Image by Sebastian Šoška from Pixabay


A proper diet is certainly important. That’s what we’ve heard from childhood.

To improve your cognitive skills, you might also want to evaluate your sleep, exercise and meditation habits. If do, you can reduce negative thoughts and enhance your productivity.

A 2016 Rutgers study indicates exercise and meditation reduce depression symptoms – by as much as 40 percent.

The results are noteworthy because depression afflicts 20 percent of Americans.

“We are excited by the findings because we saw such a meaningful improvement in both clinically depressed and non-depressed students,” says Brandon Alderman, an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies.

“It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression,” he adds.

The study indicates the therapies can replace the most common type of therapy – medication.

“Scientists have known for a while that both of these activities alone can help with depression,” says Tracey Shors, professor in the Department of Psychology.

“But this study suggests that when done together, there is a striking improvement in depressive symptoms along with increases in synchronized brain activity,” adds Professor Shors.

“We know these therapies can be practiced over a lifetime and that they will be effective in improving mental and cognitive health,” says Professor Alderman. “The good news is that this intervention can be practiced by anyone at any time and at no cost.”

Sleep loss

People who lose sleep – who sleep less than six hours – are four times more likely to catch colds, according to a 2015 study by researchers from the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburg Medical Center.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” says lead author Professor Aric Prather at UCSF.

“It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income,” adds Professor Prather. “It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”

Insufficient sleep has been termed a public health epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It hampers 20 percent of Americans according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Adequate sleep helps prevent chronic illnesses, disease and premature death.

“It goes beyond feeling groggy or irritable,” says Professor Prather. “Not getting sleep fundamentally affects your physical health.”

Instead of focusing on how much you can get done, focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.

Diabetes risk

Americans coping with long work hours and commuting can reduce their diabetes risk if they can catch up on their sleep on the weekends.

That’s the conclusion from a University of Chicago Medical Center report in 2016.

“In this short-term study, we found that two long nights spent catching up on lost sleep can reverse the negative metabolic effects of four consecutive nights of restricted sleep,” says study author Josiane Broussard, PhD, now an assistant research professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

By sleeping only four of five hours a night, increases the risk of diabetes by 16 percent say researchers. That’s comparable to the risk of obesity from a lack of sleep.

“The metabolic response to this extra sleep was very interesting and encouraging,” reports senior author Esra Tasali, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

“It shows that young, healthy people who sporadically fail to get sufficient sleep during the work week can reduce their diabetes risk if they catch up on sleep during the weekend,” adds Dr. Tasali.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks:

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — If you’re stressed and have too little time, I feel your pain. You might not be convinced the U.S. is embarking on an economic recovery. Many economists have called it a jobless recovery, but with respect for their opinions, the phrase is actually an oxymoron.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self-esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

31 Resolutions to Recover for a Profitable New Year — Instead of a spectacular New Year’s start, many businesses struggle to hit their numbers. For most businesses it’s been a zero sum game. The only way to create revenue has been to take business away from competitors. But the New Year means a whole new ballgame. Before the year-end is a perfect time for businesses to evaluate prospects and to strategize for the next 12 months — for a spectacular New Year.

To avoid the Agony of Lost Luggage: 7 Precautions –You’ve confidently waited at the airport’s carousel for your luggage. But it wasn’t there. Your hands began to perspire as you became more apprehensive. Next came the migraine. If an airline has ever lost your luggage, you know how aggravating it is. It’s a major inconvenience. Here’s how to prevent it.

Instead of focusing on how much you can get done, focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.