12 Things Your Parents Were Right About
It seems as if parents have a cliché for every occasion. How many times did you roll your eyes while your mom imparted the wisdom she gained from walking to school 10 miles uphill in the snow? Well, turns out mom and dad were right about a lot. Today I find myself muttering some of the same phrases my parents shared with me – and for good reason. Here are 12 things your parents were probably right about.
1. Don’t Put All of Your Eggs In One Basket
Focusing all of your energy on one thing can have drawbacks. Dad was right when he said to keep an open mind and make yourself available to opportunities. The technical word for this is diversification. According to Nobel Prize winner in economics Harry Markowitz, diversification lowers risk of loss and increases chances for success when investing. The lesson of diversification applies to other aspects of life as well, such as friendship. By sharing your time and energy with several friends – rather than simply devoting yourself to an incredibly close relationship with just one friend – you increase the breadth and depth of your personal support system. The message is: spread those eggs between several baskets in every area of life.
2. Early To Bed Early To Rise
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In a study of 824 undergraduate college students, Professor of Psychology at University of North Texas, Daniel J. Taylor, found that students who reported being early risers scored one point higher in GPA compared to reported night owls. These students who woke up early were more productive, less tired and consumed less alcohol and tobacco. When you align your waking and sleeping cycle with the rising and setting of the sun, you align yourself with the natural circadian cycle. This means a solid night's sleep and a fresh feeling when you wake with the sun. According to researchers from the University of Bologna Neurological Sciences Department in Italy, deep-wave sleep helps you retain information from the previous day. During the dream-state, the mind replays the day and holds onto important information, placing it into long-term memory storage. If you're sleep-deprived you're less likely to hold onto this information. This is why it's important to keep a consistent sleep schedule that is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun to stay sharp.
3. Always Finish What You Started
Craig Copeland, author of “Finish What You Start,” was a personal assistant for over 16 years for CEOs of major corporations as well as entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, producers, directors, A-list actors, Grammy-winning performers and heads of major movie studios. He found that these successful people finished what they started, and this is what propelled them to the top. Need some tips on how to finish? 1.) Never bite off more than you can chew; pick projects you are capable of finishing. 2.) Stay focused on one project and avoid multi-tasking, which will distract you from reaching your goal. 3.) Give yourself a time frame in which the project must be finished; commit to it. 4.) Avoid making excuses.
4. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
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Science is behind your mom on this one. Fruits and vegetables are necessary for a healthy balanced diet. A study conducted by researchers in Netherlands, recruited 451,151 participants from 10 European countries between 1992 and 2000 and followed them until 2010. The data supports “the evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of death,” particularly cardiovascular disease. The research also showed that there was more nutritional value in raw – as opposed to cooked – vegetables because of the potential loss of nutritional value when some foods are cooked in high heat. Fruits and veggies also have been linked to happiness and offer benefits to organs, hair and skin. In order to gain the benefits of fruits and vegetables, aim to eat at least five servings a day.
5. Be Patient
Patience is a virtue. Research conducted by Ayelet Fishbach and Xianchi Dai showed that having patience increases the perceived value of the object being waited for and makes a person more patient in the future. If you are impatient, you can practice in simple ways so you are prepared. For example, force yourself to wait to make decisions. Practice keeping calm. Find something entertaining to do while waiting in line. Plan an event that you will not do for a week. Says Fishbach, “Even just thinking about how much you’ve been waiting could be enough to increase your patience.”
6. Be Thankful for What You Have
Dr. Robert Emmons spent eight years researching the benefits of gratitude for his book “Thanks: How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.” Emmons says having a grateful attitude can decrease blood pressure, strengthen heart function, increase feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins and decrease depression and cortisol levels associated with stress. We live in a world where we are bombarded with messages saying that we should work more to get more. Sit down and make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life. You might be surprised by how much you already have for which to be grateful.
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7. Wash Your Hands Before You Eat
Your parents were 100 percent right. A study was conducted at Michigan State University in which 3,749 people were surveyed for hand-washing behaviors in a public restroom. They found that only 5 percent of the people washed their hands long enough to kill germs that can cause infections, one out of three didn’t use soap and 10 percent didn’t bother washing their hands at all. The Centers for Disease Control advises: Wet hands with warm water, lather with soap for 20 seconds, rubbing the hands together and scrubbing the back of the hands and under nails, rinse well under clean water and air or towel dry. Washing hands properly cuts down the spread of flu, cold and food-borne illnesses.
8. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
This piece of advice became a bestselling book by Richard Carlson that stayed on the New York Times Bestseller list for 101 weeks in the late 1990s. When you freak out about things you increase the amount of stress hormone released in your system. Stress is completely necessary when you have a cheetah chasing you for dinner, but it’s downright damaging when released consistently every day. Need a quick stress buster? Exercise will do the trick. A brisk walk, taking the stairs or a few minutes of jumping jacks will increase the feel-good chemicals in your brain and chase away the bad ones. If you are looking for a long-term fix you may consider inviting meditation or yoga into your everyday routine.
9. Take a Nap (if You Can)
Remember nap time as a kid? It just so happens that some very famous adults never stopped napping. Just to name a few: Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, John F. Kennedy and Thomas Edison were fans of the mid-day sleep break. According to sleep researcher Sara Mednick, the author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life,” taking a power nap is good for your body, mind and mood. When you nap for 10-20 minutes in the afternoon you can heighten memory, problem solving, logic, perception and reaction time. Napping may also lower blood pressure, reduce stress and be good for your heart. So, next time you need extra brainpower grab your pillow and take a nap.
10. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
When it comes to fixing your sink or fixing your diet, it’s always smart to start fixing when the problem is small. It will cost much less both emotionally and monetarily. Dan Ariely, a psychologist at MIT, conducted research with college students and term papers and found that setting a deadline is a good strategy for overcoming procrastination. Researchers also believe procrastination can be countered by implementing systems such as accountability to others, bargaining with yourself to get things done, positive reinforcement or rewards for completed missions and clearly defining the task at hand.
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11. Don’t Do the Crime If You Can’t Do the Time
Which is to say, always weigh the consequences before you make a decision to do something. A report published in Neuroscience found that making decisions that you will regret later affects the emotional part of the brain as well as memory. These bad choices can affect decision-making in the future and may cause a person not to make optimal choices. So, how can you be sure you make the right choice? Try narrowing down your choices; the less you have to choose from the easier it can be to make a decision. Put your choices down on paper; make a good column and a bad column and weigh the good and bad consequences for your decision. Act while calm. Avoid making decisions from a place of fear.
12. Respect Your Elders
Why? Because they’re smarter than you. A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Texas and Texas A&M found that wisdom does come with age. The study consisted of approximately 50 men and women aged 67-82 as well as 50 men and women aged 20-36. The participants were asked to extract oxygen on a pretend mission on Mars. They had two options. The first would increase rewards given in future trials and the second offered an increase in immediate rewards. The old-timers won each time. They chose the options that led to the most long-term rewards. Psychologist Todd Maddox, who co-authored the study said, "Broadly, these results suggest that younger adults may behave more impulsively, favoring immediate gains, while older adults are better at considering the long-term ramifications of their actions.”
What Do YOU Think?
Did your parents ever say any of these pieces of advice? Are there any other sayings you heard from your parents while you were growing up? Do you find yourself saying them now as an adult? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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- Kohei Hara/The Image Bank/Getty Images