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For a long time people have wondered about the healing effects of music. Music is a big part of our life. It makes the gym workouts go faster. It helps to set the mood for a party. It serves as a perfect excuse for the times when you don’t feel like chatting with passengers in your car. A beautiful melody can give us...

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back pain reliefHave your parents ever told you to stand up straight? Maybe they have even poked your back when you were least expecting it to remind you not to slouch?

My parents did it all the time. Especially my mom.

It used to annoy me tremendously, to the point where when I caught myself slouching I did nothing to correct my posture.

Today no one tells me to keep my back straight. Instead the occasional neck and shoulder pain reminds me about it.

In reality, the benefits of having perfect posture go far beyond simple back pain prevention. In many cases proper posture reduces tension headaches, fatigue and eye strain, improves blood circulation and digestion, enhances sleep and makes us appear younger and more confident.

Unfortunately, overcoming bad posture habits is not that easy, especially for those of us who work in front of a computer all day.

I do not know about you, but I do a lot of sitting these days. I sit at my desk for 6-7 hours. I sit as I drive home. I sit at the dinner table with my family. I sit during the long intercontinental flights between the US and Italy. I sit while I wait for my appointments.

All this sitting puts a lot of strain on my back.

I have to go to great lengths to correct my posture and stop myself from slumping and tensing my shoulders.

Here is a complete list of 10 Easy Tips  for Perfect Posture that I find very helpful:

1. Learn what perfect posture feels like

For those of us, who have been slouching for years, sitting or standing with a straight back may feel weird and even uncomfortable. This is the power of habit. If you want to break it, you need to know what proper posture feels like.

Try this: raise your head, free up your diaphragm by straightening your back area, and roll your shoulders back, sort of relaxing them into the correct position. You can double check yourself by making sure that your ears, shoulders and hips make one straight line. As you straighten your spine, you will notice that it becomes much easier to breathe.

2. Try the Balloon Method

What I call “The Balloon Method” is a little visualization exercise that I learned years ago when I was doing artistic gymnastics. This visualization alone has done miracles to improve my posture.

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The holiday season is a wonderful time. The air is filled with joy, anticipation, the twinkling of lights and the sounds of holiday music. And without noticing, we get into a Holiday mood, buying and wrapping gifts, spending more time with friends and focusing on the people that mean the most to us.

The only problem I see during the Holiday season is food, or to be more specific it is the QUANTITY.

Usually in the four weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year I gain a few pounds which I later have to lose. This year is going to be different!

And it can be different for you as well.

Instead of kicking off the New Year with a resolution to lose weight, why not make a Pre-resolution to stay fit and heartburn-free over the holidays?

Here are 22 Great Tips that can help us have a great time without putting on extra weight:

1. Have a smaller variety of food on the table.

The greater the number of dishes on the table, the more we and our guests will end up eating. The temptation to sample a little bit of everything is what makes us feel stuffed, sleepy and bloated before the dinner is over.

You can serve fewer dishes and still make your holiday dinner feel festive. A great way to do this is to put the same appetizers and snacks into 2-3 smaller bowls and set them on different sides of the table. If you have vegetarians for dinner you can also make similar salads in two versions: vegetarian and not.

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When I was studying for my midterm exams, scheduling two and sometimes three exams a day, I secretly wished for two things:

First, that I could learn how to bend the space-time continuum, earning myself a lot more time for studying and preparing.

Second, that it was possible to upgrade my memory just as we do with our computers, leaving plenty of free space in the brain to store new information.

As you have probably guessed none of the above happened and I had to turn to more conventional ways to improve my memory and boost my brainpower.

Below are 17 fun memory-boosting tips and tricks that I found very effective. The fact that I graduated from university in just three semesters, while managing to get good grades I put down partly to the fact that I had not realized what I was getting myself into. But largely I owe it to these techniques, as they helped me to memorize loads of information in a very short time.

Whether you are getting ready for exams, would like to stay mentally sharp or are tired of looking for your keys each time you leave the house, check out these 17 Memory tips, as they might be the answer to your problems:

1. Believe in yourself.

How often do you say things like, “I’m getting old”, “My memory is failing me”, “I can never remember where I put things” This could be somewhat true, but you should not say it. Nor think it, because your belief that you have a weak memory is the number one factor that weakens it. Studies show that if people are told that “aging cause forgetfulness” it is immediately reflected in their poor performance in memory tests. The contrary is true as well. Tell yourself that you have a remarkable memory and soon you will find yourself remembering all kinds of things.

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It is safe to say that over the past decade meditation has become one of the most popular and most effective relaxation and self-development methods. It is now practiced by people of all ages, faith traditions, lifestyles and social backgrounds.

• Doctors actively recommend it to their patients to help them cope with an increasing amount of work stress, to cure insomnia and even to speed up physical recovery.
• Vast psychological research continues to uncover new “mental” benefits of meditation: from enhanced focus and ability to quickly enter the state of flow to improved decision-making skill.
• Many active meditation practitioners, who take up this practice out of curiosity or for health purposes soon discover something that goes beyond simple stress relief. They gain greater understanding of themselves. Their relationships with people improve. They develop a more optimistic outlook on life and learn to handle effectively whatever comes their way.

And these are only a few of the benefits meditation has to offer. You can read the full list here.

If you are new to meditation or would like to make it a part of your daily ritual, here are 3 of my favorite Simple Meditations that I have personally practiced for more than 10 years now:

1. One-four-two breathing.

One of the simplest and most powerful meditations for both beginners and long-term practitioners is deep breathing exercise. In our hectic lives more and more people feel rushed, overwhelmed, and literally out of breath.

One-four-two meditation is a great way to slow down, relax your body and quieten an overly agitated mind.

Method:

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Did you ever notice that your energy wanes after a few hours indoors? I noticed that when I spend too much time indoors, my brain energy starts going toward things I don’t really care about, and things that are not in line with the way I want to be living my life.

Maybe you can relate to it as well. Many career-oriented people, who practically live in their offices often feel de-motivated, stressed out or find themselves wasted on totally irrelevant activities.

Now I want to ask you – How long ago has it been since the last time you felt a summer’s morning breeze on your face? Or touched the dew on the grass? Or heard the soft chirping of crickets and birds by your window?

Maybe it is time to abandon the stuffiness, heat and noise of a big city and reap all the health benefits of serenity and calm that nature has to offer?

While you are thinking about the answer to this question take time to read the 10 Compelling Reasons to connect with nature and spend more time outdoors:

1. All that sunshine makes you healthy.

Many of us have heard numerous warnings about the dangers of excessive sun exposure, but few people actually know about beneficial properties of the sun. Research has shown that the UVB sun rays are bursting with protective vitamin D, a vital nutrient for our bones, immune system and even for our happiness and well-being. Do not wait any longer! Get outside and D-light in the healthful benefits of the mild, early morning sunshine!

2. The air out there is healthy as well.

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We view food as a source of energy, and sometimes when what we eat tastes particularly delicious – a source of guilty pleasure. But we rarely see a connection between the food we eat and the mood we are in throughout the day.

Yet if you think about it whenever we feel bored, sad, heartbroken or stressed out we automatically head to the kitchen in search of a tub of ice-cream or a bag of potato chips, instead of turning for comfort to foods that can actually help to boost our mood, improve our motivation and noticeably increase our energy (and I am not talking about coffee or ‘Red Bull’ here).

If lately you have been a little cranky, spacey and quick to snap at friends, co-workers and your family members, a better eating plan may be just the thing you need to restore balance in your personal and professional life.

Below are the Top 10 Foods that will help you to do just that:

1. Bananas

With so many exotic fruits on the market, good ol’ bananas are often overlooked and undervalued. However, by all definitions a banana is one of the super fruits that can help you cope with stress, feel happier and noticeably improve your mood. Bananas and the potassium they contain not only keep blood pressure in check, but also help to improve memory and brain power. So instead of grabbing a chocolate chip cookie to relax, savor the deliciousness of golden bananas.

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Raised in a meat-eating family, at the age of 14 after watching a program on the ugly truths of the meat industry, I finally decided to become a vegetarian. Changing my meat-loving ways was not as hard as I believed it would be. Surprisingly, the biggest challenge I had to face was my own, normally understanding and supportive parents. They tried everything in their power – from reasoning to trickery – to make me give up my crazy idea of becoming a vegetarian.

Now after having been a vegetarian for years (though, I still eat dairy products and occasionally pastries that contain eggs), my parents have finally made peace with the fact that their daughter will not be seduced by crispy chicken wings or tender pork chops with onion-mushroom sauce.

I am happy to tell you that in all these years of not eating meat I have never developed anemia or any other disease which is attributed to vegetarianism. I am absolutely healthy, feel great and I cannot remember the last time I left the table, feeling stuffed to the point where I can hardly breathe or think.

All that said, I want to tell you up front – the purpose of this article is not to convert you into becoming a vegetarian as well. If you love meat, by all means – eat it. It is your personal choice.

The only thing I ask of you is to keep your mind opened to the idea of reducing the amount of meat you consume daily.

Because there are some convincing health reasons to do it:

1. Lower fat consumption.

Modern farm animals are deliberately fattened up to increase profits. Consequently, the meat we buy in the grocery stores is very high in cholesterol and saturated fats. That is why eating less of it is one of the simplest ways to lower blood cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure, and even prevent the risk of stroke – which is, by the way, the second leading cause of death in the world.

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How many of us would like to get fitter? Lose a few extra pounds? Feel better and have more energy? Tone up our belly muscles? Fit in our old clothes and hear our friends exclaim, “Wow! You look great!”?

You have probably guessed where I am heading with all these questions. And you are right! The answer to our dreams about living longer, having more energy, and becoming more attractive and self-confident lies in one rather plain word – “exercise”.

There is no way around it. If you want to have a toned, healthy and amazing-looking body, sitting in front of the computer all day and pressing buttons of your keyboard, will not get you there. Believe me, I tried. It does not work.

On the other hand, “getting in shape” does not have to be as difficult, sweaty and painful as many of us have come to remember.

It can actually be quite fun, given that you approach your fitness goals with the right attitude, necessary preparation and desire to make it this time.

Here are some of the Fitness principles worth checking out:

1. Start with an attitude.

Many people believe that achieving their fitness goals is about finding the right work-out program, following a special diet or even ordering a magic-pill advertised on TV. In my experience transforming your body is more about attitude than anything else. Because if you believe that you do not have time/will power/motivation to stick with your fitness goals you will be the one to sabotage your success. And no trainer or slimming pill will change that.

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