8 Simple Activities That Can Sharpen Our Minds

Jan 23

Just as the body needs physical exercise, the brain also requires a good workout. This simply keeps the mind sharp and save us from memory loss. When we gain new experiences, it develops our mind and makes it healthier. 

  1. Using your non-dominant hand

When brushing your teeth, texting, or holding your spoon, try using your least dominant hand. Meaning, if you’re right-handed, use your left and vice versa. This gives the brain an exercise because it is something that the brain is not used to. 

  • Closing your eyes

By impairing ourselves of vision, we can rely more on our other senses. For example, when you’re in the shower try to keep your eyes closed and trust your sense of touch. Turn the shower on and off without having to open your eyes. Only do this with tasks that you’re sure you can be safe of course.

  • Reading aloud

There is a difference between reading out loud and reading only in our mind. The former is better because it engages our sense of hearing as well, instead of just using our sight. By doing this, we also use our mouths, hence we have practice in speech.

  • Meditating

These days, because we do too many things and almost always use our brain, we can get easily stressed out. Meditation helps us to deal with stress and strengthens our ability to focus. It gives the brain much needed rest and a time to reset from a tiring day. 

  • Doing some problem-solving activities

Escape rooms are still a trend and for good reason. It requires you to think critically and pay close attention to detail to succeed. From the most challenging ones like Lost SG, or the most terrifying that is Encounter, you could go all around Singapore and find many escape rooms. If you just want to sit on the couch though, you could also immerse yourself in Sudokus or crossword puzzles.

  • Taking a different route to work/school

Taking a different street from your usual route to work or school can increase brain activity. This is because you’re learning something new by presenting yourself to a new environment. Your brain takes the information that the new route you take still leads to your destination. Of course, only do this if you’re not late. 

  • Learning something new

New experiences increase the release of dopamine in our brains. It is the neurotransmitter involved with our reward and pleasure centers. Learning a new recipe, practicing a new instrument, or even learning a new language can stimulate our brains and help keep it sharp and active.

  • Engaging in more social interactions

Instead of staying in front of a computer chatting with your friends, why not just try to see each other if you can. Talking and interacting with others personally helps keep our brain fresh because we use our emotions a lot more. Additionally, this also keeps our bond and relationships with others strong.

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What are Vitamins and Minerals For?

Dec 27

Your body needs to produce, maintain, and replace and repair countless cells all the time in order to stay in good. To do that, it needs raw material in the form of vitamins and minerals, which are found primarily in the food that you eat.

While vitamins are organic chemical compounds produced by plants and animals, minerals are inorganic chemical compounds that come from rocks and soil, which we absorb only indirectly from eating plants and animals.

How do They Keep the Body Healthy?

Vitamins and minerals not only keep your body in good health and functioning properly, but they also help to protect against certain diseases, such as scurvy (a notable deficiency of vitamin C) and rickets (a deficiency in vitamin D).

There are two categories of vitamins: water-soluble (expelled by the body once it can’t absorb any more) and fat-soluble (leftover amounts that can’t be absorbed by the body are stored in fat cells).

Meanwhile, minerals are found in food in varying amounts and travel throughout your system in various ways. For instance, while calcium is similar to a fat-soluble vitamin in that it needs a carrier to be absorbed and transported, potassium is dissolved in the blood and travels through your bloodstream.

Different vitamins and minerals perform different functions to keep the body healthy. For instance, vitamin K aids in the blood clotting process, while vitamins A and B2 aid in maintaining good vision, and trace amounts of metals such as iron and copper in the bloodstream help in forming red blood cells and helping them carry oxygen, respectively.

How Much Do You Need?

Trying to incorporate these nutrients into your daily diet can be a challenge especially if you don’t have the time to cook your own meals, but it should still be important for you to get the nutrition that you need through food instead of only supplements or multivitamins.

As much as possible, try to have a balanced diet that covers the basic food groups, especially when it comes to vegetables and fruits, which can give you the highest amounts of nutrients that you need.

However, while having these nutrients in your diets is a good idea, it’s also just as important that you don’t take too much of what you need. This could result in hypervitaminosis, a condition in which you start to suffer from the effects of having too much of a certain vitamin or mineral in your system, and it can take a while to recover from them.  

If you’re not sure about how much of a certain vitamin or mineral you should take, consult a dietician or nutritionist and try to follow a balanced diet. Scheduling for regular check-ups and consultations will also help you keep track of your dietary habits.

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5 Important Budgeting Tips Beginners Need to Know

Dec 27

At the heart of every successful financial plan, from a globe-trotting entrepreneur to the working everyman, is budgeting.

Knowing where your money is going and how much of it is left after every expense is not only a necessity if you want to be able to handle your finances, but also allows you to know what you’re doing and whether the decisions you make are good ones.

This applies not just when it comes to achieving a goal (i.e. buying something expensive, going on a vacation), but also as a habit in general.

1. Employ the 50-30-20 rule.

Fifty percent of your monthly budget goes to your basic utilities (i.e. rent, electricity, gas, Wi-Fi, insurance) and daily expenses, twenty percent goes to your savings, and that remaining thirty percent goes to your discretionary fund.

Your discretionary fund should be what you use whether you go shopping, eating out, or hanging out with friends. As much as possible, don’t go over it, and try to deposit whatever is left to your savings.

2. Balance your expenses on a spreadsheet.

While this may sound like additional homework, it never actually hurts to know what you have been spending on and how much of it is going there.

It’s so simple that you can even start with a simple sheet of paper or a notebook and write down what you spend on a regular basis. Once you compare them with your budget and calculate what is left after spending them, you’ll have a better grasp on where your money is going.

There are even programs that can help you with this, such as Microsoft Excel.

3. Create a back-up deposit.

While you think depositing your money in the bank is enough, there are times when you may be tempted to spend them, especially since you’re more inclined to spend when the money isn’t in your hand.

Consider this to be your “emergency” fund that you don’t touch unless absolutely necessary. You can even fill this by scraping up the loose change you might find in your pants pockets or somewhere else in your bag or purse.

4. Use cash.

This might be fine for most people who don’t use credit cards on a regular basis. However, people who rely on credit cards for the convenience may find their spending habits a little out of control. Using cash is a great way to reduce this spending and keep it to a minimum. 

At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you have from start to end, but knowing how to best allocate your budget for everything you do.

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The Biggest Reasons Why You Lose Energy Quickly (And How You Can Get Them Back Again)

Nov 26

Getting tired after a long day is normal. Feeling tired in the morning after not having enough sleep is also normal. It’s also normal to feel exhausted after a certain time doing a lot of things that are physically or mentally demanding.

However, if that feeling of exhaustion lasts even after you’re supposed to feel rested up, you might be experiencing fatigue.

How Fatigue Affects You
Fatigue can show a lot of symptoms that are easy to identify, such as outright exhaustion, the inability to focus or concentrate on a single task, behavioral issues, slower reaction time, and even a decreased overall memory.

While you can try to fend it off with sugar, coffee, energy drinks, or even vitamin supplements, they only provide a temporary relief at most. In fact, there may be other underlying reasons behind this overall loss of energy and zest in life.

Why You Feel Drained
To know how you can stop feeling fatigued, you need to know exactly what is making you feel fatigued in the first place. For instance, it may be one of the following reasons:

• You’re out of alignment. Being exhausted doesn’t always refer to the physical aspect of one’s health or well-being. Whether it’s mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, there may be an aspect of your life that you find less than fulfilling.

• You’re not eating right. What you’re eating and how much of it you’re putting into your system doesn’t just affect your body – it also affects your state of mind. This is why you’re not supposed to have too much sugar, fats, and oils in your diet.

While they can provide you with a temporary boost of energy, they can also make your blood sugar spike, and once the blood sugar drops, you will feel exhausted.

• You’re unusually stressed out over something. Prolonged stress can cause a build-up of cortisol in your system, which can affect your sleep and make you feel drained.

Excessively worrying over something can also do the same to your mind and body, and you will eventually drain yourself worrying over one or two particular things that may or may not even be under your control.

Getting Your Energy Back
While it can be hard for you to take steps to get your disposition back to what it used to be before experiencing fatigue – at least on your own – it can be done.

What you absolutely need to do when you find that you’re experiencing fatigue is to make time to take a breather. Physical exhaustion can be dealt with by regular exercise, yoga, or even simple relaxation activities such as deep breathing or reading.

Aside from a proper diet, taking the time to find out what exactly is causing you the stress in your life (and why it’s causing you stress) will give you an idea on how to solve issues in your life that need to be solved.

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Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Help You Be More Productive (And How You Can Start)

Nov 26

Being organized and more productive is a choice in itself, and it’s always the first steps that are the most difficult to do. However, this can be done through a process known as compartmentalization – the act of blocking out certain thoughts or distractions so that nothing can get between you and the object of your focus.

While it’s often frowned upon as a poor coping mechanism in response to traumatic events, compartmentalization can be used in a good way to focus on tasks and get them done within your projected schedule.

The Benefits of Compartmentalization
To be able to compartmentalize tasks means that you can shut out everything distracting you and focusing solely on the task you have at hand. For others, this is called “deep work”, and for others, this state of super focus on any given task is called “flow”.

These are the benefits of compartmentalizing tasks, whether it’s at work or in anything that you choose to do in your life, from hobbies, passion projects, and so on:

• It saves you more time to focus on the things you want to do. With proper planning, prioritizing, and the will to get things done, you can free up more of your most important resource – time.

• It gets tasks done on your projected schedule. Getting tasks done on time also allows you to be more productive, allows you to focus on more tasks that would otherwise take longer to accomplish.

How You Can Get Started
The simplest, and arguably the most effective way to start organizing your life and your day is by reaching for the nearest calendar.

It lets you plan what you need to do from Day 1 to your target date, and steady progress onwards can be marked on your calendar. As you move along, you will find that it’s much easier to see how much you have accomplished when you have a detailed account of it.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when you start compartmentalizing your tasks:
• Accept that some things will be out of your hands. When you encounter a problem that’s interrupting your task, ask yourself: “Is there anything I can do about it?”

If yes, then there is something that you can do about it. If no, then the problem is out of your hands and you might as well move along to the next thing on your list or priorities.

• Reframe problems as questions. Instead of seeing the problem as a problem, pose it as a question: “Is there anything you can do to get around or solve the problem?”

The most important thing you need to keep in mind when doing anything at all is to choose one, and only one, thing to focus on at a time, which is much better than dividing your attention and focus between different tasks at the same time.

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