Reality isn’t Really Real

By Ran Zilca
Reality isn't really real

Pause for a second, and turn your look away from this screen. What is the reality that you see around you? What are the objects, their colors, and their shapes? Are they in motion or are they still? This reality that you see is the world as it is right here and now. It may seem that you are outside of it, and simply observing it. Yet this reality is not outside of you. It only exists in your mind, and you view it through your own unique lens, filtered by your senses, your memories, your mood, and by your thoughts. A different person would look through his or her own perspective, and may describe a vastly different reality, as if the two of you are not at all in the same place and time.

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Coulda Woulda Shoulda – How choosing your words defines your future

By Ran Zilca
Coulda Woulda Shoulda

As kids, we didn’t have dreams. We had plans. We planned to become astronauts, rock stars, movie stars, authors, and inventors. These were never dreams. They were very concrete plans. But with age, the language started shifting. We started saying “I may” instead of “I will”, and “someday” instead of “when I grow up”. Plans turned into to dreams, and for many of us, the language shifted even further, until we were left with “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”, abandoning or dreams and our plans.

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What Lesson Can Our Children Teach Us about Finding Meaning at Work?

By Ran Zilca
Pail and shovel

Last Saturday I went the beach with my family. The days are the last days of summer. The sun was comforting, the breeze was cool, and everyone at the beach were in a wonderful mood. Everyone but me. I couldn’t quite tell why I was groggy. I had no imminent reason to be upset or worried, but it was one of those mornings where you feel like everyone conspired to annoy you. Most likely, I was probably overworked and needed some downtime with my family – at the beach…

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Three Bedtime Reflection Routines that Will Help You Sleep Better

By Ran Zilca
Good Sleep

 

There’s a lot going on in the critical moments when you lie in your bed with your eyes closed. As you slowly fall asleep, your brain goes through the gradual process of disengaging from the external world, and quieting your normal train of thoughts. At first, the brain exhibits increased alpha activity, and you start to relax. As you continue to let go, alpha waves slowly makes way to theta waves, with small bursts of alpha activity still connecting you the real world, until finally – you sleep. What makes this process tricky is that it involves letting go of all thoughts and intentions, so “intending” or “trying” to fall asleep only keeps you awake.

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The One Thing You can Do Right Now to Grow Younger

By Ran Zilca
Grow Younger

In his 1982 hit “Jack and Diane”, rock singer John Mellencamp describes two high-school sweethearts, who are  oblivious to the inevitable awakening of adulthood, waiting around the corner. In the famous chorus, using only a handful of words, Mellencamp conveys one of the saddest processes that many people experience:

“Oh yeah – life goes on – Long after the thrill of living is gone…”

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The Risks of Distracted Living

By Ran Zilca
Distracted living

By now, we all know the risks of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year thousands of people die in car crashes where the driver was occupied in something other than driving, mostly texting on their phones. A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash (for comparison, talking only increases risk by 30%), yet most drivers admit that they do it. The temptation for distraction is too strong, even in the face of a substantially greater risk of death.

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What is the One Thing that All Humans Share?

By Ran Zilca
What makes us human

 

This morning the weather in the suburbs of Tel Aviv was bright and sunny, and a cease-fire was finally in effect. On my way back home from the gym, I stopped at the grocery store to get some milk. The store was empty apart from a cashier, another employee who was arranging inventory on the shelves, and their boss. I went to the aisles to fill up my basket, and by the time I got back to the register, the boss had left. The three of us were the only ones in the store, and with no customers around, and no boss watching over the employees’ shoulders, the situation lent itself to small-talk. I started by complaining about the Tel Aviv heat:

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This is Your Brain on Oxygen

By Ran Zilca
This is Your Brain on Oxygen

 

Many of us hold our breath unintentionally while engaged in daily tasks such as reading and writing email (a phenomenon called “email apnea” or “screen apnea” [1]). We simply “forget” to breathe. This deficit of oxygen-flow to the brain can result in headaches, increased stress, loss of concentration, and fatigue. Yet simple breathing exercises can restore normal, healthy breathing, promote a healthier brain, and even foster more positive mindsets and perspectives. Here’s what your brain looks like on oxygen, along with a simple breathing exercise you can practice each day.

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Is there an Ultimate Destination?

By Ran Zilca
The ultimate destination

 

I’m sitting on a flight from Paris to New York, trying to pass eight long hours, and getting bored. The airplane does not have an in-flight entertainment system, and my Kindle book-reader ran out of battery, so I resort to reading anything I can lay my eyes on. First I read the duty-free catalog (twice), then the airline’s travel magazine, and to my embarrassment I even read the safety card. Eventually I empty my pockets, pull out my boarding pass, and stare at it. On its back there is some fine-print titled “advice to international passengers on carrier liability”, and it starts with the following words:

Passengers on a journey involving an ultimate destination

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5 Things You Can Do in the Next 5 Minutes to Be Happier in the Next 5 Days

By Ran Zilca
Happiness

 

Happiness is a lifelong pursuit of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. But while it could take years of persistence to deeply transform your life, there are scientifically-tested strategies that are shown to provide an immediate happiness boost. Such activities provide a modest increase in happiness but it lasts for weeks and months, and when practiced consistently over time, they become happiness habits, energizing you to live your dreams and passions.

Here are 5 such strategies that you can practice right now, to get a shot of healthy psychological nutrients:

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