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. …
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.
I used to believe I was a masochist because I put depressing songs on repeat after a bad day.
I was wrong.
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.
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? …
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…
I don’t want to brag, but my grandparents are the definition of #relationshipgoals.
After more than sixty years together, they still share inside jokes, hold hands, and fuss over each other’s wellbeing. Though they were separated for nine months during the pandemic, they learned how to use Zoom and Whatsapp to stay in contact. They secretly feared they might never hold each other again.
Now that they’ve reunited, they’re like a single person. They go to the supermarket, the park — everywhere together.
Though both are in their eighties, they look like smitten teenagers.
According to John M. Gottman, an…
Every single day, our brains produce up to 700 new neurons regardless of our age. Best of all, those cells can reinforce whatever mental capacity we want if we know how to train.
Imagine the potential.
This is called neuroplasticity. Put simply, it’s the brain’s ability to continue growing and adapting despite aging. According to Marian Diamond, one of the founders of modern neuroscience, “with proper stimulation and an enriched environment, the human brain can continue to develop at any age.”
I don’t know you, but I know what you want: happiness.
We all do. The problem is that often what we assume will bring us happiness — money, hot looks, good grades, a Lambo, a fancy job — don’t. Our minds have biases that prevent us from gaining clarity.
Yale’s course, The Science of Well-being, offers eye-opening insights on this matter. In it, Professor Laurie Santos explains the mental biases that hold us back from happiness, brings light on the things that actually boost our wellbeing according to science, and encourages us to partake in the 10-week “rewirement” challenge.
The other day I sent a text to a coworker asking after her mother’s health. Her response brightened my day.
A few days before, her mother had been taken to the hospital due to COVID-19, so — as any normal human being would — I reached out to check up on her. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing any other person wouldn’t do.
Yet, as my coworker thanked me, she made me feel special, made me feel that my small act of kindness was huge. It is — by far — the most heart-warming way someone has told me “thank you.”
Countless personal development books by countless gurus have explained countless methods — reading, journaling, meditating, among others — to better yourself. Implementation, though, is tricky. How many amazing ideas do we learn and never use?
In the past, I struggled with implementation, but teaching has helped me make tremendous changes in less than two years. Just in 2020, I established a daily meditation routine, read almost forty books, built a new income stream, and expanded my network — thanks to teaching.
By teaching I don’t mean going to a school, revising homework, and preparing tests. Well, not only. You could…
Certified INFJ. Travel enthusiast. Fellow writer. English teacher. Business Consultant. Fantasy lover.