What is visualization and why it works?

Did you know that there is actually a way to trick our mind into believing that we already have something we want in the future?

This trick is especially very helpful for students before finals; or any exam or competition.

I learned this a while ago and to be honest, I did not believe it at first but then I read and heard from many highly successful people, like Tony Robbins and John Assaraf, that they practice it, too. I learned that most athletes practice this trick before their competitions.

And let me confess: It works!

This process is called COGNITIVE PRIMING and it goes like this: 🤓

1- Take a few minutes and write down your goals with as many details as possible. Make the description so accurate that anyone reading it can understand it as much as you do.

2- Read what you wrote and try to feel the emotions and sensations. See the colors, hear the sounds, recognize the smell and picture the end results you desire to create. What does it feel like, look like, smell like to achieve your goal?

This process is creating a model and a pathway for what you will create. This is in fact priming your brain to look for those experiences in the future and make them happen.

3- Now see the end results in your mind exactly as you want it to be. Be patient and do steps 2 & 3 twice a day, upon waking up and before going to bed. After a while, you will notice that your beliefs, thoughts and emotions will align with your actions and ultimately, your results.

Don’t forget this only works if you are working hard towards completing your goals. Action is required as it is the energy and movement that takes the idea (in our mind) to materialize into our physical world.

Try this process while working hard towards completing the goals you have set.

Ready to fulfill your potential?

Priming your mind with taking action combined is what makes what you want happen.

Be blessed.

Planning and Note Taking

Hello friends,

Welcome back to another session to learn great tips for managing stress and organizing your life.

These strategies not only help you manage and reduce stress and anxiety but will impact and transform your results.The ability to organize is an important skill to learn. Being organized can bring you the peace of mind that comes from knowing where everything is.

Keeping track of deadlines and test dates, and clearing your mind of the mental clutter associated with disorganization, will go a long way to reduce stress.Do you have a system in place for staying organized?

Where do you keep important information, notes, etc.?If keeping track of multiple subjects stresses you out, look for a lecture capture app! This can be helpful so you can listen back to classes to ensure you didn’t miss out on any vital information or stress about excessive note-taking.

If you want to take notes, be mindful of the following:

Don’t write down every word.

Decide what is important.

Be an active listener/reader.

Use symbols and abbreviations.

.Use colours.

Revise your notes as soon as possible.

Be consistent.

Improve your handwriting.

Forget spelling and grammar (as long as your meaning is clear)!

If you want to use, a good note taking apps, here is a list of the Best Apps for Recording Lectures:

Office Lens (Android)

Rev Voice Recorder (iOS and Android)

Voice Memo (iOS) …Super Notes (iOS and Android)

Notability (iOS) …AudioNote2 (iOS and Android)

iTalk (iOS and Android)

AudioShare (iOS and Android)

The following article will help you learn about different types of note writing including the Cornell, Mapping, Charting, Sentence and Outline methods.https://www.lifehack.org/794683/note-taking-tips

Today’s task is to come up with a plan to help you be more organized.

Prioritization is our most important task!

Adolescence is a stage, a delicate and complex stage. The choices and decisions you make, at this time of your life, will mainly and generally shape your future.

This is the time to put in place the foundations of what it will become one day of your life. This is why it is dangerous to be too carefree and reckless in life as a teenager.

You have grown up and are no longer doing the childish things you used to do and are now a young adult. This means a change in body characteristics, a change in mindset and, of course, a change in priorities.

Setting priorities simply means determining what is most important and what is not.

When you were a child, your priorities were to play, eat lots of chocolate, visit the amusement park and have lots of toys. It’s a whole different thing now, because your priorities naturally change and if those priorities are appropriate, they will certainly serve you well.

Learning to determine what is truly vital, important and optional in our lives can make our lives easier and more efficient and help us build a solid foundation for our adult lives.

How to do it?

I will share with you some tips here:

1- Take time to think.

I believe the first step in learning to prioritize is to take time to stop and think. Teenagers especially need this because they live in a fast-paced world with a million things demanding their attention.

It’s important to get clear on what’s important in our lives and what we want to achieve. Whether it’s financial success, academic excellence, or volunteer work, we need to set clear goals and focus our time and energy on those goals.

2- Take small steps.
While setting goals is a good thing, it is also important to determine the steps to take to achieve them. Remember that success repeats success, so we need to make sure that we take small, measurable and achievable steps.

For example, if you want to make the track team, a small achievable step would be to get up at 5am to run 5 miles, 4 days a week. This will motivate you to keep working on your goal and eventually achieve it.

3- Get a mentor and that’s when I come in as a coach and mentor.

If we know that we are struggling to achieve our goals or get our priorities in order, we can find a good mentor. Mentors can be a fantastic source of motivation and wisdom for young adults, giving them someone to look up to and confide in, especially if they can not get help from their parents. The mentor can be a coach, teacher, counselor, etc.

4- Remember that it is normal to change priorities as we grow up.

Nothing is constant in life, so you can feel free to change your priorities as you grow. This will not only allow you to check your progress and get rid of what no longer serves you, but also ensure that you are still aligning your life with your priorities.

Life can be difficult as a young adult as you struggle to find balance and prioritization will go a long way in helping you lead effectively your life and resutls.

What Tools Do You Carry to Get You to the Top?

Success in any area of life is about having the right ingredients and tools!

Imagine you want to cook a delicious food from a wonderful recipe book but you don’t have the right ingredients or the measurement cups, scale or the pan! You might substitute some of the ingredients and might use your own judgment to measure or maybe use that old pan that is not right for the job. You will cook something but the result is not close to what you could have accomplished if you had invested some time to buy the right things you needed! If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!

Academic success is also like cooking. You want to be a good student and have fun learning and making progress, you will need to invest your time and effort in the right tools! It is really simple!

Imagine climbing this mountain of academic challenges without the right learning tools and information! Soon, the task becomes overwhelming and the climb too difficult! The result will be discouragement, overwhelm, self-doubt and dropouts.

The right gadgets will help you climb the mountain of academic challenges with more ease and confidence because you will get to do the work faster and more effectively to get much better results! Your work becomes organized, and your results predictable because you know how to synchronize your academic life and personal life so each support the other! Academic life becomes fun, and chores turn into choices you make to excel in all aspects of your life. 

The learning tools you will learn not only equip you for better and less stressful academic life, but will serve you all throughout your personal and professional life.

If you are someone like me, you probably know that learning and growing is a life project. When we stop learning, our life becomes boring and unproductive. Ask any successful person and they will tell you they are constantly challenging themselves to learn a new skill, a new way to do things better and to grow mentally.

So the study skills is not for school, is for a life time. They will serve you today, tomorrow and all throughout your life.

There are many adults who have never learned to learn effectively and they still struggle with time management, organizational skills, memory skills, test taking skills, reading skills, note taking skills and more. They most likely don’t know their learning preferences, their best communication style, etc.

If they had invested time and effort in these useful and very practical skills, they most likely had a much easier time throughout their academic life when at school and they could have used these skills to better their results in personal and professional life. Learning skills is a life skill and that is a fact! 

When we know how to study, to have fun and to get good results while learning, we will feel better about ourselves and we build a better self-image. We will feel less stressed managing our work and  life by using the tools we have. 

The very fist tool is managing your time and environment. When you know how to tackle what is on your plate and you can predict your results, you will have less stress and you know that is a big deal in academic life!If you want some awesome techniques to start this journey, email me at alavia.aa@gmail.com and let me know. I am teaching executive functioning skills, study skills and youth leadership skills for many years and I know what a huge difference these skills can make in shaping habits students and to get awesome results.

A Masterpiece in the Making

“Teenage years”, are not easy years for parents and teens alike. Some teenagers can be seen as moody and angry, at times disrespectful and clumsy. Parents might even feel heartbroken and sad when faced with their teens attitude. 

If that is the case for you and you have experienced unpleasant attitude from your teen, please don’t despair. It is not their fault!

Let me explain! There are a number of factors causing them do what they do in this critical and scary age. 

1- Their frontal lobe is not yet fully developed. They are still working with brains that are under construction.The front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is developed last compared to the rest of their brain. The prefrontal cortex is the decision-making part of the brain, responsible for the ability to plan and think about the consequences of actions, solve problems and control impulses. Changes in this part continue into early adulthood.

Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers mainly rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behaviour.

2- Your teen is learning to become independent. They are growing up and want to show it to the world but they don’t know how to handle disagreements and different point of views properly. All they want is to have a voice and say what they want to say. 

3- At times, they feel frustrated because they even don’t know how to express what they mean and their inability to communicate could create misunderstanding and frustration for others, too. And sometimes, they are worried or scared and the only way they communicate is through anger and bad behavior.

I hope you feel a bit better now. Instead of reacting and changing the situation or trying to change our teens, we can learn more about their brain and better ways to communicate and interact with them.  

Here is what I learned and share with other parents on handling their teens behavior: 

1- Concentrate on the way you feel when countered with their bad behavior and communicate it to them but refrain from labeling their behavior.  If they are misbehaving, not responsive or rude, just tell them how their attitudes and actions are making you feel instead of telling them they are rude or irresponsible.  This will make them think about the consequences of their action instead of reacting and defending themselves.

2- Try to communicate to connect. Be an active and patient listener when they talk to you and show that you are interested in them. Share with them the mistakes you have made and what you learned from them when you were young. 

3- If you want them to act in a certain way, you need to model it and show it to them first. They are watching you and learning from you.  Don’t argue with them and if you are angry, keep some distance and take some time to breath and relax. Again, they are observing and learning. Also, don’t take their bad attitude personally.

4- Instead of lecturing them on what they should or should not do, listen more and let them talk to you. Ask them to talk about their day, their frustrations and show them you care.

5- Whatever you do, please don’t use sarcasm. This is one of the things that triggers more resentment, anger and disrespect towards you.

6- Set some rules. Let them know how people should talk and behave in the family but encourage the behavior with understanding and love.

Remember, there are some instances when some major and deeper issues are involved that need medical and professional intervention. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to talk to other people and seek help. 

I hope this helps. Being parent was never to be easy but we all know it is really worth it!

Turning Fear into a Fuel for Success

If you think your child doesn’t know how to perform to their potential at school, they most likely are scared of tests and exams.✍🏻🎓

Fear is probably the most experienced emotion by human beings.  Some people are more courageous than others but fear is real and we all know how debilitating it could be.

Test anxiety is a big issue for most students and even we as adult can experience it. I still dream of being late for my exams or failing at them.

Let’s think about it for a second.  Is there a real danger when we have to take a test? Do we need to protect ourselves when going for an interview? The answer is no, of course.  

So what is fear? Fear is an emotion caused by a subconscious trigger when we feel threatened.  It can be caused by a real threat like being chased by a bear in the middle of the forest or could be an imaginary one like the fear of failure at the exam.

We react to fear in many different ways. When we are scared, we run away, fight, faint or freeze. Our response to fear is in fact our brain trying to keep us safe.  

Imagine we are trying to take a test, we are going for an interview, we have a deadline to achieve a goal, or whatever that is, we are activating the fear center of our brain, amygdala.  The fear center or the emotional center in the brain will then release neurochemicals like cortisol, epinephrine, or norepinephrine. This rush of neurochemicals in our blood stream creates a huge amount of energy.  We use this energy, as we said before, to freeze, run away, fight or faint!

John Assaraf in his recent book, Innercise, explains so beautifully how fear is triggered in the brain and what we can do to not only defeat it but use it to our advantage.  Let’s explore John’s work in collaboration with a world renowned psychiatrists and brain imaging experts, Dr. Srini Pillay from Harvard.

John shows us how to channel fear and use it to not only to take control of our emotions but also to take a step towards solving the issue.

Here’s what he suggests:

“When you recognize a fear, try these two steps:

Innercise number 1: Take 6 Calm the Circuits.

Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, and blow out like you’re blowing out through a straw… and if you do this 5 seconds in 5 seconds out, with 6 to 10 breaths, you’re going to deactivate the fear response centre and that actually is going to reactivate your thinking centre in your brain so that you can move on to Innercise number 2.

Innercise number 2:  AIA

A-I-A  stands for Awareness. Intention. Action.

A: Ask yourself in a calm and relaxed manner the following questions:

What am I thinking right now?

What am I feeling right now?

Am I calm or am I tense?

Am I breathing deeply or shallow?

Is my heartbeat fast or slow?

Observe what you are feeling and what you are thinking and what you are doing.

I:  What is my intention right now?

Is my intention to move forward or is my intention to stay in this fearful state? And chances are you’re going to say: Well I really wanna move forward.

A: Ask yourself what is one action step that I can take to move forward towards my goal and dream.”

So let’s wrap up the process. In Innercise number 1, we calm the circuits to deactivate amygdala and then in Innercise number 2, called AIA (awareness-intention-action), we take control by being aware of the fear, of what we’ve been thinking and then deciding what to do.

These 2 Innercises combined “reconfigure the neural networking in our brain around the goal that we want to achieve” and instead of allowing the real or imagined danger to control us or to stop us, we  take one action step forward. By taking one small action, we rewire our brain.

This one small action forward towards what needs to be done, like deciding to take the test anyway and deciding to do well will neutralize that fear overtime.

This is such a cool method and it really works. It is good to know there are actually ways to rid of fear effectively. There are other methods other than breathing that can calm the amygdala such as visualization, meditation, exercice, affirmations and positive talk.  They are all good but breathing should be always combined with these other techniques.

I wrote this blog to give you a technique to work with when fear happens. It is amazing and it works but the underlying cause of test anxiety might still be there. 🤔🙄

Most likely they need a more solid foundation to tackle the academic needs.✍🏻🎓 They need executive functioning skills, such as time management ,organizational skills and much more. They need to learn their best learning style to do better academically and they need to know how to take notes, how to take tests and so much more.🎯🗂🗓

Being a student isn’t easy with all that is required of them. But knowing the right strategies can change the game and more importantly reduce stress and build confidence. 🏆🏅

Potential is living and breathing in your children but it might be hiding. They need to see it and grow into it. They need to create their future with a purpose and goal aligned with their strengths. They need to build a success mindset for life. 🔮

If you have a student or know someone who needs help, let me know. Your first session is complimentary.


How to celebrate the real you and the world around you in 2019

Last night, I watched a movie based on the life of a twelve years old girl who was abducted during the tribal wars in Sudan and sold to a family as a slave. The account of her life was a statement of how most wars are originated from human’s reaction to differences and their fear of the unknown.

Difference are usually the subject of resentment and prejudice in most societies and there is a good enough reason for that:  we are scared of change!

Read more

Procrastination! Are you doing it?

What do you think is the number one reason for procrastination? Studies and the latest brain research tell us SELF-IMAGE is the culprit!  You might say, get out of here but et me explain.

John Assaraf, the founder and CEO of NeuroGym, explains this chain of cause and effect beautifully.  He says when someone feels they are not smart enough, knowledgable enough, or not skilled enough, the stress system in their brain kicks in and the fear signal, or fight and flight mode gets activated. As a result, they respond by either escaping from or fighting with the situation. Read more

What Do You let Get Inside?

Are you using a shower filter? How about a water filter for your drinking water? I confess: I do!

Today, I had to walk out of my house with a mask! Most of you know the air is really toxic in the Bay Area because of a series of unfortunate wild fires in the North and South of Beautiful California. You see most people with masks and so I decided to use one, too!

When I was walking, I was thinking about the air that was being filtered through my mask and getting ready for inhalation!

I thought we filter many things before we let them get into our body. Don’t we? We purify water for consumption and for shower, we filter air when it is toxic.

But we don’t do anything when we are in a toxic social environment and we inhale all in and let it get absorbed to our mind, body and soul without any filter!

Read more