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How to Increase Your Chances of Smiling During the Day

How to Increase Your Chances of Smiling During the Day

They say a smile is a human’s most powerful gesture. Seriously, research shows that if you smile, your mood actually improves. When you activate this specific set of muscles in the face that work to create a smile, you are signaling the emotional centers of the brain that tell you how happy you are at that moment in time. So, why don’t we take the time to smile more often?

For me, I get so caught up in day-to-day chores and tasks that I forget to take a moment to look at the “big picture” and just “be” in the moment. I’ll spend hours focusing on an article or project and, the next thing I know, 3 hours have gone by, and I’ve just spent that time staring at a screen with a bored expression on my face. Perhaps if I had taken a moment to make a conscious effort to smile, I would have been more productive.

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Next time you’re at work, or even running an ordinary errand like grocery shopping, try to remember the tips below. I promise, one of these is guaranteed to make you smile:

Tell a joke.

Laughing is contagious, so go ahead and abuse that proven fact. Use Google to find a really funny joke, share it with a co-worker or friend, and feed off of their joy. Think about it: have you ever told a joke with a serious face? Unless you’re Serious Cat, you probably won’t be able to NOT laugh while sharing that hilarious joke you found on Google with your best work bud.

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Do a good deed.

Cliché, I know. But how can you not smile after seeing the reaction of someone you just performed a kind gesture for?

Tell someone how much you care about them.

For this one, I’m not talking about telling your significant other, or even your immediate family that you care about them. Go out of your way to send a quick text or video message to that grandparent you rarely call, or even your kid cousin. If they’re anything like my relatives, they’ll most likely respond with something corny and ridiculous that will bring a big goofy smile to your face, similar to the smile you used to make as a kid after realizing your mom was pulling into the McDonald’s drive-through.

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Think about your best friend.

Remember that time when you and your bestie could not stop giggling about something? Think back on that moment, and try to relive that distant catalog in your memory.  Warning: this may cause an actual LOL moment. Make sure you’re not in a public setting that is super quiet, like on a bus or in an open-space working environment. You’ll definitely benefit from the loud laughter by smiling uncontrollably, but people might look at you like you’re an insane person.

Take time to breathe and take in your surroundings.

Next time you’re annoyed by something, take a moment to do a few breathing exercises and look around at everything around you. A long, deep breath increases the mood enhancing power of smiling. Take a second to breathe and notice the beautiful weather outside, or the detail in a piece of artwork nearby.

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Think about fluffy animals doing super cute things.

Or, even better, look at images of fluffy animals doing super cute things. How can you NOT smile after going through this gallery of cute animal photos. It IS called The Happiness Generator after all.

Envision your Happy Place.

Where do you find yourself smiling the most? It doesn’t have to be on a private beach resort where you’ve shared margaritas with a friend; it can be your living room or perhaps your favorite local bar. Thinking about a place that you associate with good times will make you smile. But yes, a place that involves a good beer or whiskey sour doesn’t hurt.

Find a way to laugh at yourself.

Are you stressed about a way you handled yourself around a new boss? Try and look past the awkward situation and choose to laugh at yourself instead. Trust me, it will make you feel a million times better about that awkward hand gesture you made, or lame advice you shared earlier that day.

So the next time you find yourself having not smiled for a good chunk of time, try and refer to this list of happy tips. By taking the time and making the effort to try and put a smile on that straight face of yours, you’re hacking your way to happiness, one facial muscle at a time.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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