Dec 2, 2015
Dec 1, 2015
- 1 lb butternut squash, cubed
- 1 medium baking apple, peeled, cored and cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed squash and apple in an 8'x8' baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons water and roast uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, or until almost cooked through.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine butter, honey, pecans, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Remove squash from oven, and pour honey mixture over squash. Stir lightly to coat.
- Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and serve.
- 1 (12 ounce) packages extra firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Drain tofu and slice into 8 equal slices. Meanwhile combine the remaining ingredients.
- Place the tofu in ziploc or tupperware and pour marinade over. Close the container and place in fridge up to 24 hours, shaking occasionally.
- When ready to cook, turn on broiler and arrange tofu on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Put in oven about 5-6 inches from heat and cook about 8 minutes on each side.
According to a study from Harvard University, human brains are in the moment for just over half of our waking hours—a mere 53%. The other 47% of the time we are thinking of something else or zoned out. As we all know, mind wandering can happen at the wrong moment—like when you are trying to focus on a lecture or presentation.
Luckily there are eight easy things you can do to improve your attention span an focus for more than half of the day.
Even a short brisk walk will do. Physical activity has been shown to increase cognitive control. According to a study from the University of Illinois, students with ADHD who participated in 20 minutes of moderate exercise scored better on academic achievement tests, especially in reading and comprehension, and were able to pay attention longer.
Paying attention during meetings can be difficult. According to the National Statistics Council, nearly half of employees consider too many meetings the biggest waste of time in their workday. Jon Acuff, author of Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck, recommends trying to ask one good question in order to stay alert. According to Acuff: "Good questions give you information that helps you improve your job performance," while, "bad questions are those where you already know the answer or just want to look smart.”
Being dehydrated is bad for your body it shortens your attention span. The University of Barcelona, found that mild dehydration-–as little as 2% can negatively impact your concentration. Be aware that a 2% drop in dehydration isn’t enough to trigger thirst. So make sure to bring along plenty of water before you go into a situation requiring focus.
Meditation trains your brain stay at attention for longer periods of time, similar to the effect weight lifting has on your muscles. According to a study from the University of California at Santa Barbara, undergraduate students who meditated for 10 to 20 minutes four times a week for two weeks scored higher on exercises requiring attention and memory tests than students who changed their nutrition and focused on healthy eating as a way increase cognitive control.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in black tea, has been shown to affect areas of the brain that control attention. A study from the Netherlands, found that tea drinkers were able to perform tasks better and pay attention longer than those who were given a placebo to drink.
A study from Cardiff University in the U.K. found that chewing gum increases your alertness and improves attention. Chewing itself tells the body that nutrients are on their way to the brain, and gum can reduce hunger pangs.
Researchers at Princeton and UCLA found that when students took notes via pen and paper, they were able to identify important concepts, and listen more actively. The ability to checking email or log in to social media on a laptop provides easy distraction. Also note taking on a laptop leads to mindless transcription.
Classical music helps you pay attention, so break out the Beethoven. A study from Stanford University School of Medicine found that listening to short symphonies engages the areas of the brain involved with making predictions, paying attention and updating memory.
Many of us have heard that stress is bad for us, but fewer of us actually know why this is. Knowing what stress does to your body, and how manifests as sickness and disease may make you more inclined to limit worrying.
When stress is chronic, rather than temporary, it can make you more vulnerable to infection by slowing down your immune system functioning. Under stress, the adrenal glands increase the release of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones can cause damage in a number of ways if left unchecked.
Adrenaline raises blood pressure by speeding up your heart rate. Simultaneously, the brain relays stress signals to the gut, allowing your body to focus on the stressor. A change in the gut's normal routine can affect the composition of bacteria in your gut and lead to digestive problems.
Cortisol can prompt the body to put on deep-belly fat or visceral fat by increasing appetite, especially for sweets and refined carbohydrates. This type of fat releases compounds called cytokines which subsequently raise your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Stress is most damaging for people who experience it all the time. Frequently working long hours to meet a dead line, or constantly worrying about things like paying the rent, or getting adequate childcare can contribute most to poor health.
To avoid some of these stress induced consequences, Sharon Bergquist, a professor of medicine at the University of Emery recommends viewing your stressors “as challenges you can control and master.” While it isn’t easy to just make all of your worries disappear, it’s worth putting in the work to limit the amount of stress you deal with on a regular basis.