We're at our best when we can think clearly. Here are 5 ways to help get there.
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How do you make time to step back and really think?

How do you solve the questions in your life when your mind feels cluttered?


What do you want to explore next?

It can be easy to forget what your mind is capable of when you get stuck in the day-to-day grind of routines, commutes, and trying to remember that work-life balance is a thing that exists.

In other words: Life gets hectic.

Is there anything to do about it? For Michelle Collins, she throws on her shoes and heads outside. I mean, she's not called "The Running Astronomer" for nothing.

Michelle uses the sky and her feet to see the big picture.

As a prestigious Hubble Fellow at Yale University, Michelle's job is to study what's going on in nearby galaxies and try to make sense of our very complicated universe. She has to think about big questions like, "what is dark matter?" or "will we ever be able to settle on another planet?" and as you can imagine, there's a lot to consider.

Running clears her head and helps her to see things in a different way. She thinks up new questions she knows she won't always find an answer to, but that doesn't stop her from trying.

Taking moments for yourself can actually move you closer to a goal.

Here are five things to try (out of many) when your thoughts become too cluttered.

1. If you're working, switch locations. Instead of feeling trapped at one desk, take your work with you somewhere new, or at least get up and move around.

2. Physically throw away negative thoughts. Write them down and chuck them in the trash can. Richard Petty from Ohio State University led a study and found that: "At some level, it can sound silly. But we found that it really works — by physically throwing away or protecting your thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts." How about that!

3. Meditate. Meditation can seem intimidating, but don't let the "am I doing it right?" thoughts stop you. The benefits of the practice seem endless, and now Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., and Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., are looking at the practice as a therapy to reduce pain and everyday anxiety.

4. Embrace mental downtime. Turning it off can be just as important as turning it on. From Scientific American:

"Downtime replenishes the brain's stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life."

5. Take a run (or a walk!) The University of British Columbia ran a study that found when you get your heart pumping and your body sweaty, the part of your brain associated with verbal memory and learning grows. YOUR BRAIN GETS BIGGER. This can only result in you being more awesome. Michelle Collins knows about that.

When you can find ways to step back and clear your mind, that's when the magic happens.


Whether you run or write or stare at your ceiling, making time for yourself to clear your mind is a big factor in your productivity and overall well-being. The question is: What do you want to learn next?

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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