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A Neuropsychologists 4 Habits for a Successful and Happy Life

A habit is a behavior that becomes automatic over time.



Image Credit: Midjourney

Today, the world we live in provides us with endless opportunities.

Consequently, these countless paths can take us down roads that can all too easily, make or break our lives. This, along with the increasing prevalence of AI, leaves many of us faced with the looming question of purpose…what makes humans successful and happy despite different circumstances?

I’m Dr. Kendal Maxwell and I’m a practicing neuropsychologist, which means I study the connection between the human brain and its associated behaviors (in a wide variety of people with an even wider range of medical problems). When the COVID-19 pandemic began I became even more intrigued by human behavior as people’s everyday structure was torn away from them, and realized a revolutionary social experiment was occurring right in front of my eyes.

Not only was I watching how people’s habits were affecting them (both positively and negatively), I was also experiencing first hand my own, as I also began to struggle to keep myself together during a time of collective trauma. 

With that being said, the first thing I did was take a deep dive into researching habits to help myself as well as my patients. How could I develop a physical, tangible tool to help others not only cope, but come out on the other side a better version of themselves? A self-guided habit journal was the answer. That is when I created 12 Months to Happier Habits, then called upon a brilliant and artistic friend of mine, Victoria Nicole Varela, to bring creative life to our project.

This journal helps get you back on track by eliminating negative habits and by helping you introduce new positive habits which allows you to show up as the best version of yourself. But what exactly are habits? Why do they have such a powerful and profound effect on our daily lives and even more so, our total existence?

A habit is a behavior that becomes automatic over time. Once a behavior becomes a habit, it involves less work for the brain and body to do it over any new task. From a brain perspective, our body is motivated by the release of neurotransmitters that make us feel good. These include dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin.

While there are many habits that can lead to increased success and happiness, I am going to focus on the top four that I feel impact these neurotransmitters the most and lead to a life where one would feel successful and happy despite what specifically they are doing otherwise. 

1. Engage in Purposeful Living

Each and every day you should focus on 1 activity that makes you feel a sense of purpose. When we accomplish things, regardless of if they big or small, our serotonin (a chemical linked to feelings of confidence), increases. Additionally, after we accomplish a task we also have an increase in dopamine as we feel a sense internal or external reward. And purpose changes throughout our lives, which is an important thing to remember.

In our 20’s purpose may look like completing a homework assignment for a college course to further our career goals. In our 30’s it may look like feeding a child to help them survive, or building or fixing something for a home we just bought. Our 40’s and onward may look like volunteering or planning a trip with people we love, etc. Ask yourself each morning what is one thing you want to accomplish? Make it happen. Be present with the feeling of having accomplished this before you go to bed at night. 

“If we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins

2. Be Willing to Move

There is countless research available proving that the brain and heart are incredibly connected. Taking care of the heart is vital for longevity of life as it inevitably impacts the brain and can reduce the likelihood of developing some form of future dementia. It could be walking 7 days a week for 40 minutes, engaging in high intensity interval training for 20 minutes 3 days a week, and/or incorporating yoga into your weekly routine (my personal favorite).

There are many options that have demonstrated themselves to be effective at leading to improvements in physical and mental health as we age. I also want to note that there are many ways to adapt exercise if you are physically limited, such as chair yoga or chair tai chi. (Victoria is a fan of bathtub stretching!) Additionally, exercise releases all 4 of those feel-good neurotransmitters mentioned above, making it the natural drug of choice for literally anyone. 

3. Make Time for Mindfulness Meditation

To feel successful and happy as we go about our daily lives, we must be okay with being with ourselves, in our own body. Mindfulness meditation assists with this process. By sitting, laying down, or even engaging in walking meditation on a daily basis for 20-40 minutes, we naturally regulate our nervous system. Doing so reduces inflammation in both our body and brain, and releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.

Meditation increases our ability to attend to and focus on activities outside of meditation itself, leading us to be more successful at any task we take on. It also has been shown to improve overall mood. In individuals who have cognitive changes later in life, it has been shown to reduce the size of the amygdala so we react better to stress and fear.

4. Stay Connected to Others

Loneliness has been shown to be a risk factor for mortality in older adults. Additionally, when we think about successful ideas and the ability to make an idea become alive, it always involves multiple people working together. The human species thrives on feeling connected and doing so in healthy ways increases all four neurotransmitters! It should be a daily habit to push yourself to find a way to connect with someone. This may mean engaging in a group hobby, group goal, group volunteer opportunity, calling someone you love, etc.

There is even research that shows going to a place where other people are at even if you do not engage with them socially, such as a coffee shop, can be helpful for us on an emotional level. 

Now that you have these four habits you can begin to implement them into your life. Sometimes it’s easier to start with 1 habit at a time for a month, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by this process. This is where 12 Months to Happier Habits can help you. Writing down the habit you want to increase, preparing your life to make room for it, and checking in with yourself on a weekly basis will lead you to be more successful with creating change.

I can’t wait to see the person you are truly meant to be when you make time for these habits in your life, as your best self is already within you and is just waiting for you to start the journey. 

Kendal Maxwell, Ph.D., is a Clinical Neuropsychologist at an academic medical center in Los Angeles, CA providing brief psychotherapeutic interventions and assessments to her clients. She also is the lead neuropsychologist within the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) clinic at said center and practices a combination of interventions from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well Existential Therapy and Acceptance Commitment based therapy models with her clients. Additionally, she is the author of 12 Months to Happier Habits, a guided journal for creating habit change and two podcast series, 21 Day Positive Mindfulness Meditation Challenge and 21 Day Acceptance Meditation Challenge, one of which has over 1 million downloads and reaches audiences worldwide.  Additionally, she enjoys reaching lay audiences daily by providing “Mini Meditations” and research in psychology through her Tiktok and Instagram @positivemindmediator.

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Change Your Mindset

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Spending more and more time going inward will free you to move forward.



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By focusing on personal development, we unlock our utmost potential



how personal development can boost your mental health
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A List of Affirmations to Use Right Now to Create a More Positive Life

You can achieve anything and everything in the world if you equip with affirmations. 



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Change Your Mindset

The 6 L.E.G.A.C.Y. Insights: Building A Holistic Approach To Business



In the complex and rapidly evolving landscape of modern business, innovative models are the need of the hour to navigate challenges and maintain sustainable growth. Inspired by the metaphor of the ‘Earth as a Cosmic Playground’, the LEGACY Impact System has emerged as a beacon of guidance, interconnecting six crucial business elements to create a comprehensive roadmap towards sustainable success.

LEADERSHIP – Conscious Leadership

Simon Sinek, a world-renowned optimist and visionary, once stated, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.” Conscious leadership embodies this principle, prioritising awareness of the broader implications and ripple effects of decisions on the organisation, its stakeholders, and the environment.

Action Steps:

  1. Leadership Training: One of the foundational steps towards conscious leadership is investing in leadership development programs that highlight ethical decision-making, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. These training programs should encompass elements such as emotional intelligence, transparency, empathy, and long-term thinking, equipping leaders to guide their teams towards sustainable growth.
  2. Stakeholder Engagement: Conscious leaders also emphasise consistent and open dialogue with stakeholders. By incorporating stakeholders’ insights into decision-making processes, leaders can ensure they’re addressing the needs and concerns of those impacted by the organisation’s operations.

EVOLUTION – Adaptability

Like the ever-evolving cosmos, businesses must be capable of change and evolution. Albert Einstein’s wisdom encapsulates this requirement: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” In the fast-paced business world, adaptability becomes an essential survival trait, fostering resilience and agility.

Action Steps:

  1. Innovation Encouragement: Businesses can nurture adaptability by creating an environment that celebrates innovation, rewards creative problem-solving, and supports calculated risk-taking. This could involve implementing an open-door policy for ideas, organising brainstorming sessions, or establishing an innovation hub within the organisation.
  2. Technology Integration: Keeping abreast of technological advancements and incorporating them into business processes is another critical step. This proactive approach not only optimises operations but also positions the organisation as a forward-thinking player in the industry.

GROWTH – Continuous Learning and Development

Motivational speaker and writer Leo Buscaglia said, “Change is the end result of all true learning.” In the realm of business, this translates into the equation ‘continuous learning equals continuous growth’. Organisations that champion a culture of ongoing learning and development are well-positioned to thrive.

Action Steps:

  1. Employee Training: Regular training and development opportunities should be provided to employees to update their skills and stay abreast of industry trends. This can range from skills-based workshops and webinars to providing resources for self-learning and personal development.
  2. Learning Culture: Promoting a culture that values learning and improvement at all levels of the organisation is crucial. This can be achieved by recognising and rewarding learning initiatives, encouraging feedback, and fostering an atmosphere of open communication.

ALIGNMENT – Holistic Approach to Business and Value-Based Marketing

Renowned systems scientist Peter Senge stated, “Alignment is the prerequisite for effectiveness.” Taking inspiration from the cosmos, where every element is harmoniously aligned, businesses should ensure all aspects of their operations align with their core mission and values.

Action Steps:

  1. Internal Alignment: To ensure coherence between what a business says and does, internal processes, practices, and culture should reflect the organisation’s mission and values. This includes aligning recruitment and management practices, employee benefits, and internal communication with the organisation’s core ethos.
  2. External Alignment: Similarly, marketing, customer service, and branding strategies should resonate with the organisation’s values. Authentic alignment in these areas fosters trust among stakeholders and differentiates the business in a competitive marketplace.

Ready to Learn to Unlock The Power of Emotional Intelligence and Win More Clients? 

COMMUNITY – Community Building

Civil rights activist Coretta Scott King once stated, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” This statement holds significant relevance for modern businesses, underlining the importance of community-building among stakeholders.

Action Steps:

  1. Stakeholder Inclusion: Businesses can foster community by including stakeholders in decision-making processes, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement. This can be facilitated through town-hall meetings, feedback sessions, and collaborative projects.
  2. Engagement Initiatives: Launching initiatives that promote interaction and collaboration among stakeholders can further strengthen community bonds. These initiatives can range from team-building activities and social events to forums for sharing ideas and challenges.

YIELD – Sustainability and Technology Integration

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels pointed out that sustainability should not be viewed as a sacrifice but as a design challenge. Businesses, similarly, should see sustainability as an essential aspect of their design and operational strategies, not as an afterthought.

Action Steps:

  1. Sustainable Practices: By incorporating sustainability into every facet of business operations, from product design and manufacturing to supply chain management and waste disposal, businesses can make a positive impact on the environment and society.
  2. Tech-driven Sustainability: Technology offers a myriad of ways to enhance sustainability. By harnessing technology to optimise resource use, reduce energy consumption, or streamline processes, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices.

In conclusion, the 6 L.E.G.A.C.Y. Insights offer a holistic and actionable guide for businesses looking to navigate the complexities of today’s dynamic business landscape. By integrating conscious leadership, adaptability, continuous learning and development, alignment, community building, and sustainability into their day-to-day operations, organisations can achieve sustainable growth and contribute positively to the larger cosmic playground.

Ray Pang SH has generated over USD$1.216mil for his business using the Transformational Sales Methods he discussed above and in his other articles on A2S.

Want to work with him and become one of the 125+ business owners he has helped generate over USD$12.164mil in sales for? Go to his Instagram here and DM him the word “LEGACY” to learn how he can revolutionise your business now.

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