Intelligence For Your Life

The next time you want to hang out with friends, consider going to a group exercise class – or going on a group walk!

Because group exercise is the new form of “hanging out!

According to a survey of 17-thousand people, there’s been a shift in how people view exercise……there’s now an increased focus on fitness routines as a way to build community.

  • More than one in three people say they’re more likely to pick a fitness studio or gym if it’s is known for creating social connections.
  • And 43% of those surveyed said community is important to their exercise experience. 

Basically, the fitness industry has transformed from transactional……where you worked out as a way to get thin or get bigger muscles – to an opportunity for connection and friendship. Exercise is no longer something to check off your to-do list – it’s something people look forward to because we LIKE living our lives in a healthy way with people we enjoy being around.

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Here’s something to try if you’re fighting sugar cravings.

Put on something PINK! Whether it’s a shirt, sweater or even pink socks.

According to the University of Oxford, our brain associates the color pink with sweetness – from cotton candy, to bumble gum, to pink frosting. And seeing the color gives an effect similar to consuming sugar. We feel sweeter! 

Pink increases our feel-good hormones, and also makes us feel more energized, which blocks our sugar cravings. 

In studies, even consuming something pink – like pink-colored water – gave people increased feelings of pleasure, even when no sweetener was added! Study subjects also ran faster and farther on a treadmill after drinking something pink! 

And while any shade of pink will work to some degree – a saturated Barbie-pink works best and cuts sugar cravings significantly.

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Are you bombarded with micro-stress?

It’s easy to recognize when big things are stressing us out – like getting laid off, or going through a breakup. 

But smaller things that annoy us can add up – like a passive-aggressive email from the boss, or even a sink full of dishes. And they eventually have an outsized impact on our mental and physical health. Rob Cross is a leadership professor at Babson College – and he calls that MICRO-STRESS!

Professor Cross says micro-stresses are why we can feel exhausted or defeated at the end of a day – even if nothing big went wrong.

Studies even show that minor stress that’s experienced within two hours of a meal, slows our metabolism! So we don’t burn off as many of those calories! If that happens every day, it adds up to 11 pounds in a year!

So be aware of – and address – the micro-stresses in your life. Meditate, journal, exercise and get out in nature – all the things you do to deal with big stress will work to mollify micro-stress, too.

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What does it mean for our health if we cannot walk and talk at the same time?

Scientists from Harvard Medical School found the ability to juggle both tasks, walking and talking at the same time, starts to drop off by age 55! That’s a decade earlier than previously thought! And the experts say we should be “routinely monitored starting in middle age” to prevent falls and injuries.

Most middle-aged people have no trouble walking or talking – separately. But when study subjects – between the ages of 40 and 65 – were asked to walk and perform simple math equations in their head at the same time, slight but significant changes were observed in their gait, starting with people in their 50s! 

It’s called dual-tasking – when you walk and talk at the same time. Or in the case of the study, walk and figure out math problems. And it’s an important marker for health problems. Because walking is an almost automatic function – we don’t consciously think about doing it.

When our brain is occupied with a conversation – or addition and subtraction – our walking should remain steady. But when it doesn’t, it means the brain is overloading and walking isn’t as automatic as it should be!

So, if you can’t walk and talk as seamlessly as you used to, definitely talk to your doctor. Because it’s one of the first indications of brain aging. 

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The new way to lose weight is cold immersion therapy!

According to neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman, doing one cold water immersion a week – like in a cold-plunge pool or even a chilly bathtub – plus 5 cold showers a week – can lead to a significant reduction in belly fat and waist circumference!   

For the cold plunge – you need to be immersed up to your neck for 2 minutes.

For the cold showers, you only need 30 seconds of a cold-water blast. 

And not only will that help you lose weight – it’ll reduce your stress and improve your mood! That’s because the shock of cold water triggers the release of endorphins and mood-lifting hormones. And, in studies, the psychological shifts were lasting – they didn’t end right after the cold-water therapy! 

 For the weight loss, the cold water increases your metabolism significantly by stimulating your brown fat, which is a type of fat that torches extra calories in order to keep your body warm. 

That recipe again: one cold water immersion for 2 minutes – plus 5 cold showers a week for 30-seconds each, for weight loss and a better mood!

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Our pets can keep our minds sharp!

That’s according to the University of Michigan. They analyzed scores on cognitive tests taken by thousands of people over a six-year study, and they found that the people who had owned a pet for the majority of the study scored higher on tests than those without a pet!

So why would having a pet give us a brainpower boost?

The researchers say it all comes down to stress, which negatively impacts the brain. It can kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain! 

Stressed people also have a harder time creating short-term memories, and turning those short-term memories into long-term memories. That means it’s more difficult to learn when stressed. Stress also interferes with attention and working memory.

But having a pet significantly reduces stress……and the result is a brain that works a whole lot better! 

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The easiest way to spot a Liar

You know the theory that a liar doesn’t look you in the eye? Not true, according to a study at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Researchers discovered that the TRUE sign of a lie is not where people look – but how they speak.

Lie detection expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams says, listen for pauses,.  Williams says most liars need extra time to come up with answers that sound truthful, because their brain is busy making up lies. And that’s especially true when you ask “yes” or “no” questions. Williams says if the first thing out of their mouth is, “Well, um, you see……” that’s a red flag. Another way liars buy time is by repeating the question, like, “Did I text my ex-girlfriend?” 

There you go, you are now officially a human lie detector 

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Why we shouldn’t hide our scars

Normally when an injury leaves us with scars, especially on the face, we want to hide or minimize the scar. In fact, “scar revision” procedures are one of the most common reasons people seek plastic surgery! 

But if that describes you, you may want to save your money: Because your scar could be the reason most people see you as friendlier AND more attractive than someone who doesn’t have visible scars.

That’s according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers collected photos of faces, and digitally altered some to add scars of different sizes, locations and severities. Then, researchers got about 2-thousand people to view and rate each photo for traits including confidence, friendliness and attractiveness.

The result? Without fail, scars rarely led to faces being rated as less attractive. Instead, they were more likely to be the reason faces were perceived as significantly more attractive, friendly, and even more confident!

That’s because having a scar suggests you’ve been through some things and survived. Plus, the fact that you’re NOT trying to hide your scar shows you’re authentic. 

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Twenty million gardeners know the secret

Scientists: Why gardening is so therapeutic 

It’s safe to say our growing interest in gardening isn’t going anywhere! That’s according to a new National Gardening Survey, which found that more than 20 million novice gardeners picked up a trowel for the first time last year! And surprisingly, most of them were men under age 35! So, what’s the biggest gardening trend this year?

Growing food crops and other edible plants are the top priority.  And today’s younger gardeners plan to stick with the hobby for years to come. The reason?

  • First, younger adults are putting off having kids longer than ANY previous generation. And for those who feel the urge to “nurture” something, plants offer a perfect fit.
  • Plus, many home gardeners describe their plants as a “form of therapy.” Because the daily routine of watering and weeding forces us to slow down, and be “in the moment,” which is proven to lower stress and boost our mood.

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The 8 minute solution for anxiety

The life hack that banishes worry

If you have a stressful day ahead, block out 8 minutes of your time, grab your journal and jot down your thoughts and feelings. A study from Michigan State University promises that it will calm your nerves and focus your mind. 

The experts found that, when people did that before a stressful event, their anxiety had less of a negative impact on their brain activity and it boosted their performance. That’s because journaling, even for just 8 minutes, takes your worries and offloads them to a piece of paper. That way, your brain doesn’t have to focus on your anxious thoughts AND the task at hand. Because worrying takes up a large portion of your brain’s bandwidth. 

So, if you have a stressful day ahead, block out 8 minutes , grab your journal and jot down your thoughts and feelings.

I do this every day and it has transformed my thoughts and really shifted my mindset.

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What do older daters want?

This is the number one trait older singles want

Singles age 50 and up are the fastest growing demographic on dating sites and apps……

So what do older daters want? The number one trait older daters are looking for is:

Great conversation!

A survey conducted by the dating site Silver Singles found that both men and women, in their 50s and beyond, are doing away with small talk and are looking for someone who can carry on a great conversation.  In fact, that’s a top trait 75% of them are looking for! 

After good conversation – the top things older singles are looking for are physical attraction and similar hobbies. 

   So what don’t older singles want?

Smoking is a top turn off for mature singles……followed by financial insecurity.  

However, the data tells us that the older singles get, the LESS interested they are in a serious relationship! 

According to the survey, while 40% of singles in their 50s are looking for something serious, only 20% of those in their 60s – and only 11% of singles in their 70s – want a serious relationship! They’d rather keep it casual.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know. [email protected]

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How to talk to yourself so you will listen

How to practice ‘self compassion”

If we talked to other people the way we talk to OURSELVES, we wouldn’t have any friends! We’re so hard on ourselves – but there’s a new movement centered around so-called “self compassion”. 

Kristin Neff is an educational psychologist and her research shows that people who practice self-compassion have less stress and depression, and more self-confidence. Being kind to yourself also leads to stronger immune function and lower risk for heart disease.

And this concept behind self-compassion is simple: Treat yourself with as much love and kindness as you treat your friends.

But for a lot of us, that’s easier said than done. If we make a mistake at work, we might tell ourselves, “I’m so lame! No wonder I haven’t been promoted!” But we’d NEVER say that to a friend. 

Professor Neff says a lot of people think being kind to themselves is a weakness. But research proves that the exact opposite is true. Studies show self-compassionate people are more resilient and better able to cope with difficult situations like relationship issues, chronic pain or any type of trauma.

The best way to practice self-compassion is to simply talk to yourself the way you’d talk to your best friend. You’d be supportive and understanding, and you’d look for solutions, right? Well we should do the same for ourselves. 

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What “could” you do?

How to face any dilemma head-on

If you’re facing any kind of dilemma, from what to do next in your career to where to go on vacation, you need to ask yourself a question……

The idea comes from Harvard……And it’s this: Don’t ask yourself what you SHOULD do – ask yourself what you COULD do!

According to the Harvard researchers, you can significantly improve your decision making by changing just that one word. 

They found that when people made that verbal shift, from ‘What should I do?’ to ‘What could I do?’ they produced better solutions to any problem. 

That’s because should is a “narrowing word.” It narrows down the possible actions we can take to just the ones that seem reasonable, like things we’ve done before. But when you use the word could, that’s a “widening word” that enables our brains to think more broadly and creatively to come up with all kinds of possibilities! 

So try that mindset shift the next time you need to come up with great ideas, or to solve problems. Ask yourself “What could I do?”

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Trend Predictions for 2023 According to Etsy

The website Etsy released its trend predictions for 2023, based on increases in search terms. And, here’s what they say is hot this year:

  • Shoppers are interested in optimism and encouragement! But they also want to get their lives in order……. As a result, Etsy is seeing a 200-percent sales spike in motivation planners and journals, inspirational art for home offices, and budgeting tools – like ledgers. 
  • As far as relaxing hobbies, Etsy has seen a 48-percent increase in searches for adult paint by number kits.

People also want to pamper their pets this year. They want pet furniture, cat perches and customized dog beds. There’s been a one-thousand-percent jump in sales for personalized pet beds, embroidered with a dog’s name.

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Why Solo Travel is a Big Trend

Solo Travel is now a big trend! People aren’t waiting for friends and family to join them on a trip – they’re going solo! 

In fact, the travel site reports that, in normal years, about 1-in-8 bookings were by solo travelers…… But this year, the rate has DOUBLED to 1 in 4! 

And Google searches for “solo travel” have also doubled!

The reason? According to the world’s largest travel marketing agency, MMGY, after enduring two years of travel restrictions, a lot of people are feeling antsy to travel somewhere – anywhere

Solo vacations also offer one of the best opportunities to travel “with intent.” Meaning, you can explore a personal goal – whether it’s self-improvement, crossing more destinations off your bucket list, or simply taking time to de-stress! People also tend to report more satisfaction with their travel experiences when they’re NOT trying to keep other people happy. 

And that’s the latest travel trend: Solo vacations!

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Best Food to Help You Sleep Better at Night

What we eat throughout the day can help us sleep better at night. So here are foods to help you get better quality sleep……

  • For starters, get more magnesium. According to the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, people who get enough magnesium in their daily diet are less likely to have trouble sleeping. That’s because it’s an important mineral for relaxation. It helps neurotransmitters in the brain shut things down at night, so we can rest. To get the optimal amount, all you need is a handful of nuts or seeds daily.
  • Another sleep-booster: Eat more high-fiber foods. They digest more slowly, so you won’t have blood sugar spikes that can disrupt sleep. So, think oatmeal, whole fruits, lentils, or 100% whole grain toast. 

One final sleep-booster: Sprinkle the spice turmeric on your dinner. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory that promotes a sense of calm and boosts sleep quality.

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Are You Looking for Ways to Make New Friends?

If you’re looking to make new friends? Try finding a way to sing together! That’s the message from an Oxford University study that found singing is one of the fastest ways to promote feelings of closeness and cooperation. 

The researchers say it’s because breathing in unison with other people triggers the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin. And – because music influences our feelings – people who sing together tend to be on the same page, emotionally. 

Plus, singing together creates group harmony – literally and figuratively – because everyone is working toward a common goal. In fact, other studies have shown that singing is so good for a group’s dynamic that choirs have stronger bonds than most sports teams. And that’s why military troops sometimes sing during exercises and drills. 

So, if you want to promote harmony on a long road trip, or get everyone at work marching to the same tune – choose some music, and get everybody to sing along. 

There are also ways to participate in group sing-alongs from the comfort of home……. Check out the online group with Maggie Wheeler.

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Do This to Cut the Risk of Heart Disease and Depression

You will love this trick for cutting your risk of heart disease and depression, and it can even help you lose weight:

Take 2 minutes twice a day to massage your scalp! According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, scalp massages stimulate acupressure points linked to our adrenal glands……

Those are the glands that pump out the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline. And two daily 2-minute head massages, for 2 weeks, can cut stress hormone production by 33% or more. So do one scalp massage when you’re getting ready for the day – like, in the shower while you’re washing your hair……and try another before bed.

You’ll reduce the production of stress hormones long-term and it’ll help you relax.  That, in turn, will lower your risk of heart disease and depression – and less cortisol means your body won’t hold onto excess fat. Just remember: two 2-minute head massages a day for 2 weeks.

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What’s the Latest Trend in YouTube Videos?

What’s the latest trend in YouTube videos? 

Watching other people clean! 

The videos show people in their own homes cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, and doing dishes. They’re usually tagged with the phrase “Clean With Me” and they get millions of views! Viewers enjoy watching someone else grind through the same tedious chores we all have. 

There are also so-called “Complete Disaster” videos, where laundry, dirty dishes, grime and clutter have overwhelmed a house and the person cleaning restores order.

So why on earth would anyone watch someone else cleaning?

Because, psychologically, when things are clean, we feel a sense of relief. It taps into a subconscious urge psychologists call a “just right” feeling. It’s the sensation that occurs when we’ve put things in order. And we can get that same feeling from watching someone else clean a house – even if it’s not our own house.

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Should You be Nostalgic About the Past?

Have you noticed how trendy it is these days to be nostalgic about the past? For example:

  • The latest Recording Industry data shows that more than HALF of all physical music sold today is on vinyl……
  • Also, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy in 2001 – but now it’s thriving again.
  • And instead of upgrading to the latest smartphone, an estimated 1-in-5 consumers have expressed interest in switching back to a minimalist “dumb phone,” with no texting or apps……
  • People are even going back to old-school videogames that don’t require the internet to be played. 

According to a new Deloitte survey, a big reason people are buying vintage or “retro” products is for more privacy. Because most devices that connect to the internet can easily be tracked or hacked! And a growing number of people just want to enjoy their day – snapping photos, making calls, playing games and listening to music – without worrying about their security.

Another reason? Media studies professor Dr. Paul Levinson says there’s an increasing desire to “disengage” from the modern world for mental health reasons. Because a lot of us see the past as a simpler, less stressful, more innocent time. And people want to return to the comfort of the past – before the internet and social media completely took over our lives. 

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Why Should You Eat Fish Twice a Week

How many times have you heard that fish are brain food?

Well, we’re saying it again – and we have more proof. This time, it comes from the Fatty Acid Research Institute. 

Their research found that people with high blood levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid, called DHA, were nearly 50% less likely to develop dementia of any kind, including Alzheimer’s. 

And other research shows a link between the fatty acid DHA and improved cognitive performance and increased brain volume.

The reason? Because DHA limits the production and accumulation of a brain toxin linked to Alzheimer’s. 

The fish that contain the most Omega-3 DHAs are: Mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and oysters. And you should aim to get two servings a week.

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Why It’s Important to Declutter Our Home

Clutter doesn’t just make your home look like a mess – it messes with your mental health! That’s according to the journal Personality and Social Psychology. For the study, researchers from USC asked families to record videos while touring their own homes and discussing their belongings. Their stress hormone levels were also recorded. 

The conclusion? People who perceived their homes as cluttered had unhealthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and felt more stress as the day went on. 

The researchers say it boils down to the feeling of never-ending work and obligation, and our brains don’t like the weight of all that responsibility. But when we de-clutter, our brains actually do relax.  That’s because we feel more in-control of our lives. It gives us a sense of accomplishment. 

So now we know, clutter can seriously mess with our mental health.

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Best Countries to Live as a Digital Nomad

There’s never been a better time to be a “digital nomad!”

That’s the term for the growing number of remote workers who work AND travel at the same time. And a new Pew Research survey shows that more than half of today’s workers have expressed interest in becoming a digital nomad. The good news? A whopping 49 countries – and counting – now offer special visa programs, which make it incredibly easy to work overseas long-term……

For example: A new visa program offers people a way to live and work in Spain for up to a year, as long as you make at least $2 thousand dollars a month. And if you like the arrangement, you can renew your visa 4 times…… after which you’ll be eligible to become a permanent citizen! 

And there are similar programs currently being offered in countries like Iceland, Greece, Costa Rica, Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand! Want to go further? You can find a complete list of countries offering Digital Nomad Visas at Nomad Girl dot CO……Or try Remote Year dot com.

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Why we should eat bread AFTER the meal

Go ahead and dig into the bread basket at the restaurant……For Dessert.

A study in the journal Diabetes has found that if you eat your focaccia, cheddar biscuit, or unlimited breadsticks AFTER your entrée, your blood sugar won’t take as big of a hit.

The journal researchers found that when study subjects did that, their blood sugar was 30% lower on average than if they ate bread before the meal.

That’s because when you have other food in your stomach, the carbs from the bread don’t turn into sugar as quickly – since your body is busy processing the other food you’ve eaten.

I’m trying this! Eating bread for dessert instead of before the meal.

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How to Make Better Financial Decisions

Think about where you make most of your important money decisions. Are you in an office building, several floors above the street……or are you at home, signing checks and paying bills on the GROUND floor?

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, how you answer that question plays a role in how much control you have over your money.

Because we tend to make the SAFEST financial decisions when we’re on the ground floor……But the higher up we go, even just to the second floor of your house, the riskier your money moves get!

Psychologists say it’s because being higher up – whether you’re in a high-rise office building, or the 2nd floor of your home – gives your subconscious an elevated sense of power. So, if you need help sticking to a budget – or you just want to make better financial decisions – this new study makes it clear: Stay grounded, literally……and make your decisions on the ground floor.

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What is Green Noise and Its Benefits

Have you heard about  “green noise.” According to neurologist and behavioral sleep specialist, Dr. Christopher Winter, it’s technically defined as any frequency around 500 hertz – which is the center of the frequency spectrum. And, coincidentally, that’s where most nature sounds fall!

White noise typically sounds like an air conditioner, vacuum, fan, or even an airplane engine. But green noise is more of a soothing nature sound, from wind to water.

So why are people so obsessed with green noise lately? Because multiple studies have shown that nature sounds promote relaxation. And according to Dr. Winter, nature sounds are also proven to help people fall asleep…… including anything from the sound of ocean waves crashing on a beach, to the gentle sound of a waterfall. 

If you’d like to check it out for yourself, there are plenty of YouTube videos now offering hours of uninterrupted green noise.

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Why Lying on Your Side When Sleeping is Better

Sleeping in this position will not only help your back feel better – it can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease:

Lie on your side, legs bent, with a pillow between your knees. Internist Dr. Holly Phillips says that position will alleviate strain on your back.

And new research shows it helps remove damaging proteins from the brain……the ones that accumulate and eventually contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because lying on your side improves circulation to your head and neck and increases oxygen flow.

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