5 Simple Tips to Make Your Life a Bit Better

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

Spring is officially here and in a number of cultures around the world the coming of spring is celebrated as an opportunity for new beginnings.

In the spirit of Spring, or new beginnings, here are a few random tips to help make your life a bit better:

Prioritize Social Connections:

Countless research studies have shown that having strong and meaningful social connections with friends and family is one of the secrets to a long and healthy life. Of course, this is referring to in person face to face connections.

As cliché as this is, its important to remember that it is not about quantity rather it is about quality. Having just one person that you are close enough to is more than enough. Whenever possible try to prioritize your social connections with those nearest and dearest to you because life is simply so unpredictable.

Just recently a friend of mine lost her cousin whom she loved like a brother due to a tragic traffic accident. A week before this tragic incident my friend and this cousin of hers had planned to go to lunch together but my friend cancelled last minute because she felt that she was too busy. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and we simply don’t have time to socialize but her tragic story reminded me that we really should reevaluate our priorities every once in a while.

Volunteer:

Research has shown that volunteering for a cause that you care about has health benefits for yourself as well. The results of one recent study showed that those who volunteered were as healthy as non-volunteers who were five years younger than them. You can volunteer at your local library, hospital, animal shelter, nursing home or anywhere else you would like. If you have a computer you can even volunteer virtually visit volunteermatch.org for a wide range of opportunities.

Consider a Clinical Trial:

As many of you already know, clinical trials are basically like scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of a particular medication or method of treatment. Of course, in order for clinical trial to be conducted people need to volunteer to participate in the clinical trial. Currently, in the United States there are about 61,000 open clinical trials but very few people actually participate in these trials. By participating in these trials you will definitely be doing something that is for the greater good. However, there is also a chance that you will also reap the benefits of whatever treatment or medication that they are testing in the trial.

Just Say No:

Honestly, this is probably one of the most difficult things for many people, including myself, to say. Many of us have difficulty saying “No” and as a result we tend to take on much more than we can handle. Of course, taking on too many things at once can lead to heightened levels of stress and overtime excessive stress can lead to a wide range of other health concerns such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, etc. I truly believe that saying “No” not only has health benefits for you but also for the other person because realistically if we have too much on our plates its impossible for us to give our full time and attention to any task.

Best Rest:

Sometimes life gets so busy and hectic that we forget to take a moment to truly relax. Also, another issue is that some people spend their downtime doing tasks that are not truly relaxing for them. If you feel that this is the case for you, be sure to take some time to find what are some of the most relaxing things for you and be sure to incorporate those activities into your days.

With Love,

Yasmin

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4 Things You Can Do to Make This Year a Bit Better

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and Happy New Year!

Many people use this time of the year to reflect on their current life situation and they often look towards what they can do to improve their lives.

Here are four tips that can hopefully make 2019 a happy and healthy year for you:

Laugh a Little:

Without a doubt, for many people life is filled with stress and anxiety. However, laughter has powerful health benefits. Laughter enables our brain to produce mood boosting endorphins and it can stimulate blood circulation to our hearts, lungs, and muscles. In addition to all of the above benefits laughter can help improve memory and lower stress.

Perhaps one way to add more laughter to our lives is to change our perspective and view the more “embarrassing” moments of our lives as comical moments worthy of laughter rather than anguish.

For example, a few summers ago I was attending my younger brothers’ elementary school graduation and I was wearing a beautiful summer dress and as I was walking out of the building many people were staring at me and I thought it was because the dress was so pretty. However, I later discovered that people were likely staring because my dress had a huge tear in the middle and my belly was unintentionally showing!

Immediately afterwards I was extremely horrified and embarrassed but nowadays I laugh every time I remember that incident.

Alternatively, my favorite way to get a good laugh is to spend 20 minutes or so a day watching my favorite comedy sitcom.

View the Cup as Half Full:

With all that is going on in our modern world it is easy to become pessimistic and have a more negative outlook on life. However, time after time, research has shown that people that are the more happy and healthy, view the world from an optimistic perspective. For example, research shows that adults who have a positive attitude toward aging live longer than those with a more negative outlook.

I know that becoming more optimistic is much easier said than done. However, as with any other skill practice makes perfect. The next time something doesn’t go as planned or if something bad happens try to change your perspective and try to view the situation from a more positive angle.

Embrace the Small Moments of Joy:

Many people, myself included, only focus on the larger more obvious moments of joy in our lives. Such epic moments of joy may include weddings, graduations, births, ceremonies, major holidays etc. As much as we should be looking forward to these larger moments of joy, the reality is that such moments are often few and limited and they represent only a small proportion of our lives. Such smaller moments of joy may include a smile, a sweet or loving text message, a hug from a loved one, eating a favorite meal or dessert, wearing comfy clothes and relaxing after a long day, etc.

In order to add more joy into our own lives we should recognize and embrace these small moments of joy as well as the more epic moments.

Learn Without Much Effort:

Throughout the day many of us spend time doing tasks that don’t require much thinking. Such tasks include driving, riding the bus or train, bathing, putting on makeup, and maybe even cooking or preparing a meal.

A very simple way to gain some knowledge without much effort is to listen to a podcast or watch a TEDTalk while doing these other tasks. Listening to a podcast or TED Talk can be a fun and easy way to learn a little bit each day.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!

With Love,

Yasmin

Quick Tip: Others Opinions are Not that Important

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

I think its safe to say that, at least to some extent, everyone likes to gain the acceptance or approval of others.  I know I sure do.

I think that its human nature to desire to be well-liked since we humans are such social beings.

I think that this need for approval becomes problematic when we constantly think about, worry about, and stress over how other people will judge every step or action that we take.

The reason why I felt the need to briefly write about this is because I was recently spending time with a dear friend who has a normal office job but on the side she also has a very small business as well. She asked me if I had told my parents about her business and I admitted that I had (because as far as I can remember she never told me that I shouldn’t tell anyone about her business)

After my admission she briefly became very sad and I could really see the intense agony in her face and she told me that she did not want anyone to find out about it because then people would start talking about her behind her back. (As a side note, I don’t know why she was worried about people talking behind her back because I think that starting a small business is a very impressive thing to do).

The truth is that when I told my parents about my friends’ business venture they were very impressed and then they never discussed the matter again. This simple incident reminded me that sometimes we make things a bigger deal than they really are. We fear that others are judging us and talking about us behind our backs but in reality they are not doing any such thing because they are usually too busy and/or stressed with their own lives.

Lets say worst comes to worst you do something and people do start talking about you behind your back. I know that this would be a nightmarish situation for many people including myself. However, the reality is its more than likely that people are not going to talk about what you did or what happened to you forever.

More often, they might discuss you among themselves for a few minutes and then they might go to a different topic or soon afterwards things will come up in their own lives such that you are probably going to be the last thing they are worried about.

Also, please remember that people who do talk behind your back are far from perfect themselves and remember that their words do not make you any less successful, likeable, or less of a good person. Their words cannot harm you as long as you don’t let those words affect the way that you think or act.

I know that this is much easier said than done but I think that instead of worrying and agonizing about what others think about us we should instead focus on being the best version of ourselves that we can be and making sure that the decisions that we make are true to our own beliefs and values.

With Love,

Yasmin

Feeling Overwhelmed By the News? Here are some Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you’re like me sometimes you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all of the chaotic, frustrating, and often tragic new stories that you come across throughout your day.

Studies have shown that constantly consuming tragic or infuriating news stories can eventually lead to sadness and anxiety. Research has shown that negative news stories that may not be directly related to our lives can further increase our personal worries.

Here are just a few tips that can help you stay on top of the most important stories without feeling overloaded:

  • If you have any news apps on your phone, try to turn off notifications for that app. A while ago, when I had my news notifications on I definitely found it to be a distraction especially when I was trying to get work done because every once in a while whenever a notification would pop up I would be tempted to check my phone instead of working.
  • It is usually best not to follow live updates. Following a breaking news story may make you feel more involved but it doesn’t necessarily make us more informed. Live updates have a lot of commentary and extra details and its often more noise than news.
  • I think its best to set your laptop or desktop web browser homepage to Google or any other webpage with minimal distractions. I know that on many personal computers the homepage of the browser is set to Yahoo or MSN or any other site that has lots of news stories and articles. Every time you open the web browser you might be tempted to click on one of the article links and this can end up taking up a lot of your time.
  • This next tip is obvious: Read, watch, or listen to news stories that come from reliable sources. Here in the U.S. unfortunately, not everyone agrees on what is or is not a reliable source of news. However, I think that in general most people agree that you should be cautious of the stories that you read on social media.
  • Nowadays, a lot of the news programs have people that call themselves political pundits or commentators that come in and talk about and predict what might happen. While some of these political pundits might make valuable points ultimately no one can really predict the future so its best to avoid watching too much of these commentators.
  • I really believe that timing is important when it comes to consuming the news. In order to avoid spending too much time on the news its best to designate a specific time to check the news and try not to check it at any other time. Many experts recommend not checking the news before bed because certain stories may interfere with your sleep.

I know that everyone has a different habit or preference when it comes to the news but if you are someone that feels that perhaps you spend a little too much time on the news I hope that you find these tips to be helpful.

With Love.

Yasmin

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

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