10 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Mood

Let’s be real – we’re all so over being victims to whatever your mood happens to be. There is abundant evidence that moods are interlaced with other things, including body posturescent, and scenery. This means that you can learn to instantly boost your mood whenever you feel you need it. Based on cold, hard science, here are ten ways to improve your mood in minutes

WATCH KITTEN VIDEOS

Research supports what you may have known all along. Spending ten to fifteen minutes watching kitten videos on the internet makes you happy. Don’t ask me why, it just does. Just don’t overdo it, though. Too much time and it begins to feel wasteful instead of helpful.

COLORING

Ever wish you could feel happy like when you were a kid? You can. It turns out that box of Crayola offered a lot more than a rainbow of colors. Researchers in the area of color psychology have uncovered that spending time with a coloring book and crayons or pencils can boost your mood almost instantly. In fact, just looking at certain colors can make you feel better right away. If you won’t take my word for it, maybe you’ll take Kendall Jenner’s. According to Peoplethe supermodel painted a wall in her home a peppy pink because it is supposed to aid in calming anxiety. Not to mention it’s just really pretty.

RELAX IN THE GLOW

Did you know that turning off your electric lights and burning a candle for lighting can make you feel better automatically? The candle doesn’t even have to be scented. The gentle flickering flame and soft lighting that candles provide make your room more in tune with nature’s natural light, soothing your body and soul.

BE KIND

The Journal of Social Psychology reports that study participants who did something kind each day for ten days felt happier than those who didn’t. You don’t have to do something kind for ten whole days (though the world could really use it right now). Even one small kind gesture will instantly boost your mood. Need ideas? Wish someone a “Happy Tuesday,” pay for coffee for the next person in line, secretly leave a dollar bill on the counter in a public place, clean the office microwave, or call your boyfriend’s mother just to say “hi.”

 

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Exercises to Sharpen Your Brain

Have you ever worried about losing your cognitive abilities when you get older? It’s a good idea to take action now to help ensure your brain is as healthy as the rest of you. While you may still be young, wild and free, here are some exercises that will sharpen your brain because, let’s face it, we could all use a little help.

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE

Language skills are learned at an early age, but that part of the brain isn’t quite as sharp by the time we reach adulthood. That’s why it’s so much easier for a child to learn a second language than it is for an adult. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can strengthen that part of the brain by learning a new language no matter how old you are. One fun and easy method of language learning is by using the DuoLingo app for Windows, iOS or Android. This software teaches you new words using words and pictures in your choice of languages, including Hungarian, Irish and Russian.

PLAY BRAIN GAMES

Your brain loves to learn new tricks. You can easily sharpen your brain and have fun at the same time by registering with Lumosity. With the help of scientists, this company has developed a series of increasingly difficult brain games that enable you to measure your progress and skill. The tasks feel like simple games, but your brain gets sharper the more you play.

GET PHYSICAL

Your brain health is closely related to your physical health. You can actually sharpen your brain by doing physical exercises that are new to you. As your brain works to figure out new muscle and skeletal movements, it will get its own brand of exercise, which will enhance your overall cognitive abilities. For best results, do something completely new instead of engaging in exercise you already know.

BECOME A LEFTY… OR A RIGHTY

Many of the movements that you make in your every day life are already memorized by your brain. In fact, this is one of the energy-saving, resourceful aspects of how your brain is designed to operate. Think about it, if your brain had to figure out how to move your hand every time your head itched, you wouldn’t make much progress during the day. Instead, your brain goes on a kind of autopilot when you do repetitive actions. You can give your brain something new to figure out by switching your dominant hand. Start with a few minutes and work up to more. If you’re naturally right-handed do everything with your left hand for a set number of minutes out of each day. Brush your teeth, turn the doorknob, etc., with your left hand. As you increase the time, eventually you’ll become ambidextrous. In the process, your brain will become sharper.

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How to Finally Get Over It and Move On

When you’ve just gone through something heavy, like getting fired, a breakup, or losing something really valuable to you, it can feel like you’ve just been knocked off your feet. Some people describe it like having the rug pulled out from underneath.

Everyone has trouble figuring out how to get over it when these nasty surprises in life occur. But eventually, in order to regain your sense of balance and emotional and mental health, you will need to deal with it in a healthy way and then learn to move past it. So before you go off the deep end and become a recluse, read through these suggestions of ways to cope with setbacks and finally get on with your life.

INDULGE YOURSELF… BUT NOT TOO LONG

If you’ve had a loss – maybe your childhood friend just decided to take that job transfer to Europe – it’s perfectly natural to feel pretty low and spend some time grieving. In fact, grieving is an important part of the process of coping. You shouldn’t deny yourself the part where you spend all day in your bathrobe, eating ice cream and binge watching old Scandal episodes.

Just don’t go on for too long in this self-indulgent period. Otherwise you might find yourself ordering tea cozies from a catalog and wondering how your dryer has managed to shrink every single pair of your skinny jeans.

DON’T LASH OUT

When you feel bad about what’s happened to you, it’s natural to go over things in your head. You might even have a reel playing, where you reenact the terrible thing over and over again. This can lead to feelings of anger and resentment. It’s easy at this stage to place blame on other people for what’s happened. You may then feel entitled to unburden yourself of all the things you feel are wrong with that person. However, when your friend takes you out to make you feel better, resist the urge to badmouth others. The more you talk negatively, the worse you’ll feel. Not to mention, badmouthing others doesn’t exactly make you look good. In order to really get over it, take the opportunity to realize how many things you have that you can be thankful for, like this friend who’s trying to cheer you up.

PRACTICE FORGIVENESS

If you’re struggling because you lost something of value, like a pet, a relationship, or a cherished family heirloom, you may be wondering how on earth being forgiving could possibly help you get over it. But somewhere deep inside, it’s likely that you’re blaming yourself for what happened. Your inner voice might be saying that you should have brought your dog to the vet sooner, or not let him off the leash at the park. You should have kept grandmother’s ring in a safety deposit box like mom told you, instead of wearing it out. These are all things that your unconscious is saying that make you feel guilty. Even if any part of them is true, you have to find a way to forgive yourself. That’s the only way you’ll be able to let it go and learn and grow from the experience instead of letting it keep you from moving on.

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8 Things to Stop Telling Yourself

 

You know that inner voice you have inside your head? A lot of times that voice doesn’t say the right things to help us feel better. Instead, it kind does the opposite. It’s time to take control of and stop telling yourself these things:

  1. You’re not good enough.

This is just a blatant untruth that will sabotage any effort you make at anything. There’s no measuring stick in the world that determines if a person is or isn’t good enough, so stop inventing one in your imagination.

  1. You need to lose 10 pounds.

Seriously? After that it will be another five pounds, and then just one more pound before you can call yourself perfect. Does that sound familiar? Stop telling yourself you need to lose weight and you might discover that you’re already at your ideal weight.

  1. Your sister is prettier than you.

Or your best friend, or his ex. Comparing yourself to others just isn’t fair to you. Everyone is pretty or handsome in their own way, and you’re just as pretty in your own way, so stop telling yourself you’re not.

  1. Your nose is too big.

Or your ass is too small, or your legs are too short. Unless people are pointing and staring, you’re good. We all have features we don’t like, but most of the time, they go unnoticed by others.

  1. You’re better than everybody else.

Okay, so you’ve got an ego. That’s okay. An ego protects you from a lot of things in life. But a big, fat, inflated ego is a turn off to friends, family and lovers, so stop telling yourself you’re better and try to see what you have in common with the rest of humanity instead.

  1. You don’t need people.

If you’ve been hurt or feel betrayed, you may feel like you’d rather just avoid the whole broken heart thing and become a hermit. After a while, though, the tub of ice cream runs out, while a good friend never will. Stop telling yourself you don’t need friends, grab a tissue, and call your mother.

  1. You deserve the abuse.

Trust us. People who love you, don’t hurt you – at least not on purpose. You don’t deserve to be abused, either emotionally or physically. If you’re in an abusive relationship, leave now. Seriously. Grab the keys, the kids, your wallet, and go. You can figure out the rest later.

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How To Live With Toxic People (And Not Go Crazy)

You know who they are. The people in your life who sap your energy, drive you nuts, and keep you up at night. Toxic people are like vampires, sucking the very life out of you. Meanwhile, they go around happy as Pooh with a honey pot, smiling and acting like nothing is wrong. What are you supposed to do in this situation? Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a victim of toxic people anymore. Here’s how to live with toxic people and not go crazy.

1. Set your Boundaries

Do you have toxic people in your life who fill your head with terrible thoughts that keep you awake at night? These are the doomsayers, the negative ninnies whose every conversation is filled with every bad thing that happened to them that day, the bad things they saw on television, and the bad things that could happen to you. Yes, there are bad things in the world, and we all live with risks, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to detailed descriptions of every horror scene from the 10:00 news.

Life is so much better when you focus on positive things instead of negative ones. If you have toxic people in your life filling your head with negativity when you’re trying to be a positive person, you have to set your boundaries.

When they start in on something you just know is going to end with something very, very bad, stop them. Literally, just jump in there and interrupt them. Say something like, “I really don’t want to hear about that.” Amazingly, your toxic friend will probably say, “Why not?” As you roll your eyes and shake your head in disbelief, say, “I just don’t like to hear about bad stuff.” Then change the subject right away. Do this every time they go negative on you, and someday, cross your fingers, they might get the hint. In the meantime, at least you won’t have to listen to it anymore.

2. Express Yourself

You’re a nice person, right? And nice people don’t upset the apple cart. There’s another thing that nice people do sometimes. They get trampled by the apple cart and repress their emotions when dealing with toxic people. Those emotions get turned inward until so much repressed frustration and anger builds up that the apple implodes. Since you’re such a nice person, you don’t deserve such an ending. A better scenario when faced with toxic people is to express yourself. You don’t have to stomp your feet and raise your voice. You can do this calmly and patiently until the toxic people in your life finally realize you’re not going to take it any longer.

Learn to speak up for yourself when toxic people are saying or doing things against you. Phrases like, “I don’t like it when you treat me this way,” or “I’m really feeling bullied right now,” or “I don’t feel like you’re listening to me,” will eventually sink in and get the toxic people to start to see how their words and actions affect you. And if they don’t? Then it’s either time to cut them loose out of your life or seek counseling for the relationship.

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How to Upcycle Your Gift Wrapping Paper

One of the most quintessential holiday images is the sight of gifts wrapped and placed beneath the tree. Gift wrapping paper designs are often so exquisite that it feels like a shame to crumple up the gift wrapping and throw it away after the gifts have all been opened. Many people dutifully toss used gift wrap into the paper recycling bin, which is a wonderful gesture to do for the environment.

But gift wrapping paper can have many uses long after the holiday season has ended. Another option for used gift wrapping is to upcycle it instead of recycling it. With upcycling, your used gift wrapping paper doesn’t go immediately into the recycling system. It not only stays out of the system longer, but it can help replace and reduce the need to purchase other new items. Here are some interesting ways to upcycle your holiday gift wrapping paper.

Packing Material

Styrofoam peanuts, foam and bubble wrap are all popular materials to use when packing a box holding delicate items. But these are all extremely harmful to the environment, both in their manufacturing process and in landfills.

Make your own environment-friendly packing material by running your used gift wrapping paper through a shredder. The shreds will be colorful and clean, as well as providing plenty of protection for fragile items. If you don’t need that much packing material right after the holidays, just fold the gift wrapping and save it along with your other packing materials for shredding later, and mailing gifts to friends and relatives throughout the year.

Litter Box Liner

Stores sell litter box liners that cat owners use to keep the litter box relatively clean. Using a litter box liner is essentially a good idea, since washing the litter box can use up an inordinate amount of water; another precious resource.

Instead of using plastic litter liners, simply use multiple layers of used gift wrapping paper to line your cat’s litter box. The layers of paper will absorb wetness and odor, and you can replace as needed with more used gift wrapping paper.

Boot Form

Those gorgeous new boots you received as a gift might not be in as good form after you break them in. The tall part of the boot may droop, causing noticeable creases in the leather or man-made material.

You could go out and buy a boot form, but you can also stuff your boots with tightly molded, used gift wrapping paper. When you remove it from your boot leg, it will retain the form of the boot, allowing you to reuse it again and again. Just be sure to crumple the gift wrapping paper so the print side is inward, to avoid any color bleeding if the boot is damp from outdoor wear.

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How to Grow Old Gracefully

The Administration on Aging estimates that by the year 2060, over 98 millionAmericans will be aged 65 and older. That 65 year-old person would be 21 years old today. If you’re at least 21 now, you’ll be part of that segment of the population in 2060. How well you age and how healthy you are when you become an older person depends on what you do now and in the years leading up that time.

HOW DOES AGING PRESENT ITSELF?

Aging is often considered to be primarily a matter of external appearance. The skin sags, collagen production is reduced, hair thins and wrinkles and age spots appear. Aging folks frequently begin to stoop. The cushions in between the vertebrae in the spine degenerate and they lose height. Eyes yellow and teeth shift or decay.

This all sounds perfectly horrid, but those of us who are farther along in the aging process know that this is only half of the aging process. The internal process of aging is also something to be dealt with.

Aging people may have memory loss. Even without the dramatic symptoms of a diagnosable condition such as Alzheimer’s, it is maddening to be searching for words that are on the “tip of the tongue” but won’t come to mind. The constant lost keys and eyeglasses become frustrating daily reminders of age.

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When You Should and Shouldn’t Let Your Kids Quit Extra-curricular Activities

At the beginning of the school year, everyone’s excited about all the possibilities. Lisa’s finally going to get a chance to make cheerleader, Aaron’s been practicing all summer so he can make varsity, and little Grace is wearing her new ballerina tutu everywhere she goes. As the mom, you’re all set. The white board calendar is hung, schedules are posted, and the SUV is decked out and gassed up. You and the family are ready to be champs!

A few weeks in, though, the whining starts. “My coach is mean!” “I’m too tired to practice piano.” “My friend says I’m too chubby to be a ballerina. I quit!”

Plus, it’s not exactly fun for you, either, sitting on those hard bleacher seats in the hot sun as your kid does his own bench warming. So when is it okay to let your kids quit extra curricular activities? And when should you make them stick out a bad experience?

Ultimately, you have to be the best judge as the parent, but here are some considerations.

QUITTING WOULD RELIEVE STRESS ON THE WHOLE FAMILY

Okay, you might not think this is a legitimate excuse to quit, but hear me out. If the activity is causing in-fighting, stress, sickness, bad eating habits, unsafe driving to get there on time, or a drop in grades due to increased pressure, then quitting might indeed be the right choice to make. After all, this is life you’re living, and no elective activity should make life miserable for everyone involved.

YOUR CHILD IS INJURED

We’ve all seen those amazing athletes on TV who just push through the pain and go on to win the gold medal or run the marathon while limping though the finish line as blood pours from the bandages on their knees. But ignoring pain is a personal choice that those professionals might make in order to continue in their profession.

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Relationship Tips to Reboot Your Marriage

A strong marriage can last for years. Over time, though, boredom and neglect can take their toll on even the best relationships. If you find yourself in a marriage that has lost its luster, you might be wondering what you can do to repair it, or worse, second-guessing your commitment. Don’t assume the rest of your marriage will be all down hill from here. Use these relationship tips to reboot your marriage and get back that spark that brought you together in the first place.

TAKE A RISK TOGETHER

Psychological studies have shown that risk and danger heighten sexual attraction. If you and your spouse have lost that spark in the bedroom, here’s a great way to get it back.

Consider taking an adventure trip where there’s an element of danger. Take skydiving lessons and jump out of an airplane together. Go on a African safari, or go swimming with the sharks in a controlled setting. Activities like these can get your adrenalin pumping, which in turn will kick your libidos in gear.

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6 Questions to Unlock Your True Purpose in Life

Are you at that point where you’re wondering what your life is all about? Up until now, maybe you’ve just let life go by, spending it on the little things that seem to take up so much time. But when you slow down and start to wonder what’s it all for, you might find the answer elusive. Figuring out your true purpose isn’t always easy. If you ask the right questions, though, the doorway to your life’s meaning will be unlocked.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR FREE?

In a recent interview, Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki reiterates one of his truisms

from his book. When trying to decide on a career, ask yourself, what would you do for free? Answering this will give you insight into where your true passions lie. And remember, your true purpose isn’t necessarily some certain job. It can be a vocation, such as full-time motherhood or missionary work.

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST?

Almost everyone has lost something along the way. Maybe it was a beloved childhood teddy, a cherished pet, an heirloom ring, a box of love letters or even a family member. Ask yourself what in your life do you miss the most? Where is that vacant hole? When you contemplate what you feel is most lacking, you will get an idea of what it would take to fill that vacancy and make you whole again.

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