The Sound of Healing
 
singing-bowl-200851_960_720.jpg

What is the soundscape of your life? Honking and beeping as you walk down the city street? That collection of songs that helps get you through mile after mile on your runs? The sound of a long-distance friend or family member’s voice on the phone? That podcast you can’t get enough of?

The soundscape in your life can be a powerful influence on your mood and wellbeing. In this spirit, more and more people are gravitating towards “sound baths”, sessions where you are immersed in sound in the hopes of having some sort of positive psychological or other benefit.

Many of us are painfully aware of the environmental pollution around us in the air and water, so we seek the fresher feeling air in the woods or choose to swim in a lake far from a city rather than jump into the Hudson. However, it’s worth taking a minute to think about a different type of pollution--”noise pollution”. The  EPA defines noise pollution as “unwanted or disturbing sound” and researchers have found links between environmental noise and our cognitive performance.

The increasingly popular sound baths, often done using tuning forks, crystal or Tibetan singing bowls, or gongs, may be a way to combat noise pollution and replace it with something that feels more soothing.

Though definitive research on the impact of sound baths on health is scarce, their popularity highlights people’s beliefs in the power of sound as a potentially centering and calming tool in meditation. In fact, sound baths may also be even more powerful when it comes to newcomers to meditation. One study found that participants who were not aware of the impact of sound meditation enjoyed larger decreases in tension than their peers when a Tibetan singing bowl was played for them.

Finding it hard to calm your mind during meditation? Might be worth incorporating sound into your practice--to tune in so you can tune out.

 
An Attitude of Gratitude
 
blackboard-board-close-up-908301.jpg

When William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” he probably wasn’t thinking about showing gratitude to others as a gift to yourself. But living a life of gratefulness can actually boost your own health and happiness.

Research has demonstrated that those who take stock of what they have to be grateful for in life tend to be happier. Focusing on gratitude has also been found to help with depression--in a study at Berkeley, a group of students receiving mental health counseling were asked to write weekly letters of gratitude to another person for 3 weeks. It seems you don’t even need to send the notes--only a minority of letter writers actually sent the letters, but still reported better health outcomes over time as compared to those receiving counseling who didn’t write letters.

Gratitude may also be the gift that keeps on giving. When the Berkeley researchers looked at the brain activity of the students using an fMRI scanner, the results they saw led them to surmise that you can make your brain more sensitive to gratitude over time, which could make you happier in the long run.

If writing isn’t your thing, you can also take a few minutes to meditate and/or visualize the things you are grateful for. If you work in Primary’s coworking space or offices, take a few minutes each day in the nap room or attend a meditation class to build a gratitude practice into your schedule.

Expressing thanks can also help your team’s performance at the office. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that participants who received a pep talk that included a thank you for their work were 50% more productive than ones who did not get a pep talk. If you are getting frustrated with the pace of a long term work project, focusing on gratitude can also make you more patient, other research indicates.

After all, as Eckhart Tolle has said, "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."

 
Snack Smarter
 
06.05.16_Blink__Primary_0125_preview.jpeg

According to research, on average, Americans spend close to 100,000 hours on work-related activities. Yeah, you’ll be needing snacks.

If you are looking to optimize your productivity, reach for a brain-boosting snack to satiate your hunger while giving your brain the fuel it needs. For extra credit, stock snacks at the office that include these 3 nutrients:

1. Probiotics:

As Scientific American put it, “Mental health may depend on creatures in the gut.” Early research indicates that probiotics may lessen symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin and/or decreasing the amount of proteins that indicate inflammation.

Sources: If you’re at Primary, you can score your probiotics by trying a kombucha (Primary serves Revive), a grapeshot juice from Pure Green, or Maple Hill yogurt. Kefir is also great, but if dairy isn’t your thing, other fermented foods, such as certain kimchi and sauerkraut, can also be good options!

2. Turmeric:

The curcumin in turmeric is an antioxidant powerhouse that may protect your brain from cell damage. In ayurvedic tradition, it is used for multiple ailments, including fatigue.

Sources: Like probiotics, turmeric is available as a dietary supplement, but you can also buy this super spice on the shelf of your local supermarket and use it as a savory seasoning atop snacks like popcorn or grab a turmeric latte.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3s have been shown to lessen cognitive decline in the elderly. Research has also indicated that they may help with depression. Other studies have suggested that they can also combat inflammation.

Sources: Fish can be a great source for omega-3s, but for snacks, good bets are adding chia or flax seeds to a yogurt or, at Primary, a snack with olive oil, like a Crack of Dawn bar from Early Bird, a Brooklyn-based company.

 
Energize Your Workspace
 
IMG_7556 copy.jpg

New York City has an undeniable energy about it. Is it due to the fact that it was built on top of crystals? We’ll leave that up to you to decide, but according to the American Museum of Natural History garnet lies underground in NYC and you may come across at least one outcrop in Central Park with mica and garnet. (Another cool fact: when Pangaea was formed 450 million years ago, the land that is now NYC was at its center, for all of you who consider NYC to be the center of the world!)

Josiah Bouricius, Primary’s feng shui consultant, has paid special attention to Primary’s location and layout to help set coworking and office members up for energetic success.

One way is by looking at the space’s stars. We’re not talking about stars in the traditional terms in this case, but stars as energies that collect in different areas at different times. They can be positive or negative. When they’re positive, you can use colors, objects, or other elements as “activations”. Negative stars get “cures” to counteract them.

For example, the purple amethyst crystal you’ll see on top of the front desk when you enter Primary is positioned to cure the 20-year conflict star there.

Entrances are particularly meaningfulas the “mouth of Qi”, where energy enters a space, they set the tone for a whole space, so if you have your own office, pay special attention to them. Entryways also connect your space with the larger world. Primary has a fame star, with fire energy, in the entrance area. The chairs there are orange, which is evocative of fire, to help activate the star. If you have a fame star at the entrance to your space, you can also place a plant in the area, as their wood qi enhances the star’s fire energy.

Depending on your preferences, you can use a variety of objects as cures and activationseverything from a laughing buddha to a picture of Oprah placed strategically can impact the energy of a space.

When it comes to energy coming from the earth, Josiah uses small copper rods as cures negative energy like geopathic stress, which is radiation from the earth resulting most frequently from fault lines or underground water.

 
Primary on New York Launch Pod
 
bannertop.png

Primary co-founders Lisa Skye Hain and Brian Hain were recently on an episode of the New York Launch Pod, a podcast showcasing conversations with NYC area entrepreneurs and the stories behind their businesses. In Lisa and Brian’s episode, you’ll learn how Lisa came up with the idea to launch Primary, where they originally thought they might start Primary, possible future locations, and the challenges and opportunities they faced along the way to opening up at 26 Broadway--including faulty door handles, great partnerships, and kombucha.

 
Your Social Media Rx
 
hiking.png
 
 

Do you feel more chipper after a few minutes on Facebook? More inspired after scrolling Instagram? Pepped up by Twitter? Have you ever actually paused to see how you feel after spending some time on social media channels? Maybe, maybe not.

It’s worth spending a moment to check in with yourself to see how you feel the next time you log off. There’s a lot of noise these days about how social media and screen time affects our wellbeing. Some point to reasons to be concerned about social media use, but the effect of it on wellness is unclear. Researchers in Austria found that while people tend to expect that Facebook will boost their mood, the more time they spend on it, they worse they feel. They chalked it up to users’ feeling as if they had wasted time. Another study indicated that Facebook can trigger envy that causes depressive feelings.

You can have a healthy approach to social media though: the same research team found that if you don’t experience Facebook-induced envy, the social media site can actually improve your mood.

The types of social media you use and how you use them also matter. Pew research found that women who use Twitter in particular multiple times, exchange 25 emails, and send two photos on their cell phones each day are 21% less stressed than women who don’t use Twitter, email, or share photos. They also found that people who are on social are more aware of the events going on in their connections’ lives, but when the events are distressing, that can make users more stressed.

You can detox your social media feeds by unfollowing or unfriending people who don’t lift you up, but if you find yourself scrolling away mindlessly on Instagram or walking away from Facebook thinking about all of the life milestones you haven’t achieved, a full-on social media break might be in order.

If the thought of being out of touch with your friends and followers for a noticeable amount of time makes you uneasy or you’re afraid of appearing unresponsive, give them a heads up. That doesn’t mean you have to mass message everyone--just change your profile photo or add a post with an image that functions like the social media equivalent of an “out of office” email. Try the one at the top of the post to get started. Enjoy!

 
Bring Nature in for a Boost at Work
 
06.05.16_Blink__Primary_0202.JPG

The plants you see in the hallways, co-working space, and cafe at Primary aren’t just there for aesthetics. They are actually at work too--removing toxins from the air so we can all breathe easier.

Green plants can also help you work better. Research done in the UK and Netherlands indicates that having plants in offices can improve workers’ focus, happiness at work, and how productive they feel.

They may also help you reduce stress, as exposure to natural elements can reduce stress, a study published in  the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed.

In terms of health, plants have also been shown to reduce the number of sick days taken.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant, the Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is one of the easiest plants to care for and will still clear out toxins like benzene, a known carcinogen found in car exhaust. We have Pothos plants throughout Primary, so no matter if you sit in an office or the coworking space, you’ll receive the benefits of its air-clearing power.

Researchers have also singled out ferns for their air-detoxifying prowess. Try the Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) like the ones in Primary’s cafe area--you can mount them and put them on the wall if you’re short on floor or desk space.

For a pop of color and to clear trichloroethylene, another known carcinogen, from the air, try Gerber Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii). Trichloroethylene can be found in adhesives and spot removers, among other things.

If getting more plants isn’t in the cards, you can also put up photos of nature scenes, like the shore scene in Primary’s studio and the coastal and mountain photos in the co-working areas. Even this indirect exposure to nature can positively impact your mood, according to research out of Korea.

Get more work done--naturally.

 
Mind-Boosting Scents
 
aromatherapy blog post photo.jpg

You’re ready to work--you have enough light, some classical music playing in the background, your coffee by your side, and the thermostat is adjusted just so. You might be less likely to think about the smell when setting up your work environment. But, just like a jolt of caffeine, you can strategically use scents to improve your work and mood.

At Primary, you’ll be welcomed by the scent of lemongrass at the front desk and in the restrooms--a scent that has been shown to reduce tension. Smelling lemongrass may also help ease your anxiety more quickly, according to researchers in Brazil.

Stressed? Try sniffing lemon--the linalool in lemons may calm you down, as can basil, juniper, or lavender.

Crunching a bunch of numbers? Try diffusing rosemary in your office--it could help you complete math problems more quickly and accurately, according to UK researchers.

Since there’s a strong link between your memories and smell, your personal experiences also help determine which scents will be beneficial to you. Your personal preferences also play a role. Generally, if you think of an aroma as pleasant, you’ll feel more social and be more productive and patient in the face of frustration.

In Scientific American, Rachel S. Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, points to research in which subjects who were exposed to a pleasant smelling air freshener set higher goals and were more likely to choose strategies that helped them work more productively.

If your work has you on the goo, in a coworking space, or you don’t necessarily want your neighbors to pick up the scent, try using a rollerball to daub the insides of your wrists every time you need a boost.

Prefer sprays? We are fans of Manaòs Beauty’s Divina Floresta Aura Mists, with scents of white sage and white cedar and other essential oils. They’re organic, vegan, and inspired by the Amazonian rainforests. Plus, the company has a positive social mission and honors the earth--what better way to celebrate Earth Month?

 
You Could Use a Nap
 
00 nap room.jpg

We’d all like to get a full night’s sleep every night, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Whether you’re up late working on a project or have to go into work straight after a redeye, you can have the best sleep intentions, but there are inevitably days when your nightly shut-eye gets disrupted. Or maybe you know you just feel better when you nap at a certain time every day.

If you’re not a regular napper, you may actually want to consider nodding off for a bit during the day--it could improve your work performance. In one University of Michigan study, researchers had participants nap for an hour and then had them complete tasks on a computer. Compared to those who were not permitted to nap, they were more persistent in trying to solve the problems. The researchers believe that napping may help people cope with negative emotions.

Still worry it might be a waste of time? Nappers find themselves in the company of Ariana Huffington, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill.

How long a nap you might need is individual, but even 6 minute naps can improve your memory. The benefits can go beyond how well you work to promote overall wellness--for example, 45 minutes may improve your blood pressure. However, a review of nap-related research suggests naps of 10 to 20 minutes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that naps lasting 30 minutes or longer can produce “sleep inertia”, essentially the time it takes you to wake up and fully experience the benefits of your nap.

No matter what your sleep style, Primary’s nap room, open to all members, provides an opportunity to recharge.

Despite the name, the nap room is not just used for naps. Some also use it as a quiet place to meditate.

Naps or quiet time not your thing? If you prefer caffeine, we’ve got you covered, just grab a matcha tea or coffee from the cafe.

Need a breath of fresh air or a workout to perk up? Try one of Primary’s classes, like bootcamp or a group run, a great way to meet the folks you see in the coworking space or offices.

Dream on.