6) Complete the NYT Sunday Crossword
Practice on Wednesday's puzzle. It's the same difficulty level as Sunday's, just smaller, and you'll learn to decipher themes and recognize recurring answer words, says Amy Reynaldo, author of How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. And that stable of words often includes Elon (North Carolina university), etui (needle case), and Eno (record producer), along with Erie, eerie, area, aria, arena, erase, and aloe. Also, when you're stumped, remember the Wheel of Fortune principle--l, r, n, s, t, and vowels are the building blocks of words (j, q, and v are used sparingly).
7) Reach Enlightenment
This one starts simply: Say "hi" and "thank you" as frequently as possible, says Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program. Engaging with others and showing gratitude helps flesh out the characters in your world (they're not drones!) and makes it a richer, friendlier place. This eases you out of the attack mode your busy life may seem to require.
"You have a level of fulfillment because you're a part of things," says Salzberg. "You don't see people as chess pieces." You can still be competitive, but when you know your opponent -- and possibly like the guy -- there's no need for bludgeoning or blood.
8) Forget Her
It's okay to have memories of Ms. Was. Yes, you should defriend her and delete her cell number, but total erasure is impossible, says Scott Bea, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
"The more you resist the memories, the more they'll push for attention, like that Katy Perry tune stuck in your head." Set aside 5 minutes in the morning and evening to let your thoughts occur, Bea advises. Don't act on them, and over time they'll lose their potency. Then wash your car or hit the gym. Any activity that engages multiple senses takes you out of your ruminating head and puts you into real time. Plus, all fun comes through the physical.
"No one ever says, 'I had a fun time thinking last night,' " says Bea.
9) Leave Stress at the Office
You have one routine when you start work in the morning: coffee, Facebook, e-mail, Facebook. Establish another one for day's end and use it to help yourself decompress, says Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., a professor at Harvard business school. After you finish your last task of the day, make a plan for tomorrow and start your ritual to signal the end of office hours. "Do something you find enjoyable and relaxing. The first few times you try these rituals, really force yourself to disconnect from work," says Amabile. For example, listen to a specific singer or band every day on your commute home (Adele, perhaps?), or work out for 30 minutes after you arrive home, or drink a glass of wine at 7 p.m. each night. Eventually, you'll effortlessly detach at the sound of "Rolling in the Deep."
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