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8 Habits You’d Be Better Off Without

8 Habits You’d Be Better Off Without

Everyone has those little habits that aren’t particularly conducive to a calm existence. They may be habits you don’t even realise you partake in, or you may not consider them to be of any significance. So you gossip and complain a little bit sometimes it’s not that big of a deal, right? They’re just things we do sometimes. Terence Stone has some insights as to why habits like this and a couple more are actually pretty detrimental:

The Why

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we humans do the things we do. It got me thinking, “How much of what we do is unnecessary, or even worse, detrimental to our well-being?” After speaking to a few friends, we came up with a list of over 50 items, which I quickly narrowed down to 8 as I found many that fit into similar categories.

I’d also like to add that these things appear to stem from fear. In fact, my guess is that 98 percent of the negative/apathetic action or inaction we take is fear-based. I’ll go even further to say that these items stem from one very specific and very universal fear: the fear of death. Not physical death, but death of the ego or perceived self.

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You see, the mind can be very tricky. It latches onto ideas, events, images, feelings, everything really. In this way, it attempts to create a sense of self. The mind especially loves patterns or habits. It follows that the more habitual action in which we engage, the more the mind identifies, and says, “OK, this is who I am.”

If our habits tend to be mostly negative, then how does that make us feel about who we are? As if that weren’t enough, we become attached to that sense of self, and develop aversion to anything that threatens it. Just some food for thought as you look over the list.

The List

1. Complaining

This is one of the most natural of human tendencies. It is one of the largest tell-tale signs of an unconscious mind and resistance to what is. Next time you find yourself complaining, ask yourself why. Can you accept the situation?

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2. Gossiping

Another common human trait. What is it really doing for you? Remember that the person you’re speaking about is a complex being with dreams and fears just like you. Chances are you probably don’t know their whole life story or circumstances. Cultivate compassion.

3. Procrastination

In my experience, procrastination involves some pretty intense anxiety. You know what you need to do, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it NOW. Why put yourself through that? Take a breath and do what you gotta do.

4. Incessant business

Whether you have the most important job in the world or not, we all feel the need to do something or many things often. That is fine and natural. But we all must take a breather. Find the Taoist in you, and think, “At the end of my life, will I regret that I didn’t do more work, or will I regret that I didn’t spend more time really enjoying myself and others?”

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5. Spending money on things you don’t need

Not sure this needs too much explanation. Most of the time we buy things to increase our sense of self. Remember that your self, your true self, needs no add-ons. You are already whole. You just need to realize that. On a practical note, this will also save you a good deal of money!

6. Worrying about what everyone thinks about you

This may surprise you to hear, but most of the time no one is thinking about you. Don’t take this the wrong way. All I mean to say is that worrying about what others think is ultimately worrying about yourself in a negative light. And guess what? Everyone else is doing the same thing. Most humans are self-involved. Take comfort in this and stop concerning yourself with the thoughts of others. It’ll free up a lot of mental space!

7. Perfectionism and self-doubt

Recently, someone said to me, “Perfectionism is actually Failurism.” Why? Because when you are a perfectionist, you constantly doubt yourself. You look for the failure in your life and attempt to fix it. Then you have to deal with all the failures that crop up from your attempt to fix the last failure. It is a destructive and unnecessary cycle. If you’re always focusing on the negative, your mind begins to identify with that. Why not try focusing mostly on the positive?

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8. Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future

Ah, yes. This is the most insidious of habits. Fear loves this habit, because it keeps you in a perpetual state of terror. You are afraid to repeat past mistakes or let go of past hurts. You spend your time fantasizing about how you will fail. Guess what? It’s not real. The past is gone forever. You will never actually be in the future. All we have is this moment. How will you choose to spend it?

Terence Stone: Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained (and training) actor and singer living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.

8 habits You Should Cut Out of Your Life Now | Urban Spiritual

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

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:

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.

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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.

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.

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

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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