Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Making Weight Loss Easy

This is the time of the year that many people start to think about losing weight for summer. Often times our spring-time commitments are tinged with doubt. After all, hadn’t we just made a New Year’s Resolution to do exactly that? And yet, for some reason, our results have come up short.
I have heard clients speak about their disappointments that stem from previous challenges. Sometimes they even express a reluctance to try again which stems from the fear of failing (yet again). After all, what would it say about us if we continued to try, but failed?  Well, it would say that you are committed and courageous – two extremely critical qualities for success!
Here’s what we know – courage and commitment (while critical) are not enough. Those who are successful in losing weight must also have faith. They must have faith in their plan and faith in their ability to execute their plan.
Now I am not one to place bets on which weight loss diet is the best. I think a lot of that depends on the lifestyle and physical attributes of the person. One thing that is “beyond contestation” (if I could borrow my favorite phrase from A Knight’s Tale), is that healthy eating and an increase in activity are essential to achieve and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
That is why when I set out to create Boost Your Health, I kept it diet-neutral. Hence it can be used with literally ANY diet program on the market. Furthermore, we set out to create a program that would be the perfect companion to any diet or excersize program, as it addresses a critical element of success which is so often ignored – faith in you

Why is it that so many people lack faith in their ability to execute a health regimen?  Sure, it might be a lack of lasting success in the past.  But we were there then too, and we know why we failed in the past. It wasn’t the program we subscribed to. We hit a bump in the road because our thoughts led us astray. We all have years of unhealthy mental programming that has led us to where we are now. It is unrealistic to expect a mere commitment to be enough to override the deep neuro-pathways that result from the years of bad habits.
In order to change, we must code new thoughts and habits into our mind. That is where our program Boost Your Health comes in. By combining positive, habit inducing commands (some would call affirmations), with music that facilitates learning, Mindful Measures has accelerated the adoption rates for new habits for our clients between 5-10X!  The best part, is that it’s SUPER easy-to-use. All they had to do was listen to the CD or MP3 soundtrack while driving, working, or getting ready in the morning. 
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 We are so proud of the results our clients are seeing, and would love to hear about your successes as well. Please share with us your results in the comment section below.  Thank you for letting us be part of your journey.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can Classical Music Help My Child Get Better Grades?

Many people ask me, "Can classical music really help my child get better grades?" Or sometimes it's phrased, "Can classical music help my child get into XYZ college?" The answer is It Depends. Just like students, not all classical music is the same. Unfortunately, simply listening to classical music is not enough to get better grades or score higher on college entrance exams. There are however certain types of classical music that do indeed help children (and adults for that matter) retain information better.

Recent research conducted at Stanford University demonstrated that the brain functions differently within bands of frequency. One frequency band (Alpha) was ideal for creative endeavors, such as writing, painting, or solving complex math problems. Another frequency range (Theta) worked better for learning and retaining information. By listening to music which helps the brain slip into a Theta state, students (and professionals) can learn information significantly faster. This finding was also discovered back in the cold war, when Dr. Lozanov discovered that some kinds of music helped students learn up to 5x faster. Though he didn't have the technology to show what was going on in the brain, he was on to something.

So now we know that certain types of music do indeed help memory retention. But it is not enough to simply claim "Classical music helps student improve grades." Not all classical music will. In fact, there are even variations amongst different recordings of the same song. In some cases, the tempo that is set by the conductor will make a song more appropriate for either memory retention, or creative endeavors. If you are looking to improve your child's ability to remember information for their college entrance exams or school tests, it is important to obtain the right collection of pieces. Since this can be very time consuming and expensive, we have taken care of this for you. Mindful Measures memory enhancement program, "Boost Your Brain-Power" is a collection of songs that has been helping students get better grades for three years now. So whether your child is trying to get into the college of their choice, you are trying to help them get ahead in school, or help them catch up, this program will help them learn and retain critical information up to 500% better! It has worked for me, my children, and hundreds just like us. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Give a Meaningful Gift this Valentine's Day

We all want to find that perfect Valentine's gift.  We hope to convey those inexpressible feelings that we have.  This time of year, we are lead to believe that if we fail to do so, we will be inadequate.  Somehow that means out relationship is doomed to failure.

 According to the Forest Institute of professional psychology, the divorce rate for first marriages is 50%. The divorce rate is even higher for second in third marriages; being 67% and 74% respectively. There are several possible conclusions we can draw from this. The first of which is that only half of marriages are bound by a firm commitment. Or perhaps the successful partnerships were clearer on what they needed from a spouse prior to getting married (see my previous blog, "First Find Love Within Yourself”). I prefer to believe however, that most unsuccessful marriages fail due to a lack of relational skills - the divorce rates for second and third marriages bear this out. So then, what skills are necessary to nourish a healthy relationship?

Perhaps the most important skill for people to have any successful partnership is empathy-the ability to see oneself in others. Empathy is at the heart of tolerance and forgiveness. It is also at the heart of appreciation; as it is the Valentine’s season it is this virtue that I wish to emphasize.

Over the past several decades Valentine's Day has become increasingly commercialized. It seems as though, as each year passes, we are led to believe that our appreciation for our loved ones can only be demonstrated by the purchase of seasonal consumables. We are bombarded by the message that, "your affection can only be expressed through giving your loved-one our extravagant box of chocolates, $100 bouquet, or diamond ring." But do these purchases really show our love, or do they merely demonstrate our propensity to spend? Some might argue that the poor man who picks up a second job in order to afford to take his wife out to dinner demonstrates a higher level of love than the rich man who blindly charges a diamond necklace to his debit card. To me this poor man demonstrates a deeper level of appreciation, because he is sacrificing more of himself in order to create and share an emotionally impactful experience. It is very likely that he is given more thought to what his partner would appreciate. By emphasizing the wants and needs of his wife, the poor man has related to her on a much deeper level.

Surely appreciation entails more than the giving of material objects. Indeed, the giving of gifts without the sense of appreciation behind them, seems hollow and manipulative. And if your appreciation is genuine, then no gift is necessary. When we cultivate gratitude towards others within our heart, it beams outwards. It reflects in our facial expressions and body language. It shines through our actions. It fills our words with genuine emotion.

How then can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude? By actively recognizing the positive traits of others, by praising others for their actions, and by openly demonstrating our love we cultivate a deeper appreciation within ourselves. Allow yourself to "gush" with emotion when you think about your loved ones. Feel love through your whole body and let it exude from you. Do this as many times as the day will allow. You will soon feel a deeper appreciation of your loved one-perhaps more importantly, so will your loved one.

And now that you have a deeper appreciation, you will be in a better place to anticipate your lover's needs and wants. Instead of merely giving your special-someone a meaningless gift, you can create a shared experience that will be as unique, and special, as the one you love.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What American Idol can teach us about How our Emotions Pace Music

So it’s that time of year again.  And whether you have been anxiously awaiting your opportunity to cast your lots for your favorite American Idol contestant or not, there is always something that can be learned from the smash hit show.  Hopefully we can illustrate not only how we can use music to control our state of mind, but also what our singing faves should be doing in order to remain in the competition for the top American Idol.

As I sat watching the first episode of American Idol, I was left to wonder...why on Earth would anyone choose to sing a slow ballad.  Granted, we do not ever want to see a faster song done poorly.  But come on!  If your song selection doesn’t move us in a positive direction, then your phone lines are going to be quieter than my daughter sneeking a few games on my iPhone.  And I can guarantee she is not voting your behalf.  Here’s the danger of picking a slow ballad:  If you end up following someone who just did a decent job with a fast song, you’re hosed!  A fast song lifts the emotional and mental state of the audience.  A slow song by contrast will bring the audience back down.  You never want to bring down an audience that is supposed to be “inspired” in order to vote for you.  At best, you can hope to follow another ballad who either a)followed a fast song or b)was really pitchy Dawg ( btw, I love the “Randy-as-Simon” thing they are trying).  

A far better strategy is to pick a song that is a faster pace and moves the audience.  If you follow a slow song, your song will seem uplifting relative to the slower tempo of the previous ballad.  And if you follow a fast song, at least your lips were not preoccupied with the “kiss of death” so that they could perform the song to the best of your ability.  Now of course, nobody likes a manic performance American Idol, so contestants shouldn’t pick something too fast pace.  And it IS a singing competition, so yes you still better be able to sing.  But does tempo really affect the listener and if so, how can we use this to take control of our state of mind?
Lets look briefly at a couple examples that illustrate this.

To start off the show, Clint Jun Gamboa performed a version of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.  As fans of the show, we like to see it kick off hoppin’, and that song certainly bounces.  His choice of song however would have allowed him to perform at any point of the night, and come across to the fans in a positive uplifting manner.  The next performer, Jovany Barreto performed the ballad, “I’ll Be” which has to be a “kiss of death” regardless of how well you can sing it.  It serves as a perfect example to my previous point that whenever a slow ballad follows a hopping song, it inevitably results in a let-down for the audience which is sure to garner only a few votes from his closest family and friends.  So Jun got the audience going, and Jovany lets them down.  But the next performer Jordan Dorsey chose a slightly faster rendition of an Usher song,  “OMG.”  Interestingly enough, though his performance was infinitely inferior to Jovany’s version of “I’ll Be” it comes across with less negative impact because the audience was already brought down by Jovany.  If Jordan survives, he will owe Jovany the best dinner he has ever eaten- and based on Jovany’s build, the boy can eat!  

Now let’s look at what happens when you pick a fast song.  Half way through the show Scotty McCreery performed a Tim McGraw classic that you’ll have to forgive me for not knowing enough about Country Music to know the title of.  Again another example of a singer safe doing a ballad because he followed another let-down ballad.  He is followed by a mediocre (though the judges appreciated it) version of Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are” sung by Stefano Langone.  I was unimpressed; however I have to admit I was uplifted and felt more awake and refreshed because his song choice had a quicker pacing.  

And for heaven’s sake, pick a song that represents the kind of artist you want to be - unless you’re hoping to be a ballad singer.

We could whip out any number of studies that have been done that illustrate that the tempo of music affects our state of mind.  But this would be pointless, because each of us already has some personal experience with this.  We have all heard the pounding rhythm of a techno beat and felt our heart and brain pick up its pace.  Whether you were experiencing an irritated lift or a joyous one akin to a Night at the Roxbury, you probably felt your hearbeat quicken, your blood pressure rise, and your mental acuity increase.  Perhaps you have had the luxury of a massage in a spa - certainly they were playing a slow paced New Age piece that quickly caused your mind, body and emotions to relax.  And I assure you that you will never hear a Barry Manilow classic if you are at a football or hockey game.  Instead you will be blasted with the loudest version of some rock, pop, or techno song designed to get you geeked out of your mind.  So how can we use this information to improve our lives?

Well, it’s all about taking control.  Say you are trying to wake up and get going in the morning.  Well, while it might be soothing to awaken to soft, melodic songs, you will probably want to shift gears once you crawl out of bed and put on something that is a faster pace.  The genre of music is not too important, but the tempo is critical.  Ideally you would want to build up to something that makes you want to dance...or cheer on your favorite team (though this will probably annoy the heck out of your spouce).  On the otherhand, if you find yourself needing to relax and unwind, then you should pick a slower paced song.  Perhaps a slow ballad, some slower baroque pieces, or yes even spa music works.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tired of the Same Lover Over and Over?

The first step to adopting a new pattern for relationships is to recognize what your current pattern is.  Take a moment and go through all of your past romantic escapades.  What similarities and trends do you notice?  Look not only at your partners, but how you related to them.  What caused them to end?  Next, take a moment to clarify what it is that you want in a relationship.  Pay particular attention to the aspects that have repeatedly be unfulfilled by your previous partners.  Now before you go any further, you should determine whether that is a fair expectation.  Sometimes we hold others responsible for filling our needs, yet it is impossible for another person to fill that need.  If it is beyond another’s ability to fill that need for you, then you will have to let it go.  You must first find it within yourself, or else any relationship you enter into is likely to fail just as your past ones have.  If it is a legitimate quality or aspect for a lover to possess, then hold on to that.  Draw up a list of those legitimate qualities and compile a picture of what your ideal partner would be like.  And no, I do not mean their physicality.  I mean what emotional and personality qualities would you insist upon. 

And then ask yourself, “Would this person be attracted to me as I am right now?”  Answer this question with all honesty.  And don’t fixate on things like, “I am too short/tall.  I am too heavy/shapeless.  I am not a model.”  Again, we are looking for ideal partners, not ideal looking partners.  It is only when we seek materialistic, superficial people that we need worry about the superficial, material aspects of ourselves.  Now this also implies that we cannot hold-out for a “Perfect 10” in regards to looks, because we are not “Perfect 10’s” ourselves.  But take comfort in knowing that physical attributes add nothing to a deep, emotional connection that we are seeking.  No, what I mean when I say “would this person be attracted to me right now?” is would your ideal partner be attracted to the kind of person that you are?  You may find that there are a few aspects about your personality that require tweaking. 

I can hear some of you right now.  “I am perfect.  If they can’t love me for who I am, then I don’t want them.”  Yes, I even saw your eyebrows rise and your hand snap in the “talk-to-my-hand-cause-my-face-don’t-wanna-hear-it” gesture.  But let’s for a moment drop any defense mechanisms- after all, they haven’t really been working too well for us so far have they?  Remember that definition of insanity?  We are talking about lifting ourselves to a level of sustained emotional engagement.  The reality is that right now, YOU ARE PERFECT…for getting what you have right now.  And if you want more, if you want something you have not had, then you have to be willing to become something you have not been.  This does not mean that who you have been is wrong.  It simply means that it was not the ideal way to go about getting what you really want.  And more importantly, who you were was perfect for bringing you to the place that you are now.  In this space that your emotional triumphs and tribulations has led you to, you are ideally suited to transform into the person who can achieve that deep, meaningful relationship that you so dearly yearn for.  And usually, it only requires a minor shift of perspective; a slight alteration to the way that we think and feel about the people and environment around us.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lick Your Love-Rut for Good!

Is your love life in a rut?  Do you find yourself going out on dates with the same kind of person over and over again?  On the surface, they may look different.  They may do their hair differently, or be a few inches taller or shorter, perhaps different color eyes; but ultimately whom they are, how they act, how they treat you always seems to be the same?  Do you keep embarking on the same relationship over and over, even though your partners change?  As I have written about in previous blogs, this is because we tend to keep seeking out other people to fill some need we have within ourselves.  In this article, I will let you in on a little secret about why it is so hard for us to seek out new solutions to filling those needs. 

There’s a very popular quote going around right now that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.”  And as it pertains to relationships, many of us are clinically insane.  Sure, we may abandon one relationship with John to engage in new one with Michael, but the patterns are the same.  At first we are enamored by the thrill of “getting to know” our new romantic interest.  Sure there is a lot of excitement that stems from new discovery.  And unfortunately some people become addicted to this excitement.  But as time wears on, and we begin to discover fewer and fewer traits about our romantic interest, something within us begins to shift.  Those habits or tendencies that they have (which we were all-to-willing to overlook in the beginning of the relationship) begin to grate on us.  Why won’t he just put his nasty socks in the laundry basket?  Can’t he rinse his plate before leaving it in the sink?  And when, oh, when will he ever put the toilet seat back down after he uses it?  Perhaps you guys wonder:  When will she learn to put the seat back up in the middle of the night, so she doesn’t have to complain about me peeing on the toilet seat?  Either way, you get the point.  Over time, as the novelty of the relationship wears off, we begin to nit-pick the habits of our lovers.  Soon, and more damaging stage begins.

As we begin to habitually criticize others, we become less committed to our relationship with them.  We allow ourselves to find less enjoyment out of the shared experiences.  At the same time, we increase the level of frustration we experience as a result of their behaviors.  This allows us to emotionally decrease our investment in the relationship so that when it inevitably ends, we will not be as traumatized.  Ouch!  Now we can walk away, placing the blame on them.  It is only once we have accepted the end of the relationship that we can begin to look at the relationship as part of a larger pattern.  That is usually when you hear yourself asking, “Why me?  What’s wrong with me?  Why do I keep picking guys/ladies like this?”  The short answer is that there is nothing “wrong” with you.  You have simply developed poor patterns as it pertains to looking for a romantic partner.  While that may not be a news flash to you, it is comforting to know that you can always choose to adopt a new pattern. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Date a Dork this Valentine’s Day

I was at a restaurant the other day with a business connection of mine.  At the table next to us was a smoking hot woman with the most unassuming man you could imagine.  Their PDA intimated that they were romantically involved, and not in a monetary sort of way.  They seemed to be genuinely and deeply connected to each other.  Upon seeing their intimacy, my colleague said “What’s wrong with her?  She could do WAY better than that guy.”

Now I had to be very conscious about my reaction.  I understood the insinuations of his statement.  It was implied that physical beauty would only be happy with other physically beautify people; that an average-looking guy lacked the credentials to be with a beautiful woman; that my colleague was better looking than him, so he was more qualified to be with that woman; and hey, where was the beautiful woman that he deserved.  If only they weren’t taken by guys like that.

But here’s the rub:  they were genuinely happy with their relationship, while my colleague was not.  For whatever reason, they had allowed themselves to discover what was TRULY important in a relationship, and they went out and found someone they could build it with.  My colleague on the other hand, continued to look at superficial means to find a deep level of happiness.  That’s insane!  But yet it happens all of the time. 

We all know people who are single, yet yearn to have a romantic partner.  Whenever we try to set them up, inevitably they want to know what the other person looks like.  As if how tall someone is has any bearing on whether or not they will do the dishes.  As if their athletic prowess will contribute to their willingness to comfort their lover through their fears.  As if their chosen brand of clothing will support their lover’s difficult life choices.  And yet these are often the most significant factors as to whether the relationship will last beyond a first date.

Sure it’s trendy to state that appearances aren’t important when choosing a mate.  Yet when pressed, most people claim a need to be physically attracted in order to be romantically involved.  But how do we determine what we are physically attracted to? 

We all have a type.  One that is both socially defined, and yet also based on our personal experiences.  Sometimes our type is influenced by our parents or other members of our family.  Sometimes it is a result of our image of ourselves.  But here’s the most interesting thing that has been discovered about sexual satisfaction:

The most influential organ for sexual satisfaction is our BRAIN!

Research has uncovered that most people fantasize during sex.  And activity has as much to do with that fantasy as any visual stimulus.  So if we are in our head (so to speak) during sex anyways, why not share those moments with someone whom you can actually enjoy being with when you are not engaging in sexual activities.  You just might find that you can connect with them in ways that you have been previously unable to with your other romantic partners.  Then watch and discover how intimately you can connect with them during sex. 

I am not suggesting that you go find the most unattractive person you can and have sex with them.  (Although if you do, please tell them that it was my idea and send them to my blog-I am sure they will want to thank me.)  What I am saying, is first figure out what kind of partner you would need in order to have a truly meaningful relationship.  Put physical appearance aside and just look at their personal characteristics.  Once you find them, begin to nurture an open and honest relationship with that person.  You may be delighted in the romance that buds.