Personal Development en-US 15 Little Ways to Make Yourself a Better Person While Watching TV Tonight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-little-ways-to-make-yourself-a-better-person-while-watching-tv-tonight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stretching watching TV" title="stretching watching TV" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the middle of channel surfing, fighting over the remote, or rolling your eyes at the latest unreal reality show premise, is it possible to become a better person? Maybe so. (See also: <a href="">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a>)</p> <p>If you'd like to flex your multitasking muscles and turn TV time into personal development time, here are 15 ways to get started tonight.</p> <h2>1. Pen a Personal Thank-You</h2> <p>Ahh&hellip; the lost art of the hand-written thank-you note &mdash; let's revive it tonight. Surely you have someone to thank for something. Take five minutes and 49 cents to show how much you appreciate a kind act or thoughtful gesture. Or, explore other <a href="">ways to creatively say thanks</a>.</p> <h2>2. Walk</h2> <p>Watching TV doesn't have to be a sedentary act. If you're feeling a little lethargic (like you and the couch are dangerously close to melding into a single cushiony entity), get up and move. Walk in place or position the treadmill so you don't miss a single crying jag on The Biggest Loser. Then, walk at a comfortable pace; don't worry about breaking a sweat. When you're done, you've recharged your batteries a little and burned a few calories.</p> <h2>3. Stretch</h2> <p>Besides promoting relaxation, <a href="">simple yoga stretches</a> can improve posture and circulation. It's easy to combine slow stretching with TV watching without missing a plot twist. Who knows, you may enjoy it so much that you find other ways to <a href="">fit stretching into your day</a>.</p> <h2>4. Remember a Birthday</h2> <p>Use a commercial break (and let's face it, there are quite a few) to pull up the calendar on your smartphone. Are there any birthdays on the horizon that you should take note of? Make someone smile by remembering their special day this year.</p> <h2>5. Give Yourself a Mud-Mask Facial</h2> <p>Why not turn TV time into spa time? Before you settle in to watch your favorite program, take a long warm shower and apply a pore-cleansing mud mask. Then just relax and revel in the self-indulgent moment. Or, explore other ways to <a href="">make your home feel like a spa</a>.</p> <h2>6. Fuss Over Fido</h2> <p>Okay, this might not make you a better person, but it will make your dog or cat love you just a little bit more (if that's possible). Get grooming &mdash; and while you're at it, throw in some play time, some belly rubs, and a treat or two.</p> <h2>7. Plan an Event With Your Kids, Parents, or Partner</h2> <p>Since everyone congregates around the TV anyway, take advantage of the togetherness. Coordinate a weekend getaway, a family vacation, or an on-the-cheap staycation. You may even get so caught up in the planning that you forget all about Keeping Up With the Kardashians.</p> <h2>8. Flirt</h2> <p>Love still makes the world go 'round. Making time for our partners is a great way to acknowledge what's most important in our lives. Sure, watching TV may not be the sexiest pursuit, but it can still be playful. Surprise your significant other with some innocent (or not-so-innocent) flirting and see if you make it to the end of Conan O'Brien.</p> <h2>9. Take a News Diet</h2> <p>Sometimes no news really is good news. While it's important to stay informed, consuming a constant stream of bad news can be anxiety-producing and leave us feeling powerless. If the state of the world is getting you down, limit your news exposure. Instead, immerse yourself in an uplifting story, absurd comedy, or interesting educational program.</p> <h2>10. Be Thankful</h2> <p>Another commercial break? Okay, this time think of three or four significant things you're thankful for. If you're alone, say them out loud to yourself. If you're with friends or family, do a quick round-robin and have everyone share. The point is to interrupt a relatively mindless act with a mindful one and take a moment to appreciate our good fortune.</p> <h2>11. Repeat the Mantra, &quot;Little Things Enlarge Others&quot;</h2> <p>In our busy lives, it's easy to lose focus on the people around us. Reserve a bit of TV time to consider the mantra, &quot;Little things enlarge others.&quot; In other words, what little things could you do tomorrow to make others feel a bit bigger? Offering a sincere compliment to a spouse, bringing a warm muffin to an over-worked colleague, or paying it forward in the coffee shop are all small but wonderful ways to get started.</p> <h2>12. Restyle Your Smile</h2> <p>Research the <a href="">best teeth whiteners</a> and start improving your smile and your confidence immediately. Since you'll be lounging and not engaged in heavy conversation, apply strips or other teeth whitening treatments while you watch TV. And when it's time for a snack break, don't jeopardize your efforts. Choose <a href="">foods that help whiten teeth</a>.</p> <h2>13. Donate a Buck or Two</h2> <p>Worthy charities need donations of time and money to survive. If your schedule is tight, use TV time to make an online contribution or send in check to a cause that's near and dear to your heart. Want to help, but not sure where to start? <a href="">Visit Charity Navigator</a> to research charities by category and review rankings of their financial health, accountability, and transparency.</p> <h2>14. Get Wordy</h2> <p>With so much technology at our fingertips, this one is easy. Vocabulary-building app <a href="">Vocabology</a> delivers a word of the day &mdash; even in different languages &mdash; and includes an audible pronunciation feature. Or, expand your linguistic horizons the old-fashioned way by thumbing through the dictionary. Pull out a word you don't know and use commercial breaks to spell it, learn it, and use it in a sentence.</p> <h2>15. Message a Memory</h2> <p>Our minds are filled with volumes of wonderful memories that usually include dear friends and family. Why not take five minutes and relive a favorite memory via a text message to the cast of characters involved? It's sure to put a smile on the faces of college friends, parents and grandparents, and siblings alike.</p> <p>There you have it &mdash; 15 ways to blossom while watching Blossom, 15 ways to improve yourself while watching TV (even if you're not a Jeopardy! fan). So, the next time you kick back for a little tube time, ask yourself, what else could I be doing?</p> <p><em>Do you pursue other activities while watching TV? How has TV time made you a better person?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Little Ways to Make Yourself a Better Person While Watching TV Tonight" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development couch gratitude self-imporvement tv Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1218889 at 16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="angry driver" title="angry driver" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever gotten into such a tizzy in the car that your head nearly exploded? You're not the only one. reports that <a href="">66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving</a> &mdash; or &quot;road rage&quot; &mdash; and half of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves. (See also: <a href="">12 Ways You're Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a>)</p> <p>You can help prevent road rage, however, if you drive responsibly and recognize the common catalysts for most incidents. In no particular order, here are 16 highly contentious vehicular sins you might be committing that have the potential to escalate to a dangerous level.</p> <h2>1. Driving Slow in the Fast Lane and Refusing to Move Over</h2> <p>It's hard choose the most offensive of all driving offenses from this list, but this one is definitely near the top. There's nothing that will have me calling you all kinds of names not fit for church if you're driving five miles or more <em>under</em> the speed limit in the left lane of the highway. And on two lane highways? It's called the &quot;passing lane.&quot; If you aren't passing, move right!</p> <h2>2. Keeping Pace With the Car Next to You So No One Behind Can Pass</h2> <p>Yeah, you know this guy. He's driving the exact speed as the car next to him so nobody behind can pass. Not only is this really creepy &mdash; I don't want some stranger staring me down for an extended period of time while I'm driving &mdash; but it's also downright rude. Speed up or fall back so I can escape this torture already.</p> <h2>3. Riding Your Brakes for No Apparent Reason</h2> <p>What's that ahead of you? Oh, nothing? You just want to press on your brakes every 10 seconds because you feel like 25 in a 35-mile-per-hour zone is too fast? Or maybe you're just a poor driver who needs to be reevaluated by the DMV. Whatever the case, get with the program pal; people are losing their patience.</p> <h2>4. Endangering Lives Because You're Fiddling With Your Phone</h2> <p>Everybody thinks that they've mastered the skill &mdash; and maybe you have &mdash; but you also have to consider the unpredictability of other drivers on the road who can do any number of things to affect your own driving. The National Safety Council reports that<a href=""> more than 25% of all automobile crashes are associated with cell phone use</a> these days. And if you're not paying attention, the potential outcome of this situation can be worse than you've ever imagined. If you're at fault, you might be paying for it for the rest of your life. Listen to Oprah, folks; don't text (or talk or browse the Internet) and drive.</p> <h2>5. Flying Into a Rage for No Good Reason</h2> <p>Did the driver that offended you really do something so bad that you now have to go to confession this weekend? Probably not, so why did you react so aggressively?</p> <p>Author Rachelle Henry thinks that it's important to <a href="">not project your feelings onto others</a> &mdash; especially when in the car &mdash; if they really didn't do anything wrong. &quot;When I had a job that I hated, every morning during my morning commute someone managed to upset me by doing something 'stupid,' and I would become irrationally angry,&quot; she says. &quot;When I no longer had that job and was happy, I let things roll off of me.&quot; It's all about perspective, my friends. Evaluate your happiness level to see if there's a reason you're lashing out prematurely.</p> <h2>6. Failing to Use Blinkers When Changing Lanes</h2> <p>How am I supposed to know that you'd like to get in front of me or that you'd like to glide across three lanes of traffic in an attempt to avoid missing the exit if you don't have a blinker on? I don't &mdash; which makes for an excellent case in court when you cause a crash.</p> <h2>7. Speeding Up When You Spot Someone Trying to Merge</h2> <p>It never fails that as soon as I turn my blinker on to merge into another lane, the person trailing behind me in the intended lane suddenly gets a lead foot. It's one of those give-me-strength moments that are best handled with regulated breathing and a long count to 10.</p> <h2>8. Turning on Your Blinker Two Seconds Before You Turn</h2> <p>It would be nice to know that you'd like to make that right turn more than a few seconds before you make it. But what do you care, right? If I rear-end you, it's my fault regardless. Don't be that person.</p> <h2>9. Weaseling Your Way Into the On- or Off-Ramp at the Last Second</h2> <p>Listen, I live in Manhattan, where traffic is treacherous nearly 24/7, so I understand the plight of not wanting to wait in line for another dreadful few minutes to take the next exit. But have some compassion. The folks ahead of you have been waiting <em>longer</em> than you, so it's a real you-know-what move to cut them off so you can get home quicker.</p> <p>It might also be helpful to know that you could become fodder for someone else when you act a fool, like so many people did for Kerri Kochanski, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1482319403&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X4O4CXRKNHQFHKUS">1,001 People That Suck</a>, which features an entire chapter on road rage. &quot;One day I was so aggravated by a driver who cut me off,&quot; she says. &quot;Instead of stalking and confronting the driver, or turning my anger inward, I decided to write a book about this person &mdash; and other anonymous people who do rude, crappy things and get away with it. Maybe they wouldn't suffer a consequence from their actions, but at least they would be 'officially' labeled as 'people that suck.' And that would make me feel better, and it would prevent me from landing in jail.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Blasting Your Horn Prematurely</h2> <p>The light <em>just</em> turned green. Give the driver a break before you fly into a blaring, obnoxious fit because they didn't take off like it's the Daytona 500 the moment the light changed.</p> <h2>11. Rubbernecking</h2> <p>We're all guilty of this, which is the problem. Rubbernecking jams up the road so badly that the delay can last for miles &mdash; even when the accident is on the other side of the road. As soon as you pass it, however, it's a wide-open highway. Why, whhhhhy do we do this to ourselves?</p> <h2>12. Bicyclists Who Don't Follow the Rules of the Road</h2> <p>I've seen bicyclists who have purposefully gone the opposite way of oncoming traffic, those who have blown through red lights with absolutely no regard for drivers, and riders who take up a regular traffic lane with their 14-miles-per-hour nonsense and don't give a lick that anybody's behind them. Note to all the bicyclists out there: You're riding a bike; the rest of us are driving cars. One hurts a whole lot more than the other, so be courteous and obey the rules.</p> <h2>13. Holding Up Turning Traffic When You're Not Turning in a Turn-Only Lane</h2> <p>Many times this is a mistake, so I'll just impart on you that it's important to pay attention to the signs painted on the road ahead of you. If you're not turning, you shouldn't be in the turn-only lane holding up everybody else. That's a real good way to get beeped to death in some places.</p> <h2>14. Multitasking at the Wheel</h2> <p>We've already discussed how you shouldn't fiddle with your phone while you're driving, but there are other distractions that can cause problems on the road. Here's a quick list of no-nos: Eating, putting on makeup, reading a newspaper (I have seen this in action and I was in total shock), doing anything with the person in the passenger seat that would be deemed illegal if you got caught, doing anything with yourself that would be deemed illegal if you got caught. Focus on safe driving so everybody gets home with all the parts with which they started the day.</p> <h2>15. Standing in a Parking Space to Save It</h2> <p>I believe in first-come, first-served, so if the vehicle is not around to claim a spot, you shouldn't have your body in it so nobody else can take it; that's not how this works.</p> <p>Last holiday season I encountered a girl in a parking space that she refused to give up to four nice ladies in a car that pulled up because her &quot;mother was on the way.&quot; She also claimed that her mother was handicapped, at which point I showed her the very available handicapped spot just across the street. She didn't want to hear any of it, refused to budge, and basically wore the four nice ladies down until they moved along. Of course, when her mother showed up (who was driving and also flipped the ladies off), the only handicap she appeared to have was an incredibly rude daughter.</p> <h2>16. Swooping Into a Parking Spot That Has Been Claimed by Another Driver</h2> <p>This is another personal situation I've dealt with, and maybe you have too. I drove around a busy parking lot on a Saturday afternoon for what seemed like forever until I finally found a spot. I put my blinker on and waited for the car to pull out so I could pull in. Before I had a chance, however, a car swooped in from the opposite direction and slid right in. And wouldn't you know that she had the audacity to start screaming at me when I expressed my frustration at her for being selfish and inconsiderate? Soooome people!</p> <p><em>Do you have driving scenarios that are likely to send someone into road rage that you'd like to add? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments section below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Lifestyle Personal Development general tips lifestyle personal development Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1216065 at The One Word You Need to Start Using Today to Have a Better Life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends handshake" title="friends handshake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to make today better in an instant? How about making the rest of your life better?</p> <p>Just start saying &quot;Thanks.&quot; In fact, say it right now. (See also: <a href="">Science Shows That Saying Thanks Can Improve Your Health and Happiness</a></p> <p>Look around you, find something you're grateful for, and express that in one word. You don't have to thank a deity. Just saying the word &quot;Thanks&quot; can help you focus on the things that are good in your life &mdash; the ones for which you are thankful &mdash; which can improve your overall outlook.</p> <h2>Words Have Power</h2> <p>I've <a href="">talked before</a> about how words have power. The words we use can affect how we think about things like our feelings as well as how we process abstract concepts, like time and direction. They change how we remember and what we deem important enough to store in our memory.</p> <p>Given that words have the power to shape our experiences and how we think of them afterwards, it makes sense that we could use them to make our lives better. It also makes sense that some of them would be more suited to this purpose than others.</p> <p>As it turns out, &quot;Thanks&quot; is one of the very best ones out there.</p> <h2>Why &quot;Thanks?&quot;</h2> <p>There are several reasons why &quot;Thanks&quot; is just the word to make life better.</p> <h3>Gratitude Is Positive</h3> <p>If you're not feeling great about your life, chances are that you do not have a positive outlook. You may not be intentionally focusing on the difficult parts of your life, spending a lot of time and attention looking at what's wrong.</p> <p>When you say &quot;Thanks!&quot; you are choosing to look at something that's right. Even if you only say it to your barista in passing, you are noticing a good thing and marking it verbally. Over time, <a href="">saying &quot;Thanks!&quot; can help you replace negative thinking with positive.</a></p> <h3>Gratitude Makes Us Mindful</h3> <p>In order to say &quot;Thanks!&quot; we have to have our minds focused on the present. That is, we have to be mindful of the present. We have to focus on what is going on here and now, on what other people are bringing into our lives, or on what we already have. Thus, <a href="">saying &quot;thanks&quot; is one way to develop mindfulness</a>.</p> <p>Some people achieve mindfulness via meditation, but sticking with a meditation practice requires time and energy, which you may not have if life is stressful or otherwise difficult. Because saying &quot;Thanks&quot; is something that you can incorporate throughout your day, it is a road to mindfulness that you can follow anytime, anywhere.</p> <p>Mindfulness increases the density of grey matter in the brain, improves the ways we process pain and difficult or strong emotions, helps us know ourselves more realistically, helps us feel better about our close relationships, improves our ability to focus, <a href="">helps us lose weight</a>, and more. If mindfulness offers all of that and saying &quot;Thanks&quot; is a way to bring us to that state, it's certainly a habit worth cultivating!</p> <h3>Gratitude Helps You Help Others</h3> <p>Saying &quot;Thanks,&quot; cultivating gratitude, whatever you call it, <a href="">makes you more likely to help other people</a>, even when helping them offers little to no benefit to you, or even causes some detrimental effect to you. When you are thankful for what you have, it seems that you are more willing to give other people things to be thankful for, too.</p> <p>Helping others, incidentally, is linked to greater health and longevity, less depression, and a greater sense of self-worth. And it can all start with the simple act of saying &quot;Thanks!&quot;</p> <h2>How to Add &quot;Thanks&quot; to Your Daily Life</h2> <p>If you're convinced that saying &quot;Thanks&quot; can improve your life, here are some strategies for adding it to your vocabulary.</p> <h3>1. Decide in Advance</h3> <p>When you're first working to say &quot;Thanks&quot; more often, it will help you to decide to do it ahead of time. For instance, if you know you'll be stopping for coffee, take a second to think consciously about thanking the barista who takes your order. Even go as far as to envision it happening. Then, be sure to actually say it at the coffee shop. This can help you get into the habit of saying a word that you're not used to using, or to imbuing it with a deeper meaning.</p> <h3>2. Make a List</h3> <p>The idea of making a list of things you're thankful for is at least a little cliche, but it's popular because it works. If you're not the type to remember to stop and write down things you're thankful for on a daily basis (I'm not!), set aside some time each week to list a few things. Or, you can put a small section into each day of your calendar, label it &quot;Thanks,&quot; and list things as you go through your day. Take the time to say &quot;Thank you&quot; for each thing, even if it's only silently, and you don't know who you're talking to.</p> <h3>3. Send a Letter</h3> <p>Take some <a href="">advice from a gratitude expert</a>. Think of someone in your past who you would like to thank. This can be for anything, from a small kindness to having a great influence on you. Then write them a letter, telling them exactly what you remember and why it meant so much to you, and maybe why you remember it today. Try to meet with the person (or call them, or at least find their mailing address), so you can give them the letter or share it with them in the most personal way possible.</p> <h3>4. Reward Yourself</h3> <p>Give yourself a little treat when you remember to say &quot;Thanks!&quot; This doesn't have to be (and probably shouldn't be) anything too big, but <a href="">rewarding yourself notes your achievement and takes it seriously</a>. Even if you just draw yourself a smiley face or get to cross off &quot;Say Thanks&quot; in your planner, the reward will encourage you to continue the habit.</p> <p><em>Any other transformational words &mdash; besides &quot;thanks&quot; &mdash; you've recently added or wanted to add to your vocabulary? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The One Word You Need to Start Using Today to Have a Better Life" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development appreciation gratitude thank you thanks Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1216064 at Want to Be Happier? Work These 7 Magic Words into Your Vocabulary <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-be-happier-work-these-7-magic-words-into-your-vocabulary" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="happy businessman" title="happy businessman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a sad but true fact: Only one in three <a href="">Americans say they are very happy</a>.</p> <p>With a <a href="">tough job market,</a> a <a href="">hard time getting raises</a>, and a <a href="">high level of debt</a>, many of us are getting hit with a triple whammy. This means that you need to take action and start working on improving your own happiness. (See also: <a href="">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a>)</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to become happier is by simply starting to use these four words and phrases more often.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Yes&quot;</h2> <p>In <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0025YKDJC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CL2L3B33RKY6KXP6">Yes Man</a>, Jim Carrey plays Carl, a guy who challenges himself to say &quot;yes&quot; to everything for a year. From the start, this commitment ends up filling Carl's entire day with activities. It seems that he is so busy that he doesn't have time to be sad.</p> <p>Studies confirm this theory. (Yes! Actual scientific studies confirm the validity of a Jim Carrey movie.) Richard Weisman, a British psychologist and author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0099443244&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2MHPBTNRRRVGECXV">The Luck Factor</a>, believes that lucky people create, notice, and act on the chance opportunities in their lives by saying &quot;yes&quot; more often. Saying &quot;yes&quot; more often creates a fuller agenda, a fuller agenda keeps you busy, and being <a href="">busier you makes you happier</a>.</p> <p>Of course, there are three important caveats to saying yes more often.</p> <ol> <li>Don't say yes to everything. Dangerous vices that can lead to addiction or activities that can put you in harm's way are generally not a good idea. Use your common sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be busy but don't feel rushed. Become part of the group of happier Americans, the ones that are not overwhelmly busy. Having too much free time leads to boredom, so the key to happiness is to be productive at a comfortable pace.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choose friends and relatives over tasks. Say &quot;yes&quot; to spending time with Uncle Paul rather than working overtime on that project. Turns out having a <a href="">better social life can be worth as much as an additional $130,000 per year</a>. A man who has friends is indeed a rich man, and a happy one, too.</li> </ol> <h2>2. &quot;Will I&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>If you are going to be busier, you need to be more efficient at getting the job done.</p> <p>The popular catchphrase &quot;I think I can&quot; from <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0448463598&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Q62QS3X2VBYVAJTG">The Little Engine that Could</a> has taught us from a young age that self-motivation is a key to success. However, it appears that the Little Engine might have gone about it wrong.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested the <a href="">effects of &quot;I will&quot; and &quot;Will I&quot; on self motivation</a>. The test subjects were far more motivated to complete a task when using the phrase &quot;Will I,&quot; which is a question instead of a self affirmation.</p> <p>According to the researchers, by asking yourself questions about a specific task, such as &quot;Will I lose weight?&quot;, you are more likely to build your own motivation to complete the task. This means that <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004LQEYTC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X7LLDH7KUU5SGM4E">Bob the Builder's</a> &quot;Can we fix it?&quot; is a better model for self-motivation than the Engine's &quot;I think I can.&quot;</p> <h2>3. &quot;Laughter,&quot; &quot;Happiness,&quot; &quot;Love,&quot; and &quot;Happy&quot;</h2> <p>What do these words have in common?</p> <p>They are the top four of the most frequently words in the English language that <a href="">exhibit the most bias towards positivity</a>. Basically, the words that make you happier.</p> <p>Researchers poured through Twitter, the Google Books Project, The New York Times, and a ton of music lyrics in search of the most frequently used words. Then, study participants rated each one of these 10,200 words individually, producing a list of the <a href="">50 most positive words</a>.</p> <p>Based on these findings, the researchers suggest three key actions to take. (See also: <a href="">25 Simple Ways to Change Up Your Routine and Love Your Day</a>)</p> <ol> <li>Incorporate the top four positive words into your life as much as possible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find songs that make use of the 50 most positive words and create a happy playlist to boost your routine. For example, <a href="">The Beatles' All You Need is Love</a>, <a href="">Pharrell's &quot;Happy&quot;</a> and <a href="">Al Green</a><a href="">'s &quot;Love and Happiness</a>.&quot; <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Avoid using the <a href="">50 most negative words in the English language</a>.</li> </ol> <h2>4. &quot;You're Right&quot;</h2> <ul> <li>Do you ever feel like nobody gives your the proper credit for what you do?</li> <li>Do you think that people are giving you too many &quot;buts&quot;?</li> <li>Do you wish to have more conversations instead of confrontations?</li> </ul> <p>Then start saying &quot;you're right&quot; to your relatives, friends, and co-workers more often.</p> <p><a href="">Showing gratitude can cause a chain reaction</a>. Some call it karma, others &quot;paying it forward.&quot; It all boils down to this: If you expect the world to tell that you're right more often, you need to start recognizing when others are.</p> <p>Start today. It will take some time, but it'll be completely worth it. When you hear that first &quot;you're right&quot; from a relative, friend, or co-worker, you'll get a wonderful, warm, fuzzy feeling of joy.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite things to say to make you happy? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Want to Be Happier? Work These 7 Magic Words into Your Vocabulary" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development goals happiness joy magic words motivation Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1215195 at The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Say <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-say" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man covering mouth" title="man covering mouth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever explained something or told a story, only to later think, <em>wow, I must have sounded like an idiot</em>? Even the smartest of us fall into some unexpected speech traps, using crutch words that can only harm one's image. (See also: <a href="">The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Do</a>)</p> <p>Here are the 10 stupidest words and phrases that smart people say.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Literally&quot;</h2> <p>Most of the time what you really mean is &quot;metaphorically.&quot; Sure, Merriam Webster has added the definition most people find technically incorrect to the dictionary. However, we still overuse the word in a way that sometimes does not fall into either definition. There are more illustrative ways to describe action than starting with &quot;literally.&quot;</p> <h2>2. &quot;It Is What It Is&quot;</h2> <p>While it may feel zen to say this, what you are really saying is, &quot;I have nothing to add to the situation, no means of fixing it, and I can't even describe it.&quot; If you want to sound insightful, focus on one aspect and comment on that.</p> <h2>3. &quot;Irregardless&quot;</h2> <p>This is a great example of a prefix that adds absolutely no value or meaning to the original word. Just say &quot;regardless&quot; and no one will think you're trying too hard, which is the hallmark of the ignorant attempting to sound smart!</p> <h2>4. &quot;Like&quot;</h2> <p>We used &quot;like&quot; as punctuation in high school, but sadly we've taken it into our adult lives as well. Even if you replaced every &quot;like&quot; with a pause, you would sound a tiny bit smarter.</p> <h2>5. &quot;I Could Care Less&quot;</h2> <p>We have all heard and dismissed this phrase when others use it, but even intelligent people use it from time to time. The correct phrase is, &quot;I could <em>not</em> care less,&quot; because that is what you really mean. That said, it's an outmoded expression that we can all do without.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Basically&quot;</h2> <p>There is always a hint of condescension when smarties use this word. One is trying to explain something in an understandable or relatable way, but it makes one sound as if he or she is &quot;dumbing it down&quot; for the other person. No one wants to sound like a jerk, right?</p> <h2>7. &quot;Anyways&quot;</h2> <p>Thanks to books, TV, and movies, saying &quot;anyways&quot; has been cemented as an indicator of ignorance. &quot;Anyway&quot; is a word, while &quot;anyways&quot; is the same word with an 's' added. Why add letters to a perfectly good word?</p> <h2>8. &quot;Less&quot; Instead of &quot;Fewer&quot;</h2> <p>Most people underuse the word &quot;fewer&quot; in favor of &quot;less,&quot; and anyone who studied in a STEM field will cringe when you do. The simple rule is to use &quot;fewer&quot; with things you can count and &quot;less&quot; with things you can't. We'll use both definitions in a sentence: Fewer people should use the word &quot;less,&quot; but unfortunately, people are less aware of its correct usage than they should be.</p> <h2>9. &quot;I Really Think&quot;</h2> <p>Another bad way to start a sentence, &quot;I really think&quot; is a way of saying, &quot;What I'm about to say can't be proven, and I am too arrogant to consider what you've said.&quot; Avoid this one to prevent sounding pretentious, which is something smart people do when they are self-conscious.</p> <h2>10. &quot;Apparently&quot; and &quot;Ostensibly&quot;</h2> <p>Nearly everyone overuses these words, especially educated people. Simple language is almost always better; some better alternatives are &quot;it seems,&quot; or, &quot;it appears.&quot; Ten dollar words are a scourge. No one wants to converse with a college entrance exam.</p> <p><em>Agree? Disagree? Let us know (using proper vocabulary, of course) in comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Say" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amanda Meadows</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development dumb words smart people vocabulary words Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1215196 at 11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple playing chess" title="couple playing chess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Life is more fun if you play games,&quot; said Roald Dahl. (See also: <a href="">5 Economy Based Games That Make You Think</a>)</p> <p>And there's even better news: Those same games can also make you smarter. Here are 11 games that exercise different mental skills.</p> <h2>1. Super Mario Brothers</h2> <p>Good news fans of the lovable Italian plumber! A neurological research study has found that playing Super Mario Brothers for at least 30 minutes a day for two months <a href="">improves neural plasticity</a> &mdash; the ability of the brain to change and grow.</p> <p>Guiding Mario and Luigi through the different levels augments the gray matter in your brain that is essential for &quot;spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance.&quot; The researchers concluded that the right dose of Super Mario Brothers adventures can help those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disease.</p> <h2>2. Scrabble</h2> <p>If you are competitive at playing Scrabble, you can brag to your friends that you have some mad language skills!</p> <p>A study comparing <a href="">competitive Scrabble players against a test group of novice players</a> found that Scrabble experts are more adept at vertical fluency and semantic deemphasis. The first skill allows you to handle words presented in a vertical fashion, and the second one improves your ability to handle word responses. These two skills combined lead to better word recognition in adults. Unfortunately, the researchers <a href="">don't believe that these same skills can be obtained</a> through Scrabble's digital counterpart, Words With Friends. So drop the smartphone and pick up the board game.</p> <h2>3. FitBrains</h2> <p>If the world-famous <a href="">Rosetta Stone invests $12 million in a suite of brain training apps</a>, you ought to give these apps a try. And boy, does the brain training app developer, FitBrains, have a pitch. They claim that by using its apps for <a href="">15 minutes a day, five days a week</a>, you can improve your memory and concentration, and ward off mental diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. FitBrains includes memory, visual, focus, speed, logic, and language games, all accessible through its <a href="">site</a> or its smartphone apps.</p> <h2>4. Chess</h2> <p>There is strong evidence of the mental benefits of playing chess on a regular basis across all age groups.</p> <ul> <li>Chess players in elementary schools make <a href="">significant gains in reading scores</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Elementary students who play chess show improvements <a href="">in mathematical skills</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Becoming proficient in chess at any age level is linked to <a href="">better object and pattern recognition</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are several anecdotal accounts of <a href="">adults playing speed chess gaining benefits in other activities</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Testing the thesis that the <a href="">brain works like a muscle</a>, the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that adults over 75 that engage in activities in &quot;brain stretching&quot; activities, such as chess, are less likely to develop dementia.</li> </ul> <p>This is why chess is part of school curricula in close to 30 countries, including Russia, Iceland, and Venezuela.</p> <h2>5. Mahjong</h2> <p>While chess is considered one of the ultimate tests of intelligence in the Western world, Mahjong is its counterpart in the Eastern world. With high popularity in Eastern and South Eastern Asia, mahjong is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Adults with mild-to-moderate symptoms of dementia may <a href="">improve their cognitive functions</a> by playing the game.</p> <p>However, various studies point out that the <a href="">health benefits of mahjong extend beyond seniors with dementia</a>. Mahjong improves social skills, memory, and even math skills.</p> <h2>6. Tetris</h2> <p>If you are still suspicious that playing video games can make you smarter, then here is one game that will cast away your doubts. Through the use of brain-activity tracking technologies, researchers found that <a href="">adolescent girls showed improved brain activity</a> after three months of Tetris practice. The girls age 12 to 15 practiced Tetris 1.5 hours per week during the three-month period. During and after a Tetris session, your brain experiences significant activity that leads to greater brain efficiency. On top of improving your noggin, playing <a href="">Tetris may help you fight off cravings</a> and become part of your weight management or habit reduction plan.</p> <h2>7. Monopoly</h2> <p>This is my favorite board game, so I was thrilled to read comments about the game from renowned board game designer Philip Orbanes. He is a global authority on Monopoly and has judged U.S. and World Monopoly Championships for over 30 years. (Watch him judge the <a href="">final game of the 2009 Monopoly Championship</a>, which gathered national champions from Russia, Norway, New Zealand, and the U.S.) He strongly believes that <a href="">Monopoly provides real life financial lessons</a>.</p> <p>Orbanes points out that <a href="">Monopoly can</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Provide kids their first important lessons in the art of negotiations in a safe environment;</li> <li>Teach players of any age an understanding of the concept of diversification;</li> <li><a href="">Offer practical training in managing money</a>;</li> <li>Help to exercise arithmetic and statistical skills without feeling like homework.</li> </ul> <p>Turns out that Monopoly is serious business!</p> <h2>8. Lumosity</h2> <p>This is an alternative to FitBrains. If you have seen one of Lumosity's ads on TV and decided to visit its site to check out <a href="">what neuroplasticity is all about</a>, you're not alone. The site has <a href="">over 60 million subscribers</a>, spending a bit over <a href="">11 minutes on the site per session</a>.</p> <p>Lumosity provides 40 games that are designed to increase memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving skills. For example, the <a href="">Waiter Game</a> jogs your ability to remember names and <a href="">RainDrops</a> works your problem solving. Could you search free alternatives to all 40 games on your own? Sure, but Lumosity already did the work for you and can provide you personalized reports and suggestions on what to work next.</p> <h2>9. LittleBigPlanet</h2> <p>If Lumosity sounds too grown-up for the taste of your inner child, then give <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IVXI7C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=E6Q6WL5Z3C22XZ3E">LittleBigPlanet</a> a try. This game requires such high levels of critical thinking and creativity that a <a href="">New York public school added LittleBigPlanet to its curricula</a>.</p> <p>There are many versions of LittleBigPlanet but the one that has been lauded the most for its skills development benefits is <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002I0K780&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=O4CTH55QJA5BAWKT">LittleBigPlanet 2</a>. Given the availability of an in-game level editor to make custom levels, many have noted how it provides players a basic introduction into computing or game design. This opportunity to <a href="">design and test your own game</a> levels could be a great investment. After all, the video game design industry offers <a href="">annual salaries ranging between $37,000 and $200,000</a>.</p> <h2>10. Charades</h2> <p>The classic family living room game is a great way to give your brain a workout. Trying to decode and to communicate only through gestures recruits a series of areas of the brain that are <a href="">necessary for simulation and mentalization</a>. While the benefits of charades are best enjoyed when actively trying to guess the charades, there are also marginal benefits when merely observing. Having to role play and present information without talking trains charade players to make sense out of new information more efficiently. Also, performing role plays facilitates your <a href="">ability to put yourself in somebody else's shoes</a>.</p> <h2>11. The Professor Layton Series</h2> <p>Last but not least is the <a href="">popular saga for the Nintendo DS game platform</a>. While the game is known for its beautiful animation sequences, it is downright addictive due to its smartly designed brain busters. Up to 75% of players of indicate that the <a href="">mental challenge is their most preferred aspect</a> of the game. This motivator is more than double than any other included in the survey. The variety of logic challenges keeps you engaged and, if you find them too easy, you can increase the difficulty level. Before settling on a specific game to buy, you can test drive a few of the puzzles, such as the ones from the <a href="">Arzan Legacy series</a>.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite game that helps you become smarter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development education games intelligence play Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1213032 at 6 Negative Traits That Are Actually Good for You <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-negative-traits-that-are-actually-good-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bored businesswoman" title="bored businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Pessimism. Anger. Shyness. Jealousy. Boredom. Impatience.</p> <p>These characteristics is usually seen as negative. In fact, you hear generalizations that aren't flattering about all of these traits. Pessimistic people aren't happy, anger hurts relationships, shy people hide all their lives, jealousy keeps you focused outside your own life, frequent boredom means you don't have an active mind, and impatience indicates an uncaring attitude towards others. (See also: <a href="">5 Ways Negativity Can Help You</a>)</p> <p>While there are legitimate reasons why these traits aren't universally desired, the truth is that each of these have positive aspects, too. So just because one or more of these words describes you doesn't necessarily mean that it's time to change.</p> <h2>Pessimism</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Pessimistic people tend to <a href="">live longer and to be healthier</a> for more of those years. This is mostly tied to <em>defensive pessimism</em>, in which people manage their anxiety by thinking through everything bad that could happen so that they can avoid those things. Most experts think that this type of pessimism is protective because people are actually somewhat successful in identifying risks and avoiding them.</p> <p>To live long and be happy in our lives, we probably need a balance of optimism and this type of pessimism. We do not, however, have to be the bouncy, always-optimistic people that our culture seems to want us to be. It's still true that optimists have higher overall senses of well-being. When we balance that with the ability to look ahead and avoid possible negative outcomes, we'll have the best of both possible worlds.</p> <h2>Anger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Anger isn't necessarily wild, it doesn't just happen to people who are out of control, and it doesn't have to be a negative emotion. <a href="">Anger has a lot to offer</a>. It can provide motivation for change, it can actually help our relationships, and it can help us know ourselves better.</p> <p>When we feel angry, it's usually because something isn't going the way we think it should. If we are angry enough and we can channel that energy, we have a lot of power to put towards changing the things that made us angry in the first place.</p> <p>Anger helps relationships because hiding anger means hiding the truth. When we tell our partners, friends, and relatives the truth about how their actions affect us, and when we genuinely want to find a solution that will work for everyone, expressing our anger often leads to solid changes that make our relationships stronger.</p> <p>When we look at the things that make us angry, we can learn what is important to us. This is especially true when anger surprises us. Often, that anger means that we care deeply about something that we didn't previously know we cared about.</p> <h2>Shyness</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>There are a lot of good resources about <a href="">how to overcome shyness</a>. All of these seem to assume that it's definitely something we'd want to weed out of our lives. However, shy people often self-identify as being good at observing and listening. Since listening well has been identified as <a href="">one of the most underrated skills</a> for being a good CEO, it seems that being shy may have more to offer than we usually think.</p> <p>In addition to being important to our survival, <a href="">being observant may be a skill we're losing</a>. Since it's still important to note our surroundings and understand the world we live in, maybe we should value shy people more than we do.</p> <h2>Jealousy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's easy to feel embarrassed and ashamed of our jealousy, but the truth is that <a href="">jealousy shows us what we want</a> and helps us evaluate our lives so that we can live them in a way that makes us happy. When we feel jealous, it's because someone else has what we want.</p> <p>However, it's also true that we often don't want exactly what the other person has. For instance, it's common to feel jealous of a friend starting a new job. Upon reflection, though, most people find that they don't want the exact same job their friend got. Instead, they want a new job themselves, or they want to start something new in general, or maybe they want a new challenge in life.</p> <p>It's important to dig below jealousy to find out if it's hiding other desires or emotions. This helps us identify what we really want out of life, so we can determine the best way to chase it down.</p> <h2>Boredom</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's easy to think that you are a boring person if you find yourself bored a lot. However, experiencing boredom often motivates us <a href="">to find or make meaning in our lives</a>. Being bored indicates that we aren't doing something that is important to us. Because boredom is uncomfortable, it moves us toward doing things that actually do offer meaning. It helps us find the things that are important to us and participate in them enthusiastically.</p> <p>Boredom also stimulates creativity. When we don't like the status quo or find the traditional way of doing things tedious, we're more likely to come up with a new &quot;normal&quot; or find a new way of doing things. But we often have to get bored to get this done.</p> <h2>Impatience</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When we're impatient, it's easy to get annoyed and start acting unkindly to anyone who might be making us impatient. However, impatience also <a href="">shows us that we don't care about what we're doing</a>, or aren't engaged for some reason.</p> <p>Most of us find that we aren't impatient when we're doing something we love, and that we have ultimate patience, even for tedious or mundane tasks, when we care about the greater process at hand. If this is true for you, then you can use your impatience as a barometer for your levels of caring and engagement. Experiencing a lot of impatience means it's time to reevaluate what you're doing or why you're doing it, to decide if it's time for a change.</p> <p><em>Do you have any of these characteristics? Have you experienced them as positive or negative?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Negative Traits That Are Actually Good for You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development anger negativity personality pessimism Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1213201 at 6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-be-a-better-friend-without-any-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Friendship is one of the best and purest pleasures of life. There's nothing quite like having a good friend who walks beside you through the thick and thin, who knows you inside and out, and who helps make your life richer and more meaningful.</p> <p>But&hellip; that takes a lot of work. When you're run down, exhausted, sick, or otherwise unable to put the energy and effort into your friendships in the ways you want to or the ways you've done before, it's easy to start to wonder if your friends will all run away. (See also: <a href="">50 Fun, Free Ways to Have a Great Time With Friends</a>)</p> <p>While a true friend won't leave you when you're in distress, even if you have absolutely nothing to give to them or the relationship, it can ease your anxiety to know that there are some easy, effortless things you can do that make you a better friend. These can make both you and your friend feel better about your relationship, even when things are hard.</p> <h2>1. Be Yourself</h2> <p>It's easy to feel like your friends want you to be a certain person or act a certain way. However, real friends just want you to be you. And, honestly, what could be easier? To be a good friend, stop worrying. Stop worrying about how you're coming across, about what they might be thinking, and about whether they might rather be with someone else.</p> <p>Instead, give them the gift of you. Stop making the whole thing harder than it is. Offer yourself, and you may find that your friends are freed to do the same, which makes any relationship stronger.</p> <h2>2. Ask Them How They Feel</h2> <p>We have all heard about how empathy is important and how it makes relationships stronger, and most of us have experienced it with some friend, at some time. However, empathy often takes so much energy! Fortunately, <a href="">it's easy to show empathy</a> even when you're not feeling it or you don't know how to start.</p> <p>When a friend is sharing something that they're struggling with, ask them how they feel about it. After they've shared how they're feeling, tell them, &quot;That sounds like a rough place to be,&quot; or, &quot;It sounds like this is difficult for you.&quot; This helps them feel heard, with little effort on your part.</p> <p>While you shouldn't fake empathy when you really don't value it, these phrases can help you seem empathic even when you're tired, stressed, or otherwise too drained. It takes almost no effort to say these phrases, and you can decide later if you really have the energy to listen well, or if your friend just needs permission to vent.</p> <h2>3. Stop Giving Advice</h2> <p>We want to help our friends, and we feel like we should. However, we will help more by simply listening, which frees us from the burden of figuring out all of their problems.</p> <p>Giving advice can feel good in a friendship, but it takes quite a bit of energy to think up solutions for their problems that might actually work. And, in fact, this is not your job. Most people are perfectly capable of managing their own lives, when they're given the chance to do so. When you stop giving advice, you won't expend as much energy owning their problems, and they will find that they have the power and ability to solve things on their own.</p> <p>Quitting advice can also save your friendships from becoming unbalanced. If you give all the advice and they always receive it, it's hard to have a real friendship. You become a counselor, and they may feel like they don't have much to offer you. When you quit giving advice, you not only save your energy but you might salvage a relationship, too.</p> <h2>4. Tell Them You Enjoy Their Presence</h2> <p>When you're tired, it's easy to act and feel down in general, and your friends may not know that this has nothing to do with them. Reassure them by telling them that you enjoy them, that your life is better because they are there, or that their friendship makes a hard time better.</p> <p>Doing this will make you a better friend even when you're not tired, and it never takes much effort. Friendship can be confusing and difficult to navigate even in the best of times, and it's always better to tell people exactly where they stand, especially when doing so will help them relax in your presence.</p> <h2>5. Smile</h2> <p><a href="">Smiling is contagious</a>. When you see someone smile, your brain wants to do the same in return. So you smile. And when you smile, all sorts of good things happen in your body and your brain. You release endorphins, which make you feel better, and you look more attractive to others.</p> <p>Guess what? When your friends smile, they experience the same effects. Thus, offering your friend a smile (which their body almost forces them to return), does them a huge favor and probably makes them feel better about their relationship with you, even if they aren't sure why.</p> <h2>6. Say &quot;Please&quot; And &quot;Thank You&quot;</h2> <p>It's perfectly acceptable to ask your friends for help. In fact, it might even be <a href="">good for you</a>. When you do ask for help, though, be sure to use &quot;please&quot; and &quot;thank you.&quot;</p> <p>These words are more than just polite niceties. When used with a genuine tone of voice, they <a href="">show your friends that they are important to you</a>. &quot;Please&quot; shows that you value your friend and his or her resources &mdash; time, energy, money, etc. &mdash; that you are asking for, and that you understand they will have to give of themselves to meet your request.</p> <p>&quot;Thank you&quot; indicates similar things. Saying these words means that you accept the gift your friend has just given you, whatever it is, and that you appreciate it and are grateful, both for the gift and for them.</p> <p><em>How do you show your friends you care when you're worn out? Have you ever had a friend do something that was effortless for them but meant a lot to you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development friends friendship relationships Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1211248 at 6 Easy Tricks to Become Instantly More Likeable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-tricks-to-become-instantly-more-likeable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people attract new friends and opportunities like a magnet. It's in their DNA. (See also: <a href="">12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend</a>)</p> <p>But likability can also be learned by about 90% of people, according to Rohit Bhargava, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1118137531&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=726ZQUCKEFE5SK6H">Likeonomics</a>. The benefits are astounding: better relationships, stronger networks, more career success. That's because people want to be in the company of likable people. And they want to help them out.</p> <p>And we want to help <em>you</em> out, so read on for six simple tricks to grow your appeal and charisma.</p> <h2>1. Raise Your Eyebrows and Turn the Corners of Your Lips Up</h2> <p>People who seem honest and trustworthy are well-liked and <a href="">it all boils down to the shape and features of the face</a>. People with square jaws, broad chins, high cheekbones, full lips, and brown eyes tend to be perceived as genuine and therefore more likeable.</p> <p>&quot;Whether we like it or not, previous well-documented research has shown that people tend to perceive certain personality characteristics or traits in individuals based on the structure of their face,&quot; said Daniel Gill of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow. &quot;This means some people can be judged to be untrustworthy or domineering simply by how they look &mdash; a square jaw and large brow conveying dominance, for example. It can have implications for things like mate selection and job opportunities.&quot;</p> <p>But if anatomy isn't in your favor, there's a simple facial expression you can employ to boost your appearance of trustworthiness: <a href=";auto_play=true&amp;section=mm-featured">raise your eyebrows and curl your lips into a slight smile</a>. Researchers say people who activate this expression on their face are more likely to win the affections of people they encounter.</p> <h2>2. Smile Only When It's Genuine</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="">a spontaneous smile engages certain muscles around the eyes</a> that aren't triggered when a person flashes a courtesy smile. That means a genuine smile has greater social currency than a forced one because other people can actually detect whether it's authentic or fake.</p> <h2>3. If You're a Woman, Wear Makeup</h2> <p>Harvard researchers found that <a href="">women who wear makeup are perceived to be more confident, competent, and attractive</a>. In a word: likeable. Sarah Vickery, a Procter and Gamble scientist who helped author the study, explained to the New York Times that cosmetics &quot;can significantly change how people see you, how smart people think you are on first impression, or how <a href="">warm and approachable</a>, and that look is completely within a woman's control, when there are so many things you cannot control.&quot; All it takes is a coat of blush, lip gloss, and a whisk of mascara.</p> <h2>4. Make Good Eye Contact</h2> <p>One of the most effective ways to connect with another person is to look them in the eyes. It's a major cue that you're present, listening, genuinely interested, and honest in your own remarks. <a href="">Failure to look another person in the eyes</a>, on the other hand, is an indicator of untrustworthiness, embarrassment, and an overall lack of confidence. These are qualities you'll want to steer clear from on your journey to becoming more charismatic.</p> <h2>5. Don't Sit With Your Arms and Legs Crossed</h2> <p>People who take on relaxed resting poses that occupy a great amount of space are generally perceived as powerful, which is an attribute other people tend to be attracted to since the human brain equates power to competence. Not only that, but research shows that people who take on expansive, open poses aren't just perceived as being more powerful &mdash; <a href="">they actually begin to feel more powerful, too</a>. So stand tall, stretch your shoulders back, and resist the urge to pull your arms in tight against your torso. You are important, so don't be afraid to take up space.</p> <h2>6. Help Others &mdash; No Strings Attached</h2> <p>Adding value to other people's lives is really quite simple. And it can go a long way to help you organically grow your network of acquaintances and friends. So connect friends with friends who can help one another achieve a common goal. Lend out the lawnmower. Pick up an acquaintance from the airport. The key is this: <a href="">Don't expect or ask for anything in return</a>. The favors and help you dole out will come back to you down the road when you need them.</p> <p><em>How do you make yourself more likeable? Please share in comments &mdash; we'll like you if you do!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Easy Tricks to Become Instantly More Likeable" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development charisma charm friendship likeable Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1209021 at Are You a Hothead? 10 Things Patient People Never Say <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-a-hothead-10-things-patient-people-never-say" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="angry office worker" title="angry office worker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From time to time, we are all guilty of getting flustered by something. Or someone.</p> <p>However, some people have this ability to keep calm under pressure, and remain patient almost all of the time. These people seem to have an enviable sense of self-control, and yet it's not what they say that makes them so calm; it's what they don't say. (See also: <a href="">Are You a Doormat? 17 Things Assertive People Never Say</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 things you will never hear a truly patient person say.</p> <h2>1. &quot;I Hate&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>&hellip;you! I hate this! I hate my life! I hate this job. I hate, I hate, I hate.</p> <p>The definition given by Merriam Webster is &quot;intense hostility and aversion, usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. Extreme dislike or antipathy. Loathing.&quot; Seems a bit too strong now, doesn't it? Patient people don't let themselves get to that level of frustration. They don't succumb to hatred, and they don't yell it out. Sure, they're not perfect, but they don't give in to that very negative emotion. They certainly don't vent it to people they love, live, or work with. Life is too short to hate anyone or anything, but if you must hate something, at least be constructive about it (announcing your hate to the world isn't).</p> <h2>2. &quot;Just Who Do You Think You Are?!&quot;</h2> <p>Oooh, you can feel the sense of self-righteousness oozing from that particular phrase!</p> <p>When people say that, what they're really saying is: &quot;I am more important than you,&quot; or &quot;my opinion matters more than yours does.&quot; It's a blatant attempt to belittle someone and put them in their place. Ironically, this simple but baggage-filled phrase has the opposite effect. Instead of belittling someone, it serves to show everyone within earshot just what kind of person you are by saying it. A patient person, upon hearing that, will know they have already won the argument.</p> <h2>3. &quot;I Want It!&quot;</h2> <p>Remember <a href="">Verruca Salt</a>, the rich kid from <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005F96UJ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VFUOQMSB36U5TNWX">Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</a>? She did a lot of wanting, and a lot of demanding. Want, want, want.</p> <p>A patient person won't feel the need to want or demand things in such a way. Yes, they want to come to a resolution, but instead of saying, &quot;I want this resolved,&quot; they'll say, &quot;let's find a way to resolve this.&quot; The latter feels more inclusive while the former is a demand given to fulfill the wishes of the individual. If you're saying &quot;I want&quot; a lot (or in some cases, screaming it) you are a definitely in the hothead zone.</p> <h2>4. &quot;This Isn't Fair!&quot;</h2> <p>What isn't fair? That the situation is not going how you expected, or that you're not getting your own way? The whole concept of fairness is actually quite subjective. What's fair to one person may not seem fair to another, and that even comes to laws (just ask friends or relatives about marijuana laws and watch the arguments commence). When you start saying, &quot;this isn't fair,&quot; you're starting to sound like a petulant child&hellip; the biggest hotheads of all.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Give It to Me&quot;</h2> <p>Talk about a demand. Whether it's an actual physical object, or simply a phrase or admission of something, making this kind of demand feels like a hold up or ransom. People do not respond well to orders being barked at them in this way. Patient people know this, and realize that such demands will not help them settle any kind of argument. Not win, by the way. Patient people are also much more open to compromise. It's not about winning or losing, it's about reaching an accord.</p> <h2>6. &quot;&hellip;Or Else&quot;</h2> <p>If you have ever ended a phrase with &quot;or else,&quot; you are really in hothead territory. It's a threat, pure and simple, and patient people have neither the drive nor inclination to issue threats. What exactly are you going to do anyway?</p> <p>&quot;I want that report in 30 minutes, or else!&quot;</p> <p>Wow, is that the best you can do? People who say that don't realize that these kinds of threats fall on deaf ears. They are often shouted, and 99% of the time the issuer of the threat will not follow through anyway. It's just a way to sound more important. Don't use this one. Ever.</p> <h2>7. &quot;You Always Do That&quot;</h2> <p>There are two great words that I learned in my early days as a copywriter (it never came up until then for some reason). Those words are &quot;platitudes&quot; and &quot;hyperbole.&quot; Platitudes, or clich├ęs, are not required by patient people very often. Hyperbole, or over-exaggeration, is used even less. When you say something like &quot;you always do that,&quot; you are making a massive, sweeping statement that is fundamentally untrue. No one always does anything (apart from living and breathing). &quot;You always take her side,&quot; or &quot;you never honor these deals&quot; are lies. And once you start lying, you're becoming a hothead.</p> <h2>8. &quot;I Don't Have Time for This&quot;</h2> <p>It may seem obvious that a patient person wouldn't say that, but this goes beyond a simple statement of availability. What people really mean when they say that is: &quot;this is beneath me,&quot; or &quot;this is not worth my time.&quot; And the latter is in line with other statements mentioned in this article. Namely, it puts yourself on a pedestal, and makes those around you not worthy of your time. Patient people won't say it even if they really don't have the physical time needed to talk it through. Saying &quot;I don't have time&quot; is dismissive of the other person's needs, and that is another surefire way to become a hothead.</p> <h2>9. &quot;Get Out!&quot;</h2> <p>When you demand that someone leaves your presence, you are issuing an order. Regardless of where, or when, this occurs, it's rude and aggressive to say this. Patient people may want you to leave, but they will usually say something calmly like &quot;can we continue this at another time please?&quot; By throwing out a command, you are being an abusive hothead.</p> <h2>10. &quot;Everyone Is Out to Get Me&quot;</h2> <p>Last, but not least, is the sympathy vote. Also known as martyrdom, hotheads will often play the self-pity card as a last resort. &quot;Everyone hates me,&quot; or &quot;you never liked me anyway&quot; are blanket statements thrown out to make the other person feel guilt and sympathy. It is manipulative and a low blow, and if you do it, you are definitely a hothead.</p> <p><em>What did we miss? Are there signs of hotheadedness that should be on this list? Let us know in comments. Please.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You a Hothead? 10 Things Patient People Never Say" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development anger frustration impatience patience Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1209035 at 6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="meditation nature" title="meditation nature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, personal relationships, and health are today's top triggers of stress, according to research by the American Psychological Association. No one is immune, but luckily we all have the power to reduce the amount of stress we experience in day-to-day life. Yet research shows only 37% of Americans feel they are doing an <a href="">adequate job of managing their stress</a>.</p> <p>Believe it or not, stress relief doesn't have to be so hard. There are lots of little tools and tricks you can use as you go about your day to help release those tightly wound tensions in the body and mind. No hypnotists or expensive yoga retreats required. (See also: <a href="">20 Free or Really Cheap Ways to Reduce Stress</a>)</p> <p>Read on for a roundup of our six favorite de-stressors that are simple, effective, and guaranteed to make you feel a little bit lighter on your feet.</p> <h2>1. Breathe Deeply</h2> <p>Stop what you're doing and take a couple slow, deep breaths. Now take a few more. This easy, ancient practice of deep breathing slows the heartbeat, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and <a href="">induces a sense of peace and calm</a>. It's the body's built-in stress regulator. Yet in our fast-paced society, conscious breathing often takes a back seat.</p> <p>Here's a quick refresher based on pranayama, a method of <a href="">breathwork used in yoga that's proven to enhance relaxation</a>: To start, sit in a comfortable seated position on the ground. Close your eyes and inhale deeply, filling the lungs with oxygen. As you breathe the air in, allow your stomach, back, sides, and rib cage to expand. When you're ready, exhale slowly until you've completely emptied the lungs, as if you were wringing out the air like water from a wet towel.</p> <h2>2. Keep a Tennis Ball Handy</h2> <p>You won't need a racket for this muscle relaxing trick. To start, lie flat your back with your gaze toward the ceiling and tuck a tennis ball under your low back, just to the left of your spine. Close your eyes, breathe, allow gravity to sink your body down, and let the ball press in to your muscle tissue. After a few moments, roll the ball an inch higher on your back, slightly to the left of your spine. Repeat this process until you've reached your shoulder area, then repeat on the right side of the body. Experts say this routine will rejuvenate muscle tissue, loosen knots, and help the body and mind relax.</p> <p>Here's another tennis ball trick. Poke a hole in the ball and you've made yourself a stress relief ball. Simply grip the the ball and squeeze it tight when you feel tension and anxiety building. This little hand pulsation exercise can also help <a href="">lower your blood pressure</a>. It's the perfect stress relief solution when you're on-the-go.</p> <h2>3. Power Down Your Gadgets</h2> <p>Sure, technology has its benefits, but it's also making us sick. Literally. <a href="">Stress, depression, and vision impairment</a> are just a few of the negative consequences of spending too much time on our phones, tablets, and computers. Luckily, there's a simple fix: unplug. After work, on weekends &mdash; whenever you can. By disconnecting from email, text messaging, and social media, you can actually increase your connectivity to the people around you. And you'll feel a heck of a lot better while you're at it.</p> <h2>4. Make Time to Meditate</h2> <p>It only takes <a href="">25 minutes of meditation for three consecutive days</a> to reduce stress. It may seem daunting at first, but meditation is a practice anyone can do. The goal is to give the mind a break from its constant hustle.</p> <p>Here's a short how-to guide for first-timers: Concentrate on a single focus, be it your breath, a one-word mantra, or the flicker of a lit candle. <a href="">Empty your mind of all other thoughts</a>; if outside thoughts arrive, simply acknowledge them and let them go. Start with two or three minute intervals, eventually working your way up to a full 25-minute practice.</p> <h2>5. Spend Quiet Time in Nature</h2> <p>The <a href="">sounds of birds chirping, rain falling, and bees buzzing</a> are proven to lower stress and evoke a feeling of calm. If you can't get outside, find a source of water indoors. The sound of running water &mdash; be it from a rolling brook, waterfall, or kitchen faucet &mdash; is scientifically proven to boost happiness and relieve tension.</p> <h2>6. Walk for 30 Minutes</h2> <p>A brisk walk is one of the best exercises for you. And it only takes 20 minutes for your brain to start releasing endorphins and dopamine &mdash; those <a href="">feel-good hormones</a> that make you happy. Not only is walking good for the heart and lungs, it reduces fatigue and improves alertness. This is particularly beneficial for those among us who are stressed out, since stress can deplete the body's energy and the brain's ability to concentrate.</p> <p><em>How do you de-stress? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development de-stress relax stress Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1207216 at 4 Things Most People Don't Realize Are Holding Them Back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="teenager distracted tv" title="teenager distracted tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The fact of the matter is that sometimes there are obstacles working against us that we're simply unaware of. Rather than beat yourself up, it's time to start looking at how various aspects of your life might be thwarting your goals. (See also: <a href="">10 Reasons You Aren't Reaching Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Here are four common obstacles, and how to fix them.</p> <h2>1. Your Environment</h2> <p>Raise your hand if you ever argued with your parents about studying or doing homework in front of the television.</p> <p>The bad news is that Mom and Dad were right. Studies show that having the television on while studying &mdash; even as background noise &mdash; <a href="">leads to lower-quality work</a>. (The better news is that the studies are inconclusive about the distracting nature of music &mdash; so keep your favorite tunes going in the background if you feel like it helps.)</p> <p>Whether you are surrounded by distracting noise, distracting clutter, or distracting comfort (imagine trying to write an essay in your pajamas on your bed), you might find yourself wasting the day away if your environment is not outfitted for your optimal productivity.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Work spaces &mdash; from home offices to cube farms &mdash; tend to be set up either how you think they should look, or according to someone else's vision. We often end up forcing ourselves to work in a space that doesn't work for us.</p> <p>In order to optimize your space, take into account your &quot;desire path.&quot; This term, named for the footpaths created as shortcuts when pedestrians repeatedly ignore paved paths, describes how you <em>actually use</em> your space, rather than how you are <em>supposed to use</em> it.</p> <p>For instance, if you set up a very organized office but generally end up doing your work on the kitchen table, take the time to figure out what it is about your desire path that causes you to forgo the office. Following your desire path can help you to determine what you need in order to do your best work.</p> <h2>2. Your Language</h2> <p>A recent UCLA study discovered that differences in <a href="">how languages refer to events</a> in the future can affect our behavior.</p> <p>For instance, English has a very distinct future tense. If we want to talk about tomorrow's weather, we say, &quot;It will rain tomorrow.&quot; In languages with a less distinct future tense (like German, for example), speakers say, &quot;It rains tomorrow.&quot; That difference means that English speakers' brains encode the future as a distinct time from now, while German speakers do not.</p> <p>Where this gets interesting is in the fact that speakers of languages with less distinction between the present and the future &quot;save more, retire with more wealth, smoke less, practice safer sex, and are less obese.&quot;</p> <p>That means we English speakers are at a distinct disadvantage. We already tend to see the future as somebody else's problem because of a cognitive bias known as <a href="">hyperbolic discounting</a>. Add in a language that codifies the difference between the present and future, and we are very likely to continue to push today's consequences onto our future selves.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p><a href="">Jerry Seinfeld has a very funny take</a> on this particular problem. He talks about how when he's Night Guy, he simply doesn't care that Morning Guy has to get up early to go to work.</p> <p>In that humorous observation lies a solution to the problem of English's future tense. Start thinking about what your Morning Guy would most like to wake up to. That might mean you do the dishes tonight, or that you pay yourself first, or that you choose the apple slices rather than the donuts. If you take the time to think about what you will want and how you will feel in the future, it's much easier to act in accordance to that now.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>How long can you go without checking your smartphone for updates? According to a Mobile Mindset study conducted by the security app company Lookout, <a href="">60% of respondents check their phone at least once an hour</a>.</p> <p>This kind of addictive behavior is problematic, since it can get in the way of your productivity.</p> <p>And addictive is the operative word. Technology offers us <a href="">intermittent reinforcement</a>: We cannot predict how often we will get an interesting comment, a like, an email, a tweet, or other technological interaction, which makes us crave those interactions even more. Intermittent reinforcement is the reason why gambling is addictive, and it is why smartphones are so tough to quit.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>It's possible to lose days at a time to noodling away on your phone, so cut off the intermittent reinforcement. First, turn off your notifications. Every time your phone pings to let you know something interesting has happened, you get another little reinforcement. The news will wait, so let it.</p> <p>In addition, you will need to plan ahead when and for how long you will use your phone. When you do play on your phone, set a timer and keep to it. If you train yourself to only use your phone at set times, that habit will replace the check-all-the-time habit you currently have.</p> <h2>4. Your Sleep Schedule</h2> <p>No matter how good your intentions are in the evening, it can seem impossible to get up with the alarm when it goes off at Zero Dark-Thirty. You hit the snooze button two or seven times, stumble out of bed in search of coffee, and barely make it to work on time. You'd love to take advantage of all of the benefits of being an early riser &mdash; like time to exercise and plan your day &mdash; but even when you go to bed earlier, you simply cannot get yourself out of bed early.</p> <h3>The Fix</h3> <p>Part of the reason why it is so difficult to retrain your body to accept early wake-up times has to do with our biology. If you simply go to bed eight hours before you need to be up (which is often how switching to an earlier wake-up time goes), you might find yourself staring at the ceiling, completely awake, until your normal bedtime. You are not listening to your body's sleepiness cues in the evening, which is both frustrating and unproductive.</p> <p>It's for this reason that the <a href="">best strategy for changing your sleep pattern</a> combines biology with a schedule. Instead of simply making your bedtime earlier, wait to go to bed until you are sleepy enough to drift off quickly. (A good sleepiness test is if you can't read more than a page or two of a book without drifting off.)</p> <p>Doing this will mean that you go to bed when you are sleepy and get up at a fixed time. Although you might be dragging the first few days, you'll quickly find that your sleep patterns will realign so that you will feel sleepy at the optimal time for a good night's sleep before your alarm the next morning.</p> <h2>Be the Master of Your Fate</h2> <p>The obstacles to your best self may be physical, cultural, biological, or technological. But you ultimately have control over your life. The best way to take that control is to listen to your own desires and needs while planning ahead. This one-two punch should be enough to tame all those obstacles trying thwart you.</p> <p><em>What's working against you? How will you fix it?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Things Most People Don&#039;t Realize Are Holding Them Back" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development addiction bad habits distraction environment habits obstacles Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1207020 at 6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-get-prettier-smarter-and-healthier-while-you-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a whole lot you can accomplish in your sleep &mdash; a battery recharge, brain power refresher, and a more youthful glow among them. Read on for our round-up of the top six ways you can maximize your slumber. Because if you're going to multi-task during the day, you might as well do so at night, too. (See also: <a href="">10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lower the Thermostat</h2> <p>We can boost metabolic health and even burn a few more calories each day by sleeping in chillier bedrooms. Researchers say <a href="">66 degrees is ideal sleeping weather</a> &mdash; it helps our bodies build up the good fats that burn off calories and fends off insulin sensitivity that can lead to diabetes. It's also good for our bank accounts during long, cold winters.</p> <h2>2. Opt for Satin or Silk</h2> <p>A pillowcase made of satin or silk is good for the hair and skin. Unlike cotton, linen, and polyester, dermatologists have found that these fibers actually soften wrinkles because they create only minimal friction between your head and the pillowcase. They're also packed with proteins that <a href="">prevent hair from splitting and frizzing</a>.</p> <h2>3. Go to Bed With a Clean, Moisturized Face</h2> <p>It's important to wash your face thoroughly to remove all the dirt and makeup that can clog your pores and lead to unpleasant morning breakouts. It's equally important to moisturize to help improve your skin tone and texture while repairing any sun damage. The good news is there's no need to break the bank on designer night creams.</p> <p>Experts say even the most basic moisturizers are packed with peptides and vitamin C, and those are precisely the ingredients you need to make your skin firmer and prevent new wrinkles from forming. Creams containing retinol can be a bit more costly, but the bang for your buck is big: Retinol is <a href="">one of few ingredients available without a prescription that treats the wrinkles you already have</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sleep on Your Back</h2> <p>Over time, those crease lines you wake up with after a night spent on your stomach or your side will become full-blown wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. But you can avoid smooshing your skin against the sheets by slumbering on your back. Experts say <a href="">it's the best sleeping position</a>, and not just because it minimizes wrinkling. Sleeping on your back also prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux and helps women retain perky breasts. (See also: <a href="">Your Sleeping Position May Be Hurting You</a>)</p> <h2>5. Listen to Classical Music</h2> <p>Playing soft classical music 45 minutes before bed or while you slumber has been linked to <a href="">decreased anxiety, lower blood pressure, and curing insomnia</a>. It also makes you smarter. Studies show that children who listen to Mozart become more intelligent. It's called &quot;<a href="">The Mozart Effect</a>,&quot; and if it works for kids, it's apt to work for adults, right?</p> <h2>6. Get a Solid 7 Hours of Shut-Eye &mdash; At Least</h2> <p>Sleep experts recommend we all get seven to eight hours of sleep a night if you want to be fresh, sharp, and good-natured in the morning. Those who skimp on their slumber risk more than sluggishness and a grumpy demeanor. Studies show that people who average less than seven hours of sleep at night are nearly three times <a href="">more likely to catch the common cold</a> than those who sleep for eight hours or more. Those who sleep less than six hours a night are <a href="">more likely to have excess body fat</a>. And people who report sleeping less than five hours a night are more <a href="">at risk for having or developing Type 2 Diabetes</a>.</p> <p><em>Are you getting enough sleep?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development beauty secrets posture self improvement sleep Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1205244 at How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-more-eureka-shower-moments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="post it notes" title="post it notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It is often quipped that the best ideas happen to someone, somewhere, while they are in the shower. And while many people do get inspired while scrubbing up (just take these <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003W09LTQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6GKSDYHWISRELD3I">waterproof notepads</a> as evidence), the perfect &quot;ah-ha&quot; experience can happen most anywhere. So the question arises: Why? And, how can we encourage it to happen more often?</p> <h2>Happiness Is Brilliance</h2> <p>What exactly causes that moment of brilliance? A number of factors can contribute, but <a href="">science suggests</a> it usually can't be done without that amazing brain chemical called dopamine. Responsible for the feelings of pleasure, this hormone-turned-neurotransmitter can also bring out some of those amazing moments that make us shout &quot;Eureka!&quot; So this likely explains why great ideas happen in the shower, while listening to our favorite tunes in the car, or when relaxing with a tasty treat. (See also: <a href="">9 Surprising Ways to Generate New Ideas</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, however, there is much that happens before the pleasurable event that goes into the brewing of a great idea. Here's how to make the moment ripe for inspiration.</p> <h2>1. Create a Bigger World</h2> <p>It's hard to have new ideas if your vision is narrow. To expand how you see the world &mdash; and potentially create new concepts &mdash; is to approach everything with openness. Nessa Victoria Bryce of Scientific American suggests that this first step is by done by <a href="">challenging yourself to explore something new</a> to you.</p> <p>Have you always wanted to try watercolors? Do you shy away from certain cooking trends? Is there a different route home that you've avoided taking for no particular reason?</p> <p>When you find the time and energy to stretch yourself, do it! By keeping your options open in your everyday life, you are training your mind to anticipate and acknowledge new &quot;ah-ha's!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Dig In Deep</h2> <p>Once you've found something that you really connect to (those watercolors, for example), Bryce claims that you you now need to get into the trenches of that subject and learn everything you can about it. Learning the answers to your questions only prepares you mentally to solve even more problems, possibly with unique ideas that haven't been implemented before. It also helps to make you a &quot;subject expert&quot; for a particular topic. Future bright ideas can come together more quickly if you have all the puzzle pieces stored away in your brain.</p> <h2>3. Relax</h2> <p>You can't &mdash; and shouldn't &mdash; work all the time. Once you've discovered the ins and outs of your chosen subject, walk away for some &quot;off&quot; time. Drop the brush and head outside for a jog; enjoy the breeze or listen to the birds. When your mind is allowed to just &quot;coast,&quot; you'll be surprised to find that your brain may pop with a new, brilliant idea! (And if your &quot;off&quot; time creates extra dopamine, you're set for success!)</p> <p>In a recent study of 90 Harvard students, those who were forced to step away from their problem-solving and given the opportunity to work on a different task, <a href="">came back to the table with more ideas</a> and solutions than the group who stayed focused on the problem continuously. Further proof that taking a break is essential to having a truly &quot;ah-ha&quot; moment.</p> <p>What if you have tried all of these things and aren't impressed with the results? It's possible that the timing just isn't right. Like most great ideas, we can't always set the perfect stage for their appearance. I find that most of my best ideas happen when it is terribly inconvenient to write them down (driving in traffic). Again, this is related to the science that my brain is likely on &quot;auto-pilot&quot; or coasting, plus I enjoy driving. The combination of the dopamine I get from listening to my favorite tunes in the car, plus the relaxation that seeing the wide-open plains gives me is the perfect storm for some brilliant ideas.</p> <p>What can you do to capture the ideas you do get so that you don't lose them for later? Here are a few of my favorite tools for gathering up all the goodness:</p> <ul> <li>Use the memo recorder on my cell phone.</li> <li>Jot it on a sticky note. (Although most of my ideas end up on the backs of envelopes.)</li> <li>Scribble it on your hand. (Writing on your hand won't kill you.)</li> <li>Bounce it off a significant other.</li> <li>Call your voicemail.</li> <li>Send an email.</li> <li>Post it on your Facebook wall.</li> <li>Find a similar idea on Pinterest and pin it!</li> </ul> <p>And there are always those waterproof sticky notes mentioned above.</p> <p><em>When do you usually get your best ideas? How do you ensure that you keep them for when you need them?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity creativity good ideas inspiration muse Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1203752 at 12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="best friends cafe" title="best friends cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes true friendships seem to be born out of a mysterious, intangible energy that pulls two people together. Keeping friendships strong and thriving is a far less mysterious affair, though. (See also: <a href="">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>Part art, part science, and part common sense, being a better friend takes a lot of effort, and maybe the kicking of a bad habit or two. Or a dozen. So here are 12 things you need to stop doing now in order to be a better friend.</p> <h2>1. Shopping for Better Social Offers</h2> <p>Psst&hellip; you're not fooling anyone when you're consistently non-committal about plans. Your friends probably know you're holding out for a better offer. We get it &mdash; your time is a rare and valuable commodity. But as tempting as &quot;social shopping&quot; might be from time-to-time, consider the long-term effects it can have on the relationships your hold most dear. <em>Commit</em>, participate, and stop wondering what's behind curtain number three.</p> <h2>2. Going AWOL When You're Dating</h2> <p>Are you the type of friend that disappears the moment a romantic relationship gets serious? Or worse, do you reconnect with old friends once it's time to pick up the pieces after a breakup? If so, it may be time to reevaluate how you balance the relationships in your life. Solid friendships are built on consistency and mutual respect; don't go MIA the moment you fall head over heels.</p> <h2>3. Texting, Tweeting, Calling, Clicking, Snapping, and Chatting</h2> <p>It's difficult to listen when we're surrounded by mobile devices that are never silenced or sidelined. Make face time (and by <em>face time</em>, I mean face-to-face time, not the Apple product), electronics-free. You'll <a href="">become more fully present</a>, your friends will thank you for it, and you'll begin to appreciate the unplugged moments of life.</p> <h2>4. Being Late</h2> <p>Sometimes it's unavoidable. But if you're terminally tardy, you're implying that your friends' time isn't as valuable as yours. Honor the people you care about by <a href="">learning how to be punctual.</a></p> <h2>5. Listening Just to Respond</h2> <p>The art of conversation is built on active listening, but many people cut their listening time short in order to formulate a reply. Instead of worrying about how you're going to respond (if a response is even necessary), listen to learn. What is your friend really saying? And just as importantly, what's <em>not</em> being said?</p> <h2>6. Avoiding the Truth</h2> <p>John Lennon said it best: &quot;Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones.&quot; Good friends are kind to each other, but rigorously honest about the things that matter. Work to make your closest friendships &quot;no BS zones&quot; where you can be open about the ups and downs of life, love, career, and money. It'll help create a refuge where each of you can give and receive honest feedback.</p> <h2>7. Forgetting Important Dates</h2> <p>Birthdays, anniversaries, significant events at work &mdash; remembering these details shows that you're listening and that you're tuned into another person's world. Acknowledging the major and minor moments of our friends' lives promotes trust, connection, and appreciation.</p> <h2>8. Imposing Time Limits</h2> <p>Aren't we all on the clock too much as it is? I don't know about you, but the last thing I need is a friend who can't put down his mental stopwatch. Sure, sometimes it's just fine to sneak a quick cup of coffee in between meetings, but a chronic I've-got-to-run attitude is doesn't allow room for friendships to meander, grow, and deepen.</p> <h2>9. Over-Planning Everything</h2> <p>Doesn't it seem like the best moments in life are the unplanned ones? As much as a good plan can benefit a Friday night or a weekend getaway, it's important to know when to scrap the schedule and just wing it.</p> <h2>10. Being Predictable</h2> <p>Sometimes small gestures of kindness, surprising moments, and a spontaneous spirit can breathe new life into a friendship between two people who know each other frontward and backward. Keep your friendships fresh by showing appreciation and nurturing a bit of the unexpected. Running low on inspiration, explore new and inexpensive <a href="">ways to have fun with friends</a>.</p> <h2>11. Holding Grudges</h2> <p>Every relationship has its highs and lows. But friendships are investments that two people make in each other; don't let hurt feelings or an argument wipe out what you've built.</p> <h2>12. Dodging the Truly Terrible Times</h2> <p>It's inevitable &mdash; when two people are friends for a long enough period of time, they'll witness life-altering events in each other's lives. The death of a parent, a messy divorce, or loss of a job are just a few examples of moments when good friendships are forged by fire and become something far more profound. Don't dodge the down times because you don't know the right thing to do or say. Realize the comfort your shared history can provide and rise to the occasion.</p> <p>In the end, friendships are formed by common interests and complementary senses of humor, but they're maintained and deepened by the shared events &mdash; the comedies and tragedies that shift and shape our lives. Friendships should help us achieve more, worry less, laugh louder, and handle the challenges of life with a little more support. With that in mind, learning to be a better is nearly a sacred pursuit. Put your whole heart into it.</p> <p><em>Do you have a best friend? How did he or she earn that coveted title in your life?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development friends friendship loyalty relationships Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1203541 at