practice the art of being mindful throughout your day and thus retrain your brain to become smarter, happier, and healthier through these four simple steps.

1. Set hourly reminders to stop and observe

During the day, it's easy to get lost with your assortment of tasks, develop shallow breathing patterns, and allow your mind to drift numerous directions. None of this serves your health nor performance in the present moment.

These wandering thoughts can lead to unnecessary worrying, self-doubt about your abilities, and poor decisions such as forgoing a healthy lunch for a quick, convenient and most likely unhealthy snack.

To help center your focus, awareness, and sanity, set reminders every hour. This allows you to briefly stop what you're doing, observe how you're feeling, what you're thinking and feeling in this moment.

2. Don't multitask with food or drink

Multitasking is the archenemy of focus and productivity because your attention and thoughts scatter.

Studies indicate that when people divide their attention and multitask, you can expect a 40 percent drop in productivity, a 10 percent dip in your IQ along with increased stress. While multitasking is mainly viewed through a lens in a professional environment, it also plays a role in your nutrition.

When you multitask with your nutrition, you increase your chances of running on autopilot and making choices out of convenience, not health.

To prevent this, practice doing nothing but eating and drinking for at least one meal during the day. No surfing Facebook, texting, or gossiping.

This practice adds depth and allows you to get in more time for silence and listening to your internal world.

When you develop the skill of mindful eating, you intuitively learn which foods make you feel great, which foods provide you with energy to perform and think better along with recognizing which foods drain you.

3. Be intentional with your language

It's important to be mindful of the daily language and thoughts that you're using toward yourself.

Are you letting misguided limiting beliefs dictate your action and language? Are you using negative language toward yourself that removes your power instead of empowering you?

When you lack mindfulness, you fall prey to the daily auto-piloting of life and take on the energy of those around you.

A productive and healthy you starts with establishing empowering vocabulary and thoughts. If you tend to have a plethora of negative thoughts, a daily routine of journaling and giving gratitude will help.

4. Smile more often

It's cliche, but yet, it's highly effective with numerous benefits.

If you're stressed and can't find anything around you to laugh at, faking or forcing a smile will reduce your stress while boosting your happiness.

Smiling helps with reminiscing about happy memories which lead to an improvement in your mood. People who smile are perceived to be more friendly and likable, which helps both your professional and personal lives.