6 Ways to Keep Our Brain Sharp

Keeping our mind in shape is very important if we want to keep working efficiently each and every day. But sometimes, we often overestimate our capabilities and tire our brains out. For this reason, we have to come up with practices and activities to sharpen our mind. So, here are some ways for you to keep your brain in top condition.

1. Read books
Reading books (daily if possible) can help keep our mind stimulated. When we read, we activate areas in the brain that are not only involved in speech but also the ones involved in imagination and creativity. Reading also enhances our memory therefore delaying mental aging and memory decline. You could also try reading out loud so that you’re not only engaging your eyes, but also your mouth and ears.

2. Learn a new language
There are four main languages used in Singapore namely Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil. With that, chances are you have a first language, and know a few words used in these other languages. But, learning a language as a whole can have a lot of benefits to the brain. Not only that, you’ll also be able to communicate to more and more people.

3. Exercise
Physical exercise also offers many benefits to the mind as with the body. When we exercise, especially when we do cardio, we improve our ability to control our breathing. This means that we are able to take in oxygen efficiently. Having enough oxygen supplied to the brain keeps it functioning healthily.

4. Meditate
Having high stress levels contributes to a lot of harm on the brain. And meditation is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Our stress piles up because of all the work we are doing each day and all the information that the brain has to process. When we meditate, we give our minds a time to rest and keep fresh.

5. Have enough sleep
Having enough sleep also contributes to the reduction of stress. Sleep is also a very important part of the human’s natural body clock. Sleeping allows our mind to repair and reconnect brain cells and nerve connections that may have otherwise been damaged by stress and overworking. When you lack in sleep, your mind and body will stay exhausted.

6. Puzzles and strategy games
Playing strategy games and completing puzzles are probably the most common activities to do to keep our brains sharp. Even so, they are actually undervalued and often overlooked. Puzzles and strategy games makes us analyze and engage our mind compared to a lot of other activities. Just remember to challenge your brain and increase the difficulty of the puzzle from time to time.

Things You Should Not Do in the Gym

So, you’ve finally decided to get a work out at ActiveSG (or in any gym for this matter) and you go there pretty confident that you’re going to get some good exercise. But just like in any other place, there is very much a thing called gym etiquette. And whether it’s an unspoken rule or an established one, its best for you to know the things you should do and should never do in the gym.

Not cleaning up
Clean your place up after you’re done with your workout. Obviously, you will get pretty sweaty once you’re done. Cleaning the drops of sweat you left on the seat of a machine not only leaves the place sanitary, but you will also show consideration and respect for the next users. Also, put the weights back on the rack. It will be very annoying for others to maneuver over dumbbells lying all around the floor.

Giving unsolicited advice
Unless the other person is putting others or himself in a risk of injury, it’s better not to say anything. Of course, giving advice is a good thing and by all means do it if someone asks. But only do so if you really have thorough knowledge on what they’re asking about. You might teach them wrong and lead them to an injury.

Not having a plan
Having a trainer even on your very first days can benefit you a lot. But if you find yourself not hiring one, it’s good to do some research before going to the gym. Look exercises up in the internet, whether for losing weight, building muscle, strength training, and etc. depending on what your goal is. You don’t want to hit the gym walking around doing random exercises and not having any plan in mind beforehand.

Sticking to one routine
It’s good to stick to one routine when you’re a beginner to really get a feel for the fundamentals of the weights and the machines. But, you should stop doing that routine if you become used to it already. For one, your muscles will hit a plateau, meaning they won’t grow because they’re already prepared for what’s coming. If you really want to get bigger muscles, you’ll have to “shock the muscle,” as Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say. And you can only do that if you switch up your exercises.

Using your phone inappropriately
You never want to answer a call on the gym floor. Someone talking loud on their phones can be very distracting to those who are exercising. Plus, when you keep texting between sets, it gives the impression that you’re not serious about your workout. Another VERY important thing, don’t text when you’re walking around the gym. You could run into machines, weights on the floor, you might even throw off someone’s groove when their lifting.

5 Great Rules to Keep in Mind When Travelling Anywhere

Just as there are a lot of ways your vacation can work out well, there are also all kinds of ways that your experience can work out terribly and be inconvenient instead of being enjoyable.

But the good news is you don’t have to go through all that. Here are a few rules you should keep in mind when travelling, anytime, anywhere:

1. Observe proper manners and etiquette!
Manners and etiquette are quite tricky, since what could be considered normal in one place may be considered weird or rude in another – and the last thing you want when you’re on vacation is to commit a social faux pas.

However, you can easily avoid any social faux pas by observing how locals act and respond in different social situations, or ask around to know what is considered polite and what isn’t.

2. Don’t litter!
Not all places have garbage disposal bins nearby, but you will come across a point when you really need to throw away your trash. So what do you do?

A handy solution would be to keep your trash a separate compartment in your bag until you find a trash can. Having an extra plastic bag for exactly this will also save you a lot of hassle later on, especially when your disposables could leave a bad smell or stain your bag.

3. Keep your valuables in your carry-on.
Cellphones, wallets, credit cards, keys, passports, you name it – anything you need to access easily should all be in one bag that you have on your person at all times, especially since you’re travelling. You should also pay attention to your carry-on wherever you go so that you don’t lose it.

4. Don’t bring too much cash.
This applies when you’re in a place where you’re tempted to go on a shopping spree: take only what you need with a little extra for emergencies. That way, you won’t be tempted to blow your budget.

5. Book your accommodation in advance.
If you’re going out of town (or out of the country) for a while, the first thing you should book other than your flight is your reservation.

Of all the inconveniences that could happen to you on your trip, there’s nothing quite as bad as realizing that you have nowhere to stay for the night when every other place is fully booked or is too expensive for your budget.

Now that you know these rules, be sure to keep them in mind when you travel. They can also apply even when you’re not travelling, or simply going about your daily routine at work.
Enjoy your trip!

How to Get Over Your Post-Vacation Blues

Whether you’re taking an out-of-town trip or a simple staycation to unwind from the hassles of everyday life, you’ll eventually have to come back to your routine of work/school/etc. And when you do, you want to make sure that you’re up to speed and good to go.

So instead of being hung up on your vacation – i.e. getting the “post-vacation blues” – you can come back refreshed and energized to take life on, and here’s how you can do it in a few easy steps:

1. Adjust your sleep schedule ahead of time
If your vacation has you travelling between time zones, adjusting your sleep schedule is especially important since jet lag can affect your body’s circadian rhythm and make you feel groggy at school or at work.

It might also help to return a day earlier than what you planned. Give yourself a buffer day between returning home and going back to work in order to adjust.

2. Bring back souvenirs
Having a souvenir helps make the transition from your vacation to your old routine since it will remind you of the fun you during your trip. Keeping the fun memories and experiences you had is a great way for you to relieve stress and anxiety.

This would also be a great way to practice your gift-giving skills by finding the right souvenirs to give to your friends and family members. Even if they won’t like it as much as you did, it’s the thought at the end of the day that truly counts.

3. Introduce small elements of your trip into your daily life
You can try incorporating recipes or try taking foreign language classes, or even something as simple as changing your phone’s, or desktop’s, wallpaper into a picture you took of that place as something to remember by.

By infusing your home or work life with these little elements, you get to keep the excitement and sense of discovery. If you just came back from a short vacation abroad, this will help you expand your sense of identity and culture.

4. Know what to expect when you get back to work
Staying up-to-date doesn’t just mean keeping in mind any unfinished tasks that you left during your vacation, but also on any new tasks assigned to you whether they are urgent or not.

Once you’re brought up to speed, don’t try to tackle all your work all at once! This can easily make you anxious and panic the moment you get back from vacation. Instead, try mapping out your day and take your assignments one step at a time.

Travel Mistakes to Avoid for the Best Vacation Ever

Whether it is your first adventure abroad or already your 50th, you’d definitely want to avoid these common travel mistakes to guarantee optimum fun and relaxation. Keep in mind these tips to help avoid falling victim to any of these boo-boos.

1. Assuming that your phone is ready for international use
Keep in mind that every company has their own unique policy for international data use, which may include upgrading of your plan for the month of your trip or purchasing of local SIM pack to make calls whenever you are in another country. Before leaving home, make sure to check with your local carrier, so you stay connected with family and friends without returning home to a $1,500 bill!

2. Forgetting to inform your bank about the trip
There is nothing scarier than being locked out of your personal bank account when you are outside Singapore with no enough cash on hand. Days before your trip, give your bank a heads up that you will be going to this specific location for a certain amount of time. Many credit card companies and local banks here in Singapore lets you do this online by sending them a travel notification. This is definitely a step you will be glad you remembered.

3. Packing your medications in your luggage
Especially during long-haul flights, we get separated from our luggage for extended hours. Pro travel advice: if you are travelling with special medications, make sure that these items are always available in your carry-on bag. In the event you get stranded or your luggage was loaded in the wrong plane, you can breathe a bit easier knowing that you are able to keep your health on check.

4. Failing to exchange currency
You’d want to pick up some local currency the moment you step into a country. In most countries, public transportation, cabs, small eateries and local markets only accept cash, so exchanging local currency before leaving the airport is always a must.

5. Taking the signs for granted
This one seems like a no-brainer, but many tend to forget this when they get all too giddy to explore the new place. For example, if your vacation calls for a day at the beach, that cute bikini you just bought may be optional. But be sure to look for signs as some beaches may be nude beaches, and the signage is not always obvious. For many tourists, it is awkward being the only person in bikini in a nudist beach, as well as being the only nude person at a clothed beach. SO, do yourself a little favor and read the signs.

If you’re guilty to any of these mistakes during your previous trips, then you should know better by know. For the first timers, heed these advices for the best vacation ever!

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Herpes

Herpes virus has long been hidden in the mystery of fear. Whether they are genital herpes or just cold sores, just the idea of it can send people running to the opposite direction. Unfortunately, while it is important to take precautionary measures to keep ourselves safe from the virus, there are a lot of misconceptions about it.

Here are some of the most important facts about herpes virus you ought to know before jumping to conclusion.

1. Pretty much majority of people have it
According to researches, one in every six people have genital herpes. Moreover, the World Health Organization has conducted a study that concludes 67% of people all over the world have HSV-1 strain of herpes virus, which refers to both oral and genital infections.

2. But a large number of them do not have any idea
In many cases, if not most, people with herpes do not know they have it, because the infection may not show symptoms. Psychotherapists even encountered many cases of couples breaking apart because the other one thought that their partner cheated on them and have gotten them herpes. But the reality is that, in many cases, infected individuals do not know that they have the virus.

3. It’s possible not to have any symptom
As mentioned, some cases of herpes infection don’t show symptoms. This is especially true to people with strong immune system. In reality, our body’s immune system has the ability to fight foreign elements like virus. However, the virus may awaken and show symptoms if you have:
• Fever
• Just gotten a surgery
• Any illness that weakens your immune system
• Too much stress
When symptoms are triggered, you may experience painful outbreaks.

4. You can pass it on even without outbreak
Not having an outbreak does not mean you are clear of the virus; it can remain dormant in the body. And since the virus never leaves the body, it can spread through sexual encounter—not through blood or saliva. Unfortunately, some people accidentally pass the virus on their partner, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the end of your dating life. You can still leave a healthy and fulfilling life by taking the following by heart:

• be fully informed of the virus
• be honest with your partner
• finding a trusting partner
• practicing safe sex and using condom all the time
• keeping your body healthy.

5. It’s really not that bad
It’s just all in the mind. Whether it’s genital herpes or cold sores, all symptoms are manageable. While there is no cure (yet), outbreaks can be managed and greatly reduced. You can even go for years without symptoms at all.
Before you run out to your health clinic, remember: there’s no need to panic. The rise of anti-herpes virus medication over the last decades means that this virus can be managed effectively. It is just the stigma that’s making it severe than the virus itself.

5 Tips for Beginners in Music Production

Singapore is definitely at a level that does not lose out in Southeast Asia in terms of music production. There may be many who want to try and delve into the side of music, but there are many things to remember and here are only some of them.

1. Play an instrument
Learning to produce music is very similar to learning your first instrument. It takes time and dedication to have a certain mastery in both aspects. With that, knowing how to play an instrument is a key factor in music production. The piano/keyboard is an indispensable element as it provides the melody of a song. Singapore-renowned music producer and senior music arranger, Ricky Ho, has been playing the piano since he was 5. Singaporean-born DJ, Kygo, has also learned the piano since he was 6.

2. Learn the technology
Music production also not only requires knowledge in instruments, it also employs the use of soundboards or programs for sound-processing. If you don’t have much knowledge in sound-processing, FL Studio and Ableton Live are good DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) to start with. Always remember though, a producer who does not know what he is doing can never produce good sound, even with the best equipment. Learn and master the ins and outs of your tech and apply this knowledge as you grow.

3. Get involved with other producers
You learn many valuable things by talking to others who already know more than you. This is another great way to learn in the production scene. Reading through books can be useful as a foundation, but actually seeing how experienced producers work can give you a picture of how its done first hand. It doesn’t really have to be someone famous as well, you might have a classmate or co-worker whose already dabbled into the world of music production that you can learn from.

4. Close your eyes
Once you’ve started to get the hang of music producing, things will come naturally. But, one thing we sometimes overlook is actually listening to the sound well. DAWs require you to actually look and see the screen to arrange the music. This leads us to highlight the visual aspect in producing music. Even so, when hunting for good sound, our top priority should be our sense of hearing. So close your eyes and trust your ears, if it sounds good its probably because it IS good.

5. Don’t sit and wait for inspiration. It comes naturally
While producing music there are many instances where you might feel stuck and think that you’re not making any progress. This is fairly common and natural, somehow the remedy for this is also pretty simple. Sometimes you just have to focus on your craft daily and ideas will flow naturally. Make random beats without even caring to put it in a song. It might help you discover new things and rekindle your inspiration.

6 Tips to Help with Memorization

Memorizing involves taking information and committing it to memory. In school and in many other aspects of life, memorization is important. But, many of us are just not cut out for it. So here are just some tips to help you remember things easily.

1. Write and Rewrite everything
Writing and rewriting the information again and again allows you to familiarize the words and understand what you are trying to memorize. After writing them down, try to say the words out loud. While doing this, don’t forget that you should think about what you’re saying and are not just blurting words out.

2. Record
When you are trying to memorize a speech, record yourself reading it. Then, listen to the recording continuously. Although this can be something most beneficial for auditory learners, it is still a very good method to use especially if you combine it with the first tip of writing and rewriting. Some even say that listening to a recording while sleeping can help you remember the piece better.

3. Choose a good place
When looking for a place to memorize, try to emulate the scenario when you need to use the information you’ve memorized. When taking an exam in a classroom, it should be very quiet. When you are trying to memorize some things for this exam, try to do it in a place where you can capture that classroom environment. Doing this prompts the subconscious to help, making memorization easier.

4. Use your senses
This one is directly connected to the third tip. When you are memorizing something, try to use a your sense of smell and apply perfume. For example, if you’re memorizing a speech wear a certain scent. When the time comes that you present that speech, wear and have a whiff of the same scent while you were still practicing.

5. Use repetition
Continuous repetition is probably one of the most important ways to learn and remember things. You could connect this idea to why athletes do drills repeatedly and that it’s simply because it enhances muscle memory. Repetition over a long period helps our brain to gain new information, get used to it, and retrieve that information by the time we need to use it.

6. Build a “memory palace”
The idea of building a memory palace involves associating what you memorize with a certain place. For example, you want to memorize the first ten digits of pi which is 3.1415926535. Imagine you’re walking around your house, or any place really. Associate the digits with certain things found around your memory palace. You’re outside the house and you see a tree- associate with number three. As you walk, you notice there’s a stick- number one, on the ground. When you get inside the house, you see the wall clock and it reads four o’clock. So on and so forth.