Protecting your most valuable asset — your family
FROM THE DESK OF
March Madness, St. Patty’s Day and more! We all have a wee bit of Irish in us this month. I am so ready for some spring weather and I hope you are too! We are still having our workshops and would love to see you, your family, and friends at our many workshops. Unfortunately, we have been in court lately with families and couples that have failed to plan. Particularly, if you are not married and have a life partner, you must plan to protect your assets and your life partner. If you don’t, the State of California will have a plan for you that you might not like! Make sure your family has peace of mind and your estate planning is done correctly. This protects your life partners or any other family members that you would like your assets to pass to. Come to one of our workshops and learn how to properly plan to protect those you love.
WHY THE MILITARY JUST GOT MORE MINDFUL The Benefits of Mindfulness These days, the term mindfulness is more likely to conjure thoughts of smartphone apps than rooms wafting with nag-champa. Business guru Tim Ferris and journalist Dan Rather profess an almost cult-like devotion to the practice, and multinationals like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Bank of America all offer mindfulness training to their employees. Recently, another large organization has jumped on the bandwagon: the United States military. So, what’s all the fuss about? For years, mindfulness devotees professed that cultivating it as a practice could alleviate the symptoms of everything from high blood pressure to anxiety. Historically though, critics were dismissive, claiming studies on mindfulness weren’t rigorous enough because they didn’t include a placebo. Unlike participants in traditional studies, where half the group believes they are being treated but are only taking the equivalent of a sugar pill, participants in meditation studies usually know whether or not they are meditating.
Until next time,
One researcher changed that in 2016. Neuroscientist Dr. Amishi Jha conducted a study where students at the University of Miami were split into two groups and then put through a series of
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WHOSE PICKS WILL GO ALL THE WAY? March Madness Fun for the Whole Family Evidence already supports that stressful environments reduce cognitive function and memory, and during the course of the study, all the students experienced an increase in external stressors —midterms and finals. When Jha retested the students at the end of the study, she found that the control group of students, when retested, did significantly worse on the tests later in the term. Stress had eroded their cognitive function. The group of students who received mindfulness training, however, became more accurate and focused. Jha’s findings suggest that not only is meditation a way to improve performance, but it is also a way to inoculate yourself against the effects of stressful situations. Dr. Jha continued to study the effects of mindfulness, and in 2019 she published a second study that examined its effects on a different group: soldiers in a special operations unit. This time, Dr. Jha found that not only were soldiers trained in mindfulness better able to discern important information in a chaotic environment, but they also saw gains in their working memory. Thanks in part to Dr. Jha’s research, mindfulness is edging its way into the United States military. Army infantry soldiers in Hawaii began using mindfulness this winter, for example, to improve their shooting skills cognitive tests. One group received mindfulness training and practiced it for a combined one hour a week, over a period of nine weeks. The other group of students received instruction about escaping worries and fake stress relief strategies.
and reduce the risk of civilian harm. The idea is that by strengthening working memory through mindfulness, soldiers will be less likely to make impulsive decisions. Large organizations have the resources to carefully vet the training and benefits they provide to their employees, and on the topic of mindfulness, Google, Bank of America, and the U.S. military all agree: Mindfulness works. If you’re looking for improved cognition and focus, you need to look no further than your own breath, an instructional app on your smartphone, and one hour of practice a week.
make fun snacks to eat while you watch or bet pieces of candy on who will have the most points to create great family bonding opportunities.
One of the greatest things about March Madness is that you don’t have to be a huge college basketball fan to get in on the fun. Kids of all ages can fill out brackets — or have a parent fill one out for them — and watch their picks duke it out on the court. While healthy competition among family members can be fun all on its own, check out the following tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile and reap as much fun from March Madness as you can.
REWARD THE WINNERS WITH PRIZES.
Offer prizes to each round winner as well as the overall bracket winner to get the whole family involved. Small prize ideas for each round can include a homemade dinner of the winner’s choice, a week’s supply of their favorite snack, or a coupon for getting out of a chore. Whoever wins the whole tournament (or makes it the furthest with their bracket) deserves a bigger reward. Offer them the chance to see a movie of their choice in theaters or to eat a meal at their favorite restaurant.
CREATE A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY.
Learning math or geography might not sound like your child’s idea of fun, but it can be when they learn it through the lens of March Madness. See if your kids would be interested in understanding the inner workings of the ranking system or studying where some of the qualifying colleges are located on a map of the United States. They may find it so interesting that they don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills.
TURN EACH GAME INTO AN EVENT.
Not every kid may like watching basketball, but if they fill out a bracket, then they might gain at least a passing interest in who will win each game. To elevate their interest, turn each March Madness matchup into a little party. It doesn’t have to be fancy;
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HEADS OR TAILS? The Scientifically Smarter Way to Make Business Decisions
your accumulated experience.”According to the authors, flipping a coin is the best way to really listen to your basal ganglia and insula. Your subconscious brain has already made a decision; flipping a coin helps you test your intuition about each option. If the coin lands on heads and you feel relieved, then heads is the right choice. However, if the coin lands on tails and you’re uncertain or want to flip again, then that’s your intuition saying the other option is the better choice. So, the next time you’re caught in a pickle, grab the nearest quarter and put your intuition to the test.
part of the cerebral cortex, becomes engaged when you experience pain, feel love, listen to music, or even enjoy a piece of chocolate. Neuroscientists believe the insula is responsible for self-awareness, particularly for recognizing changes in your body. When you have to solve a problem, your basal ganglia start working on a solution, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. If you make a conscious decision that agrees with the subconscious solution of your basal ganglia, your brain gives off a subtle reward. The decision doesn’t have to be logical to feel right — that’s your gut feeling. However, if the conscious and subconscious parts of your brain don’t agree, your insula detects the discrepancy and registers a threat. It’s the“I have a bad feeling about this”response.
You have two options in front of you. They both sound great, are backed by research, and could transform your business for the better, but you can only choose one. Which do you commit to? When you’re faced with two equally worthwhile options, science says the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. When you flip a coin, you’re not really leaving the decision up to chance; you’re actually calling on your intuition to guide you. The practice is often regarded as unscientific, but there’s a lot of research to support making intuitive decisions. Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, authors of“The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks toWork Smarter, Better, Happier,”explain how we develop that“gut feeling.” Intuitive decisions are driven by two structures in your brain: the basal ganglia and the insula. The basal ganglia are connected to movement and building habits. The insula,
Fabritius and Hagemann note that gut feelings“represent the most efficient use of
Take a Break!
Easy Irish Soda Bread
Inspired by AllRecipes.com
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1/2 cup margarine
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4 cups all-purpose flour 4 tbsp white sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
Directions 1. Heat oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a large baking sheet. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, andmargarine. 3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg, andmix until dough comes together. 4. Knead dough on a lightly floured
5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. 6. Brush the raw loaf with this mixture and cut an“X”into the top. 7. Bake loaf for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of loaf. Youmay need to continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
RAIN REBIRTH SPRING SPROUT
GROWTH LUCKY MELT PUDDLE
ARIES BLOOM BUD FLOWERS
surface. Formdough into a round before placing it on baking sheet.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of DeDe PAGE 1 Improve Your Focus Through Mindfulness PAGE 1 March Madness Fun for the Whole Family PAGE 2 The Science Behind Gut Feelings PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Easy Irish Soda Bread PAGE 3 Stay Stateside With These Little-Known St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations PAGE 4 There’s no place quite like Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. What was once a purely religious holiday to honor the legend of St. Patrick chasing all the snakes out of the country has turned into a global celebration. But if a trip to Ireland isn’t in the budget, check out these three little-known stateside destinations that are just as festive. SHORT AND SWEET IN ARKANSAS Thanks to the clever thinking of some Irish friends meeting for a pint at a bar on one of the shortest streets in the world, Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will travel 98 feet once again this year. Don’t assume the turnout isn’t robust just because the distance is staggeringly low. The parade lasts for hours, drawing thousands of people to watch celebrities, musicians, bands, floats, and Miss Arkansas glide by. The event also features a Blarney stone kissing contest and a parade king and queen.
STAYING STATESIDE FOR ST. PADDY’S? Celebrate With These Little-Known Festivities
A LITTLE LUCK IN AMERICA’S HEARTLAND O’Neill, Nebraska, is home to the world’s largest shamrock and more unique St. Patrick’s Day traditions. This Irish community doubles down on its heritage every March with a traditional parade, music, and Irish dancing. But the town also hosts a popular dodgeball tournament and donkey basketball. What could be better than pummeling your opponents in dodgeball and outpacing the competition while riding a donkey in the school gymnasium? Perhaps enjoying a pint or two with your teammates afterward. And O’Neill is just the spot to do it. OHIO’S LITTLE PIECE OF IRELAND You may not be able to fly to Ireland, but you can visit a little piece of it right in the U.S. Head to Dublin, Ohio, this St. Patrick’s Day for a traditional celebration sure to put a wee bit o’ pep in your step. Partake in a traditional Irish breakfast or enjoy a parade complete
with bagpipers and Irish dancers. Boasting one of the largest celebrations in the U.S., Dublin is an affordable alternative for those looking to celebrate the Irish way.
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