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Five Hints to Reclaim Time for Yourself

Five Hints to Reclaim Time for Yourself
Make time for yourself

Sometimes it seems like your life just isn’t your own anymore – work, family, and other obligations swallow it up to such an extent that we often look back and wonder where all the time went! No wonder, then, that many of us feel as if life is just passing us by, and we can do no more than helplessly watch. However, with these tips and a little willpower, you can create time to center yourself and face the world with renewed enthusiasm.

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Use your commute time

The most obvious opportunity to create time for yourself is the commute to work. Of course, it’s hardly the ideal conditions for some quality time — you either have both hands clamped to the steering wheel, or are crammed shoulder to shoulder on a bus or train! There’s only one thing that can be said in situations like this — God bless the iPod: an inspiring audio book, meditative visualization or piece of music can be just the thing to leave you walking into work energised and refreshed. However, even if you don’t have anything to listen to, you can still turn the time to your advantage. Try a spot of ‘observing the world’ – letting your mind go absolutely still, and seeing everything and everybody around you as it really is, without your mind to filter it. A few minutes of looking at life this way each day can really bring your own inner being to the fore, and lead to a new and more empathetic understanding of the world around you.

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Take some time between tasks

Often we rush into a new task still thinking about the task we have just completed, which affects our productivity as our mental processes are split between two things at the same time. Instead, why not take a conscious pause in between one task and the next? Use the time — it could be as short as a minute — to reaffirm to yourself what is truly important (this can be very easily lost running from one event to another). For a few seconds, feel that you are clearing all the mental chattering connected to what you were just doing, and creating an empty space of peace and silence at the core of your being. Then at the end of this quiet moment you can direct all your attention to the next task you are about to perform.

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Mornings are golden

The best time to choose for yourself is early morning — the atmosphere is calmer and more peaceful, and there is almost zero possibility of a phone call or some other such distraction interrupting you. Having time for yourself as soon as you wake up also makes you more centred as you approach the day’s multifarious tasks — a little like putting money in the bank. Also, many hobbies, like jogging or meditation, are much easier and more enjoyable when done before the outside world really kicks into gear. If at all possible, try and have that time before breakfast — mealtimes have a funny way of eating (pardon the pun) into any time you had planned afterwards.

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Make sure your time stays your time

Today’s fluid communication culture often means that we are often interrupted from what we are doing by a call and pulled into yet more comings and goings. The company mobile or Blackberry can seem like a godsend when you first get it, and it is often only a few months later that you notice your working hours have been creeping upwards because your boss is always in touch with you to see if that important project has been delivered yet. If you truly want your time to be exactly that, then hit the off button, and make any other arrangements you need so that no-one will disturb you.

When you do get time to yourself, use it!

Often when we do get a much needed respite from life, we whoop for joy and then aimlessly flop on the couch and reach for the remote. However relaxing that may be, it does nothing to address the reason why we need the time in the first place — to reconnect with ourselves amidst this turbulent world. Using the time to engage in creative or athletic pursuits that help us grow as a person gives us a lasting sense of joy and fulfillment, which will further inspire us to clear room in our lives for growth and self-discovery. How we use the time we do get has a big bearing on whether we will actively seek to create that time in future.

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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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