Rewire Your Brain to Be Happy

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Are you feeling like you could be a happier person but optimism isn’t your strong point these days? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Research shows that you can actually rewire your brain to be happy by repeatedly recalling three things that you are grateful for.

“Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym,” says Shawn Achor, researcher and bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. “Recent research on neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood—reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain.”

This research also shows that happiness leads to success. “People who cultivate a positive mindset perform better in the face of challenge,” states Achor.

For the next 21 days, think of three things you are grateful for before you fall asleep. Within three weeks, you’ll feel yourself shift into a positive mindset. Achor’s research reveals that people’s brains begin to “retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first,” making them happier which in turn makes them poised for success.

For more information on Shawn Achor’s happiness research, please visit Harvard Business Review.

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One of the World’s Largest and Deadliest Waves

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Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline is one of the world’s top 10 deadliest waves. Its swells reach up to 30 ft before breaking at high speed over shallow, rocky coral reefs. Surprisingly, the most dangerous days aren’t when the waves are at their tallest, but rather when the swell picks up quickly and doubles up over the shallow inside section.

Professional surfers flock to Pupukea, a town on Oahu’s North Shore, to take on the waves in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Called the “Super Bowl of surfing” by The Los Angeles Times, this international event takes place each November.

Whether you want to take on a Pipeline, or simply marvel at the awesome sight of these spectacular waves, be sure to visit Hawaii from November to February when these waves are at their grandest.

For more information on the top 10 deadliest waves, please visit Transworld SURF.

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Feeling Stressed? Quick! Seek Out the Color Blue!

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Color affects our mood, feelings, and emotions. It’s that simple. Glancing at a particular color can leave you feeling anxious, or stressed, or calm and relaxed.

If you’ve been to a spa, you’ve probably noticed the use of the color blue on the walls, or in the accents used to decorate the spa. That’s because no other color helps us unwind like the color blue. It triggers feelings of peace and relaxation instantly, and has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress.

Feeling stressed right now? Take a moment to look at the image of sky and water above with its variations of blues. It’s bound to help change your mood for the better.

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What’s Your Sleep Position?

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Do you have a favorite sleep position? In a recent study, Dr. Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, an associate professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, examined the sleeping patterns of 700 adults. “Sleep position—whether you sleep on your back, belly, or side—can affect what you dream about,” says Dr. Yu. He found that sleeping on your belly evokes the strangest, creepiest, and sexiest (yes, sexiest) dreams.

Results of a 2004 study in Sleep and Hypnosis show that people who sleep on their right side generally have happy, calm, and comforting dreams. People who tend to sleep on their left side are prone to more nightmares.

People generally change positions as they sleep throughout the night but sleeping on your side is “by far the most popular, followed by back, and then belly,” says Dr. Yu.

So, if you fall asleep on your belly, you may find yourself… running through an open field at night, storm brewing in the skies above, while holding hands with an alien that looks like George Clooney!

For information on this topic, please visit Prevention.

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(Photo by Natasha Capstick)

A Fresh Take on Tying a Scarf

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Spring is just around the corner, right? But it can’t seem to come soon enough this year, can it? In places where there’s usually snow, there’s been a ton of it. And in places where there’s normally sunshine, there’s been buckets of rain.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting pretty tired of wearing my winter coat, scarf, hat, and mitts day after day after day (it’s true, I prefer mittens over gloves). Lately, my scarf feels more like a noose around my neck than a fashionable accessory to help keep the cold from seeping into my bones.

Then I found this creative way of wearing a scarf. It’s fresh and fun. And I get lots of compliments when I wear my scarf tied this way. It’s the little things, right? A new twist on something old somehow makes it seem new again. Just a few more weeks till spring…

For more fresh ideas on how to tie a scarf, please visit A Cup of Jo.

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Have a fun weekend,

Sugarblue Babes

(Photos by Alpha Smoot)

Seal of Approval

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Grey seals are the UK’s largest breeding seals. A staggering half of the world’s grey seal population lives along British coasts. A newborn seal pup weighs approximately 30 pounds (14 kilograms). Their mother’s milk is very high in fat (60%), so they grow quickly and develop the layer of blubber that is crucial to their survival. Without the blubber layer, seals would not be able to maintain their body temperature out at sea.

Jason Neilus, and fellow divers, recently dove into the waters along the coast of the Farne Islands in Northumberland, England. They’ve been visiting this spot for the past six years to greet the seal pups. Neilus and the other divers were blown away by the playful interaction they encountered with the seals. Lucky for us, the awesome adventure was captured on film!

If this video doesn’t make you feel happy, we don’t know what will.

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(Screen capture Vimeo)
(Video by Jason Neilus)

Stop! Don’t Hit the Snooze Button!

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If you’re like me, you probably hit the snooze button each morning. And hitting that tiny little button just once is never enough, right?

People generally think they’ve had a bad night’s sleep if they have a hard time waking up. According to author and writer Maria Konnikova, this is not necessarily the case. She says if you keep a regular schedule, your body has conditioned itself to start the wake up process for about one to two hours before that annoying alarm goes off. Hitting the snooze button actually messes with your sleep cycle by restarting it.

“You end up right back to where it began and you’re making all those preparations for nothing,” explains Konnikova. “You end up being even sleepier, even groggier than you would have been had you just dealt with it and gotten up right away.”

I’m going to try to remember to not hit the snooze button tomorrow morning but… old habits die hard.

For more information on this topic, please visit CBC News.

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