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How I Found My Passion to Make Everyday of My Life Exciting

How I Found My Passion to Make Everyday of My Life Exciting

Did you know that a recent survey[1] reported that more than half of all Americans are unhappy in their workplace? Do you often ask yourself, ‘what am I passionate about?’ Most people do. The dreams we have as children, even as young adults, often get derailed.

The good news is that changing the course of our lives, choosing a different path, is always an option. Change is terrifying and seemingly impossible to most people, but the reality is that we don’t have to make grand gestures or a complete 180 degree turnaround to start something new; to take that first step towards re-discovering what we are passionate about, what feeds our soul, what makes us the best possible version of ourselves and what allows us to live a life to its utmost potential, contribution and fulfillment.

Take the Following 5 Actions to Find out What You’re Passionate about

There are a number of suggestions [2] about how to find what you are passionate about, especially for when you are feeling lost and don’t actually know what gives you joy and inner peace. These are excellent ways to explore your interests and abilities, maintain your well being in all aspects and find the confidence to try new things, take risks and even learn from failure.

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Identify Your Talent. You Always Have One.

Can you do something well? It doesn’t necessarily have to be something you have done before or practiced as a child like playing an instrument or a particular sport. It may be something more aligned to your personality, experience and interests as an adult. Perhaps you are very funny or are good at making people laugh and smile, you may be an excellent speaker and feel confident speaking in large groups or in front of a crowd.

Through life and work experience, you may have discovered new skills or perfected potential that you wouldn’t have considered when you were younger. You might be good at motivating others, or have suddenly discovered that you are excellent at taking a fantastic photograph. Think about things that have stood out, that you know you do well, that other people tell you you do well and that you know you have a natural ability to improve on and perfect.

Find The Cause Of Your Genuine Happiness.

Keep it simple. What are the things that truly make you happy? They could be aspects of your life that are already present, like caring for your children or pets, tinkering with your car, going fishing, decorating your home, buying and styling new clothes, brewing beer, tasting wine, cooking a meal or tending to a garden.

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Seemingly mundane and every day activities that give us pleasure could open a window into our passions. If you pay close attention to the things you get excited about, you could make a self discovery that you hadn’t considered previously.

Think Outside The Box: How Can You Positively Influence Others?

It is easy to think that everything has been done before, that nothing you desire is new or innovative and worth getting excited about. So, why not redirect desire outwards? Instead of only considering what makes you happy, why not think about what can make the people around you happy?

How can you contribute to your family and friends, your community or humanity in general? You may love to play guitar and be really good at it, but have you considered how a beautiful song can make someone feel? How music can change a person’s day or perhaps see them through a difficult time in their lives? Considering not only what we can take, but also what we can give can not only be a source of fulfillment, but also a source of empowerment.

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Shared Passion Is Always Possible.

Discovering your own passions through the things that other people are passionate about is a source of connection that is unsurpassed. Have you ever been to a concert with thousands of people all experiencing the same euphoria and celebration and felt the power of universal passion?

Maybe you’ve been involved in a collaborative project or pursuit and shared common interests and expertise with others that allowed the exchange of mutual benefits and support. Sometimes simply doing what others are doing and enjoying is an easy way to learn about yourself.

Look What Your Close Relatives Excel in (And You May Be Equally Good at It!)

Look for the common threads in your lineage, your cultural background and your familial and kinship past. There may be hidden talents, passions and abilities that have been lost or curtailed over time that you can take responsibility for re establishing.

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There’s an old mythical saying that some things are simply ‘in your blood’. Why not test that theory? Was your grandmother a keen artist, or your grandfather a master craftsman? What are the people of your ancestry known for and could you do it too? You may tap into a pool of passion that you hadn’t yet considered, but that has been at the tip of your fingertips all along.

Make It A Life’s Passion.

Ask yourself if what you are passionate about is something you can realistically commit to or will it have a use by date, which is not always a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be the first activity or pursuit that you try out either. Don’t be afraid to fail or change your mind. That is part of the process and half the fun.

If you see the answer to ‘what am I passionate about?’ as a journey as opposed to a destination, the potential to tap into your passion is endless. You see, a passion isn’t merely an activity, it’s a desire and as they say…many roads lead to Rome.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

Instead, we’re going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

How Do We Remember?

The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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The last step is memory retrieval.

That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

7 Natural Memory Boosters

So how to work on memory and boost your brain power? Here’re 7 brain boosters backed by science that you should try:

1. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory. [2]

In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

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Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

2. Sleep

You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password). [3]

Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance. [4]

Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance. [5]

3. MIND Diet

Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet. [6]

The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

4. Relax

We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

5. Continuous Learning

The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games. [7]

Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

6. Stay Social

The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

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Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline. [8]

In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests. [9]

What to do?

Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

7. Wakeful Rest

This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories. [10]

What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story. In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date. [11]

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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