As a reading enthusiast, I know how much reading helps people in a lot of ways. But I just realized not so long ago that reading about how to increase my mental strength could be powerful. “Brainy pursuits make the brain more efficient by changing its structure to continue functioning properly in spite of age-related neuropathologies,” according to professor of neuropsychology Robert S. Wilson, PhD. The wonder it has done for me has encouraged me to share some of my favorites that I first got from social media. I just started buying one book, and when I finished, I decided to buy more and more!
So here’s a list of the top three books that have moved me mentally and emotionally, which I hope will do the same for you.
- Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert. This book just got me going with my love for writing and for life in general. Gilbert successfully delivered the purpose for the book, which is to encourage one to be creative in all things he does. It pushes one to get out of his comfort zone and learn new activities that would improve creativity and therefore enhance mental wellness. Gilbert, once again, is a winner in this one, aside from her very successful Eat, Pray, Love.
Highlight: Part of being creative in life is to bravely face that which you are scared of.
- Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way – John Parkin. Focusing mainly on the phrase ‘fuck it,’ Parkin teaches us to let go of the things that do not help us become better people. We are taught not to overthink and look for meaning for almost everything we go through. We can take control of our lives better when we know which ones to prioritize and which ones we set aside. I realized after reading this one that sometimes we imprison ourselves and we end up feeling anxious and depressed. We have a choice to kick these barriers down and just say, “F**ck it!”
Highlight: We’ve been so used to tackling every problem head-on, no matter how big or small. For once, let’s decide to be fearless and say f**ck it, and then let’s see what happens.
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin. This is a classic but its release triggered the release of a hundred more books about happiness. I love Rubin’s take on what to do every day, which you will understand when you get to read it yourself because Rubin writes this book in a monthly diary style. The Happiness Project is one of the early books I finished that motivated me to be more practical and realistic about my goals in life.
Highlight: If you’re planning a family trip, doing preparations and contemplating about the trip makes 60% of your happiness. The 40% you get when you’ve started the trip.
My Final Thoughts
According to Maria Eugenia Panero, PhD, a research associate at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, “Reading helps us to take the perspective of different characters we normally wouldn’t interact with, and to give us a sense of their psychological experiences and how they interact with other people and situations.”
My fascination with reading different kinds of manuscripts – being sports, music, art or life related – has in one way or another led me to seek for lessons that I could learn from and share with others, just as I am doing now with you. “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” And I leave you with one of the most important takeaways that have helped me improve my positivity and zest for life. This one is from ‘The Secret’ written by Rhonda Byrne.
“There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstance of your life can change.”
A lot of moms are finding it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keeping up with the kids and staying on top of household chores consume a lot of time and energy. At the end of the day, there is nothing more comforting than a sumptuous dinner spread and a good night’s sleep. Where can you fit the desire to work out in that jam-packed schedule? Worry not. Here are some tips on how you can maintain that healthy lifestyle – without needing to go to the gym. Continue reading “How Can Moms Stay Fit?”
“Live life to the fullest” is such a cliché. Does anyone really know how to live life to the fullest? What does it take to finally say you’re living life to the fullest? It is human nature to want more, so when do we say it is the fullest? Ultimately, as Juliana Breines, Ph.D, social and health psychologist noted, “only you know the answer to what you truly want. So, figure that out and then make moves accordingly (and keep your overall happiness in mind.”
Gone are the days when all we have was the newspaper and the library. The world seemed wonderfully big, and everything we find out about different people and places seemed extraordinary. “Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use,” said Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D.
Today, the internet, particularly the social media, has made our world peculiarly small. If we try to pause and ponder about the things we know about almost everything in this world, social media icons are hovering above our heads.
Have you ever wondered how your day be like without browsing your phones and laptops? You might be amazed how much change it will make. You can improve your life and promote wellness in your overall wellbeing by doing a social media detox.
5 Ways to Detoxify from Social Media
- Turn off all your gadgets: phone, computer, TV, or any device where you could access social media. Not everything we see on social media is true. Sometimes, there are news and videos out there that are just made to confuse and distract. In fact, Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. said that “Social media sites can be breeding grounds for dishonesty.”
Notice how sometimes you could be upset about something that happened on the other side of the world that even though you are happy, you’ll suddenly be gloomy and paranoid.
- Clean your room, or if you’re feeling more energetic, you can clean the entire house. We spend a great deal of time on social media that we ignore how untidy our surrounding is. We forget important household chores that are truly stressful when piled up.
So go ahead and do the laundry, wash the dishes, or unclutter your desk to make your surrounding pleasant to the eyes.
- Create something remarkable out of your time. Great things in this world didn’t just happen. They were made by someone who invested his time and effort. You can’t do that while on your phone.
Clear your mind of the things that don’t involve you, and start using it for more productive things or your passion like art, cooking, music, or anything that will contribute to your wellness physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.
- Go somewhere awe-inspiring. Unwind and reflect on your life. This will be a time for you to remember your proprieties and assess yourself if you’re actually on the right path towards your goal.
Go somewhere you’ve never been or a place you always wanted to visit. They are breath-taking in person. You will realize the feeling you’re missing when you’re just looking at them on your screen.
- Catch up with someone you miss, or you always wanted to see but never had personally. People nowadays are too comfortable communicating with their phones and computers.
Although the internet has quite a lot of advantages especially when it comes to our careers and businesses, our relationship with the people we care about like our family and friends should not be left on the hands of technology.
Most of our emotional distress and heavy-heartedness comes from the awful things we see on social media. It is human nature to empathize that’s why we feel despair when we watch or read something tragic that happened to someone else, and this could be unhealthy for us. According to Kristen Fuller, M.D., clinical writer, “It is no secret that the social media frenzy has become out of control and studies are now showing that social media use can lead to depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, anxiety, social isolation, and the list goes on.”
We may not realize it, but the social media has taken over our lives, and if it changes your life for the worse, maybe it’s time to do a social media detox. Start caring about yourself and others around you by promoting personal touch to everything. After all, your physical self is your original social medium.
According to studies, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It restores the energy needed by the body to function well in the next hours of the day. After a long night’s sleep, our body needs refueling. Our energy will tell how our body will do all the activities ahead. If we eat a tasty and healthy breakfast, our body will have more strength, and the more strength we have, the more productive we can be. “There is a lot of truth to the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, sup like a pauper.”,” said licensed clinical psychologist Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.
Our days are filled with a lot of things to do, a lot of responsibilities and obligations that need our full energy and attention. A substantial breakfast will help us be more attentive and focus on our activities and goals for the day.
Our body needs three food groups for it to go, grow and glow.
Go foods make the body go because they are energy-s with the potatoes, rice, and other grains. It’s a good thing. “Carbohydrates tend to make people feel calm and mellow,” said Judith J. Wurtman Ph.D.
Grow foods make the body grow as it helps our bones and muscles develop. It makes us stronger and bigger. They are rich in protein which can be found in dairy products such as cheese, egg, milk, and yogurt. They can also be found in meat, chicken, and fish.
Glow foods make the body glow as they are full of vitamins and minerals. They provide proper nourishment for the body to reach its optimum health. Glow foods strengthen our immune system, helping us fight infections. They are usually found in fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables help us achieve glowing skin, hair and eyes. “Experiment with different grains, fruits, and vegetables,” suggests Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP.
What a Healthy Breakfast Looks Like
A healthy breakfast should comprise the three basic food groups: go, grow, and glow.
- You could try the combination of egg sandwich for both go and grow, add some slices of apple for glow, and then a glass of milk for additional grow food.
- You could also try meat and rice for both grow and go, then fresh orange juice for glow.
- For those who are figure-conscious, you could try the combination of oatmeal for go, yogurt for grow and fruit juice for glow.
We owe it to our body to keep it healthy, and one way we can pay it back is. Our body needs it to be nourished and prepared to face the day. It has a lot on its plate, so it literally should have a lot of nutrients on the plate during breakfast.
Christmas and New Year invoke mixed feelings to so many people. Yes, they are heartwarming occasions in which you can see your family members and friends of old again. But if you think of the savory and sweet dishes that are staple holiday meals, being “healthy” goes out of the window.
Especially when you come from a huge family, you can’t decline the stuff the elders are offering and seem rude. You may taste everything and then follow the tips below in between.
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- Concentrate on special dishes.
- Encourage physical games.
It’s a holiday habit for some families to play with board games near the fireplace or on the dining table. Whereas that can be a source of entertainment while waiting for the next eating time, you’ll still be sitting. Thus, you won’t be able to sweat off the calories from the previous lunch or breakfast.
The suitable idea is to come up with activities like dancing, snowball fights, etc. that will necessitate you to move. Cutting and decorating a real Christmas tree is also enjoyable so, you may include that to your list.
- Eat until you’re satisfied.
Since the occasion calls for a large feast, many holidaymakers tend to consume more foods that they can digest. You don’t want to spoil any of the dishes, we get that, but don’t ever overstuff yourself. “If there’s a buffet, it’s about taking one plate and that being it, rather than going up again,” says Dr Jessamy Hibberd, Chartered Clinical Psychologist. Your family won’t berate you for opening the pots and pans again after a couple of hours, so stop eating once you feel full.
- Go easy on the alcohol.
with you, you can’t simply refuse them because of the calories in the beverage. What you can do, however, is limit your alcohol intake to a glass or two. “A new large prospective study confirms prior research that suggests modest levels of alcohol consumption can improve cognitive processes,” said Rick Nauert PhD. You can continue hanging around them anyway with just a bottle of sparkling water in your hand.
- Throw in healthy snacks.
- Sleep in.
“Focus on getting restorative, quality sleep. It is hard to feel upbeat or be productive when you are sleep deprived,” Melissa Welby M.D. Snoozing for at least eight hours is a leisure you can just do when you’re on holiday. It is also the only time your elders will stop giving you foods past breakfast, lunch or dinner is when you’re asleep. So, to offer your digestive system some rest, try to sleep longer than you regularly do.
With over 7.5 billion current world population, one of the things we have in common is we all have 365 days to live in a year. In those 365 days, for sure we will all eat, sleep, laugh, cry, smile or frown. These are all human necessities and human nature. But what are we supposed to do with the 365 days that were given to us? With all the things we take care of, do we still have the time to think about the things that should really matter?
Writing a journal may be old school, but it is one of the things that will never be outdated because we never run out of days unless our time is really up. So go ahead and put into words all that happens in your 365 days.
What to Write In a 365 Journal
We often think that every day is just like any other day, except for our birthdays and other special holidays. We often don’t get that much excitement with ordinary days, but when you write a journal, you will notice little things that actually set your day apart from the rest, like when you first learned that pulling off your post-it starting from the sticky side could actually prevent it from curling up, which had been an eyesore for you all this time. Small things like this make the other 364 days of your year better.
Write about the small little details that happened to you during the day. You might be surprised how those little details changed your life already because any other day could be a start of something great. Make sure you never miss writing about it.
Write about anything that inspired you. You could think or search for an inspirational quote that would apply in that certain situation. If you write about something, chances are you won’t forget about it, so writing about something positive will keep you motivated.
Write about your plans for the next day, next week or next month, or you can even write about your goal for the whole year. It’s up to you, really. The main objective of this is to help you stick to your plan. You can also write about the things you need to do to achieve your goals.
Benefits of Writing a 365 Journal
It Relieves Stress
Writing a journal can actually relieve us of stress as it makes us express our thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are sometimes overwhelming. Some of us may not have someone to share these, and writing is a tool for us to divert some of our everyday frustrations. “Some research even suggests that journaling can increase your physical health,” said F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W.
It Helps us Get to Know Ourselves Better
Most of us are too comfortable with ourselves that in the end, we realize we don’t have that much idea of who we really are. Writing a journal will help us get to know ourselves better by reminding us of what matters to us, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and what our plans and goals are. According to Steven Stosny, Ph.D., “Journaling can have a positive effect on your behavior and well being if it makes you step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.”
It Inspires and Motivates
Everything we write in our 365 journals will inspire and motivate us. “So, before you have to concentrate on anything, spend eight to 10 minutes writing out your worries. When you do, your worry is less likely to get in your way, and you will likely complete tasks more easily, with your worries out of your brain and on the task at hand instead,” said psychiatrist Srini Pillay, MD. If we read about each day that passed, it will make us realize that our days are either good or bad, and it is mostly up to us how we want our day to turn out. Good things that happened will inspire us to make better choices, and the plans and goals we wrote will motivate us to keep on moving forward to make them happen.
We all have 365 days a year and to actually have something to remind us of every day that passed could help us live each day with more energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and gratitude. Who knows how good it could turn out that it can inspire other people too. Your 365 journal could actually be a book, a book about a certain miss who made life better in 365 days.