If this sounds like you, odds are you’re burned out.
Burnout isn’t just the greatest challenge to the global health system or a drain on the American workplace — it’s wreaking havoc on your well-being.
But with the help of TED’s expansive online library of presentations, you can quickly learn what ten minutes of quiet a day can do for you, how powerful sleep really is, and why stress isn’t always bad for us.
1. Daniel Levitin’s ‘How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed’
After a stressful event, this neuroscientist “started wondering, are there things that I can do, systems that I can put into place, that will prevent bad things from happening? Or at least if bad things happen, will minimize the likelihood of it being a total catastrophe?”
He found that there is in fact a way to avoid making critical mistakes during stressful situations when our thinking becomes clouded.
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2. Andy Puddicombe’s ‘All it takes is 10 mindful minutes’
Puddicombe, a mindfulness expert, former Buddhist monk, and cofounder of mediation app Headspace, describes the transformative power of doing nothing for 10 minutes, undisturbed, each day.
“The sad fact is that we are so distracted that we’re no longer present in the world in which we live,” he says. “We miss out on the things that are most important to us, and the crazy thing is that everybody just assumes, that’s the way life is, so we’ve just kind of got to get on with it. That’s really not how it has to be.”
3. Sandrine Thuret’s ‘You can grow new brain cells. Here’s how’
This neuroscientist says growing new neurons in the brain is essential to improving memory formation, mood, and preventing the mental decline associated with stress.
In her talk, Thuret shares a few practical steps for increasing the production of new neurons.
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4. Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Your elusive creative genius’
The “Eat, Pray, Love” author shares in her funny and personal talk the idea that the creative process isn’t about “being” a genius.
“I think that allowing somebody, one mere person, to believe that he or she is the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche,” Gilbert says. “It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun.”
She thinks that pressure creates unmanageable expectations and has been killing off artists for the past 500 years. Instead she proposes we consider “genius” something we all possess.
5. Stefan Sagmeister’s ‘The power of time off’
For more than 20 years, Sagmeister has poured his heart and soul into designing album covers for artists like the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed. But every seven years, he closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh his creativity. In his talk, he explains how taking time off has allowed him to pursue “some little experiments” that have become innovative projects.
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6. Ze Frank’s ‘Are you human?’
The online humorist offers a list of simple — and often brutally honest — questions that will help you answer the ultimate question, “Am I human?”
7. Shawn Achor’s ‘The happy secret to better work’
As the CEO of Good Think Inc., a psychologist, and author of “The Happiness Advantage,” Achor has spent a lot of time researching where human potential, success, and happiness intersect.
He suggests the common belief that we should work to be happy is misguided, and instead happiness inspires productivity.
8. Arianna Huffington’s ‘How to succeed? Get more sleep’
It’s a simple idea that a good night’s sleep has the power to increase productivity, happiness, and smarter decision-making, but Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, believes it can unlock bigger ideas.
“I urge you to shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us, to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep,” she says.
9. Kelly McGonigal’s ‘How to make stress your friend’
The Stanford University psychologist and author of “The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It” says that a belief in the harmful effects of stress — and not stress itself — poses a serious health risk.
McGonigal’s talk centers on how a change in the perception of stress rather than the elimination of it could save people from a premature death.
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10. Pico Iyer’s ‘The art of stillness’
Iyer, a travel writer, believes that in our ever chaotic and noisy lives, we need to slow down, tune out, and give ourselves permission to be still. He explores the insight that comes from stillness and the strategies we all can use to take back a few minutes every day.
11. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘Flow, the secret to happiness’
Flow, according to Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology and management professor at Claremont Graduate University, is a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities like art, play, and work. This, he says, makes life worth living.