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7 Important Things You Have To Start Doing In The Coming Year

7 Important Things You Have To Start Doing In The Coming Year

It seems only yesterday when Pokemon Go was just released; when the Olympics has just started in Rio, when Leonardo DiCaprio, against all odds, has finally won his first Oscar Award. Yet without us realizing, time has flown by without leaving so much as a hint, and once again, we are left with unfulfilled goals and resolutions, questioning what we could have done better this year.

Nonetheless, crying over spilt milk is but a pointless endeavor. As Philip James Bailey put it beautifully in his poem, “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial.” It is crucial that we understand that we should set out to achieve something in our limited time, or we might as well not do anything at all. If you are still undecided on what you want to achieve in this new year, you might want to take a look at the following ideas!

1. Focus on your family, your friends instead of your phone.

How much time has passed since you peered down to that glimmering, colourful layer of glass? How long has it been since you take a proper look at your father as he slowly hobbles across the garden, instead of walking straight and brisk as he has always done? When is the last time you took your significant other on a date, without replying to those seemingly endless amount of texts?

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Perhaps it is time. Time to put the phone down, give your mother a hand as she prepares dinner, laugh along with your friends and give your kids a hug and your wife a kiss.

2. Leave or set clear boundaries for the toxic people and manipulators around you.

We have probably all been guilt-tripped before, coerced by the dejected tone of lines like this: “Oh sure, go ahead, I’ll just cope with this all by myself. It’s not like I comforted you two years ago for a whole month after your breakup.” We are aware of how these people always seem to have a problem with everything, blaming the world for not giving them what they want. Then they frame it in a way where you are the only person who would see the truth together with them and support each other.

These people are toxic, because they never see past themselves. They devour your attention and care, leaving you with little energy to care and fend for yourselves. Take the initiative and cut them from your life. If they are close to you, then set up clear boundaries to specify what kind of behavior you would tolerate.

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3. Pack for a trip and travel alone.

Staying in a place for too long turns a person stagnant. Our ideas, mindset become compressed into the small box we call “home”. The benefits travelling offer are enormous – but most importantly, to travel is to escape from the familiar, and acquire new eyes and perspectives. It is to see the same things in a different light, and provoke curiosity even upon seeing the most mundane things. Once we have seen different cultures, practices and people, it frees us of the mould we have fitted ourselves into and makes us a better person.

4. Spend time with people who are there for you.

How many ups and downs have you experienced this year? How many times have you been thankful for having a shoulder to lean on, or someone to hold you and tell you “it’s okay”?

Human beings may be social creatures and have higher intelligence than other animals, yet even we do not offer our help and care to everyone. Therefore, cherish the ones who made time for you, took care of you, and treated you with love and make time for them as well. After all, if they supported you at your worst – they deserve you at your best.

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5. Face your negativities and let them go.

From a tender young age, we were taught to suppress our negative emotions – namely anger, envy, fear, sorrow, and so on. We were told that showing these emotions present a side that people dislike.

However, for many of us who watched Inside Out, it might be easier to comprehend that we need a balance of emotions for us to function normally as human beings. One can only be peaceful with oneself when he/she understands the roots of his/her negativities – and allow them to dissipate in the wind.

6. Pay close attention to your goals.

Too many of us enjoy the thrill of writing down new goals but fail to follow up on them one that period of determination has passed. As a result, plans are never achieved, diets never completed, gym time never increased.

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But not all hope is lost! The trick is to make these goals reachable, and ensure you are motivated to complete them every day. By breaking down your goals into small and achievable tasks, setting due dates and rewarding yourself for each completed task, and measuring your overall progress, you are on a one-way highway towards accomplishing your goals!

7. Focus on yourself.

There is nothing more important than living for yourself. To quote Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one in you life that’s more important than your own self. Live because you are a miracle for yourself, and for others. Live for your wellbeing, your happiness, and stop comparing your life with others.

A new year has come. But it does not have to be the same as the last one – get up, get out, and get moving!

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Eamon Suen

Student, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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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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