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An Aloha Virtue List for December

An Aloha Virtue List for December

Virtue is not a word we hear all that much; it’s not a thought that crops up in the regularity and routine of our days. Well, I propose that we consider Virtue as an aloha-filled theme for the coming month. A List to make and check off twice. Today is December 1st, and the day presents itself as a perfect time to live within virtuous thoughts and effort. The holiday season frames Virtue wonderfully, and after the year I can imagine you’ve had, you deserve this. We all do.

What is Virtue?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

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“Virtue is the habitual, well-established, readiness or disposition of man’s powers directing them to some goodness of act. Virtue is the moral excellence of a man or a woman … as applied to humans, a virtue is a good character trait.”

How can you not like that, and want more of it?

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Morality can be a tough thing to get our arms around at times, for we are living in an age where we tend to be politically correct and play it safe. We can get reticent when talking about virtue and morality unless we are in the safe arms of our family and closest friends, or teaching our own children. So my effort today is to package virtue for us a bit in some ready-for-December goodness we can all share more openly.

You can visit Wikipedia if you’d like more background on the four classic Western or Islamic “cardinal” virtues and so on. I present to you my Aloha Virtue List, admittedly taken with full liberty simply because I feel it’s a great way to welcome December’s promise with open arms. This is the “moral excellence” I shall focus on building within my own character this month:

Hope. Hope is such a beautiful thing. It is an attitude about the best of possibility becoming real. Hope looks at all the good that is true about the present and assumes it will ho‘omau, persist and be perpetuated into our future — and then some.
Freedom. Something we take for granted much too much. Think of all the ways you are unshackled and free to make your choices, and it becomes clear that most of us know no other way to live. Within virtue, we set our minds and hearts free.
Humor. Speaking of hearts, this comes from Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Laughter fills the holidays, and no one can tell me our ability to laugh at ourselves is not character-building and virtuous.
Prayer. There is so much comfort in the thought that Someone bigger than ourselves may be listening, and may care. There is comfort knowing we always have Someone to talk to about anything and everything. I do not shy from admitting I can use those comforts.
Vitality. There is a fire that burns within us during the holidays. Give in and let it burn up any stress, replacing it with enthusiastic and eager energy. Zip. Zeal. Zest. All vitally and dynamically virtuous.
Wonder. To have an inner capacity that can always make room for awe and wonder is such a blessing. To return to child-like innocence and acceptance, to be rendered speechless, and have it feel good and right, never helpless. To not have all the answers but feel it is perfectly fine not to, to just have wonder.
Trust. We can wonder because we can trust. People tend to be kind of needy, and that’s okay. When we need others we learn to trust and be trustworthy in our relationship building. We learn to love more. We learn to have faith in each other. We cultivate magnetic attractions to good intention.
Faith. I have some trouble with the concept of fate, but I do believe in having faith as something that empowers us to create our own destiny. There is faith in the divine and the spiritual, faith in others and in self, faith that good will always defeat evil — I choose to believe in every variety and aspect of it.
Grace. This is one of my favorite words, and oddly, because I can’t define it well. However I don’t feel the need to, because grace is goodness which just is. I can only wish I feel it more, experience it more, and give it more. I once heard grace called “unmerited favor” and I love that. I want to be gracious, always.
Gratitude. There may be no mightier force in our lives than learning to live in thankfulness for all we are and all we have been given. An attitude of gratitude is an attitude of aloha; The breath of life within you is meant to be shared in appreciation, thankfulness, and gratitude.
Joy. Happiness with more than contentment. Happiness with bliss and euphoria. Silliness without self-consciousness. The holidays are so perfect for splashes of joy in color, in song, in tinsel and texture, even in the scents that fill the air. But most of all, in people’s faces.
Peace. If we sow the seeds of virtue, we cultivate fertile ground for peace. If we seek to understand and not condemn, to take the high road versus getting even, we uncover how alike we are much more than we are different. We all want peace.

Nouns begging our action to make them verbs. I suppose it’s possible to have some debate about the semantics of these. Some may think of them as values, others as principles, others as spiritual concepts. Blame this list on me. I welcome their association with Virtue, for I’ll take the self-imposed quest for more “moral excellence” willingly; I want to make my way toward that “goodness of act.” Doing so is part of managing life with aloha.

December, bring it on. I’ve got my Aloha Virtue List locked and loaded, and I’m ready for you.

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. Rosa is founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

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Previous Thursday Column: Reap Joy from this thanks-giving holiday.

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

More About Boosting Memory

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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