Thursday, September 25, 2014

There Is No Off Switch!

One of the many things that human's possess that never shuts off is our ears. Even when we are sleeping, we are listening. In such a noisy world full of distractions, loud noises, and multi-tasking, how are we actually able to listen to anything worthwhile?


Is listening to those around us even possible anymore?
25 percent

Something is wrong here, right?

Humans use listening to gain meaning through sound, but in a world so noisy this requires more energy then ever. 

Take for instance being on a subway and looking around at how many people are wearing headphones, listening to their music. These people may seem like the are attempting to fully devote their ears to their music and are fully focused in on it. What this creates though is a bunch of individuals isolating themselves and not actually listening to those around them. It is sometimes no wonder why people find it hard to communicate, relate, and connect with people. We are frequently in our own worlds!

What needs to happen to regain this integral piece of communication and connection. The piece that helps us understand each other, gain meaning from one another, and exist together.

Well... here are 3 steps to start regaining our ability to listen:

Reboot Our Ears: 
Take 3 minutes (only 90 seconds) of silence a day (or quietness). This actually helps your ears recalibrate themselves. Returning them to a place of higher performance.

Relate Sounds: 
Some people find particular noises "annoying" or "distracting", such as an air-conditioner, a truck/train going by, or a baby crying. Try to take some of the sounds you hear on a day to day basis and relate them to something positive. Imagine your world when those sounds don't piss you off or get you in a negative mood. 

Follow the Rules: 
So we have lost our ability to fully listen to those around us which has resulted in retaining only 25% of what we listen to! We are better then that, and here is an acronym that will help you retain more information.

      • R eceive: Pay attention to the person. (eye contact, look at their lips, stay focused)
      • A ppreciate: Use small sounds/word to appreciate what the person is saying (hmm, okay, yes...etc)
      • S ummarize: Old trick in the book. If you reflect back some of the information you were just told it will not only help you remember it but will make the other person feel appreciated and respected. (try starting the summary by saying "So")
      • A sk: Use relevant questions as a way of expressing interest, staying engaged, and as another staple to retain more information.

Remember that listening is how we understand each other and the things around us. It is always one of the top issues in relationships and families. It is worth paying close attention to.

*Some of the information provided above was derived from Julian Teasure's TED Talk "5 Ways to Listen Better".

Thursday, September 11, 2014

You Have a Secret Power

Why do adults love being around children? 
Do they have special powers, are we naturally drawn to them, or do they uncover a piece of us that wishes we could be just as 
happy as they are?

One thing is for sure, they smile and they do it a lot. When you compare it to their older counterparts, adults, there is no comparison. Whether the numbers are spot on or off by a bit, the jury is no longer out, kids laugh and smile far more than adults. 

The good news is that you have access to this super power as well. Some things you should know about smiling before moving forward, so that you can really get an idea of the power of your smiles. 


  1.  ONE SMILE = 2,000 Bars of Chocolate
    • Research shows that one genuine smile produces the same amount of brain activity as eating 2,000 bars of chocolate.
  2.  ONE SMILE = $25,000
    • British researchers found that one smile provide the same amount of brain stimulation as receiving $25,000. 
   3.  We smile before being born.
    • 3D Ultrasound technology is able to show that developing babies actually smile in the womb!

Now that we know the power of smiling, lets look at the smiling cycle and how smiling impacts us as well as other people. 

1. You Smile: Just Because

2. You Look Good and Feel Good: Brain imaging and EEG shows that "feel good" hormones are released as a reaction to you smiling. It makes you feel better and more confident. 

3. Others See You Smile: When others see you smile, neurons known as "Mirror Neurons" encourage you to feel the same emotion that is in front of you, HAPPY! (check them out! "The Mind's Mirror" American Psychological Association

4. They Mimic You and Smile: The same way that yawning seems to be contagious, smiles are as well. You see someone smile and naturally you desire to as well. Those Mirror Neurons at work once again! 

5. They Look Good and Feel Good: If you look good and feel good while smiling, why can't others? Share the wealth! Those same "feel good" hormones, predominately Serotonin, are released when others smile as well.

6. You Smile: It all will feed back to you or extend onto others.  


Make sure to smile multiple times each day. Especially when feeling a little down. 

Smile for your sake and others as well. 
Your smiles impact others.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

3 Life Lessons I Learned From My Wedding Day

What turns out to be one of, if not the most, important days of your life....YOUR WEDDING!

For decades the "traditional wedding" has seem to be a thing of the past. Sure you have old traditions at your wedding but wedding counts exceeding 200 people, costs of $30,000+, ceremonies held outside of churches and synagogues, and new traditions that newlyweds want to establish for themselves for the first time simply show us that weddings are different these days.

One thing that hasn't changed over time (for most people), is that your wedding day is a learning experience. I want to share what I learned on my wedding day at Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton Rhode Island on August 9th, 2014.

3 Life Lessons From My Wedding

1. Take a Moment for Yourself.

Life gets pretty crazy at points. Our world can sometimes consist of our own expectations, external expectations, procrastination, multitasking, and so on. 

When do you get a moment to slow down, savor the moment, be present and mindful, and witness what is going on around you? The answer is, you need to create this moment for yourself. A moment to yourself and in such a small amount of time (even a couple minutes), is enough to help you shift your focus, improve your mood, and become more mindful. 

On Kate and my wedding day, during our first dance we were in our own bubble. My younger sister and her boyfriend sang our first song (January Wedding by The Avett Brothers, changed to "August Wedding" -- Check her out Whitney Wolf Music). We heard it, but saw no one around, it was just us. My appreciation for the day drastically went up at that very moment.

2. Express Yourself

We are human and are driven by emotions. The reality is, some emotions are easier to express than others. This means a couple things. First, find another source to express through such as, painting, music, writing...etc. Second, you deserve to express your emotions... intelligently. 

Check out this site on Emotional Intelligence --> What is Emotional Intelligence?

On my wedding day, I was excited, anxious, and so unbelievably happy. I made it a point to express all of those that day in their own respective ways. I believe this picture is a culmination of all three of those emotions coming out!

3. Be Part of Something Bigger

On August 9th of this year I became part of something bigger, an extended family that I truly have felt a part of for the past 5 years. To put it felt good. 

One undeniable human need in this world is for "connection/love". We desire to connect/love others and be connected/loved by others. One thing that most people look over is that our need for connection and love can be partially met and enhanced through being connected to other things like our environment, our health, the food we eat, and many more venues.

Find new sources in your life of connection and love to enhance your own experiences and meet your own needs.