Find flow, fight fear, and create focus!

Archive for the ‘Paleo’ tag

States of Mind, Resiliency, and Cognitive Performance (Sunday Reads #16)

with 2 comments

Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.  As it’s been several weeks since I’ve posted, some of these links may be a few weeks “old” – but given that we’re looking at mostly timeless information, that shouldn’t matter much.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On High Performance Work

How much does your state of mind matter during the work day?  Quite a bit.  94% of leaders reported that Calm, Happy and Energized (CHE) are the states of mind that drive the greatest levels of effectiveness and performance.

Humans are meant to move a lot during the day, and most office workers are unlikely to do so. WellnessFX has 5 mobility hacks to improve your morning routine.  Get moving.

A positive mood allows your brain to think more creatively.

Being happy at work matters.  People want a meaningful vision of the future, a sense of purpose, and great relationships.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

June 21st, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Dark Chocolate for Focus, Exercise for a Long Life (Sunday Reads #15)

with 3 comments

Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.

This week I’m posting it on Monday because… well… Memorial Day.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Creativity and Focus

Creativity can reduce stress and become a habit.  “Productivity on meaningful work encourages engagement with that work, and this engagement fosters creativity.”

A new study has found that a Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts was associated with improved cognitive function in older adults in Spain.  The control group ate a low-fat diet.

Dark chocolate can boost attention.  At least a few times per week I substitute an afternoon coffee or tea with some sipping chocolate (85%) – not only is it incredibly tasty, it helps me focus.

A new study has found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating.  I’m on Day 21 of the Headspace program and I already feel a noticeable difference in my overall stress levels, clarity of thought and ability to focus.  I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

May 25th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Decision Making, Red Meat, and Immunity (Sunday Reads #6)

0 comments

Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Brain Stuff and Careers

The kind of instinctive decision-making advocated in best-selling popular psychology books like ‘Nudge’, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and ‘Blink’ is not backed up by reliable evidence, a study concludes.  My view is that inaction is almost always worse than wrong action.

What is the #1 predictor of career success?  Having an open network vs. a closed network.  In a closed network you’re surrounded by people with the same ideas and beliefs as yours, while in an open network you’re challenging one another.  So surround yourself with people who don’t think like you do.

A study on musical training “adds to mounting evidence that musical training not only gives young developing brains a cognitive boost, but those neural enhancements extend across the lifespan into old age when the brain needs it most to counteract cognitive decline.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

February 7th, 2015 at 8:51 am

Finding An Answer: Dogma, Frameworks, and Changing Your Mind

with 4 comments

Have you ever found yourself believing something “just because”? Just because your family does, your friends do, or the “facts” as you know them just seem intuitively correct? Maybe this belief has been there your entire life, and is cemented deeply in your psyche as “the truth” regardless of whether or not the facts support it. Or maybe you believe something, but have no clear idea where the belief started or why you believe it at all. My guess is that you, like me, believe a lot of things that have no basis in objective reality – but you have never stopped to question many of those beliefs.

It’s human nature to like things to be simple. We don’t like to muster up our cognitive reserves to dig into the rationale, the logic, the reasoning, or the “why” something is the way it is. It’s usually easier to simply believe the so-called experts and focus our energy elsewhere. Quite often this is the right tradeoff to make, in fact. You don’t have to research cyanide to know that you shouldn’t put it in your mouth – it doesn’t rank high enough on the “investment relative to importance” scale to question whether or not it will harm you. Similarly, there’s no reason (for most people at least) to personally test the safety features of their car. You can take it on faith and a small bit of research that the claims made by your car company are valid without putting them to the ultimate test. But there are other things that really DO matter – or at least SHOULD. Things that could make a BIG difference in your life if you spent the time digging into them to understand them just a little bit more… and didn’t assume the answer was correct “just because”.

The definition of dogma: a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true; prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

January 7th, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Books, Kettlebell Swings, and the Goal-Gradient Effect (Sunday Reads #1)

with 5 comments

Welcome to the first edition of Sunday Reads on Refocuser.  In an effort to both engage with my readers and have a complete archive of awesome stuff I’ve been reading, I’m going to start filtering the web for things that are most applicable to Refocuser subscribers.  This way you get the most out of subscribing to this blog and email newsletter.

These updates will consist mostly of links to other sites with minimal commentary, and will vary in length and depth.  They should be easily consumable… and should be fun.  Here we go.

Reading is Fundamental

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, believes in the power of reading books.  He says, “I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”  I agree 100% and have joined his book club to follow along.

More on reading books: Reading in the Age of Amazon is a great profile of the people I work with every single day at Amazon and our mission to empower the world to read more every day.  In short, reading is good for you and, of course, Kindle is the best way to do it.

On Fitness, Nutrition, and Sleep

“Optimized meat products higher in omega-3″ reduce body fat more than “optimized” products lower in overall fat. This implies that if we’re going to be eating meat, we should seek out the grass-fed variety. (via Mark Sisson)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

January 4th, 2015 at 11:53 am

The Unconventional Gym Bag Continued: 5 More Things

with 5 comments

Last year I wrote The Unconventional Gym Bag: 5 Cool Things You Don’t Use and a few months prior, I wrote about Building the Perfect Home Gym. As expected, my training has evolved over the past year – and will continue to evolve – and the contents of my actual gym bag (and home gym) have also been upgraded. I take my training seriously – more seriously every year – and making sure I’m up-to-date on the latest and greatest is part of the fun.

While I’m a strong believer in self-experimentation, I also “keep it real” with basics in every training session. Loads of bodyweight workouts for general physical preparedness, and of course moving big iron for strength skill work. My strength & conditioning sessions (the primary choice for my entire adult life) consist primarily of the basics: kettlebells, deadlift, squat, bench press, and military press variations. Depending on my goals at the time, I vary the sets, reps, tempo, rest periods, and “supplementary” work. Sometimes the goal is to get stronger or bigger, sometimes it’s to get faster, and sometimes it’s to get leaner. I enlist the help of an awesome, experienced strength coach every few weeks or months to make sure my form is spot-on, and that I’m constantly improving (something I shouldn’t have waited so long to do).

I’ve also evolved my programming and have found a pretty good rhythm. After tearing my right medial meniscus after a July 4th Crossfit workout last year, I realized the hard way that there is a big difference between exercising and training. As much as I loved Crossfit workouts, anyone will sweat and feel spent if pushed to the breaking point. Training is different. Training is personal. Training is about goals. Now, every time I enter the gym, I have a goal to hit. That’s what training is all about. No more random daily workouts with no structure or sound programming behind them.

So what’s new in my gym bag? Let’s get to it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

July 7th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Forget About Getting in Shape… Become an Athlete

with 4 comments

A few months ago I came to a long overdue conclusion about myself: I’ve never stopped thinking of myself as an athlete even though I haven’t played an organized sport for more than half my life.

This is a short story of why I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been pretty busy reorganizing some aspects of my life around this mini-epiphany.

bikerWhen I was a kid I played baseball, football, practiced martial arts, and would beg anyone around me to catch whatever I was going to throw at them… for hours. The notion of treating my mind, body, and emotions as seriously as an athlete would has stuck with me since those days.

When I was in school, being a “student athlete” was an achievement worth recognizing.  Kids who would do well in school and sport were somewhat rare and it was obvious they had mastered a life skill so many others hadn’t. 

Yet as an adult, it seems all we’re trying to do is survive.  Somewhere along the lines, people give up on being extraordinary – to be that “student athlete” in life.  They’re just trying to get through to tomorrow.

Through years of business, marriage, kids… ups and downs… my system is still running that base ‘student athlete operating system’. It forms the foundation of who I am despite the fact that I’ve never been very good at any sport!

Shortly after realizing this, I started embracing it more as a part of who I am. This meant thinking about myself as an athlete “in training” instead of as someone who “stays in shape”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Torres

August 21st, 2011 at 4:50 pm

-->