According to a brain-health expert, this is the way to perform “whole-brain combination workouts”.

Little girl solving a rubric’s cube and exercising her brain
Little girl solving a rubric’s cube and exercising her brain
Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

A decade ago, my father-in-law had a brain stroke. One day he was a gentle husband and father; the next, he changed. Though he survived — nothing short of a miracle — the region of his brain responsible for empathy was permanently damaged.

His gentleness disappeared.

When I met my husband, his father had already changed. To me, he seemed normal, albeit a bit cranky. But my husband insisted: His father — the father who’d raised him — was gone.

Now every time I meet with my father-in-law, I’m faced with a powerful reminder: We need healthy brains. …

Not the typical “meditate, exercise, and be grateful” list.

A funny, happy avocado stuffed toy
A funny, happy avocado stuffed toy
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

I’m tired of re-reading the same tips over and over on how to be happy. We all know we should meditate, exercise regularly, sleep better, and practice gratefulness.

But isn’t there something else? Something just as scientifically-proven, yet less-known?

As someone who’s always been fascinated with happiness, I set out to find an answer. And though most of the following tips can be considered weird, they have research that backs their effect on happiness.

#1. Listen to sad music.

I used to believe I was a masochist because I put depressing songs on repeat after a bad day.

I was wrong.

According to a 2014…

Scientifically-proven habits to overcome the risk factors responsible for memory-related problems.

A plastic brain and oversized neuron
A plastic brain and oversized neuron
Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

My great-grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. Year by year, she lost parts of herself. First, her acquaintances. Then, her loved ones. And finally, herself. At the end of her life, she had even forgotten how to eat.

After she passed away, both sadness and fear seeped into my bones. I didn’t want to lose my memories, to lose myself.

The problem? I didn’t know how to care for my brain.

That changed, though, when I came across Dr. Daniel Amen’s books. A five-times New York Times Bestselling author, he’s famous for his expertise in everything related to the brain.

His 2017…

Are you willing to do what 95% of people don’t?

A fist shoots to the sky in victory
A fist shoots to the sky in victory
Photo by Richard Felix on Unsplash

Most of us have ambitious goals that could transform our lives. The problem comes when executing. Distractions steal our time and focus, leaving us with nothing but frustration, stress, and a lack of motivation.

Whenever a daunting task intimidates us, we numb ourselves with cat videos or pictures of distant, unimportant relatives. According to a recent survey, “workers spend an average of 2.5 hours daily ‘accessing digital content’ unrelated to their profession.”

That’s a total of 38 wasted days per year!

But what if you invested that time — or parts of it — in your most ambitious goals? …

At 86 years old, she found herself with a newborn baby.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Güita, my great-grandmother, wasn’t long for this world. During her eighties, she was obese, and, though she’d already had two heart strokes, she refused to improve her diet and exercise routine. At most, the doctors gave her a couple of years.

However, not only did she live to celebrate her 100th birthday, but, during her nineties, she lost the excess weight, hosted weekly family gatherings, and spoke fluent French.

Unfortunately, her tipping point was a tragedy: the death of her youngest daughter, Antonieta.

Throughout her life, Antonieta was a ray of light. Always joyful, she pursued a career in acting…

What I would change if I could travel back in time

Woman reflecting on her past regrets while crossing a wheat field
Woman reflecting on her past regrets while crossing a wheat field
Photo: Matthew Henry/Unsplash

Regret is a part of life. No matter your age, you will most likely have an answer to the question: What would you change if you could travel back in time?

Some refuse to look back, either afraid or tired of the past. Others waste no time voicing their regrets, their faces contorting with pain. And the bravest — in my opinion — actively reflect on their mistakes to glean valuable lessons that can help their future selves and others.

In my case, it’s taken me a long time to be brave. Yet here I am. …

Help others think; go from good to fantastic listener.

Happy women talking on a couch and being perfect listeners
Happy women talking on a couch and being perfect listeners
Photo by Julia Larson from Pexels

I don’t mean to brag, but my English students love me. With most, I’ve built a bond that goes beyond our teacher-student relationship. I’m proud to call them my friends.

When I’m with them, conversation and great ideas flow effortlessly. As an introvert, this has come as a surprise. For most of my life, I’ve felt awkward when interacting with others.

But not with my students.

I finally understood why when one of them — a psychologist — told me. “I love hanging out with you because you help me think. …

And stop hating Mondays

Laughing businesswoman working at a desk
Laughing businesswoman working at a desk
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

“Ugh. It’s Monday.” — My brain two years ago.

Two years ago, I woke up every weekday and thought: “Is this all there is?” Perhaps I’m too millennial, but when I joined the daily grind, I was hoping to feel something other than dread whenever I went to work.

My problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what my “dream job” was. I’ve known I want to be a fantasy author most of my life. …

“Can I tell you something I shouldn’t?” he asked during our first date

Woman taking a selfie picture while not looking perfect
Woman taking a selfie picture while not looking perfect
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

My heart was hammering against my chest as I checked my date’s Tinder profile one last time.

He’s gorgeous, I thought with giddiness. As something fluttered in my belly, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that a guy so hot had swiped right.

“Alexa?” My date called from behind.

Swallowing a gasp, I clutched my purse and turned around. The restaurant’s bustle faded as my brain compared the hot-picture guy on Tinder to the not-so-gorgeous guy in front of me.

Just like that, my stomach’s butterflies died.

“Hi,” I replied with a fake smile, eyeing sideways to find an…

And was forcibly removed 23 hours later

The cover of the YA book that gamed the New York Times’ Bestselling list and was removed after 23 hours
The cover of the YA book that gamed the New York Times’ Bestselling list and was removed after 23 hours
Source: Goodreads. Edited on Canva.

In summer 2017, a Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem made history. Though it was an unknown, self-published book no one had seen or read before, it became the N°1 New York Times YA Bestseller — only to be forcibly removed 23 hours later.

Allegedly, it sold 18.000 copies in its first week, a massive number for any book. After all, indie authors sell on average 250 copies, while those traditionally published are closer to 3.000 in their lifetime. …

Alexa V.S.

Certified INFJ. Travel enthusiast. Fellow writer. English teacher. Business Consultant. Fantasy lover.

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