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Avoid a Crisis – How Entrepreneurs Can Be Proactive About Mental Health

Monday, August 14, 2017


Man in suit holding happy face signWhat kinds of qualities come to mind when you think of a successful entrepreneur? Are they creative, tenacious, self-sacrificing? What about depressed, anxious, or obsessive?

The same qualities that make a person a successful entrepreneur can also make them vulnerable to a host of mental health issues. Some issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can, in the beginning, propel an entrepreneur to success. But there is a fine line between healthy and harmful.

Depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and a lack of motivation can arise and develop when entrepreneurs are overly focused on their business. Because entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy for them to push through tough times without pausing to evaluate if their negative feelings are part of a bigger issue that needs attention.

Do you find yourself paying little attention to the effect your schedule and lifestyle may be having on your mental health?

When you put your mental health on the back burner, you set yourself up for a mental health crisis later. If you neglect your physical health, you run the risk of disease, injury, or a traumatic event like a heart attack. Similarly, if you neglect your mental health, your brain and body will force you to slow down and take a break, but not in a manner that feels good for you or helps your business.

Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive about your mental health, caring for it before you experience a crisis? They key is to not wait until you’re broken. By waiting too long to take care of yourself, you’ll make it much harder to get back to where you want to be.

The good news is that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Here are four things you can do now to maintain good mental health and avoid a crisis later on:

  1. Care for your basic needs. As an entrepreneur, you work long hours. That’s a given. But prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and time with friends and family. Adequate sleep is absolutely vital to function at optimum levels. Eating good food gives your mind the nutrients it needs to make brilliant business decisions. Exercise relieves stress. Time spent with those you love keeps you balanced
  2. Simplify your life. The life of an entrepreneur is full of activity and decisions. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Where you can simplify, do it. For you that may mean using a grocery delivery service or having limited wardrobe options to sort through each morning. Simplify as many things in your life as you can so that you can focus on the areas that will benefit most from your attention and creativity.
  3. Get help with the details. To make your vision succeed, there are a lot of teeny-tiny details to work out. Hire someone to help you. You have skills, but you are not skilled at everything. So outsource the things you need to. Let other people care for the details while you continue focusing on what you are best at.
  4. Hire a psychologist. People who regularly attend to their psychological health are not only stronger emotionally, but they are less prone to illness and experience a better sense of personal well-being. Engaging in psychotherapy enhances your analytical and intuitive abilities by utilizing the full range of your conscious and unconscious talents. It helps you take charge of your life.

If you’re ready to take a proactive stance, I can help you achieve strong mental health so you can grow your business and succeed as an entrepreneur. Please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your lifestyle

The Big Reason Why You Shouldn’t Try to Live Without Regrets

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Many talk about living with no regrets, but what does that really mean and is it possible or even desirable – this blog post examines these important questions.Regrets are commonly viewed as something bad…something to be avoided at all cost. Perhaps you’ve seen the slogan #NoRegrets. It’s a hashtag that’s used daily on social media. Perhaps you’ve even said, “I want to live without any regrets!”

Is it even possible to live without regrets? More importantly, is it desirable?

Truth be told, you can’t do everything you’ve dreamed of doing. It’s just not humanly possible. There’s not enough time, resources or energy to accomplish it all.

Instead, your life consists of a series of choices that you have to make. And because you’re happy with some choices, you will let other options slip away.

You might come to regret some of these choices. That’s normal! However, these regrets could haunt you if you look back and fantasize that the option that got away would have been so much better. And if you don’t learn to be happy with your choices, that regret will follow you throughout your life.

People believe that if they’re not perfectly happy, they’re depressed, or that they don't have a good life. On the contrary, to have regrets means you’ve fully engaged in life and made tough choices.

Of course, many regrets come from mistakes we’ve made. No matter how much we wish them away, the fact remains you’ve made a mistake. The problem comes when you wallow in the misery of reliving the mistake over and over again.

It would be so much better to look at the mistake as a learning experience and view it as a gift that teaches you something vital about yourself. Learn and move on. Stop second-guessing yourself. (I’ll be sharing some of my own regrets and what I learned from them in my upcoming book. Sign up for my newsletter to keep up-to-date on its release.)

Adopting a more positive attitude toward choices not taken will free you from living a paralyzed life overshadowed by negative feelings of regrets. So rather than living with no regrets, a more attainable goal would be to make peace with our regrets. Acknowledge them and move on.

Would you like to hone your skills for making choices that bring the greatest success and happiness? Online counseling may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you qualify, I’d love to help you learn to lead a rich and satisfying life. Please feel free to contact my office and schedule a session.

Women Entrepreneurs – Are You Afraid of Tooting Your Own Horn?

Monday, July 24, 2017


Business woman at meetingLook! The incredible invisible woman! She runs a successful company, has great friends and a loving family, but no one really hears about it. In spite of her accomplishments, she fades into the background by never taking true ownership of all the amazing things she has done.
 
Does that sound familiar? Do you find yourself deflecting attention, downplaying your accomplishments, or not taking full credit for your ideas?
 
I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. I was speaking with a married couple who ran a business together. I asked them to tell me their official business titles. Although the wife had started the business five years before the husband joined her, she told me she was a “Sales Associate.” The husband’s answer? He called himself the “Vice President.”
 
There was nothing wrong with what the wife said. She was an associate in the business, and she sold the product. But she did not own the fact that she ran a successful business.
 
Why don’t women give themselves the credit they deserve? A number of factors contribute to this tendency. From childhood girls are taught to work together, to build a community, to support others, all without being taught how to communicate about their accomplishments. Boys are usually encouraged to talk about personal goals and achievements, but that lesson often gets forgotten when raising girls.
 
Women also tend to fear being known as “not nice.” They avoid saying or doing things that could be viewed as aggressive or selfish. Unfortunately, when a woman touts her successes, it is often seen as bragging. So they put their ideas and victories in the background, not talking about them or even acknowledging them. When they do talk about their accomplishments, it is generally framed as a group achievement rather than an individual achievement.
 
Why should you learn to more effectively communicate about your accomplishments? Here are four reasons:

  1. Your business will grow. Leveraging your success and accomplishments is one of the best ways to continue to build your business. 
  2. Your relationships with your employees will improve. Resentment develops when you feel you are not being recognized. This resentment does not go unnoticed, and can lead to strained relationships with those around you. When you allow yourself to be recognized and appreciated, your relationships will benefi
  3. Other people will benefit. Did you ever think that concealing your true self deprives other people of your talents? It does! When others see who you really are and what you have and can accomplish, they can truly appreciate you and benefit by your talents. It also gives people a chance to rejoice with you in your success. Let others be happy for you – it will bring them joy, too.
  4. You invest in yourself. By expressing your accomplishments, you remind yourself and others of your worth. You will surround yourself with people who appreciate you instead of people who need you to appreciate them. This creates an energizing flow between people, just as wealth invested creates more wealth.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the amazing things you have done. The world needs what you have to offer, so learn to communicate about you effectively! If you could use some help getting past social barriers to promote yourself in the best way possible, please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

What Scientists Are Learning About Exercise and Your Brain

Monday, July 17, 2017


Older couple riding bikesDo you exercise regularly? No doubt you’ve heard of all the benefits. Exercise is good for all kinds of things like lowering your risk of heart disease, helping you lose weight, and maintaining your overall health. It also helps you emotionally by releasing endorphins that help regulate your mood.
 
Exercise also helps protect your memory and thinking ability. How? By literally changing your brain!
 
Researchers have found that exercise can change the size of your brain. Regular exercise has been found to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning. It does this via a process called neurogenesis, or the birth of new brain cells. Exercise can double or triple the number of new cells in the hippocampus. These new cells translate to a significantly better ability to learn new things and remember experiences.
 
A better memory and learning ability is beneficial for your life now, but it is also helpful over the long-term. In Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain to suffer damage. A larger hippocampus can help delay the symptoms of these diseases as you get older.
 
It is of note that research finds aerobic exercise to be the most beneficial form of exercise to boost the size of the hippocampus. This is exercise that gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and the sweat running. Resistance training and balance exercises did not produce the same results.
 
Exercise also helps you sleep better. A number of chronic physical and mental health problems are caused by insufficient sleep, one of which is poor memory. Your brain cleans up while you sleep. There are studies that show that during sleep, the space between brain cells enlarge, allowing toxins to flush out. This research suggests that not sleeping allows toxins to build up, possibly ultimately triggering brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
 
Have you noticed that your thinking ability is negatively affected when you are feeling stressed or anxious? Exercise is a huge help in improving your mood, and reducing stress and anxiety. When your stress levels are under control, your cognitive abilities greatly improve.
 
Hopefully you already have a healthy routine that incorporates regular exercise. The recommendation for exercise is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That is just 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Moderate exercise includes walking, swimming, biking, or a sport like tennis.
 
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to keep up an exercise routine, or even start one, then try getting your spouse or a friend involved. Ask them to go with you. It will hold you accountable and make the experience fun! Also, start small. Try a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood at first. Then add more time and distance.
 
Schedule exercise like you would a business meeting. You don’t cancel on your colleagues or clients, so don’t cancel on yourself. Make it a priority, and your brain will benefit!
 
Exercise is only one part of staying healthy and balanced. Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter, Enriching Your Life, to stay up-to-date on new findings that impact your health and wellness. Simply enter your information in the box on the left to start receiving your copy.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Take a Deep Breath – You’ll Feel Better

Monday, July 10, 2017


Woman sitting on park bench relaxingWhen you were a kid, did your parents tell you to take long, deep breaths to help calm you down when you were upset?  As an adult, you may have noticed that popular practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness, incorporate deep breathing. Even if you’ve never consciously thought about it, do you find yourself controlling your breathing when trying to combat anger or anxiety?

Why is concentrated deep breathing such a big deal? Our breathing patterns do much more than simply keep us alive. Here are just a few of the things deep breathing can do for you:

  • Strengthen the immune system and detoxify the body

  • Relieve pain

  • Reduce stress and blood pressure

  • Strengthen abdominal and intestinal muscles

  • Aid in healthy sleep patterns

  • Increase energy levels

It is fascinating to see how the different systems in our minds and bodies are so intertwined. Deep breathing releases endorphins, those feel-good, natural painkillers created by your own body. When practicing deep breathing, the movement of the diaphragm helps remove toxins from the organs, promoting better blood flow. Better blood flow and deeper breaths mean more oxygen coursing through the body. Oxygen provides energy, so that increase in oxygen in your body equates to a higher energy level for you!

Why is it that taking a deep breath is so effective in relieving stress and anxiety? Researchers recently conducted a study on mice (check out the New York Times write-up on the research study) that showed taking deep breaths is calming because it doesn’t activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal center. In contrast, shorter, shallower breaths activate neurons that throw the brain into a state of anxiety.

Breathing slowly and mindfully, activates the hypothalamus, connected to the pituitary gland in the brain, to send out chemicals that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. Hormones are also secreted that decrease blood pressure and heart rate.

Are you ready to start breathing deeply now? As simple as it sounds, breathing mindfully takes practice. When under stress, we often take shallow breaths, not using our full lung capacity.

You want to breathe from your diaphragm. Try this exercise:

Sit up straight and place your hands on your belly, just above your belly button. Let your fingertips touch lightly. Exhale fully through your mouth. Breath in deeply through your nose and into your belly, so your fingertips start to spread apart. Hold your breath for two to five seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner for five to ten minutes.


Try to practice your breathing technique daily. The secret is simply to breathe, deeply and often. In addition, focusing on your breathing during physical activities, such as exercise, can help you become more mindful of your body.

Sometimes you need more than deep breathing to combat your anxiety. I can work with you to reduce your anxiety and get the most out of your life! Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy for those residing in Oregon or Washington states if that is more convenient for you.

Look on the Bright Side - You Can Do It Even If You're a Natural Pessimist

Monday, June 19, 2017


Arrow and sign saying positive thinkingDoesn’t it seem like most people fall into one of two groups? There are the upbeat optimists who see the good in situations and then there are negative pessimists who tend to expect the worst. Which group are you in? If you tend toward the negative, then this article is for you!
 
There are certainly times and situations that bring negative emotions. Processing those negative feelings is a necessary part of the healing process. What I’m talking about here, doesn’t apply to a fairly short-lived sad, angry, or negative period in your life. I’m referring to overall perspective on life – the way you view your life, your future, even the people in your life.
 
Chronic pessimism inhibits your ability to bounce back from disappointments and life’s inevitable stresses. It can also strain relationships at home and at the workplace. But your perspective on life affects more than just how other people relate to you – it actually influences your health.
 
Recent studies are finding that optimistic people have better heart health than their pessimistic counterparts. (Read more about these studies in this NY Times article.) Optimists are more likely to eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and overdrinking, and prioritize regular exercise than pessimists. As a result, they maintain healthier blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Optimism helps patients heal faster from illness or injury and boosts the immune system to prevent colds and flu.
 
The good news is that, with a little practice, you can become more positive. This isn’t a fake optimism. “Putting on a show” to look like you are feeling upbeat about life isn’t going to help. But you really can train yourself to feel optimistic from the inside out.
 
This is done by re-training your brain to think positively. There are neural pathways in your brain that control emotion. If you tend toward negative thinking, the neural pathways for negativity become stronger, kind of like a beaten down path through the forest. A lifetime of pessimistic thinking can produce some beaten down negative pathways! Negativity becomes your brain’s go-to emotion.
 
On the up side, your brain is capable of generating new pathways, and it’s possible to train the circuitry in your brain to promote positive responses. When you look for the good, you activate different neural circuits in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, soothing and calming you. The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger they become. Positivity will become a more automatic response.
 
It’s not a matter of making one, huge change. There are small things you can do every day to progressively strengthen your positive neural pathways. Here are four suggestions:
 
  1. Begin each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.
  2. Live one moment at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. The practice of mindfulness helps many of my clients to focus and see the good in their day.
  3. Practice gratitude. Having a grateful attitude is linked to everything from better mental and physical health to greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Look for the moments, big and small, that you are thankful for.
  4. Do good for others. If you focus on thinking about other people and working to make their life better, you think about your own problems and worries less. This, in turn, keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.

If your negative feelings run too deep, there may be something else in your life that needs attention. Stress comes when the different aspects of your life fall out alignment. I can help you identify where you are out of balance and guide you back into a healthy, productive alignment. Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Find Time to Be Kind – You and Your Business Will Benefit

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Volunteers looking through boxesShowing kindness to others directly affects your own happiness. You’ve probably already noticed that when you help other people, it makes you feel good. But do you know why?

 
By focusing on other people and working to make their life better, you think less about your own problems and worries. This keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.
 
This is good news for your health! Positive thinking can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and lessen your risk of heart disease. Since there is an inseparable connection between the mind and the body, feelings of joy, sadness, anger, hope, and apathy directly affect your body. So, by replacing negativity and pessimism in favor of kindness and joy, you can improve your physical health.
 
Showing kindness is also a great way to create and enhance social connections with people, which can foster a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Think about a time that you volunteered in your community or took a moment to say or do something for a stranger. Didn't you feel more connected with others and possibly made new friends in the process?
 
One small act of kindness can trigger a chain reaction. A small thing to you can mean everything to another person. It can move them to do something nice for someone else. When you show kindness to others, they are more likely to show kindness in return. Your one act can spread out into the community and come back full circle to where you are on the receiving end of someone else’s kindness.
 
But how can kindness benefit your business?
 
You might think that entrepreneurs need to be tough and aggressive but actually kindness does help you run a successful business. For one thing, as we already discussed acts of kindness fosters optimism. What business owner doesn’t need an abundance of that quality?
 
You’ll notice that showing kindness keeps you in touch with your community. Involving yourself and your employees in community events or fundraisers promotes a team spirit. It also helps your company’s reputation as a business that cares, which helps you stand out in a competitive marketplace.
 
The advent of social media is a great tool to offer memorable customer service. People are quick to lament a faulty product or terrible service on social media. When that happens, without being asked, reach out with a friendly note, send a free product, offer a sincere apology… Basically do something kind. These are interactions that people will remember and tell their friends about.
 
Kindness in the workplace also contributes to employee retention. Good, loyal employees can be hard to find. Once you find them, you have to work to keep them. A happy workforce is a good workforce. So encourage laughter, teamwork, and bonding. Express appreciation and offer commendation. Small acts of kindness, like buying lunch for the office, can make a big difference.
 
Are you convinced that being kind is worth the effort? Sometimes it can be challenging to be kind if you’re dealing with a lot of internal or external stress. If you could use some help please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

6 Things Parents Should Do to Build Resiliency in Their Kids

Monday, June 12, 2017


Mom and daughter looking at computer togetherWhile we tend to remember our childhood as being fairly carefree, being a kid isn’t always a play date in the park. Our children take tests, change schools, compete in sports, move, suffer loss, make friends, and sometimes get hurt by those friends.
 
To deal with these situations successfully kids need to learn to be resilient. It’s a quality that helps us overcome obstacles, persevere when problems arise, and bounce back from adversity.

Resilient kids are good problem-solvers. Instead of viewing unfamiliar or tough situations as obstacles, they view them as opportunities to find solutions. They’re confident that they can figure out what needs to be done and handle whatever is thrown at them.
 
But resilience goes beyond the simple act of overcoming adversity. A truly resilient child has a whole different mindset than their peers who get hung up on failures. They believe that their mistakes do not define them. They know they have the ability to try again and that eventually things will get better. Interestingly, optimism is positively correlated to resilience.
 
Children who develop resilience are also flexible. They can handle surprises and adapt to new situations. They’re also less competitive. A resilient child’s self-esteem comes from within, so they are more likely to appreciate other people’s talents and work well with their peers. Instead of doing things quickly, they work efficiently and with quality. They’ve learned that taking the time to do things right and learning from others pays off.
 
The bottom line is resilient children tend to be happier, healthier, and more successful. We all want that for our children! The good news is that we aren’t born with some finite amount of resilience. It is a quality that can be taught and developed, and like a muscle built and strengthened over time.
 
So what can you do to build a more resilient child? Here are six tips for more resilient children:

1.     Avoid being overprotective. Overprotecting children fuels their anxiety over trying new things or facing a problem. As a culture, we try to make sure our kids are comfortable, but it often goes too far and starts to get in the way of children developing their own problem-solving skills. Let your children feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, and allow them to take appropriate risks. Teach them essential skills and give them age-appropriate freedom to help them learn their own limits.

2.     Teach your kids to problem-solve. Engage your child in figuring out how they can handle challenges. Give them the opportunity, over and over again, to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. When they make a mistake, instead of asking them why they did it, ask them how they will fix it.

3.     Let your kids make mistakes. Failure is not the end of the world, and kids need to see that firsthand. Letting kids mess up tends to be more painful to parents, but it helps kids learn how to fix their mistakes and make better decisions next time. Let your kids experience the consequences of their actions.

4.     Focus on effort rather than results. You don’t want your children’s self-confidence to be dependent on accomplishments or praise from others. Teach them that failing at something doesn’t make them a failure. Praise the effort they put into something, even if the results are not ideal. This will teach them to endure disappointment, not be devastated by it.

5.     Help them manage their emotions. A key part of developing resilience is emotional management. Teach your kids that emotions are ok! It’s ok to feel. Then teach them that after they feel their feelings, they need to think and figure out what they’re going to do next.

6.     Show your kids that they matter. Like all people, children need to know they are loved and cared for. It is also important for them to believe that someone needs and relies on them. They want to know their existence and presence makes a difference to other people. Listen to your children and support them. As kids navigate new situations and inevitable disappointments, they need to know that they’re not alone. Communicate openly with them. Cultivate a warm, strong relationship. Even when they make a mistake, they should feel they can talk to you about it.

There are times when parents need some help and support. If you feel like you child is overly stressed and you could use some help them be more resilient please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Four Easy Ways to Give Your Mood and Your Health a Boost

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Woman reading bookHave you ever physically felt an emotion? When you’re nervous, have you noticed that your stomach feels funny? When you’re excited you may feel your nerves tingling and your heart beating faster. When you’re sad, you feel sore and fatigued.
 
The reason for this is that there is an inseparable connection between the mind and the body. There are complicated interactions that take place between your mind, body, and the outside world. Feelings of joy, sadness, anger, hope, and apathy directly affect your body. You feel emotions in a physical way.
 
So if you suffer from depression you aren’t just affected emotionally. Many physical ailments can be linked to depression. The physical symptoms include digestive problems, pain, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. If you’re dealing with anger you can experience high blood pressure and headaches. Negative thoughts put stress on the mind and body, and science has extensively documented the physical risks of high stress levels.
 
On the flip side, dwelling on positive thoughts can improve your health from the inside out! Actively employing positive thinking can boost your immune system. Think about that. You may already eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and take supplements, but positive thinking can fill in the gaps and strengthen your immune system too!
 
Studies have shown a link between a positive outlook and a variety of health benefits. Lower blood pressure, less heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight, and lower blood sugar levels are all attributed to optimistic thinking. An optimistic attitude can also help you recover and heal faster after injury or surgery.
 
But what if you aren’t a naturally optimistic person? Don’t despair! Here are four small things you can do every day to see the world in a better light and improve your health:
  1. Start off each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.
  2. Smile, smile, smile. There is something to the adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” When you make the effort to smile, your emotions will follow. Smiling will also draw others toward you creating a positive exchange that can lift your mood.
  3. Live one moment at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. Repeated brief moments of positive thinking can foster mental and physical health. Some of my clients find it helpful to practice mindfulness to help them focus and see the good in their day.
  4. Practice gratitude. Having a grateful attitude is linked to less stress and anxiety, sleeping more soundly, better physical health, greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Look for the moments, big and small, that you are thankful for. Some people keep a gratitude journal.

Positive thinking takes practice, but you can remake yourself into a positive person by re-training your brain to think positively! If you’re looking for the negative, the neural pathways for negative thinking become stronger. Your brain will lean toward the negative automatically. When you practice gratitude, and look for the good, you are activating different neural circuits in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, producing calming results. The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger and more automatic they become.
 
If you find yourself still overwhelmed by negative thoughts, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. I also offer online therapy to those residing in Oregon or Washington states so you can get the help you need from the comfort of your own home. We’ll work to put your negative thoughts into perspective and cultivate the positive attitude that will improve your health and well-being.

Can Entrepreneurs Get Away with Sleeping Less?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Man laying in bed looking at computerAs an entrepreneur, you likely pride yourself on your resilience and tenacity. You push yourself beyond your limits, often sacrificing physical needs for the benefit of your business. Perhaps one of the first things to go after starting your business was a good night’s sleep.
 
How much sleep do you get at night? Eight? Six? Less? Do you find yourself staying up late and waking up early to care for all of your personal and business commitments? 
 
Being sleep deprived has almost become a status symbol in our culture. You must be very important, very in-demand, if you don’t sleep much. It is also viewed as evidence of a strong work ethic. Especially among entrepreneurs, a good night’s sleep is often looked down on, as something only lazy people get to enjoy. The reality is while you need to work hard and even make sacrifices to build your business, sleep should not be one of them! If you want to grow a successful business, a consistent lack of sleep isn’t going to help your cause.
 
What about the people we hear about who thrive on five hours a night? That’s great for them. But know that they are a tiny group, making up only three to five percent of the population. Most likely you are not part of this group. Sleep experts tell us that the majority of healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. That applies to even the busiest entrepreneur!
 
But you may think, “I haven’t slept more than five hours a night for months, even years. And I’m doing just fine.” Is that really enough for your body, though? Try this: the next time you go on vacation, track your sleep. How long do you sleep at night? Do you wake up feeling more refreshed and alert? As the day progresses, do you feel sharper, more even-tempered, and attentive?
 
If you notice that you feel consistently more alert and even-tempered after a solid seven to nine hours of sleep, then take that to heart. You’re an entrepreneur, not a superhero. Good sleep, and enough of it, is non-negotiable!
 
Your body and mind are not “fine” when you skimp on sleep. You may learn to survive on less sleep, but you can’t train yourself to thrive on less sleep. However much sleep you need is fixed, and you need to make the effort to get it.
 
Why is sleep so important? Your body rejuvenates overnight. Your cells, muscles, and organs all perform vital, life-sustaining tasks when you sleep, keeping you healthy. Lack of sleep is linked to everything from depression to heart disease to cancer.
 
Lack of sleep also affects your memory, impulse control, and stress management. It makes you less efficient at running your business. Sleep deprivation impairs your ability to make good decisions, follow through, and communicate effectively. The qualities that led you to entrepreneurial success – innovation and adaptability – are quick to decline.
 
So if you are not getting enough sleep, take action now. Reschedule your routine to leave enough time for sleep. Do you need eight hours to feel good and perform at your best? Then plan accordingly. Take charge of your physical and mental health by getting the right amount of sleep for you!
 
Sleep problems can be deeper than simply not having enough time to sleep. If insomnia has become a problem for you, please consult with your physician. If he or she can’t find a solution to your chronic insomnia, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. I can help you get back on the road to optimal health and wellness.


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