Monthly Archives: August 2015

Commute Worthy Reading:

Dread the morning commute? Why not pick up a book to make it go faster? Studies show that reading on the commute can get your brain moving in the morning and help you wind down on the way home. Whether you’re a mystery lover, biography freak or a romantic, here’s a list of some suggestions with something for everyone.

Dark Places Gillian Flynn

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Gillian Flynn does it again in her new novel Dark Places. If you loved Gone Girl this book is for you.  Vanity Fair describes Flynn’s second as the narrative of a lone survivor of a horrifying family murder and the group of crime aficionados that pull her back into the crime. Not for the faint of heart, this gripping read will take you through Satanic rituals and back.

Notes on the Death of Culture Mario Vargas Llosa

A Peruvian Nobel prize winner, Mario Vargas Llosa explores the decline of our political sphere and democracy. Vargas Llosa comments in essays and articles throughout this work on what he views as the dying parts of our culture. The guardian explains that Vargas Llosa has long been known as a public intellectual as well as a novelist in the Spanish-speaking world as well as in the UK.

The Love Affairs of Nathan P. Adelle Waldman

A national bestseller, Maria Russo of The New York Times writes, “Adelle Waldman’s debut novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., scrutinizes Nate and the subculture that he thrives in with a patient, anthropological detachment. Ms. Waldman has sorted and cross-categorized the inhabitants of Nate’s world with a witty, often breathtaking precision…”

Dancer Colum McCann

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Inspired by his own biography, novelist Colum McCann tells the story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through people that knew him best. The novel spans four decades and various worlds, from the terror of World War II to the chaos of New York in the eighties, Dancer is a testament to a wide cast of characters with the artist himself at the heart of the spectacle. (http://us.macmillan.com/)

The Luckiest Girl Alive Jessica Knoll

From Amazon: “With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.”

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Beat the 3 PM Slump

Everyone feels it. The afternoon slowly drags by, your energy drops and you have trouble maintaining your focus. While this isn’t uncommon, our initial reaction, a trip to the coffee pot or vending machine, actually hurts rather than helps. Here are some suggestions to beating the afternoon slump.

Coffee: say it isn’t so!
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If you’re like me, when 3 PM rolls around I head to the kitchen to get my coffee fix for the afternoon. However, as reported in Runnersworld, PhD Steven Miller explains why biologically, coffee may actually do more harm than good when had in the late afternoon. In the mornings, Miller states, our cortisol is actually the highest. Cortisol is not just the stress hormone; it is also correlated to our alertness levels. Miller suggests that the most effective time to drink coffee is between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM. Research from the Journal of Sleep Medicine suggests that the coffee in the afternoon will not only have limited effects, but that the level of caffeine present in coffee will actually make it harder to sleep that night. But there is a solution to the need for caffeine. Instead of coffee in the afternoon try switching to green tea. Green tea has less caffeine so you will be able to fall asleep but still enough to give you the extra energy boost!

Step back from that computer screen:

takebreakAccording to University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Llevas, when you take a break, you are deactivating and reactivating your brain, which allows you to stay focused. He suggests that brief mental breaks actually cause an increase in productivity and focus. Staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time can cause eye strain and headaches. Taking a break avoids this strain and gives you an energy boost.  So- when you feel your eyes glaze over and mind start to wander, take a step back and take a break!

Have a snack:

Yes! It’s okay to get snacking in the afternoon. Healthy snacks will help your body reboot but snacks high in fat and sugar not only hurt your waistline, they also make us sleepy and have low energy. Step away from the vending machine and put that Twinkie down! Here are some healthy alternatives suggested by Nicole Maftoum, a clinical Dietitian as reported in Business Insider, that will be kind to your mind and body.fruit

  1. Almonds are a great source of protein, healthy fat and have 9 essential nutrients.
  2. Satisfy the craving for sweets with fresh fruit. Fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals and taste good too!
  3. The brain gets a majority of its energy from glucose. Try a dry cereal with a low glycemic index like bran flakes. Foods with a low glycemic index will release a slow and steady supply of glucose into the blood stream which not only optimizes brain power, but also slow down the sugary cravings!
  4. Apples and Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter). Apples provide an ample amount of carbohydrates and fiber while Peanut Butter is full of healthy fat and protein. This snack gives you an energy boost and stabilizes your sugar levels.

Turn Up the Tunes!

As reported in CNN, music can help you focus. Peter Quily, an adult Deficit Disorder coach said that music can actually increase the dopamine levels in your brain, which in turn helps you feel awake and focused. In a study in the Journal of Music Therapy, background music actually improves your mood and enhances perception while working. This study also proved that listening to your favorite music actually lowers tension! So tune out that annoying coworker, plug in your headphones and get back to work!

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