Personal Development http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/216/all en-US These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hiking-489644177-small.jpg" alt="hiking" title="hiking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are reasons to work out beyond the want of six-pack abs. Science tells us that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Exercise-and-Depression-report-excerpt.htm">exercise can actually lift away negative moods and emotions</a>, making us feel lighter and re-energized. But there are certain fitness routines that are especially happiness-evoking. And if you're going to be doing the work, you might as well get the bigger bang for your buck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the best exercises that are scientifically proven to put a smile on your face.</p> <h2>1. Take a Yoga Class</h2> <p>Studies show that yogis score high on <a href="http://www.yogajournal.com/health/112">the happiness index</a>. So go get your downward dog on and find your bliss.</p> <h2>2. Dance</h2> <p>Dancing on a regular basis can improve your mood and <a href="http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/dancing-shown-help-boost-happiness-and-mental-health">boost your overall mental health</a> and wellbeing. It can also relieve back and neck pain, stress, and anxiety. Plus, it's fun! So go on &mdash; shake your groove thing!</p> <h2>3. 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="http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety">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> <h2>4. Go Hiking</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872309/">sounds of birds chirping, rain falling, and bees buzzing</a> are proven to lower stress and evoke a feeling of calm. What better way to reap these benefits than going for a quiet hike in nature where you'll have a front row seat for mother nature's symphony. If you can incorporate a river, rolling brook, waterfall, lapping lake or ocean into your expedition, even better. The sound of running water is scientifically proven to boost happiness and relieve tension,too.</p> <h2>5. Play a Team Sport</h2> <p>Participating in a team sport gives us <a href="http://www.cavemanfitnessltd.com/?page_id=124">a deepened sense of self-worth, purpose, and meaning</a>. Just don't worry about winning. An analysis of the facial expressions of Olympic athletes shows that <a href="http://psych.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/Medvec.Madey_.Gilo_.pdf">bronze medal winners are typically happier than those who win the gold</a>. Focus on doing well rather than being the best.</p> <h2>6. Touch Your Toes</h2> <p>Touching your toes can relieve stress by increasing blood flow to the brain. It also enhances memory and improves circulation. Some health and fitness experts say toe touches can also <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-495053/If-want-beat-pain-touch-toes-says-controversial-health-guru.html">treat and prevent back pain</a>.</p> <h2>7. Choose 'Green Exercise'</h2> <p>Green exercise is any physical activity taken outdoors, where we can benefit from <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378013000575">the positive effect the rugged wilderness has on our mood</a>. So whether it's cycling or push-ups, take it outside. It doesn't need to be a world-class beach or awe-inspiring canyon, either. The neighborhood park is natural enough to do the trick. And better yet if it's a sunny day. Sunshine gives us a natural boost of serotonin, <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/dieting/15-reasons-why-the-sun-is-good-for-you-623393">the hormone that makes us happy</a>. A healthy dose of UV rays can also boost fertility and help prevent multiple sclerosis, diabetes, seasonal affective disorder, and even cavities.</p> <p><em>Does your workout make you happy?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness" class="sharethis-link" title="These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Personal Development depression exercise fitness happiness Health Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1246881 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Get Along With Anyone http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-get-along-with-anyone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-get-along-with-anyone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-talking-468186221-small.jpg" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some excellent articles on how to get along with anyone, tried-and-true frugal living tips, and last-minute Halloween savings.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/how-to-get-along-with-anyone">How to Get Along With Almost Anyone (It&rsquo;s Easier Than You Think)</a> &mdash; Pay attention, be curious, and compliment often &mdash; that's all it takes! [Embrace Possibility]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Live-Frugally-24174070">66 Tried-and-Tested Tips for a Frugal Life</a> &mdash; Run a cheap disposable razor over woolen clothing to remove the pilling and renew your sweaters. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/last-minute-savings-tricks-halloween/">6 Super Simple Last-Minute Savings Tricks to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget</a> &mdash; Instead of buying an entire costume, only purchase one or two key elements and build the rest of your get-up with clothes and accessories you already have. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://pakwired.com/8-ways-make-boring-tasks-bearable/">8 Ways to Make Boring Tasks More Bearable</a> &mdash; Singing and dancing while you do chores will make the time pass more quickly. [Pakwired]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/freelancer-mistakes-to-avoid/">Top 3 Mistakes I Made as a Freelancer (and How to Avoid Them)</a> &mdash; Don't overwhelm yourself with information on becoming an expert in your field. You'll never have all the answers, but you can take action from what you've learned. [Careful Cents]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/keys-comfortable-happy-retirement/">6 Keys to a Comfortable and Happy Retirement</a> &mdash; Find ways to maximize income flow during retirement. Look into social security and company benefits, a reverse mortgage, as well as your personal savings. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://freefrombroke.com/should-you-buy-a-bigger-house/">Should You Buy a Bigger House? Take These Into Consideration First!</a> &mdash; A larger home means higher taxes, more maintenance costs, and generally getting more stuff to furnish the home. [Free From Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://gradmoneymatters.com/money-making-ideas/how-to-be-a-better-manager.html">How to Be a Better Manager</a> &mdash; Stay positive even when things go wrong. Getting angry in public will not help your team's morale. [Grad Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2014/10/things-not-to-do-before-you-close-on-your-mortgage/">5 Things Not to Do Before You Close on Your Mortgage</a> &mdash; While you're waiting to close on your mortgage, don't make any large purchases. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/halloween-crafts-for-kids-a-creative-roundup">Halloween Crafts for Kids: A Creative Roundup</a> &mdash; Learn how to make puffy ghosts and plastic cup jack-o-lanterns! [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-get-along-with-anyone" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: How to Get Along With Anyone" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development best money tips Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:00:10 +0000 Amy Lu 1246892 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Signs You're Burned Out (and How to Recover) http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-youre-burned-out-and-how-to-recover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-signs-youre-burned-out-and-how-to-recover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-sleeping-meeting-455182873-small.jpg" alt="businesswoman sleeping" title="businesswoman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're working long hours, taking care of your family, and trying to keep up with your friends.</p> <p>Most of your friends may even call you superhuman. While you may think that your body has no limits, you may be very close to the point in which you are going to experience absolute exhaustion and overall disinterest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more?ref=seealso">6 Little Ways to De-Stress and Enjoy Life More</a>)</p> <p>To avoid burnout, here are the four signs to watch out for and how to address them.</p> <h2>1. Severe Lack of Motivation</h2> <p>Burnout makes you think that caring about work or home is a total waste of energy. You feel as if nothing you do can ever make a difference or is appreciated. This general feeling of dissatisfaction makes you overthink everything and leaves you stuck in a state of &quot;paralysis by analysis.&quot; You just don't know where to get started.</p> <p>What's even worse is that you don't even care because you believe that it doesn't affect anybody. This is a common sign for people that feel disengaged at work. <a href="http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx">Only 30% of American employees feel engaged at work</a>. If you're stuck in a job that is going nowhere, it may eventually get to you. The group that is largest victim of this type of job-related burnout are <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45357267/ns/business-forbes_com/t/why-some-women-are-burning-out-work/?fb_ref=.TsvEvx98ch4.like&amp;fb_source=home_multiline">under-30 millennial women</a>.</p> <p>If you have severe lack of motivation, you may engage regularly in unhealthy coping strategies, such as binge drinking, smoking, or overeating junk food. Pay attention to these unusual behaviors.</p> <h2>2. Frequent Mood Swings</h2> <p>If you have frequent mood swings that are inexplicable, you may be suffering from burnout. You may experience a constant state of emotional exhaustion because you go back and forth between absolute happiness and extreme depression.</p> <p>This rollercoaster ride of emotions can lead to <a href="http://www.naswassurance.org/pdf/PP_Burnout_Final.pdf">depersonalization, alienation, and depression</a>. These three feelings blur your mind and turn even the simplest task into an overwhelming challenge. You have an overall feeling of dissatisfaction and become unpredictable.</p> <h2>3. Physical Exhaustion</h2> <p>On top of your emotional exhaustion due to mood swings, you also feel physically tired all the time. It's not that you have less energy than usual, you feel completely spent.</p> <p>The main culprit is that you are not sleeping well. Not getting enough rest and sleep for several days is a surefire way to burn out.</p> <h2>4. Frequent Skin Breakouts, Rashes, and Blemishes</h2> <p>Our bodies are amazing organisms that provide us clear signals that are taking on more than we can handle. You can wear the effects of burnout on your face, skin, and hair.</p> <p>If you have burnout, you may experience a larger number of skin breakouts, rashes, and blemishes. If left untreated, those ailments may turn for the worse. A study at Yale University showed a correlation between prolonged stressful life events and the diagnosis of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. When compared to people that didn't have skin cancer, people with melanoma had experienced a more stressful life before the diagnosis.</p> <p>The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that <a href="https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/stress-and-skin">stress can also increase hair and nail problems</a>. Beyond suffering the direct effects of stress on your body, people with burnout tend to worsen those problems by abusing their skin through scratching, pulling, or rubbing.</p> <p>Now, that you know the four signs of burnout, let's talk about how to address them.</p> <h2>Avoiding Burnout</h2> <h3>1. Take More Vacations</h3> <p>If you recognize the four signs of burnout, you need to take a vacation. Don't become part of the <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/why-employees-dont-use-vacation-days-2014-8">two in five Americans that don't use all their paid vacation days</a>. Vacations are good for your body and your career.</p> <ul> <li>Vacations allow you to catch up on some well-deserved shut eye and readjust your sleeping patterns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>People who engage in more leisure activities find <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111887591">more meaning in life</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The more frequent the vacations, the longer that men live, according to findings from the <a href="http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org">Framingham Heart Study</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16834516">Vacations have positive effects</a> on wellbeing and performance-related outcomes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Employees that take vacations have a lower chance of work burnout.</li> </ul> <h3>2. Get Some Sleep</h3> <p>You need to recharge your batteries. While a scheduled nap is a great way to get a second wind from a late night, a nap can't make up for several nights of bad sleeping.</p> <p>Develop a wind-down routine to help your body prep your sleep. Eat dinner before 7 p.m., take a warm bath, avoid electronics before bedtime, and allow yourself to relax. Proper sleep is necessary for your body and mind to recover. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <h3>3. Consult a Physician</h3> <p>This is how to recover from the effects of stress on your body:</p> <ul> <li>If you notice any abnormalities in your skin, hair, or nails, take that as a cue to slow down and relax.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consult a dermatologist to address the symptoms and ask for a plan of action during periods of extreme stress. Have an &quot;emergency kit&quot; ready, or learn how to procure one fast.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Resist playing, touching, or scratching those sensitive spots. That only worsens the problems.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pay attention to the triggers of your hair, nail, or skin problems, and minimize those stressful situations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Smile more because it helps relax the skin in your face. A relaxed face has a smaller chance of developiing obstructed pores.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Seek Support From Others</h3> <p>Victims of burnout tend to <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201205/where-do-you-fall-the-burnout-continuum">isolate themselves from others and decrease their number of social interactions</a>. This is a vicious cycle. Burnout leads to isolation and isolation further worsens burnout.</p> <p>Break the cycle and reach out to your relatives, co-workers, and friends. Talking and hanging out with others allows you to put things in perspective, provide an opportunity to vent, and learn tips that have worked for others that experienced burnout.</p> <p><em>Have you experienced any of these signs of burnout? What did you do to reduce your stress?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-youre-burned-out-and-how-to-recover" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Signs You&#039;re Burned Out (and How to Recover)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development burnout fatigue stress Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1246350 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-man-gym-workout-450542781-small.jpg" alt="young man gym workout" title="young man gym workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sad fact: Research suggests that about half of <a href="http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/what-motivates-people-to-exercise?">people who begin a regular exercise</a> program will throw in the (sweaty gym) towel within six months. Maybe the weight didn't come off, or the six-pack never appeared. For all the time and energy and delayed-onset muscle soreness that exercise entails, some days it just doesn't seem worth the effort. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-get-motivated-for-your-workout?ref=seealso">7 Simple Ways to Get Motivated for Your Workout</a>)</p> <p>But you might be surprised to learn that the benefits of working up a sweat go far beyond your bicep strength or belly fat. Here are 10 surprising non-physical benefits of exercise that are just as important as a number on the scale.</p> <h2>1. Better Cognitive Function</h2> <p>Smaller butt, bigger&hellip; brain? It looks that way. In fact, exercise's benefits to the brain are well documented. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can help create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance by <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21722657">boosting the level of a brain protein</a> that is believed to contribute to decision-making and learning. How's that for a reason to rock those spandex (smarty) pants more often?</p> <h2>2. Better Mood</h2> <p>There are <a href="http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-medications-antidepressants">nearly 50 antidepressant drugs</a> on the market today, but one of the most powerful antidepressants doesn't even require a prescription: exercise.</p> <p>In 2000, researchers at Duke University <a href="http://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html">compared the antidepressant effects of aerobic exercise to a popular antidepressant</a>. What they found is that the group who exercised for about 40 minutes for three to five days per week experienced the greatest antidepressant effect. By increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing endorphins and serotonin, the body's natural antidepressants, exercise can influence brain chemistry in a positive way. If the thought of hitting the gym sometimes make you miserable, don't be fooled into skipping out; research says you'll come out happier than when you went in.</p> <h2>3. Better Sleep</h2> <p>I've never been a great sleeper, but on the days when I manage to get in a good, long run, I can collapse into bed and sleep like a log not long after dinner, spandex pants and all. Most studies link regular exercise to better sleep, even for those who suffer from serious insomnia. There's only one catch: <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/how-does-exercise-help-those-chronic-insomnia">It takes a while to work</a>. Research shows that insomniacs who add exercise to their routines fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and report higher quality sleep than those who are less active, but the <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/how-exercise-can-help-us-sleep-better/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">effects don't appear for several weeks</a>. If you're working out and sleeping poorly, keep it up. Better sleep is on the way.</p> <h2>4. Better Sex</h2> <p>Research suggests that exercise <a href="http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongfitness/a/exercise_sex.htm">makes sex better</a>. By improving blood flow &mdash; to everything &mdash; sex can have a positive effect on sexual response and even <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275865/">prevent erectile dysfunction</a>. Exercise also boosts endorphins and improves body image, helping put people in the mood. Experts also say that sex is a pretty decent form of exercise. You literally can't lose here, people; train for each by doing the other.</p> <h2>5. More Confidence</h2> <p>We often assume that exercise will make us feel better about ourselves because it'll make us look fitter, stronger, and healthier. But that's only partly true. In fact, <a href="http://www.naturalnews.com/027304_exercise_health_regular.html">exercise has been shown to improve self confidence no matter what you see in the mirror</a>. According to research, the act of simply getting out and doing a body good will make you feel better about yourself, no matter how long or hard you push yourself &mdash; and no matter how much muscle tone you do or do not develop as a result.</p> <h2>6. More Creativity</h2> <p>We don't often think of artists as hard-body types, but many creative folk &mdash; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/aug/09/how-walking-inspires-writers">particularly writers</a> &mdash; are known to be avid and regular exercisers because they're in on a little secret: Inspiration is often found in motion. The philosopher and author Henry Thoreau claimed his thoughts began to flow &quot;the moment my legs began to move.&quot; Got writer's block? Working out a creative problem? <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1332529/">Exercise is likely to help boost your creative thinking</a>. Your next great idea may only be a few steps down the road.</p> <h2>7. Better Control of Addiction</h2> <p>Having trouble quitting smoking? Or maybe you drink a bit more than you'd like, or even suffer from more serious addiction problems. Exercise can help with that. Addiction is based on the release of dopamine &mdash; a feel-good hormone &mdash; in the brain. This is what people become addicted to, therefore becoming addicted to whatever produces it, whether cigarettes or drugs or even sex. Fortunately, exercise produces dopamine too, making it a healthy alternative to more damaging addictions &mdash; and maybe even <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17286639">making bad habits easier to kick</a>.</p> <h2>8. More Energy</h2> <p>It seems a bit counterintuitive, but expending more energy through exercise can help boost <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20061103/exercise-fights-fatigue-boosts-energy">energy levels</a>, even for those suffering from severe fatigue. But don't overdo it; if you're really worn out, <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/the-cure-for-exhaustion-more-exercise/">a shorter, lower intensity bout of exercise</a> has been shown to have the most positive effect.</p> <h2>9. Fewer Wrinkles</h2> <p>Maybe the fabled fountain of youth isn't a fountain at all. In fact, research suggests that it's probably a swimming pool &mdash; for swimming laps. No matter your age, exercise will improve your strength, endurance, posture, metabolism, and overall health. Those things can all help you look and feel younger. But the effects of working up a sweat are far more powerful than that; a recent study found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/17/exercise-reverses-skin-aging_n_5167035.html">exercise can actually reverse the skin's aging process</a>. If you're buying fancy wrinkle creams, consider diverting the money to a gym membership instead.</p> <h2>10. Better Memory</h2> <p>Remember how I said that exercise can improve cognitive function? If you don't, you might need more exercise, which <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110">has been found to have a powerful impact on memory</a>, particularly as we age. Regular exercise actually boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.<a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209181059.htm"> It may even help prevent dementia</a>. Now, if you can just remember where you put your running shoes&hellip;</p> <p>People exercise for so many reasons, but exercise is such a physical pursuit that it's easy to forget that not all its benefits are entirely physical. As it turns out, exercise is good not just for you body, but for, well, just about everything else. Okay, maybe not everything, but its <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469">stress-relieving properties</a> are well-documented, so at least it'll help take the edge off whatever else life throws your way.</p> <p><em>What does a good hard workout do for you?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Personal Development benefits of exercise exercise health benefits workouts Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Tara Struyk 1245698 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-repair-a-burned-bridge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-repair-a-burned-bridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-arguing-167168170-small.jpg" alt="friends arguing" title="friends arguing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Don't ever burn bridges,&quot; is a piece of advice most of us have heard &mdash; more than once. Whether it's talking about your career or your personal life, the advice is sound. Should you burn a bridge, the ramifications can be serious. The Internet connects people all over the world, and one burned relationship can close hundreds of potential doors for you. And in your personal life, be it a relative or a friend, life is just too short to cut someone off forever. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-time-tested-ways-to-make-a-relationship-work?ref=seealso">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>However, we all make mistakes. I, myself, have burned a few bridges. One, in particular, I napalmed; I never thought I'd need it again, and wanted to make sure that avenue was gone. Boy, was I wrong. It took months of work to repair that bridge. In fact, it was completely rebuilt. If you have done likewise, don't despair. You can repair a burned bridge. Here are 10 ways to get started.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let This Fester</h2> <p>The bridge may still be smoldering, or it could have burned up a long time ago. Either way, you can't let it stay this way one second longer. If you have just burned a bridge, make moves to repair it immediately and jump to the third point on this list. If it's been a while, even years, then you'll have to ease into it. But this has to happen sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to repair.</p> <h2>2. Take Small Steps</h2> <p>The first way to start the healing process is to take small steps; very small steps. You cannot barge back into their life and expect them to be responsive. After all, you may have been mulling this over for months, but they have almost certainly moved past you. So, take the smallest steps back in their direction. If you unfriended each other on Facebook, start there. If it's a work relationship, try LinkedIn. If you see each other around, be friendly, even if they're cold. You don't have to make any grand gestures yet; you are simply preparing the groundwork.</p> <h2>3. Make the First Move</h2> <p>Once you've made some subtle steps, you have to be the one to reach across the aisle and start the healing. You can't expect the other person to make any kind of move towards you by dropping a few hints, or smiling in their general direction. You burned the bridge, even if their behavior led you to light the match. So put your pride to the side and reach out.</p> <h2>4. Be Sincere</h2> <p>When you do make your move, you have to be 100% committed to repairing the burned bridge. And that starts with sincerity. If you want something from the other person (for example, a job at his or her company) your half-hearted attempts at making up will be blatantly transparent. You do not want to come across as someone who is simply stomaching the process in order to get something valuable. If you cannot be sincere, this is not the right time. If you don't know how to be sincere because the wound is still open, this is definitely not the right time.</p> <h2>5. Admit You Were Wrong</h2> <p>&quot;But I wasn't in the wrong, it was that idiot's fault!&quot; Yes, of course, you may be feeling that way inside. But for whatever reason, you are trying to repair the bridge. The other person doesn't need to lift a finger because they have less to gain than you. So you may have to prepare a little humble pie for yourself, and eat it with a smile. By admitting you were wrong, you are giving the other person some closure in the matter, and are also elevating them. They have some power. They feel like they have the higher ground. From that position, it is much easier to reach out to reconcile.</p> <h2>6. Listen &mdash; Really Listen</h2> <p>If you are lucky enough to start a dialog (these initial attempts can often lead to being blanked), then you have the chance to find out their side of the story. This is the time to open yourself up to a paradigm shift. What were they going through at the time the rift happened? Did you misunderstand something that they did? Was the original dispute something small that got out of hand? Did you overreact to something? As you listen, repeat what you hear back to that person. One of the most important parts of conflict resolution is knowing that you are being heard, and understood.</p> <h2>7. Say &quot;Sorry&quot; (and Mean It)</h2> <p>When it comes to repairing a bridge, sorry can go a very long way. It's a small word, but it's one of the hardest for people to say (if you have kids, you'll know how difficult it can be to pry it out of them). It's one thing to admit you were wrong, but you have to back it up with an apology. The other person will appreciate it, even if they have a hard time hearing it at first. &quot;I'm so sorry I ever let this get out of hand&quot; can work wonders. It puts the responsibility on your shoulders, and that often makes the other person feel like they should take some of the blame too. &quot;No, no, it was my fault to.&quot; Hey, look at that, there's some kind of resolution taking shape.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Forgiveness</h2> <p>This is another opportunity for you to eat crow, and put the other person in a position of power. There is no shame in asking someone to forgive your former transgressions. You can be stubborn, and say point blank that you did nothing wrong, but that won't get you where you need to go. It can be as simple as &quot;can you ever forgive me for my actions?&quot;</p> <h2>9. Lay Down Guidelines</h2> <p>There can be no repeat of what happened before. The best way to avoid this is to simply lay down a few rules for the way ahead. &quot;We will no longer talk about x, y and z&quot; or &quot;please talk to me the second you see a concern&quot; is a simple way to establish some boundaries. Have regular check ups, and make sure everything is going along smoothly. Small problems can escalate into big ones, and before you know it that bridge is starting to smolder again.</p> <h2>10. Do Not Take This for Granted</h2> <p>This is now a new and fragile relationship, even though you may have known each other for many years. You cannot fall back into the same routine that resulted in a burned bridge. Don't go back into old habits. You may have joked about certain things that were okay back then, but will be off-limits now (especially if it's related to the incident that caused the rift). At work, you may have treated this person as a friend, even though they may have been your a superior. You need to respect those barriers now. Be friendly, open, accessible, and if it's in a work environment, be professional.</p> <p><em>Have you ever burned a bridge &mdash; and managed to repair it later? Please tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-repair-a-burned-bridge" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development forgiveness friendship relationships rifts Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1245697 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Sources of Instant Gratification You Can Feel Good About http://www.wisebread.com/11-sources-of-instant-gratification-you-can-feel-good-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-sources-of-instant-gratification-you-can-feel-good-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-eating-cake-100596185-small.jpg" alt="friends eating cake" title="friends eating cake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now, most of have heard warnings on the dangers of instant gratification. We agree that it's a little crazy that we now live in a culture where <a href="https://www.cs.umass.edu/news/latest-news/research-online-videos">25% of us aren't willing to wait</a> longer than five seconds for a video to load. We know that <a href="http://journals.ama.org/doi/abs/10.1509/jmr.10.0382">our inability to wait costs us</a>, whether it's $99 for Amazon Prime so our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-stop-online-impulse-spending">online impulse purchases</a> arrive faster, or even more for next-day shipping.</p> <p>It makes sense to us that not being able to delay gratification makes it hard for us to become wealthy, and even that it <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html">makes us more and more impatient</a>. And we've learned how <a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/05/ideas-bank/graham-jones">marketing targets our desire for instant gratification</a>, so we end up spending more money, even when we intend to spend nothing.</p> <p>But what if there were ways to give in to our desire for instant gratification without damaging our long term goals? What if we could feed this desire just enough that we could resist it when it really counted? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/delayed-gratification-and-the-secret-to-will-power?ref=seealso">Delayed Gratification and the Secret to Willpower</a>)</p> <p>Interested? Consider these ways of embracing instant gratification in ways that probably won't harm us in the long-term.</p> <h2>1. Eat What You Like First</h2> <p>A lot of us look at a plate full of food and eat what we <em>don't like</em> first, because we want to save our favorites or because we want to be healthy and we don't like the healthy food as much. Instead, eat your favorite food first! You'll feel warm and fuzzy inside, and the order in which you eat your food really doesn't matter.</p> <h2>2. Plan to Cheat</h2> <p>In any long-term plan, make sure you have included ways to cheat on your plan. If you want to go on a diet, plan to choose a dessert when you go to dinner with your friend every Wednesday. If you want to save money, give yourself some &mdash; even just a little &mdash; that you can spend when you see something you really, really want. This will help you get your instant gratification fix without having your whole plan come undone.</p> <h2>3. Grab a Deal on Things You Know You Want</h2> <p>Let's say there's a book you've been meaning to buy. You're perfectly willing to pay full price. Then, one day, you see that it's available for $0.99 from Amazon for a limited time. Snatch it up, and you will serve both your long-term goals (since you wanted the book) and your need for instant gratification (because you made the decision to buy quickly, and you get the hit of adrenaline that comes along with that). As long as you had planned to buy something anyway, buying it for a lower price (as long as you know you have the cash) isn't going to hurt you.</p> <h2>4. Take Companies Up on Their Offers</h2> <p>If you are working with a company that offers instant support, whether via phone, chat, or text message, take them up on it when you need it. After all, you usually need them when something isn't working, so there's not much harm in using what they offer. Getting instant answers to your questions will make you feel better, but will not harm your long-term goals.</p> <h2>5. Pull Out the Crystal and the Good Plates</h2> <p>It's easy to end up drinking wine out of everyday glasses and eating off paper plates, but that doesn't feel very good. Instead, try getting fancy on a regular basis. This will feed your need for instant gratification because you'll get to feel special and excited, and it won't hurt anything because even the good plates can be washed.</p> <h2>6. Spend a Set Amount of Time on Social Media</h2> <p>Social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have been criticized because they only feed our need for instant gratification. However, for many of us, they also enhance our lives. Our best friends may live across the country, or it helps connect us to the people who want and need our products. So, instead of signing off entirely, try giving yourself a time limit. This will make sure that you prioritize the connections you want to make and have minimal time for getting gratification for gratification's sake. And connecting with people always makes life better and more satisfying, so we'll be less likely to look for instant gratification somewhere else.</p> <h2>7. Download Free Apps/Ebooks/Music</h2> <p>One of the places where instant gratification can let us down in a major way is when we download things we don't really want but that end up costing us quite a bit of cash. Instead, when you get that urge, <em>download free things instead</em>. Most app stores have an option to see lists of free apps, and you can always get books <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b?node=2245146011">for free from Amazon</a>. <a href="http://noisetrade.com/">Noise Trade</a> and similar sites offer free music, sometimes from high-profile artists. This way, you can feed your desire for instant gratification without hurting your bottom line.</p> <h2>8. Reframe Everything</h2> <p>Many of your daily disciplines, which feel like going after delayed gratification, can be reframed and thought of in terms of instant gratification, too. For instance, you choose to go to the gym instead of crashing on your couch with Netflix. The endorphin rush from the exercise is your instant gratification. You put in extra hours on a project that doesn't make your heart go pitter-pat? The additions to the project, the words, pages, images, whatever, are your instant gratification. It can feel a little weird at first, but it can help you to choose working towards your long-term goals when there's at least something you're getting out of it instantly.</p> <h2>9. Watch Yourself Save Money</h2> <p>This may be a surprising addition to this list, but think about it. When you save money, you can get a hit of instant gratification, because you'll get to watch your wealth increase. It will help to have some visual indication of your progress, so you can see your money making more and more money. This will not only help you get some of the instant gratification you crave, but it will also make you better off over the long run.</p> <h2>10. Wear Your Favorite Perfume Today</h2> <p>It's easy, especially when your scent is expensive, to try and forego wearing it every day. However, if you let yourself spritz away, you may feel more satisfied and happy all day, and be less likely to let instant gratification get the best of you later.</p> <h2>11. Pick a Movie, Any Movie</h2> <p>The next time you go see a movie, watch whatever you want to watch. It's easy to get caught up in watching what other people are watching, or watching something that is supposed to be great or well-made or have superb acting. But it doesn't hurt, once in a while, to just watch what you want to watch. It will feed the instant gratification bug, and you might have more fun, too.</p> <p><em>How you do feed your instant gratification bug? And when do you refuse to give in to it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-sources-of-instant-gratification-you-can-feel-good-about" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Sources of Instant Gratification You Can Feel Good About" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development delayed gratification instant gratification willpower Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1243351 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Basic Ways to Become Your Own Life Coach http://www.wisebread.com/7-basic-ways-to-become-your-own-life-coach <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-basic-ways-to-become-your-own-life-coach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-writing-list-173298655-small.jpg" alt="woman writing list" title="woman writing list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life coaching is about improving the happiness and success of someone's life on their own terms. This might entail finding a meaningful career, growing fulfilling relationships, or improving health and fitness levels. Life coaches can be incredibly valuable though the help and advice isn't cheap. <a href="http://www.lifecoach.com/faq/how-much-does-life-coaching-usually-cost">Average coaching sessions cost</a> between $100 and $300 per hour. Not everyone can afford that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">10 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home</a>)</p> <p>If that's outside your budget, here are seven ways to be your own life coach for a fraction of the price.</p> <h2>1. Write Down Your Goals</h2> <p>A good deal of life coaching comes down to setting clear and attainable goals and intentions as well as the plans to reach them. Research shows that when we have goals and write them down we are exponentially <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2014/04/08/why-you-should-be-writing-down-your-goals/">more likely to achieve them</a>. What gets measured gets done, so write down your goals and visually chart your progress toward them. Post it in a place where you'll see it every day such as the refrigerator door or the bathroom mirror.</p> <h2>2. Consider Therapy If Your Insurance Covers It</h2> <p>Five years ago my apartment building caught fire, and I lost almost all of my belongings. I was unharmed, and that event set off a string of emotions and events that radically transformed my life. I sought professional help after it happened and my sessions with my therapist, covered by my insurance, were very much in line with the essence of life coaching. That fire was a wake-up call to pursue my professional and personal dreams and make my happiness a priority.</p> <p>Life coaching sessions are rarely covered by insurance because life coaches aren't licensed; they are certified and certification isn't a requirement. (Anyone anywhere can hang out their shingle and bill themselves as as life coach.) A high-quality therapist covered by your insurance is a wonderful, cheaper, and perhaps even more helpful alternative. Look for recommendations of therapists who specialize in the type of coaching that you need and check to see if your insurance covers the fee.</p> <h2>3. Read Self-Help and Personal Psychology Books</h2> <p>Scan the shelves of your local bookstore or look for best-selling self-help and personal psychology books on Amazon. Most, if not all, of them fall into the realm of life coaching and are helpful resources for goal setting and planning. Many of them will take you through the process step-by-step. The authors have websites as well as numerous social media accounts where they connect with readers and share even more advice. Books such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1585421464/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1585421464&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YDQARQLLX3H3YQM3">The Artist's Way</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385480016/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385480016&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=R6GLFQO7JLLYPDEL">Bird by Bird</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385480016/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385480016&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=36J7CJKQJVNDBGMQ">The Hero's Journey</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024CEZQM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0024CEZQM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LAO3H4ODDAIXTYHE">Escape from Cubicle Nation</a> have stuck with me for many years and were instrumental in my personal growth.</p> <h2>4. Inspirational Art, Stories, and Quotes</h2> <p>Many people go to life coaches in search of inspiration. Luckily, inspiration is everywhere. I am fascinated by art and artists so going to museums and galleries helps lift me up and give me a positive perspective on life. I also love inspiring stories so <a href="http://www.ted.com">TED Talks</a>, inspirational quotes (which I keep on <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/christanyc/inspirational-words/">a Pinterest board</a>), and autobiographies ranging from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015T6G2G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0015T6G2G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IFK67TAAPKMBDERF">Nelson Mandela</a> to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FBJFSC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000FBJFSC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5EGV4JUE2HTUE3AJ">Frank McCourt</a> to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034580483X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=034580483X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=APOS62MWFHQQYSUU">Justice Sonia Sotomayor</a> have had an enormous and positive impact on my life.</p> <h2>5. Exercise</h2> <p>One of the other key reasons people seek life coaching is that they feel stuck, or even depressed, about an area of their lives. They need to find a way to get &quot;unstuck.&quot; I've found one of the best ways to break mental stagnation is to exercise. Move the body; move the mind. Recent research by a team in Edinburgh found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/15/exercise-depression-symptoms_n_3902149.html">exercise reduces depression</a>.</p> <h2>6. Take an Outsider's Perspective</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed that you're great at giving advice but not so great at taking it? That was certainly true for me until my therapist said this: &quot;Christa, you spend so much of your time consulting with others to help them realize their dreams. Why don't you be your own consultant and pursue your dreams?&quot; That was a lightbulb moment for me.</p> <p>If I observed a friend or consulting client doing what I was doing (negative self-talk, half-heartedly working on projects of little value, or making excuses of why they couldn't do what they wanted to do), I would have had a very serious talk with them to change those behaviors. I needed to take my own advice. I still have to remind myself to do this every day. If I can't figure out how to remedy a situation that I know needs to be fixed I think to myself, &quot;If my best friend had this same problem, what would I say?&quot; I write the answer down and post it so I can see it every day until I've solved my problem.</p> <h2>7. Try a New Hobby on for Size</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of all life coaching is to take action to create a happier and more fulfilling life, and that means pursuing your passions. We need to bite the bullet and do something we've always wanted to do. One low-risk and fun way to do that is to take up a hobby without putting any stress on ourselves. Do you think you might want to become a chef? Take a class at your local cooking school or a restaurant that offers cooking classes. An even lower-cost way is to decide to cook more often and make more inventive dishes at home. Take tennis lessons or a dance class. Volunteer for a cause you care about. Travel to a place you've never been and have always wanted to go. Do something that matters to you without seeking any information or reward other than personal fulfillment and see where that actions leads you.</p> <p>Life coaching is a noble career and a valuable asset to those who can afford the price tag it merits. However, it's a substantial financial investment and there are many ways we can help ourselves and save money at the same time.</p> <p><em>What ways have you found to be your own life coach? Please coach the rest of us in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-basic-ways-to-become-your-own-life-coach" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Basic Ways to Become Your Own Life Coach" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development life coach self help self improvement Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 1240623 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Best Reasons to Quit Your Job http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-reasons-to-quit-your-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-best-reasons-to-quit-your-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stressed-woman-driver-78740447-small.jpg" alt="stressed woman driver" title="stressed woman driver" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most Americans are unhappy in the workplace. Studies show that nearly three-quarters of corporate employees would realistically <a href="http://blog.timesunion.com/careers/career-trends-you-might-find-interesting/2867/">consider finding a new job today</a>. About a third are already looking. Why? Well, these numbers shed a little light: <a href="http://www.usmotivation.com/uncategorized/theyve-got-leaving-on-their-mind-why-employees-quit/">31% of all workers are irked by their boss</a>, 35% are troubled by internal politics, and 43% are suffering from a lack of recognition, according to a survey by Accenture. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-things-you-need-to-do-if-you-want-to-quit-your-job?ref=seealso">The 10 things You Need to Do If You Want to Quit Your Job</a>)</p> <p>That many Americans are unhappy at work, however, is not reason enough to hand in your two weeks notice. So what is? Read on for our roundup of the top valid reasons to quit your job.</p> <h2>1. Your Commute Is Killing You</h2> <p><a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/05/your_commute_is_killing_you.html">Long commutes trigger neck pain</a>, obesity, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia, according to research out of Sweden. That's a web of symptoms no job is worth. If the twice daily traffic jam is driving you mad &mdash; and tampering with your health and love life &mdash; then it's probably time to move closer to the office or launch a job search closer to your neighborhood.</p> <h2>2. Your Skills Aren't Being Tapped</h2> <p>If you're being underutilized, sooner or later you're going drift into a sea of boredom and indifference. That's not good for business, and it's not good for your professional growth, happiness, or self-esteem. Here are the tell-tale signs: You've been skipped over for assignments that perfectly fit your skill set, you've been passed over for a promotion on more than one occasion, and your workload has been reduced or simplified.</p> <h2>3. Your Company Is on the Fritz</h2> <p>There's no need to go down with a sinking ship. If your company is on its way out, it might be wise to make your exit &mdash; sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>4. You Don't Believe in Your Work</h2> <p>If you're not proud of the work you're doing, it's probably time to make some adjustments so that you are. And if your work or your company's ideals are at all in conflict with your beliefs, be they religious, social, or otherwise, your time would be well spent to figure out how to reconcile that &mdash; which could mean finding a new job. You'll never reach your potential if you're doing something you don't stand behind 100%.</p> <h2>5. The Office Culture Is Toxic</h2> <p>If you've ever said, &quot;My job is killing me!&quot; &mdash; you could be right. Research shows that people who work in hostile environments are <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/10/study-your-hostile-workplace-may-be-killing-you/">more likely to die sooner</a> than those who work in atmospheres that are more favorable. Death aside, toxic work environments are known to provoke aches, stress, and signs of depression. While more favorable than death, these are symptoms no one should have to suffer.</p> <h2>6. Your Work-Life Balance Is Out of Whack</h2> <p>Work has a way of getting in the way of what, for many of us, matters most &mdash; Family time. These numbers offer a glimpse at the epidemic: 55% of all employees say they don't have enough time for themselves, 67% of employed parents say they don't have enough time with their kids, and 63% of married employees say they don't have enough time with their spouse, according to <a href="http://www.familiesandwork.org/context-matters-insights-about-older-workers-from-the-national-study-of-the-changing-workforce/">Families and Work Institute's National Study of the Changing Workforce</a>. Striking the right balance is typically touch-and-go, but if you're severely under-serving yourself or your loved ones, it may be time to find a new job that offers more flexibility. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-protect-your-personal-time-from-work-and-be-happier?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Protect Your Personal Time From Work</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you ever quit a job? Why? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-reasons-to-quit-your-job" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Best Reasons to Quit Your Job" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income Personal Development Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1240624 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-businesswoman-480403371-small.jpg" alt="businesswoman relaxing" title="businesswoman relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am a perfectionist without end, and I want to do my best at everything I do. I hit a point a couple of years ago, though, when perfectionism had worn me out. Holding myself to high standards had paid off, in some ways. People were seeking me out to write for them, I moved up the ladder at my day job, and I was pouring knowledge and companionship into people in meaningful ways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-fight-burnout?ref=seealso">5 Simple Ways to Fight Burnout</a>)</p> <p>But I was tired. I was so, so tired. And then I started getting sick &mdash; I was sick for almost two months straight. By the end of that, I'd dropped all the balls I'd been juggling. I struggled through feelings of worthlessness and failure, but eventually I was able to rebuild. And one of the keystones of my new foundation was going easier on myself, learning to let off the pressure so I don't drive myself into the ground.</p> <p>If you're a perfectionist and you don't want to burn out yourself, here are some ideas.</p> <h2>1. Breathe First</h2> <p>Before you do anything that is important to you, take a few seconds to breathe. Even just a few seconds helps me approach my task with calm and focus, rather than with anxiety. I remember why I'm doing it, and that helps me do it with my mind at ease, rather than all stressed out.</p> <h2>2. Single Task</h2> <p>Since it seems that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">multitasking is a myth</a> anyway (we are actually switching our attention from task to task quickly, rather than doing everything at once), it makes more sense to intentionally focus on one thing at a time. It also helps our brains recharge because we're going easier on them, even when the tasks themselves are stressful and we are pushing to be our best.</p> <h2>3. Take a Tech Break</h2> <p>It feels good to be connected. It makes us feel important, like we're part of things. However, consuming, sorting, absorbing, filtering, and labeling all that information is exhausting. There's just too much. While many of us must interact technologically for work, we don't have to do it all the time. Intentionally set aside some time to ease these expectations and let yourself focus on something else. Who knows, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/07/us-sleep-technology-idUSTRE7260RH20110307">you may even sleep better</a>!</p> <h2>4. Today, Nothing Is Urgent</h2> <p>Give yourself an easy day, where nothing short of a true emergency is urgent. Email doesn't have to be checked. Deadlines don't have to be pursued. Meetings don't have to take place. Giving yourself this space reminds you that you are in control of your life, inspires you to choose what is and is not important, and offers you a chance to rest.</p> <h2>5. Drop the Shoulds</h2> <p>&quot;Should&quot; is a word that drives us to perfection, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-get-rid-of-for-a-better-life">it will drive us and drive us</a> to delirium, because nothing is ever enough. Take should out of your vocabulary. Replace it with &quot;could&quot; or &quot;get to,&quot; and you will find yourself resting easier, even about the stressful things. You will be able to choose when to push yourself and how to be healthy about it, without compulsively running from here to there.</p> <h2>6. Treat Yourself the Way You Would Treat Others</h2> <p>If you find yourself pushing all the time, stop and ask if that is how you would treat your mother, your favorite sibling, or your best friend. If the answer is no, figure out how you would treat them and proceed to treat yourself that way, too. Let go when you would let them rest, and your life will become much easier.</p> <h2>7. Stop Every 90 Minutes</h2> <p>Even when you're working hard, you're in the zone, the work is important, and you need to get it done, stop working every 90 minutes. Take a short break; take a walk, go outside, stretch a little. This coincides with <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html">your body's natural rhythm</a>, and even hard work seems easier when you're not working against yourself.</p> <h2>8. Practice Self-Compassion</h2> <p>While we may strive for perfection, the truth is that we are not perfect and we live in an imperfect world. Instead of beating ourselves up over that, we can begin to accept it as fact and give ourselves compassion when we make mistakes or don't meet our own standards. If you find that you are berating yourself, take a deep breath and consciously offer yourself compassion instead. Something as simple as &quot;I am human. I am not going to be perfect and that's okay,&quot; can change your life if you say it enough.</p> <h2>9. Hire a Housekeeper</h2> <p>Most people who have high standards include their home in that, and then beat themselves up when other projects make it hard to clean. Hire some help, <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/02/19/how-i-made-my-peace-with-hiring-a-housekeeper/">even if you feel weak or lazy doing it</a>, and realize that some things don't have to be your job.</p> <h2>10. Take Yourself Out</h2> <p>Give yourself some alone time away from work and home and anyplace else that makes you feel guilty or where you feel like you need to do MORE! and BETTER! all the time. Taking yourself out of the physical space removes many of the triggers of your perfectionism and makes it more likely that you will truly relax and recharge.</p> <h2>11. Decide What Is Important to You</h2> <p>We all have tasks that, for whatever reason, are ours. Work is an obvious one, especially if your job is important to your financial survival. The relationships in our lives &mdash; significant others, parents, children, friends, etc. &mdash; are also important and are clearly ours to work on and in.</p> <p>Many of us, though, take on things that are not ours. Take some time to look at where you spend your time and energy, and determine which of those are things that <em>you</em> really need to be doing. You'll probably find that some are important, some are unimportant, and others are important but really fall more into someone else's realm.</p> <h2>12. Let It Go</h2> <p>When you find yourself stressing over trying to do well with a job that isn't yours, let it go. I found it helpful to actually clench my hands and then unclench them (sometimes under a table or behind my back so no one could see!). Releasing these tasks will help you release the need to do them so well, and you will automatically begin going easier on yourself.</p> <p><em>Have you burnt out or flamed out from pushing too hard? How do you go easier on yourself?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development perfectionism productivity stress stress relief Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1240622 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vision%20board.jpg" alt="vision board" title="vision board" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Visualization boards, collaged with images and words depicting our goals and desires, are a popular technique for manifesting what we want out of life. It's really quite simple: Paste visual representations of your wishes and intentions on poster board, thereby activating the subconscious mind to focus its energies on manifesting them to come true. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-thing-you-need-to-do-to-be-happy-and-improve-your-relationships?ref=seealso">One Thing You Need to Do to be Happy and Improve Your Relationships</a>)</p> <p>&quot;If you repeat the word, 'blue, blue, blue,' and you start looking around the room, all the blue things will start popping out,&quot; says sociologist and life coach Martha Beck. &quot;Part of it is quantum physics&hellip; We know now, scientifically, that <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Go-Beyond-The-Secret_1">consciousness brings matter into being</a> where there was energy. So it's not even necessarily that it draws it toward you. The conclusion is you're literally creating some of this stuff.&quot;</p> <p>It's a concept that has been given <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/O-Dream-Board-Envision-Your-Best-LifeTM">the gold star of approval by the likes of Oprah.</a> But if it sounds a little hokey to you, you've got company. Dr. Neil Farber, an expert in psychology, writes that <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/neil-farber-md-phd">visualization boards fall short in helping us achieve our goals</a> because they don't require us to take any real action. Rather, they are all about letting our thoughts do the work for us.</p> <p>&quot;Fantasizing about your perfect world and your perfect life may make you feel better in the short term but will limit your ability to transform your dreams into reality,&quot; Farber writes. &quot;Dream about it, envision how you will realistically do it or get it, and then get off your tush and make it happen.&quot;</p> <p>So: Do visualization boards really work?</p> <p>It's a controversial question, and there's little scientific evidence to support or deny the blessings they're meant to bring into our lives. But there are certainly believers among us. Read on for our roundup of the most amazing visualization success stories out there. You just might be inspired to create your own.</p> <h2>1. Manifesting Love</h2> <p>Life Coach Cheryl Richardson said she pasted a photo of a man on her visualization board. Not just any man &mdash; a man representing the person she wanted to fall in love with and marry. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Law-of-Attraction-Real-Life-Stories_1/7">Now she's married to a man who looks like the picture of the man on her visualization board</a>. Coincidence? Maybe, but Richardson says no. It didn't happen overnight &mdash; in fact, it took years &mdash; but Richardson said she firmly believes she manifested her love and marriage from her visualization board into real life.</p> <p>Richardson's marriage may be the most miraculous thing she's manifested, but she said her visualization board has brought her many other successes. &quot;Phil Donahue was on here, and that's the first national show I ever did after I put him on the board,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>2. 15 Minutes of Fame</h2> <p>When Lisa Nichols, a struggling single mom turned successful entrepreneur, made her visualization board, she included the following words: &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Rvcx2L2CI">Lisa Reveals All On Oprah</a>.&quot; A few years later, that's exactly what she did. Nichols, a motivational speaker, was invited by Oprah to discuss her visualization board experience on the show as part of a segment inspired by <a href="http://www.thesecret.tv/index.html">The Secret</a>, a movie about the law of attraction in which the main character manifests his dream home from a visualization board.</p> <p>&quot;It's like if you were at a restaurant and you ordered something,&quot; Nichols said, describing her own visualization board process. &quot;You fully expect it to come served that way. That's how the universe is. You're putting out orders consciously and unconsciously and expecting it to come back. So if you say, 'I'm never going to have a good relationship.' &mdash; you just placed an order.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Olympic Motivation</h2> <p>When three-time Olympian Ruben Gonzalez was a kid, he wrote Sports Illustrated asking where he could learn how to luge. The magazine mailed Gonzalez a photograph of a man racing on a luge, and Gonzalez framed it so <a href="http://www.thelugeman.com/success-vision-board.htm">he could see it from his bed every morning when he woke up</a>.</p> <p>&quot;Every morning, the first person I saw when I woke up was 'The Luge Man,'&quot; Gonzalez wrote. &quot;Seeing 'The Luge Man' was a constant reminder that I was training for the Olympics. He reminded me to eat right, to work out, and to surround myself with winners. At night, before turning out the lights, the last person I saw was 'The Luge Man.' All night long, I dreamt about the luge and the Olympics.</p> <p>&quot;During the day, the picture focused my conscious mind on the dream. At night, it conditioned my unconscious mind to aim for my goal.&quot;</p> <p>Gonzalez is now such a believer in the success that visualization boarding brought to his life that he has an entire website dedicated to encouraging others to try it for themselves.</p> <p><em>Do you use a visualization board? Has it worked for you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development optimism positive thinking success visualization board Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1239950 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Productive Ways to Reduce Stress http://www.wisebread.com/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-golf-135224775-small.jpg" alt="businessman golf" title="businessman golf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no way to avoid stress altogether &mdash; unless you know something we don't know &mdash; but there are plenty of positive ways you can reduce it before it gets out of hand. Let's look at 15.</p> <h2>1. Take Your Business to the Golf Course</h2> <p>Mixing a little business with pleasure on the links is a great way to relieve stress, says Tony Gomes, president of a financial services company that helps manage wealth.</p> <p>&quot;My job can be stressful at times, like many people's, but I find one of the most <a href="http://tonygomesonline.com/reasons-why-every-business-professionals-needs-to-learn-how-to-play-golf/">productive ways to reduce stress</a> is to go on a business golf outing,&quot; he says. &quot;It is well known that a lot of business gets done on the golf course, but also, golf is seen as a very relaxing way to spend time. People may think that there are some emotional peaks and valleys that enter when playing a round of golf, but if you are out there for other purposes (business, exercise, etc.), then it can be one of the more relaxing activities.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get Your 'Om' On With Meditation</h2> <p>Barb Schmidt is the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757317987/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0757317987&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NWME563IWK26U7WB">The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness</a>, and she counts meditation among her top stress-relieving tactics.</p> <p>&quot;Starting your day in stillness and peace is setting the tone for your whole day,&quot; she says. &quot;In a 5-minute meditation, you are training your mind by placing your attention on your breath, practicing being patient, and spending time with yourself, connecting with that deep place of calmness and strength. This time in the morning grounds you as you go into your day with the knowing you are carrying this peace with you.&quot;</p> <p>If you're not necessarily into that holistic way of thinking, perhaps you're keen to know that there's <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858">scientific evidence that meditation is ideal for stress management</a>.</p> <h2>3. Plan Your Tomorrow Today</h2> <p>You can eliminate a decent amount of stress by thinking ahead, according to Dr. Joshua Jacobi, a board certified cardiologist.</p> <p>&quot;Plan out the day in advance the night before,&quot; he suggests. &quot;I like to think of the analogy of driving in a car. If my day is planned out, then I know where I am going. If my day is not planned out in advance, then I feel like I am lost driving around in my car. Being lost stresses me out.&quot;</p> <p>Put this advice to use right now. Pick out your outfit, make your lunch, and make a to-do list for tomorrow. Your stress level is almost guaranteed to go down at least a little.</p> <h2>4. Sweat It Out the Old Fashioned Way</h2> <p>Feeling overwhelmed and a little anxious? Send those stress symptoms packing by getting that body in motion.</p> <p>There are <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469">a number of benefits to working out</a>, like increased production of endorphins (neurotransmitters that give you the feel-goods), letting your mind concentrate on something else besides your burdens, and better sleep. Have you ever noticed how upbeat your fitness-minded friends are? They're in on the secret, and you should be too.</p> <h2>5. Add More Yoga to Your Routine</h2> <p>Like meditation, yoga is beneficial when you're dealing with stress. You're able to concentrate on a positive activity while practicing yoga instead of harping on the negatives in your life.</p> <p>&quot;The <a href="http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/yoga-for-stress-management">benefits of yoga include decreased stress</a> and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels,&quot; said Beth Shaw, Founder/President of Yogafit Training Systems.</p> <p>So grab your mat, practice your Downward Dog, and let that stress slip away.</p> <h2>6. Put Your Problems on Paper</h2> <p>As a writer, I can tell you that putting my thoughts down on paper is a cathartic experience when I'm under a lot of stress. Have you heard that piece of advice that when you're mad at something, particularly a person, you should write them a letter and then burn it afterward? It's not a bad suggestion, because in most cases you'll calm down during the writing process and you'll get your issues out so you can handle them in a more positive way.</p> <p>Life mastery coach Jason Treu agrees.</p> <p>&quot;Write a letter forgiving someone else,&quot; he says. &quot;You never have to deliver it. Bottling up anger and resentment causes high levels of stress. Forgiveness doesn't take two parties &mdash; just one. You write the letter, then stand in front of a mirror and read it. It's pretty amazing at what happens.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Look Into the Benefits of Acupuncture</h2> <p>Acupuncture dates back many millennia &mdash; like way back to the BCE &mdash; so there's reason to believe that it's an effective treatment for stress relief.</p> <p>A 2013 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology demonstrated that acupuncture blocks the chronic effects of stress, according to Nicole Murray, a licensed acupuncturist.</p> <p>&quot;First, acupuncture regulates the sympathetic nervous system 'fight or flight' response. Second, acupuncture regulates the hormones that affect the body's reaction to stress, mood and emotions,&quot; she explains. &quot;In our clinic, Beach Community Acupuncture in San Diego, stress is the primary reason many of our patients seek treatment. Stress also contributes to other, more serious health conditions. Patients overwhelmingly report stress relief and relaxation after receiving acupuncture. Even better, there are more and more community acupuncture clinics popping up around the country to make these treatments more affordable.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Eliminate the Unnecessary</h2> <p>A feeling of peace washes over me when I cut something out of my life that was causing me stress. I'm sure you've experienced this before, too. It's a practice we should do a bit more often perhaps.</p> <p>Licensed psychologist Dr. Anita Marchesani says that all of her clients arrive stressed out &mdash; and she's ready to help them overcome it.</p> <p>&quot;The first thing we do is figure out what needs to go from their lives or businesses,&quot; she explains. &quot;This means saying 'no' or 'not right now' to certain demands that do not align with their primary objectives, no matter what they are. Good, solid, and consistent boundaries are a foundational stress management tool. It increases focus, and therefore increases productivity. People get results when they do this&hellip; although no one 'likes' to do this.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Express Your Feelings More Freely</h2> <p>I've never been known to mince words, so I totally agree with Dr. Fran Walfish &mdash; psychotherapist and expert panelist on the upcoming WE TV show &quot;Sex Box&quot; &mdash; when she advocates for saying exactly what's on your mind as a way to relieve stress.</p> <p>&quot;Express your feelings in the moment,&quot; she encourages. &quot;Do not allow anger and disappointment to build up inside you. Say what you feel clearly and respectfully. It will free you.&quot;</p> <p>Bottling those feelings up will only drag you down in the long run. Let it out.</p> <h2>10. Activate Dance Therapy</h2> <p>This is one of the more interesting and super fun ways to relieve stress that I've heard: Dance! The advice comes from Kim Hardy, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0978618750/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0978618750&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W6U3HW6I5EJ7KV6K">RELAUNCH!: 5 Keys to Getting Past Stuck and Stress at Work and Life</a>.</p> <p>&quot;At the end of a stressful day, I like to go into my garage and turn up the music as loud as I can until I'm able to feel the music vibrating in my soul, and then I dance,&quot; she confesses. &quot;My musical guests range from Michael Jackson to James brown, and sometimes I sprinkle in a little country to mix it up.&quot;</p> <p>Let's get this stress-free party started!</p> <h2>11. Breathe, Relax, Daydream</h2> <p>If your day won't allow for yoga or an impromptu dance party, you can still lower your stress. Try this three-prong approach detailed by Dr. Lori Schade &mdash; a licensed marriage and family therapist who often treats patients for stress-related depression, anxiety, and relationship problems &mdash; anytime, anywhere.</p> <ul> <li>Breathe with your diaphragm. Under stress, people have a tendency to breathe shallowly in their chest, and deep breathing begins to reverse the stress response.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Engage in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise in which you start at the top of your head and tighten muscle groups as tight as you can and then release, releasing stress in the process (moving from the top of the head to neck, shoulders, chest, arms, stomach, etc., down to your feet).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create an image for yourself while you breathe, somewhere peaceful. Research shows that by imagining yourself relaxed, the brain will start to respond in ways as if you are participating in that scene.</li> </ul> <h2>12. Spend Time on an Activity That Requires Little Thought</h2> <p>When life gets complicated and stress starts to take over, engage in something decidedly mundane.</p> <p>New York-based artist Imani Powell-Razat says that she allows her mind to &quot;completely zone out&quot; with boring daily tasks like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or stretching a canvas.</p> <p>Take a cue from Imani the next time you feel stress taking over by finding something to do that requires little no thought.</p> <h2>13. Ditch the Diet</h2> <p>&quot;A study conducted at UCLA found that dieting increases both perceived stress as well as the stress hormone cortisol,&quot; says Dr. Ellen R. Albertson, a licensed wellness coach and founder of <a href="http://www.smashyourscale.com">SmashYourScale.com</a></p> <p>The gist of this premise, according to the psychologist behind the study, Dr. A Janet Tomiyama, is that if not eating food makes us feel badly, then eating food must make us feel good. &quot;As a stress researcher, I realized that I can empirically measure whether food can or cannot relieve stress,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>14. Clear the Clutter</h2> <p>Similar to how you can lower stress by eliminating unnecessary people and things from you life, clearing the clutter can be a beneficial tactic in finding more inner peace, too.</p> <p>Modern feng shui master Dana Claudat says that &quot;by spending even 10 minutes a day sifting through a junk drawer, weeding out a closet, eliminating extra paperwork and the like, you can dramatically decrease stress. Electronic clutter &mdash; emails, social media, files on computers &mdash; is just as important these days to clear as the obvious clutter of papers, extra stuff, piles for donation, and everyday mess.&quot;</p> <h2>15. Treat Yourself</h2> <p>Many of these suggestions on how to lower stress have come from doctors and other experts, but this one is all me.</p> <p>When I'm stressed, I like to take a step back and evaluate everything that I've got going on. My stress is usually a result of being too busy. But being too busy generally means that I'm being productive &mdash; and that's cause for a little self-praise. I like to give myself a pat on the back (because who else will?) for handling my responsibilities the best way I know how and continuing to truck on.</p> <p>I also like to treat myself to something special (like a piece of chocolate cake) or engage in an activity that helps me unwind (like retail therapy) to take my mind off life for a bit. If you're not taking time for yourself and treating yourself to small pleasures along the way, life will pass you by (and give you <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/face-it/201203/does-stress-cause-wrinkles-and-gray-hair-fact-or-fiction">gray hair and wrinkles faster</a>), and you might not realize it until it's too late. Step back, relax, and do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it.</p> <p><em>Do you have other productive ways that we can lower stress? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-productive-ways-to-reduce-stress" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Productive Ways to Reduce Stress" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development stress stress reduction Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1240247 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Habits for Long-Term Happiness http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-happy-walking-101031147-small.jpg" alt="happy family" title="happy family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on habits that create long-term happiness, spending $100 a month on groceries, and survival skills for everyday life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/17-habits-to-create-happiness">17 Habits to Create Long-Term Happiness Within You</a> &mdash; Don't let social obligation force you into going to places or events you don't want to be. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/how-to-survive-on-only-100-a-month-in-groceries.htm">How to Survive on Only $100 a Month in Groceries</a> &mdash; You can save on groceries &mdash; and gas! &mdash; by checking your weekly ads for price matching opportunities. [Million Dollar Journey]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.allstate.com/4-survival-skills-everyday-life/">4 Survival Skills for Everyday Life</a> &mdash; Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which makes it a natural germ-killer and antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Uses-Baby-Powder-32245152">15 Awesome Adult Uses for Baby Powder</a> &mdash; Dripped some grease on your shirt or carpet? Sprinkle baby powder over the area to absorb the oil and refresh the fabric. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2014/10/instantly-connect-anyone.html">How to Instantly Connect With Anyone</a> &mdash; A simple smile goes a long way to opening up communication with someone. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/5-tips-writing-winning-cover-letter/">5 Tips for Writing a Winning Cover Letter</a> &mdash; Skip long-winded explanations and back stories. Your cover letter should fit on one page. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="http://www.palchoice.com/top-7-evening-habits-highly-effective-people/">Top 7 Evening Habits of Highly Effective People</a> &mdash; Take a few minutes in the evening to plan out what you need to do the next day. [Palchoice]</p> <p><a href="http://listenmoneymatters.com/ignore-the-numbers/">The Most Productive Thing You Can Do Is Ignore the Numbers</a> &mdash; When it comes to investing, having too much data can cause you to panic and stress out when, instead, you can use that time to make more money invest. [Listen, Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2014/10/financial-checklist-for-moving-out/">Your Financial Checklist for Moving Out</a> &mdash; Notify your credit card companies, student loan holders, auto loan holders, and any other creditor of your move to make sure you don't miss a payment. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-books-to-help-beat-the-bullies">4 Books to Help Beat the Bullies</a> &mdash; Not only does the book &quot;Bully B.E.A.N.S.&quot; teaches kids what to do when they are bullied, it also talks about what they can do to help when they see another child being bullied. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-for-long-term-happiness" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Habits for Long-Term Happiness" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development best money tips happiness Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Amy Lu 1237483 at http://www.wisebread.com Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-group-talking-160613541-small.jpg" alt="business people talking" title="business people talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you been in the situation of needing to make conversation with people you did not know well? Weddings, cocktail parties, and business conferences can be anxiety-provoking if you don't know how to make small talk. Although you may dread it, though, small talk can be a great thing. Chatting can make simple exchanges more pleasant; it can also start the beginning of a great conversation or even friendship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-practically-free-ways-to-make-new-friends?ref=seealso">10 Fun, Practically Free Ways to Make New Friends</a>)</p> <p>It is estimated that between 7% and 13% of humans suffer from <a href="http://www.anxietybc.com/resources/social.php">social anxiety</a>. What is there to talk about? What should you never bring up? What subjects are safe? Well to start, below are 10 things that small-talk masters know never to do.</p> <h2>1. They Don't Assume They Are Alone in Their Anxiety</h2> <p>It may seem like everyone in the room knows each other, but that's unlikely. I guarantee there are other people there who are as anxious as you are about social situations. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders, and smile. Take a moment to survey the situation and see if maybe there is somebody there that you do know. If not, no need for panic. It's just an event, and it will pass.</p> <p>My trick is to anticipate the worst and let the dread &quot;in;'&quot; nearly all the time, I end up enjoying myself.</p> <h2>2. They Never Forget to Introduce Themselves</h2> <p>Even if I do know someone at an event or party, I do not depend on them to introduce me to others. They may have forgotten my name, or how they know me, or whatever. Don't barge in on people in deep conversations, but if you see an opening, simply walk up and say, &quot;Hi! I'm Jane Smith&quot; and extend your hand for a handshake. If there are other people in the group, repeat the process.</p> <p>How to remember names? Repeat the name (&quot;Hi, Tom, it's really nice to meet you.&quot;). You might try a little trick to remember the name, like a song, or a nursery rhyme, that makes a word association for you. Once introductions are made, people will usually ask where you work, or how you know the bride or groom, or birthday person, or where you're from. The ball is then rolling.</p> <h2>3. They Never Forget to Introduce Someone Else</h2> <p>My friend Sylvia, a seasoned networker, makes the best introductions. They usually go something like this: &quot;Everyone, I would like you to meet John Smith. John has this awesome travel website and he is my travel guru! He also makes the world's best homemade bread.&quot; In her introduction, she gives people clues about things to ask John. She has also given him several compliments, which strengthens his self-confidence and make him smile.</p> <h2>4. They Never Have Bad Body Language</h2> <p>People are receptive to good body language. Take note of your posture, first of all. Are you slumping? Stand up straight. What are you doing with your hands? Do not cross your arms &mdash; that is defensive posture. Holding your hands together in front of you, or behind your back, are both &quot;open&quot; gestures. It may help you to have a drink to hold, if you are nervous. Try not to hold it in the hand you shake with, though, or you'll be shaking hands with a cold hand. Make eye contact, but don't stare. Engage. Smile. Listen. The world is full of talkers, but a good listener is hard to find. Nod your head, and ask the occasional question. Don't keep checking your cell phone. If you get a call, excuse yourself politely and take it.</p> <h2>5. They Never Discuss Religion</h2> <p>This was one of my mom's rules, and will serve you well. While it can be a very interesting subject, it is not a &quot;safe&quot; one in that you might easily offend someone you do not know well.</p> <h2>6. They Almost Never Discuss Politics</h2> <p>Another &quot;mom&quot; rule, and a harder one to avoid. But do, because this topic gets heated, quickly. This rule can go out the window if you are at a political fundraiser, because you are likely on the same page the other people, of course. Just tread carefully.</p> <h2>7. They Never Forget How to Use Openers</h2> <p>People who are good at small talk, I have noticed, are really good at asking questions, or &quot;openers.&quot; Use the information you glean from your first question to ask more questions.For instance, &quot;So when you went to Portland, did you go to Jake's Seafood?&quot; Or, &quot;What a beautiful scarf! Where did you buy it?&quot;</p> <p>Hopefully, the person you are conversing with will in turn ask you questions, which will keep the small talk going. Sometimes, the person you are trying to chat up is really reticent. Here is a trick: &quot;So before this event, what did you do, today?&quot; There is almost always some usable material in that response.</p> <h2>8. They Don't Forget to Expand the Circle</h2> <p>So, if a few moments ago, you were the &quot;odd man out,&quot; be aware of people who may be hovering and want to join in, too. Make eye contact, extend your arm for a handshake, and introduce yourself (and the others, if you can remember their names). After introductions, you may need to backtrack (&quot;We were just talking about where the best breweries are in this town&quot;) and give the newbie a chance to get involved. They will be grateful to you for your help.</p> <p>Also, in the world of small talk, It's bad form to stay and talk shop with one person the whole time. If someone is monopolizing you, it is perfectly fine to say something like, &quot;Well, Ben, my wife will shoot me if I don't get over there and visit with her great-aunt for a while. Good to see you.&quot;</p> <h2>9. They Don't Go Into Small Talk Unprepared</h2> <p>Unless you are having pretty dramatic weather, I wouldn't lead with that. For a conference or company event, do some homework and have some relevant topics ready to bring up. Movies, television shows, current events, or hobbies are usually safe and interesting for cocktail parties. Ask for activity or restaurant recommendations, if you are from out of town. Read the local paper, watch the local news. Just gather up a few possible subjects for your arsenal.</p> <h2>10. They Don't Make a Poor Exit</h2> <p>This is easier to do if you are in a little group, when you simply say, &quot;Excuse me, I need to go say hello to my regional VP.&quot; Or, &quot;Hey, I am going to go get a fresh cocktail.&quot; If it is just you and another person, when there is a graceful lull in the conversation, something like, &quot;John, it has been great talking to you and I enjoyed meeting you. I hope we can stay in touch.&quot; Shake hands again, and go. If you are in a business setting, you might give one of your cards.</p> <p><em>So, tell us: How do you handle small talk?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development conversation etiquette networking Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1235111 at http://www.wisebread.com Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-76762845-small_0.jpg" alt="investor" title="investor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's hard to be a good investor. By some estimations, only 20% of people involved in the investment business are <a href="http://wiki.fool.com/Percentage_of_People_Successful_in_the_Stock_Market#Performance">successful in their own investing endeavors</a>.</p> <p>And while there are careers' worth of research and education that go into making savvy investments, in the end, much of it may come down to character traits.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-an-investment-really-is-do-you?ref=seealso">A Lot of People Don't Really Understand What an Investment Is &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <p>So check out this list of characteristics successful investors must have, and see how you stack up before hitting the market.</p> <h2>1. Smart Investors Are Patient</h2> <p>To be successful in investing, you need to be patient. In general, the market rises slowly, and you have to be willing to take the long view of your investments in order to see them grow. If you believe in an investment and you have done your research on it enough to know that it's a wise buy, then you have to be willing to wait to see your return.</p> <p>A lot of investors, especially new investors, fall into the trap of checking on their investments several times a day. It's hard to be patient when you're seeing all the little rises and falls that many investments take every day. So keep yourself away from the computer if you can, or at least limit the number of times a day you check in.</p> <h2>2. Smart Investors Are Planners</h2> <p>Before they even buy an investment, smart investors have a plan. They know what their ultimate goals are and they have some idea of how they want to get there. They know the benefits and drawbacks of different types of investments, and they know how to choose between them. To a certain extent, they also have contingency plans. They know how to access money if they need it, and they know what they will do if the market crashes or a particular strategy doesn't play out.</p> <p>If you don't feel confident in making your own plan, it can be worthwhile to consult with an investment professional you trust. While this will cost something, it gives you the chance to get an opinion from someone who has more training than you do. If you're wary of getting a biased opinion, interview several professionals before you decide who to work with. Make sure you feel like you can trust someone before you take their financial advice.</p> <h2>3. Smart Investors Are Disciplined</h2> <p>Smart investors know that their plan is better than any impulsive ideas they might have with their money, and they have the discipline to absorb those ideas and stick with their plan anyway. They know that something that looks too good to be true probably is, and they know that their plan is probably better in the long run, anyway. These investors keep their long term goals in view whenever they're thinking about their money, and they don't do anything that might keep them from achieving those goals.</p> <p>If you struggle with discipline or you aren't sure you will be able to stick with your plan, find an investing buddy. This can be a spouse or a close friend. It should be someone who you feel safe sharing your financial situation with. Then, you commit to talking to them about anything before you make a change to your investments or strategy. This can help you think long enough to realize something might not be a good idea, and it gives you a chance to have accountability for making good choices.</p> <h2>4. Smart Investors Are Ambitious</h2> <p><a href="http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140805-ambition-born-or-bred">Ambition helps you find success</a> in many parts of life, and investing is no different. Ambitious investors are willing to take as much risk as they can afford, so they can reap a maximum benefit when their investments pay off. They push the envelope in order to achieve their goals, because their goals are high and there isn't a better way to achieve them. This also pushes smart investors to stay in the game and enhance their understanding of what works and what doesn't, so they can do what they set out to do.</p> <p>If you struggle with ambition, start working on developing positive feelings about yourself. People who feel good about themselves are more likely to be ambitious. This makes a lot of sense. When you feel good about who you are, you will feel good about what you can do, both now and in the future. If you don't feel good about who you are, you won't be ambitious because you will feel like there's no way you can achieve those goals.</p> <h2>5. Smart Investors Are Adaptable</h2> <p>A smart investor needs to be able to adapt to changing market conditions, new trends, and different ways of doing business. They need to be able to evaluate these in light of their long term plan, to decide when, how, and to what extent they should incorporate new things into their overall investment strategy.</p> <p>But wait? Didn't I just say that investors need to commit to their strategy in spite of distractions? Smart investors know the difference between a fleeting trend and a new way of doing business that is around to stay. Sometimes this means observing for a while before they jump in. Other times, it means trusting their intuition, and that of any investment advisors or friends they might have. It also means jumping in in a smart way &mdash; this can mean starting small, investing only a small portion of their overall money in something new, and being able to articulate how the new ties in with the old and enhances their investment plan.</p> <h2>6. Smart Investors Trust Their Intuition</h2> <p>Intuition can be a testy thing, but smart investing means, sometimes, trusting in a way of knowing that is separate from rational understanding. This is different than trusting in your wishes or your hopes or your dreams. Intuition seems to be an alternate way of knowing things, a way of seeing problems and solutions that cuts through a lot of the clutter that &quot;thinking rationally&quot; can provide, and knowing an answer without necessarily knowing how you got there. That doesn't mean that something known intuitively doesn't make sense, but that <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Science-of-Intuition">the knower won't necessarily know how it makes sense</a>.</p> <p>If you don't yet know which of your thoughts are intuition and which are hopes, dreams, or wishes, take some time before you make decisions based on it. Instead, note the ideas that you have, the things that seem to stand out or financial decisions that seem like they might be a good idea even though they're different from your usual way of operating. Then keep track of how those decisions play out. Over time, you'll learn which impulses are intuition and which ones come from some other internal place.</p> <p><em>Do you consider yourself a smart investor? What trait do you have that makes you a better investor?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Investment Personal Development habits investing money management Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1235003 at http://www.wisebread.com People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/puzzle-cube-86511536-small.jpg" alt="puzzle cube" title="puzzle cube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are those out there who refuse to let their brain get into a rut. The intellectually stimulated, the cranially curious, the people who love expanding their minds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Are you one of them? If so, you just may engage in one or more of these 13 pursuits on a daily basis.</p> <h2>1. Doing Puzzles</h2> <p>Whatever their favorite sort of puzzle, whether it's a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, a crossword, or a logic game, people who love expanding their minds know that <a href="http://www.daisybrains.com/blog/brain-teasers/more-please-why-our-brains-cant-seem-to-get-enough-of-brain-teasers-and-logic-puzzles/">it's good for your brain</a>. You'll learn to concentrate better, have overall higher brain activity, remember better, and have improved sleep. Puzzles can also be quite a lot of fun, so solving them won't feel like work. Instead, you'll be helping your mind and having fun at the same time.</p> <h2>2. Writing by Hand</h2> <p>If you value expanding your mind, chances are you value having a lot of creative ideas and being able to communicate them to others. As it turns out, people who write out their thoughts and ideas on an actual piece of paper, not a computer screen, <a href="http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/why-handwriting-makes-you-smarter/">have more active minds and express more ideas</a> than people who only type. Try writing by hand for a few minutes every day, and see what changes you notice.</p> <h2>3. Learning Math</h2> <p>Math may not be your favorite, but people who want to expand their minds know that if you want your brain to fluidly process letters and numbers and to have greater facility in your first language and others, you should <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/23/your-brain-on-math/">spend some time studying math</a>. It turns out that the areas of your brain that understand mathematical concepts and process numbers are related to the areas that do these other things, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy?ref=seealso">11 Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</a>)</p> <h2>4. Exercising</h2> <p>Exercise doesn't just make us happier, it makes our brains work better. People who love expanding their minds know that they are better at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/10-surprising-things-that-benefit-our-brains_b_4275770.html">focusing, solving problems, and even reasoning after they have exercised</a>. While it can take a lot of energy to get off the couch and out the door, even a quick walk boosts the brain's overall performance.</p> <h2>5. Studying a New Language</h2> <p>Learning a new language literally <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082953.htm">makes your brain grow</a>. Sure, language learning can be hard work. But it's so good for your brain, and it helps your mind learn to make new connections, too, so fans of expanding the mind will put in the effort.</p> <p>When your brain makes new connections you will become more creative, and you'll be able to communicate with a greater portion of the world. You can even study online, with <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">other resources</a>. There's not much more fun than taking a trip to a place where you know the language because you've studied hard. Maybe you can set a vacation as a goal after all your study!</p> <h2>6. Reading Novels</h2> <p>Reading a novel seems to raise the connectivity in your brain and cause other positive neurological changes <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html">for up to five days after you finish</a> your book. Anyone who loves expanding their mind could tell you that if you'd like your brain to work smoother and more efficiently, pick up your favorite page-turner. You don't have to read a classic work or anything like that. In fact, it seems like the important factor is that the book is written well enough that you feel you're in the main character's place.</p> <h2>7. Practicing Meditation</h2> <p>Meditation can help <a href="http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12793/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-a-neuroscientist-explains.html">enhance your brain function</a> in areas that tie to learning, memory, taking different perspectives, regulating your emotions, and more. People who want to expand their minds know that, if you want your mind to work better, it's worthwhile to learn meditation.</p> <p>It's easy to be intimidated by the prospect of meditating. We tend to think that it is something that gurus do, or only enlightened people. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard at all. There are many <a href="http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-make-meditation-easy-and-fun/">easy ways to incorporate meditation</a> into your busy daily life.</p> <h2>8. Playing Board Games</h2> <p>People who grow their minds often play board games. <a href="http://examinedexistence.com/can-playing-games-make-you-smarter/">Different games have different benefits</a>, but overall you can improve your linguistic intelligence, improve your math and reasoning skills, improve how you negotiate and work with people, and improve your critical thinking. Try a lot of different games, and you could greatly improve your brain's capacity to work on a lot of different levels.</p> <h2>9. Listening to Music</h2> <p>Listening to music has <a href="http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music">all sorts of benefits</a>, but notable among these is that it improves cognitive functioning, eases stress, and helps you perform better in difficult situations. And people who want better functioning brains know that it's easy, too &mdash; just play music from your phone in the car or carry headphones if you commute by transit.</p> <p>Expand your mind even more by listening to music that isn't familiar to you. Do this with someone who loves the music and understands it, so you can ask questions about what you're hearing and have them help you understand it. This will help you in taking on new and different perspectives, too.</p> <h2>10. Reading Poetry</h2> <p>Poetry can be intimidating. It only takes one bad memory from high school English class to put you off it for a long, long time. However, people who want better brains make the effort anyway, because <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/11/the-benefits-of-poetry-for-pro/">reading poems expands your mind</a> in some interesting and important ways. To understand most poems, you have to be able to look at things as both simple and complex. It also enhances the parts of your brain that think empathically, and help you become more creative, because it teaches you how to make connections between seemingly unrelated things.</p> <h2>11. Overcoming Fears</h2> <p>When you're afraid of something, you shut yourself off to that thing and anything that might lead to it or spring from it. For instance, if you're afraid of flying, it's easy to become shut off from travel and everything you can learn by doing that. You never get to experience new cultures, new foods, or the different perspectives that people in other cultures have. When you overcome your fears, you open yourself not only to the thing you're afraid of, but to everything that comes with that, too.</p> <p>Overcoming fears can be hard work, especially if they are deeply entrenched, but people who love expanding their minds love the benefits they reap when they make the effort. It will help you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-techniques-that-can-help-you-conquer-any-fear">identify what you're afraid of</a> and where that fear comes from. However, you may need to work with a therapist to overcome particularly difficult fears.</p> <h2>12. Mind Mapping&hellip; Anything</h2> <p>When you make a mind map, you're giving your mind free range, at least within certain parameters. A mind map is basically a way of organizing information visually. You put your main idea in the center, then draw lines to show how it connects to other ideas. This can be as complicated of as simple as it needs to be to help you think.</p> <p>It can also help you see the connections between different ideas, and possibly between things that you might never have connected otherwise. Proponents of mind mapping for brain expansion say that <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/benefits-of-mind-mapping/">it helps them</a> understand their problems and solutions, organize their thoughts, make these new connections, and communicate with other people.</p> <h2>13. Getting Some Sleep</h2> <p>People who love expanding their minds know that getting plenty of sleep cannot possibly be overrated. They may not always want to go to bed on time, but they know one simple fact: when you sleep, <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm">your mind works better</a>. You learn better and recall what you've learned faster and easier. In fact, you may not be able to expand your mind in the other ways mentioned on this list if you're not getting enough sleep.</p> <p>While <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">there's not a magic number</a> of hours of sleep that will work for everyone, it's good to aim for 7-9 hours every night. Use some trial and error and commit to figuring out what works for you, and your brain will be better off.</p> <p><em>How do you expand your mind? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development brains intelligence learning smarts Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1231186 at http://www.wisebread.com