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    8 Life Hack TED Talks for Meaningful Living

    8 Life Hack TED Talks for Meaningful Living

    8 Life Hack TED Talks for Meaningful Living
    by Niña Alexandra Palmares


    My goal for 2019 is to have a better understanding of myself. When you are your own best friend, life gets easier trust me. You know what you want, you have a better grip of your values, and you know how to avoid things that are not meant to be in your life: like procrastination, low self-esteem, self-doubts, and toxic people.

    TED (technology, entertainment, and design) Talks are a great source of inspiration and enlightenment. It encourages you not only to work on yourselves. The talks also explore interesting topics like minimalism, mental health, physical beauty, meditation, bikes, sexuality, and many others. I have provided you a list of TED Talks that moved me. These will help you manage yourself and your surroundings better. I have also included notes and questions that you can take away from the talk so that the ideas stick with you.

    A little courage and guidance from successful life hackers may be all you need for a significant shift in your life.

    When you feel stuck in the pursuit of your dreams
    "The Power of Believing You Can Improve" by Carol Dweck

    Carol Dweck discusses the "Power of Yet". She tackles the importance of delaying gratification. Do you catch yourself saying "I can't do it." or "I can't do it... yet.". If things aren't working out for you right now, remember that great things take, cliche as this sounds, a lot of time, patience and, drive.



    Notes and Questions:
    The difference between the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
    Are you always seeking constant validation?
    What it means to be more process-oriented instead of focusing on results
    What happens to your brain when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

    When you feel like your abilities are not enough
    “The Skill of Self-confidence by Dr. Ivan Joseph

    Soccer Coach and Athletic Director Dr. Ivan Joseph reveals the number 1 skill he is looking for when recruiting for athletes: Self-Confidence. He believes that having the "Can Do" attitude will not only drive you to success in athletics but also in life. In this talk, Self-Confidence considered as a "skill". Find out why.



    Notes and Questions:
    The importance of repetition and persistence.
    How to handle rejection.
    What is your self-affirmation?
    What is the difference between ego and self-confidence?
    Build up other people's confidence by catching and praising them while they're good.
    Confidence is also built through positive self-perception.

    When you feel like Procrastinating
    “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” by Mel Robbins

    Mel Robbins is the author of the book The 5 Second Rule. She says that if an idea comes into mind, you must act upon it within 5 seconds because if you put it off, it leads to procrastination or worse, you will never be able to do it at all. She is a life coach that helps people get what they want.

    Notes and Questions:
    Getting what you want is SIMPLE. But not easy.
    Do the science of drafting.
    Why the word "Fine" is dangerous.
    How not to use the snooze button.
    Why motivation is a myth.
    Why our feelings are standing in the way

    When you are stressed
    “How to Make Stress Your Friend” by Kelly McGonigal

    Health psychologist and lecturer Kelly McGonigal sheds light to the common episode that we all go through, stress. In this video, she will show you a different way to look at stress and how looking at it positively can help your heart.



    Notes and Questions:
    How you think about stress matters.
    Stress helps your body rise to the challenge.
    Does stress really make you social?
    How is a stress hormone enhanced?
    How is resilience related to stress?

    When you are discouraged to try something new
    Smash Fear, Learn Anything by Tim Ferriss

    In this TED Talk, Tim Ferriss, a podcaster, author, and entrepreneur encourages everybody to deconstruct things and navigate themselves out of fear so they can achieve the things they want in life. It's amazing how he is able to learn things that interest him so quickly. He reveals tips in this video.

    Notes and Questions:
    Learning from scratch should excite you.
    Effectiveness versus Efficiency
    When to lead and when to follow.
    What is Tim's perception of fear?
    Be a beginner.
    "What's the worst that could happen?"
    When life throws you lemons
    The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong by Amy Morin

    Amy Morin has been through a fair amount of struggles before she became a best-selling author and psychotherapist. And that is putting it lightly. She went through painful experiences that pushed her mental and emotional limits. In this discussion, she tells us what it takes for us to be mentally tough when times are rough.

    Notes and Questions:
    The comparison is a trap.
    Three kinds of destructive and unhealthy beliefs.
    There are things that make us lose our power that we are not aware of.
    Success is not a cosmic reward.
    The long-term benefit of dropping bad mental habits.
    Beat one bad habit at a time.
    What is one simple bad mental habit that you are willing to give up?

    When you think exercise is just all about getting fit
    “The Brain-changing Benefits of Exercise” by Wendy Suzuki

    Exercise is by default, correlated to diet and fitness to achieve a healthier body. But what we oftentimes don't know are the benefits that cardio does to our brains as well. Dr. Wendy Suzuki is a Neuroscientist whose research is mostly devoted to brain plasticity. In this video, she explains the effects of aerobic exercise to one's learning capacity, memory, moods, and overall cognitive abilities of the human brain.

    Notes and Questions:
    Exercise can do transformative things to your brain.
    Is the effect in the brain immediately after you sweat out?
    Can exercise really change your brain's anatomy?
    Neuroscience findings of long-term exercise.
    The brain is like a muscle. The more you workout, the stronger your brain gets too.
    How many times a week do you need to exercise to get all the brain benefits?

    When you want to embrace who you are
    “The Art of Being Yourself” by Caroline McHugh

    Caroline McHugh is an advocate for authenticity and originality. She helps people have the courage to love and be themselves and not in a narcissistic way. In this TED Talk video, she challenges us to be true to ourselves and to learn how to embrace our own uniqueness. There are three things that are highlighted in this talk: What everybody thinks of you, what you want everybody to think of you, what you think of yourself.

    Watch Caroline's breakdown of what it takes to live as yourself.

    Notes and Questions:
    What do you see in a "True Mirror"?
    The thing that people have in common is that they don't have anything in common.
    Life expectancy versus What you expect in life versus What life expects from you.
    What is an "interiority" complex?
    Are you being led by other people's opinion?
    6. We all live with an ego but the challenge is how to tame it.

    These TED Talks have inspired many, including myself. I hope it inspired you too.

    Nina Alexandra Palmares is a Cross-country Mountain bike racer for the Rhinohead Philippines team. Off the saddle, she loves to cook 'real' food and perpetually geeks about music, cult movies, bikes, and Game of Thrones . She graduated with a degree in Information Techcnology. You can follow her journey on Instagram with the handle @winkypalmares and check out her currated bike ride playlist on Spotify.

    Almond Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Chia Jam

    Almond Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Chia Jam

    Happy Valentine's Day!!! Almond Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Chia Jam can be made with EarthNutri's Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Recipe: from @nm_meiyee.
    Recipe:
    3 cups gluten-free flour
    1/2 cup almond meal
    1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    220g vegan butter or coconut oil cold & cut into small cube
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    Raspberry chia jam
    2 cups fresh raspberries
    3 tbsp white chia seeds @suncorefoods
    2 tbsp lemon juice or water
    Instructions
     
    Raspberry chia jam
    Put the raspberries and lemon juice into a saucepan over a medium heat. Mash the raspberries as they begin to heat up. When the raspberries have broken down to a saucy consistency. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool a little before adding the chia seeds. Transfer the jam to a jar and allow it to cool completely. Once the jam has reached room temperature transfer it to the fridge for an hour to set.
    .
    Preheat oven to 175c. In a food processor combine the flour, almond meal, salt. Then slowly the vegan butter/coconut oil, pulse until you get a coarse meal. Then slowly add the maple syrup, pulse until a dough ball forms. Flatten dough on disk. Roll out one of the dough. Cut out the dough using a cookie cutter. Use a smaller heart cutter to cut a window out of half of cookies. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 12-14 minutes. Let cookies cool completely. Take the regular shaped cookies and place jam in the middle of each cookie. Cover with the dusted cut out cookies on top and enjoy!

    Zucchini Walnut Bread Made with EN Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

    Zucchini Walnut Bread Made with EN Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

    Zucchini Walnut Bread made with EN Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
    Delicious and easy to make.
    Recipe:
    6 cups shredded zucchini.
    1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar.
    1 cup oil.
    4 eggs.
    1 tbsp anthem gum.
    3 cups EarthNutri Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
    2 tsp baking soda.
    1 tsp salt.
    1/4 tsp baking powder.
    4 tsp vanilla.
    2 tbsp cinnamon.
    1 tbsp nutmeg.
    1/2 tsp cloves.
    Add walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries. Even chocolate coated nuts can be added.
    Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for +/- one hour.

    6 BOSU Ball Exercises to Try that Will Boost Your Stability and Balance

    6 BOSU Ball Exercises to Try that Will Boost Your Stability and Balance

    Elevate your gains game by challenging your balance. A BOSU Ball is one of my favorite rigs in the gym. BOSU Balls are one of the best tools for developing leg and core strength. Strengthening these muscle groups will improve your posture and help avoid potential trips and falls. Balancing exercises require not only strength and technique, but a lot of patience as well. These exercises will improve your ability to focus too.

    The importance of a strong and stable body in everyday living is oftentimes overlooked. We need balance to do even the simplest things like lifting our heels to reaching for something or just tying your shoelaces. This is why I like to incorporate balancing routines to accompany my fitness lifestyle and diet. Taking the best supplements for women's health is not enough for me to get a great body. I like to couple it with fun and engaging gym routines.

    Here are 6 BOSU Ball exercises you can try in the gym to improve your body balance.

    BOSU Push-ups


    A Push-up is one of the most popular and effective routines on the planet. So let's start with that one.


    • Make sure that the semi-sphere side of the BOSU ball is faced down so you can use the platform.
    • Place yourself in a push-up position with your hands on the sides of the BOSU ball surface.
    • Engage your core and glutes.
    • Find stability first before lowering yourself down like a regular push up by extending your elbows
    • Push yourself to the top as quick as you can.

    Tip: Always engage your core and glutes so your body is more stable as you lower your chest.

    BOSU Burpees


    Burpees give you a total body workout. It is hard, but it is essential.


    • Stand with your feet apart and hold the BOSU Ball at chest level with the platform side facing you.
    • Come into a squat position.
    • Plant the ball to the ground and jump your legs back into a plank position. 
    • Make sure your hands are level and stable against the flat side of the BOSU ball.
    • Do a push-up.
    • Jump both your feet forward and as you do this engage your glutes.
    • Stand while holding the BOSU ball at chest level.
    • Lift the BOSU ball overhead and make sure your core is engaged.

    Tip: This exercise will help you improve your posture so execute this exercise correctly and make sure the spine is long to avoid arching your back.

    BOSU Single Leg Romanian Dead lift


    This exercise will be a test of focus and balance. As you try to master deadlifts on a BOSU ball, your core is being utilized. There is absolutely no waste in trying to learn this routine.


    • Don't use any weights on your first try to make sure your body is in the correct position.
    • Turn the flat side of the BOSU ball up.
    • Step one foot into the center of the BOSU and let the other foot float behind you.
    • Balance yourself on one foot and reach as far as you can to the surface of the BOSU ball.
    • Stand back up with one foot still floating and the other stable into the ball's surface.
    • Repeat on the other side.

    Tip: To add some challenge, hold weights in your opposite hand.

    BOSU Bulgarian Split Squat


    Strengthen your glutes, hip flexors, back, hamstrings, and quads with this workout. Instead of using a bench, use a BOSU ball to add some balance training.



    • Again, don't use weights until you perfect your body position for this routine.
    • Plan the BOSU ball to the ground with the semi-sphere side facing upwards.
    • Balance on one foot and get your rear foot on top of the BOSU ball with your heel raised.
    • Keep your back straight and your spine neutral.
    • Engage your core and glutes.
    • Pull your front leg down while lowering your rear knee towards the floor.
    • Push your heel planted on the BOSU ball to get you back up.
    • Do it on the opposite side.

    Tip: To progress, add some weights.

    BOSU Bridge


    The BOSU Bridge will add more flexibility and strength to your lower back, legs, core, and hips.


    • Place the BOSU Ball flat on the floor. The semi-sphere surface should be facing up.
    • Lie flat on your back and put both feet on the BOSU ball with your knees bent. 
    • Make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart.
    • Place your arms at your sides with palms facing the ground.
    • Lift your pelvis or hips off the ground and extend.
    • Squeeze your glutes while you are extended and hold this position for 3 seconds.
    • Release yourself slowly back into the ground.

    Tip: Lower yourself down with control so your core is challenged.

    BOSU Static Plank


    Add more variation to your regular plank by doing it on a BOSU ball.



    • Mount BOSU ball dome-side down on the floor. 
    • Get on your elbows into a plank position.
    • Check your alignment and make sure your shoulders are engaged and parallel to your elbows.
    • Keep your hips lifted.
    • Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. You can increase it to a minute or more as you progress.

    Tip: Engage your core as you do this to maximize the workout.

    And that is it for some balance tips. I am sure you will love these exercises. Don't forget to eat right and take some organic vitamins and minerals supplements before or after your workout.

    Writer Nina Alexandra Palmares is a Cross-country Mountain bike racer for the Rhinohead Philippines team. Off the saddle, she loves to cook 'real' food and perpetually geeks about music, cult movies, bikes, and Game of Thrones . She graduated with a degree in Information Technology. You can follow her journey on Instagram with the handle @winkypalmares and check out her curated bike ride playlist on Spotify.

    10 Habits to Master to be Remarkable in 2019

    10 Habits to Master to be Remarkable in 2019

    Resolutions are big during the first few days of the year but as the weeks go by, very few are able to live up to them. Why is that so? It's easy to say "Focus more on health and fitness" or "Save more in 2019". These goals are too general and can sound a bit intimidating that you don't know where to start. Setting mammoth goals can overwhelm us and we could set ourselves up for disappointment if we can't stick to it.

    But by breaking huge resolutions into small specific and doable tasks, you can save yourself from throwing a pity party. Marginal efforts can someday make a notable difference, trust me. They may seem insignificant in the beginning but as you move towards the end of the year, adding these tiny habits in your daily rotation will help you become a better version of yourself.

    1. Do an act of Kindness at least once a day.

    Did you know that kindness can have positive effects on your brain?

    According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, "Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller!". Their research has also revealed that showing compassion and doing something humane for another person, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the production of happy hormones such as serotonin. Serotonin helps in wound healing and calms you down. The simple Other studies, such as one from Emory University has shown that kindness towards another causes a phenomenon called, "helper's high". Helper's High is a state of euphoria experienced by those who engage in charity work.

    There are so many ways to make someone's day. An act of kindness can be in the form of holding the door for a senior, doing a chore for your roomie, feeding a stray dog on the street, offering to take a photo for a solo traveler, or even just asking how somebody's day went, already shows that you care.

    The singer and actress, Lady Gaga once gave a moving speech about kindness. She said that "The really fantastic thing about kindness, is that it’s free." and even if you don't expect something back, it has its natural benefits. If you make somebody's day even just once should keep you perky and produce positive impacts on your mental health in the long run.

     

    2. Do something that gets your heart rate up.


    Are you on crunch time and can't spare an hour for exercise? Or are you scared of injuring yourself in the gym and having to contact your fitness healthcare provider? You can still incorporate tiny workouts in your daily or weekly routines without you needing to put your gym shoes on. Sweat without you noticing that you are actually working out. Here are three things to help you sweat a little.

    Take the stairs (unless you are running late, of course). Climbing the stairs burns calories without you noticing it. When you run out of breath, don't worry it gets better over time.
    Clean your space. Organize your books, wash the dishes, take the trash out, do some laundry. You can also try scheduling a sanitizing session for every section in your room or pad. Take for example your living room on Sundays or the kitchen on Saturdays. Be creative and clean whatever you can as long as you get your butt off your seat.
    Take yourself out for a walk. Not only does it burn fat but it helps you clear your head. Take your pet out for a walk if you have one. If you wish to add more cardio, do a brisk walk.


    3. Set a budget for the day and stick to it.


    By setting expected expenses for the day, you are certain that you know where your money goes. If you are really serious about saving and keeping track of your funds, you should set a limit to your spending. Saving should be turned into a habit rather than looking at it as a responsibility. By just being aware of your cash flow, it will be easier for you to manage and take charge of your finances.


    4. Resist reaching for your phone first thing in the morning.


    According to Tony Reinke, an author of 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, "whatever we first focus our hearts on in the morning will shape our entire day." Once our phones light up, it's hard to miss what's going on. We don't get to choose what we see first hand. We can manage our notification settings but of course, we don't want to miss messages from important people we want to hear from for the rest of the day.

    The best practice is to spend the first new minutes either meditating, stretching, making your bed, or jumping in the shower to totally wake you up. Awful news or messages can sabotage your day. Don't let what's on your phone dictate how your day is going to go.

     

    5. Don't eat your feelings out. Write them down instead.


    Journaling became a popular habit among Millennials lately. It's a better alternative to binge eating when you're depressed. Sure a cone of ice cream can make you happy for a moment, but you still leave your brain in a clutter. A great way to organize your thoughts is to write them down. Scribbling your thoughts on a piece of paper or a notebook can raise self-awareness and can lead you to understand why you feel, what you feel. Nicolas Cole, a writer and founder of Digital Press confessed that writing down his feelings made him significantly better. He said that "After I’ve journaled, the entire ocean changes shape to calm. I feel at ease again."

    You aren't required to note your feelings every day. It's only when you feel, sad, angry, frustrated, even a little too happy that you can't express it to anybody. Write it all down. You can stare at it. You can crumple it. Or you can reflect on it. The side effect? It won't make you fat.

     

    6. Drink Lemon Water in the morning.


    This revitalizing morning ritual gives you an immunity boost throughout the day. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Vitamin C not only increases your immunity but the vitamin also helps you achieve a healthier complexion. Lemon water flushes out toxins, aids in digestion, and contributes to healthy weight loss.

     

    7. CLAYGO


    An unorganized living or working space can lead to depression and anxiety. In the book called, "Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century", clutter was stated to affect our moods and can cause a lot of stress. CLAYGO stands for Clean as You Go. This is the first step to avoiding clutter. When we clean up after ourselves, there is order. Our domain is well kept and we spend less time looking for things. Now we have more time to focus on the next task at hand.

    8. Make your to-do list the night before.


    Listing down things you need to do the night before saves you time and helps you avoid clumps of thoughts when you wake up in the morning. Why spend time half-awake, thinking of what things to do within the day when you can just do them right away? Writing your to-do list at night will maximize your mornings and you are far more likely to remember things when you've organized them beforehand.

     

    9. Stretch.


    This habit is totally underrated. Arnold Nelson, an associate professor of kinesiology at Louisiana State University stated that "stretching may especially benefit people who need exercise the most but are too weak to lift weights or get moving". If people are too busy to exercise at all, they might as well do some basic stretches in the morning to start their day. This increases blood flow, mobility and energy levels. Nelson also said that "stretching can be a good place for them to start on a path to wellness."

    You are only 5 minutes away to a better day. Watch this simple video from Joanna Soh.

     

    10. Wear Sunscreen


    There is a popular essay by an Australian film director Baz Luhrmann that was turned into a song called "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" that says, "If I could offer you only one tip for the future, Sunscreen would be it". The song tackles topics about how you should enjoy your youth before it is taken away from you. One way to preserve your youth is to wear sunscreen.

    This advice is for people of all ages. Your skin is your largest organ and it's your first line of defense against the harmful effects of UV rays. Wearing sunscreen not only slows down the skin aging but it most importantly decreases your risk to skin cancer.

    So that is it for the list of minor upgrades you can fit in your routines to help you improve the quality of your life in 2019! What's the first habit on the list that you would like to practice? Let us know in the comments below. Happy new, you!

    Writer Nina Alexandra Palmares is a Cross-country Mountain bike racer for the Rhinohead Philippines team. Off the saddle, she loves to cook 'real' food and perpetually geeks about music, cult movies, bikes, and Game of Thrones . She graduated with a degree in Information Technology. You can follow her journey on Instagram with the handle @winkypalmares and check out her curated bike ride playlist on Spotify.