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Why your Morning Shower should be FREEZING

Why your Morning Shower should be FREEZING

BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! My 5:30 AM alarm greets me to a new day. I lift my head from my cushioned pillow, slide off my comfy mattress, and drag my feet through my carpeted floors. I turn off ceiling fan cools down the hot nights and proceed to my bathroom, complete with temperature controlled running water and even a toilet seat cushion. Everything is exactly how I want it…and that’s the problem.

The advances in technology we enjoy today have undoubtedly made our lives better, but we’ve forgotten what it’s like to experience discomfort. It’s too hot? Turn on the A/C. Water’s too cold? Adjust the faucet knob. Heck, we even take average experiences and make them feel great. Your car seat is only normal? Take a heated seat and your butt will feel AMAZING. Discomfort has become foreign to us. We reject anything less than total luxury, but that standard makes us exceedingly risk averse and miss out on HUGE opportunities day after day.

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Why Risk Taking is Important:

People denounce risky behavior. They insist you should “play it safe” or “take the sure path.” That’s bull. Research by behavioral economists Matthias Brachert and Walter Hyll shows that those with a high tolerance of risk create better businesses.

“The results show that entrepreneurs with low risk tolerance before entering self-employment and increased risk tolerance when self-employed have a higher probability of survival than similar entrepreneurs experiencing a decrease in the willingness to take risks.”

Even more, successful entrepreneurs learn to grow more comfortable with risk. Remember, this isn’t a licence to max out your credit cards and buy lottery tickets. Just practice making decisions you’re not 100% comfortable with. What keeps most people from experiencing the benefits taking chances affords? Discomfort. That feeling of anxiety in your chest right before you ask your boss for a raise, or ask that cute girl out. Our cushioned, heated, 100% comfort lives have programmed us to flee this feeling and never take the chances necessary to get ahead. Luckily I have an exercise that’ll teach you to overcome your discomfort avoidance system and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Take Cold Showers:

A cold shower in the morning is the perfect habit to train yourself to gamble more often. Overcoming the intense anxiety of stepping into the shower when you know the water is FREEZING completely breaks the endless cycle of comfort. It’s not so much the shower itself (though there are many benefits to bathing in cold water) but the mental process you go through BEFORE the shower. You feel the anxiety. You feel the discomfort. You flinched when you put your arm in the water. Thoughts of quitting enter your mind. There’s always tomorrow morning right? You’ll be more ready then. No. You quell those thoughts and you get in. You faced the fear and discomfort and pushed through anyway. That’s what makes it effective.

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When I started this habit early in January, it took me thirty minutes (yes a whole half hour!) to get in the shower. Now I enter in mere moments. And the benefits? I feel almost zero stress, have become more outgoing socially (as a staunch introvert) and have created countless opportunities for myself from risks I’ve taken that have worked out in my favor (I’m writing for Lifehack as a high school senior). Interested in trying for yourself? Ahead are some strategies that helped when I started.

Pro Tips for Cold Showers:

  1. Just Jump In: Thinking about the coldness will just give you time to think of reasons not to go. Don’t waste 30 minutes of your life like I did in the beginning. Don’t give yourself time to think. Pull the curtain back and run in.
  2. Ease Into It: Start showering with hot water then switch to cold water after a few seconds. I noticed that I was less resistant to the cold water once I was already wet and feeling good. Use this if you’re really struggling.
  3. Sing a Song: Sounds crazy but singing helps keep your mind off of the freezing water. Again, your brain will only come up with reasons to stop if you allow it to fixate on the discomfort. Pick a song in the shower that you enjoy and know all the words to and sing it all the way through. You (almost) forget and feel like you’re taking a normal shower. Good Morning from Singin’ In the Rain was a lifesaver during my first few showers

Whether you prefer to dive in headfirst or sing a song as you go makes no difference. It’s stepping into the shower, ignoring the initial fear and trepidation, and owning the discomfort that works in your favor. When you master the fear that stems from discomfort you knock down the cell walls. Nothing holds you back from taking the risks necessary to achieve your goals giving you a major advantage over your peers. And don’t worry, you can still sleep on your mattress.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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