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Empower Your Money Mindset

Empower Your Money Mindset

Like a ghost or a bad break up, money or even a bad credit score can haunt our lives. Money, and learning how to manage it, is a very important part of our everyday lives. Keeping finances in focus is not only great for our bank accounts but for our overall well-being. When it comes to self-care, we tend to turn towards mind-body practices, eating healthy and more of the like; but what about our financial health?

There will come a pivotal day that you have maintained a proper credit score and be able to hold your head high when your accounts are checked. This is empowering. We should all take the driver’s seat in our financial lives including making money, saving it, spending it, but most of all how to use it to power the life of your dreams.

Because let’s be real, we aren’t exactly the most financially sound generation in America, heir to the student loan debt crisis where the average millennial is chained to $35k sinker. Tack on a $15k credit card debt, $28k auto loan and if you’re lucky enough, a $170-$175k mortgage. I know that looks pretty bleak so I won’t even mention health care costs or medical bills.

This is why, when it comes to the caring and loving of yourself, having a healthy and proactive relationship with money truly belongs at the top of the list. Money can often be looked at as the epicenter of worry, stress and overwhelm. Having to carry a huge, insurmountable burden isn’t exactly the ideal life. But money isn’t just a form of payment or the cause of war and instability across Planet Earth. It's the medium of exchange you use to feed your brain, fund your adventures, nurture your creativity, support your causes, treat your friends, celebrate your life —basically, to express who you are in the most authentic and fullest way possible.

So let’s get to looking at money in a different, more empowering light.

  1. Stop badmouthing money. That means no complaining about it, condemning people who have it or criticizing people who don’t have it. It’s all negative and will squash your money magnet in an instant.
  2. Surround yourself with people who appreciate money. Being around those who are responsible and have a healthy relationship to money is a good thing. This kind of self-confidence is contagious and you’ll learn a thing or two in the process.
  3. Take risks and push yourself outside your comfort zone. Negotiate more, hire a coach, take on a freelance gig, network like a boss …if you want to increase your income, you need to change things up.
  4. Kick the excuses to the curb. You can have your excuses or you can have success, but you can't have both. Whichever outcome you train your mind on dictates the reality you see before you. Work it people!
  5. Read books about money. All the rich people do, why can’t you? Inc.com: Top 10 Personal Finance Books of All Time or 7 Best Money Books for Millennials

Know Your Nerves and How to Calm Them

Know Your Nerves and How to Calm Them

Stress is an epidemic.  It is one of the most widespread and debilitating conditions in the world, yet many people act as if it is completely natural.  Stress sucks up the reserves you should be using to create more resilience, weakens your immune system, hurts your interpersonal relationships and holds you back in all aspects of life. Stress, in a nutshell, sucks.

What we need to understand is that there is actually a wide variety of circumstances where one can suffer the symptoms of stress and trauma. Threats now setting off our alarm systems include possible job performance issues, paying bills, fears of romantic rejection, or even deep seeded fears that pop up every so often.

Whatever it is that is throwing us off kilter – whether it happened just a moment ago or decades ago – our nervous systems need to be “re-set.” Rather than face the pain with gritted teeth, or worse, ignoring it or justifying it (i.e. “It’s just work stress, I’ll wait it out until I find a new job” etc.), there are always ways to establish the natural flow between your mind and body. So the good news is, you can hack your nerves by converting the stress into a tool that makes you stronger.

Ever wonder why animals in the wild don’t get traumatized by their life-and-death existence? You’ll never see a gazelle contemplating anxiously over grazing the field after being chased by a lion. She’ll always continue to be a gazelle and graze in the field. Meanwhile, humans are crippled by anxiety and depression and cannot seem to shake the fear.

But Dr. Peter Levine, founder of Somatic Experiencing method (SE), wondered the same thing and began drawing on different disciplines to address the physiology of stress and trauma. Dr. Levine holds a Ph.D. in medical biophysics from the University of California in Berkeley and has worked in the field of stress and trauma for over 40 years.

What he realized was that animals will complete the full sequence of a response to danger, by noticing, reacting, and recovering from the threat. Humans often interrupt it. When in jeopardy, animals will access and expend enormous amounts of energy providing the “fuel” to escape the danger. Dr. Levine observed that, once the threat has been successfully overcome, there is a discharge of excess energy through the body. The body returns to baseline by allowing a chemical discharge to move through the nervous system—for example by trembling, shaking, bucking, or running further than necessary simply to escape the predator—which re-sets the mind and body and prepares it for the next challenge.

Re-establishing the Rhythm of the Nervous System

Applying this insight to humans, as Dr. Levine describes in his books Waking the Tiger and In an Unspoken Voice, SE focuses on the physiological responses that occur when someone experiences or remembers an overwhelming or traumatic event, in his or her body, rather than only through the thoughts or emotions connected to it.

The reason to do this is to restore the nervous system’s normal cycling between alertness and rest.

The Role of the Vagus Nerve

The vagus is one of the larger more important nerves in the human body. One key role that it plays is as the “reset” button to counteract when our alarm system has been set off resulting in the infamous fight, flight or freeze response as some type of threat has been perceived. The vagus nerve basically tells the body and brain: “It is safe now. The threat is gone. All bodily functions can return to normal now.”

Again, this mechanism probably works great for the gazelle in the wild or way back in day when humans were being chased by saber tooth tigers. But for now, our sensitive, over-anxious society has to learn how to calm this nerve for sake of our malfunctioning bodies. We must tap into this inner safe zone to let our nervous system know, it’s going to be okay.

There is hope, however, in our good friend the vagus nerve. While we have to work on our alarm system not always going off, we can also work on stimulating our vagus nerve so that our body can remember how its calming system is supposed to work.

The most effective, natural method for stimulating the vagus nerve is deep, belly breath breathing that you typically associate with yoga and meditation. And think about it, air is the very first thing we need for survival, before water and food. Additionally, in yoga class you are turning your alarm systems off, often closing your eyes, trusting your instructor and letting yourself be vulnerable. Your valiant instructor will handle any saber tooth tiger that attempts to enter this safe, nurturing domain while you stimulate this precious nerve.

Daily Mind-Body Maintenance

Dave Asprey spent 10 days meditating in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and spent $20,000 dollars to be attached to a proprietary, eight channel EEG amplifier with custom brain training protocols. Why? To learn how to consciously manipulate stress.

Asprey soon learned to put his brain into a mental state that, under normal conditions, takes people between 21 and 40 years of daily Japanese Zen meditation to achieve. Along with that state comes stress management that results in much higher IQ and creativity levels.

It turns out you don’t need to high-tail it to Tibet or plug yourself into a machine to achieve this state. The secret is daily discipline and conscious efforts to reduce and manage your stress:

1) Have Fun
2) Synchronize your Heart & Brain (Heart Math©)
3) Meditation
4) Yoga
5) Art of the Living Foundation course
6) Read your neurofeedback (EEG)

You can read the full article to find out more: 6 Ways to Hack Your Nervous System To Consciously Manage Stress

I would like to add a few things to this list…

7) Energy medicine such as reiki or Qigong (Life Energy Cultivation techniques)

8) Massage, body work or investing in a personal at home massage device

9) Talking/therapy/writing/journaling

10) Relaxation with a strict work-life balance boundary

In the end, I think that managing stress isn’t about becoming bulletproof, like an emotionless Superman or something. I think it’s more about being highly resilient. It’s learning how to rise; through daily practice, tools and exercise that’ll get us out there again, grazing with the lions.

Sources:

Mind Body Green: What You Need to Know About the Vagus Nerve

Psychology Today: Somatic Experiencing, How Trauma Can Be Overcome

Celebrity Anti-Bullying Campaigns You Can Get Behind

Celebrity Anti-Bullying Campaigns You Can Get Behind

Every October, schools and organizations across the country come together in observing National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages. Unfortunately, it’s greatly needed. Stopbullying.gov states that about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time. Cyberbullying has even become a widespread pandemic with the use of social media as weapon for shaming and intimidating others worldwide.

But that hasn’t stopped these celebrities from using their painful experiences to impact others for good. Take a look at these amazing organizations and how you can get involved.

Lauren Paul’s Kind Campaign

You may know Aaron Paul, the two-time Emmy Award winning Breaking Bad actor who played Jesse Pinkman, the world’s most lovable, unpredictable junkie. But, you probably don’t know his wife, Lauren Paul. The couple met at Coachella and married in 2013. Lauren is an anti-bullying activist and the director of the 2011 documentary "Finding Kind" about girl-on-girl violence.

Her story is especially powerful, recalling the hardest moments in her life were being bullied, threatened and emotionally tortured in middle school. “I became scared to go to school, my grades started to drop, I was scared to answer the phone, and finding places to hide on campus became a daily routine. Through this time I battled depression and got to the point where I tried to take my own life in seventh grade. I know first-hand how much it hurts to be called names, to be threatened and to feel like you are all alone.”

So, she dedicated her life to helping others through The Kind Campaign: an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl bullying through their global movement, documentary film, in-school assemblies and educational curriculums.

The best part about this is that you can sign up to be a Kind Ambassador! This gives girls and women across the world the opportunity to spread Kind Campaign Assemblies and Kind Clubs into their local schools and communities. AND she created Kind Magazine, created solely by Kind Clubs and girls from across the country. I just love this!

Monica Lewinsky #BeStrong Emoji Collection

In an effort to combat cyber-bullying and promote compassion, Monica Lewinsky has teamed up with Vodafone to create the new #BeStrong Emoji Keyboard app. The new emojis were unveiled on Vanity Fair in 2016 where she spoke candidly about her fight against bullying.

A woman who knows more about bullying than anyone, 42-year old Lewinsky tells Vanity Fair:

“In 1998, when news of my affair with Bill Clinton broke, I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world,” she wrote. “Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”

“Cyberbullying, trolling, and online harassment can ensnare public officials and celebrities but also private citizens, whether teens or college kids or adults,” she wrote in a piece for Vanity Fair, where she is a contributing editor. “Thousands of people are bullied online—daily.”

The former White House intern turned anti-bullying activist was compelled to provide a tool for teens to communicate support to each other.  Lewinsky tells People: “That is the heart of the #BeStrong emojis: for people–especially teens–to feel less alone when these incidents happen online.”


The Diana Award for National Stand Up to Bullying Day

Although you have to live in the UK to win this award, I still feel that Princess Diana’s legacy of courage, kindness and helping others was worth telling. The Diana Award is given out in Diana, Princess of Wales’ name to young role models who are selflessly transforming the lives of others. They look to recognize young people going above and beyond in their daily lives to create and sustain positive change.

This includes the National Stand Up to Bullying Day Campaign, put forth by Prince William in memory of his mother. The Duke of Cambridge launched his own hard-hitting campaign against cyber bullies who use the web to terrorize their victims. In his address from Kensington Palace, William warns that everyone can fall victim to abuse regardless of their age, sex, background, race and religion.

“It can happen for many reasons and is often stupid and cruel and can take many forms. The reach of technology means it can feel unrelenting, leaving the victim feeling attacked, powerless and isolated.”

William, father to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, says more than 16,000 young people take time off school annually after being bullied. “This cannot be allowed to continue,” he says. “It is our collective responsibility to be alert and to be ready to challenge the behavior we see around us. We all have a role to play to ensure that we do not stand by, but instead stand up and put a stop to bullying.”

The program also provides Ambassadors to schools and communities to spread the word, offer tools, training and information to help combat bullying. We are with you Britain!

 

 

Julie Fink | Guest Writer

Three Games You Can Do to Up Your IQ

Three Games You Can Do to Up Your IQ

Whether you are prepping for a test, applying for a MENSA Club membership, or really want to impress on your next date, there is always a good time for a high IQ. Your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a measure of your mental agility or comprehension speed, but can you grow it like a muscle? Turns out the answer to that is YES!

In case you are wondering; the average IQ is around 100. Anything above 130 is considered ‘gifted’.

95% of the human population falls between 70 and 130

50% range between 90 and 110

Only 2% score genius level 131 and above (MENSA)

I did some research to find out what we can do to challenge our melons to an IQ duel and gain some points. Here are a few brain power activities:

  1. Play Chess

Often known as the game for the intellectually gifted, chess is the best exercise to pump up the most important organ in our bodies: the brain. Games like chess actually stimulate the growth of your brain’s neurotransmitters. Quite simply, your brain communicates better with itself when it’s faced with challenging activities and social interaction.

“Activities which involve a diverse range of skills plus social interaction, are excellent options if you’re aiming to enhance your IQ,” says MENSA’s consultant psychologist Maria Leitner. “A study of 4,000 Venezuelan students produced significant rises in the IQ scores of both boys and girls after four months of chess instruction.”

Ever wonder why you feel brain dead after a day of sitting at your desk all day staring at the computer? You can redeem yourself by going home and playing some chess.

TRY: Joining your local chess club, Chess in the park, online chess with friends, or watch these three AH-MAZING chess movies… You’ll start playing after these: Pawn Sacrifice, Knights of the South Bronx, Life of A King, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

  1. Do Practice Tests & Puzzles

Retaking IQ tests can actually raise your score by as many as two points. The ‘practice effect’ is a proven technique that arms you with the skills to comprehend the next test. Brain games, crossword puzzles and memory sequences help add a few IQ’s too. Men’s Health Magazine reported a study by Dr. Susanne Jäggi at the University of Michigan used Dual N-Back games, where the player is asked to remember a sequence of geometric shapes and sounds, to boost the memory factor. Her research discovered 25 minutes every day will raise your IQ by an impressive 4 points.


TRY: MENSA Workout or Practice IQ tests

Give this a whirl… (Answers found below)

       3. Brain Game Apps

Let’s be real, we are more inclined to pull out our smartphones than a chess board these days. And lucky for us, there are plenty of apps on the market that are specifically designed to promote brain health and increase cognitive function.

Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., professor and vice chair at Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and president of the American Psychological Association, says, “There are studies that show that people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.”

Recently, BBC TV launched a six month experiment with researchers from King's College London to air on their show, Bang Goes The Theory. Nearly 7,000 people (aged 50 and over) signed up. They found improved reasoning and problem-solving skills in those who played the games five times a week versus those who did not. The mental exercises kept minds sharp and helped people with everyday skills such as shopping and cooking.

TRY: The 10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain (Daily Burn)

Take it from Ada Lovelace, the first woman in recorded history to create an algorithm in 1843, who said, “That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.” Happy brain training!

 

 

 

 

(Answers: A.1 B.4 C.5)

Five Wellness Tech Gadgets I Am in Love With

Five Wellness Tech Gadgets I Am in Love With

People often complain or get overwhelmed by the amount of fitness trackers and gadgets that are thrust into the wellness market on a weekly basis. But to this I say, BRING IT! I cannot get enough of the trendy, ultra chic, high tech greatness that makes my life easier, not to mention healthier on a day to day basis. These top five wellness picks are for all of my fellow fitness geeks who love their advanced, sophisticated modern goodies as much as I do.

Hush Earplugs

Wives and girlfriends rejoice! There is a way to sleep better next to a serial snorer. The new Hush smart earplugs not only block noise, but they also come embedded with soothing sounds to help their wearers relax and sleep. Two traits make these earplugs worth trying: Users can program alerts and alarms so you don’t sleep in and miss work! And, two, you can pre-program sounds, like binaural beats, which aid in helping the brain reach a meditative state. Hush Technology Smart Earplugs mark a first in their category and are scheduled for release to the public later this year. (hush.technology.com)

Ultimate Relaxation

With a slew of ‘smart’ devices on the market, it’s time to get smart with your massage routines. Investing in a personal message device for an at-home spa experience is way less expensive. For the price of one spa day, you can by the InstaShiatsu+ Full Body Massager With Heat ($169) and have a spa day, every day. With this, come the great benefits of massage therapy without having to travel or schedule expensive appointments. You can add soothing heat to the massage to maximize comfort and it has three speed settings. It is a complete massage experience in one convenient device and allows you to relax, reduce stress for full body rejuvenation.

Smart Scale

While the scale isn’t anyone’s favorite household accessory, you might actually be excited to step on this high-tech version. Aria’s best feature is that it detects your body fat percentage – an important stat to know, since our health isn’t fully dictated by our just our weight, but by our body composition of muscle to fat. A lower body fat percentage (American Council on Exercise advises 21 to 24 percent for fit women) leads to a higher metabolic rate and more muscle tone. After initial setup, Aria will also automatically recognize you every time you step on the scale, saving all your stats over time and syncing it with other Fitbit devices you own, as well as the Fitbit app. The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Scale costs $130 but I found it at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $99! Trust in the tech, it’s worth every penny.

Yoga 2.0

For the millions of practicing yogis across the country, nothing is more ideal than having a personal, at-home yoga instructor show you the way to inner and outer perfection. But the SmartMat Yoga Mat comes close. This amazing new product is embedded with sensors to help you progress on your yoga journey. Every yogi knows it takes months, if not years to perfect a pose and SmartMat helps you achieve those goals. After a routine or guided class, you can view your alignment “score”, calorie burn, and other stats on the accompanying app. It brings a modern and revolutionary data tracking to an ancient practice that is sure to up your yoga game within weeks. You can pre-order the SmartMat for $297 on their website – or just send the link to your hubby for a holiday gift hint.

Beauty Tech

Beauty machine L’Oreal has plunged into the world of smart wearables with an ultra-thin patch that monitors UV exposure. Called My UV Patch, the 1-inch-square sensor is thinner than a human hair and contains microcircuits and photosensitive dyes. It adheres to the skin for three to five days and changes colors when exposed to sunlight. Through coordination with an app for Android and iOS platforms, it measures the strength of the UV rays to which the wearer is exposed. L’Oreal is so passionate about skincare that they give away the UV patch for FREE with the purchase of a sunscreen!

Rock on tech renegades!

 

Julie Fink | Guest Writer

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