Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

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The Free Radical Theory of Aging

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The picture above shows iron rust. Oxygen reacts with steel, in a process called oxidation. It gives a grey and red color, and soon, steel disintegrate. The process can be accelerated with air or water moisture.

Oxidation can also been seen in food, turning rancid cooking oils or transforming nice apples into sad brown food. This process of oxidation creates free radicals.

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How To Recognize Burnout

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Burnout manifests itself with underperformance, mood disturbance, reduced motivation, stomach problems, as well as fatigue, anxiety and depression.

It is seen in serious athletes training with high volumes and intensity with little recovery aka overtraining. It’s also experienced by various workers going through chronic life stresses and monotony: stressful job, divorce, kids, bills, nerve-wracking projects, little sense of self-worth etc.

What seemed like an easy task previously requires enormous efforts. Often, there’s psychological breakdown.

Recognizing burnout lets you stay away from injuries or pass the tipping point. This can mean extended years enjoying your work, exercise and family. A well-balanced person wants to recognize early symptoms, which lead to the question:

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Quieting Down the Phone

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In the past year, I have dramatically decreased my social media and smartphone usage.

When I used to check the facebook frontpage multiple times per hour, I haven’t see it in four months. I used to post “interesting articles” on Twitter at least three times per day. As you can see, the only posts are automated links to this site. I used to like dozens of Instagram pics every day, going from hashtag to hashtag, in the hope of boosting my profile.

This is the same for WhatsApp, WeChat, emails and phone calls. Text me, and I would send a witty reply in seconds.

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A Green Plant that Makes you Feel Better

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Having moved frequently in the past ten years, I never had any plants at home. I always feared the weight as well as potential damage during moving out. And to be honest, my disposable income was spent in electronics, beer, restaurants, video games and fatty foods like any average North American 🙂

I now have plants at home. My outlook has changed. Less fatty foods, more exercise, more home cooking, and now plants. And I feel better now!

One of the plants is a Japanese Peace Lily. What benefits does this indoor plant bring?

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Redirecting Stress into Performance

Running further, faster : a personal record

Did you ever had challenging situations where you felt being personally attacked but couldn’t respond back?

Or maybe that everyone was conspiring against you?

I’ve had several. Sometimes you can defuse or go past the attack. In others times, I could not do anything because the attack came from a boss or a client. The situation becomes a crisis for me when there are other people around. There’s feeling of shame, anger, and then thoughts of violence or revenge come to mind.

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The Science of Sleep and Creativity

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Digital painting by Cyril Rolando

Studies link poor sleep with poor health : higher risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and poor immune system. It’s also associated with poor mental health: sleep deprivation disturbs emotional regulation and increases anxiety. It also leads to unhealthy weight gain, poor food intake and increased risk for metabolic diseases.

Good health simply means good sleep. Read more on this.

There is still research however on how sleep is linked to creativity. How can sleep helps us think of new ideas, perceive the world in new ways, or generate solutions to new problems?

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