Adversity is often a stepping stone to success. That is, if you don’t give up because the cloud of dark emotions discouraged you completely.First of all, when everything is going wrong in your life, you should keep in mind that emotions are big fat liars. You feel everything is going south, but it’s not true. Adversity is often a stepping stone to success. That is, if you don’t give up because the cloud of dark emotions discouraged you completely. A couple of things NOT to do:
1. Don’t focus on what’s wrong
When everything seems to go wrong, you have this unfortunate tendency to focus on what’s wrong. Don’t. When people practice speed driving, they drive their cars where their sight goes. If they stare at the approaching wall, they invariably steer the car toward the wall, even if they know very well they should turn the wheel and the car. Your life goes where your attention goes. If you dwell on what’s going wrong, you will only get more bad things and events. New Age believers will tell you that you “attract” negative energy or your quantum vibrations emanate negativity, so positivity has no access to you. They may even be right. I think the explanation is a bit simpler. Your brain’s primary function is one of a search engine. It absorbs millions and millions of sensual impulses every second and its main job is to segregate this ocean of data so your nervous system and conscious mind can make sense of it. Bad things and good things are happening all the time in your life. The focus of your conscious mind determines which data your search engine will fish out from the data ocean. The title says it very aptly: it appears everything goes wrong. Positive impulses will be weeded out from your brain’s query, so the end picture will get darker and darker.
2. Don’t beat yourself
Blaming yourself for the situation is a default option. Let’s not philosophize why, just assume it as an axiom. In your internal dialog you always assume you are the center of the universe, so if anything goes wrong, it must be your fault, right? You may be even right about this. All in all, most of what you receive in life is the result of your thoughts, words and actions. But beating yourself won’t improve the situation one bit. It will make it even worse. If you get yourself into the present situation, guess who can take you out of it? Yes, you. And if you beat up the only person who can get you out of troubles, getting out of troubles is unlikely. It may be wise to examine how your vices and past stupid decisions brought you to the miserable place you are in now. If you can reflect on the past with an inquiring mind and track down your mistakes, you can figure out eventual solutions. Sadly, most of us are incapable of such impersonal detachment and we fall into the default mode: beating ourselves up. If you know you get on that path too easily just don’t go there. It’s a slippery slope and you should attempt a sober reflection only when you are skilled in self-analysis. If your emotions got in the way, don’t even try. There are better ways.
3. Get your personal philosophy straight
I can give you dozens of tips on how to survive tough times, but if you are stuck in a dark place there is no use bombarding you with advice. You need to know deep in your heart that it is still worth trying to get better. You need to be convinced that hard times are only temporary. And in the end YOU need to implement the advice. Knowledge without implementation is as useless as ignorance. I went through periods of depression in my life; some of them were relatively mild, others were downright excruciating. I know what it’s like to be unwilling to raise your finger because nothing makes sense and your soul hurts. You need a driving internal power to get you out there. You need reasons to keep trying. What are your deepest beliefs about hardships? Is it a punishment from God or a trial? Can you see it’s just a passing state of affairs or you feel like you’re closed in the dark room? If you are a Christian, then I encourage you to turn to God. There are never true “wrong” times in a Christian’s life; everything is under God’s providence.
4. Be with great people
An amazing shortcut to fixing your personal philosophy is spending time with people you want to be like. Do you know someone who went through times when everything appeared to be going wrong in their lives? Spend more time with them. Surround yourself with such people. Do a simple mental exercise: reflect on your hardships and think of someone who was in your situation and not only survived but came out of it thriving. Remember the “everything appears” part? The fact is that it’s almost sure there was someone in your situation in the history of humankind who dealt with it.
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Someone broke your heart? Happens all the time. Your close friend or relative died? Death will accompany humanity as long as it exists. Are you terminally ill? That was the fate of millions of people before you. Your child made terrible life choices and ended up suffering like a dog? This is the story of many parents. Were you fired? So were countless folks before you. Find them. Search for stories of people who experienced what you experience and became stronger. Let their stories affect your self-centered thinking. If they did that, you can do it too. The secret of those who survived similar hardships was their attitude. It’s not what we go through, but what we think about it. Thousands of people got their bodies destroyed and landed in wheelchairs after car accidents and they cracked. Hal Elrod, after an initial shock accepted his situation and was happy that he was alive. Doctors said he would never walk again. Because of his positive attitude he recovered to full health miraculously fast.
The Best Tip
Don’t dwell on what’s wrong. Put your mind on what’s right. Your brain is a search engine. Give it orders to search for what’s right. The easiest way to do it? Keep a gratitude journal. Every morning write down three new things you are grateful for. It will unlock your thinking patterns. You will stop focusing on things going south and rewire your brain into positivity. You will notice positive events and influences. You will see new opportunities.
Senator Steven Oroho – NJ 24th Legislative District, and Steve Adubato talk about the challenges making NJ more affordable and attractive to invest in, the benefits of municipal consolidation.
If you want to achieve mastery, you need to be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. You need to regularly perform and attempt stuff you’ve never done.When you’ve developed mastery of something, you own that thing. You’ve learned the rules inside-out and now you have the ability, as an artist, to create your own rules. You have the ability to create a new game. Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, calls people with this level of mastery, “Game Changers,” because they don’t just play a game, they change the game. People with this level of mastery don’t compete with others, they make others compete with them. They are light-years ahead of the crowd and are setting the context of the future that others will either consciously or unconsciously follow. Becoming a game changer is something that very few people aspire to. Most people are relatively comfortable being good at what they do or paying the bills. For a select few people, though, there is not only a desire to succeed and do well but to create and to fail. To stretch the possibilities of learning so far that they enter what some would call a “no man’s land.” Going to places where no one else has thought to go. Stretching their imagination so far that they can only share their ideas with a very tight “inner circle.” As Peter Diamandis said, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Once you reach a certain level of mastery, and if you have the creative spirit to change the game and world entirely — then you play in the realm of crazy ideas. Here is a brief run-down of key steps in the development of this level of mastery. This list is far from exhaustive but will be useful to you if you intend to leave the world of competition behind and go to places only your imagination can take you.
Peter Genovese for Bergen Review Media
The food is cheap but good, and if you're not from the area, you wouldn't know the place exists.Hole-in-the-wall eateries are hidden gems of sorts, and NJ.com is running down the 50 best in the state.
Here are the restaurants in Bergen and Passaic counties that made the list.
Click Here for full list
Put down the latte and listen up: If you're like the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, saving money needs to be on the top of your to-do list. Like, stat. Believe it or not, about 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have nothing saved for retirement, according to a survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security. It's no wonder that millennials are finding it difficult to buy a house. Although retirement is still a very long way off for this generation, it’s important to be mindful of the future so you can find a clear path towards financial freedom for the end of your career, a vacation, or even an unexpected expense or accident. The basics of personal finance and savings might be lost on some people who feel that it’s near-impossible to save when most of their money is gone within days of getting a paycheck. The cycle begins again and you just feel stuck trying to keep your head above water. However, financial freedom is very reachable through careful money management, budgeting, expense tracking, and getting smart about saving, investing, and building credit. The good news is that it’s never too late — or too early — to get smarter about your finances. After all, the tools you need to help you along your financial journey just might be in your pocket. Here’s a step-by-step guide to saving money by using smartphone finance apps and other clever hacks: 1. Create a budget Knowing how much money you make is not the same as spending it wisely.Staying organized is key to your financial freedom and budgeting apps like Mint and YNAB can help you create a budget and stay within your means every month. Mint is a free app (that's a very important word) that you can customize and tweak to fit your income and help you set your financial goals down to the penny. If you're still unclear on how much you should save every month, Mint can also set your budget based on your income. It can create limits and categories on your spending habits, which you can override at anytime, while the app can connect you to your bank accounts, credit cards, and lenders to give you a full picture of your finances. Meanwhile, YNAB, which stands for You Need a Budget, takes your monthly spending and expenses to the next level with an in-depth look at every dollar in your bank account. In fact, one of the rules for YNAB is every dollar needs a purpose, so you know it's serious about budgets and making sure you stay on track instead of "winging it" from month-to-month. With YNAB, you define what's important to you and how to achieve your goals with good financial spending and saving. The app keeps you on track to use your money on the important things in life like rent, food, medical expenses, and more. It can even account for any unexpected expenses and emergencies without putting a strain on the other things going on in your life. YNAB has a 34-day free trial available, but afterwards it's $6.99/a month. 2. Track your spending and expenses Now that you have a realistic and workable budget, you have to stick to it. Smartphone apps like Quicken can take your path to financial freedom to the next level. Quicken can track all of your spending habits by just taking a photo of your receipts, which automatically puts your spending into categories, dates everything, and tracks the amounts deducted from your balance with your approval. In fact, Quicken is probably the most in-depth of all the financial apps on this list because it's so feature rich. The app can track and record your expenses and investments, create easy-to-read spending reports, and can pay your bills online. Once you sync the app to your bank account, you can even transfer funds from one account to another with the desktop version of the app. It can even predict and forecast your cashflow for the upcoming month, so you can get a better idea of all of your finances. One of the best things about the app is that it's completely searchable. You can search through all of your spending habits, expenses, and reports to get easy access of your personal finances. The Quicken app is also easy to understand and use with a very intuitive interface that even works offline when you don't have a data connection. In addition, the app sends you notifications and alerts when your bank balance is getting low and if you're over-budget for the month, so you don't over spend. Think of the Quicken app as your personal accountant inside of your pocket that you don't have to feed or clothe. The Quicken app works with Android and iOS mobile devices and it's free with the purchase of any Quicken product. 3. Manage your debt: According to Value Penguin, over 44 million millennials are in crippling debt upwards of $33,000 — mostly from student loans from financial institutions. In fact, most millennials are putting off "life milestones" like starting a family and homeownership because their massive debt is in the way, while some are forced to move back home with their parents just to stay above water. Getting out of debt is not an easy feat, but if you have the right tools and a little bit of optimism, you could be debt-free sooner than you think. Smartphone apps like Debt Payoff Planner can help ease your burden with a bird's eye view of how much money you owe, along with reasonable step-by-step methods and techniques to get out of debt faster. The app can track your debt payments and give you a time frame to financial freedom. This means you can track your progress and feel better about your money situation with a real game plan. The best part about this app is that it's completely free. Another good idea? Transfer your debt to a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period and get aggressive with those payments. That way, you won't be paying any interest and you can pay down the debt faster than if you were just making the minimum payment every month. The BankAmericard® credit card by Bank of America offers a 0% introductory APR period on both balance transfers and purchases for 18 billing cycles, after which a variable 15.24% to 25.24% APR will apply based on your creditworthiness. The BankAmericard® credit card has a $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) transfer fee and no annual fee.
4. Get smart about saving money: "A penny saved is a penny earned." This phrase is commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who is believe to have *coined* it during the 18th century. If Mr. Franklin were around today, he'd probably enjoy using a smartphone app like Qapital (pronounced Capital), a fun way to save money by turning it into a game. Once you download the app, start an account with Qapital and link a bank card with a checking account and begin to set your financial goals. Why are you saving money? Maybe you're planning a trip to Paris, or want concert tickets for the summer, or are looking to buy a car. After you set your goals, add the amount you want to save. Say you want to save $1,200 for a new laptop. Now that you're all set, you can set up the "rule" for saving. Qapital sets "round to the nearest dollar" as the default, but you can pick and choose how you want to save. If you picked the default, every time you use your bank card, the app rounds the amount to the nearest dollar and adds it to your account automatically. So if you buy something for $5.62, Qapital will take .38 cents from your bank card and add it to your account. You can then transfer your savings into a bank account to start all over again. So you're saving money without even realizing it. The app has other "rules" like the "Spend Less Rule," where you can save the difference if you spend less on one of your favorite expenses and activities, or the "Guilty Pleasure Rule," where you save money when you do one of your guilty pleasures. You set the goals and the rules, and Qapital helps you save. Qapital is available for iOS and Android. While the app is free to download, there are three membership options for a Basic ($3/a month), Complete ($6/a month), and Master ($12/a month) plans. Check out the company's website for more info.
5. Start investing — like right now: Now that you've managed to save some money, maybe it's time to invest it and gain some personal capital. If you know next to nothing about investing, Robinhood is a good place to start. This smartphone app gives anyone free access to the stock market. For years, buying and trading stocks were only for the wealthy and people in the know. You had to hire a stockbroker who would have to facilitate any purchases and trades on your behalf, while also taking a slice of the pie as commission. However, Robinhood is a completely free way to enter and get 24/7 access to the stock market game with zero fees and commissions. In addition, Robinhood supports cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Etherium, Dogecoin, and more. Crypto is supported in over 30 states for now, while the app plans to gain support in more locations across the nation. This finance app is a great way to build a solid stock portfolio and net worth, while gaining confidence in investing and using cryptocurrency. Robinhood is available for iOS and Android.
6. Build your credit: Did you know only 33% of adults ages 18 and 29 have at least one credit card? About two-thirds of millennials don't have a credit card, according to this survey, and are shy about the proposition of adding more debt on top of their student loan debt. If you're afraid of getting deeper into the weeds but you want to build credit, you have to get a credit card to make your credit score soar. (We recommend Credit Cards Explained for more info on this topic.) Once you sign up and are approved, download the Credit Karma app to help you manage your credit. It's a free app that gives you access to your credit score and credit report, while it can also offer credit monitoring. Credit Karma can also give you information on how to improve your score, including what factors are contributing to good and bad scores, and what kind of products and services can help you achieve exceptional credit. Credit Karma is available for iOS and Android.
7. Find a financial coach: Everyone needs some coaching to get them through hard times. Breaking through to financial freedom and happiness could be just an app download away with Joy, a financial coaching and savings app for iPhone. Once you create an account, you're asked to sync your checking account so you can rate your purchases and transactions. If spending money on an item makes you happy, it's a high value purchase. If it makes you sad, it's a low value transaction. (It's basically like the KonMari method of finance.) Joy then tries to make connections between your mood and outlook and how that relates to your spending, which should prompt you to save more money. In fact, Joy is also a bank of sorts because you can open a Joy savings account that's FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured. In addition, Joy offers savings strategies by tracking your spending, as well as money coaching to help you reach your financial goals — along with a steady stream of articles about finance, happiness, and self care. Sorry Android users, Joy is only available for iPhone.
After four weeks of tough competition, readers have crowned a champion.
After four weeks of tough competition, New Jersey Monthly readers have crowned an underdog, Slack Tide Brewing Co., as New Jersey’s top craft brewery in the magazine’s 2019 Jersey Craft Beer Madness Competition. The competition began on February 26, with Jersey’s top-16 craft brewers (chosen by a panel of beer experts) pitted against each other in the elimination contest. For the contest, New Jersey Monthly split the state into northern and southern regions, with Interstate 195 as the dividing line. The eight northern and eight southern breweries were seeded 1 through 8, based on the vote by the expert panel. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Jason Campbell, who owns Clermont-based Slack Tide Brewing Co. with his brother Tadhg. “We were stoked to be in the top 16 to begin with.” The first big shock of the competition came in Round 1 when Slack Tide, 7th-seeded in the southern bracket, knocked off number-2 seed Tonewood Brewing. Slack Tide won another upset in Round 2 by beating Lakewood’s only brewery, Icarus. In round 3, Slack Tide pushed past their Cape May County neighbors, top-seeded Cape May Brewing. The final round pitted Slack Tide against Magnify Brewing, the 6th-seed in the northern bracket. Magnify had upset top-seeded Kane Brewing to reach the final round. Slack Tide’s full-court press of promotion through social media lifted the brewery to victory. “We tried to mobilize our base as best we could,” says Campbell. “We really just went with it.” This included sharing a new link on their Facebook and Instagram pages when each new round went live on four successive Tuesdays. They also updated their website homepage with an image of each bracket round and a link to vote. The win is just the latest exciting milestone for Slack Tide. In January, the brewery celebrated its third anniversary. Now, they can’t wait to share the good news with the fans who helped them sweep the championship.
Darius Foroux for Bergen Review Media
That’s the thinking error that I’ve made in the past. And I’ll tell you why it’s a mistake to assume positive thoughts are good. I want to ask you a question. How many hours per day do you think?
“I never thought about that.” So let me get this straight. You’re thinking all the time, and yet, you never think about how much time you spend thinking. That sounds like an addiction to me. I know, because I’m addicted to thinking too.
When someone says that overthinking is bad, we often assume that only negative thoughts are wrong. And by that definition, it automatically means that positive thoughts are good.
That’s the thinking error that I’ve made in the past. And I’ll tell you why it’s a mistake to assume positive thoughts are good. But first, let’s talk about the difference between positive thoughts and negative thoughts. Positive thoughts vs. negative thoughts I think most of us agree that negative thoughts are related to:
After all, negative thoughts make our lives worse. And positive thoughts should make our lives better, right?
I wish that were the case. However, the truth is that when you overuse your brain, just like a drain, it can get clogged. The result? Foggy thinking. Which leads to bad decision making.
You Are Not Your Thoughts Sure, you become whatever you think about. No one said it better than Marcus Aurelius in Meditations: “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Our life situation is shaped by the quality of our thoughts. I believe in that. However, most of us assume that we are our thoughts. We say: “Well, I can’t help but think these things. That’s just me.”
No, that’s NOT you. You can decide what thoughts to ignore in your mind. I like how Eckhart Tolle puts it in The Power Of Now: “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker.” The only way to stop identifying yourself with your thoughts is to stop following through on all your thoughts. Instead, decide to live in the present moment — where you don’t have time to think, only to experience. How do you live in the present moment?Thinking is a tool. And instead of using that tool during the 16 or 17 hours that you’re awake, only use it when you NEED it. But how do you do that? Here’s the 4 step process I’ve used to stop overthinking.
Thanks for reading!
I also wrote a book on this topic. It’s called THINK STRAIGHT. Check it out if you want to learn more about controlling your thoughts. This article first appeared on Darius Foroux.
Tesla Model 3 is now entering the European market and it is making some automakers nervous. According to a new report, Porsche and Audi reverse-engineered Tesla’s new electric car and they were quite surprised by its cost. It’s somewhat common in the industry to purchase vehicles from competitor to see what they are up to, but it also becomes a necessity for vehicles that are seen as important disruptors. The Model 3 appears to fit the description as it apparently outsold all other premium sedans combined in the US. During the early production ramp up, it was difficult to get your hands on a Model 3, but some automakers paid a pretty penny to be amongst the first to be able to check out the new electric car. About a year ago, two Model 3 vehicles were spotted on their way to Germany – presumably to be reverse-engineered. Later, a report came out about a German automaker being impressed by Model 3 after reverse-engineering it. Now a new report from Germany’s Manager Magazin (German and paywall) includes a deep dive into the state of Audi with comments from executives and insider sources. It claims that Porsche and Audi, who are working together on a next-generation electric platform, had to change their approach because the cost was too high compared to what Tesla is achieving. They report: “The Porsche and Audi engineers have to change [the PPE] because Tesla’s Model 3 has gotten better than they thought.” The next-gen platform called Premium Platform Electric (PPE) was greenlighted almost two years ago and it is expected to be ready around 2020 or 2021. According to the new report, the first version was coming at about 3,000 euros too expensive, which Porsche is said to be able to absorb but Audi wasn’t on board. They believe that they need to lower the cost in order to be competitive with other upcoming EVs. The battery cell cost is apparently the biggest factor that pushes the cost of the platform higher and Tesla claims to be leading the industry on that front. According to the report, Audi and Porsche could delay the PPE in order to improve the cost and be competitive with Tesla. The PPE is becoming increasingly important for Audi according to Manager-Magazin’s report, which describes a failing e-tron program: The e-tron as the first electric Audi is not only late. It does not reach some target values and has become far too expensive with more than two billion euros in development costs. The approximately 600,000 cars sold for the break-even are now regarded as an illusion. The e-tron electric SUV was supposed to be delivered to customers last year, but Audi says that software issues have resulted in delays. The German automaker is still planning several other vehicles based on the same platform before the PPE becomes available. Electrek’s TakeWe often hear complaints about Tesla not yet delivering on the base $35,000 version of the Model 3, which I think is fair, but we still need to acknowledge that Tesla is the only automaker currently mass producing a compelling long-range EV and doing it profitably. I think that’s what is impressing Audi and Porsche here and what they wish to emulate with the PPE platform. A decade from now, I think we will not only look back at Model 3 for how the vehicle program accelerated EV adoption through volume but also for the impact it had on other automakers. The fact that they were apparently 3,000 euros behind for a platform coming in another 2 years just shows how Tesla is far ahead. As for the e-tron program, the report is worrying. I’ve been cutting Audi some slack over the delays for the e-tron SUV, but I’d like to see some volume soon.We hear that the launch in the US is still planned for Q2 2019.
From the slow, simmering frustration that builds with being on hold with a customer service representative for 30 minutes to the quick snap at your barista when she takes longer than usual to make your oat milk latte, chances are that everyone has wondered how to be more patient every now and then. Kelly Davis, director of peer advocacy, supports, and services for Mental Health America explains that as technology advances and constant reachability can deprive us of time to rest and reset. “Even in the workplace, we’re expected to be available 24-hours a day. Now, your boss is in your pocket, your friends are in your pocket, and it’s really easy to have those expectations go both ways,” she says. “You feel the stress of other people being impatient with you, wanting you to immediately respond to things, and then you’re also expecting people to immediately respond to your needs, even if it’s not consciously.” Besides making even the nicest people irritable, the increasing inability to tolerate delay or a wrench in the plan can have some negative effects on your health, too. “Impatience creates stress, and stress has tremendous health implications,” says Jordana Jacobs, a NYC-based licensed clinical psychologist. “When we’re under stress, it causes chronic low inflammation in the body.” And, of course, inflammation’s the culprit behind a laundry list of problems that span everything from acne to gut to digestion issues. No thanks.
So in this world that expects instant gratification all the time, how is one to cultivate patience? Experts divulge key advice, below.
1. Practice mindfulness and meditation
Both Davis and Jacobs advise bringing a mindfulness and meditation practice into your life—whether you notice your impatience or not. “A mindfulness or meditation practice can help you become more present, teach you how to control your breath, and really focus on just being aware of the things that are happening in your body and around you, and in turn that helps with being less reactive,” says Davis. Even if you’re simply sitting on your floor for 10 minutes in silence every day, that could be enough. Davis says that once you implement this strategy, chances are you become more initially aware of the physical signs of impatience like faster breathing and tensed-up muscles, and can then slow your breath and bring yourself back to the moment (and peace!) more quickly.
2. Practice positive self-talk
You can be your own (patience) hype-woman. How to do that? Davids recommends to turn up your positive inner voice. “When you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed with impatience, try this: say ‘I have time, everything doesn’t have to happen at once, other people are doing their best, and I’m doing my best,'” she says, adding that you can even make it into a mantra, repeating it with your breath until it sticks. When you’re practicing this positive self-talk, Davis adds that you should acknowledge your current emotions and remind yourself that what you’re feeling is only temporary. “You don’t have to come up with a solution just yet—calming yourself down should always be your first step,” she says.
3. Be patient with yourself
Of course, on the journey of becoming a Zen-like patience queen, it’s key to remember to be patient with yourself. It’s okay if you mess up sometimes (and, like, stomp past a slow-walker). “Practice self compassion when you do get impatient, because it’s a skill that you build over time,” says Davis. “We’re constantly bombarded with getting things right away and other people expecting us to do things right away, so it will take a bit of time to practice and build the muscle again.”
4. Remind yourself that life is short
If all else fails, remind yourself that life is short. Jacobs believes that understanding your limited time on earth can help you better understand your priorities, especially when it comes to the little things (like getting cut in line at the post office).
“Deep relationships, love, meaning, and purpose rise above all and we more easily disentangle from the minutiae of our daily lives,” she says, making it easier to be patient when things don’t go your way. This might not feel as helpful in the heat of the moment (who likes to be cut in line?) but having perspective can help you take a step back when you’re about to snap. Consider it the “carpe diem” approach to patience.
Naturally, impatience is linked to anger and irritability. Here are 3 therapist-approved tips on how to let go of anger. Reminder: Lack of sleep can lead to anger, so make sure to catch enough ZZZ’s.
This is the power of the compound effect. Even if you engage your intellect only marginally in some activity, it can bring significant effects over a year. Most of daily activities — that are not totally mindless — will sharpen your mind when practiced over a year. This is the power of the compound effect. Even if you engage your intellect only marginally in some activity, it can bring significant effects over a year. I practice(d) most of the below activities for at least a year. It’s hard to estimate their effect of my brain’s acuteness, but I got some interesting results that speak for themselves.
1. Learn new knowledge
Our capacity for learning is astounding. In the last few years I studied multiple topics, most of them for the first time in my life: self-publishing, personal development, habits development or online marketing. It’s not about becoming an expert (especially not in 10 minutes a day), but about the web of associations your brain creates. Now I get ideas regarding personal development while reading a scripture, or a thought about how a brain works pops out when I study my website traffic.
2. Consolidate old knowledge
For about 2 years I had been studying professional documentation learning about databases. I had been working with databases at that moment in time for more than 8 years, but I had very little formal knowledge (two 6-month courses on university). I passed three professional exams, obtained two certificates and got a better job (35% higher salary). All of that came from 10-minute study sessions.
3. Learn new skills
One skill I deliberately practiced for 10 minutes a day has been speed reading. I quickly doubled my reading speed and maintained my skill at this level. Thanks to those practices I read a few dozen books I wouldn’t have read otherwise.
4. Practice gratitude
I keep three gratitude journals. Filling them with my entries takes about 10 minutes. This activity will not only sharpens your brain, it will improve EVERYTHING in your life. Gratitude makes your brain positive and when your brain is positive:
“Every possible outcome we know how to test for raises dramatically.” — Shawn Achor
I tested it on myself. It works. For everything indeed.
Studies had confirmed that meditation improves performance and productivity. I suppose it sharpens brain as well.Surely, it magnifies your self-awareness and self-knowledge is one of the foundations of success. “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves — their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” — Peter F. Drucker
Thinking in writing has this magical quality of clarifying your thoughts. What was a tangled web of incoherent associations in your head becomes on paper a clear and concise project/ plan/ train of thoughts/ discovery. It’s also great for gaining self-knowledge.
Ancient philosophers knew that already and modern research confirmed common sense: A sound mind in a sound body.People who exercise regularly have better cognitive abilities.
8. Listen to different music
I mean, a different kind of music at every session. The nature of connection between music and brain performance is still an enigma for scientists, but one thing we know for sure: it’s powerful. I’ve seen an awesome documentary about how old people with dementia living in a vegetative state got animated when listening to a music from their youth. And different kinds of music activate different part of our brains.
9. Listen to podcasts
You may learn something. You may hear some fascinating stories or facts. The best in this activity is that you can do it in background while doing something else (chores, workout, walking, etc.)
10. Solve puzzles
There is a plentiful of logic games out there. Don’t focus on getting to another level. Instead try a new game every week (or even every day).
11. Solve real problems
I work in IT support in my day job (applications, databases and servers maintenance). I HAVE TO solve real-life problems every single day. I had no idea what it meant for my creativity and attitude till I started studying personal development. Most people stay stuck in “I can’t” attitude. I don’t. Finding a way out is my second nature. Brainstorming, narrowing down options, trial and error approach — they are for me as natural as breathing. Admittedly, I did it for a lot more than 10 minutes a day.
12. Come up with ideas
Ask a question and brainstorm 10 different answers. Preferably to some practical problem. Even better if it pertains to your life. Claudia Azula swears that idea generation train your brain like a good workout trains your body. Bonus: write them all down (see #6 above).
13. Use your non-dominant hand for daily exercises
Brush your teeth, answer the phone or do any other everyday trivia. It’s known that cerebral hemispheres control one side of your body each. When you use your non-dominant hand neurons run through your less used hemisphere. It’s sharpening your brain in my dictionary.
14. Learn new words
Extending your vocabulary expands your mental horizons. Your vocabulary is like a set of filters your brain uses to process all the sensual impulses and channel them to your conscious mind. This article was originally published on Medium.
Looking back on the times the Academy got it right when it came to the biggest prize. The night of the Oscars ceremony – which was first held 90 years ago this May – is the one essential date in the movie world calendar, the giddy, glamorous apex of industry celebration. It’s fascinating and infuriating. But the Academy Awards don’t always get it right. In fact, on many now infamous occasions, they got it totally wrong. Giving How Green Was My Valley best picture over Citizen Kane, for example. But while there is always going to be debate over whether the best picture actually won best picture – merit is a difficult thing to quantify, after all – each year’s top prize winner and, perhaps more importantly, the reaction to it, tells us something about the cultural zeitgeist.
The Academy Awards represent, indeed, a snapshot of a section of America’s prevailing concerns, the issues and themes that are deemed important by the Academy voters and by the audiences who voted with their feet and put the film on the awards circuit in the first place. Of course, prevailing concerns can be swayed, as they were in the era of Harvey Weinstein’s notoriously forceful awards campaigns. And the issues that concern the average Academy voter are unlikely to overlap much with those of the average punter. But the best of the best pictures over the past nine decades are not just the most elegantly crafted pieces of film-making – they are the films with themes that resonate still with a present-day audience. Wendy Ide
Avoid the "Peter Principle." This post is part of Forbes’ Career Challenge: Position Yourself For A Promotion In 15 Days.
Every additional year I spend in the workforce, I realize promotions become increasingly mystifying. The guy you never thought would advance suddenly gets a raise. Your colleague who definitely didn’t deserve it gets promoted. Your peer, who is no smarter nor harder working, gets promoted more quickly. But you also get promoted faster than you expected maybe as many times as you’re disappointed. You are recognized for work you thought everyone was doing. And you get a raise when you least expect it. After 10 years of watching these promotion cycles, I’ve decided they only get more and more complex. Promotions at work, by and large, still mimic “promotions” at school. At school, you do well in an intro-level class, and you then advance to the next. That process, however ill-suited, is the same one in place for promotions at work. Do well in your existing job and you will excel. But the skill set to excel in your current job doesn’t necessarily match the skill set required for the job you’re stepping into. You don’t have to look far to find examples. It’s common to see great software developers who get promoted and then poorly manage, great writers who get promoted to editors and then poorly edit, business analysts who get promoted and then poorly manage or sell the work. In short, the promotion problem is everywhere. So common, in fact, that there’s an entire management theory around it: The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle
Imagine you’re doing something that gives you anxiety or causes you stress. Maybe you’re about to have a difficult conversation with your boss, or perhaps you’re getting ready for a party where you’ll bump into people you haven’t seen in ages. If your heart is starting to beat faster, you’re not alone. But what if a simple perspective shift could help you manage the clammy hands and racing heartbeat that come with your anxiety — and even help you to be a little thankful for what you’re feeling? When it comes to negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and even depression, your perception matters: There’s scientific evidence that how we think about our emotions drastically affects how we feel. Have you ever noticed that focusing on how stressful something is makes it feel even more stressful? The reverse can be true too. By focusing on the positive parts of an experience, you can actually reduce stress. The concept is called “cognitive reappraisal,” and the gist is that by shifting our perspective on emotions, we can actually reduce the duration and intensity of feelings like sadness and anxiety. A 2014 study found that reappraising anxiety as excitement helped people with performance anxiety more than merely focusing on “staying calm.” Another study from 2010 shows that emotional regulation, another term for cognitive reappraisal, can help reduce symptoms of depression. While cognitive reappraisal has been extensively studied with conditions like clinical anxiety and depression, the same principle could hold true for everyday stress, says Elizabeth Cush, LCPC, an Annapolis, MD-based therapist. How does it work? Rather than focusing on the negative emotion, Cush recommends “turning the table” with a simple mindfulness exercise. The first step: Pay attention to how you perceive your anxiety. If you view stressful emotions as the enemy, Cush says it’s likely you’ll try to outrun them — which can result in even more stress. “People go to great lengths to avoid feeling or being anxious. Busyness, exercise, perfectionism, meditation, substance use and self-criticism, are just some of the strategies people use so they don’t have to deal with the anxiety. Ironically, it turns out that all the strategies we commonly use so we don’t feel our anxiety can actually make the anxious feelings more intense. As a result, you might even end up experiencing panic attacks,” Cush says. “Instead of thinking about your anxiety as your enemy or as something that shows up to make you suffer, try thinking of your anxious feelings as a healthy reminder that something might need your attention,” she says. “Maybe you’re feeling sad or lonely. Maybe you’re struggling to meet your own emotional or physical needs. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll make a mistake and be judged. No matter what is making you anxious — and the reason might not be clear — remind yourself that you’ve felt this way before and that it will pass.” Then — and this is the important step for re-framing your anxiety — talk back to it, whether you simply journal mindfully about how you’re feeling or actually speak to yourself out loud.
“Try telling the anxiety you’re happy that it showed up, because now you can pay attention to your needs,” Cush says. “By tuning into and welcoming the anxiety, you’re creating the space to feel the feelings beneath the anxiety with openness and without judgment. And that trick lessens the intensity and power of the anxiety!” This article was originally published on Brit + Co.
Bee Wilson for Bergen Review Media
We are now producing and consuming more food than ever, and yet our modern diet is killing us. How can we solve this bittersweet dilemma? Pick a bunch of green grapes, wash it, and put one in your mouth. Feel the grape with your tongue, observe how cold and refreshing it is: the crisp flesh, and the jellylike interior with its mild, sweet flavor. Eating grapes can feel like an old pleasure, untouched by change. The ancient Greeks and Romans loved to eat them, as well as to drink them in the form of wine. The Odyssey describes “a ripe and luscious vine, hung thick with grapes”. As you pull the next delicious piece of fruit from its stalk, you could easily be plucking it from a Dutch still life of the 17th century, where grapes are tumbled on a metal platter with oysters and half-peeled lemons. But look closer at this bunch of green grapes, cold from the fridge, and you see that they are not unchanged after all. Like so many other foods, grapes have become a piece of engineering designed to please modern eaters. First of all, there are almost certainly no seeds for you to chew or spit out (unless you are in certain places such as Spain where seeded grapes are still part of the culture). Strains of seedless varieties have been cultivated for centuries, but it is only in the past two decades that seedless has become the norm, to spare us the dreadful inconvenience of pips.
Here is another strange new thing about grapes: the ones in the supermarket such as Thompson Seedless and Crimson Flame are always sweet. Not bitter, not acidic, not foxy like a Concord grape, not excitingly aromatic like one of the Muscat varieties, but just plain sweet, like sugar. On biting into a grape, the ancients did not know if it would be ripe or sour. The same was true, in my experience, as late as the 1990s. It was like grape roulette: a truly sweet one was rare and therefore special. These days, the sweetness of grapes is a sure bet, because in common with other modern fruits such as red grapefruit and Pink Lady apples, our grapes have been carefully bred and ripened to appeal to consumers reared on sugary foods. Fruit bred for sweetness does not have to be less nutritious, but modern de-bittered fruits tend to contain fewer of the phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables many of their protective health benefits. Such fruit still gives us energy, but not necessarily the health benefits we would expect. The very fact that you are nibbling seedless grapes so casually is also new. I am old enough to remember a time when grapes – unless you were living in a grape-producing country – were a special and expensive treat. But now, millions of people on average incomes can afford to behave like the reclining Roman emperor of film cliche, popping grapes into our mouths one by one. Globally, we both produce and consume twice as many as we did in the year 2000. They are an edible sign of rising prosperity, because fruit is one of the first little extras that people spend money on when they start to have disposable income. Their year-round availability also speaks to huge changes in global agriculture. Fifty years ago, table grapes were a seasonal fruit, grown in just a few countries and only eaten at certain times of year. Today, they are cultivated globally and never out of season.
What we eat now is a greater cause of disease and death in the world than either tobacco or alcohol
Almost everything about grapes has changed, and fast. And yet they are the least of our worries when it comes to food, just one tiny element in a much larger series of kaleidoscopic transformations in how and what we eat that have happened in recent years. These changes are written on the land, on our bodies and on our plates (insofar as we even eat off plates any more). For most people across the world, life is getting better but diets are getting worse. This is the bittersweet dilemma of eating in our times. Unhealthy food, eaten in a hurry, seems to be the price we pay for living in liberated modern societies. Even grapes are symptoms of a food supply that is out of control. Millions of us enjoy a freer and more comfortable existence than that of our grandparents, a freedom underpinned by an amazing decline in global hunger. You can measure this life improvement in many ways, whether by the growth of literacy and smartphone ownership, or the rising number of countries where gay couples have the right to marry. Yet our free and comfortable lifestyles are undermined by the fact that our food is killing us, not through lack of it but through its abundance – a hollow kind of abundance. With Brexit, food worries in the UK have become political, with panicked discussions of stockpiling and the spectre of US imports of chlorine-treated chicken on the horizon. Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, has dismissed these worries, suggesting that US food standards are nothing to be concerned about. But the bigger question is not whether American standards are lower than those in Britain, but why food standards across the world have been allowed to sink so dramatically. What we eat now is a greater cause of disease and death in the world than either tobacco or alcohol. In 2015 around 7 million people died from tobacco smoke, and 2.75 million from causes related to alcohol, but 12m deaths could be attributed to “dietary risks” such as diets low in vegetables, nuts and seafood or diets high in processed meats and sugary drinks. This is paradoxical and sad, because good food – good in every sense, from flavor to nutrition – used to be the test by which we judged the quality of life. A good life without good food should be a logical impossibility. Where humans used to live in fear of plague or tuberculosis, now the leading cause of mortality worldwide is diet. Most of our problems with eating come down to the fact that we have not yet adapted to the new realities of plenty, either biologically or psychologically. Many of the old ways of thinking about diet no longer apply, but it isn’t clear yet what it would mean to adapt our appetites and routines to the new rhythms of life. We take our cues about what to eat from the world around us, which becomes a problem when our food supply starts to send us crazy signals about what is normal. “Everything in moderation” doesn’t quite cut it in a world where the “everything” for sale in the average supermarket has become so sugary and so immoderate. At no point in history have edible items been so easy to obtain, and in many ways this is a glorious thing. Humans have always gone out and gathered food, but never before has it been so simple for us to gather anything we want, whenever we want it, from sachets of black squid ink to strawberries in winter. We can get sushi in Buenos Aires, sandwiches in Tokyo and Italian food everywhere. Not so long ago, to eat genuine Neapolitan pizza, a swollen-edged disc of dough cooked in a blistering oven, you had to go to Naples. Now, you can find Neapolitan pizza – made using the right dough blasted in an authentic pizza oven – as far afield as Seoul and Dubai. We don’t just eat more burgers than our grandparents, we also eat more fruit, granola bars and 'guilt-free' kale crisps Talking about what has gone wrong with modern eating is delicate, because food is a touchy subject. No one likes to feel judged about their food choices, which is one of the reasons why so many healthy eating initiatives fail. The rise of obesity and diet-related disease around the world has happened hand in hand with the marketing of fast food and sugary sodas, of processed meats and branded snack foods. As things stand, our culture is far too critical of the individuals who eat junk foods and not critical enough of the corporations who profit from selling them. A survey of more than 300 international policymakers found that 90% of them still believed that personal motivation – AKA willpower – was a very strong cause of obesity. This is absurd. It makes no sense to presume that there has been a sudden collapse in willpower across all ages and ethnic groups since the 1960s. What has changed most since the 60s is not our collective willpower but the marketing and availability of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. Some of these changes are happening so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep track. Sales of fast food grew by 30% worldwide from 2011 to 2016 and sales of packaged food grew by 25%. Somewhere in the world, a new branch of Domino’s Pizza opened every seven hours in 2016. But this story isn’t just about one kind of food or one set of people. Across the board, across all social classes, most of us eat and drink more than our grandparents did, whether we are cooking a leisurely dinner at home from fresh ingredients or grabbing a takeaway from a fast food chain. Plates are bigger than they were 50 years ago, our idea of a portion is inflated and wine glasses are vast. It has become normal to punctuate the day with snacks and to quench our thirst with calorific liquids, from green juice and detox shots to craft sodas (which are just like any other soda, only more expensive). As the example of grapes shows, we don’t just eat more burgers and fries than our grandparents, we also eat more fruit and avocado toast and frozen yoghurt, more salad dressing and many, many more “guilt-free” kale crisps. Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill can identify the year when snacking took off in China. It was 2004. Before that, the Chinese consumed very little between meals except green tea and hot water. In 2004, Popkin suddenly noticed a marked transition from the old Chinese ways of two or three meals a day towards a new pattern of eating. In collaboration with a team of Chinese nutritionists, he has been following the Chinese diet in snapshots of data every two or three years, conducting regular surveys of around 10,000-12,000 people. Back in 1991, Popkin found that at certain fixed times of year, there were treats to supplement the daily diet. During the mid-autumn festival, for example, people would eat moon cakes made from lard-enriched pastry stuffed with sweetened bean paste. But such feasting foods were ritualised and rare, nothing like a casual cereal bar. In 2004, out of nowhere, as incomes rose, Chinese habits of snacking spread dramatically. The number of Chinese adults between 19 and 44 describing themselves as eating snacks over a three-day period nearly doubled, while the number of children between two and six eating snacks rose almost as much. Based on the most recent data, more than two-thirds of Chinese children now report snacking during the day. This is an eating revolution. The curious thing about snacking in China is that to start with it actually made people healthier, because they were snacking on fruit: fresh tangerines and kumquats, bayberries and lychees, pineapple and pomelo. These were the foods that people had always aspired to eat, but couldn’t afford in the past. Phase two of snacking in China has been very different. “The marketing comes in,” Popkin tells me, “and boom! boom! boom! the snacks are not healthy any more.” As of 2015, the commercial savoury snack food market in China was worth more than $7bn. When I travelled to Nanjing last year, I saw people consuming the same Starbucks Frappuccinos and blueberry muffins as in London. China is not alone. Almost every country in the world has experienced radical changes to its patterns of eating over the past five, 10 and 50 years. For a long time, nutritionists have held up the “Mediterranean diet” as a healthy model for people in all countries to follow. But recent reports from the World Health Organisation suggest that even in Spain, Italy and Crete, most children no longer eat anything like a “Mediterranean diet” rich in olive oil and fish and tomatoes. These Mediterranean children, who are, as of 2017, among the most overweight in Europe, now drink sugary colas and eat packaged snack foods and have lost the taste for fish and olive oil. In every continent, there has been a common set of changes from savoury foods to sweet ones, from meals to snacks, dinners cooked at home to meals eaten out, or takeaways. The nutrient content of our meals is one thing that has radically changed; the psychology of eating is another. Much of our eating takes place in a new chaotic atmosphere in which we no longer have many rules to fall back on. On an early evening train journey recently, I looked up at my fellow travelers and noticed, first, that almost everyone was eating or drinking and second, that they were all doing so in ways that might once have been considered deeply eccentric. One man had both a cappuccino and a can of fizzy drink from which he was taking alternate sips. A woman with headphones on was nibbling an apricot tart, produced from a cardboard patisserie box. She followed it with a high-protein snack pot of two hard-boiled eggs and some raw spinach. Sitting across from her was a man carrying a worn leather briefcase. He reached inside and produced a bottle of strawberry milkshake and a half-finished packet of chocolate-caramel sweets.
More than half of the calorie intake in the US – 57.9% – now consists of ultra-processed food, and the UK is not far behind We are often told in a slightly hectoring way that we should make “better” or “smarter” food choices, yet the way we eat now is the product of vast impersonal forces that none of us asked for. The choices we make about food are largely predetermined by what’s available and by the limitations of our busy lives. If you go into the average western out-of-town supermarket, you can choose from thousands of different sugary snack bars (many of them protein enhanced in some way) but only one variety of banana, the bland Cavendish. It might be possible to eat in a more balanced way, if only we didn’t have to work, or go to school, or save money, or travel by car, bus or train, or shop at a supermarket, or live in a city, or share a meal with children, or look at a screen, or get up early, or stay up late, or walk past a vending machine, or feel depressed, or be on medication, or have a food intolerance, or own an imperfectly stocked fridge. Who knows what wonders we might then eat for breakfast? Our culture’s obsessive focus on a perfect physique has blinded us to the bigger question, which is what anyone of any size should eat to avoid being sickened by our unbalanced food supply. No one can eat themselves to perfect health, nor can we ward off death indefinitely, and the attempt to do so can drive a person crazy. Life is deeply unfair and some people may eat every dark green leafy vegetable going and still get cancer. But even if food cannot cure or forestall every illness, it does not have to be the thing that kills us. The greatest thing that we have lost from our eating today is a sense of balance, whether it’s the balance of meals across the day or the balance of nutrients on our plate. “There are so many myths about food,” says Fumiaki Imamura, an epidemiologist who has spent the past 16 years in the west, studying the links between diet and health. One of the food myths Imamura refers to is the notion that there is such a thing as a perfectly healthy diet. He offers himself as an example. Like many Japanese people, he eats a diet rich in fish and vegetables, but he also eats a fair amount of supposedly “unhealthy” refined white rice and high-salt soy sauce. But Imamura is conscious that no population in the world eats exactly the combination of healthy foods that a nutritionist might prescribe. Every human community across the globe eats a mixture of the “healthy” and the “unhealthy”, but the salient question is where the balance falls. Take ultra-processed foods. The occasional bowl of instant ramen noodles or frosted cereal is no cause for panic. But when ultra-processed foods start to form the bulk of what whole populations eat on any given day, we are in new and disturbing territory for human nutrition. More than half of the calorie intake in the US – 57.9% – now consists of ultra-processed food, and the UK is not far behind, with a diet that is around 50.4% ultra-processed. The fastest growing ingredient in global diets is not sugar, as I’d always presumed, but refined vegetable oils such as soybean oil, which are a common ingredient in many fast and processed foods, and which have added more calories to what we eat over the past 50 years than any other food group, by a wide margin.
The highest-quality overall diets in the world are mostly to be found not in rich countries but in Africa
In 2015, Imamura was the lead author on a paper in the medical journal the Lancet, which caused a stir in the world of nutrition science. This team of epidemiologists – based at Tufts University and led by Professor Dariush Mozaffarian – has been seeking to map the healthiness, or otherwise, of how people eat across the entire world, and how this changed in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010. The biggest surprise to come out of the data was that the highest-quality overall diets in the world are mostly to be found not in rich countries but in Africa, mostly in the sub-Saharan regions. The 10 countries with the healthiest diet patterns, listed in order with the healthiest first, came out as: Chad, Mali, Cameroon, Guyana, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Laos, Nigeria, Guatemala, French Guiana.
Meanwhile, the 10 countries with the least healthy diet patterns, listed in order with the unhealthiest first, were: Armenia, Hungary, Belgium, USA, Russia, Iceland, Latvia, Brazil, Colombia, Australia.
The idea that healthy diets can only be attained by rich countries is one of the food myths, Imamura says. He found that the populations of Sierra Leone, Mali and Chad have diets that are closer to what is specified in health guidelines than those of Germany or Russia. Diets in sub-Saharan Africa are unusually low in unhealthy items and high in healthy ones. If you want to find the people who eat the most wholegrains, you will either have to look to the affluent Nordic countries where they still eat rye bread or to the poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where nourishing grains such as sorghum, maize, millet and teff are made into healthy main dishes usually accompanied by some kind of stew, soup or relish. It was Imamura’s conclusion about the high quality of African diets that ruffled feathers in the world of public health. What about African hunger and scarcity? If the people of Cameroon consume low amounts of sugar and processed meat, it is partly because they are consuming low amounts of food all round. Amsterdam has been the first rich city in the world to bring down child obesity. PhotoImamura does not deny, he tells me, that the quantity of food available is very low in some of the African countries, but adds: “That’s not the point of our study. We were looking at quality.” His paper was predicated on the assumption that everyone in the world was consuming 2,000 calories a day. Imamura was well aware that is far from the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence of malnourishment is around 24% according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. But he and his colleagues wanted to isolate the question of food quality from that of quantity. For 50 years or more, our food system has been blindly fixated on the question of quantity. Since the end of rationing after the second world war, our agricultural systems have been focused on supplying populations with enough food, without considering whether that “food” was beneficial for human health. But now there are glimmers of a return to quality, with an acknowledgement in public health circles that food is more than just a question of calories in and calories out. With Brexit, there has been belated recognition in the UK that the quality of the food we eat is not something we can just take for granted. At a meeting in Westminster Hall earlier this month, Sharon Hodgson, the shadow minister for public health, warned that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the quality of food served by public caterers in schools, hospitals and prisons.
In the land of The Great British Bake Off, celebrating a child’s birthday with olives instead of sugar might sound weird Brexit or no Brexit, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the way most of us currently eat is not sustainable – either for the planet or for human health. The hope is that some governments and cities around the world are already taking action to create environments in which it is easier to feed ourselves in a manner that is both healthy and joyous.
Amsterdam has been the first rich city in the world to bring down child obesity, through the Amsterdam healthy weight programme (AHWP). From 2012 to 2015 the percentage of children there who are overweight or obese declined by 12%. The AHWP worked on many fronts at once, from banning junk-food marketing at sporting events to increasing water fountains in the city. But the guiding philosophy behind all the actions was to change collective ideas about what is normal when it comes to food and health. Now, when a child celebrates a birthday in an Amsterdam school, he or she cannot bring in packs of cookies or Haribos. Instead, a popular option is a selection of vegetable skewers to share with friends, consisting of tomatoes, cubes of cheese and green olives. Celebrate with olives! Here in the land of The Great British Bake Off, celebrating a child’s birthday with olives instead of sugar might sound weird. If schools tried to enact such a plan in the UK, you can be sure that the usual chorus of critics would denounce it as “middle-class”. But there is nothing middle-class about the desire to eat food that brings us both health and happiness. To reverse the worst of modern diets and save the best would require many other things to change about the world today, from the way we organise agriculture to the way we talk about vegetables. A smart and effective food policy would seek to create an environment in which a love of healthy food was easier to adopt, and it would also reduce the barriers to people actually buying and eating that food. None of this looks easy at present, but nor is such change impossible. If the transformations we are living through now teach us anything, it is that humans are capable of altering almost everything about our eating in a single generation. • This article was amended on 19 March 2019 to more correctly order the name of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
• Bee Wilson’s The Way We Eat Now is published by 4th Estate on Thursday.
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If you don't exercise regularly, consult a certified personal trainer or talk to your doctor before trying any of these exercises
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.