Our attention spans are shrinking.

Plus: Quick and easy recipes.

Together with

“Life is about change. Sometimes it's painful. Sometimes it's beautiful. But most of the time, it's both.” — Lana Lang

Friday. Well, it’s September, which means the year is basically over. Goodbye, 2023 — it’s been nice knowing you. Here is to a more stress-free 2024 with fewer natural disasters and silly arguments. I am sure we will all get along during a presidential election year. On the bright side, there might be a simple solution you can implement before the end of the year to improve your mental health. Let’s dive in.

Together with Inside Hotels

Hotels We Love: Hotel Zena

A modern haven in the heart of Washington DC, Hotel Zena is a socially-conscious, work-friendly retreat from the lauded hoteliers at Viceroy.

In keeping with the progressive themes of the space, each room is outfitted with a work desk and large TV, so you can be fully connected during your stay. The seasonal rooftop features a pool with stunning views alongside approachable cocktails and light bites like the “Side Chick,” a chicken sandwich with caribbean remoulade. Figleaf, the downstairs bar & lounge, serves creative Mediterranean dishes, including a truly impressive fig galette with saffron cream. No matter why you’ve come to DC, you’ll find what you’re looking for right here.

Ignore Golden Retriever GIF

Attention Spans And Happiness

How often do you find yourself bouncing from one thing to another without really finishing any of them? Be honest — how many of these emails do you end up half-skimming before (“squirrel!”) something else grabs your attention?

Well, if you've been able to read emails or articles without hopping off to another tab or checking your phone midway, consider yourself a special, dying breed. Because the truth is, most of us can't. Our attention spans are shrinking.

Recent studies are showing an alarming trend. About 20 years ago, people could focus on one thing, like reading a book or watching a TV show, for about 2.5 minutes straight. But as the years went on, that time got shorter and shorter. A few years ago, it dropped to 75 seconds. And today? Believe it or not, it's just 47 seconds for one screen.

But here's another curveball to consider: every time we get distracted, it's not just a matter of jumping right back in. Nope, it can take us up to 25 minutes to get our heads back into what we were doing. It's easy to blame technology for this shift, and in some ways, you might be right to do so. Our brains love new information, and back in the day, when there wasn't a world of knowledge at our fingertips, we could focus on one thing at a time. Now, with the whole internet just a click away, it's harder than ever to stay on one track.

New information is always readily available, and our brains usually can’t resist the temptation.

So what’s the big deal? I like jumping from one thing to another. I can multitask. But here's the catch: our minds and bodies feel the effects of all that focus whiplash. People who find it hard to focus on one thing for long are often more stressed, anxious, and less happy overall.

So, what can we do about it? Luckily, there's research that suggests some pretty simple things can help train our brains to focus again.

First off, there are phone breaks. We're all kind of addicted to our phones. To start, you can try setting aside 2 or 3 times a day where you just put it down and do something else. You could go for a walk and leave your phone behind, do some breathwork, or get a short workout done. A 20-minute walk outside can do wonders. You can jam out to your favorite tunes or chat with a friend. Just don't get glued to your screen or social media during the walk. That’s defeats the purpose.

Engaging in quiet activities like doing the dishes, laundry, or a crossword puzzle can also help you tune and refine your focus muscles. These tasks might seem boring, but they're training your brain to concentrate, which is something we all need.

And finally, you can always do this thing called reading. This might seem old school, but reading a book for 30 minutes can significantly help improve your focus. It's not just about being away from your phone. It's about teaching your brain to stick with something for over a minute.

The key takeaway? You don’t have to throw your phone into a river or live in the woods to improve your focus (although those would definitely help). Just a little less dependency can make a big difference. By practicing some of these tricks, you will not only be more focused and productive, but you'll probably feel happier and less stressed, too.

So, the next time you feel like reaching for your phone, reach for a book or go for a stroll instead. Your brain and your long-term health will thank you!

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2. Bell Pepper Nachos For The Win!

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This banana protein bar is easy and will set you up for success coming out of the long weekend. Enjoy!

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