About Joel Almeida

Joel Almeida PhD mentors busy doctors and other professionals to protect the one thing that makes all of life better: their brain. His science-based Brain Care guide reveals 10 one-minute practices for better brain health at any age, with more peace and joy now and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s.

12 Powerful Gratitude Practices That Bring Joy

Learn How Practicing Gratitude Improves Your Life “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~A. A. Milne Gratitude didn’t come naturally to me. If there had been a championship for complaining, I would have been a serious contender. For years I felt entitled to everything, including the kindness of others. This didn’t make me very happy, since it was always easy to find something or someone to complain about. The more critical I grew, the less appealing life seemed and the worse I got on with others. The weather seemed awful, supermarket queues too slow, bosses too unappreciative, children too rowdy and messy, winters too cold, summers too hot, health too unsatisfactory, work too stressful, prices too high, quality too low, TV too boring, politicians too self-serving, traffic too slow, drivers too inconsiderate, and so on. If I had continued living like that, I might have ended up complaining that water was too wet and the sky too blue. Fortunately, I came across countless research studies about gratitude. How it reduced anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion, and even suicidal thoughts, while boosting happiness and satisfaction with life. How it lowered blood pressure, boosted immunity, and encouraged healthy habits while improving sleep. Research even suggested that gratitude improved the quality of romance and marriage! Now that seemed like an irresistible offer. I started collecting practical tips for living in a more grateful way, and started trying them out. Warning: these ways of practicing gratitude could seriously damage your unhappiness!   1. Tell your partner exactly how a recent episode made you love them even more. Be very specific and detailed. For example, “I love that you thought about what I would really like for our anniversary, and that you made all the bookings because you know it takes me ages to pick a hotel.” It doesn’t have to be in connection with an annual event, such as an anniversary. It could be something as small as the way they hug you to cheer you up when they see that you’ve had a hard day. But tell them exactly what it is you loved about that, and why. This detailed expression of gratitude signals your responsiveness to your partner. It tends to make them more responsive too. Romance thrives on mutual responsiveness.   2. If your relationship is going through a rough patch, imagine the disappearance of your partner. This is counter-intuitive, but it makes you more grateful for all that is good in the relationship. People who suddenly lost their partner often tell of how relatively insignificant their petty disagreements now seem. They often say they would give anything to have their loved one back. If I even think about trying this, it immediately makes me way more grateful for my partner. It makes me realize how lucky I am.   3. Look beyond a gift. Think consciously about the trouble that somebody took [...]

2020-10-01T20:01:54-07:00By |

7 Steps to Create More Love and Happiness in the Present Moment

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” ~Abraham Maslow It was 4:00am, but I was wide awake. I wanted to be a great achiever, a great partner, and a great parent. Instead, I had turned into an irritable insomniac who no longer knew how to relax. I was trying to do everything perfectly and be everything to everyone. Demands kept piling up. This made it tough to focus on the present moment. A wandering mind is less happy than a mind focused on what it is doing, according to scientific research. For most people, a wandering mind dominates about half of the time spent awake. That encourages over-thinking, anxiety, and other emotional distress, while limiting the quality of work and play. At the time, I didn’t realize how focusing on many different things at once limited my ability to be fully present in my relationships. I also didn’t realize just how crucial relationships are to happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development tracked people for seventy-five years. People who thrived weren’t those who gained wealth and fame, but those who nurtured great relationships with family, friends, and community. What’s the key to nurturing great relationships? Presence. Love flourishes in an atmosphere of kindness, patience, forgiveness, trust, and hope. This is helped by presence and responsiveness in the moment. Anxiety and impatience don’t provide a fertile soil for love. I’ve gradually developed a way of being more present in each waking moment of a busy life. It’s made me much calmer, kinder, happier, more relaxed, confident, and more attentive to family, friends, and even strangers. Think of your mind as a computer screen with many tabs open. How can you close all the tabs except one, and focus on that? Here’s what works for me.   1. Clarify what you value. Identify your top core values, those things that make life worth living for you. For example, I most value love, health, peace of mind, contribution, and self-actualization. Your list might be a bit different. It’s okay to fantasize about being atop some metaphorical mountain. However, it helps to make values, rather than goals, your “mountaintops.” Then you can keep living by your values even if you don’t succeed at one of your goals. For example, you might not yet be able to take that dream round-the-world trip with your partner, but you can still give them your undivided attention for a little time each day. This approach boosts motivation and peace of mind. It also plucks fulfillment out of the distant future and brings it into the present moment, enabling you to focus on the now. When your days and minutes express what you value, you become more confident that there’s nothing else you should be doing at any given moment.   2. Identify your options. What are the goals and projects you could pursue? How does each measure up against your top few core values? How [...]

2021-01-08T12:33:42-08:00By |