Here are this week’s Life Pro Tips.
01. How to avoid life crisis thoughts while going to sleep
The other day one of our readers asked us this question: How can I avoid having a midlife crisis every time I try go to bed.
We thought this would be the best place to answer this question.
Organizing your thoughts and recalling and digesting impactful, emotional events in your head is actually how the human mind works. Being alone with your thoughts, minimizing external stimulation to focus on the internal dialogue is an important daily activity even for as little as 15 minutes a day.
The problem with the modern lifestyle is you probably go from morning radio to podcast in car to Facebook, to work and surfing the web during breaks and then back home to the TV. There are few opportunities for quiet reflection so is there any surprise that the first moment there are no distractions (once your head hits the pillow on your bed) you would start having your inner dialogue?
Your coping mechanism should not be more distraction and sleeping pills, but rather forced routine that involves that internal voice. Here are powerful coping mechanisms successful people use on a daily basis:
· Writing a diary.
· Working out with minimal distractions.
· Light house work with minimal distractions.
· Sitting down and planning your daily agenda.
· Opening your thoughts to a close friend or psychotherapist over regularly scheduled periods.
These routine activities force you to confront your inner thoughts and you will have these necessary internal dialogues during appropriate times rather than moments you are trying to sleep.
People with PTSD (for example) who get in trouble are the kinds of people who ratchet up the distractions in their life because an inner thoughtful reflection on the horrors of life would be too painful. After a while, distracting yourself becomes ineffective and sleep is often the first victim of a distracted lifestyle.
02. How to prevent/stop yourself from zoning out during a conversation
This is something called “Active Listening”. There are several good resources online about how to improve your Active Listening skills, but it essentially comes down to focusing on what they’re saying, acknowledge what they’re saying, demonstrate that you’re listening, wait until they’ve completed their thought or statement before asking questions.
I prefer this approach from a TED Talk I watched. Key takeout: It all comes down to being interested. “Everyone is an expert on something. So if you can meaningfully connect with others, you’ll always find something new to learn.”
If you zone out because you’re thinking about something you want to say, I find the best thing is often to completely abandon whatever it was you wanted to say. Getting caught up with adding to the conversation is probably my main reason for not paying attention when someone else speaks. Hopefully, you’ll remember it anyway if it was something important.
03. If you ever get disoriented underwater…
Look for air bubbles to guide your way up to the surface. This may seem obvious, but you may not think about it if you ever get disoriented underwater.
While this is generally a good advice, air bubbles may not be visible in all types of situation, and other factors might make them undependable. In those situations starting a dead man’s float may help. Start a dead man’s float, wait about 5 seconds or so and then swim in the direction your back is facing.
04. Don’t give your friends gifts based on their hobby, unless it’s your hobby too
E.g. don’t buy fishing gear for a fisherman or collectibles for a collector, unless you know as much about the topic as your friend does.
Otherwise, chances are that you will gift something they already have a better version of, something kitschy, or not well-researched compared to what they already have and know.
Instead, it may be a better bet to make an introductory gift based on your hobby, provided you verify your friend has any interest or curiosity about the subject.
05. When searching for a job…
Regularly re-upload your resume to the various job search sites, even if nothing on it has changed. The refreshed date makes it more likely HR types will see it when they scan for prospective candidates to put forward.