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DIY: Goji Berry Smoothie

Goji berries are known to have anti-aging benefits, boost immune function, protect vision, and prevent heart disease. Goji berry extracts may even boost brain health, mood and protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s so eat them up! They are perfect to add to any smoothie like this one loaded with potassium, vitamin A, fiber and good essential fatty acids, or as a snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. goji berries
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup of raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Directions

    1. Soak the goji berries in coconut water overnight or for a few hours (optional)
    2. Combine all ingredients in a blender
    3. Blend & enjoy!
How to Be Consistently More Optimistic
 

Want to grow your opportunities and shrink your problems? Start cultivating an attitude of optimism!

If you truly want to be successful, it's in your best interest to create and maintain a positive attitude. When you've got an attitude of optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm, opportunities grow and problems shrink. Here's how it's done:

Begin each day with expectation. Your experience in life generally lives up (or down) to your expectations, so when you rise from bed, make your first thought: "Something wonderful will happen today." Your day might not proceed in the manner you'd prefer, but you keep looking for something positive, you'll find it.

Assume other people mean well. Attributing other people's weird behaviors to evil motives adds extra misery to life, while assuming good intentions leaves you open to reconciliation. You can't read minds and you don't have everyone wired to a lie detector. Truly you have no idea what anyone is really thinking or why people do what they do. In most cases people are doing the best they can with the resources they've got, so always give people the benefit of the doubt.

Avoid depressing conversations. It's wasting your breath to argue about things, such as religion and politics, that get people all riled up. When such topics surface, bow out. Some battles aren't worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they've won the argument. At work, what's important isn't winning arguments, but what must be done to move forward.

Let go of your results. Once you've taken action, there's nothing more you can do, so focus on the job at hand rather than some fantasy of what might happen if things go wrong. The nature of the physical universe is change so whether you're celebrating or mourning or something in between, remember that this too will pass.

Improve the quality of your life. At least once a day, try to eat something really delicious, such as a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate. Focus on it; taste it; savor it.  Then use that experience as a model for enjoying all the little pleasures in life.  Remember: the quality of your experience in life is always in how you're perceiving it!

Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Successes in your life, small and large, deserve recognition. Don't move on to the next task or goal without celebrating, even if only by patting yourself on the back. Give a verbal gift to everyone you meet--a smile, a word of encouragement, a gesture of politeness, or even a friendly nod.  And say "Thank you" more frequently.

Focus on the future. While you can and should learn from the past, keep your thoughts on the future. Always believe that the best is yet to come. 

 

This article was written by Geoffrey James, we shared it with you because we know happiness is important to your overall well-being. Happiness does not just make you enjoy life more but it actually affects how successful you are in both your personal and professional life. Happy Monday from Rootology!

5 Ways to Get People to Take You Seriously

If you're going to get anything done (especially in business), you need people to respect you. Sometimes getting others to listen to your ideas can be difficult. So, after looking at the research on social perception and relationship building, we identified the following strategies for instantly getting respect.

Let people talk about themselves. People spend 60% of their conversations talking about themselves. It feels good: "Activation of this system when discussing the self suggests that self-disclosure like other more traditionally recognized stimuli, may be inherently pleasurable," Scientific American reports, "and that people may be motivated to talk about themselves more than other topics." Research shows that when people disclose information about themselves, they like each other more. It's also the primary way to form social bonds, or another way of saying it helps earn their respect.  

Win people over with the first introduction. On the street, in the lobby, square your shoulders to people you meet. Make a handshake matter — eye contact, good grip, elbow erring toward a right angle. Do not pump the hand, unless the other person is insistent on just that. Smile. If you can't smile, you can't be gracious. You aren't some dopey English butler. You are you. Why is this important? Because paying full attention to someone is a way of showing respect, and social science confirms that we get respect when we give respect. Add that to the list of reasons that conscientiousness predicts success.

Keep your posture open and upright. Posture can influence the way others see you and the way you feel. Researchers have found that keeping your shoulders open and arms wide — a classic power pose — activates your hormone system in a way that makes you feel and look more confident and capable. The same logic carries over to the way you sit. If you're scrunched over your laptop, you won't feel very bold, but if you're sitting at a large desk, you'll feel more assertive.

Be way more prepared than you think you need to be. Ignorance is one of the world's least respectable traits — if not the worst. If you want your ideas to count, be better informed than everyone else. Know exactly what message you want to communicate. Anticipate the objections, not only will your ideas be stronger but you'll feel more confident presenting them.

You need to be both humble and confident. Respect requires a balance of humility and confidence. You need enough self-confidence to command the respect of others, but that needs to be counter-balanced with knowing that there is much you simply don't know. Humility is the path towards earning respect, while self-confidence is the path towards commanding it. With that balance comes not only respect but also intellectual curiosity and optimism.

This article was written by Drake Baer, we shared it with you because we thought it could help improve confidence and in return gain you more respect.

 
7 Tips to Reduce Anxiety

In technical terms, anxiety is apprehension over an upcoming event. We anticipate the future with sometimes scary predictions that don’t necessarily have any basis in truth. In everyday life, anxiety’s physical and emotional symptoms can mean an increased heart rate, poor concentration at work and school, and sleeping problems.

Anxiety and stress are physical and emotional responses to perceived dangers (that aren’t always real). And since most of us aren’t running from tigers or hunting and gathering in the woods, it’s often the little things that put us over the edge: an over-loaded email inbox, morning rush hour, or losing those keys before running out the door. Luckily, it’s easy to beat this kind of stress with just a few easy changes added throughout the day.

Focus on meaningful activities. When you’re feeling anxious, it’s also helpful to focus your attention on a meaningful, goal-directed activity. Try asking yourself what you’d be doing if you weren’t anxious. If you were going to see a movie, still go. If you were going to do the laundry, still do it. The worst thing you can do when anxious is to passively sit around obsessing about how you feel. Doing what needs to get done teaches you key lessons: getting out of your head feels better; you’re able to live your life even though you’re anxious; and you’ll get things done. So the bottom line is, get busy with the business of life. Don’t sit around focusing on being anxious – nothing good will come of that.

Take a deep breath. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique because it activates the body’s relaxation response. It helps the body go from the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system. Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4 and repeat several times.

Accept that you’re anxious. Remember that anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling. By reminding yourself that anxiety is simply an emotional reaction, you can start to accept it. Acceptance is critical because trying to wrangle or eliminate anxiety often worsens it. It just perpetuates the idea that your anxiety is intolerable, he said. But accepting your anxiety doesn’t mean liking it or resigning yourself to a miserable existence. The bottom line is that the feeling of anxiety is less than ideal, but it is not intolerable.

Question your thoughts. When people are anxious, their brains start coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas, many of which are highly unrealistic and unlikely to occur. And these thoughts only heighten an individual’s already anxious state.

Use a calming visualization. Practice the following meditation regularly, which will make it easier to access when you’re anxious in the moment. Picture yourself on a river bank or outside in a favorite park, field or beach. Watch leaves pass by on the river or clouds pass by in the sky. Assign [your] emotions, thoughts [and] sensations to the clouds and leaves, and just watch them float by. 

Use positive self-talk. Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter. Tell yourself “positive coping statements.” For instance, you might say, “this anxiety feels bad, but I can use strategies to manage it.”

Focus on right now. When people are anxious, they are usually obsessing about something that might occur in the future. Instead, pause, breathe and pay attention to what’s happening right now, he said. Even if something serious is happening, focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to manage the situation.

6 Ways To Run Faster

Running gives you a world-class workout. When your legs hit their stride they squeeze blood toward your heart, which in turn forces it to pump the blood right back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets. In return, you will stress less, fight cancer, and boost your bones.

Nail good form. The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping the upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with the mid-foot landing under the hip, and swinging the arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.

Count your steps. Get familiar with stride turnover, or the rate of steps taken while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short n’ speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.

Get low, get high. Short on gym time? Quick! Try speed training! Interval training, or alternating periods of high and low intensity while exercising, are just one way to build speed and endurance — and burn major calories in less time too!

Stride right. There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Striders (or strides) are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 to 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.

Run the ‘mill. Feel the need for speed?  Chase it down on the treadmill! Because the speed belt assists with leg turnover, it’s actually easier to run faster. Plus, the power to push the pace is right at your fingertips. A word of advice these geniuses could have used: Get on the machine before turning up the dial.

Stretch it out. The jury is still out on whether static stretches before running really prevents injuries [1]. But leaders of the pack know stretching daily (target those hip flexors!) increases flexibility for better strides.

7 Habits That Will Save You Time

Time. You can't recover it, make up for it, or reverse it. There are 24 hours in a day and 168 in a week, and those numbers aren't changing. What you can do is use the hours more efficiently and wisely to free up at least 60 minutes a week.

Many executive clients work 60-plus hours a week still find a way to do things for themselves and their families. How? They do it by prioritizing. They know what's truly important, what's urgent, and what isn't. They know how to say no to certain things and yes to other things. And they know how to maximize the time that they do have and not dwell on time that they don't have. Here's how you can optimize your time:

Track how you spend your time. Do this for one week. Many people are entirely unaware of what they do hour to hour and where the day goes. This simple exercise of noting what you're doing each hour can have a huge impact. If for 15 minutes every morning you spent on deciding what to wear, that's almost two hours a week spent. Track your time and know where you're spending it.

Determine which tasks and activities are vital and which are optional.Structure other tasks around those that are vital. Schedule your day by doing the important tasks first. This is when you are freshest and energetic. So often the less important tasks get in the way of other things that need to be done. For many this is a distraction. It's easier to do the things that aren't as important. Fear leads to procrastination (overcome it!) and ends us keeping us stagnant.

Get up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Doing so will provide you with an extra 75 minutes in your work week. Many of my clients who are business leaders talk about how they maximize their mornings and see it as a time to respond to emails without the distraction of telephone calls or they use it to do their daily workout.

Schedule Internet use. So often people lose their sense of time when they are online. Given the sensory overload, people are drawn into cyberspace and rarely can stick to just their intended task. Think about how many times you went online to read the news or check the weather and ended up staying online much longer reading other articles.

Keep your expectations in check. Are these expectations reasonable or unreasonable? For example, are you trying to go to the gym, get the kids ready for school, do laundry, and walk the dog all before 9:00 a.m.? Make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew.

Change your thinking. "I'm so busy" and "I don't have time for anything" are negative comments that are sure to keep you feeling overwhelmed. You might think instead, "I will make good use of the time that I do have" or "I can only do so much in one day and I will make sure I accomplish what is reasonable today."

Keep your surroundings clean and organized. A cluttered desk will distract you as will a messy home. By keeping things in order you'll keep information organized in your head and minimize the possibility of losing items and having to spend time looking for them

This article was originally posted in the Huffington Post by Jonathan Alpert. We think it's great to share with you because we find it informative and super helpful for bettering our time management skills.

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7 Daily Tricks to Improve Your Memory

Here are some simple steps you can take to strengthen your memory every day.

Learn something new. Learning something new–be it a new language or taking a cooking class–is generally good for your brain. But learning formal couples dancing, it turns out, is especially good. “Not only is it physical, it’s learned dance moves,” says Dawn Buse, PhD, a health psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “You have to think as you go, change and be flexible. If you stretch the body at the same time, it’s a bonus.”

Switch hands. Many stroke survivors who suffer paralysis have to learn how to use the previously non-dominant side of their body for everyday tasks like writing. This helps create new neural networks. But even non-stroke survivors can benefit from the practice. “Brush your teeth with your left hand, buckle your belt with your left hand, eat cereal,” says Buse. “These novel activities are stimulating novel parts of the brain.”

Take breaks. There’s a way to never cram again and still remember what you learned. Researchers have determined that people who break their study time into chunks actually learn better than those who study for hours at a time. “Spacing out your learning and allowing time for forgetting to occur in between study sessions can promote your ability to remember information and promote your ability to learn concepts,” says researcher Haley Vlach, PhD, assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Write by hand. Foregoing the keyboard for pen and paper may actually be better for the brain, according to a study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. People are better at remembering the orientation of a new character if they write the characters by hand rather than type them on a computer keyboard, the study found. And research in children has shown that writing with pen and paper activates more regions of the brain than simply tapping a keyboard.

Play a computer game. Don’t write off computer keyboards entirely. In one study, adolescent girls who regularly played the computer game Tetris had changes in parts of the brain involved in critical thinking, reasoning, language, and processing, among others. The game requires players to manipulate shapes as they fall so as to create an ordered row of tiles. And while Tetris may be 25 years old, it’s still available on all types of gadgets, including the iPhone and iPod Touch. And anagrams themselves–forming new words with the letters of an existing word–are good for stimulating the brain. You can find ways to tease your brain at GamesForYourBrain.com.

Meditate mindfully. Emerging evidence shows that people who routinely meditate can produce physical changes in the brain. This increases not only attentiveness but also self-awareness and empathy. Bonus: It costs nothing and can be done anywhere, at any time.

Read out loud. Reading a book or the newspaper out loud stimulates different parts of the brain than reading silently to yourself.

This article was originally written by Amanda Gardner of Health Magazine. We shared this with you for its helpful tips on improving our memory and keeping the brain active and healthy. 

De-Stress In 5 Minutes Or Less

Does the thought of taking time to relieve stress make you feel even more stressed out? Who has time for pedicures, massages, therapy sessions and long soaks in the bath? If you're feeling frazzled, there are lots of things you can do to calm down.

Try these techniques to bust stress in 5 minutes or less.

Grin and Bear It. Smiling, even when you don't feel happy, can instantly lift your mood. Instead of frowning, clenching your jaw, or tensing up your forehead in reaction to a stressor, grin and feel your troubles melt away. Try it now!

Call a Friend. Sometimes, you just need to vent. Enlist the help of a good friend or close loved one when you need to de-stress. Often, just getting something off your chest will help you calm down and keep things in perspective. A five-minute phone call can help strengthen your bond, too.

Take a Walk. Exercise, even when done leisurely, is a great way to relieve stress and boost endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in your brain. When you feel overwhelmed, go outside and walk for a few minutes. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel.

Stretch. Ever notice how dogs, cats and other animals stretch throughout the day? They do it for the same reasons we do—it just feels good! Starting or finishing your day with some light stretches can help you de-stress and relax when you need it most. At work, you can try some neck, arm and chest stretches, too.

Tune In. Anyone who listens to get-up-and-go music to get pumped up for a workout knows how much music can affect your mindset. Just as it can energize you or evoke powerful emotions, it can also help relax you. Choose the music you find most relaxing, whether classical, jazz, instrumental or something else. Keep it on your computer, in the car, and on your iPod in case of stressful emergencies. Tune in to relaxing music and tune out the world around you.



Foods That Fight Inflammation & Belly Fat

When eaten on a regular basis, foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body, helping to prevent the long-term health consequences associated with it — but only if you also eliminate the foods that cause inflammation. When inflammation is under control, not only will you have more energy and feel better overall, but you’ll also find that weight loss and reduction of belly fat both become easier!

Remember staying hydrated is essential to flushing inflammation-causing toxins out of your body. So always aim for 64 ounces of water per day. Add an additional 8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise as well.

Try adding anti-inflammatory foods into your meal plan on a daily basis. The more often you eat these foods, the less inflammation that will be present in your body. The following foods and nutrients can fight inflammation:

Fruits and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables, due to their rich nutrient and fiber content, help to combat chronic inflammation, so make sure to include adequate amounts of these foods daily. Some types of fresh produce, however, are even more potent than others.Some terrific anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to include in your meal plan include apples, berries, broccoli, mushrooms, papaya, pineapple, and spinach.

Green tea. This mild beverage is great for helping shrink your waistline as well as for decreasing inflammation. The flavonoids in this tea have natural anti-inflammatory properties. And the compound EGCG in green tea has been shown to help reduce body fat.

Monounsaturated fats. These heart-healthy fats help raise your healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reduce overall inflammation. Great sources include olive oil, almonds, and avocado.

Spices. Certain spices, including garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and chili peppers, have potent inflammation-reducing capabilities, so try adding them to meals as often as possible.

Whole grains. Rich in fiber, whole grains help control the insulin response in your body. The high B vitamin content of whole grains also helps reduce the inflammatory hormonehomocystine in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that a diet with a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids and a low percentage of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked with decreased inflammation. Food sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flaxseed, and fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon.

 
3 Steps Towards A Life of Well-Being

We know we would be better off if we slept for eight hours every night. And did yoga five days a week. And ate kale and ran marathons and kept a gratitude journal and shopped at the farmer's market and learned to play the viola. But we all don't. Every one of these things would require a huge lifestyle shift. Well, maybe not kale, but the point is that committing to too much change at one time is a recipe for failure.

So where to start? Here are three of the most common pieces of "live better" advice, and ways to make some serious progress without feeling too overwhelmed to continue or turning your life upside down:

Get enough sleep. Yes. Sleep deprivation ruins health, diminishes competence and leaves us feeling unhappy. Commit to getting your full seven to nine hours every other night. While consistency is ideal, many of the worst effects of inadequate sleep are associated with compounding deprivation over the course of several nights. If you absolutely have to work late Monday, don't do it again Tuesday. If you find yourself out until bar time on Friday, lay low Saturday.

Unplug and recharge. The pros of unplugging sound great, but we use our smart phones for everything. Not to mention the fact that we can no longer focus, navigate or remember anything without the aid of an electronic device. Baby steps. Even if you can't bear to unplug during the day, don't keep your phone in arm's reach while you sleep. Having a smart phone on the nightstand is associated with poorer sleep and insomnia. If you use your phone as an alarm clock put it across the room from your bed. This has the added bonus of forcing you to get out of bed when it goes off.

Find time to pursue your hobbies. Flow” is a term psychologists use to describe a state of invigorated concentration experienced while pursuing an enjoyable activity. Playing an instrument is a classic example, but for the utterly talentless among us there are some more attainable alternatives. While "drinking" or “napping” may not count as a flow activity, thought-provoking discussions where you lose track of time certainly do. Even if these conversations take place in bars. While channel surfing is mentally discombobulating, various kinds of media consumption (some movies, most video games) can produce a sense of flow, provided the content is sufficiently stimulating.

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