Personal Development http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/216/all en-US 12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-businesswoman-480403371-small.jpg" alt="businesswoman relaxing" title="businesswoman relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am a perfectionist without end, and I want to do my best at everything I do. I hit a point a couple of years ago, though, when perfectionism had worn me out. Holding myself to high standards had paid off, in some ways. People were seeking me out to write for them, I moved up the ladder at my day job, and I was pouring knowledge and companionship into people in meaningful ways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-fight-burnout?ref=seealso">5 Simple Ways to Fight Burnout</a>)</p> <p>But I was tired. I was so, so tired. And then I started getting sick &mdash; I was sick for almost two months straight. By the end of that, I'd dropped all the balls I'd been juggling. I struggled through feelings of worthlessness and failure, but eventually I was able to rebuild. And one of the keystones of my new foundation was going easier on myself, learning to let off the pressure so I don't drive myself into the ground.</p> <p>If you're a perfectionist and you don't want to burn out yourself, here are some ideas.</p> <h2>1. Breathe First</h2> <p>Before you do anything that is important to you, take a few seconds to breathe. Even just a few seconds helps me approach my task with calm and focus, rather than with anxiety. I remember why I'm doing it, and that helps me do it with my mind at ease, rather than all stressed out.</p> <h2>2. Single Task</h2> <p>Since it seems that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">multitasking is a myth</a> anyway (we are actually switching our attention from task to task quickly, rather than doing everything at once), it makes more sense to intentionally focus on one thing at a time. It also helps our brains recharge because we're going easier on them, even when the tasks themselves are stressful and we are pushing to be our best.</p> <h2>3. Take a Tech Break</h2> <p>It feels good to be connected. It makes us feel important, like we're part of things. However, consuming, sorting, absorbing, filtering, and labeling all that information is exhausting. There's just too much. While many of us must interact technologically for work, we don't have to do it all the time. Intentionally set aside some time to ease these expectations and let yourself focus on something else. Who knows, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/07/us-sleep-technology-idUSTRE7260RH20110307">you may even sleep better</a>!</p> <h2>4. Today, Nothing Is Urgent</h2> <p>Give yourself an easy day, where nothing short of a true emergency is urgent. Email doesn't have to be checked. Deadlines don't have to be pursued. Meetings don't have to take place. Giving yourself this space reminds you that you are in control of your life, inspires you to choose what is and is not important, and offers you a chance to rest.</p> <h2>5. Drop the Shoulds</h2> <p>&quot;Should&quot; is a word that drives us to perfection, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-get-rid-of-for-a-better-life">it will drive us and drive us</a> to delirium, because nothing is ever enough. Take should out of your vocabulary. Replace it with &quot;could&quot; or &quot;get to,&quot; and you will find yourself resting easier, even about the stressful things. You will be able to choose when to push yourself and how to be healthy about it, without compulsively running from here to there.</p> <h2>6. Treat Yourself the Way You Would Treat Others</h2> <p>If you find yourself pushing all the time, stop and ask if that is how you would treat your mother, your favorite sibling, or your best friend. If the answer is no, figure out how you would treat them and proceed to treat yourself that way, too. Let go when you would let them rest, and your life will become much easier.</p> <h2>7. Stop Every 90 Minutes</h2> <p>Even when you're working hard, you're in the zone, the work is important, and you need to get it done, stop working every 90 minutes. Take a short break; take a walk, go outside, stretch a little. This coincides with <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html">your body's natural rhythm</a>, and even hard work seems easier when you're not working against yourself.</p> <h2>8. Practice Self-Compassion</h2> <p>While we may strive for perfection, the truth is that we are not perfect and we live in an imperfect world. Instead of beating ourselves up over that, we can begin to accept it as fact and give ourselves compassion when we make mistakes or don't meet our own standards. If you find that you are berating yourself, take a deep breath and consciously offer yourself compassion instead. Something as simple as &quot;I am human. I am not going to be perfect and that's okay,&quot; can change your life if you say it enough.</p> <h2>9. Hire a Housekeeper</h2> <p>Most people who have high standards include their home in that, and then beat themselves up when other projects make it hard to clean. Hire some help, <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/02/19/how-i-made-my-peace-with-hiring-a-housekeeper/">even if you feel weak or lazy doing it</a>, and realize that some things don't have to be your job.</p> <h2>10. Take Yourself Out</h2> <p>Give yourself some alone time away from work and home and anyplace else that makes you feel guilty or where you feel like you need to do MORE! and BETTER! all the time. Taking yourself out of the physical space removes many of the triggers of your perfectionism and makes it more likely that you will truly relax and recharge.</p> <h2>11. Decide What Is Important to You</h2> <p>We all have tasks that, for whatever reason, are ours. Work is an obvious one, especially if your job is important to your financial survival. The relationships in our lives &mdash; significant others, parents, children, friends, etc. &mdash; are also important and are clearly ours to work on and in.</p> <p>Many of us, though, take on things that are not ours. Take some time to look at where you spend your time and energy, and determine which of those are things that <em>you</em> really need to be doing. You'll probably find that some are important, some are unimportant, and others are important but really fall more into someone else's realm.</p> <h2>12. Let It Go</h2> <p>When you find yourself stressing over trying to do well with a job that isn't yours, let it go. I found it helpful to actually clench my hands and then unclench them (sometimes under a table or behind my back so no one could see!). Releasing these tasks will help you release the need to do them so well, and you will automatically begin going easier on yourself.</p> <p><em>Have you burnt out or flamed out from pushing too hard? How do you go easier on yourself?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development perfectionism productivity stress stress relief Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1240622 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vision%20board.jpg" alt="vision board" title="vision board" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Visualization boards, collaged with images and words depicting our goals and desires, are a popular technique for manifesting what we want out of life. It's really quite simple: Paste visual representations of your wishes and intentions on poster board, thereby activating the subconscious mind to focus its energies on manifesting them to come true. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-thing-you-need-to-do-to-be-happy-and-improve-your-relationships?ref=seealso">One Thing You Need to Do to be Happy and Improve Your Relationships</a>)</p> <p>&quot;If you repeat the word, 'blue, blue, blue,' and you start looking around the room, all the blue things will start popping out,&quot; says sociologist and life coach Martha Beck. &quot;Part of it is quantum physics&hellip; We know now, scientifically, that <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Go-Beyond-The-Secret_1">consciousness brings matter into being</a> where there was energy. So it's not even necessarily that it draws it toward you. The conclusion is you're literally creating some of this stuff.&quot;</p> <p>It's a concept that has been given <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/O-Dream-Board-Envision-Your-Best-LifeTM">the gold star of approval by the likes of Oprah.</a> But if it sounds a little hokey to you, you've got company. Dr. Neil Farber, an expert in psychology, writes that <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/neil-farber-md-phd">visualization boards fall short in helping us achieve our goals</a> because they don't require us to take any real action. Rather, they are all about letting our thoughts do the work for us.</p> <p>&quot;Fantasizing about your perfect world and your perfect life may make you feel better in the short term but will limit your ability to transform your dreams into reality,&quot; Farber writes. &quot;Dream about it, envision how you will realistically do it or get it, and then get off your tush and make it happen.&quot;</p> <p>So: Do visualization boards really work?</p> <p>It's a controversial question, and there's little scientific evidence to support or deny the blessings they're meant to bring into our lives. But there are certainly believers among us. Read on for our roundup of the most amazing visualization success stories out there. You just might be inspired to create your own.</p> <h2>1. Manifesting Love</h2> <p>Life Coach Cheryl Richardson said she pasted a photo of a man on her visualization board. Not just any man &mdash; a man representing the person she wanted to fall in love with and marry. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Law-of-Attraction-Real-Life-Stories_1/7">Now she's married to a man who looks like the picture of the man on her visualization board</a>. Coincidence? Maybe, but Richardson says no. It didn't happen overnight &mdash; in fact, it took years &mdash; but Richardson said she firmly believes she manifested her love and marriage from her visualization board into real life.</p> <p>Richardson's marriage may be the most miraculous thing she's manifested, but she said her visualization board has brought her many other successes. &quot;Phil Donahue was on here, and that's the first national show I ever did after I put him on the board,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>2. 15 Minutes of Fame</h2> <p>When Lisa Nichols, a struggling single mom turned successful entrepreneur, made her visualization board, she included the following words: &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Rvcx2L2CI">Lisa Reveals All On Oprah</a>.&quot; A few years later, that's exactly what she did. Nichols, a motivational speaker, was invited by Oprah to discuss her visualization board experience on the show as part of a segment inspired by <a href="http://www.thesecret.tv/index.html">The Secret</a>, a movie about the law of attraction in which the main character manifests his dream home from a visualization board.</p> <p>&quot;It's like if you were at a restaurant and you ordered something,&quot; Nichols said, describing her own visualization board process. &quot;You fully expect it to come served that way. That's how the universe is. You're putting out orders consciously and unconsciously and expecting it to come back. So if you say, 'I'm never going to have a good relationship.' &mdash; you just placed an order.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Olympic Motivation</h2> <p>When three-time Olympian Ruben Gonzalez was a kid, he wrote Sports Illustrated asking where he could learn how to luge. The magazine mailed Gonzalez a photograph of a man racing on a luge, and Gonzalez framed it so <a href="http://www.thelugeman.com/success-vision-board.htm">he could see it from his bed every morning when he woke up</a>.</p> <p>&quot;Every morning, the first person I saw when I woke up was 'The Luge Man,'&quot; Gonzalez wrote. &quot;Seeing 'The Luge Man' was a constant reminder that I was training for the Olympics. He reminded me to eat right, to work out, and to surround myself with winners. At night, before turning out the lights, the last person I saw was 'The Luge Man.' All night long, I dreamt about the luge and the Olympics.</p> <p>&quot;During the day, the picture focused my conscious mind on the dream. At night, it conditioned my unconscious mind to aim for my goal.&quot;</p> <p>Gonzalez is now such a believer in the success that visualization boarding brought to his life that he has an entire website dedicated to encouraging others to try it for themselves.</p> <p><em>Do you use a visualization board? Has it worked for you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development optimism positive thinking success visualization board Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1239950 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Productive Ways to Reduce Stress http://www.wisebread.com/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-golf-135224775-small.jpg" alt="businessman golf" title="businessman golf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no way to avoid stress altogether &mdash; unless you know something we don't know &mdash; but there are plenty of positive ways you can reduce it before it gets out of hand. Let's look at 15.</p> <h2>1. Take Your Business to the Golf Course</h2> <p>Mixing a little business with pleasure on the links is a great way to relieve stress, says Tony Gomes, president of a financial services company that helps manage wealth.</p> <p>&quot;My job can be stressful at times, like many people's, but I find one of the most <a href="http://tonygomesonline.com/reasons-why-every-business-professionals-needs-to-learn-how-to-play-golf/">productive ways to reduce stress</a> is to go on a business golf outing,&quot; he says. &quot;It is well known that a lot of business gets done on the golf course, but also, golf is seen as a very relaxing way to spend time. People may think that there are some emotional peaks and valleys that enter when playing a round of golf, but if you are out there for other purposes (business, exercise, etc.), then it can be one of the more relaxing activities.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get Your 'Om' On With Meditation</h2> <p>Barb Schmidt is the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757317987/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0757317987&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NWME563IWK26U7WB">The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness</a>, and she counts meditation among her top stress-relieving tactics.</p> <p>&quot;Starting your day in stillness and peace is setting the tone for your whole day,&quot; she says. &quot;In a 5-minute meditation, you are training your mind by placing your attention on your breath, practicing being patient, and spending time with yourself, connecting with that deep place of calmness and strength. This time in the morning grounds you as you go into your day with the knowing you are carrying this peace with you.&quot;</p> <p>If you're not necessarily into that holistic way of thinking, perhaps you're keen to know that there's <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858">scientific evidence that meditation is ideal for stress management</a>.</p> <h2>3. Plan Your Tomorrow Today</h2> <p>You can eliminate a decent amount of stress by thinking ahead, according to Dr. Joshua Jacobi, a board certified cardiologist.</p> <p>&quot;Plan out the day in advance the night before,&quot; he suggests. &quot;I like to think of the analogy of driving in a car. If my day is planned out, then I know where I am going. If my day is not planned out in advance, then I feel like I am lost driving around in my car. Being lost stresses me out.&quot;</p> <p>Put this advice to use right now. Pick out your outfit, make your lunch, and make a to-do list for tomorrow. Your stress level is almost guaranteed to go down at least a little.</p> <h2>4. Sweat It Out the Old Fashioned Way</h2> <p>Feeling overwhelmed and a little anxious? Send those stress symptoms packing by getting that body in motion.</p> <p>There are <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469">a number of benefits to working out</a>, like increased production of endorphins (neurotransmitters that give you the feel-goods), letting your mind concentrate on something else besides your burdens, and better sleep. Have you ever noticed how upbeat your fitness-minded friends are? They're in on the secret, and you should be too.</p> <h2>5. Add More Yoga to Your Routine</h2> <p>Like meditation, yoga is beneficial when you're dealing with stress. You're able to concentrate on a positive activity while practicing yoga instead of harping on the negatives in your life.</p> <p>&quot;The <a href="http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/yoga-for-stress-management">benefits of yoga include decreased stress</a> and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels,&quot; said Beth Shaw, Founder/President of Yogafit Training Systems.</p> <p>So grab your mat, practice your Downward Dog, and let that stress slip away.</p> <h2>6. Put Your Problems on Paper</h2> <p>As a writer, I can tell you that putting my thoughts down on paper is a cathartic experience when I'm under a lot of stress. Have you heard that piece of advice that when you're mad at something, particularly a person, you should write them a letter and then burn it afterward? It's not a bad suggestion, because in most cases you'll calm down during the writing process and you'll get your issues out so you can handle them in a more positive way.</p> <p>Life mastery coach Jason Treu agrees.</p> <p>&quot;Write a letter forgiving someone else,&quot; he says. &quot;You never have to deliver it. Bottling up anger and resentment causes high levels of stress. Forgiveness doesn't take two parties &mdash; just one. You write the letter, then stand in front of a mirror and read it. It's pretty amazing at what happens.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Look Into the Benefits of Acupuncture</h2> <p>Acupuncture dates back many millennia &mdash; like way back to the BCE &mdash; so there's reason to believe that it's an effective treatment for stress relief.</p> <p>A 2013 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology demonstrated that acupuncture blocks the chronic effects of stress, according to Nicole Murray, a licensed acupuncturist.</p> <p>&quot;First, acupuncture regulates the sympathetic nervous system 'fight or flight' response. Second, acupuncture regulates the hormones that affect the body's reaction to stress, mood and emotions,&quot; she explains. &quot;In our clinic, Beach Community Acupuncture in San Diego, stress is the primary reason many of our patients seek treatment. Stress also contributes to other, more serious health conditions. Patients overwhelmingly report stress relief and relaxation after receiving acupuncture. Even better, there are more and more community acupuncture clinics popping up around the country to make these treatments more affordable.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Eliminate the Unnecessary</h2> <p>A feeling of peace washes over me when I cut something out of my life that was causing me stress. I'm sure you've experienced this before, too. It's a practice we should do a bit more often perhaps.</p> <p>Licensed psychologist Dr. Anita Marchesani says that all of her clients arrive stressed out &mdash; and she's ready to help them overcome it.</p> <p>&quot;The first thing we do is figure out what needs to go from their lives or businesses,&quot; she explains. &quot;This means saying 'no' or 'not right now' to certain demands that do not align with their primary objectives, no matter what they are. Good, solid, and consistent boundaries are a foundational stress management tool. It increases focus, and therefore increases productivity. People get results when they do this&hellip; although no one 'likes' to do this.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Express Your Feelings More Freely</h2> <p>I've never been known to mince words, so I totally agree with Dr. Fran Walfish &mdash; psychotherapist and expert panelist on the upcoming WE TV show &quot;Sex Box&quot; &mdash; when she advocates for saying exactly what's on your mind as a way to relieve stress.</p> <p>&quot;Express your feelings in the moment,&quot; she encourages. &quot;Do not allow anger and disappointment to build up inside you. Say what you feel clearly and respectfully. It will free you.&quot;</p> <p>Bottling those feelings up will only drag you down in the long run. Let it out.</p> <h2>10. Activate Dance Therapy</h2> <p>This is one of the more interesting and super fun ways to relieve stress that I've heard: Dance! The advice comes from Kim Hardy, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0978618750/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0978618750&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6U3HW6I5EJ7KV6K">RELAUNCH!: 5 Keys to Getting Past Stuck and Stress at Work and Life</a>.</p> <p>&quot;At the end of a stressful day, I like to go into my garage and turn up the music as loud as I can until I'm able to feel the music vibrating in my soul, and then I dance,&quot; she confesses. &quot;My musical guests range from Michael Jackson to James brown, and sometimes I sprinkle in a little country to mix it up.&quot;</p> <p>Let's get this stress-free party started!</p> <h2>11. Breathe, Relax, Daydream</h2> <p>If your day won't allow for yoga or an impromptu dance party, you can still lower your stress. Try this three-prong approach detailed by Dr. Lori Schade &mdash; a licensed marriage and family therapist who often treats patients for stress-related depression, anxiety, and relationship problems &mdash; anytime, anywhere.</p> <ul> <li>Breathe with your diaphragm. Under stress, people have a tendency to breathe shallowly in their chest, and deep breathing begins to reverse the stress response.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Engage in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise in which you start at the top of your head and tighten muscle groups as tight as you can and then release, releasing stress in the process (moving from the top of the head to neck, shoulders, chest, arms, stomach, etc., down to your feet).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create an image for yourself while you breathe, somewhere peaceful. Research shows that by imagining yourself relaxed, the brain will start to respond in ways as if you are participating in that scene.</li> </ul> <h2>12. Spend Time on an Activity That Requires Little Thought</h2> <p>When life gets complicated and stress starts to take over, engage in something decidedly mundane.</p> <p>New York-based artist Imani Powell-Razat says that she allows her mind to &quot;completely zone out&quot; with boring daily tasks like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or stretching a canvas.</p> <p>Take a cue from Imani the next time you feel stress taking over by finding something to do that requires little no thought.</p> <h2>13. Ditch the Diet</h2> <p>&quot;A study conducted at UCLA found that dieting increases both perceived stress as well as the stress hormone cortisol,&quot; says Dr. Ellen R. Albertson, a licensed wellness coach and founder of <a href="http://www.smashyourscale.com">SmashYourScale.com</a></p> <p>The gist of this premise, according to the psychologist behind the study, Dr. A Janet Tomiyama, is that if not eating food makes us feel badly, then eating food must make us feel good. &quot;As a stress researcher, I realized that I can empirically measure whether food can or cannot relieve stress,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>14. Clear the Clutter</h2> <p>Similar to how you can lower stress by eliminating unnecessary people and things from you life, clearing the clutter can be a beneficial tactic in finding more inner peace, too.</p> <p>Modern feng shui master Dana Claudat says that &quot;by spending even 10 minutes a day sifting through a junk drawer, weeding out a closet, eliminating extra paperwork and the like, you can dramatically decrease stress. Electronic clutter &mdash; emails, social media, files on computers &mdash; is just as important these days to clear as the obvious clutter of papers, extra stuff, piles for donation, and everyday mess.&quot;</p> <h2>15. Treat Yourself</h2> <p>Many of these suggestions on how to lower stress have come from doctors and other experts, but this one is all me.</p> <p>When I'm stressed, I like to take a step back and evaluate everything that I've got going on. My stress is usually a result of being too busy. But being too busy generally means that I'm being productive &mdash; and that's cause for a little self-praise. I like to give myself a pat on the back (because who else will?) for handling my responsibilities the best way I know how and continuing to truck on.</p> <p>I also like to treat myself to something special (like a piece of chocolate cake) or engage in an activity that helps me unwind (like retail therapy) to take my mind off life for a bit. If you're not taking time for yourself and treating yourself to small pleasures along the way, life will pass you by (and give you <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/face-it/201203/does-stress-cause-wrinkles-and-gray-hair-fact-or-fiction">gray hair and wrinkles faster</a>), and you might not realize it until it's too late. Step back, relax, and do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it.</p> <p><em>Do you have other productive ways that we can lower stress? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Productive Ways to Reduce Stress" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development stress stress reduction Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1240247 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Habits for Long-Term Happiness http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-happy-walking-101031147-small.jpg" alt="happy family" title="happy family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on habits that create long-term happiness, spending $100 a month on groceries, and survival skills for everyday life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/17-habits-to-create-happiness">17 Habits to Create Long-Term Happiness Within You</a> &mdash; Don't let social obligation force you into going to places or events you don't want to be. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/how-to-survive-on-only-100-a-month-in-groceries.htm">How to Survive on Only $100 a Month in Groceries</a> &mdash; You can save on groceries &mdash; and gas! &mdash; by checking your weekly ads for price matching opportunities. [Million Dollar Journey]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.allstate.com/4-survival-skills-everyday-life/">4 Survival Skills for Everyday Life</a> &mdash; Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which makes it a natural germ-killer and antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Uses-Baby-Powder-32245152">15 Awesome Adult Uses for Baby Powder</a> &mdash; Dripped some grease on your shirt or carpet? Sprinkle baby powder over the area to absorb the oil and refresh the fabric. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2014/10/instantly-connect-anyone.html">How to Instantly Connect With Anyone</a> &mdash; A simple smile goes a long way to opening up communication with someone. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/5-tips-writing-winning-cover-letter/">5 Tips for Writing a Winning Cover Letter</a> &mdash; Skip long-winded explanations and back stories. Your cover letter should fit on one page. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="http://www.palchoice.com/top-7-evening-habits-highly-effective-people/">Top 7 Evening Habits of Highly Effective People</a> &mdash; Take a few minutes in the evening to plan out what you need to do the next day. [Palchoice]</p> <p><a href="http://listenmoneymatters.com/ignore-the-numbers/">The Most Productive Thing You Can Do Is Ignore the Numbers</a> &mdash; When it comes to investing, having too much data can cause you to panic and stress out when, instead, you can use that time to make more money invest. [Listen, Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2014/10/financial-checklist-for-moving-out/">Your Financial Checklist for Moving Out</a> &mdash; Notify your credit card companies, student loan holders, auto loan holders, and any other creditor of your move to make sure you don't miss a payment. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-books-to-help-beat-the-bullies">4 Books to Help Beat the Bullies</a> &mdash; Not only does the book &quot;Bully B.E.A.N.S.&quot; teaches kids what to do when they are bullied, it also talks about what they can do to help when they see another child being bullied. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Habits for Long-Term Happiness" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development best money tips happiness Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Amy Lu 1237483 at http://www.wisebread.com Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-group-talking-160613541-small.jpg" alt="business people talking" title="business people talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you been in the situation of needing to make conversation with people you did not know well? Weddings, cocktail parties, and business conferences can be anxiety-provoking if you don't know how to make small talk. Although you may dread it, though, small talk can be a great thing. Chatting can make simple exchanges more pleasant; it can also start the beginning of a great conversation or even friendship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-practically-free-ways-to-make-new-friends?ref=seealso">10 Fun, Practically Free Ways to Make New Friends</a>)</p> <p>It is estimated that between 7% and 13% of humans suffer from <a href="http://www.anxietybc.com/resources/social.php">social anxiety</a>. What is there to talk about? What should you never bring up? What subjects are safe? Well to start, below are 10 things that small-talk masters know never to do.</p> <h2>1. They Don't Assume They Are Alone in Their Anxiety</h2> <p>It may seem like everyone in the room knows each other, but that's unlikely. I guarantee there are other people there who are as anxious as you are about social situations. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders, and smile. Take a moment to survey the situation and see if maybe there is somebody there that you do know. If not, no need for panic. It's just an event, and it will pass.</p> <p>My trick is to anticipate the worst and let the dread &quot;in;'&quot; nearly all the time, I end up enjoying myself.</p> <h2>2. They Never Forget to Introduce Themselves</h2> <p>Even if I do know someone at an event or party, I do not depend on them to introduce me to others. They may have forgotten my name, or how they know me, or whatever. Don't barge in on people in deep conversations, but if you see an opening, simply walk up and say, &quot;Hi! I'm Jane Smith&quot; and extend your hand for a handshake. If there are other people in the group, repeat the process.</p> <p>How to remember names? Repeat the name (&quot;Hi, Tom, it's really nice to meet you.&quot;). You might try a little trick to remember the name, like a song, or a nursery rhyme, that makes a word association for you. Once introductions are made, people will usually ask where you work, or how you know the bride or groom, or birthday person, or where you're from. The ball is then rolling.</p> <h2>3. They Never Forget to Introduce Someone Else</h2> <p>My friend Sylvia, a seasoned networker, makes the best introductions. They usually go something like this: &quot;Everyone, I would like you to meet John Smith. John has this awesome travel website and he is my travel guru! He also makes the world's best homemade bread.&quot; In her introduction, she gives people clues about things to ask John. She has also given him several compliments, which strengthens his self-confidence and make him smile.</p> <h2>4. They Never Have Bad Body Language</h2> <p>People are receptive to good body language. Take note of your posture, first of all. Are you slumping? Stand up straight. What are you doing with your hands? Do not cross your arms &mdash; that is defensive posture. Holding your hands together in front of you, or behind your back, are both &quot;open&quot; gestures. It may help you to have a drink to hold, if you are nervous. Try not to hold it in the hand you shake with, though, or you'll be shaking hands with a cold hand. Make eye contact, but don't stare. Engage. Smile. Listen. The world is full of talkers, but a good listener is hard to find. Nod your head, and ask the occasional question. Don't keep checking your cell phone. If you get a call, excuse yourself politely and take it.</p> <h2>5. They Never Discuss Religion</h2> <p>This was one of my mom's rules, and will serve you well. While it can be a very interesting subject, it is not a &quot;safe&quot; one in that you might easily offend someone you do not know well.</p> <h2>6. They Almost Never Discuss Politics</h2> <p>Another &quot;mom&quot; rule, and a harder one to avoid. But do, because this topic gets heated, quickly. This rule can go out the window if you are at a political fundraiser, because you are likely on the same page the other people, of course. Just tread carefully.</p> <h2>7. They Never Forget How to Use Openers</h2> <p>People who are good at small talk, I have noticed, are really good at asking questions, or &quot;openers.&quot; Use the information you glean from your first question to ask more questions.For instance, &quot;So when you went to Portland, did you go to Jake's Seafood?&quot; Or, &quot;What a beautiful scarf! Where did you buy it?&quot;</p> <p>Hopefully, the person you are conversing with will in turn ask you questions, which will keep the small talk going. Sometimes, the person you are trying to chat up is really reticent. Here is a trick: &quot;So before this event, what did you do, today?&quot; There is almost always some usable material in that response.</p> <h2>8. They Don't Forget to Expand the Circle</h2> <p>So, if a few moments ago, you were the &quot;odd man out,&quot; be aware of people who may be hovering and want to join in, too. Make eye contact, extend your arm for a handshake, and introduce yourself (and the others, if you can remember their names). After introductions, you may need to backtrack (&quot;We were just talking about where the best breweries are in this town&quot;) and give the newbie a chance to get involved. They will be grateful to you for your help.</p> <p>Also, in the world of small talk, It's bad form to stay and talk shop with one person the whole time. If someone is monopolizing you, it is perfectly fine to say something like, &quot;Well, Ben, my wife will shoot me if I don't get over there and visit with her great-aunt for a while. Good to see you.&quot;</p> <h2>9. They Don't Go Into Small Talk Unprepared</h2> <p>Unless you are having pretty dramatic weather, I wouldn't lead with that. For a conference or company event, do some homework and have some relevant topics ready to bring up. Movies, television shows, current events, or hobbies are usually safe and interesting for cocktail parties. Ask for activity or restaurant recommendations, if you are from out of town. Read the local paper, watch the local news. Just gather up a few possible subjects for your arsenal.</p> <h2>10. They Don't Make a Poor Exit</h2> <p>This is easier to do if you are in a little group, when you simply say, &quot;Excuse me, I need to go say hello to my regional VP.&quot; Or, &quot;Hey, I am going to go get a fresh cocktail.&quot; If it is just you and another person, when there is a graceful lull in the conversation, something like, &quot;John, it has been great talking to you and I enjoyed meeting you. I hope we can stay in touch.&quot; Shake hands again, and go. If you are in a business setting, you might give one of your cards.</p> <p><em>So, tell us: How do you handle small talk?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development conversation etiquette networking Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1235111 at http://www.wisebread.com Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-76762845-small_0.jpg" alt="investor" title="investor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's hard to be a good investor. By some estimations, only 20% of people involved in the investment business are <a href="http://wiki.fool.com/Percentage_of_People_Successful_in_the_Stock_Market#Performance">successful in their own investing endeavors</a>.</p> <p>And while there are careers' worth of research and education that go into making savvy investments, in the end, much of it may come down to character traits.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-an-investment-really-is-do-you?ref=seealso">A Lot of People Don't Really Understand What an Investment Is &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <p>So check out this list of characteristics successful investors must have, and see how you stack up before hitting the market.</p> <h2>1. Smart Investors Are Patient</h2> <p>To be successful in investing, you need to be patient. In general, the market rises slowly, and you have to be willing to take the long view of your investments in order to see them grow. If you believe in an investment and you have done your research on it enough to know that it's a wise buy, then you have to be willing to wait to see your return.</p> <p>A lot of investors, especially new investors, fall into the trap of checking on their investments several times a day. It's hard to be patient when you're seeing all the little rises and falls that many investments take every day. So keep yourself away from the computer if you can, or at least limit the number of times a day you check in.</p> <h2>2. Smart Investors Are Planners</h2> <p>Before they even buy an investment, smart investors have a plan. They know what their ultimate goals are and they have some idea of how they want to get there. They know the benefits and drawbacks of different types of investments, and they know how to choose between them. To a certain extent, they also have contingency plans. They know how to access money if they need it, and they know what they will do if the market crashes or a particular strategy doesn't play out.</p> <p>If you don't feel confident in making your own plan, it can be worthwhile to consult with an investment professional you trust. While this will cost something, it gives you the chance to get an opinion from someone who has more training than you do. If you're wary of getting a biased opinion, interview several professionals before you decide who to work with. Make sure you feel like you can trust someone before you take their financial advice.</p> <h2>3. Smart Investors Are Disciplined</h2> <p>Smart investors know that their plan is better than any impulsive ideas they might have with their money, and they have the discipline to absorb those ideas and stick with their plan anyway. They know that something that looks too good to be true probably is, and they know that their plan is probably better in the long run, anyway. These investors keep their long term goals in view whenever they're thinking about their money, and they don't do anything that might keep them from achieving those goals.</p> <p>If you struggle with discipline or you aren't sure you will be able to stick with your plan, find an investing buddy. This can be a spouse or a close friend. It should be someone who you feel safe sharing your financial situation with. Then, you commit to talking to them about anything before you make a change to your investments or strategy. This can help you think long enough to realize something might not be a good idea, and it gives you a chance to have accountability for making good choices.</p> <h2>4. Smart Investors Are Ambitious</h2> <p><a href="http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140805-ambition-born-or-bred">Ambition helps you find success</a> in many parts of life, and investing is no different. Ambitious investors are willing to take as much risk as they can afford, so they can reap a maximum benefit when their investments pay off. They push the envelope in order to achieve their goals, because their goals are high and there isn't a better way to achieve them. This also pushes smart investors to stay in the game and enhance their understanding of what works and what doesn't, so they can do what they set out to do.</p> <p>If you struggle with ambition, start working on developing positive feelings about yourself. People who feel good about themselves are more likely to be ambitious. This makes a lot of sense. When you feel good about who you are, you will feel good about what you can do, both now and in the future. If you don't feel good about who you are, you won't be ambitious because you will feel like there's no way you can achieve those goals.</p> <h2>5. Smart Investors Are Adaptable</h2> <p>A smart investor needs to be able to adapt to changing market conditions, new trends, and different ways of doing business. They need to be able to evaluate these in light of their long term plan, to decide when, how, and to what extent they should incorporate new things into their overall investment strategy.</p> <p>But wait? Didn't I just say that investors need to commit to their strategy in spite of distractions? Smart investors know the difference between a fleeting trend and a new way of doing business that is around to stay. Sometimes this means observing for a while before they jump in. Other times, it means trusting their intuition, and that of any investment advisors or friends they might have. It also means jumping in in a smart way &mdash; this can mean starting small, investing only a small portion of their overall money in something new, and being able to articulate how the new ties in with the old and enhances their investment plan.</p> <h2>6. Smart Investors Trust Their Intuition</h2> <p>Intuition can be a testy thing, but smart investing means, sometimes, trusting in a way of knowing that is separate from rational understanding. This is different than trusting in your wishes or your hopes or your dreams. Intuition seems to be an alternate way of knowing things, a way of seeing problems and solutions that cuts through a lot of the clutter that &quot;thinking rationally&quot; can provide, and knowing an answer without necessarily knowing how you got there. That doesn't mean that something known intuitively doesn't make sense, but that <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Science-of-Intuition">the knower won't necessarily know how it makes sense</a>.</p> <p>If you don't yet know which of your thoughts are intuition and which are hopes, dreams, or wishes, take some time before you make decisions based on it. Instead, note the ideas that you have, the things that seem to stand out or financial decisions that seem like they might be a good idea even though they're different from your usual way of operating. Then keep track of how those decisions play out. Over time, you'll learn which impulses are intuition and which ones come from some other internal place.</p> <p><em>Do you consider yourself a smart investor? What trait do you have that makes you a better investor?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Investment Personal Development habits investing money management Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1235003 at http://www.wisebread.com People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-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-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/puzzle-cube-86511536-small.jpg" alt="puzzle cube" title="puzzle cube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are those out there who refuse to let their brain get into a rut. The intellectually stimulated, the cranially curious, the people who love expanding their minds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Are you one of them? If so, you just may engage in one or more of these 13 pursuits on a daily basis.</p> <h2>1. Doing Puzzles</h2> <p>Whatever their favorite sort of puzzle, whether it's a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, a crossword, or a logic game, people who love expanding their minds know that <a href="http://www.daisybrains.com/blog/brain-teasers/more-please-why-our-brains-cant-seem-to-get-enough-of-brain-teasers-and-logic-puzzles/">it's good for your brain</a>. You'll learn to concentrate better, have overall higher brain activity, remember better, and have improved sleep. Puzzles can also be quite a lot of fun, so solving them won't feel like work. Instead, you'll be helping your mind and having fun at the same time.</p> <h2>2. Writing by Hand</h2> <p>If you value expanding your mind, chances are you value having a lot of creative ideas and being able to communicate them to others. As it turns out, people who write out their thoughts and ideas on an actual piece of paper, not a computer screen, <a href="http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/why-handwriting-makes-you-smarter/">have more active minds and express more ideas</a> than people who only type. Try writing by hand for a few minutes every day, and see what changes you notice.</p> <h2>3. Learning Math</h2> <p>Math may not be your favorite, but people who want to expand their minds know that if you want your brain to fluidly process letters and numbers and to have greater facility in your first language and others, you should <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/23/your-brain-on-math/">spend some time studying math</a>. It turns out that the areas of your brain that understand mathematical concepts and process numbers are related to the areas that do these other things, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy?ref=seealso">11 Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</a>)</p> <h2>4. Exercising</h2> <p>Exercise doesn't just make us happier, it makes our brains work better. People who love expanding their minds know that they are better at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/10-surprising-things-that-benefit-our-brains_b_4275770.html">focusing, solving problems, and even reasoning after they have exercised</a>. While it can take a lot of energy to get off the couch and out the door, even a quick walk boosts the brain's overall performance.</p> <h2>5. Studying a New Language</h2> <p>Learning a new language literally <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082953.htm">makes your brain grow</a>. Sure, language learning can be hard work. But it's so good for your brain, and it helps your mind learn to make new connections, too, so fans of expanding the mind will put in the effort.</p> <p>When your brain makes new connections you will become more creative, and you'll be able to communicate with a greater portion of the world. You can even study online, with <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">other resources</a>. There's not much more fun than taking a trip to a place where you know the language because you've studied hard. Maybe you can set a vacation as a goal after all your study!</p> <h2>6. Reading Novels</h2> <p>Reading a novel seems to raise the connectivity in your brain and cause other positive neurological changes <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html">for up to five days after you finish</a> your book. Anyone who loves expanding their mind could tell you that if you'd like your brain to work smoother and more efficiently, pick up your favorite page-turner. You don't have to read a classic work or anything like that. In fact, it seems like the important factor is that the book is written well enough that you feel you're in the main character's place.</p> <h2>7. Practicing Meditation</h2> <p>Meditation can help <a href="http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12793/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-a-neuroscientist-explains.html">enhance your brain function</a> in areas that tie to learning, memory, taking different perspectives, regulating your emotions, and more. People who want to expand their minds know that, if you want your mind to work better, it's worthwhile to learn meditation.</p> <p>It's easy to be intimidated by the prospect of meditating. We tend to think that it is something that gurus do, or only enlightened people. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard at all. There are many <a href="http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-make-meditation-easy-and-fun/">easy ways to incorporate meditation</a> into your busy daily life.</p> <h2>8. Playing Board Games</h2> <p>People who grow their minds often play board games. <a href="http://examinedexistence.com/can-playing-games-make-you-smarter/">Different games have different benefits</a>, but overall you can improve your linguistic intelligence, improve your math and reasoning skills, improve how you negotiate and work with people, and improve your critical thinking. Try a lot of different games, and you could greatly improve your brain's capacity to work on a lot of different levels.</p> <h2>9. Listening to Music</h2> <p>Listening to music has <a href="http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music">all sorts of benefits</a>, but notable among these is that it improves cognitive functioning, eases stress, and helps you perform better in difficult situations. And people who want better functioning brains know that it's easy, too &mdash; just play music from your phone in the car or carry headphones if you commute by transit.</p> <p>Expand your mind even more by listening to music that isn't familiar to you. Do this with someone who loves the music and understands it, so you can ask questions about what you're hearing and have them help you understand it. This will help you in taking on new and different perspectives, too.</p> <h2>10. Reading Poetry</h2> <p>Poetry can be intimidating. It only takes one bad memory from high school English class to put you off it for a long, long time. However, people who want better brains make the effort anyway, because <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/11/the-benefits-of-poetry-for-pro/">reading poems expands your mind</a> in some interesting and important ways. To understand most poems, you have to be able to look at things as both simple and complex. It also enhances the parts of your brain that think empathically, and help you become more creative, because it teaches you how to make connections between seemingly unrelated things.</p> <h2>11. Overcoming Fears</h2> <p>When you're afraid of something, you shut yourself off to that thing and anything that might lead to it or spring from it. For instance, if you're afraid of flying, it's easy to become shut off from travel and everything you can learn by doing that. You never get to experience new cultures, new foods, or the different perspectives that people in other cultures have. When you overcome your fears, you open yourself not only to the thing you're afraid of, but to everything that comes with that, too.</p> <p>Overcoming fears can be hard work, especially if they are deeply entrenched, but people who love expanding their minds love the benefits they reap when they make the effort. It will help you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-techniques-that-can-help-you-conquer-any-fear">identify what you're afraid of</a> and where that fear comes from. However, you may need to work with a therapist to overcome particularly difficult fears.</p> <h2>12. Mind Mapping&hellip; Anything</h2> <p>When you make a mind map, you're giving your mind free range, at least within certain parameters. A mind map is basically a way of organizing information visually. You put your main idea in the center, then draw lines to show how it connects to other ideas. This can be as complicated of as simple as it needs to be to help you think.</p> <p>It can also help you see the connections between different ideas, and possibly between things that you might never have connected otherwise. Proponents of mind mapping for brain expansion say that <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/benefits-of-mind-mapping/">it helps them</a> understand their problems and solutions, organize their thoughts, make these new connections, and communicate with other people.</p> <h2>13. Getting Some Sleep</h2> <p>People who love expanding their minds know that getting plenty of sleep cannot possibly be overrated. They may not always want to go to bed on time, but they know one simple fact: when you sleep, <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm">your mind works better</a>. You learn better and recall what you've learned faster and easier. In fact, you may not be able to expand your mind in the other ways mentioned on this list if you're not getting enough sleep.</p> <p>While <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">there's not a magic number</a> of hours of sleep that will work for everyone, it's good to aim for 7-9 hours every night. Use some trial and error and commit to figuring out what works for you, and your brain will be better off.</p> <p><em>How do you expand your mind? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development brains intelligence learning smarts Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1231186 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-phone-conversation-466941591-small.jpg" alt="man phone conversation" title="man phone conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may be the king or queen of good manners, but what about your phone etiquette? The person you're speaking with may not bring annoying behavior to your attention, so it's important that you know the difference between proper and poor phone skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do?ref=seealso">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a>)</p> <p>Here's a list of nine things people with good phone skills never do.</p> <h2>1. They Don't Interrupt</h2> <p>You wouldn't dare interrupt a person when speaking face-to-face, so why would you interrupt a person on the other end of a phone conversation? Conversations with relatives and close acquaintances tend to be more casual, but this isn't license to jump in. It doesn't matter if you're busy, overly excited, or simply want the conversation to move faster, interrupting is rude and appears as if you don't respect or appreciate the other person's viewpoint or feelings.</p> <h2>2. They Don't Immediately Jump Into Conversations</h2> <p>If you're the caller and the other person says, &quot;hello,&quot; don't jump straight into the conversation without identifying yourself. Never assume the person on the other end recognizes your voice. And even if they do, it doesn't take much effort to say a brief greeting and ask about their day.</p> <h2>3. They Don't Blindside With the Speakerphone</h2> <p>Phones have a speaker option for a reason. If you're driving, it's easier to carry a phone conversation when the person's on speaker, and speakerphone comes in handy when your hands are tied up at other times. However, if you're going to use speaker, notify the person on the other end of the call &mdash; especially when others are in earshot of the conversation. If not, the person you're speaking with might say something he doesn't want others to hear.</p> <h2>4. They Don't Multitask While on the Phone</h2> <p>Whether it's a restaurant or a bank, never conduct business while talking on the telephone. This is rude to the person on the line, and to the person trying to provide services. Both need your undivided attention, and when you attempt to speak to two people at the same time, your listeners will have a difficult time following the conversation. They won't know whether a comment is meant for them or the other person.</p> <p>This rule of thumb also applies to phone conversations at home. Sometimes, you might have to pause a phone conversation to speak with your kids or spouse, but don't make this a habit. The person on the other end doesn't want to hear you fussing or conversing with your kids between every other word.</p> <h2>5. They Don't Continue Calls After Meeting Someone</h2> <p>When you're meeting up with someone, you may talk on your phone to occupy time until your friend arrives. However, when they do arrive, it's common courtesy to end the phone conversation. There's nothing more annoying than meeting up with someone for lunch, and then having to sit quietly 10 or 15 minutes as the other person rudely talks on the phone.</p> <h2>6. They Don't Leave Friends Hanging</h2> <p>It isn't only rude to continue a conversation after meeting up with someone; it's also rude to accept a call and engage in a long conversation when you're already with someone. There are times when you may need to take an important phone call. In this case, apologize in advance and step aside to take the call &mdash; but keep it brief and return as soon as possible. Don't step away for several minutes and leave your friend hanging. If you believe a phone conversation will take longer than a couple of minutes, return the call later.</p> <h2>7. They Don't Forget the Phone Volume</h2> <p>Your speakerphone might be off, but if the phone's volume is turned up, people nearby might be able to hear the person on the other end of the phone. On several occasions I've sat besides someone on their cell phone and heard everything the other person said. To keep your private conversations private, turn down the speaker volume before starting your conversation.</p> <h2>8. They Don't Talk at Inappropriate Times</h2> <p>Cell phones let us communicate with people anytime, anyplace, but there are times when using a phone is inappropriate. People with good phone skills never yank out their phones at the movies, church, or any other place that requires silence. If there's an emergency and you have to take a phone call, step into the lobby or outside.</p> <h2>9. They Don't Talk on the Phone While Eating</h2> <p>We all multitask; and sometimes, we have to take care of business during a lunch or dinner break. This is understandable, but the people you speak with on the phone don't want to hear you munching away. Besides, cell phones don't always offer the clearest sound. Between background noise, your mouth too close to the microphone, and poor reception, a mouthful of food can make it hard for others to understand what you're saying.</p> <p><em>What other rules of phone etiquette should people follow? Hang up and please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development conversation etiquette phone calls telephone Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1230389 at http://www.wisebread.com Tech-Savvy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/tech-savvy-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="/tech-savvy-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-technology-office-460901289-small.jpg" alt="technology" title="technology" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Smartphones aren't the only devices tech-savvy people swear by. In fact, their homes are chock-full of gizmos and gadgets that make life easier and more fun. From the alarm clock to the coffee table, here's our roundup of the smartest home accessories on the market.</p> <h2>1. An Alarm Clock You Can Shoot With a Laser Gun</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A49UZQG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A49UZQG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BIRJLK4MCKB5DO7W"><img align="middle" width="500" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Lock%20N%20Load%20Alarm.jpg" /></a></p> <p>This alarm clock comes equipped with a target you can shoot from under the covers with a plastic laser gun. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A49UZQG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A49UZQG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BIRJLK4MCKB5DO7W">The alarm won't stop until you hit the bullseye</a> &mdash; a task that requires real brain function. If you're too blurry-eyed to hit your mark, you can crawl out of bed and silence the noise manually. Either way, you'll be alert and ready to start your day.</p> <h2>2. A Keurig Coffee Maker</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AQSMPO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000AQSMPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BWXTXXBTR5ZQTRNF"><img align="middle" width="265" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Keurig%20B60.jpg" /></a></p> <p>No mess. No grinding. No clean-up. Simply input the Keurig cup featuring the coffee flavor you fancy and watch it brew instantly &mdash; and neatly &mdash; before your eyes. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AQSMPO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000AQSMPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BWXTXXBTR5ZQTRNF">It's sort of like a robot that makes your morning cup of joe</a>.</p> <h2>3. A Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker in the Shower</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HLRXLNI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00HLRXLNI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JHGGVTTPEBEAFRRH"><img align="middle" width="425" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Splash%20Tunes%20Shower.jpg" /></a></p> <p>No wires. No worries. Just great sound quality and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HLRXLNI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00HLRXLNI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JHGGVTTPEBEAFRRH">all your favorite songs on deck</a>. Not only that, but the Splash Tunes by FRESHeTECH also takes phone calls, allowing you to talk and listen through the same speaker that plays your wake-up playlist.</p> <h2>4. A Wireless Phone Charger</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F6SQ1D6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00F6SQ1D6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JEFXXFN23WYWPANN"><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/PowerBot.jpg" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F6SQ1D6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00F6SQ1D6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JEFXXFN23WYWPANN">Simply drop your phone down on the circular pad and watch</a> as it juices back up to full battery life. This charger by PowerBot is equipped with anti-slip grip technology to keep the phone from slipping or scratching off its home base.</p> <h2>5. A Lock You Can You Bolt From Miles Away</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L3WUUMW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00L3WUUMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KPACZ4QAOVG6R6BW"><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/lockitron.jpg" /></a></p> <p>Introducing Lockitron, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L3WUUMW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00L3WUUMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KPACZ4QAOVG6R6BW">a slipcover for your front door deadbolt that can be locked and unlocked from anywhere in the world</a>. The lock has built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to check the status of the lock while you're away at work or at play. You can even share the lock code with friends and family you trust. Unexpected visitors dropping by when you're not home? No problem. A quick unlock and relock is at your fingertips, even when you're on-the-go.</p> <h2>6. A Crock Pot You Control With Your Smartphone</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPEO02C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00IPEO02C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JLJQVW54VRJCLCLI"><img align="middle" width="434" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/crock-pot%20wifi.jpg" /></a></p> <p>This WeMo-powered crock can cook a mean pot roast &mdash; and you don't even need to be in the kitchen to supervise. Simply <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPEO02C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00IPEO02C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JLJQVW54VRJCLCLI">adjust the temperature and cook time from an app on your smartphone</a>, or check the status of your meal so you know when you start setting the table.</p> <h2>7. A Thermostat That Learns Your Temperature Preferences</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GDHYPQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009GDHYPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OD4VDP6EZFFTHJW4"><img align="middle" width="459" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/nest%20thermostat.jpg" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GDHYPQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009GDHYPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OD4VDP6EZFFTHJW4">The Nest Learning Thermostat remembers the temperatures you like</a> and programs itself to adjust to those temps at whatever time of day that you like. You can further control the device using your smartphone, telling it when to kick the heat up or down from wherever you may be. Never again will you come home to a chilly house.</p> <h2>8. A Light Bulb That Plays Music</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=MiPow%27s%20PlayBulb&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dgarden&amp;linkId=DDT7HWJY2Y2BMZJG"><img align="middle" width="455" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Playbulb.jpg" /></a></p> <p>The PlayBulb by MiPow is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=MiPow%27s%20PlayBulb&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dgarden&amp;linkId=DDT7HWJY2Y2BMZJG">an LED light fixture that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker</a>. Using an app on your smartphone you can easily program the bulb to brighten and play vibrant music at your regular wake-up time or soften and play soft classical songs as you start to fall asleep.</p> <h2>9. An Electronic Spoon Scale</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JL8DOBO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00JL8DOBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=F75XFNDUQ6SNA4OE"><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Digital%20spoon.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JL8DOBO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00JL8DOBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=F75XFNDUQ6SNA4OE">This spoon digitally measures up to 10 ounces</a> for precision-perfect cupcakes. And it comes complete with a detachable scoop for easy cleaning.</p> <h2>10. A Coffee Table Embedded With A Touchscreen Computer</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009VNF4G2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009VNF4G2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ALV37ZJU46WYY4RW"><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Mozayo%20Smart%20Touch%20Table.png" alt="" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009VNF4G2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009VNF4G2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ALV37ZJU46WYY4RW">A tabletop has never been so much fun</a>. This coffee table by Mozayo has a 32 inch LCD HD screen with touchscreen technology as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, Ethernet, and a hookup for your personal computer. There's even an anti-glare overlay so you won't have to squint while checking your email as the sun streams in through the living room window.</p> <p><em>Anything missing from this list? What tech wizardry do you have in your house?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tech-savvy-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Tech-Savvy 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="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Shopping gadgets geekery geeks tech Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1228113 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating) http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired-businesswoman-187953736-small.jpg" alt="tired businesswoman" title="tired businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can't figure out why you're packing on the pounds lately? It may not be related to food at all. In fact, some of your habits may be contributing to the spike on the scale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-killer-ways-to-really-actually-lose-weight?ref=seealso">7 Killer Ways to Actually Lose Weight</a>)</p> <p>Find out if you're guilty of these seven habits that are quietly making you fat, and then take steps to correct them.</p> <h2>1. Sitting at Your Desk</h2> <p>It's no secret that a sedentary lifestyle &mdash; also known as the &quot;Sitting Disease&quot; &mdash; can lead to a whole host of problems (the least of which is a few extra pounds, by the way), but those problems are amplified if you're sitting around just as much at work as you are at home.</p> <p>WebMD reports that &quot;long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.&quot; There are <a href="http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/do-you-have-sitting-disease">small gradual changes you can make</a>, however, that will get you up and moving again. For starters, get up from your desk and walk around, stretch, or move for a period of at least five minutes. Need motivation? Instead of sending an email to Bill in accounting, take a stroll to his office to speak to him in person. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-get-more-exercise-without-working-out?ref=seealso">6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not Getting a Good Night's Sleep</h2> <p>There's plenty of science that points to<a href="http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain"> a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain</a> &mdash; there are hormones and other factors involved &mdash; but we don't have to get complicated to understand that not getting enough shut-eye is hurting your waistline. The bottom line is that sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle that is facilitated by and also results in poor eating habits (like too many cups of coffee or a sugar boost to get you through the day) that lead to feelings of sluggishness that make you want to skip the gym which increases the likelihood that you'll continue to eat poorly once you get home&hellip; and so on. Of course, when it's time to go to bed, you're too wound up to sleep &mdash; and so the cycle continues.</p> <p>Work on developing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-back-the-zombies-4-ways-to-avoid-sleep-deprivation?ref=seealso">better sleep habits</a>, and it'll be that much easier to develop better diet and exercise habits.</p> <h2>3. Poor Posture, Even If It's an Illusion</h2> <p>You're not actually gaining weight if you have poor posture &mdash; you could be healthy and active and fit &mdash; but if you're a sloucher, you're making those couple extra pounds look like <em>several</em> extra pounds. To combat this problem and ultimately look slimmer, be conscious of how you're sitting and standing so you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-and-keep-amazing-posture-by-doing-these-10-stretches-today">work on your posture</a>.</p> <h2>4. Riding Instead of Walking (or Climbing)</h2> <p>Do you always take the escalator when there's a staircase right beside it? Do you ride the elevator up one or two floors when you could walk? Are you hopping cabs to go a few blocks?</p> <p>If these scenarios sound like you, you're missing out on crucial exercise opportunities that may seem small individually but will add up over time and potentially result in weight loss. If you want to lose more weight, you need to get moving more often. Plus, if you do it throughout the day with small steps at a time, you won't have to beat yourself up at the gym &mdash; which also can lead to discouragement and eventually avoidance of exercise altogether.</p> <h2>5. Taking Certain Kinds of Medication</h2> <p>Some of the medications you're taking may be contributing to your weight gain, so it's important to discuss this with your doctor if you've noticed a change. Ideally, these side effects should be discussed in advance of the prescription so you're informed, but if you've been on a particular medication for a while that you think is the culprit, schedule an appointment to get the situation under control.</p> <h2>6. Changing Into Sweats/Pajamas as Soon as You Get Home</h2> <p>We're all guilty of this from time to time &mdash; and it's not completely terrible if it's every once in a while &mdash; but if this is a regular habit of yours, you need to nip it in the bud right now.</p> <p>This is more a psychological issue than anything else, because when you change into your pajamas as soon as you get home, you automatically enter a mindset that you're not doing anything for the rest of the day or night. This leads to hours on the couch, binge watching television, and probably stuffing your face with junk food out of pure boredom. To curb this habit, add more hobbies and activities to your life that'll keep you busy and moving. Don't cop out with the ol' &quot;I don't have time&quot; routine either; if you've got time to stare at the tube for multiple hours on end, you've got time to do something more productive. It's just a matter of your willingness. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv?ref=seealso">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a>)</p> <h2>7. Putting Off Exercise</h2> <p>And finally, the top habit that is quietly making you fat &mdash; in my opinion anyway.</p> <p>It's very easy to find a million other lazy things to do than get your butt up and burning calories. Trust me, I was a victim of that mentality for a long time. I understand how hard it is to get out of that rut. Nonetheless, it's important for you to help yourself get healthy. Nobody else can do it for you, and you owe it to yourself anyway. Instead of brushing off the opportunity to get active next time &mdash; even if it's just for a few minutes &mdash; take advantage of it. I promise that afterward your body and your mind will feel better, and hopefully it will be the beginning of a more positive, healthier you.</p> <p><em>Do you have other habits to offer that are quietly making us fat? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty Personal Development diet exercise fitness weight gain weight loss Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1229271 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-talking-92151506-small.jpg" alt="couple talking" title="couple talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have things that we say habitually. These can be words or phrases, and we're often unconscious of them, at least until <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2014/09/fingerprint_words_verbal_tics_that_define_us_and_how_they_spread_to_others.single.html">someone points them out</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-say?ref=seealso">The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Say</a>)</p> <p>Most of these don't harm anybody and they are part of what makes each one of us the person we are. However, whether you like it or not, other people will decide what type of person you are based on what you say.</p> <p>If you're concerned about how you're coming across, consider eliminating the following words and phrases from your vocabulary.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Not me&quot; or &quot;I don't deserve it&quot;</h2> <p>It's hard to know how to accept a compliment, especially when you feel like you don't deserve it. However, saying &quot;Not me,&quot; or &quot;I don't deserve it,&quot; makes it look like you have poor self-esteem. Some of us were taught that it's polite to deny a compliment, but in fact it makes you seem like you are uncomfortable with yourself, don't know yourself, or aren't comfortable being good at something.</p> <p>Most people don't offer genuine compliments when they don't mean them, so even if they don't know the situation or are giving you more credit than you deserve, they are telling you the truth as they see it. Instead of denying or deflecting the compliment, accept it as the gift it is and acknowledge that the person offering the compliment may see something in you that you don't.</p> <h2>2. &quot;I told you so&quot;</h2> <p>Most of us know that people don't like to hear &quot;I told you so!&quot;, but sometimes we find ourselves saying it, or its equivalents, anyway. This makes you look like a jerk, an immature one, who cannot be with someone in their pain without turning the conversation back to you. It's so condescending!</p> <p>Instead, empathize with the person and try to help them decide where to go next. Say, &quot;Wow, that really sucks! I'm so sorry. What do you want to do now?&quot;</p> <h2>3. &quot;**&amp;^#%!&quot;</h2> <p>Sure, there's a time and a place for a well-placed f-bomb. Most of the time, though, cursing simply isn't necessary. There are plenty of more creative ways to express your sentiments, and most of them don't make you sound as stupid as you do when you are cursing all the time.</p> <p>If you aren't sure how else to express your strong emotions, try thinking of an analogy. Coming up with some new imagery for your feelings makes you look creative or inventive, rather than like you are following the crowd.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Um&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>So, you know that <a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/06/14/becoming-well-spoken-how-to-minimize-your-uhs-and-ums/">&quot;um&quot; is a filler word</a>, which, at best, doesn't add anything to the conversation and, at worst, makes you look like you don't really know what you're talking about. You still say it, though, and, sure enough, you end up looking stupider than you actually are.</p> <p>To get rid of your &quot;ums&quot;, make sure you plan ahead for any speaking engagement. The better you know your material, the less likely you will be to need filler words. If you can't plan ahead, keep your words and sentences simple and short. This will keep you from getting stuck and using &quot;um&quot; until you can find the word you need.</p> <h2>5. &quot;I know, right?&quot;</h2> <p>This is a phrase that a lot of 20-somethings like to use to show their agreement. It's awkward, though, because it asks a question that the other person may not know whether or not to answer. Since you're asking them to affirm something they just said, using this can make the other person in the conversation confused, and it can make you look like you don't know what to say.</p> <p>Instead of &quot;I know, right?&quot; just tell people you agree with them. Say, &quot;Oh, yeah,&quot; or something equally innocuous, and let them continue with their story. If they are looking for more of a response from you, share your own experience with whatever they are describing. And if they just want to talk, it may be that you don't need to say anything at all.</p> <h2>6. &quot;You'll be fine&quot;</h2> <p>When something bad happens to someone we care about, we want to make them feel better. We want to make the situation better, so we tell them, &quot;You'll be fine.&quot; Unfortunately, this is dismissive and sends a clear message that you aren't interested in listening to them. Even if this isn't at all what you want to say, this is your message when you use these words.</p> <p>Many times, the best thing to say to someone who is hurting or facing a tragedy is nothing at all. There's nothing you can say that will make it better, and people who are hurting usually just want someone to be with them, to help them hold their pain, and to continue to be there no matter what happens.</p> <h2>7. &quot;Like&quot;</h2> <p>Unless you're making an analogy, saying &quot;like&quot; <a href="http://www.onlinecollege.org/how-to-stop-saying-like-and-sound-smarter/">makes you sound like a Valley Girl</a>. So if you want to come across as vapid and shallow, go ahead and say it. Otherwise, be ruthless in eliminating this from your vocabulary.</p> <p>Sure, you've heard this before. We all have. But we still say &quot;like&quot; all the time. Even the least valley of all the people you know probably uses this more than they think they do. If you really want to stop, enlist the help of other people. Ask them to call you out when you say it, or make a mutual pact to do it for each other. If this isn't a good option, record yourself, identify the times when you use the word, and work from there to eliminate it.</p> <h2>8. &quot;I think you should&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>If someone comes to you and asks, &quot;What do you think I should do about this?&quot; it's fine to give them advice. Otherwise, just don't. Offering advice when it wasn't requested makes you sound pompous, or at least like you enjoy appearing to be clever.</p> <p>Instead, listen to what people share with you. Ask them good questions. Help them explore their experience and what it means to them. Many times, they will discover on their own what they want to do in the situation. Other times, they'll realize you're interested and will ask you your opinion, at which point you can dispense your advice.</p> <h2>9. &quot;I'm not judging you, but&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>You may say that you aren't judging them, but you are. The very fact that you are thinking in terms of judging means that you are making some sort of judgement about them in your own head. And this <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802165441.htm">isn't good for you</a> or for them.</p> <p>This is a hard phrase to eliminate because it often comes from having a judgemental attitude, which is much harder to change than simply a phrase. Start by thinking up reasons why the other person's actions might make sense, and speak to them from that place of understanding.</p> <p><em>What do you say that you wish you could stop? What would you like to substitute it with? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development dumb things to say expressions habits phrases sayings Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1227987 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groom-biting-nails-494383961-small.jpg" alt="groom biting nails" title="groom biting nails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, you're nervous. It's an interview, or a first date, or maybe just a party where you're meeting new people. It's normal to feel some stress and anxiety. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-step-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-try-something-new?ref=seealso">How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Try Something New</a>)</p> <p>What's not normal, though, is to act in ways that annoy the people around you or make you stand out in a negative light. While these behaviors are often called nervous tics, true nervous tics usually have their origins in some sort of neurological problem. The behaviors discussed below are mostly habits that, somehow, help assuage your anxiety.</p> <p>Either way, they need to stop.</p> <h2>1. Abdominal Crunching</h2> <p>This is a lesser known tic and one that you might not even realize you're doing. People watching you might not know either, though it can make you look fidgety or like you're bobbing up and down just slightly.</p> <p>Basically, abdominal crunching or tensing is just what it sounds like: squeezing your abdominal muscles tightly. While this tic is closely tied to neurological disorders, it can also be a way of bracing yourself against what feels like an onslaught from the world around you.</p> <p>When you feel like life is throwing a lot of things at you, one after the other, you might want to brace yourself against all of that. Tensing your abdominal muscles can help you feel like you can withstand the attack.</p> <h2>2. Toe Crunching or Curling</h2> <p>This is another tic that's closely tied to neurological disorders like Tourette's Syndrome. However, it can also be a way of trying to hide your nervousness from others.</p> <p>When you clench and unclench your toes, or simply keep them curled in your shoes, it can be because you have nervous energy that you don't know what to do with. You may be conscious enough of it to avoid more obvious expressions of it, but you can't simply contain your anxiety or channel it into something constructive.</p> <h2>3. Eye Blinking</h2> <p>I have a good friend who struggled with this tic. Every time she got nervous, she'd blink her eyes like crazy. It made her a terrible liar. I remember a time when her roommate confronted her about something innocuous, like forgetting to vacuum or leaving a light on all night. She swore she didn't do it, blinking furiously the whole time.</p> <p>This is a tic that the people around you probably can't help but notice. It may not make them uncomfortable, but it might make it harder for them to be around you. And people who value eye contact may find it infuriating, because it's hard to hold eye contact with someone who blinks all the time.</p> <h2>4. Throat Clearing</h2> <p>Most people who clear their throats all the time don't realize they're doing it. This can start with a simple cold or lingering allergies. Sometimes, you legitimately need to clear your throat a lot. Other times, though, it can become an annoying habit.</p> <p>Sometimes, people clear their throats a lot because they want to be heard. They may be worried about saying the wrong thing, or about making their point clearly. In an unconscious attempt to be heard, they clear their throat over and over again.</p> <p>Unfortunately, clearing your throat might annoy the people you're speaking with so much that they don't hear you, because they're too busy trying to corral their own frustration.</p> <h2>5. Grooming</h2> <p>This includes several behaviors, including biting your nails, picking at your skin, and pulling or picking at your hair. All of these are normal things to do, under certain circumstances. For instance, it's normal to bite at a nail that's broken or at a hangnail, especially when you don't have clippers available.</p> <p>However, these begin to become strange habits when they start to be triggered by something else. Many people engage in these activities when they're nervous, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/10/01/161766321/nail-biting-mental-disorder-or-just-a-bad-habit">though some do it when they drive or when they're stressed</a>. Eventually, the behavior becomes a habit that doesn't have to be triggered at all.</p> <p>Most people with grooming tics find engaging in their tic satisfying. However, breaking the tic isn't usually that hard. Wear acrylic nails or cover your hair with a hat, for instance and, over time, you won't feel the compulsion anymore.</p> <h2>6. Facial Gesturing</h2> <p>This set of tics includes anything that you do with your face. It can involve staring or avoiding eye contact, licking your lips repeatedly, or grimacing without realizing it. Again, these are often behaviors that start normally, but somehow become tied to a trigger and then become a habit.</p> <p>Facial gestures can make it difficult for people to feel like they really know you. You learn a lot about a person by looking in their eyes, and when you can't do that or you're constantly distracted by something else they're doing with their face, it can be hard to make and hold appropriate eye contact and get to know them.</p> <h2>Why Avoid These Tics</h2> <p>The main reason to avoid tics is that they leave people with a negative first impression of you. Even when you're in a situation where nerves are normal or even expected, expressing them through a tic indicates that you aren't in control of your anxiety. If you're interviewing for a job or meeting someone new, this can indicate that you aren't an ideal employee or that you might make a difficult friend.</p> <p>A <a href="http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/02/15/the-power-of-a-first-impression/65944.html">first impression is so important</a>! If you're afraid you have one of these tics or you know you do, try to get some people close to you to help you out by telling you when they see you doing the behavior. If it's something you can block physically, like wearing acrylic nails to curb nail biting, go ahead and do that.</p> <p>Even if your tics are invisible, though, they're often indicators of stress and anxiety levels so high <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stress-dangers/">your health might be in danger</a>. Instead of putting these feelings into nervous tics, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">seek out ways to lower your stress levels</a>. If you can get to a point where you feel better about your life, you might find your tics disappearing on their own.</p> <p><em>Do you have any nervous tics? How have they affected your life?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development habits nervous habits nervousness stress tension Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1226297 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident http://www.wisebread.com/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/strong-confident-woman-80614231-small.jpg" alt="strong confident woman" title="strong confident woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Confidence is a funny thing.</p> <p>If you have it, you can do just about anything, and oddly enough, you're much more likely to do it well. But without it, even the smallest tasks can seem overwhelming, and if your confidence level is really low, you might feel tempted to quit before you even try. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-gain-more-confidence-today?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Gain More Self Confidence Today</a>)</p> <p>Suffice to say, confidence is a key component of a happy, fulfilled life.</p> <p>The problem is, confidence isn't something you can buy. There's no magic pill, no secret formula that can just &quot;poof&quot; all your insecurities away. If confidence doesn't come naturally to you, then you'll have to work a little to get it.</p> <p>But rest assured, it <em>can</em> be done. And it's a lot easier than you might think.</p> <h2>1. Smile</h2> <p>Sounds overly simple, I know, but there's actually <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile">quite a bit of science to back it up</a>. Smiling releases neuropeptides that counteract stress, along with a host of neurotransmitters that lower your blood pressure, decrease pain, fight off depression, and give you that all-over good feeling. In fact, as mood therapy goes, smiling is an all-natural, zero-calorie, no negative side-effect solution that doesn't cost you a dime. So use those facial muscles and smile.</p> <h2>2. Laugh</h2> <p>Like smiling, laughing produces all sorts of wonderful changes in the body, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/humor/benefits-humor">benefiting both your emotional and physical well-being</a>.</p> <p>So, while you certainly don't want to start laughing inappropriately, you can use laughter to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and increase self-esteem. Tell a joke, share a funny story or, if all else fails, watch or listen to your favorite comedian and laugh all by yourself. The benefits of regular laughter are profound and cumulative.</p> <h2>3. Stay Informed</h2> <p>It's said that <a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/top-7-ways-learning-improves-confidence/">knowledge is power</a> and when it comes to boosting your confidence, that couldn't be more true. When you know what you're talking about, you're much more likely to speak up, interact, and engage with others around you.</p> <p>Over time, those small doses of positive interaction build up confidence and reinforce your self-esteem.</p> <h2>4. Learn Something New</h2> <p>While we're on the subject of &quot;knowing your stuff,&quot; let's also talk about the stuff you don't know, but could. Expanding your horizons allows you to gain a broader and richer perspective of the world around you, which, of course, allows you to better adapt to all those surprises that life throws your way. And when you feel enlightened and prepared, you're much more likely to feel confident as well, something trainer author Wes Doss notes about in his book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932777377/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1932777377&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=F2JZV5WUZWXUVUXR">Condition to Win: Dynamic Techniques for Performance Oriented Mental Conditioning</a>. He writes, &quot;...and we have found that the best way to develop confidence is through performance accomplishments; in other words, through success.&quot;</p> <p>So, don't just think &quot;smarter.&quot; Think wiser, more experienced, and more worldly, too.</p> <h2>5. Meditate</h2> <p>Meditation grounds you and keeps you balanced and focused. It reduces stress, puts fears and worries into perspective, and even allows you to mentally &quot;plan&quot; to succeed, as <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Boost-Your-Self-Esteem-with-Meditation">Oprah learned from the Dalai Lama himself</a>. Plus, it's free and requires no special equipment to work. So what have you got to lose?</p> <h2>6. Exercise</h2> <p>Take a walk, go for a run, attend a yoga class or simply dance in your living room until you can't dance no more. Exercise eases anxiety, relieves stress, and slowly but surely will make you feel stronger and healthier. And if there's one easy way to boost confidence, it's the feeling of strength and stamina.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389">exercise offers a whole host of benefits</a>, other than the obvious.</p> <h2>7. Get a Manicure</h2> <p>Or a pedicure, or a massage, or a facial. A nice, long soak in a bubble bath would be equally as good. Pampering makes you feel good because it's an act of self-love. You're essentially telling your subconscious that you're worth the extra effort. <a href="http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/05/experts-pamper-spa-health/">And that can do wonders for your confidence</a>.</p> <h2>8. Wear Good Underwear</h2> <p>While others can't see what you're wearing underneath, you know what it looks like, and you'll get a delightful little boost of confidence when you're wearing your best.</p> <p>So, don't just go for clean &mdash; go for nice. Sexy, silky, classic whatever floats your boat. If you feel good putting it on, you'll feel good all day.</p> <h2>9. Dress to the Nines</h2> <p>And speaking of what you're wearing, underwear isn't the only way your wardrobe can boost your confidence. Studies show that the color of your clothes has a direct effect on your mood.</p> <p>Red is best known as the &quot;power color&quot; for example, while blue can have a calming effect.</p> <p>Orange can inspire creativity, and yellow makes you feel cheerful.</p> <p>In other words, if you need a quick pick-me-up, changing the color of your shirt can definitely do the trick.</p> <p>But let's take that concept one step further. Try putting on the best thing you have.</p> <p>If you're struggling with confidence, wearing sweats and a t-shirt (no matter the color), isn't going to give you the boost you need. Like wearing good underwear, dressing up <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103112000200">makes you feel more attractive</a>, according to a study at Northwestern University. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive or have a designer label. It just has to make you feel good when you wear it.</p> <p>And when you feel good on the outside, it's easier to feel good on the inside.</p> <h2>10. Make a To-Do List</h2> <p>And then work on checking everything off as complete. Since we've already established that achieving goals breeds confidence, what better way to take advantage of that concept than by creating a to-do list that you know you can complete?</p> <p>The key is to put items on your to-do list that you can easily complete. Making phone calls for example, taking clothes to the cleaners, paying bills and the like are all tasks that you should be able to do without a great deal of effort or time. And that's fine, because in this instance, it's not the actual doing that gives you the boost; it's seeing how much you accomplished throughout the day.</p> <h2>11. Pay It Forward</h2> <p>Several years ago, someone started the &quot;Random Acts of Kindness&quot; concept with the intention of making the world a better place. And while that's certainly a noble cause, there is a more personal reason to put this philosophy into practice: giving and helping others make you feel good, too.</p> <p>The good news is, your random act of kindness doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. Sure, you can volunteer your time or money, but you could also hold the door open for someone as you walk into the grocery store, purposely hang back so someone can merge in front of you on the highway, or mow your neighbor's lawn because he's elderly and has difficulty doing it himself.</p> <p>The truth is, there's no limit to the number of ways you can send kindness out into the world. And the more you give to others, the better you'll feel inside. In fact, <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201011/generosity-what-s-in-it-you">generosity is essential</a> to a happy and healthy life.</p> <h2>12. Save Five Dollars</h2> <p>Or 10, if you can spare it, and then relish watching your nest egg grow. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it sure can make life a whole lot easier. The comfort you'll get from feeling financially secure is a confidence booster any way you slice it.</p> <p>As American Psychotherapist Nathanial Branden puts it, &quot;Money and self-esteem go hand in hand.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Splurge</h2> <p>Okay, yes, I know I just told you to save, but once in a while it doesn't hurt to splurge. Like pampering, buying yourself something nice sends a message to your subconscious &mdash; &quot;I'm worth it&quot; &mdash; that translates into a confidence boost.</p> <p>Now, this is different from shopping out of boredom or depression, and of course, you need to be strategic about your purchases, or you'll just end up spending money on stuff you don't really want.</p> <p>To keep the balance, plan your &quot;love-me&quot; purchases in advance. Pick something you want and then save for it. Make it something really nice, something you'd love to have but aren't likely to buy on a whim. When you've saved enough, you can treat yourself guilt-free.</p> <h2>14. Play to Your Strengths</h2> <p>Pick something you're good at. It can be anything &mdash; cooking, crossword puzzles or turning a cartwheel on your front lawn &mdash; and do that thing. Then feed and grow that confidence by trying some of the other tips in this list.</p> <h2>15. Visualize</h2> <p>Think of something that makes you nervous or insecure, something that you think you can't do. And then imagine yourself succeeding at whatever that thing is.</p> <p>This visualization technique might sound silly but remember, your subconscious can't tell the difference between reality and things you've imagined. It only knows what it's been programmed to believe, so if you feed it a constant stream of &quot;I can do this&quot; kind of programming, your subconscious will start to think it's true and you'll feel more confident as a result.</p> <p>In fact, that's why <a href="http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/mentalskillsUNM.html">experts recommend</a> making &quot;imagery&quot; or visualization part of a mental-training program for athletes. Seeing yourself successfully performing a task improves your chances of doing it for real.</p> <h2>16. Make Eye-Contact</h2> <p>One of the quickest ways to &quot;appear&quot; self-assured is to make eye-contact with whomever you're speaking to. This obviously, can be a little intimidating if you're not brimming with confidence, but there's an easy fix for that: Look at the bridge of their nose instead.</p> <p>They won't be able to tell the difference, and it's much easier to maintain on your end, especially if you're feeling overly self-conscious. Since we've already established that your subconscious is easily fooled, the more you pretend to be confident, the more you'll start to believe that you are.</p> <h2>17. Live</h2> <p>Not just &quot;do what has to be done&quot; but live fully, openly, and with all the gusto you can muster. Try something new, take up a hobby, spend time with friends, and partake in all the abundance the universe has to offer.</p> <p>Don't just sleep, for example, create a luxurious, soothing environment where you can retreat and slumber like a King (or Queen!). Don't just eat whatever happens to be fast or on sale. Instead, treat your meals as the spiritual experience they were meant to be by being conscious of what you're eating, how it was prepared, and all the fantastic flavors you enjoy when you eat it.</p> <p>For the most part, we spend a good majority of our time doing things by rote, giving very little thought to the meaning or intention behind it. Change that, and you'll change your entire perspective.</p> <p><em>Now, it's your turn&hellip; what do you do to feel more confident? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident" class="sharethis-link" title="17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development confidence self-confidence Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Kate Luther 1226230 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best and Worst Ways to Ask for Help http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-and-worst-ways-to-ask-for-help <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-and-worst-ways-to-ask-for-help" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesspeople-working-186959998-small.jpg" alt="businesspeople working" title="businesspeople working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's just no two ways about it: asking for help is hard.</p> <p>Whether you're at work, at home, or with your friends. Even when you know that it's normal, that everyone has to do it, and that a highly-touted business skill (delegation) is only asking for help in disguise. It doesn't leave you with a good feeling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder</a>)</p> <p>So we're here to help by listing out some best (and worst) practices to employ when making a request of someone. And no, you don't have to ask.</p> <h2>What to Do When Asking for Help</h2> <p>First let's look at ways to make asking for help easier for you to accept and for your aide-giver to provide real assistance.</p> <h3>Understand Why You Need Help</h3> <p>Before you ask for aid, <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/05/01/how-to-ask-for-help-at-work-without-looking-bad/">understand the problem</a> well enough to know why you can't complete the task yourself. You will feel better about asking for help when you know that you aren't lazy, crazy, or stupid. Whether you need help because you don't yet have the right skills, you've been asked to do something outside your area of expertise, or you are exhausted for any reason, your need for help will make more sense to you.</p> <p>When you know why you need help, you can also explain it to the person you're asking. This can help them feel better about helping you, because they know their aid is truly needed. If you need to defend asking for help, this can be an asset there, too.</p> <h3>Choose Whom to Ask</h3> <p>Most people are more than <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-ask-for-help/">happy to help you</a> out. It's true. Think about how you feel when asked to help someone. It's likely that you enjoy helping people, especially when they are asking you about areas of your expertise, and when they are respectful of your time and energy.</p> <p>Find someone to ask who has some expertise in the area where you're struggling. Then, choose a time to present your request when they are not overly busy or stressed out. If you have to ask someone like your boss, try to ask them between projects or, at least, between meetings.</p> <p>Knowing that people like to help and that the person you've asked is an expert in the field in which you need aid can give you the confidence to approach the meeting positively and confidently.</p> <h3>Have Something to Offer</h3> <p>Before you go asking for help, come up with a list of possible solutions to your problem. Even if they're a bit far fetched, having something to offer is many times better than having nothing. If you're very uncomfortable asking for help, or it feels threatening, you can even pose your question as &quot;Which of these options seems best to you?&quot; This allows your respondent to give an opinion or offer a solution of their own.</p> <p>If you are really and truly stuck, at least bring a list of specific questions when you ask for help. This indicates that you've thought about the problem from multiple perspectives, and that you are fully engaged in finding a solution.</p> <h3>Ask for Something Specific</h3> <p>People are more likely to help you if you ask them for something specific. When you do this, you're letting people know exactly what you want from them, which lets them calculate how much time and energy it will take for them to help you.</p> <p>Asking for something specific also allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the problem. When you know exactly what you need, you show that you understand the issue, even though you can't solve it yourself. This can help you feel better about asking for help and look better doing it, especially when you're asking for help in the workplace.</p> <h2>Things to Avoid When Asking for Help</h2> <p>Your request will go over much better if you avoid some simple mistakes.</p> <h3>Don't Be Insulting</h3> <p>There are a million ways to insult someone when you ask them for help. Whether you imply that they don't have anything better to do than solve your problems, or you make allegations that their mistake caused the problem in the first place, all insults make people less likely to help you and more likely to look down on you if they do.</p> <p>If you aren't sure whether your request is insulting or not, just don't make it. If you must ask, run your request by a third party before you make it, so you can edit it, if necessary.</p> <h3>Avoid Rudeness</h3> <p>Be sure that you ask for help and don't demand it. In fact, bring out the big guns and use &quot;please&quot; and &quot;thank you&quot; in the process of making your request. This offers respect to the person you're asking, and it helps keep the panic away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life?ref=seealso">The One Word You Need to Start Using Today to Have a Better Life</a>)</p> <p>Being polite helps both you and the other person to feel good about the conversation. And when people leave a conversation with you feeling good, they're more likely to help you and to continue to think well of you.</p> <h3>Quench Panic</h3> <p>Asking for help is different from asking someone else to take responsibility for you or your projects. People are more likely to help you and to feel positive about doing it when they know you aren't asking them to be responsible for your entire life.</p> <p>This probably sounds like something you would never do, but when you're pushed to the point of needing to ask for help, you can also be in a panic. When you panic, it's easy to overstate your problem and make it bigger than it is. This can overwhelm the person you're asking, especially if they are busy or tired (and who isn't?)</p> <p>It's also easy to give in to your fear and want to abdicate all responsibility for whatever is going wrong. When you get to the point of asking for help, it's often because you are getting pretty desperate for a solution. This desperation can push you towards wanting to give up entirely, which would make someone else responsible for everything.</p> <p><em>How do you feel about asking for help? What do you do (or not do) to make the process easier?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-and-worst-ways-to-ask-for-help" class="sharethis-link" title="The 7 Best and Worst Ways to Ask for Help" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development asking for help assistance Help Thu, 02 Oct 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1225624 at http://www.wisebread.com Bosses Say These Are Their 6 Favorite Qualities in Employees — Do You Have Them? http://www.wisebread.com/bosses-say-these-are-their-6-favorite-qualities-in-employees-do-you-have-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bosses-say-these-are-their-6-favorite-qualities-in-employees-do-you-have-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boss-employee-working-162277415-small.jpg" alt="boss employee working" title="boss employee working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you can't get ahead at work, there's probably a reason why. You might not have the experience or educational background for a specific position &mdash; or worse, your boss may feel that you lack important qualities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-say-to-your-boss-to-get-a-promotion-or-raise?ref=seealso">5 Things to Say to Your Boss to Get a Promotion or Raise</a>)</p> <p>Since your boss holds the key to your future with the company, it is imperative that you understand qualities employers look for in employees. This can be the difference between advancing up the corporate ladder and staying stuck in the same position.</p> <h2>1. Good Communication Skills</h2> <p>Bosses look for employees with strong communication skills &mdash; written and spoken. Being able to clearly express yourself is a major asset and can take your career to the next level.</p> <p>&quot;If you have a gift for the spoken and written word, you will always put your best foot forward. Being articulate is highly prized in today's workplace, when time is at a premium and technology requires constant communication,&quot; Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470457643/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0470457643&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FSOK7MOUNS3ZLT5N">Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job</a>, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/15/the-20-people-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work/">told Forbes.com.</a></p> <p>Master good communication skills and you might become the official or unofficial spokesperson for the company. You don't have to become a walking dictionary. But if your communication style needs improvement, it doesn't hurt to brush up on your English and writing skills, or take a public speaking course or workshop on your own dime.</p> <h2>2. Adaptability</h2> <p>Companies must adapt or evolve to keep pace with the times, and it's important for employees to evolve as well.</p> <p>&quot;I have found that people who are comfortable with change in general tend to be more successful,&quot; <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20130924104438-407452-how-i-hire-adaptability-and-5-other-must-haves">says Jennifer Dulski</a>, President and COO at <a href="http://change.org">Change.org</a>.</p> <p>Even if you do not understand the changes taking place in the organization, go with the flow and trust that your boss knows what she's doing. The end goal is simple &mdash; grow the company. And if the company grows, so can your income. So, don't buck the system or make it difficult for your boss. Being adaptable goes hand-in-hand with being a team player. Team players put aside their personal feelings and work for the common good of the company.</p> <h2>3. Honesty</h2> <p>Bosses have enough on their plates, and they don't have time to supervise each employee. Therefore, employers need workers who are honest and willing to follow rules and policies, even when no one's watching. An honest employee is committed from start to finish, honest in everything, and takes responsibility for his actions.</p> <p>&quot;If they can't be honest with themselves and honest with me, then we are likely going to be wasting time and not operating at our full potential. I expect all team members to express any concern that comes up so we can keep improving not only our processes, but also our morale,&quot; <a href="http://www.monster.com/about/b/16-values-startup-employees-share#.VBdnPkvPZuY">says Patrick Curtis</a>, founder at <a href="http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/">WallStreetOasis.com</a>.</p> <h2>4. Hard-Working Mentality</h2> <p>Bosses need employees who go beyond the call of duty. Technically, you shouldn't be expected to do anything outside your job description, especially if you're not getting paid for your time. But at the same time, taking the initiative and going the extra mile speaks volumes.</p> <p>Karen Rehn, owner of HH Staffing Services, brings attention to a recent employee trait survey that says &quot;57% of <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140729173700-45510292-employee-traits-what-are-employers-really-looking-for">managers are looking for hard working employees</a>, those who embody work ethic and good ole hard work.&quot;</p> <p>It takes hard work for a company to succeed, and most employers can't get to the top without help from diligent employees. So, your commitment to the job won't go unnoticed and it can open doors to a brighter future with the company.</p> <h2>5. Punctuality and Conscientiousness</h2> <p>From clocking in on time to meeting deadlines, it only takes one tardy or unreliable employee to get everyone off schedule. Do a self-evaluation to determine whether your punctuality needs improvement. A manager may not say anything to you, but arriving even five minutes late or turning in an assignment 15 minutes late doesn't go unnoticed. If you can't be counted on to handle seemingly insignificant tasks, how can your boss trust you with bigger responsibilities?</p> <p>&quot;If the resume has typos or the candidate is late or sloppy, you can be sure those typos will translate into frustrating quality issues on the job,&quot; <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20130924094909-131079-how-i-hire-trust-your-gut-and-take-your-time">says Josh Bersin</a>, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte.</p> <h2>6. Leadership</h2> <p>Your boss might be the top dog, but he needs a few leaders on his team. No good comes from being a follower. And when bosses look to promote, they prefer applicants who aren't too impressionable. As a leader, you can motivate your co-workers or be a voice of reason during difficult situations.</p> <p>&quot;Anyone can get others to show up for work. Leaders, on the other hand, genuinely inspire people to choose to follow them &mdash; on a mission, toward a goal, or perhaps even to transform an industry,&quot; <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20130924101600-128201973-how-i-hire-let-s-do-lunch">says Walt Bettinger</a>, President and CEO of The Charles Schwab Corporation.</p> <p><em>Are you a boss? Are there other qualities you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bosses-say-these-are-their-6-favorite-qualities-in-employees-do-you-have-them" class="sharethis-link" title="Bosses Say These Are Their 6 Favorite Qualities in Employees — Do You Have Them?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Personal Development career getting hired good employee job promotion Thu, 02 Oct 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1225625 at http://www.wisebread.com