Louisville Magazine

JAN 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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44 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.16 "Procrastination is just being human. We all do it. e brain can be very — I don't want to say lazy — but it doesn't like expending a lot of energy; the evolutionary feature is to conserve energy. When you have to do something effortful, it isn't the mode that the brain really likes. Procrastination is probably a mixture of effort and fear — or some negative connotation. If you're looking forward to doing something that has a high reward, like eating a great meal and having a nice glass of wine, you're not going to procrastinate on that. Humans try to maximize rewards and minimize punishment. e unfortunate thing is the more you procrastinate, the more it gets reinforced that the thing is negative. "Here's an example: I can't stand doing laundry. And the longer I put it off, the more it builds up and the more I attach a negative connotation to it. A lot of times it's just thought getting in the way of action. You don't want to let it build up and build up. What you can do is try to put the thought out of your mind and just do the action. Doing laundry should be a neutral thing — not really negative or positive — but you attach negative significance to it so much that it becomes this mountain — literally and figuratively. "e farther away the gratification, the harder it is to do the activity. Exercise is like that for me. ere's not that much immediate gratification, unless you get like a runner's high. Lifting weights, I can easily procrastinate on that because it's hard work and there isn't much instant gratification. One of the best things is to be really in tune with how you feel when you work out. Concentrate on that good feeling because that's brining the reward closer to the actual event. Or if you really dislike doing something, try doing something pleasurable — listening to your favorite music, watching something funny on TV — at the same time. ink of something rewarding that happens either as a consequence of doing the activity or while doing it. "And when you're done with laundry, drink a beer." Here are five more sleeping tips from Monsma. "e background frequency for TVs and computer screens is slanted toward blue. Blue light tends to wake us up more than light toward the amber end of the spectrum. Many smartphones actually have a setting that moves the light toward the amber spectrum. At 10 p.m., I have my phone programmed to do that." "Get up at the same time every morning, even if you didn't sleep well the night before. e worst thing people can do is to try to make up for lack of sleep by sleeping late. When you get out of bed, allow natural, bright light to hit the retinas, to wake up the arousal centers deep in the brain." "Rather than getting into a frustrating struggle of wills with sleep and trying to force yourself to sleep, which never works, I encourage people to get out of bed if they can't get to sleep for more than half an hour. Go into the family room, turn a dim light on, keep the television off. Read something that's moderately interesting or listen to some music. Or write down some of the problems and challenges in your life that are keeping you awake. Wait for drowsi- ness to come and go back to bed." "You can use your smart- phone as an alarm. But if there's a sound that alerts you to incoming emails and texts messages, you've gotta turn that off." "ere's good research show- ing that when people get rid of the television in the bed- room, they sleep better and have more active and satisfy- ing intimacy lives. I don't have a TV in the bedroom. Haven't for 25 years. Absolutely not." Brendan Depue is a professor and the endowed chair of behavioral brain imaging in U of L's department of psychological and brain sciences. Here's his take on getting things done. Brian Monsma, a clinical psychologist with the Frazier Neu- roRehab Program, developed a "flash nap" program with U of L's office of Health Promotion, inside the Student Activities Center. So far, Monsma says, 1,200 people have learned "to nap efficiently." Most days, in his office around lunchtime, Monsma sets a 10-minute alarm ("e biggest mistake people make with naps is not setting an alarm") and takes his own flash nap. Lights off. Feet up on a chair. "Mindfully scanning" various parts of his body, making sure tension isn't festering. Deep breaths with the diaphragm, not the upper chest and shoulders. "I pay careful at- tention to the movement of air past my nostrils into my lungs," he says. "I'm very good at letting myself drift into sleep within six breaths. e more you practice, the more efficient you be- come." He says 10 minutes is "enough to keep you from feeling drowsy the rest of the day, but not long enough to interfere with your nighttime sleep pattern at all." — JM

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