Personal Development en-US 6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-be-a-better-friend-without-any-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Friendship is one of the best and purest pleasures of life. There's nothing quite like having a good friend who walks beside you through the thick and thin, who knows you inside and out, and who helps make your life richer and more meaningful.</p> <p>But&hellip; that takes a lot of work. When you're run down, exhausted, sick, or otherwise unable to put the energy and effort into your friendships in the ways you want to or the ways you've done before, it's easy to start to wonder if your friends will all run away. (See also: <a href="">50 Fun, Free Ways to Have a Great Time With Friends</a>)</p> <p>While a true friend won't leave you when you're in distress, even if you have absolutely nothing to give to them or the relationship, it can ease your anxiety to know that there are some easy, effortless things you can do that make you a better friend. These can make both you and your friend feel better about your relationship, even when things are hard.</p> <h2>1. Be Yourself</h2> <p>It's easy to feel like your friends want you to be a certain person or act a certain way. However, real friends just want you to be you. And, honestly, what could be easier? To be a good friend, stop worrying. Stop worrying about how you're coming across, about what they might be thinking, and about whether they might rather be with someone else.</p> <p>Instead, give them the gift of you. Stop making the whole thing harder than it is. Offer yourself, and you may find that your friends are freed to do the same, which makes any relationship stronger.</p> <h2>2. Ask Them How They Feel</h2> <p>We have all heard about how empathy is important and how it makes relationships stronger, and most of us have experienced it with some friend, at some time. However, empathy often takes so much energy! Fortunately, <a href="">it's easy to show empathy</a> even when you're not feeling it or you don't know how to start.</p> <p>When a friend is sharing something that they're struggling with, ask them how they feel about it. After they've shared how they're feeling, tell them, &quot;That sounds like a rough place to be,&quot; or, &quot;It sounds like this is difficult for you.&quot; This helps them feel heard, with little effort on your part.</p> <p>While you shouldn't fake empathy when you really don't value it, these phrases can help you seem empathic even when you're tired, stressed, or otherwise too drained. It takes almost no effort to say these phrases, and you can decide later if you really have the energy to listen well, or if your friend just needs permission to vent.</p> <h2>3. Stop Giving Advice</h2> <p>We want to help our friends, and we feel like we should. However, we will help more by simply listening, which frees us from the burden of figuring out all of their problems.</p> <p>Giving advice can feel good in a friendship, but it takes quite a bit of energy to think up solutions for their problems that might actually work. And, in fact, this is not your job. Most people are perfectly capable of managing their own lives, when they're given the chance to do so. When you stop giving advice, you won't expend as much energy owning their problems, and they will find that they have the power and ability to solve things on their own.</p> <p>Quitting advice can also save your friendships from becoming unbalanced. If you give all the advice and they always receive it, it's hard to have a real friendship. You become a counselor, and they may feel like they don't have much to offer you. When you quit giving advice, you not only save your energy but you might salvage a relationship, too.</p> <h2>4. Tell Them You Enjoy Their Presence</h2> <p>When you're tired, it's easy to act and feel down in general, and your friends may not know that this has nothing to do with them. Reassure them by telling them that you enjoy them, that your life is better because they are there, or that their friendship makes a hard time better.</p> <p>Doing this will make you a better friend even when you're not tired, and it never takes much effort. Friendship can be confusing and difficult to navigate even in the best of times, and it's always better to tell people exactly where they stand, especially when doing so will help them relax in your presence.</p> <h2>5. Smile</h2> <p><a href="">Smiling is contagious</a>. When you see someone smile, your brain wants to do the same in return. So you smile. And when you smile, all sorts of good things happen in your body and your brain. You release endorphins, which make you feel better, and you look more attractive to others.</p> <p>Guess what? When your friends smile, they experience the same effects. Thus, offering your friend a smile (which their body almost forces them to return), does them a huge favor and probably makes them feel better about their relationship with you, even if they aren't sure why.</p> <h2>6. Say &quot;Please&quot; And &quot;Thank You&quot;</h2> <p>It's perfectly acceptable to ask your friends for help. In fact, it might even be <a href="">good for you</a>. When you do ask for help, though, be sure to use &quot;please&quot; and &quot;thank you.&quot;</p> <p>These words are more than just polite niceties. When used with a genuine tone of voice, they <a href="">show your friends that they are important to you</a>. &quot;Please&quot; shows that you value your friend and his or her resources &mdash; time, energy, money, etc. &mdash; that you are asking for, and that you understand they will have to give of themselves to meet your request.</p> <p>&quot;Thank you&quot; indicates similar things. Saying these words means that you accept the gift your friend has just given you, whatever it is, and that you appreciate it and are grateful, both for the gift and for them.</p> <p><em>How do you show your friends you care when you're worn out? Have you ever had a friend do something that was effortless for them but meant a lot to you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development friends friendship relationships Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1211248 at 6 Easy Tricks to Become Instantly More Likeable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-tricks-to-become-instantly-more-likeable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people attract new friends and opportunities like a magnet. It's in their DNA. (See also: <a href="">12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend</a>)</p> <p>But likability can also be learned by about 90% of people, according to Rohit Bhargava, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1118137531&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=726ZQUCKEFE5SK6H">Likeonomics</a>. The benefits are astounding: better relationships, stronger networks, more career success. That's because people want to be in the company of likable people. And they want to help them out.</p> <p>And we want to help <em>you</em> out, so read on for six simple tricks to grow your appeal and charisma.</p> <h2>1. Raise Your Eyebrows and Turn the Corners of Your Lips Up</h2> <p>People who seem honest and trustworthy are well-liked and <a href="">it all boils down to the shape and features of the face</a>. People with square jaws, broad chins, high cheekbones, full lips, and brown eyes tend to be perceived as genuine and therefore more likeable.</p> <p>&quot;Whether we like it or not, previous well-documented research has shown that people tend to perceive certain personality characteristics or traits in individuals based on the structure of their face,&quot; said Daniel Gill of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow. &quot;This means some people can be judged to be untrustworthy or domineering simply by how they look &mdash; a square jaw and large brow conveying dominance, for example. It can have implications for things like mate selection and job opportunities.&quot;</p> <p>But if anatomy isn't in your favor, there's a simple facial expression you can employ to boost your appearance of trustworthiness: <a href=";auto_play=true&amp;section=mm-featured">raise your eyebrows and curl your lips into a slight smile</a>. Researchers say people who activate this expression on their face are more likely to win the affections of people they encounter.</p> <h2>2. Smile Only When It's Genuine</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="">a spontaneous smile engages certain muscles around the eyes</a> that aren't triggered when a person flashes a courtesy smile. That means a genuine smile has greater social currency than a forced one because other people can actually detect whether it's authentic or fake.</p> <h2>3. If You're a Woman, Wear Makeup</h2> <p>Harvard researchers found that <a href="">women who wear makeup are perceived to be more confident, competent, and attractive</a>. In a word: likeable. Sarah Vickery, a Procter and Gamble scientist who helped author the study, explained to the New York Times that cosmetics &quot;can significantly change how people see you, how smart people think you are on first impression, or how <a href="">warm and approachable</a>, and that look is completely within a woman's control, when there are so many things you cannot control.&quot; All it takes is a coat of blush, lip gloss, and a whisk of mascara.</p> <h2>4. Make Good Eye Contact</h2> <p>One of the most effective ways to connect with another person is to look them in the eyes. It's a major cue that you're present, listening, genuinely interested, and honest in your own remarks. <a href="">Failure to look another person in the eyes</a>, on the other hand, is an indicator of untrustworthiness, embarrassment, and an overall lack of confidence. These are qualities you'll want to steer clear from on your journey to becoming more charismatic.</p> <h2>5. Don't Sit With Your Arms and Legs Crossed</h2> <p>People who take on relaxed resting poses that occupy a great amount of space are generally perceived as powerful, which is an attribute other people tend to be attracted to since the human brain equates power to competence. Not only that, but research shows that people who take on expansive, open poses aren't just perceived as being more powerful &mdash; <a href="">they actually begin to feel more powerful, too</a>. So stand tall, stretch your shoulders back, and resist the urge to pull your arms in tight against your torso. You are important, so don't be afraid to take up space.</p> <h2>6. Help Others &mdash; No Strings Attached</h2> <p>Adding value to other people's lives is really quite simple. And it can go a long way to help you organically grow your network of acquaintances and friends. So connect friends with friends who can help one another achieve a common goal. Lend out the lawnmower. Pick up an acquaintance from the airport. The key is this: <a href="">Don't expect or ask for anything in return</a>. The favors and help you dole out will come back to you down the road when you need them.</p> <p><em>How do you make yourself more likeable? Please share in comments &mdash; we'll like you if you do!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Easy Tricks to Become Instantly More Likeable" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development charisma charm friendship likeable Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1209021 at Are You a Hothead? 10 Things Patient People Never Say <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-a-hothead-10-things-patient-people-never-say" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="angry office worker" title="angry office worker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From time to time, we are all guilty of getting flustered by something. Or someone.</p> <p>However, some people have this ability to keep calm under pressure, and remain patient almost all of the time. These people seem to have an enviable sense of self-control, and yet it's not what they say that makes them so calm; it's what they don't say. (See also: <a href="">Are You a Doormat? 17 Things Assertive People Never Say</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 things you will never hear a truly patient person say.</p> <h2>1. &quot;I Hate&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>&hellip;you! I hate this! I hate my life! I hate this job. I hate, I hate, I hate.</p> <p>The definition given by Merriam Webster is &quot;intense hostility and aversion, usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. Extreme dislike or antipathy. Loathing.&quot; Seems a bit too strong now, doesn't it? Patient people don't let themselves get to that level of frustration. They don't succumb to hatred, and they don't yell it out. Sure, they're not perfect, but they don't give in to that very negative emotion. They certainly don't vent it to people they love, live, or work with. Life is too short to hate anyone or anything, but if you must hate something, at least be constructive about it (announcing your hate to the world isn't).</p> <h2>2. &quot;Just Who Do You Think You Are?!&quot;</h2> <p>Oooh, you can feel the sense of self-righteousness oozing from that particular phrase!</p> <p>When people say that, what they're really saying is: &quot;I am more important than you,&quot; or &quot;my opinion matters more than yours does.&quot; It's a blatant attempt to belittle someone and put them in their place. Ironically, this simple but baggage-filled phrase has the opposite effect. Instead of belittling someone, it serves to show everyone within earshot just what kind of person you are by saying it. A patient person, upon hearing that, will know they have already won the argument.</p> <h2>3. &quot;I Want It!&quot;</h2> <p>Remember <a href="">Verruca Salt</a>, the rich kid from <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005F96UJ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VFUOQMSB36U5TNWX">Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</a>? She did a lot of wanting, and a lot of demanding. Want, want, want.</p> <p>A patient person won't feel the need to want or demand things in such a way. Yes, they want to come to a resolution, but instead of saying, &quot;I want this resolved,&quot; they'll say, &quot;let's find a way to resolve this.&quot; The latter feels more inclusive while the former is a demand given to fulfill the wishes of the individual. If you're saying &quot;I want&quot; a lot (or in some cases, screaming it) you are a definitely in the hothead zone.</p> <h2>4. &quot;This Isn't Fair!&quot;</h2> <p>What isn't fair? That the situation is not going how you expected, or that you're not getting your own way? The whole concept of fairness is actually quite subjective. What's fair to one person may not seem fair to another, and that even comes to laws (just ask friends or relatives about marijuana laws and watch the arguments commence). When you start saying, &quot;this isn't fair,&quot; you're starting to sound like a petulant child&hellip; the biggest hotheads of all.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Give It to Me&quot;</h2> <p>Talk about a demand. Whether it's an actual physical object, or simply a phrase or admission of something, making this kind of demand feels like a hold up or ransom. People do not respond well to orders being barked at them in this way. Patient people know this, and realize that such demands will not help them settle any kind of argument. Not win, by the way. Patient people are also much more open to compromise. It's not about winning or losing, it's about reaching an accord.</p> <h2>6. &quot;&hellip;Or Else&quot;</h2> <p>If you have ever ended a phrase with &quot;or else,&quot; you are really in hothead territory. It's a threat, pure and simple, and patient people have neither the drive nor inclination to issue threats. What exactly are you going to do anyway?</p> <p>&quot;I want that report in 30 minutes, or else!&quot;</p> <p>Wow, is that the best you can do? People who say that don't realize that these kinds of threats fall on deaf ears. They are often shouted, and 99% of the time the issuer of the threat will not follow through anyway. It's just a way to sound more important. Don't use this one. Ever.</p> <h2>7. &quot;You Always Do That&quot;</h2> <p>There are two great words that I learned in my early days as a copywriter (it never came up until then for some reason). Those words are &quot;platitudes&quot; and &quot;hyperbole.&quot; Platitudes, or clichés, are not required by patient people very often. Hyperbole, or over-exaggeration, is used even less. When you say something like &quot;you always do that,&quot; you are making a massive, sweeping statement that is fundamentally untrue. No one always does anything (apart from living and breathing). &quot;You always take her side,&quot; or &quot;you never honor these deals&quot; are lies. And once you start lying, you're becoming a hothead.</p> <h2>8. &quot;I Don't Have Time for This&quot;</h2> <p>It may seem obvious that a patient person wouldn't say that, but this goes beyond a simple statement of availability. What people really mean when they say that is: &quot;this is beneath me,&quot; or &quot;this is not worth my time.&quot; And the latter is in line with other statements mentioned in this article. Namely, it puts yourself on a pedestal, and makes those around you not worthy of your time. Patient people won't say it even if they really don't have the physical time needed to talk it through. Saying &quot;I don't have time&quot; is dismissive of the other person's needs, and that is another surefire way to become a hothead.</p> <h2>9. &quot;Get Out!&quot;</h2> <p>When you demand that someone leaves your presence, you are issuing an order. Regardless of where, or when, this occurs, it's rude and aggressive to say this. Patient people may want you to leave, but they will usually say something calmly like &quot;can we continue this at another time please?&quot; By throwing out a command, you are being an abusive hothead.</p> <h2>10. &quot;Everyone Is Out to Get Me&quot;</h2> <p>Last, but not least, is the sympathy vote. Also known as martyrdom, hotheads will often play the self-pity card as a last resort. &quot;Everyone hates me,&quot; or &quot;you never liked me anyway&quot; are blanket statements thrown out to make the other person feel guilt and sympathy. It is manipulative and a low blow, and if you do it, you are definitely a hothead.</p> <p><em>What did we miss? Are there signs of hotheadedness that should be on this list? Let us know in comments. Please.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You a Hothead? 10 Things Patient People Never Say" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development anger frustration impatience patience Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1209035 at 6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="meditation nature" title="meditation nature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, personal relationships, and health are today's top triggers of stress, according to research by the American Psychological Association. No one is immune, but luckily we all have the power to reduce the amount of stress we experience in day-to-day life. Yet research shows only 37% of Americans feel they are doing an <a href="">adequate job of managing their stress</a>.</p> <p>Believe it or not, stress relief doesn't have to be so hard. There are lots of little tools and tricks you can use as you go about your day to help release those tightly wound tensions in the body and mind. No hypnotists or expensive yoga retreats required. (See also: <a href="">20 Free or Really Cheap Ways to Reduce Stress</a>)</p> <p>Read on for a roundup of our six favorite de-stressors that are simple, effective, and guaranteed to make you feel a little bit lighter on your feet.</p> <h2>1. Breathe Deeply</h2> <p>Stop what you're doing and take a couple slow, deep breaths. Now take a few more. This easy, ancient practice of deep breathing slows the heartbeat, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and <a href="">induces a sense of peace and calm</a>. It's the body's built-in stress regulator. Yet in our fast-paced society, conscious breathing often takes a back seat.</p> <p>Here's a quick refresher based on pranayama, a method of <a href="">breathwork used in yoga that's proven to enhance relaxation</a>: To start, sit in a comfortable seated position on the ground. Close your eyes and inhale deeply, filling the lungs with oxygen. As you breathe the air in, allow your stomach, back, sides, and rib cage to expand. When you're ready, exhale slowly until you've completely emptied the lungs, as if you were wringing out the air like water from a wet towel.</p> <h2>2. Keep a Tennis Ball Handy</h2> <p>You won't need a racket for this muscle relaxing trick. To start, lie flat your back with your gaze toward the ceiling and tuck a tennis ball under your low back, just to the left of your spine. Close your eyes, breathe, allow gravity to sink your body down, and let the ball press in to your muscle tissue. After a few moments, roll the ball an inch higher on your back, slightly to the left of your spine. Repeat this process until you've reached your shoulder area, then repeat on the right side of the body. Experts say this routine will rejuvenate muscle tissue, loosen knots, and help the body and mind relax.</p> <p>Here's another tennis ball trick. Poke a hole in the ball and you've made yourself a stress relief ball. Simply grip the the ball and squeeze it tight when you feel tension and anxiety building. This little hand pulsation exercise can also help <a href="">lower your blood pressure</a>. It's the perfect stress relief solution when you're on-the-go.</p> <h2>3. Power Down Your Gadgets</h2> <p>Sure, technology has its benefits, but it's also making us sick. Literally. <a href="">Stress, depression, and vision impairment</a> are just a few of the negative consequences of spending too much time on our phones, tablets, and computers. Luckily, there's a simple fix: unplug. After work, on weekends &mdash; whenever you can. By disconnecting from email, text messaging, and social media, you can actually increase your connectivity to the people around you. And you'll feel a heck of a lot better while you're at it.</p> <h2>4. Make Time to Meditate</h2> <p>It only takes <a href="">25 minutes of meditation for three consecutive days</a> to reduce stress. It may seem daunting at first, but meditation is a practice anyone can do. The goal is to give the mind a break from its constant hustle.</p> <p>Here's a short how-to guide for first-timers: Concentrate on a single focus, be it your breath, a one-word mantra, or the flicker of a lit candle. <a href="">Empty your mind of all other thoughts</a>; if outside thoughts arrive, simply acknowledge them and let them go. Start with two or three minute intervals, eventually working your way up to a full 25-minute practice.</p> <h2>5. Spend Quiet Time in Nature</h2> <p>The <a href="">sounds of birds chirping, rain falling, and bees buzzing</a> are proven to lower stress and evoke a feeling of calm. If you can't get outside, find a source of water indoors. The sound of running water &mdash; be it from a rolling brook, waterfall, or kitchen faucet &mdash; is scientifically proven to boost happiness and relieve tension.</p> <h2>6. Walk for 30 Minutes</h2> <p>A brisk walk is one of the best exercises for you. And it only takes 20 minutes for your brain to start releasing endorphins and dopamine &mdash; those <a href="">feel-good hormones</a> that make you happy. Not only is walking good for the heart and lungs, it reduces fatigue and improves alertness. This is particularly beneficial for those among us who are stressed out, since stress can deplete the body's energy and the brain's ability to concentrate.</p> <p><em>How do you de-stress? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development de-stress relax stress Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1207216 at 4 Things Most People Don't Realize Are Holding Them Back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="teenager distracted tv" title="teenager distracted tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The fact of the matter is that sometimes there are obstacles working against us that we're simply unaware of. Rather than beat yourself up, it's time to start looking at how various aspects of your life might be thwarting your goals. (See also: <a href="">10 Reasons You Aren't Reaching Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Here are four common obstacles, and how to fix them.</p> <h2>1. Your Environment</h2> <p>Raise your hand if you ever argued with your parents about studying or doing homework in front of the television.</p> <p>The bad news is that Mom and Dad were right. Studies show that having the television on while studying &mdash; even as background noise &mdash; <a href="">leads to lower-quality work</a>. (The better news is that the studies are inconclusive about the distracting nature of music &mdash; so keep your favorite tunes going in the background if you feel like it helps.)</p> <p>Whether you are surrounded by distracting noise, distracting clutter, or distracting comfort (imagine trying to write an essay in your pajamas on your bed), you might find yourself wasting the day away if your environment is not outfitted for your optimal productivity.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Work spaces &mdash; from home offices to cube farms &mdash; tend to be set up either how you think they should look, or according to someone else's vision. We often end up forcing ourselves to work in a space that doesn't work for us.</p> <p>In order to optimize your space, take into account your &quot;desire path.&quot; This term, named for the footpaths created as shortcuts when pedestrians repeatedly ignore paved paths, describes how you <em>actually use</em> your space, rather than how you are <em>supposed to use</em> it.</p> <p>For instance, if you set up a very organized office but generally end up doing your work on the kitchen table, take the time to figure out what it is about your desire path that causes you to forgo the office. Following your desire path can help you to determine what you need in order to do your best work.</p> <h2>2. Your Language</h2> <p>A recent UCLA study discovered that differences in <a href="">how languages refer to events</a> in the future can affect our behavior.</p> <p>For instance, English has a very distinct future tense. If we want to talk about tomorrow's weather, we say, &quot;It will rain tomorrow.&quot; In languages with a less distinct future tense (like German, for example), speakers say, &quot;It rains tomorrow.&quot; That difference means that English speakers' brains encode the future as a distinct time from now, while German speakers do not.</p> <p>Where this gets interesting is in the fact that speakers of languages with less distinction between the present and the future &quot;save more, retire with more wealth, smoke less, practice safer sex, and are less obese.&quot;</p> <p>That means we English speakers are at a distinct disadvantage. We already tend to see the future as somebody else's problem because of a cognitive bias known as <a href="">hyperbolic discounting</a>. Add in a language that codifies the difference between the present and future, and we are very likely to continue to push today's consequences onto our future selves.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p><a href="">Jerry Seinfeld has a very funny take</a> on this particular problem. He talks about how when he's Night Guy, he simply doesn't care that Morning Guy has to get up early to go to work.</p> <p>In that humorous observation lies a solution to the problem of English's future tense. Start thinking about what your Morning Guy would most like to wake up to. That might mean you do the dishes tonight, or that you pay yourself first, or that you choose the apple slices rather than the donuts. If you take the time to think about what you will want and how you will feel in the future, it's much easier to act in accordance to that now.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>How long can you go without checking your smartphone for updates? According to a Mobile Mindset study conducted by the security app company Lookout, <a href="">60% of respondents check their phone at least once an hour</a>.</p> <p>This kind of addictive behavior is problematic, since it can get in the way of your productivity.</p> <p>And addictive is the operative word. Technology offers us <a href="">intermittent reinforcement</a>: We cannot predict how often we will get an interesting comment, a like, an email, a tweet, or other technological interaction, which makes us crave those interactions even more. Intermittent reinforcement is the reason why gambling is addictive, and it is why smartphones are so tough to quit.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>It's possible to lose days at a time to noodling away on your phone, so cut off the intermittent reinforcement. First, turn off your notifications. Every time your phone pings to let you know something interesting has happened, you get another little reinforcement. The news will wait, so let it.</p> <p>In addition, you will need to plan ahead when and for how long you will use your phone. When you do play on your phone, set a timer and keep to it. If you train yourself to only use your phone at set times, that habit will replace the check-all-the-time habit you currently have.</p> <h2>4. Your Sleep Schedule</h2> <p>No matter how good your intentions are in the evening, it can seem impossible to get up with the alarm when it goes off at Zero Dark-Thirty. You hit the snooze button two or seven times, stumble out of bed in search of coffee, and barely make it to work on time. You'd love to take advantage of all of the benefits of being an early riser &mdash; like time to exercise and plan your day &mdash; but even when you go to bed earlier, you simply cannot get yourself out of bed early.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Part of the reason why it is so difficult to retrain your body to accept early wake-up times has to do with our biology. If you simply go to bed eight hours before you need to be up (which is often how switching to an earlier wake-up time goes), you might find yourself staring at the ceiling, completely awake, until your normal bedtime. You are not listening to your body's sleepiness cues in the evening, which is both frustrating and unproductive.</p> <p>It's for this reason that the <a href="">best strategy for changing your sleep pattern</a> combines biology with a schedule. Instead of simply making your bedtime earlier, wait to go to bed until you are sleepy enough to drift off quickly. (A good sleepiness test is if you can't read more than a page or two of a book without drifting off.)</p> <p>Doing this will mean that you go to bed when you are sleepy and get up at a fixed time. Although you might be dragging the first few days, you'll quickly find that your sleep patterns will realign so that you will feel sleepy at the optimal time for a good night's sleep before your alarm the next morning.</p> <h2>Be the Master of Your Fate</h2> <p>The obstacles to your best self may be physical, cultural, biological, or technological. But you ultimately have control over your life. The best way to take that control is to listen to your own desires and needs while planning ahead. This one-two punch should be enough to tame all those obstacles trying thwart you.</p> <p><em>What's working against you? How will you fix it?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Things Most People Don&#039;t Realize Are Holding Them Back" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development addiction bad habits distraction environment habits obstacles Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1207020 at 6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-get-prettier-smarter-and-healthier-while-you-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a whole lot you can accomplish in your sleep &mdash; a battery recharge, brain power refresher, and a more youthful glow among them. Read on for our round-up of the top six ways you can maximize your slumber. Because if you're going to multi-task during the day, you might as well do so at night, too. (See also: <a href="">10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lower the Thermostat</h2> <p>We can boost metabolic health and even burn a few more calories each day by sleeping in chillier bedrooms. Researchers say <a href="">66 degrees is ideal sleeping weather</a> &mdash; it helps our bodies build up the good fats that burn off calories and fends off insulin sensitivity that can lead to diabetes. It's also good for our bank accounts during long, cold winters.</p> <h2>2. Opt for Satin or Silk</h2> <p>A pillowcase made of satin or silk is good for the hair and skin. Unlike cotton, linen, and polyester, dermatologists have found that these fibers actually soften wrinkles because they create only minimal friction between your head and the pillowcase. They're also packed with proteins that <a href="">prevent hair from splitting and frizzing</a>.</p> <h2>3. Go to Bed With a Clean, Moisturized Face</h2> <p>It's important to wash your face thoroughly to remove all the dirt and makeup that can clog your pores and lead to unpleasant morning breakouts. It's equally important to moisturize to help improve your skin tone and texture while repairing any sun damage. The good news is there's no need to break the bank on designer night creams.</p> <p>Experts say even the most basic moisturizers are packed with peptides and vitamin C, and those are precisely the ingredients you need to make your skin firmer and prevent new wrinkles from forming. Creams containing retinol can be a bit more costly, but the bang for your buck is big: Retinol is <a href="">one of few ingredients available without a prescription that treats the wrinkles you already have</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sleep on Your Back</h2> <p>Over time, those crease lines you wake up with after a night spent on your stomach or your side will become full-blown wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. But you can avoid smooshing your skin against the sheets by slumbering on your back. Experts say <a href="">it's the best sleeping position</a>, and not just because it minimizes wrinkling. Sleeping on your back also prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux and helps women retain perky breasts. (See also: <a href="">Your Sleeping Position May Be Hurting You</a>)</p> <h2>5. Listen to Classical Music</h2> <p>Playing soft classical music 45 minutes before bed or while you slumber has been linked to <a href="">decreased anxiety, lower blood pressure, and curing insomnia</a>. It also makes you smarter. Studies show that children who listen to Mozart become more intelligent. It's called &quot;<a href="">The Mozart Effect</a>,&quot; and if it works for kids, it's apt to work for adults, right?</p> <h2>6. Get a Solid 7 Hours of Shut-Eye &mdash; At Least</h2> <p>Sleep experts recommend we all get seven to eight hours of sleep a night if you want to be fresh, sharp, and good-natured in the morning. Those who skimp on their slumber risk more than sluggishness and a grumpy demeanor. Studies show that people who average less than seven hours of sleep at night are nearly three times <a href="">more likely to catch the common cold</a> than those who sleep for eight hours or more. Those who sleep less than six hours a night are <a href="">more likely to have excess body fat</a>. And people who report sleeping less than five hours a night are more <a href="">at risk for having or developing Type 2 Diabetes</a>.</p> <p><em>Are you getting enough sleep?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development beauty secrets posture self improvement sleep Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1205244 at How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-more-eureka-shower-moments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="post it notes" title="post it notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It is often quipped that the best ideas happen to someone, somewhere, while they are in the shower. And while many people do get inspired while scrubbing up (just take these <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003W09LTQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6GKSDYHWISRELD3I">waterproof notepads</a> as evidence), the perfect &quot;ah-ha&quot; experience can happen most anywhere. So the question arises: Why? And, how can we encourage it to happen more often?</p> <h2>Happiness Is Brilliance</h2> <p>What exactly causes that moment of brilliance? A number of factors can contribute, but <a href="">science suggests</a> it usually can't be done without that amazing brain chemical called dopamine. Responsible for the feelings of pleasure, this hormone-turned-neurotransmitter can also bring out some of those amazing moments that make us shout &quot;Eureka!&quot; So this likely explains why great ideas happen in the shower, while listening to our favorite tunes in the car, or when relaxing with a tasty treat. (See also: <a href="">9 Surprising Ways to Generate New Ideas</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, however, there is much that happens before the pleasurable event that goes into the brewing of a great idea. Here's how to make the moment ripe for inspiration.</p> <h2>1. Create a Bigger World</h2> <p>It's hard to have new ideas if your vision is narrow. To expand how you see the world &mdash; and potentially create new concepts &mdash; is to approach everything with openness. Nessa Victoria Bryce of Scientific American suggests that this first step is by done by <a href="">challenging yourself to explore something new</a> to you.</p> <p>Have you always wanted to try watercolors? Do you shy away from certain cooking trends? Is there a different route home that you've avoided taking for no particular reason?</p> <p>When you find the time and energy to stretch yourself, do it! By keeping your options open in your everyday life, you are training your mind to anticipate and acknowledge new &quot;ah-ha's!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Dig In Deep</h2> <p>Once you've found something that you really connect to (those watercolors, for example), Bryce claims that you you now need to get into the trenches of that subject and learn everything you can about it. Learning the answers to your questions only prepares you mentally to solve even more problems, possibly with unique ideas that haven't been implemented before. It also helps to make you a &quot;subject expert&quot; for a particular topic. Future bright ideas can come together more quickly if you have all the puzzle pieces stored away in your brain.</p> <h2>3. Relax</h2> <p>You can't &mdash; and shouldn't &mdash; work all the time. Once you've discovered the ins and outs of your chosen subject, walk away for some &quot;off&quot; time. Drop the brush and head outside for a jog; enjoy the breeze or listen to the birds. When your mind is allowed to just &quot;coast,&quot; you'll be surprised to find that your brain may pop with a new, brilliant idea! (And if your &quot;off&quot; time creates extra dopamine, you're set for success!)</p> <p>In a recent study of 90 Harvard students, those who were forced to step away from their problem-solving and given the opportunity to work on a different task, <a href="">came back to the table with more ideas</a> and solutions than the group who stayed focused on the problem continuously. Further proof that taking a break is essential to having a truly &quot;ah-ha&quot; moment.</p> <p>What if you have tried all of these things and aren't impressed with the results? It's possible that the timing just isn't right. Like most great ideas, we can't always set the perfect stage for their appearance. I find that most of my best ideas happen when it is terribly inconvenient to write them down (driving in traffic). Again, this is related to the science that my brain is likely on &quot;auto-pilot&quot; or coasting, plus I enjoy driving. The combination of the dopamine I get from listening to my favorite tunes in the car, plus the relaxation that seeing the wide-open plains gives me is the perfect storm for some brilliant ideas.</p> <p>What can you do to capture the ideas you do get so that you don't lose them for later? Here are a few of my favorite tools for gathering up all the goodness:</p> <ul> <li>Use the memo recorder on my cell phone.</li> <li>Jot it on a sticky note. (Although most of my ideas end up on the backs of envelopes.)</li> <li>Scribble it on your hand. (Writing on your hand won't kill you.)</li> <li>Bounce it off a significant other.</li> <li>Call your voicemail.</li> <li>Send an email.</li> <li>Post it on your Facebook wall.</li> <li>Find a similar idea on Pinterest and pin it!</li> </ul> <p>And there are always those waterproof sticky notes mentioned above.</p> <p><em>When do you usually get your best ideas? How do you ensure that you keep them for when you need them?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity creativity good ideas inspiration muse Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1203752 at 12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="best friends cafe" title="best friends cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes true friendships seem to be born out of a mysterious, intangible energy that pulls two people together. Keeping friendships strong and thriving is a far less mysterious affair, though. (See also: <a href="">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>Part art, part science, and part common sense, being a better friend takes a lot of effort, and maybe the kicking of a bad habit or two. Or a dozen. So here are 12 things you need to stop doing now in order to be a better friend.</p> <h2>1. Shopping for Better Social Offers</h2> <p>Psst&hellip; you're not fooling anyone when you're consistently non-committal about plans. Your friends probably know you're holding out for a better offer. We get it &mdash; your time is a rare and valuable commodity. But as tempting as &quot;social shopping&quot; might be from time-to-time, consider the long-term effects it can have on the relationships your hold most dear. <em>Commit</em>, participate, and stop wondering what's behind curtain number three.</p> <h2>2. Going AWOL When You're Dating</h2> <p>Are you the type of friend that disappears the moment a romantic relationship gets serious? Or worse, do you reconnect with old friends once it's time to pick up the pieces after a breakup? If so, it may be time to reevaluate how you balance the relationships in your life. Solid friendships are built on consistency and mutual respect; don't go MIA the moment you fall head over heels.</p> <h2>3. Texting, Tweeting, Calling, Clicking, Snapping, and Chatting</h2> <p>It's difficult to listen when we're surrounded by mobile devices that are never silenced or sidelined. Make face time (and by <em>face time</em>, I mean face-to-face time, not the Apple product), electronics-free. You'll <a href="">become more fully present</a>, your friends will thank you for it, and you'll begin to appreciate the unplugged moments of life.</p> <h2>4. Being Late</h2> <p>Sometimes it's unavoidable. But if you're terminally tardy, you're implying that your friends' time isn't as valuable as yours. Honor the people you care about by <a href="">learning how to be punctual.</a></p> <h2>5. Listening Just to Respond</h2> <p>The art of conversation is built on active listening, but many people cut their listening time short in order to formulate a reply. Instead of worrying about how you're going to respond (if a response is even necessary), listen to learn. What is your friend really saying? And just as importantly, what's <em>not</em> being said?</p> <h2>6. Avoiding the Truth</h2> <p>John Lennon said it best: &quot;Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones.&quot; Good friends are kind to each other, but rigorously honest about the things that matter. Work to make your closest friendships &quot;no BS zones&quot; where you can be open about the ups and downs of life, love, career, and money. It'll help create a refuge where each of you can give and receive honest feedback.</p> <h2>7. Forgetting Important Dates</h2> <p>Birthdays, anniversaries, significant events at work &mdash; remembering these details shows that you're listening and that you're tuned into another person's world. Acknowledging the major and minor moments of our friends' lives promotes trust, connection, and appreciation.</p> <h2>8. Imposing Time Limits</h2> <p>Aren't we all on the clock too much as it is? I don't know about you, but the last thing I need is a friend who can't put down his mental stopwatch. Sure, sometimes it's just fine to sneak a quick cup of coffee in between meetings, but a chronic I've-got-to-run attitude is doesn't allow room for friendships to meander, grow, and deepen.</p> <h2>9. Over-Planning Everything</h2> <p>Doesn't it seem like the best moments in life are the unplanned ones? As much as a good plan can benefit a Friday night or a weekend getaway, it's important to know when to scrap the schedule and just wing it.</p> <h2>10. Being Predictable</h2> <p>Sometimes small gestures of kindness, surprising moments, and a spontaneous spirit can breathe new life into a friendship between two people who know each other frontward and backward. Keep your friendships fresh by showing appreciation and nurturing a bit of the unexpected. Running low on inspiration, explore new and inexpensive <a href="">ways to have fun with friends</a>.</p> <h2>11. Holding Grudges</h2> <p>Every relationship has its highs and lows. But friendships are investments that two people make in each other; don't let hurt feelings or an argument wipe out what you've built.</p> <h2>12. Dodging the Truly Terrible Times</h2> <p>It's inevitable &mdash; when two people are friends for a long enough period of time, they'll witness life-altering events in each other's lives. The death of a parent, a messy divorce, or loss of a job are just a few examples of moments when good friendships are forged by fire and become something far more profound. Don't dodge the down times because you don't know the right thing to do or say. Realize the comfort your shared history can provide and rise to the occasion.</p> <p>In the end, friendships are formed by common interests and complementary senses of humor, but they're maintained and deepened by the shared events &mdash; the comedies and tragedies that shift and shape our lives. Friendships should help us achieve more, worry less, laugh louder, and handle the challenges of life with a little more support. With that in mind, learning to be a better is nearly a sacred pursuit. Put your whole heart into it.</p> <p><em>Do you have a best friend? How did he or she earn that coveted title in your life?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development friends friendship loyalty relationships Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1203541 at Confident People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/confident-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="home office" title="home office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How do you measure confidence? The way you walk? The way you talk? How many friends you have? Maybe.</p> <p>How about the things in your home? While there is no one true measure of confidence, there may well be some objects that confident people all seem to possess. So take a look at this list, and if you're lacking many of these, walk, nay, strut to your local homewares store immediately. (See also: <a href="">Ambitious People Have These 10 Things in their Homes &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Power Wardrobe</h2> <p>I know from experience that when I feel like I look good in the clothes I'm wearing, I'm inherently more confident. I'm sure you've felt that way at one time or another as well.</p> <p>To feel confident in what you're wearing on a regular basis, however, writer David Bakke suggests that you invest in a power wardrobe so you can dress for success every day. A good way to get started on building your power wardrobe is to take inventory of your closet and get rid of anything that doesn't make you feel your best. And make sure that what you're buying to replace it fits properly, accentuates your assets, and detracts from problem areas, whether they're real or just figments of your self-conscious imagination. (See also: <a href="">Build a Work Wardrobe for Any Job on a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>2. Books &mdash; Especially Inspirational Ones</h2> <p>Your intelligence makes you more confident whether you realize it or not. Think back to your school days when you had a pop quiz and you were fully prepared to ace it. You were confident, right? It's safe to assume then that there's a correlation between the knowledge you possess and the confidence you have in yourself &mdash; in certain situations, at least &mdash; which often manifests itself in adulthood in the books you choose to keep on your shelf. In particular, if you have inspirational books (or books that inspire you) or books on self-improvement, it's a safe bet that you're facing the day with your head held high.</p> <p>Kristy McCarley, CEO of the faith-based fitness startup Shazzy Fitness, agrees. &quot;I've found that every successful entrepreneur I've ever met is also confident, and the common denominator is a passion to read,&quot; she says. &quot;Confident entrepreneurs are not intimidated by new situations or new challenges and regularly seek sources of information to learn and grow. Look at any confident business owner and I guarantee you'll find that they have a set of books that have inspired them and a list of books they plan to read in the future.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Vision Board</h2> <p>A vision board is a collage of images, photos, quotes, affirmations and other positive items that provide you with happiness and motivation. A vision board is helpful if you're using the Law of Attraction (the belief that positive thoughts attract positive results) to set and meet goals, small or large. Rob Henson, who runs a consulting business with his wife, says that their vision board is crucial to their confidence. &quot;It reminds us of what we are striving for,&quot; he says about the vision board. &quot;Everything we want out of life is on that board. Why are we confident? Because each year we get to take something off the board because we worked hard to make it happen. That means we also have room for a new goal as well.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Organization</h2> <p>I know a lot of messy people. Disheveled, disorganized, and, in some cases, in complete disarray. It goes without saying that they're not the most confident people I know, and it's easy to see why. How can you be confident if your home is a mess? Where are those important files when you need them? Would you be embarrassed for your friends to see the way you live? Being unorganized is the antithesis of self-confidence, and, in fact, <a href="">clutter may be the result of lacking confidence</a>, among other things.</p> <h2>5. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>Those of us who aren't so physically fit try to cover up our bodies as much as possible because we feel self-conscious and embarrassed. We can change that by joining a gym, or better yet, keeping exercise equipment at home to make fitness goals more accessible and convenient. And there are other benefits to exercising outside of an improved self-image. Pilates pro Kim MacKenzie says, &quot;Exercise boosts endorphins and when you feel good about your body, you tend to feel better about yourself, and thus be more confident.&quot;</p> <h2>6. A Million-Dollar Check</h2> <p>Life coach Jason Nik, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1481906089&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UOF6S2EYLIQEXUGB">The Warrior's Odyssey</a>, has made it his job to build client confidence. He recommends confident people who know they'll achieve financial success to write checks to themselves and frame it to help them stay motivated.</p> <p>&quot;In my experience, confident people have things in their homes that show the success they know they will achieve,&quot; he explains. &quot;For example, confident people that know they will become wealthy in the future write checks to themselves. Before actor Jim Carrey became successful, he was broke but confident he would succeed. So he wrote a $10 million check to himself. He later became the first actor to receive a $20 million [per-film] salary.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Items of Personal Interest Proudly Displayed</h2> <p>These items could include musical instruments, artifacts from their travels, photos of friends and family, and things made with their own two hands, among other things. The message here is that confident people aren't afraid to place snippets of their lives around the house for everyone who visits to see. These items hold significant sentimental value for one reason or another, and they're proud to have them.</p> <h2>8. Religious Icons</h2> <p>In many cases, people of faith have confidence in their deity to do right by them, which in turn makes the individual more confident in themselves. To honor their faith and remind themselves why they're faithful to begin with, they keep meaningful religious symbols and items in their home.</p> <h2>9. Awards, Degrees, and Certificates</h2> <p>Sure, many people graduate college and go on to earn awards, but that doesn't make yours any less significant. Confident people realize that, and they're proud to display their accomplishments where everybody can see them. Some people will interpret this as being insecure &mdash; &quot;why do you have to remind others of how great you are?&quot; they're thinking &mdash; but haters are gonna hate. Let 'em. You've earned your success, and you should definitely strut your stuff about it in the privacy of your own dominion.</p> <h2>10. Guests</h2> <p>Confident people often like to entertain and host parties and guests on a regular basis. I'm confident in my social etiquette and hosting skills, and I love having people in my homes whenever I can. I want people to see my art, to enjoy my little luxuries, to have an opportunity to relax while I whip up a delicious meal. Their delight makes me happy and boosts my confidence even more. This is what I'm working for &mdash; to have a life of which I can be proud &mdash; and one that I can share with others. Because, really, what else is there?</p> <p><em>Do you have suggestions on what confident people have in their homes? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Confident People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development confidence esteem self confidence things Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:12:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1199894 at Are You in the Wrong Career? Here's How to Tell <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-in-the-wrong-career-heres-how-to-tell" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tired businesswoman" title="tired businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to the new normal: The average worker today <a href="">stays in a job for 4.4 years</a>.</p> <p>You should probably expect that number to get even lower as 91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than <em>three </em>years. (See also: <a href="">25 Career Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>And while being labeled as a job hopper may make you less attractive to future employers, there's no time to waste if you don't like what you're doing. Here are seven tools to check if you're on the right career path.</p> <h2>1. What Can I Do With My Major In...?</h2> <p>In 2012, there were about <a href="">19.9 million Americans</a> enrolled in college. With the <a href="">average student debt around $29,400</a>, students need to take a close look at the career options that their degrees provide. offers a comprehensive list of jobs according to major through its <a href="">What Can I Do With a Major in&hellip;?</a> tool.</p> <p>Taking a look at your career options during your studies is a good way to check what your career path may look like in the future. You can filter your options by using the results from your Values Assessment Test, which helps you understand what is important to you in a job.</p> <h2>2.</h2> <p>What if you haven't declared a major yet or what if you are just taking a sabbatical year to think things through? In that case, the U.S. Department of Labor's <a href=""></a> is a comprehensive tool to help you explore a wide variety of career options and industries. You can search careers through keywords, browse careers by industry, or use the Interest Profiler to find out what kind of careers may be a good fit for you.</p> <h2>3. Occupational Projections Data</h2> <p>If you already have a job or are thinking about switching jobs, then you may be wondering what are the expected employment and wages in a couple years. The <a href="">Selected Occupational Projections Data</a> from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives you data starting 2012 and with projections up to 2022.</p> <p>For example, I looked up that there were 129.1 thousand writers and authors in 2012 and that number is expected to grow to 132.9 thousand by 2022. With a small number of competitors, a median annual wage of $55,940, and a 64.4% rate of self-employment, I am comforted that I made the right career decision!</p> <h2>4. Careerrealism's Quiz</h2> <p>Let's imagine that you are just fed up with your current job. Maybe you haven't been promoted for several years or your work hours are starting to affect your health. To help you decide whether you should quit your job, take this <a href="!bB3x78">11-question quiz</a> from Carrerrealism. They also provide you a suggested course of actions based on your quiz results.</p> <h2>5. Glasdoor's Job Finder</h2> <p>Sometimes the root of your job frustration may not be that you are in the wrong career, but that you are just in the wrong city. <a href="">Glassdoor's Job Finder</a> allows you to plug in your job title and check how many work opportunities are available across the United States. For example, my search for <a href="">freelance writer</a> showed me that while Hawaii only has two opportunities, New York has 49, California has 375, and Illinois has 99.</p> <p>While the first two made sense to me, I would had never imagined that the Prairie State was ripe with opportunities within my field. The Job Finder also allows you to drill down results per city and find out what other job titles (and cities!) you should consider in your career path.</p> <h2>6. PayScale's GigZig</h2> <p>Here is a really interesting twist on job evaluation. If you already know that the average person stays in a job about four years, then you can leverage that knowledge to predict your career path. <a href="">PayScale's GigZig</a> uses data from millions of people to indicate, based on a job title, what job that person held five years ago and what job that person will have five years from now.</p> <p>Based on those three job titles, GigZig shows you what percentage of people have taken a specific path. Since the median salary is included for each job, you will find yourself exploring the many zigs and zags your career path could take.</p> <p>If you cannot make up your mind between two jobs, then take a closer look at each one through PayScale's chart on the <a href="">most and least meaningful jobs</a>. This interactive chart compares job meaning, salary, and job satisfaction for over 450 job titles.</p> <h2>7. Career Values Test</h2> <p>Finally, if you need a full revaluation of your career path, then you should take a look at your career values. The <a href="">Career Values Test</a> is a comprehensive examination of your career values and your motivations behind them. Having a deeper understanding of what makes you tick in career terms allows you to better evaluate your career path and any potential employer. According to the makers of the test, these career values provide the means to evaluate the merits of any career and negotiate the terms for actual job offerings.</p> <p><em>What are some other useful tools to evaluate if you're in the right career path?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You in the Wrong Career? Here&#039;s How to Tell" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Personal Development career choosing a career job search Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1197957 at 10 Quick Ways to Become More Hygienic <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-quick-ways-to-become-more-hygienic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="child washing hands" title="child washing hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Right now, at this very moment, there are germs running literally<a href=""> all over you</a>,<a href=""> all over your home</a>, and all over absolutely everything you own.</p> <p>Please remain calm.</p> <p>It isn't your fault. In fact, it probably isn't a matter of poor hygiene at all. Although we often think of hygiene as a word having to do with cleanliness, what the word actually refers to is conditions that promote health and prevent disease. And that's actually a lot more complicated than scrubbing the bejesus out of everything you come into contact with. (See also: <a href="">The 10 Germiest, Grossest Things You Live With Everyday</a>)</p> <p>Here are a few very important hygiene habits research has shown to be important but that many people overlook.</p> <h2>1. Fine-Tune Your Posture</h2> <p>Try this: Tip your head straight back and look up. Kinda hurts, huh? That's because most jobs &mdash; whether they involve sitting at a computer or doing manual labor &mdash; involve bending forward, looking down and, in general, shortening all the muscles on the front side of the body. That can lead to rounded shoulders, a jutting neck and pot-bellied posture, which can mean pain, stiffness and even more serious back and neck problems. But as if that weren't bad enough, poor posture is also bad for your overall health, and has been connected to<a href=""> depression</a>,<a href=""> constipation</a> and<a href=""> circulatory problems</a>. So straighten up for better health! (See also: <a href="">7 More Quick Tips and Tricks for Better Posture</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dry Your Feet</h2> <p>Okay, so you probably know that you should wash your feet. (Or I hope you do &mdash; feet can get stinky!) But do you know what's just as important as washing them? Drying them very thoroughly and keeping them as dry as possible throughout the day.</p> <p>A 2012 survey by the Institute of Preventative Foot Health found that about<a href=""> 20% of people have athlete's foot</a> &mdash; a condition that causes, cracked, itchy feet &mdash; at any given time. The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in damp conditions. So, while keeping your feet clean helps, keeping them dry is actually the best way to keep your toes in tip-top shape. Dry your feet thoroughly after washing, change out of wet socks as soon as possible, and go barefoot when you can.</p> <h2>3. Shower Less Often</h2> <p>For many people, a daily shower is a ritual. It's about more than cleanliness &mdash; it just feels good. Unfortunately, scrubbing every bit of oil and bacteria off your body every day isn't as good for you as you might think. In fact, your skin needs a healthy layer of both to be at its best.</p> <p>&quot;Good <a href="">bacteria are educating your own skin cells</a> to make your own antibiotics,&quot; Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego, told The New York Times in 2010. &quot;They produce their own antibiotics that kill off bad bacteria.&quot;</p> <p>This is part of the reason why people find that skin conditions like eczema &mdash; and even acne &mdash; tend to flare up as a result of too much scrubbing. Your skin needs a healthy balance of lipids and bacteria to be at its best. Showering every day can strip those essential elements away, leading to drier, itchier, more inflamed skin.</p> <h2>4. Change Your Sheets More Often</h2> <p>Most people wouldn't think of wearing the same clothes for days on end, but they'll lie on the same sheets for weeks at a time. Why change your sheets regularly? Well, they're covered in sweat, drool, body oil, dead skin cells, and possibly even cookie crumbs. That's pretty gross, but dermatologists say grinding your face into a less-than-clean pillowcase can also contribute to acne. And no one likes that. Change sheets once a week and pillowcases more often than that if you're prone to breakouts.</p> <h2>5. Wash Your Hands &mdash; Like, Actually Wash Them</h2> <p>The advent of hand washing in hospitals literally<a href=""> changed the face of infectious disease control</a>. It's that important. However, in recent years we've become so concerned with keeping our hands clean that we've moved beyond good, old fashioned hand washing to coating our hands with antibacterial &quot;hand sanitizers.&quot; I see dispensers for this stuff everywhere &mdash; in airports, in office buildings, in hospitals. Unfortunately, many of these products contain triclosan, an <a href="">antibacterial product that's been linked to hormone disruption</a> and antibiotic resistance. Alcohol-based sanitizers are still considered safe and effective when you're in a pinch, but experts say that nothing beats plain, old soap and water. So wash well and wash often!</p> <h2>6. Avoid Antibacterial Anything</h2> <p>While you're washing, skip the antibacterial soap in favor of a gentle soap. It's better for your skin &mdash; and for your health. In 2013, the FDA stated that the <a href="">long-term use of antibacterial soap</a> and other products may do more harm than good. That's in response to research that found that antibacterial soap offers few additional benefits over basic soap, and may contribute to the rise of superstrong bacteria that are resistant to the chemicals it contains as well as to many antibiotics. Plus, lathering and rinsing removes most bacteria manual.</p> <h2>7. Ditch Text Messages</h2> <p>You probably know that your cell phone is covered with every germ imaginable, but then, so is your toothbrush, so that may be less of a problem than some of the other ill effects your phone can produce, particularly when you do a lot of texting. In fact,<a href=""> texting for long periods has been found to lower life expectancy</a> because it contributes to poor posture. It's also been shown to be bad<a href=""> for your relationships</a>.</p> <h2>8. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face</h2> <p>The germs that give us colds and other infections tend to take the easy way in &mdash; through our eyes and mouths. In fact, <a href="">touching your face less often</a> has been found to be the best way to avoid getting sick. Get used to keeping your hands away from face as much as possible. And if you must rub your eyes or bite your nails, wash your hands first!</p> <h2>9. Clean Up Your Diet</h2> <p>Sometimes when we try to focus on eating &quot;healthy&quot; foods, we can get tricked into buying all kinds of things that are labeled as &quot;high fiber&quot; or &quot;low fat&quot; or &quot;sugar free.&quot; But the healthiest foods tend not to have a label. Sticking to these whole, unprocessed goodies is often called &quot;clean eating.&quot; <a href="">Eating food in its whole</a>, most unprocessed state has been found to improve health, help in the maintenance of a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.</p> <h2>10. Take Care of Your Contacts</h2> <p>A survey conducted in 2012 found that people will use anything from spit to butter or beer to <a href="">clean their contact lenses</a>. <em>Ewwww</em>.</p> <p>These are your eyes we're talking about, people! And even if you've never resorted to lathering up your contacts with a cold Coors Light, you should probably be taking your contact lens hygiene more seriously. Failing to follow the exact procedure recommended by your ophthalmologist &mdash; including washing your hands, replacing the contact solution in your case daily and using a sterile cleaning solution &mdash; can lead to the growth of a bacterial film on your lenses. And that isn't just gross; it can lead to eye irritation or even serious eye infections.</p> <p>Hygiene is often assumed to be about being clean, but it's really about being healthy. Put health first and you'll be well on your way to your most hygienic &mdash; and healthiest &mdash; self.</p> <p><em>How do you keep yourself clean and inoffensive to those sitting near you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Quick Ways to Become More Hygienic" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development cleanliness fitness Health hygiene Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Tara Struyk 1196856 at 8 Hours? 9 Hours? This Is How Much Sleep You REALLY Need <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-hours-9-hours-this-is-how-much-sleep-you-really-need" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="sleeping girl clock" title="sleeping girl clock" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ask anyone how much sleep they should be getting and most people will tell you 8 to 9 hours. But new research suggests that you might actually need less sleep than that &mdash; possibly as little as 7 hours for full rest and maximum health benefits.</p> <p>A recent Wall Street Journal article examined several sleep studies and concluded that most <a href="">people would be better off with 7 hours of sleep</a> than with 8 or 9 hours. Getting too much sleep may be just as harmful or even <em>more</em> harmful to your health than getting too little sleep. So, why is 7 hours better? (See also: <a href="">7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <p>One study examined by the article tracked the self-reporting habits of 1.1 million people and found that those reporting 6.5 to 7.4 hours of sleep had lower mortality rates than those getting more or less sleep. Another study used a device to track how much sleep 450 elderly women got and concluded that those women getting more than 6.5 hours or fewer than 5 hours of sleep had higher mortality rates.</p> <p>Perhaps my favorite study involved placing five adults in &quot;Stone Age like conditions&quot; in Germany for over two months. They didn't have electricity, clocks, or running water. The study found that &quot;participants fell asleep about two hours earlier and got on average 1.5 hours more sleep than was estimated in their normal lives.&quot; Their average amount of sleep per night: 7.2 hours.</p> <p>As a sleep deprived mother of a 4-week-old I have a hard time believing that getting too much sleep can be just as harmful as getting too little sleep. (Especially after reading this study that shows that <a href="">new moms are dangerously exhausted</a> for months after their little ones are born.) But being so sleep deprived, 7 hours of sleep currently does sound like a lot.</p> <p>So, if, on average, people only need 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep, how do you know how much sleep <em>you</em> need?</p> <h2>Factors to Determine How Much Sleep You Need</h2> <p>The following factors influence how much sleep you need.</p> <h3>1. Your Gender</h3> <p><a href="">Women need more sleep than men</a>, by an average of about 20 minutes a night. And pregnant women in their first trimester need even more sleep than that.</p> <h3>2. The Quality of Sleep You're Getting</h3> <p>Anyone who is frequently awakened by the blaring siren from the fire station down the street or the cries of a hungry newborn knows that 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep is extremely different from 7 hours of pieced together, interrupted sleep. Similarly, sleeping on rocky ground while camping or on your in-laws pull-out couch is much different that your own mattress. The better the quality of your sleep, the less you'll need.</p> <h3>3. How Much &quot;Sleep Debt&quot; You're In</h3> <p>If you've been skimping on sleep for awhile you likely will <a href="">need more sleep to catch up</a> than if you are continually well-rested.</p> <h3>4. Your Age</h3> <p>Newborns sleep up to 20 hours a day, toddlers 11-14 hours, twenty-somethings 7.5 hours, and the downward trend continues up to 80 year olds who sleep less than 6 hrs a day. So, depending on your age, <a href="">you may need more or less sleep</a> than others.</p> <h3>5. Your Genes</h3> <p>As with most differences between individuals, genes play a role in how much sleep you need. If you're someone who has almost always needed a lot of or very little sleep, chances are your genes are playing a role, too.</p> <p><em>How much sleep do you get a night? Do you feel like it's too little, enough, or too much?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Hours? 9 Hours? This Is How Much Sleep You REALLY Need" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development enough sleep Health sleep sleep research Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1195554 at 8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mind power" title="mind power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Brain Hacking, also known as &quot;mind hacking&quot; has become increasingly popular over the last few years. According to <a href="">Squidoo</a>, mind hacking is &quot;to perform some act that gains access to the fundamental mechanism behind your mind and other people's minds by here-to-fore unknown or apparently mystical means.&quot; (See also: <a href="">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Other people see it simply as &quot;mind over mind over matter,&quot; which basically comes down to self-control using techniques that allow you to tap into your mind's seemingly unlimited potential. Now, with these 12 quick and easy brain hacks, you can unlock some of that latent ability and surprise yourself, and your friends and colleagues. And maybe even some new dates.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Smell&quot; Yourself More Attractive</h2> <p>Right now, you can make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex just by <em>thinking</em> one thought over and over in your head. That thought is, &quot;hey, I really smell terrific,&quot; or some variation of it. Researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted tests on men, seeing how they felt about themselves <a href="">after spraying on deodorants</a> that contained powerful ingredients. However, half of the men got spray that contained no such magic ingredients. The results were the same. By believing they smelled great to the opposite sex, the opposite sex found them more attractive.</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Pain&hellip;With Binoculars</h2> <p>&quot;Pain is all in the mind.&quot; How many times have you heard that and thought &quot;yeah, right!&quot; If you slice your finger cutting vegetables, or whack your little toe on the corner of the nightstand, it's not so easy to convince yourself it doesn't hurt.</p> <p>However, researchers at Oxford University found a non-medicinal way to make the pain shrink &mdash; <a href="">they used inverted binoculars.</a> When subjects looked at their wound through the wrong end, it made the wound <a href="">seem a lot smaller</a>, and in turn they felt less pain. It sounds nuts, but it's true. The upshot of this is when you get pain, you have to imagine that pain being much smaller; or simply look away. Focusing on your wound will bring you increased pain.</p> <h2>3. Organize Using Your Imagination</h2> <p>Cleaning. 99% of us really don't like doing it. Whether it's a messy room, a desk at work, or the cluttered basement, the task always seems overwhelming. But there is a very quick brain hack you can do to make that task much easier.</p> <p><a href="">Watch how PJ Eby</a> uses this trick on a messy desk.</p> <p>First, you look at your desk and take in the whole situation. Look at the mess, the chaos, and the disorder. Then, close your eyes and visualize that desk as clean and organized. Next, you need to feel good about what you visualized. Feel relaxed about the desk. Feel proud. Finally, hold that feeling, and the clean desk image, in your mind. Let it wash over you. You should almost be seeing in x-ray vision, looking through the clutter to the clean space.</p> <p>What you have done is kick-start your brain's automatic planning system. By comparing the two images, you are automatically going to see places for things to go, and what to do with them. It's something that takes less than a minute, but can save you hours of frustration.</p> <h2>4. Improve Your Memory With a Mind Palace</h2> <p>If you're a fan of the BBC show <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004132HZS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YGHVABWLWBVIJGLG">Sherlock</a>, you will be all too familiar with the mind palace. However, you don't need to be an egomaniacal genius to make your own. It's a technique that dates back to <a href="">ancient Rome and Greece,</a> and it's a simple but effective way to store and recall a lot of information.</p> <p>First, you create a layout of a building or town in your brain. It should be composed of memorable places and signs. For instance, you create a shopping mall, and the first store on your right is a jewelers, followed by a burger stand and then a gym. Now, you place items you want to remember inside the different stores. Once inside each store, there will be a similar approach to the layout, with different sections, and shelves. And the key is to always use very distinct and bizarre combinations together, such as the title of this memory book &mdash; <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=159420229X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JCLEYWNUGPXF3BFF">Moonwalking With Einstein</a>. You can very easily walk through your palace whenever you want, and pluck items from the shelves with ease. Try it. This <a href="">journalist</a> did, and look how it worked for him.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Eyebrows to Become More Creative</h2> <p>If you ever want to feel more creative, try raising your eyebrows and widening your eyes. This simple technique appears to act as a boost for your creative mind, literally broadening the scope of your ideas as your widen your eyes and take more in. This is all backed by scientific research that was published in the Creativity Research Journal. Two groups of people were asked to come up with captions for a seemingly mundane image. Those with <a href="">raised eyebrows had much more creative and funny captions</a>. Try it for yourself at home and see how it works with your family.</p> <h2>6. Write Stuff Down to Remember It</h2> <p>This does not mean, &quot;type stuff down.&quot; No, you will have to go back to that archaic form of communication that uses a pen and a piece of paper. Or better yet, keep a little notepad and small pen or pencil on you as often as you can.</p> <p>An experiment conducted at Indiana University proved that the physical act of <a href=";">writing something down stimulated parts of the brain</a> that were not active when simply trying to remember something, or typing it into a computer. Perhaps it is the fact that your hand is hardwired to certain parts of the brain, and as you write you are pressing the words or images more deeply into your memory than the simple act of trying to remember. Whatever the reason, it works. Write it down, you'll remember it.</p> <h2>7. Avoid &quot;Choking&quot; By Singing</h2> <p>This is not the literal lack of breath, but rather falling victim to severe nerves and messing up something seemingly simple. It happens in sports a lot, but it can also happen to us if we have to give a presentation at work, or perhaps give a speech at a wedding.</p> <p>Choking is the result of pressure getting to us, usually because our brain is working overtime on all the &quot;what ifs&quot; and worst case scenarios. The way to beat it is fairly simple; do something to keep your brain occupied. Research shows that singing to yourself gives your brain <a href="">something to do instead of stressing out</a>. By singing, you are holding your brain hostage to a task you have given it, and it cannot concentrate on all the disasters you think are going to happen. Sing until it's your time to do something, be it sinking a long putt, giving a speech, or bowling a strike for a perfect game.</p> <h2>8. Stop Stress by Laughing &mdash; Seriously</h2> <p>Fans of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005YVP366&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X5TRTSMFUMLPQHWB">The Office (UK)</a> will remember the painfully awkward scene with David Brent laughing as a motivational speaker. (<a href="">If not, refresh your memory here.</a>)</p> <p>Although it was done poorly to showcase Brent's delusions, it's actually a great way to <a href="">relieve stress</a> and think more creatively. Laughter releases dopamine, and even if you feel dumb doing it, you will eventually reap the rewards. Of course, these days we all have an instant home entertainment system in our pocket. Just pull out your smart phone, Google a funny video (perhaps something you know has made you cry with laughter in the past) and spend two minutes putting a smile on your face. Your shoulders will lift, you will feel better, and you will think more clearly. Try it out.</p> <p><em>Any other quick mind hacks you'd like to share? Please do so in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks mind hacks mind tricks psychology Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1193088 at 4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Le baiser de l&#039;hôtel de ville" title="Le baiser de l&#039;hôtel de ville" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was in my early 20s, I had a lovely photograph of a solitary woman hanging in my bedroom. My mother suggested that I switch it out for a picture of a couple. According to a <a href="">theory of Feng Shui</a> that she had read, the way you decorate your home reflects your intentions &mdash; so if you have artwork depicting loneliness in your bedroom, then you're more likely to be unlucky in love.</p> <p>I rolled my eyes at my mom &mdash; but I switched out the picture of the woman for a poster of Robert Doisneau's famous photograph <a href="">Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville</a>, which I had previously displayed in my living room.</p> <p>A few months after making the switch, I met the man who is now my husband.</p> <p>While proponents of Feng Shui, the <a href="">law of attraction</a>, and other somewhat off-the-wall theories about cause and effect would claim that the universe responded to my decorating change, science offers an even more intriguing possibility: <a href="">priming</a>.</p> <h2>Understanding Priming</h2> <p>Psychologists have discovered that our behavior and thinking can change based upon the context of information that we receive. This phenomenon is known as <em>priming</em>, and it can affect everything from your behavior to your emotions.</p> <p>For instance, researchers have found that simply hearing the words <a href=";fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.71.2.230">Florida, forgetful, and wrinkle</a> is enough to cause individuals to start walking more slowly, as if they are feeling the effects of aging. In another experiment, researchers have found that individuals holding a hot cup of coffee when talking to another person felt more positive about the conversation. The warmth of the cup translated into a feeling of warmth about the interaction.</p> <h2>Think Yourself Rich</h2> <p>There are various ways to provide your brain with the kind of stimulus that can help to achieve your financial dreams &mdash; just as I reached my romantic dream. Here are four things you can do to help put your mind to work for you.</p> <h2>1. Visualize Doing It</h2> <p>Athletes have understood the importance of active visualization for some time. They will often spend hours thinking about what it will look like, sound like, and feel like to stick the landing, sink the shot, or hit the ball.</p> <p>In a recent study at the University of Chicago, three groups of participants were asked to make as many free throws as they could. Then, the first group was asked to practice free throws for an hour every day, the second group was asked to visualize making free throws every day, and the third group did nothing. A month later, the first group had improved by 24%. The second group had improved by an impressive 23% <a href="">without setting foot on a basketball court</a>. The control group had made no improvement. Clearly, visualizing an activity can help you improve your performance.</p> <p>It's important to clarify that visualizing is very different from creating <em>a vision board</em>. That's because vision boards can actually be detrimental to your goals. Studies that ask participants to envision good outcomes (such as getting an A on an exam or winning a tennis match) have found that the <a href="">participants do worse on their exam or match</a> if they have visualized the positive outcome. That's because those types of visions skip over the hard work (and those visualizers do study and practice less), and jumps right to the feel-good ending. This is clearly not helpful.</p> <p>The difference between the type of visualizing that athletes do and the vision boards is action. Athletic visualization is very active and involves multiple senses. Imagining winning the gold or cutting out pictures of the things you'd like to own someday is much more passive and dreamy.</p> <p>If you want to visualize yourself rich, spend your visualization time thinking through how you will handle various financial situations, from salary negotiation to saying no to pressures to spend money. Priming your brain for these situations ahead of time will do much more for your ability to get rich than gluing a picture of a yacht to a piece of poster board.</p> <h2>2. Appreciate What You Have</h2> <p>If you want to use your mind to make yourself rich, take a moment to truly <a href="">look at all that you have with new eyes</a>. Isn't it incredible that you can speak to people the world over, learn almost anything about almost any subject, and look at pictures of grumpy cats using a device no bigger than a deck of cards? We really are living in an exciting time and there is an incredible bounty available to us.</p> <p>Reminding yourself of the abundance in your life allows you to step out of the &quot;consume consume consume&quot; culture that we live in and recognize that you can feel rich with what you already have. While this thought experiment will not necessarily add dollars to your bank account, it will leave you feeling richer and more satisfied with your life &mdash; and isn't that the point of wealth?</p> <h2>3. Give Money Away</h2> <p>In his book <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000QFBXHI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZTMUQEI7WVBWYUMD">More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny</a>, Dave Ramsey talks about the difference between having an open hand or a closed fist:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">I see the closed fist often in the area of money: a fist full of dollars tightly held so that those precious dollars never get away. That closed fist represents someone who doesn't know how to give. They think if they clutch those dollars tight enough, never giving, that they are on the path to more than enough. The real world will teach you that the opposite is true: those with more than enough got there by giving.</p> <p>All of this sounds a little woo-woo, but there is something to Ramsey's analogy. Specifically, individuals who are close-fisted with their money tend to have very negative money scripts &mdash; <a href="">unconscious beliefs about money created in childhood</a>. If you feel that you must hold tightly to your money, you probably believe things like there will never be enough money or the amount of money you have reflects on who you are as a person.</p> <p>One solution to dealing with these money scripts is to get in the habit of giving money away. If you change your attitude about money from something that you must tightly hold to something that flows through your life, then you are in a better position to see and accept wealth-generating opportunities when they arise.</p> <h2>4. Repeat Positive Affirmations</h2> <p>Stuart Smalley was onto something when he repeatedly told himself, &quot;<a href="">I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me</a>!&quot;</p> <p>As it turns out, positive affirmations can really help prime your brain to make significant changes. That's because <a href="">your mind does not know the difference between reality and fantasy</a>. This is why your heart races while watching a horror movie &mdash; your mind is empathizing with the characters on the screen even though you know intellectually that they are not real.</p> <p>So if you tell yourself over and over &quot;<a href="">I welcome wealth into my life</a> and I love the positive energy that money brings to me,&quot; then your mind will fall in line with the belief system you are stating. Repeat your affirmations out loud three times a day for five minutes. And be like Stuart &mdash; look at yourself in the mirror while you're doing it.</p> <p>If you find yourself rolling your eyes when you state your affirmations, however, you might see no results from this new habit. That's because we all already have affirmations in our heads, and many of them are very negative. You might be trying to reprogram your mind by stating a positive affirmation, but the negative voice inside is undermining it by whispering something like, This is stupid. You will always struggle with money.&quot;</p> <p>If you do have a negative reaction to affirmations, it's a good idea to examine exactly what that inner voice is saying and poke holes in the negative message. Don't let your negative affirmation get in the way of your wealth.</p> <h2>Harness the Power of Your Brain</h2> <p>The human mind is an incredible machine. It helps to create the reality you live in, and you can give it gentle nudges toward the goals you want. If you visualize, appreciate, give, and affirm, your brain will help to bring you closer to the lifestyle you deserve.</p> <p><em>Have you used the power of your brain to build wealth &mdash; or sink more putts? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development affirmation behavior confidence psychology wealth Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1191315 at People Who Love Their Bodies Do These 12 Things — Do You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-their-bodies-do-these-12-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man with yoga mat" title="man with yoga mat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Instead of waiting until your body is an ideal shape to love it, why not love it now?</p> <p>After all, your body is the way you interact with the world, the thing that lets you hug friends and family, play with children, smell flowers, and so much more. (See also: <a href="">15 Ways to Gain More Confidence Today</a>)</p> <p>There are people who love their bodies, even though they don't look like the people in magazines and movies. Here are some of the practices they embrace. If you don't do these things yet, you can always start now.</p> <h2>1. Become Conscious of How You Feel</h2> <p>People who love their bodies are conscious about how they feel about their physical selves. They are honest about the things they'd rather change, and they choose to love themselves anyway. When they have negative thoughts about their bodies, they are able to acknowledge those and work to challenge them, rather than burying them deep inside.</p> <h2>2. Be Realistic</h2> <p>You can love your body and set goals for physical change. <a href=";art_id=696&amp;sc=4393">Make those goals realistic</a>, though, or you're setting yourself up for failure and for more dislike of your physical appearance. If you're not sure if your goals are realistic, talk to your doctor or a good friend and consider their feedback.</p> <h2>3. Let Your Body Speak</h2> <p>Your body tries to tell you things all the time. It communicates basic things, like whether you are hungry or tired, but it can also tell you how you're feeling if you notice where you are holding tension or where and how you feel pressure and release. Take a few seconds, several times a day, to check in with your body, and you might be amazed at what it will tell you.</p> <h2>4. Treat Your Body With Love</h2> <p>Do you act like you love your body or like you loathe it? Treat your body the way you would treat it if you adored it, and you're likely to feel more positively about it and take even better care of yourself. If you're not sure how to love your body, think about the ways you like to be touched and things you do that make your body feel energized. Incorporate these into your daily life and see what changes.</p> <h2>5. Remember What's Good About Your Body</h2> <p>Instead of thinking about all that your body isn't, think about what it is. Make a list of what you like about your body, the things it lets you do, and the things it does well. Look at this list every day, or at least when you start feeling down about your body. Eventually, you will start noticing more and more of these good things.</p> <h2>6. Decide How to Handle Weight and Self-Care</h2> <p>Getting to a healthy weight or staying there is a great way to love your body. In the process, though, you will need to figure out your relationship with the scale. Some people need to <a href=";ContentID=1613">throw it away</a> completely, so that they are caring for their bodies for the sake of health and not numbers. Others need to weigh themselves every day, so they can see what normal fluctuations of weight look like. To love your body, you need to figure out what your relationship with the scale needs to be so you can care for it well.</p> <h2>7. Never Criticize Your Body Out Loud</h2> <p>Just as you (hopefully) wouldn't criticize someone else's body out loud, you shouldn't criticize your own. Speaking thoughts out loud not only makes them real in a way that isn't the case if you only think them, but it trains your mind to continue thinking that way. Instead, speak positively about your body and let your mind follow that lead, instead.</p> <h2>8. Know and Love the Ways Your Body Is Unique</h2> <p>People who love their bodies realize that every single body is unique, and that each uniqueness is beautiful. Even if you can't articulate what makes your body unique, you can acknowledge that there's no one who looks exactly like you. Revel in that. Take some time to look at portraits online, so that you can see for yourself how all bodies are special.</p> <h2>9. Give Yoga a Chance</h2> <p>Many people who love their bodies practice yoga. This exercise can be as gentle or as challenging as you want it to be. When you develop a yoga practice and see that expand as you get stronger, you will understand your body, it can lead you to a deeper appreciation of <a href="">how your body works together as a whole</a>.</p> <h2>10. Sleep Well</h2> <p>Getting enough sleep allows your body to heal, to repair any damaged tissues, to organize the events of the day and, simply, to rest from work. People who love their bodies know how much sleep they need and they do their best to get those hours in, even when that means turning in earlier than they want to. (See also: <a href="">7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <h2>11. Rest Every Day</h2> <p>I include this as separate from sleep because many people who love their bodies find ways to rest their bodies during waking hours, too. Resting can mean sleeping, but it can also mean meditating or finding other ways to relax and give your body a break. Figure out what your body likes by experimenting with different ideas, and then incorporate that into your routine.</p> <h2>12. Work to Improve Your Body Image</h2> <p>A lot of people who love their bodies have done hard work to improve the ways they think about their physical selves. This can include <a href="">developing habits</a> like staying away from popular media that glorifies certain types of bodies, wearing clothes that make you feel good about yourself, and surrounding yourself with people who think about bodies in the ways you want to.</p> <p><em>Do you love your body? How do you practice that in daily life? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="People Who Love Their Bodies Do These 12 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Personal Development body image fitness self confidence Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1190937 at