Quick Tip: Sleep But Don’t Track

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

As many of you may know, lately certain watch like devices such as the Fitbit and the Apple Watch have become especially popular amongst people who want to track their overall fitness on a daily basis.

Many of these watches track your physical activity (such as how many steps you’ve taken), your vital signs, and the number of calories you’ve burned and even the amount of sleep you get each night.

First of all, I want to point out that I currently do not have any such device myself but I know quite a few people that either already have something like the Fitbit or they really want to buy one in the near future.

Based on the reviews that I have come across many of these devices, especially the higher end ones, are really quite good and they do for the most part, accurately track your physical activity and vital signs, etc.

However, experts recommend that the one area where these devices shouldn’t be used is during our sleep time. The problem is not that these devices may not be very reliable at tracking our sleep, although the reviews are mixed, rather the major problem with tracking our sleep is that this can lead to anxiety.

Tracking sleep can make some people obsess over their results even though these results may not even be accurate. Constantly checking and worrying about the amount of sleep that you get each night can lead to anxiety and this anxiety can end up harming your sleep rather than improving it.

And of course, this is why most experts recommend that people take off these devices at night for a more restful sleep!

With Love,

Yasmin

Quick Tip: Just Listen

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

Normally when we are having a face to face conversation with another person we maintain eye contact and we use our eyes to guess how the other person is feeling.

Basically, most of us believe that the best way to figure out how the other person is feeling is to focus on their facial expressions.

However, the latest research from Yale University seems to refute that belief. Researchers at Yale conducted five experiments and they discovered that people who listened to what the other person said and how they said it were able to make a better judgement of the speakers emotional states as compared to people who just focused on the speakers facial cues and expressions.

Researchers concluded that perhaps the best way to figure out how someone is feeling and to empathize with them better is to simply listen to them.

With Love,

Yasmin

Tech and your Eyes: Eight Tips to Protect Your Eyes

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

According to the research I have come across, the average person spends anywhere from six to nine hours a day behind a screen.

If we count both work and leisure many of us spend almost all of our waking hours behind some sort of screen.

All of this screen time can lead to eye strain and some symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • red, dry, or irritated eyes
  • eye fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • tension headaches
  • pain in the neck and shoulders

I have to admit that I am personally very concerned about the effects of technology on our overall mental and physical health but especially on our vision because our eyes are key in helping us see and process the information on our screens.

Before writing this post I did a little bit of research on the effects of technology and screen time on our eyes and the general consensus seemed to be that aside from the negative effects of blue light, screens are not that damaging to our eyes because they do not emmitt the most dangerous forms of radiation such as x-ray radiation.

I am definitely taking this conclusion with a grain of salt because this type of technology is still so new. Throughout the course of human history humans have survived and thrived without these screens and just in the past ten years or so these devices have proliferated and they have become a constant fixture of our lives. Ultimately, I believe time will tell the true effects of technology on our overall health and well-being and especially on our eyes.

However, I am definitely a firm believer in prevention being better than the cure so here just a few preventive tips that can help protect your eyes from damage:

  • When you look at any screen for an extended period of time your eyes will become tired. Most experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule where you look away from the screen every 20 minutes at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  • Keep your phone as far away from your eyes as possible but still at a distance where you can comfortably read without straining.
  • Often when we are really focusing on the screen in front of us we forget to blink and this can lead to dry and irritated eyes. In order to avoid this try to remind yourself to blink at frequent intervals. If you keep forgetting to blink, try placing a sticky note to remind yourself.
  • When you are sitting behind a computer screen, sit about an arms length away from the screen.
  • Always adjust the brightness of the screen to make it ideal for your current settings. Avoid screens that are too bright because your eyes have to work extra hard to focus on a screen that is too bright.
  • By now most of us have heard about the damaging effects of blue light. In an ideal world its just best to completely avoid screens before bed. However, if you’re like me and you still use your screen before bed consider turning on nightshift on your iPhone. This feature reduces the amount of blue light in favor of warmer tones. I think that many Android phones also have a similar feature called Night Mode.
  • When you are working in the evenings try to position yourself so that the light source, such as your light bulb or lamp, is behind you rather than behind the screen because this will put less pressure on your eyes.
  • Always try to take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Go outside, stretch, grab a bite to eat, whatever works for you!

I really hope that you found these tips to be helpful. I do want to add that recently, about a month ago, I started taking an eye supplement with 20 mg of Lutein and 4 mg of Zeaxanthin.

Its far too early for me to recommend this product but it claims to support vision and macular health.

I am just taking this supplement as a preventative measure to help protect my eyes. I have noticed that nowadays I rarely get any tension headaches whereas I used to get them quite often before taking this supplement.

I was first introduced to this supplement by my aunt who claims that her vision has drastically improved after consistently taking this suopplement for one year.

Honestly, my vision is not the best so I would definitely be very pleased if it does improve my eyesight. I guess only time will tell.

With Love,

Yasmin

Ideal Daily Routine for Students

Hey  Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

For many students, back to school season is a great opportunity to form healthier and more productive habits.

Here are just a few tips to help you have a more productive day: (Of course, most of these tips can be helpful to anyone whether or not you are a student)

Breakfast is Key

I know that this is nothing new and you have all probably heard this tip many times before. We all know the importance of breakfast but in my experience with those around me, many students go to class with either an empty stomach or they just have some toast.

Breakfast really is very important because if you think about, assuming you haven’t eaten anything since last night, you are truly breaking your fast in the morning. Scientific research shows that people who skipped breakfast were less productive.

The ideal breakfast will contain both protein and carbohydrates. Good sources of protein include eggs, cottage cheese and nuts. Whole grains and fruits are a great source of carbohydrates.

Exercise:

Of course, we all know the benefits of exercise however, most of us exercise after class. I know that most of us can barely get out of bed in the morning before class. However, research shows that 15 minutes of exercise can actually help the student retain more knowledge for five to six hours. This is why experts recommend doing a physical activity such as walking, jogging, climbing the stairs, etc. before going to class.

Hydration:

Hydration is something that is emphasized during the summer time. However, it is important for our health and well-being to stay hydrated throughout the year. The results of a recent study showed that dehydration negatively impacts our cognition and performance. People who are dehydrated don’t do as well and they don’t think as well.

Drinking water is only one of the things that we should be doing to stay hydrated. Current research emphasizes eating our way to hydration by eating fruits and veggies with a high water content. In order to stay properly hydrated its best to avoid excessive caffeine and although sports drinks can be hydrating they should be consumed in moderation.

Before the Test:

If you have a sweet tooth you might enjoy this tip. Researchers recommend that students have a small square of chocolate preferably dark chocolate, Research has shown that the caffeine in the chocolate can help students focus better on the test. It sounds too good to be true but there is even some data that shows that students that ate the chocolate had slightly higher test scores.

Relax a Little:

Taking some downtime to relax is very important. I know that it sounds counterintuitive but take some time each day to do something that you love or just anything that you enjoy. Taking a 20 minute break will help you remember better and the knowledge will really sink in.

I hope that you enjoyed these tips and please remember that most of these tips can be applied to anybody’s life.

With Love,

Yasmin

Just Ask

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I think that deep down each and everyone one of us knows the value of helping others and most of us can probably think of at least one instance in which we have helped someone else.

However, I believe the thing that most of us humans struggle with is actually asking for help when we need it ourselves. Many of us are afraid to ask others for help because we fear being rejected or we just immediately assume that the other person will say no.

If you are anything like me, you may feel that you are being a burden to other people if you ask them for help. Without a doubt, there is definitely a limit to how much someone can help us because helping others requires time and effort.

However, most of us only focus on the burden that we are putting on others and we don’t focus on how rewarding helping us may be for the other person.

In fact, a great deal of psychological research shows that helping others increases self-esteem, sense of belonging and overall well-being.

Of course, there is a wrong way and a right way to ask for help. I know that it is really tempting to ask for help through text or email. However, this is not such a great idea because its easier for you to ask but its also easier for them to say no.

Also, whatever you do, don’t send a mass email asking for help because you’re much less likely to get a response. Most of the people included in the mass email may not even reply because they will just assume that someone else will help you.

When you are about to ask someone for help try to follow these tips:

  • Ask in person or over the phone: The live interaction is key and research shows that you are 34 percent more likely to get a yes if you ask in person or over the phone.
  • Be specific and direct: Most people are not mind readers so don’t be vague and don’t assume that they already know what you need. Be completely honest and tell the person exactly what you need, when you need it, etc. so that person cam make a decision to help or not.
  • Be positive and understanding: I know this is obvious but make sure to ask for help in a kind and friendly manner. And if they do happen to say no don’t take it personally.

I know that at first it is very difficult to ask for help but research has shown that succesful people have strengthened their “asking muscle”. These people have gotten past the initial difficulty of asking for help because occassionally everyone needs help to succeed.

With Love,

Yasmin

Flower Power: 5 Edible and Healthy Flowers

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

Normally, when I think of flowers I think of these incredibly beautiful yet delicate living objects.

Although I love smelling flowers I would never ever consider eating a flower, that is until I came across some very interesting research about the health benefits of certain kinds of flowers.

Since safety is always first please be extra careful before trying anything new to prevent allergies or any other potentially serious complications.

If you do decide to eat any of the flowers listed in this post please make sure that the flowers come from a safe source. Avoid flowers that have grown by the road because pollution from the cars may tamper the safety of the flowers.

Also, avoid flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides. Make sure to completely avoid flowers such as foxglove, potato and sweet pea flowers because these flowers are toxic to human beings.

The good news is that there a number of flowers that are edible and healthy! Here is just a short list of only a few such flowers:

Roses:

Roses not only smell great but they are also packed with a wide range of health benefits. Rose petals are especially rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The base of the rose (also known as the rose hip) has been used throughout history to help with problems such as arthritis and a number of digestive issues such as indigestion, constipation, and urinary problems.

Marigolds:

Marigolds are light orange colored flowers. There are actually a number of different species of marigolds. However, the Calendula species of marigolds are especially popular for their health benefits. Calendula marigolds can help with a wide range of skin issues such as rashes, allergies, eczema and dermatitis. Calendula marigolds also help with muscle cramps, muscular injuries or sprains, eye inflammation and itchiness caused by conjunctivitis. These also help with fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, candida ear infections, and even ringworm.

Nasturtiums:

These flowers are packed with antibacterial properties and they contain Vitamins A, C, and D. Thanks to their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Nasturtiums can be used to soothe sore throat and as a first aide ointment for wounds.

Dandelion:

This soft yellow flower can be eaten raw or it can be used as an ingredient for jams and syrups.. Many people love to add these flowers to their salads for a pop of color. Dandelions are super healthy. These flowers are often added to herbal teas to act as a diuretic. Dandelions help with inflammation and liver cleansing and they are a source of prebiotics. Some even claim that dandelions can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Saffron:

Since safety is always first pregnant woman should avoid saffron because it is believed that saffron stimulates the uterus and it can potentially cause a miscarriage.

Saffron is a rich source of a number of different minerals including calcium, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Saffron also contains folic acid, niacin, and vitamins A and C.

Finally, as a side note, saffron is especially near and dear to me because with the help of the United States, people in my parents homeland, Afghanistan, have started growing and selling saffron instead of opium. For those who don’t know unfortunately Afghanistan for many years was the worlds largest producer of opium however, thanks to this initiative opium is gradually being replaced by saffron.  Click here if you would like to read more about this.

With Love,

Yasmin

Got Back to School Blues? Read this

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!

Right now, here in the United States it is currently back to school season. As the summer vacation comes to and end many students of all ages will be returning to their schools or their colleges and universities.

Every year, around this time of the year I see lots of videos and articles about study tips and I see a lot of content about what the latest back to school gadgets and accessories are.

However, I haven’t come across any content about what I like to describe as having the right mindset for going back to school.

In my personal experience, many students hate going back to school often because of all of the hard work that they will have to do in order to be a succesful student.

I know that when I was a student often times I would feel the same way as well and not just during the beginning of the school year but especially during the middle and end of the academic year.Basically, all of the hard work would drain me and I would start to lose motivation and I would hate being a student.

During my university years the only thing that helped me get through this slump was to change my mindset by remembering all of those students that are less fortunate.

Ideally, getting an education should be the right of each and every student. Unfortunately, a large percentage of people throughout the world, mostly girls and women, are not given this fundamental human right.

We all know that knowledge is power but sometimes we forget that many people throughout the world, due to various circumstances, are not got given the opportunity to gain a formal education.

If you are reading this blog post you are obviously literate. However, there are millions of people who are illiterate, who do not know how to read or write, because they were likely never given the opportunity to learn.

Unfortunately, many students throughout the world pursue their education under very difficult circumstances.

Most of us have some form of transportation to take us to and from school or perhaps we walk a reasonable distance to reach our school.

However, in some parts of the world students walk very long distances, often in extreme weather conditions, in order to reach their school. Unfortunately, in certain parts of the world, students risk their lives just to commute to and from school. Once they reach their school, many students do not get to sit in nice, clean, well insulated buildings. Some students sit in tents that are used as classrooms and many students attend school without enough supplies such as books, pens, and paper.

If you are a student, the next time you lose your motivation, please remember those students that are less fortunate and perhaps this will help you regain your focus and motivation to work towards academic success. You never know, perhaps your academic success may enable you to one day help out other students throughout the world!

With Love,

Yasmin