depression http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/283/all en-US 5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sad_window_507633424.jpg" alt="Woman keeping SAD from destroying her budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you start feeling a bit funky once the cold weather hits? For some, seasonal change can trigger depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. With SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and can continue throughout the winter months. You might feel more tired or moody than usual. You may gain weight, oversleep, or have a heavy feeling in your arms and legs.</p> <p>Though doctors don't know<em> exactly </em>what causes SAD, it might have something to do with a decrease in sunlight. Less sun can affect anything from your circadian rhythm to your serotonin and melatonin levels. The result? You don't feel yourself. And you may not maintain your usual habits in other areas of your life, like spending.</p> <p>Here's how to keep SAD from sabotaging your budget this winter &mdash; as well as some things you can do to help yourself get out of a funk on the cheap. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=seealso">13 Creative Ways to Stop Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Unlink Payment Methods</h2> <p>While you might not randomly head out to the store at midnight, online shops are always open. You may have even linked your credit cards or PayPal account to your favorite store. Consider unlinking your payment methods so you'll need to pause for a moment before pushing the buy button. In the time it takes you to find your wallet, you may have second thoughts about your purchase.</p> <h2>2. Practice Self-Care</h2> <p>Instead of rushing to retail therapy to soothe yourself, consider spending time versus money. Practice self-care by doing things to ease your sadness. Take a warm bath, go for a walk, or visit YouTube to find a new yoga video. If you're having trouble thinking of what might make you feel better, try drafting up a list you can consult when you're feeling low. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso">7 Online Workout Stations for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>3. Enjoy Free Stuff</h2> <p>You may also want to make a list of all the free and fun things going on in your area. Being around people is important for people who have SAD, and it can help boost your mood. Check local calendars for events that look interesting to you. Instead of buying new books or music, check them out from your library.</p> <p>And when you want to spend, try consulting with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-miss-free-ice-cream-again-complete-calendar-of-annual-free-stuff-days">Calendar of Annual Free Stuff</a> before heading out. There are many events throughout the year where you can score free food and more, allowing you to indulge without the financial guilt.</p> <h2>4. Cook Ahead</h2> <p>If you find you're spending tons of money on takeout or restaurant meals, plan ahead. You can make meals without much effort by using a Crock-Pot. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 easy recipes</a> to get you started. And if you're really stuck on what you should consume, here's a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals">frugal meal plan</a> for every single day this month. Eating a healthy diet may even help with your SAD symptoms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat on $20 a Week (With Meal Plans)</a>)</p> <h2>5. Reach Out</h2> <p>In the study on sadness and shopping, the researchers did discover an important link. The people who were sad were also more self-focused, which ultimately led to more spending. Thinking of others may help break the cycle. Instead of driving yourself to the mall when you're feeling down, you might call a friend to chat or meet up.</p> <h2>Easy Ways to Combat SAD</h2> <p>There are some things you can do at home to help ease your SAD symptoms. Of course, if you have concerns about your mood or health, it's always a good idea to make an appointment with your primary care physician.</p> <h3>Open Your Curtains</h3> <p>No, really. Do anything and everything you can to get more sunlight into your life. This may mean that you'll want to contact a landscaper to trim branches or bushes that are blocking light from getting into your home. Consider moving furniture, like your desk or reading chair, next to windows in your home or office.</p> <h3>Venture Outdoors</h3> <p>The weather may be frightful, but a quick walk around the block might make your day a bit more delightful. Getting in as much sun as possible can help lift your spirits. You'll be able to catch some rays even on cloudy days. Try to get outside within two hours of waking for the best results.</p> <h3>Exercise Daily</h3> <p>Moving your body is good no matter what, but for people with SAD, it's particularly important. Working out relieves stress and anxiety. These things can exacerbate SAD symptoms. Bonus points if you can exercise in the sunlight while getting in some fresh air.</p> <h3>Spend Money</h3> <p>On the right stuff, that is. There are a few products that can help with SAD. Look into buying a portable <a href="http://amzn.to/2hNmrtb">light box</a> that is made to emulate the sun. A light box works by stimulating all your eye's photoreceptors. Some people even choose to take certain supplements to ease their symptoms, including St. John's wort, SAMe, melatonin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Always consult with your doctor before starting any supplements.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-18"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-catching-a-cold-or-the-flu">The High Cost of Catching a Cold or the Flu</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-that-really-pay-off">15 Easy to Keep New Year&#039;s Resolutions That Really Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Cooking depression free stuff mental illness retail therapy SAD seasonal affective disorder self care spending Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1865738 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_women_jogging_538947995.jpg" alt="Friends keeping anxiety from ruining their budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life gets tough sometimes. When work is overwhelming, you are fighting with your parents, and the news seems to get grimmer every day, you might find yourself shopping your way into a better mood or pulling the covers over your head and ignoring all of your responsibilities.</p> <p>Stress, anxiety, and depression affect all of us at some time or another. And whether you are dealing with occasional and momentary periods of stress, or you are in the grips of a long-term and serious depressive episode, your mental state can often wreak havoc on your finances. It's not easy to protect your budget from your anxiety's destructive impulses, but the following types of self-care will not only help you to feel better when stress strikes, but they will also protect your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Recruit an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Accountability partners are an important strategy for improving your finances. Not only does having a partner motivate you to stay on the straight-and-narrow while you pay down debt or increase your savings, but working with someone else can offer you encouragement when you are feeling down and add some fun to a long process.</p> <p>All of these benefits are also crucial if you are trying to keep your budget looking healthy while you're dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression. In the case of trying to keep your mental state from hurting your finances, your accountability partner may act a little bit more like a sponsor from a 12-step program. You can call that person when you are overwhelmed and count on her to remind you of why a shopping binge will not actually help you feel better.</p> <p>Obviously, you and your accountability partner need to be able to offer each other the emotional support you both need. In times of widespread anxiety, it can be a little more difficult to find a partner when everyone is feeling overwhelmed. However, leaning on each other is often a great way for two friends to both feel better and make the best financial choices for themselves.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p>Mindfulness meditation has been proven to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/01/07/260470831/mindfulness-meditation-can-help-relieve-anxiety-and-depression">alleviate the symptoms</a> of both anxiety and depression. The focus of such meditation is to train your brain to remain in the moment, rather than obsess over the past or worry about the future. Such mindfulness will not only help you to put worries in perspective, but it can also help you to recognize the link between your emotions and your financially-destructive behavior.</p> <p>For instance, let's say that after a day of bingeing on news online, you badly want to put a lavish vacation on credit, just so you have something to look forward to. If you take 10 minutes to meditate instead, it can help you to see that your anxiety will not be helped by a vacation you can't afford. It will also allow you to feel your anxiety, rather than push it away, which is a much more productive method of getting past the negative feelings.</p> <p>If you have never meditated before, there are many <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/well/guides/how-to-meditate">beginner's guides</a> out there to teach you the practice of mindfulness.</p> <h2>3. Go for a Run</h2> <p>Exercise is the closest thing we have to a no-fail antidepressant. Research has shown that people are <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html">happier after breaking a sweat</a> than they were beforehand, even if they had to force themselves to go to the gym.</p> <p>In addition, an exercise habit can help you to avoid budget-destroying habits you might otherwise engage in, like retail therapy or a weekend-long Netflix marathon that keeps you from taking care of your grocery shopping and laundry.</p> <p>Of course, when you are in the midst of a deep funk, the idea of lacing up your sneakers and going out for a life-affirming run sounds about as enticing as getting a root canal. This is another place where your accountability partner can help you do what's best for you both. Set up a regular date to exercise together, and you will both get to enjoy the endorphins and the good company.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer</h2> <p>Depression, anxiety, and stress are often side effects of feeling helpless. When it feels as if you have little power over your circumstances, it's easy to retreat into bad and expensive habits to help yourself feel better.</p> <p>But there is always meaningful work that we can do to improve lives &mdash; even if we can't improve our own. That is why volunteering for a cause you believe in can be such an important tool in improving your outlook on the world. According to a 2008 study by the London School of Economics, people who volunteer <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18321629">experience greater happiness</a> than those who do not.</p> <p>The researchers theorize that volunteering makes you happier because it helps to put your situation in perspective. In addition, volunteering your time helps alleviate depression because it allows you to feel like you are a part of something important that is doing good in the world.</p> <h2>5. Engage in Productive Self-Care</h2> <p>Sometimes things feel so bleak that you really do need to retreat and take care of yourself. There is nothing wrong an occasional &quot;Stop the world, I want to get off!&quot; day for yourself. But there can be a fine line between healthy and productive self-care, and self-destructive wallowing. For instance, buying a bottle of nail polish might make you feel good, which could prompt you to keep buying to keep that good feeling going. Instead, you might be better served by inviting a friend over to paint your nails together.</p> <p>To make sure your self-care is helpful rather than harmful, start with your needs. Ask yourself what needs are not being met right now, and listen carefully to the answer that bubbles to the surface. Wallowing is often a passive reaction, whereas productive self-care is when you engage in fulfilling your unmet needs. Taking the time to think through what you need may help you realize that you don't actually want to go out drinking, but instead you need to talk with a good friend.</p> <h2>Don't Let Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Hurt Your Finances</h2> <p>When your thoughts get stuck in a hamster wheel of anxiety or depression, the easy method of handling your distress can often cause you financial stress. Being intentional and mindful about how you handle your negative mental states can help to alleviate your feelings of helplessness and keep your finances healthy.</p> <p>If you are experiencing severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues">A Simple Remedy for the Economic Blues</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle anxiety bingeing budgeting depression exercise Help mental health overspending self care stress volunteering Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1843967 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier? http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_85247123.jpg" alt="Woman learning her stressful job might be making her healthier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yes, stress has a negative effect on our health. It can raise our blood pressure, increase the risk of heart disease, and contribute to obesity and other illnesses. And that may seem like reason enough to quit your high-pressure job, but before you throw in the towel and dust off your resume, there's something you should know about job-related stress.</p> <p>As much as you'd like to banish all that frustration from your life, consider that your constant 9-to-5 headache may be making you healthier. Yep, you read that correctly. Recent research found that a moderate amount of everyday stress has a surprising positive effect on the brain and body. Now, this doesn't mean you should run out and get the most stressful job you can find, or stay in occupations that push you over the edge. There's good stress and there's bad stress, and it's important to understand how each affects the human body. Chronic stress, which lasts for weeks or months, is bad stress, and can trigger long-term problems. But considering that our bodies are wired to react to stress, the everyday pressures you deal with at work aren't necessarily a bad thing. Here's why. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. It Improves Brainpower</h2> <p>Whether you're facing tight deadlines or preparing for an upcoming meeting with a difficult client, these types of situations can increase your stress level and send you into panic mode. Every job has its fair share of pressure, and at times it can feel as if you have too much on your plate. These aren't the most favorable circumstances, but the upside is that manageable amounts of stress can improve your brainpower. This not only helps you perform better on the job, it also boosts cognitive function over time.</p> <p>The reason is that moderate stress encourages the production of neurotrophins, a type a brain chemical that supports the growth and survival of nerve cells. So while chronic stress slowly damages brain structure, research shows that short-term stress has the opposite effect and stimulates the growth of new brain cells. A study discovered that<a href="http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_surprising_benefits_of_stress">exposure to short-lived stress</a> triggered the development of new nerve cells in the brains of laboratory rats. After two weeks, the lab rats had improved mental performance. Researchers concluded that controlled, manageable stress on the job prompts a similar reaction in humans, improving our memory, concentration, and alertness.</p> <h2>2. It Boosts Your Immune System</h2> <p>Some people who battle ongoing stress notice a difference in their health because too much stress can suppress the immune system. This makes us more susceptible to illness and infections. But with regard to short-term stressors &mdash; such as those you might experience at work &mdash; these types of demands have the potential to reinforce or strengthen protective chemicals in your body, which can give your immune system a pick-me-up.</p> <p>High-tense situations set in motion a fight-or-flight response, which is a physiological reaction to a perceived threat. This is an inborn response that prepares your body to fight or flee impending danger. Your heart rate increases, your body releases adrenaline and extra sugar for energy, and you react more instinctively. According to a study by the Stanford University School of Medicine, the <a href="https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2012/06/study-explains-how-stress-can-boost-immune-system.html">fight-or-flight response activated by short-term stress</a> not only jump-starts a spontaneous reaction from your body's resources, it also promotes stronger immune function, which makes it easier for your body to ward off and fight infections.</p> <h2>3. It Lowers Your Risk of Prolonged Stress</h2> <p>Short-term stress also increases resiliency and teaches you how to confront and tackle everyday pressures and demands. The first time you come up against a particular situation, you might crumble or think you don't have strength to handle the hurdle. But the more you face the problem and overcome the stressor, the easier it is to cope in the future.</p> <p>If you toughen up and develop positive strategies to manage your time and emotions, you're less likely to suffer from chronic stress. As a result, you decrease the risk of health problems triggered by prolonged stress, such as heart disease, cancer, and infections.</p> <h2>4. It Might Help You Live Longer</h2> <p>Do you want to live longer? Your stressful job might be the secret weapon. A study conducted by the Indiana University found that &quot;employees in stressful positions were a third <a href="http://time.com/money/4536431/stressful-job-health/">less likely to die than those with less strenuous jobs</a>.&quot; These findings might have you scratching your head, especially since we already know the negative consequences of stress, but the study also revealed that those in stressful positions who lived longer were also in control of their workflow.</p> <p>The study, which took place between 2004 and 2011 and included thousands of workers, concluded that participants who enjoyed greater flexibility in their stressful jobs were 34% less likely to have died than participants in high-pressure jobs who enjoyed little freedom. One theory is that participants with less control in their high pressure jobs were more likely to adopt unhealthy habits as a way to cope with their circumstances. These habits included overeating (which leads to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems), and smoking, which increased the risk of cancer and other health problems.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job">3 Reasons You Are More Than Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-important-reasons-to-always-call-in-sick-when-youre-sick">8 Important Reasons to Always Call In Sick When You&#039;re Sick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Health and Beauty anxiety depression frustration Health stress stressful job work work life balance Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1830273 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Reasons You Are More Than Your Job http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_time_out_73913133.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons she is more than her job" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a society where work means everything, retirement can sometimes lead to depression. Many Americans say they can't wait to retire, but the reality is that among men especially, <a href="http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2014/06/30/the-secret-sadness-of-retired-men">retirement can mean loss</a> &mdash; of identity, values, and more. When a retired person can't attach that identity to something else, he or she needs to find an outlet like gardening, traveling, or the like. Unfortunately, sometimes that feeling doesn't translate.</p> <p>That's why you should make sure that your identity isn't wrapped up in your work, no matter what stage you're at in your career. Don't let it define you, because when it's over, you'll feel lost, and like you don't belong anywhere. You see this played out a lot in sitcoms, when women let the men they're dating determine their identity. It's similar. You want to find your identity and then go after <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">what you're passionate about professionally</a>, not the other way around. It's hard when you're a fresh college graduate and you aren't sure what your future holds.</p> <p>But there is hope. Here are a few reasons that you should not let your job determine your identity. Just let it be a small part of what fulfills you.</p> <h2>You Have Other Interests</h2> <p>While you should always take pride in your work, you shouldn't let it determine how you feel about your life. The most important parts of your life are the things you love. Whether it be your friends or family or traveling or food, find a passion in something rewarding, but not necessarily financially feasible. You have to find something else that gets you out of bed every morning. And if what you're most passionate about does get you out of bed every morning, make sure you have a balanced life after work.</p> <h2>It Can Always Come to an End</h2> <p>You will never realize that your life is your job until you lose it. When you lose your friends, your after-work activities, and your lunchtime connections, it becomes harder to regain your composure and self-worth. Make time to have hobbies outside of work &mdash; volunteer, play sports, find a church, synagogue, or mosque &mdash; whatever might connect you with others. That way if something does happen, you have a support system to fall back on.</p> <h2>You Have to Put Yourself First</h2> <p>When the company you work for gets mixed up in something or is blamed for something and it hits the press, people think of you. And sometimes if you go to bat for the company, you are entangled in whatever is happening. This has happened to me before, especially when I worked with people who were litigious. Make sure you don't let how people feel about the place you work translate to how they feel about you. Business is just that, and you need to protect yourself, above all else.</p> <p>All of this is hard to stomach because, as Americans, we spend most of our lives thinking about what we want to be when we grow up, what we would rather be doing when we finally do grow up, and how we wish we had done one thing or another after we retire. Live life now, while you still can. Travel, read, and experience new adventures. Don't let your 9-to-5 take over your life, just let it fund your life.</p> <p><em>How do you determine your identity?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-reduce-workplace-stress">10 Frugal Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-deal-when-you-work-with-someone-you-hate">8 Ways to Deal When You Work With Someone You Hate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-work-worth-doing">Find work worth doing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income anxiety career depression job hunting job stress jobs sadness stress stress relief work Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1738700 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Reasons You Can't Focus — And How to Fix It Now http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000023132071_1.jpg" alt="Woman learning she can&#039;t focus, and how to fix it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Focus. It's a word often yelled at children from frustrated teachers, and at ourselves when we have trouble getting to the bottom of something. &quot;Come on, focus, you can do this.&quot;</p> <p>Why is it easy for some people to hone in on a problem and give it laser-guided focus, while other people cannot go two minutes without staring out of the window or thinking about sitting on a beach? Well, there are many reasons beyond personality types. Here are 12 of the biggest reasons you may be having trouble concentrating.</p> <h2>1. You're Not Getting Enough Sleep</h2> <p>There's a reason we spend at least 25% of our lives in bed. Sleep is very important. It helps us recharge, gives the brain a chance to exercise neuronal connections, and gives our bodies time to repair muscles and replace chemicals. So, when we're not getting the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-help-you-sleep">right amount of sleep</a> (and it varies from person to person, but around six to eight hours is average), everything suffers &mdash; in particular, the mind takes the brunt of it. You will find it very difficult to stay focused on anything because your brain is not only tired, it's confused. It hasn't had the necessary time it needs to prepare for another full day of activity, and as such it is torn between the task at hand, and wanting to shut down.</p> <p>Now, you may think you're getting your six to eight hours every night, but still have trouble focusing. Check to see if you have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Even though you go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at seven, you may have had a night of restless, constantly-interrupted sleep. If you haven't had a good amount of deep, restful REM sleep, you will suffer the consequences. Lack of sleep can also lead to depression, and anyone who has ever been depressed knows all too well how the mind wanders.</p> <h2>2. You Surround Yourself With Distractions</h2> <p>It's said that today's teenagers will interact with three different technologies at the same time (a phone, TV, and computer) without any kind of problem. It's just a way of life. But it's not a way to focus.</p> <p>This plays into conversations, or interactions with people either in person, online, or on the phone. We think we're giving that person enough attention, but we're not. We hear the phone beep, and have to check it. We see something come on the TV in the background, and our attention wanes. We all need to take a long, hard look at how the devices we own and use hinder our focus. We should get into the habit of turning off everything we don't absolutely need when a job needs to get done. Does the TV need to be on in the background? Do we need to have music playing? Can the phone be put in a drawer on vibrate, ready only for important calls? If we remove all of these distractions, we could all vastly improve our focus.</p> <h2>3. You're Not Dealing With Problems</h2> <p>Remember that old saying, &quot;the squeaky wheel gets the grease?&quot; It applies to a lot of aspects of our life, in particular to people who are always complaining and get most of the attention. But when it comes to focus, that squeaking wheel is a problem (or problems) that have not been dealt with. If it is a problem that has gone completely unchecked, we find ourselves thinking &quot;I really need to deal with that dripping faucet&quot; or &quot;I need to talk to my mortgage broker.&quot; These problems will stop nagging us if they're on a list of things to deal with, or we make steps to get them done. So make an appointment with the broker. Watch a video on replacing a washer. Even though the actual problem is not solved, by simply starting to work on it, it stops &quot;squeaking.&quot;</p> <h2>4. You Haven't Made a Good Plan</h2> <p>This definitely goes hand-in-hand with the point above. A plan is essential if you want to focus. When a mechanic looks under the hood of a car to see why it's not running correctly, he or she is not just vacantly looking around hoping to see an issue. There is always a plan about what to check, when to check it, and always in a specific order. A doctor has a plan when he or she checks you for a medical complaint. And so, when you are dealing with something, have a plan. Whether it's as simple as making a list before you go to the grocery store, or it's building an entire set of schematics and directions for a home improvement project, make sure you have a plan. That way, you can focus on each step, and not on the whole project, which can become overwhelming.</p> <h2>5. You're Not Getting Enough Exercise</h2> <p>On the flip side of the sleep coin is exercise. Most of us are just not getting enough good exercise, and it's showing by the rising obesity rates in the U.S., and the world. It's easy to brush off exercise due to the amount of hours we all work, and the supposed lack of free time we all have. BUT, a lack of exercise will take its toll on the mind as well as the body. Exercise spurs brain growth, boosts hormones, fights anxiety and depression, reduces stress, and even increases sensitivity to insulin. All of these are factors that can affect our focus and concentration. So, get some exercise. Even if you start slow, by taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator, you are doing your brain the world of good.</p> <h2>6. You Are Working in a Messy Environment</h2> <p>You may be one of those people who can achieve a lot when surrounded by mess and clutter; you are definitely in the minority. Unless you're an artist who thrives on chaos, you really need some order in your chosen workspace. Clutter and mess may not bother you, but they can still be a distraction for your mind. And whether your desk is filled with toys and games or old take-out wrappers and soda bottles, the end result is the same: you have something else to focus on other than the task at hand. So, clean it up. It doesn't have to be pristine, and it doesn't have to be a completely blank space. Just give yourself, and your brain, the ability to easily focus on just one thing.</p> <h2>7. You May Have ADHD</h2> <p>Do you have trouble listening to people, and following instructions? Are you often irritable? Do you have a lot of trouble relaxing? Are you restless, constantly moving around, and jiggling your legs? Are you late more often than you are on time? Do you have trouble prioritizing tasks? These are all possible <a href="http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/10-symptoms-adult-adhd">symptoms of adult ADHD</a>, and if you have it, you are going to have major problems focusing on the task at hand. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be suffering from adult ADHD, and he or she may be able to prescribe something to help, be it medication, meditation techniques, or other possible ways to alleviate the symptoms.</p> <h2>8. You're Working Too Hard</h2> <p>The U.S. is now <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/">leading the world</a> when it comes to the number of hours worked every year by the average citizen. And, the U.S. is also one of the only countries in the world that doesn't have national paid parental leave, mandated paid sick time, or mandated annual leave. The bottom line&hellip;we're all working too much, and our ability to focus is suffering. It's very beneficial to step away from the office, wherever that may be, and think about something else.</p> <p>In creative professions in particular, the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop thinking about it for a while and let the subconscious go to work. But, by working every hour that you are able, you are going to lose focus, and be less efficient at your job, or whatever else you want to focus on. Step away, take a break, take a vacation, and give yourself, and your brain, a much-needed rest.</p> <h2>9. You Aren't Eating or Drinking Correctly</h2> <p>Along with sleep and exercise, the body needs fuel. And just like any machine, your body will have issues if it is not given the correct fuel. A cheeseburger with fries and a Coke is a tasty treat now and again, but it's not going to do much for your brain. And if you are dehydrated, your mind will wander and your body will weaken. You need to feed your body, and brain, the nutrients they need to function at their best.</p> <p>Get in the habit of drinking water at your desk at work. Add fish oils and vitamins to your breakfast routine. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. No one is asking you to become a magnificent healthy eater overnight, but by making a few important changes to your diet, you will quickly notice the results in your ability to focus, and get things done.</p> <h2>10. You Need More Sex</h2> <p>Well, there it is. The &quot;S&quot; word. This one is self-explanatory, but in layman's terms, if you're not getting what you need in the bedroom, your mind will really start to wander. Just as hunger can make your start to think constantly about food, the same can be said for a lack of sexual satisfaction. If you have a partner, this should be something that's simple enough to solve. Of course, that's easier said than done, so it may be something that requires couples therapy.</p> <p>However, if you're single, it's a different story. There are ways to release the pressure on your own, but you should think about joining a few dating sites, or app, and getting out more to social events. Humans need that intimate connection, and without it our focus can definitely suffer.</p> <h2>11. You Haven't Identified the Specific Problem</h2> <p>It's hard to focus on a problem if you have no idea where to look. And yet, it happens in the workplace, and at home, every single day. It's amazing how many times a meeting can be completely brought to a halt by the phrase &quot;What exactly is the problem we're trying to solve here anyway?&quot;</p> <p>So, before you focus on the task at hand, nail down the specific problem you're trying to address. Don't go into any task looking at generalities and vague issues. If the problem is &quot;The utility bills are too high,&quot; ask why. Is it because the A/C is on too long during the day? Then, figure out how you can reduce the temperature in the house without running the A/C. That's a problem to focus on.</p> <h2>12. You Are Way Too Stressed</h2> <p>We all are. It just feels like this is what life is these days; stress, followed by a side order of anxiety and a second helping of angst and worry. Stress is not good for your body, or your mind. You may not be able to eliminate the cause of stress, but we can all find ways to lower the stress they cause. Yoga, meditation, more sleep, better food, and more time off, are all ways to help reduce the stresses in our lives. With less stress, and less anxiety, we are able to breathe a little easier and focus on the tasks that lie ahead of us. And if we can focus more, we get more accomplished. This is turn helps us reduce stress even further. It's a healthy cycle.</p> <p><em>What prevents you from concentrating? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven&#039;t Tried Yet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Productivity concentration depression distracted focusing frustration restlessness Fri, 14 Aug 2015 09:00:14 +0000 Paul Michael 1523167 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Terrible Things Science Says You Do to Your Mind Everyday http://www.wisebread.com/5-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-mind-everyday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-mind-everyday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_napping_desk_000038514712.jpg" alt="Woman doing terrible things science says she does to her mind" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you tired of your brain working at its optimal level every day? Are you <em>too</em> emotionally balanced? Are you sick to death of your good memory? If you are one of those people who suffer from having<em> too much</em> personal bandwidth, good news: You can stop having full cognitive function today! Here are five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids">scientifically proven</a> ways to destroy brain function that anyone can do.</p> <h2>1. Sleep Deprivation</h2> <p>Why are you sleeping eight hours when you can sleep fewer? Road rage and erratic driving due to sleep deprivation will make your morning commute much more interesting.</p> <p>Also, work is so boring, so you might as well sleep through part of your day at the office or in the cockpit. Hard decisions build character, so why not make even the easiest choices into Sophie's Choices just by waking up way earlier than you should? If you are paying for college, then it should be your choice whether or not to learn anything new or remember anything old. Why bother with memorizing anything when smartphones exist?</p> <p>Less sleep means more time for&hellip;other things that damage long and short-term memory. The Center for Disease Control calls insufficient sleep a <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/">public health epidemic</a>, reporting that 30% of American adults sleep fewer than six hours every day.</p> <h2>2. Multitasking</h2> <p>Do you know what scientists call people who don't multitask? Productive thinkers. I mean who among us doesn't love bragging about our multitasking abilities! Why? Because it gives us street cred with all the OG masters of time slippage. Obviously.</p> <p>Pretty much every scientific study shows that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.umich.edu/~bcalab/documents/MeyerKieras1997a.pdf">multitasking reduces efficiency</a> and performance because the human brain lacks the processing power to do more than one thing at a time. When you multitask, you actually do each task more slowly than if you'd done them one at a time. But why would anyone want to do one thing really well, when you could do four things poorly all at once? More is more after all.</p> <p>About 98% of the population, regardless of their (inefficient and low-performance) magical thinking, is physically incapable of multitasking. Which means that the 2% of the population who can actually multitask exist mainly to make all others believe that they are part of this outlier super-tasker group.</p> <p>Heavy multitaskers, with all their practice at doing too many things at once, are actually the&nbsp;<a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/august24/multitask-research-study-082409.html">worst at organized thinking</a>.</p> <p>In addition to slowing down workflow, multitasking <a href="http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2012/08/how-do-frequent-emails-and-texts-affect-produ/">lowers IQ</a> by as much as 15 points for men, the equivalent of dropping cognitive capacity from that of a Harvard MBA to an eight-year-old child. So the next time you get behind at work, you should just get your third grader to help you pick up the slack. Your boss will probably never notice. Interestingly, that old gendered argument that women are better multitaskers than men is validated by this study. Multitasking only makes women dumber by five IQ points, which is equivalent to going to work stoned. Luckily, your cognitive loss from multitasking will not show up on a urine test, however scientists have created a test that you can take that measures&nbsp;<a href="http://psych.newcastle.edu.au/~ae273/Gatekeeper_XOR/">multitasking-induced stupidity</a>.</p> <h2>3. Stress</h2> <p>Why settle for temporary cognitive dysfunction when you can shrink key parts of your brain permanently? Several studies have now linked stress with an increased <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165017304001730">risk of Alzheimer's disease</a> and accelerated memory loss with aging. This is great news for poor people who live with constant, crushing stress. Why worry about planning for the future if you know you'll lose your mind before you get there?</p> <h2>4. Rumination</h2> <p>As someone who enjoys Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I can tell you from personal experience that rumination is a fast and easy method of making yourself miserable. For newbies to repetitive negative thinking, rumination is the practice of dwelling on negative experiences or thoughts. For example, a negative thought might be &quot;why am I so depressed about my boyfriend multitasking with that girl at the muffin shop?&quot;</p> <p>In a study of San Franciscans who had lived through the 1989 earthquake, Yale University psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, PhD found that self-described ruminators had more <a href="http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov05/cycle.aspx">symptoms of depression</a> and post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience, than non-ruminators. Practice makes perfect! The more you ruminate, the easier it is to perpetuate low confidence and uncertainty.</p> <h2>5. Constant Entertainment</h2> <p>Do you remember what it was like before you could fill every spare moment with information? For example, do you remember what it was like to stand in a line at the post office without the ability to play Words With Friends, or how boring the gym was before they installed televisions on the treadmills? Life was super dull. But do you remember ever feeling as awesomely overwhelmed by data as you do now?</p> <p>Marc G. Berman, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, discovered that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature versus a walk in an urban environment. His team posits that although visual noise is stimulating, our now constant access to entertainment is actually causing <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/19/12/1207.abstract">brain fatigue</a>. A study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco found that when the brain is constantly stimulated, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19525943">the learning process is prevented</a>. Just like computers take time to download information, the brain actually needs downtime to process information and store it as a memory.</p> <p>Oh pshaw! I've lost entire verb tenses in Italian in my quest for a better car commute. Who needs the subjunctive mood when one can binge listen to the entire podcast of <em>Serial</em>?</p> <p><em>Have you taken steps to stop your own cognitive deficit? If so, please share your methods of avoiding brain damage with your fellow Wise Bread readers in the comments section!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-mind-everyday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-smartphone-is-hurting-your-career">7 Ways Your Smartphone Is Hurting Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty brain depression distractions mental health multitasking sleep deprivation stress Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:00:15 +0000 Max Wong 1507396 at http://www.wisebread.com 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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hiking-489644177-small.jpg" alt="hiking" title="hiking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-99-best-fitness-hacks-of-all-time">Flashback Friday: The 99 Best Fitness Hacks of All Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating">7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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 Depressed? It Could Be Your Debt http://www.wisebread.com/depressed-it-could-be-your-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/depressed-it-could-be-your-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stress-4847397-small_0.jpg" alt="depression" title="depression" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As of July 2013, the average American credit card debt was $15,325, and the average student loan debt was $32,041. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">How Much&nbsp;Does Your Credit Card Debt Cost You?</a>)</p> <p>Reading those numbers makes me think about my own lingering student loan debt, and <em>that</em> gives me a clenching feeling in my stomach.</p> <p>As it turns out, I'm not the only one who feels stressed about debt. Moreover, for some people, debt might not just cause stress &mdash; it can also lead to depression and even poor phyisical health. This month, the journal &quot;Social Science &amp; Medicine&quot; reported that, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953613002839">in a study of 8,400 young adults</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>...high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure. These associations remain significant when controlling for prior socioeconomic status, psychological and physical health, and other demographic factors.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that financial strife doesn't just affect our personal lives. A study released earlier this summer also noted that financial arguments early in a marriage are the <a href="http://phys.org/news/2013-07-reveals-early-financial-arguments-predictor.html">number one predictor of divorce</a>.</p> <p>Basically, if you think that your finances are causing problems beyond your wallet, you're not crazy. And the faster you get out of debt, the faster you might be on the road to better mental and physical health. Take a look at this article on how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">start fighting debt &mdash; today</a>. Or, if you're already working on paying down your debt, check out my piece on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">15 ways to pay back student loans faster</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/depressed-it-could-be-your-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-couple-paid-off-147k-of-debt-even-while-unemployed">How One Couple Paid Off $147k of Debt (Even While Unemployed)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management anxiety credit card debt depression student loans Tue, 20 Aug 2013 18:40:17 +0000 Meg Favreau 981403 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons You're Not as Happy as You'd Like to Be http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8025692978_ddec2400e8_z.jpg" alt="unhappy woman" title="unhappy woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one ever said that life was easy, and none of us ever assumed that we&rsquo;d get all that we desire without hitting at least a few obstacles along the way.</p> <p>But come on! Does everything have to always be so hard?</p> <p>If this sounds like you, take heart; you&rsquo;re not alone. And believe it or not, the answer to that question is no, it doesn&rsquo;t. Things don&rsquo;t have to always be so difficult. So why are you hitting all those brick walls? And more importantly, what can you do to stop hitting them? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">6 Ways Money&nbsp;Really&nbsp;Can Buy&nbsp;Happiness</a>)</p> <h2>1. You&rsquo;re Not Organized</h2> <p>Now don&rsquo;t take offense &mdash; I&rsquo;m one of the most unorganized people you&rsquo;ll ever meet, a talent I come by naturally. And I can tell you with great certainty that it most definitely affects my ability to be as productive as I&rsquo;d like to be. After all, it&rsquo;s not easy to conquer the world, tame the universe, and be all that you can be when you&rsquo;re surrounded by clutter and chaos.</p> <p>Being unorganized creates unwanted stress. It makes it difficult to concentrate, and it almost guarantees that your schedule won&rsquo;t run smoothly. When I&rsquo;m not organized, I&rsquo;m forgetting things. I&rsquo;m misplacing things. And I&rsquo;m almost always moving in high gear because I&rsquo;m running late. It&rsquo;s exhausting. All of these things suppress the creative flow and thus, your ability to problem-solve, daydream, and get things done.</p> <p>As a result, even the smallest of tasks can become monumental challenges, and by the time you&rsquo;ve finally muddled your way through, you&rsquo;re no longer operating in that peak state where the really good stuff happens.</p> <p>So, if like me, your organization skills are lacking, it might be time to find a way to remedy that situation and instill a little order into your life. You may not ever become the poster child for neat and tidy, but even the smallest steps can make a difference and you&rsquo;ll be amazed how much you can accomplish when it doesn&rsquo;t take you three hours just to find a matching pair of socks.</p> <h2>2. You&rsquo;re Overwhelmed</h2> <p>In addition to struggling with organization, I also have a knack for taking on more than I can handle or, as my mother used to say, &quot;spreading myself too thin.&quot; It&rsquo;s not that I want to operate at such a high stress level &mdash; it&rsquo;s just that I get excited about new projects and can&rsquo;t wait to get started.</p> <p>As a result, I frequently have several projects running simultaneously at any given time and before I know it, I have too much going to really concentrate on any one thing. And if you can&rsquo;t give something your full attention, it won&rsquo;t reflect the benefits of all your brilliance.</p> <p>Stay in this state for too long, and you&rsquo;ll find that your motivation leaves you completely. You&rsquo;re no longer just feeling the anxiety that comes from being so &quot;stretched&quot; &mdash; you&rsquo;ll actually lack the inspiration to tackle even the smallest of tasks and when you do force yourself to take action, it will never be your best work.</p> <p>The solution, of course, is to stop and take inventory of where you are.</p> <p>Get your priorities in order and force yourself to work from that list, so that you stay focused and on track. If that feeling of being overwhelmed is due more to the size of your projects rather than the number, then concentrate on breaking those big jobs down into several doable chunks.</p> <p>You should also seriously consider learning how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">say &quot;no&quot;</a> or at the very least, &quot;later,&quot; so that you can manage your time more effectively and avoid that &quot;where do I start?&quot; feeling from creeping in and slowing you down.</p> <h2>3. You&rsquo;re Not Following Your Bliss</h2> <p>Plain and simple &mdash; if you don&rsquo;t like what you&rsquo;re doing, you&rsquo;re not going to thrive while you&rsquo;re doing it.</p> <p>Now, we all have times when we &quot;have to do what we have to do.&quot; And that&rsquo;s perfectly OK. I&rsquo;ve taken jobs that offered little in the way of personal fulfillment but went a long way in helping us make ends meet and when you&rsquo;re faced with that kind of situation, well, you do what you have to do.</p> <p>But all too often, we resign ourselves to that goal of &quot;just getting by.&quot; The temporary fix becomes a permanent safety net and we forego our dreams in exchange for predictability and security.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re spending your time selling insurance or typing memos or installing bath fixtures and your passion lies somewhere else, you&rsquo;ll never feel the satisfaction and fulfillment that you&rsquo;re seeking, which means you need to take steps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-your-passion">figure out what your passion is</a>, and then find a way to follow it.</p> <h2>4. You&rsquo;re Not Taking Enough Risk</h2> <p>Speaking of safety nets, you&rsquo;ll never know what you&rsquo;re capable of if you always insist on playing it safe.</p> <p>That doesn&rsquo;t mean that you can&rsquo;t take precautions and that doesn&rsquo;t mean you shouldn&rsquo;t do your research or ask questions or weigh your options. It just means that sometimes, you have to take a chance.</p> <p>You have to be willing to venture out into the unknown if for no other reason than just to see what&rsquo;s there. Sometimes you have to be willing to assume a little risk because you know the reward is worth it.</p> <p>And if the reward is moving you closer to the life you were really meant to have, well, what could be more worthy than that?</p> <h2>5. You're Too Serious</h2> <p>Doctors' visits are serious. So are taxes and wars and meetings with your boss. Life in general? Not so much.</p> <p>Yes, life can have some pretty somber moments, but it's not meant to be lived in such a solemn state all the time. Learn to relax. Learn to loosen up. Have some fun and forget about all those serious aspects that are weighing you down, at least for a while. Don't worry about looking silly, and don't worry about what the neighbors will think.</p> <p>In fact, if they're thinking anything at all, it's that they wish they had the time or the energy or the nerve to get out there and have some fun like you.</p> <h2>6. You&rsquo;re Stuck in a Rut</h2> <p>Albert Einstein once said that insanity was &quot;doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.&quot; Yet, that&rsquo;s often exactly what we do.</p> <p>We might dream of new adventures and doing great things, but we cling tightly to the bubble of predictability that we&rsquo;ve built around us. Our lives become routine &mdash; we eat the same meals, wear the same clothes, and continue to perform the same activities, day after day after day.</p> <p>Is it any wonder that we have a hard time creating change?</p> <p>Instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out">try shaking things up</a>. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be big &mdash; in fact, even the smallest of changes can set some exciting things into motion. Try going into work early if you&rsquo;re someone who&rsquo;s usually &quot;just on time,&quot; or turn off the TV and spend that time learning a new skill or trying your hand at a new hobby.</p> <p>If you normally start a job search by mass mailing resumes, try calling first instead. If you scour the want ads for job postings, try just picking out companies you&rsquo;d like to work for and applying direct.</p> <p>If you normally have cereal for breakfast, try oatmeal or toast. If you consistently go to bed at 9 o&rsquo;clock, try staying up till 10:00 or turning in at 8:00.</p> <p>No, none of these changes on their own are likely to suddenly bring destiny knocking at your door, but the exercise of changing your routine opens you up to other, potentially more potent changes.</p> <p>The point is, if you&rsquo;re not where you&rsquo;d like to be, then try walking a different path to get there.</p> <p><em>What's been keeping you from happiness? What have you done to overcome obstacles to happiness?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-be-happier-work-these-7-magic-words-into-your-vocabulary">Want to Be Happier? Work These 7 Magic Words into Your Vocabulary</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/friends-and-goals-dont-let-a-blue-falcon-bring-you-down">Friends and Goals: Don&#039;t Let a Blue Falcon Bring You Down</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough">9 Ways to Maintain Motivation When the Going Gets Tough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity depression happiness motivation Wed, 30 Jan 2013 11:36:34 +0000 Kate Luther 967451 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Maintain Motivation When the Going Gets Tough http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5393008343_c7569ef52d.jpg" alt="Despondent young woman contemplates lack of motivation." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life is full of difficult situations. Whether you&rsquo;re cutting back financially, trying to save a failing business, enduring a difficult job, or walking through a hard place of a more personal and private sort, it&rsquo;s easy to lose your motivation to keep to moving forward. We&rsquo;ve all been in those muddled, trapped places where it&rsquo;s hard to keep going, let alone to feel like we know how to do so.</p> <p>But you really can stay motivated. After all, it&rsquo;s the motivated people who manage to see difficult times through to the other side. These are skills worth developing, even if you&rsquo;re not facing hardship right now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-get-motivated-today">25 Ways to Get Motivated Today</a>)</p> <h2>Remember What You Love</h2> <p>We choose to do the things that we do for a reason. Even when we choose to do things that aren&rsquo;t pleasant in the moment, like cutting back our spending, we do it for a reason. Nearly always, that reason has to do with something we love. We stop spending so we can save to take a vacation, send our children to private school, or know we can buy groceries next week. We work jobs we dislike so that we can have health insurance, or so our children can have a comfortable home.</p> <p>When things get hard, we tend to forget why we&rsquo;ve chosen a particular action. We forget what we love. And when we remember this, when we intentionally focus our minds on whatever it is that we love, we find that we have the strength and motivation to get through the hard times.</p> <h2>Celebrate Small Steps</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to get frustrated when all we&rsquo;re looking at is the light at the end of the tunnel, and even moreso when we feel like we can&rsquo;t even see that anymore. But when we realize that every single step we take is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes">small step</a> in the right direction, even when it&rsquo;s dark and we can&rsquo;t see our goal anymore, we&rsquo;ll find the motivation to push through.</p> <p>When we celebrate these small steps, we&rsquo;ll have even more motivation. Making an extra payment on the credit card this month, even when it&rsquo;s not as much as you&rsquo;d like, is worthy of noticing. So is cold-calling 10 more people, even when they aren&rsquo;t interested in your services, or getting through another day at a job you hate. Note these and celebrate them, and you&rsquo;ll find you&rsquo;re able to keep going.</p> <h2>Maintain Perspective</h2> <p>When one part of life is going miserably, it&rsquo;s often hard to see that any other parts are going well. Take the time to look at your life as a whole, to examine all the different aspects, and put the negative parts in perspective.</p> <p>While a miserable job can make you unhappy while you&rsquo;re at home, too, it doesn&rsquo;t have to ruin your relationship with your kids. Not being able to buy as many gifts for Christmas is hard, but you still have family and friends around you. When you see the difficult parts of life along with the good, you&rsquo;ll be able to keep plugging away even when it&rsquo;s hard.</p> <h2>Know Your Limits</h2> <p>No one can work at something difficult all the time. When your business is failing, there&rsquo;s not enough money, or your children are struggling, it&rsquo;s easy to focus only on that thing that is so hard. When we don&rsquo;t give ourselves a break, though, we tend to lose our ability to come up with new ideas and solutions, and eventually we burn out.</p> <p>Learn how long you can spend focusing on a problem before you have to focus on something else. Take a break to be with people, read a book, or do something else that is completely different from the part of your life that is hard. You&rsquo;ll return to it later better able to think through your problems objectively, and more motivated to try and tackle the difficulty again.</p> <h2>Take a Deep Breath</h2> <p>When our minds worry and struggle, we tend to bring our bodies along for the ride. We get ready to fight or flight, and so we&rsquo;re tense and amped up on adrenaline. While this is great for situations that are actually dangerous, it&rsquo;s not a good way to live long-term.</p> <p>Taking the time for some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">deep breaths</a>, even one or two, helps us let go of this tension. Being relaxed means that our bodies are happier and healthier, and so we&rsquo;ll feel better even while dealing with a difficult situation. Feeling crummy is almost always dispiriting, while feeling well gives us energy to put into the task at hand.</p> <h2>Find the Good</h2> <p>Almost every situation, even the most dire and difficult, has something good about it. Taking the time to identify the positive things and focusing our minds on them will help lighten the load even in a hard place.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to feel like identifying the good is fake or false or weak, especially when the bad feels so overwhelming in return. However, bringing our minds back to something good in the situation, no matter how small, will eventually help us to feel more positive about what is going on. When we feel positively, we&rsquo;ll be motivated to make things even more positive by attacking the situation from different angles.</p> <h2>Discover Companions</h2> <p>Walking through a hard place is much easier when you have other people walking with you. These can be people facing the difficulty along with you, people facing a similar difficulty, people who have faced a similar difficulty in the past and overcome, or simply people who love you and are willing to walk a hard road with you.</p> <p>Asking people to walk with you can be difficult. Working through a hard situation takes a lot of energy, and it&rsquo;s easy to feel too tired to share your difficulty with others. Taking the time and energy to find companions will pay off when you have people to share your burdens. When the load feels lighter, you&rsquo;ll be in a better place to go back into your problem with renewed energy.</p> <h2>Tell the Truth</h2> <p>It can be hard to believe, but telling the truth about a hard situation can actually provide needed motivation to look at it squarely and figure out a way through. When we say that everything is fine even when it&rsquo;s not, we limit our own ability to let a hard situation be hard. We end up hiding, which means we can&rsquo;t acknowledge the situation for what it is.</p> <p>While it can feel awful to talk about how hard a situation is, afterwards we&rsquo;ll feel more freedom. We&rsquo;ll be able to rest in the fact that we know what&rsquo;s true about our difficult situation. When we&rsquo;re not fighting ourselves, we&rsquo;ll be able to put that energy into sticking with the hard situation.</p> <h2>See the End</h2> <p>When things get hard, we often forget that, somehow or some way, our difficult situation will come to an end. We feel like we&rsquo;ll be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">paying off debt forever</a>, or like another door will never open, or like the world might end before we find a workable solution (though that is an end in and of itself).</p> <p>Keeping in mind the possibility of an end will help us walk into each day with hope. Even if that hope is disappointed time and time again, we&rsquo;ll know that a solution may be just around the corner. Hope is always motivating, because it give us a reason to keep pressing forward.</p> <p><em>When you&rsquo;ve walked through a difficult, dark time, how have you kept your motivation? What keeps you going when everything feels hard?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be">6 Reasons You&#039;re Not as Happy as You&#039;d Like to Be</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise">5 Apps That Pay You To Exercise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-embrace-failure-keep-going-and-win">How to Embrace Failure, Keep Going, and Win</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development depression life challenges motivation overcoming obstacles positive attitude Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 959566 at http://www.wisebread.com High Tech Solutions For the Winter Blues http://www.wisebread.com/high-tech-solutions-for-the-winter-blues <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/high-tech-solutions-for-the-winter-blues" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/winter-blues-4-wisebread.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How can you fight the battle of the winter blues with so little daylight and so much to do? &nbsp;</p> <p>You can start with a few of our favorite tech solutions designed to increase energy, produce vitamin D, or just inspire a little bit of mid-season hope.&nbsp; <strong>These are just two of our complete list featured in a recent </strong><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2011/01/high-tech-solutions-for-the-winter-blues.html"><strong>My Life Scoop article</strong></a><strong>!</strong></p> <h3><b>Philips goLITE Blu</b></h3> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/wisebread/lifescoop/winter-blues-Philips-goLITE-BLU.jpg" /></p> <p>I own this light myself, and as an avid fan of using light therapy in the home to beat the blahs and focus my attitude, I am thrilled with the compact size and the ability to tuck it in a carry-on for a weekend trip. &nbsp;The small unit can sit in a desk or kitchen table, generates no heat, and is safe for even children to use (check with your pediatrician for details.) &nbsp;</p> <p>Use the <a href="http://www.usa.philips.com/c/energylight/27718/cat/#filterState=ENERGYLIGHT_SU_US_CONSUMER%3Dtrue">Philips goLITE Blu</a> for 15 &ndash; 45 minutes a day to boost energy and help improve mood with no interruption in your daily routine.&nbsp;(I use mine while working at the computer!)&nbsp;This light is popular among busy professionals, and you don&rsquo;t need a medical RX to begin using it. Prices for the light range from $150 &ndash; 200.</p> <h3><strong>Honeywell UV Cool Mist Tower Humidifier</strong></h3> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/wisebread/lifescoop/winter%20blues%20honeywell%20humidifier.jpg" /></p> <p>One of the biggest complaints heard during the winter months is &ldquo;It&rsquo;s so dry!&rdquo; Humidifiers are a wonderful, affordable way to combat chapped lips, dry skin, allergy flare-ups, and general discomfort when staying long periods indoors.&nbsp;The newer humidifiers are sleeker, more-attractive versions of past years&rsquo; offerings, and some (like the <a href="http://www.honeywellcentral.com/product/0-92926-34470-2.html">Honeywell UV Cool Mist Tower</a>) offer an added layer of chic with its germ-killing skills.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since humidifiers can be a haven for bacteria and other icky things, it&rsquo;s good to know that UV humidifiers can kill over 99% of the living stuff that makes you sick.&nbsp;With the capability to run almost 24 hours on one tank of water, it&rsquo;s a maintenance-free solution to a common winter problem.</p> <p><i>Not sure that you need a humidifier?</i>&nbsp;A <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygrometer">hygrometer</a> (not to be confused with a <i>hydrometer</i>) can tell you exactly how much humidity is in the air where you live and work.&nbsp;They are available at most home improvement and gadget stores for between $20 &ndash; 80.</p> <p>Do you find yourself a bit droopy when the sun shines less and the air gets chilly?<strong> Check out the </strong><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2011/01/high-tech-solutions-for-the-winter-blues.html"><strong>complete list of products</strong></a><strong> design to nip that chilly season in the bud. </strong><i>What tech tools would you like to use this season to stay focused and refreshed?</i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/high-tech-solutions-for-the-winter-blues">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-healthy-habits-that-can-hurt-you">20+ Healthy Habits That Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-eating-habits-that-are-keeping-us-fat">6 &quot;Good&quot; Eating Habits That Are Keeping Us Fat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Technology depression Health winter Mon, 31 Jan 2011 17:04:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 471446 at http://www.wisebread.com Being Happier Through...Botox? http://www.wisebread.com/being-happier-through-botox <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/being-happier-through-botox" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frown.jpg" alt="" title="This is how I used to feel every morning." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="208" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I never thought I'd admit this publicly, but I have had Botox injections before. Yes, I am only 33. And no, I don't have some kind of dysmorphic disorder, and I'm not completely obsessed with every wrinkle or line on my face. I don't adore the process of aging, but whaddya gonna do, you know?</p> <p>But I will admit to a certain amount of vanity, and the truth is, I got really upset when I noticed this rather deep line between my eyebrows. It's not so much from aging as it is from frowning. I frown a LOT. I work at a computer all day, and when I have to concentrate, or when I'm nervous, or when I'm angry or sad, I frown. I frown when I sleep, I've been told. I'm a frowner.</p> <p>I won't lie; I'm not a super happy person. I'm grumpy a lot of the time, and I have been since I was very young. My family is not a miserable family, although depression does tend to run in the Slavic side. My childhood was relatively happy, but I'm not what you would call &quot;joyful.&quot; I'm not depressed, but I definitely come from a long line of women who aren't particularly fond of perkiness. During college, I went through a period of rather extreme depression, and while I found that medication helped at the time, it's not a long-term solution for me. I've come to accept that I've never been, and will never be, a bright and cheery kind of person.</p> <p>Also, I get angry easily. Most of my mornings start with me glaring at myself in the bathroom mirror for about five minutes. Most of the time, though, I don't realize that I am frowning &mdash; I do it all the time, while writing, talking on the phone, watching a movie, and I don't even realize that it's happening until I've been doing it for about an hour and my forehead starts to ache.</p> <p>About a year ago, the presence of that rather deep line between my brows got the better of me, and I paid a very nice nurse at a local surgeon's office approximately $140 dollars to inject toxins into my face. Honestly, I was terrified that I would end up looking like those stretch-faced, zombie women on TV, unable to express the most basic emotion through facial muscles. My nurse assured me that she had Botox, and she looked, at age 40, really great &mdash; not frozen and zombified. I took the plunge.</p> <p>Aside from the cost, my only complaint about the treatment was that I had a pretty bad headache for about a week. Once that disappeared, though, and the muscles started to relax, I was happy to see that the line between my brows pretty much disappeared. And yes, the muscles couldn't move, so I couldn't furrow my brow. I could still raise my eyebrows and narrow my eyes, and obviously my cheeks and mouth weren't affected, so I could FROWN, but not furrow. I simply couldn't activate the muscles that would draw my brows together.</p> <p>Then I noticed something: I felt a lot less angry. Whenever I would find myself getting frustrated at something (usually at work), just as I could feel my face pulling into a frown, I would realize that it just couldn't be done. I couldn't frown. And without the ability to do that, I didn't stay angry very long. Momentary irritation tended to fizzle, and while it's true that my job wasn't any easier, I just didn't get as upset about it. I even mentioned it to a coworker, who assured me that I was (1) crazy and (2) trying to justify having spent $140 on Botox. I told my parents, both medical professionals, about the effect on my mood, and they both sighed heavily and wondered what they had ever done to raise a daughter who couldn't love her own face.</p> <p>Well, who's having the last laugh now? That would be me (yes, I can still laugh), after finding that <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/id/233142">my experience</a> of having botox improve my mood is not only common, but that it has a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_feedback_hypothesis">scientific explanation</a>. Facial feedback hypothesis, which has previously told us that smiling can actually make us feel happier even when we naturally aren't, can also explain why someone who is unable to frown fully doesn't maintain a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/20/AR2006052000979.html">steady state of anger</a>. It turns out that it's not just your moods that affect your facial expressions, but your facial expressions that affect your moods. Thus, someone who forces themselves to smile when they feel down can significantly improve their own mood, and someone who stops frowning when upset can stem the tide of anger or depression.</p> <p>Botox, it seems, can make you happier. Or at least, Botox can make you less unhappy.</p> <p>I'm not going to pretend that the over-application of Botox doesn't freak me out. Between aging Hollywood madams on TV and physicians wives elbowing me aside at the shoe department at Nordstrom, I agree that a totally Botoxified face is a terror to behold. But in small amounts, I have to say, it really has been a godsend.</p> <p>My $140 worth of Botox lasted longer than expected &mdash; approximately 6 months (I was told to expect 3). Twenty-three dollars a month for an improved mood is worth it to me.</p> <p>No word yet on whether total facial paralysis limits all kinds of emotions, although I imagine limiting one's ability to smile might make them less happy?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-happier-through-botox">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-manicure-kits">The 5 Best Manicure Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">12 Reasons You Can&#039;t Focus — And How to Fix It Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty anger management beauty botox depression happiness plastic surgery Sun, 14 Feb 2010 19:00:03 +0000 Andrea Karim 5255 at http://www.wisebread.com Stag-hyperinflation? http://www.wisebread.com/stag-hyperinflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stag-hyperinflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/forest-pool.jpg" alt="Forest pool" title="Forest Pool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stagflation, the bane of the 1970s, is pretty much the worst situation for ordinary folks.&nbsp; With the economy depressed, jobs are scarce for workers and profits are scarce for business owners.&nbsp; With entrenched inflation, everyone's savings are constantly eroding.&nbsp; The result is that nowhere is safe for your money:&nbsp; not cash, not your business, not the market.&nbsp; With the latest moves by the Fed, I fear we're facing a repeat--only it'll be worse this time:&nbsp; stag-hyperinflation.</p> <p>We know what produces inflation:&nbsp; excess growth in the money supply.&nbsp; This was a matter of some dispute back in the 1970s.&nbsp; In those days, many people thought that government deficits were the culprit--that when the government borrowed money and spent it on stuff, the &quot;excess&quot; demand bid up prices.&nbsp; The experience of the 1980s proved otherwise:&nbsp; Strong measures to hold the line on money supply growth by the Federal Reserve under Paul Volker brought inflation under control despite record deficits.</p> <p>Bringing money supply growth down to the level of economy growth will bring inflation to a stop.&nbsp; However, it will also produce a recession.&nbsp; (This is pretty much inevitable.&nbsp; The inflation, by producing the illusion of growth, will have fooled businesses into making unwise investments.&nbsp; When the growth fails to materialize, businesses that expanded will have to contract--which is exactly what a recession is.)</p> <p>Just as we understand inflation and recession, we also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-about-stagflation">understand stagflation</a>.&nbsp; You get stagflation when you repeatedly try to bring inflation down, but then keep chickening out at the first whiff of recession.</p> <p>Unlike in the 1970s, our current spot of trouble was kicked off as an old-fashioned financial panic, which is a <strong>deflationary</strong> event.&nbsp; A year ago, I was worrying about inflation.&nbsp; (I wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-with-inflation">How to live with inflation</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-in-a-time-of-inflation">Budgeting in a time of inflation</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-high-inflation-persist">Will high inflation persist</a>.)</p> <p>By October last year, though, I had figured out that the deflationary effects of the financial panic were going to squelch the inflationary effects of Federal Reserve policy.&nbsp; (I wrote a post called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inflation-is-going-away-for-a-while">Inflation is going away for a while</a>.)&nbsp; With economic activity plummeting, prices of global commodities fell as well.&nbsp; Consumers trying to pay off debts and boost savings kept a lid on prices of consumer goods as well.</p> <p>(As an aside, it's worth emphasizing that not all price increases are inflation.&nbsp; Inflation is the <em>money becoming less valuable</em>.&nbsp; Sometimes, though, prices go up for other reasons.&nbsp; Resource depletion makes key resources more expensive to produce, pushing up the prices of raw materials, and eventually the prices of everything made with those resources.&nbsp; Globalization pushes down the prices of things available in global trade, making things that are only available on local markets relatively more expensive.&nbsp; People's tastes change, producing changes in relative prices.&nbsp; All of these things can look like inflation, if all you've got to go by is price statistics.)</p> <p>The Federal Reserve is in a tizzy.&nbsp; They're terrified of deflation--money becoming <em>more</em> valuable--because the experience of the Great Depression shows that a deflationary collapse can not only bring down the whole economy but keep it down <em>for years</em>.&nbsp; Contrariwise, they know how to stop inflation.&nbsp; This asymmetric situation has prompted them to boost the money supply in <strong>an effort to create a modest amount of inflation</strong>.</p> <p>Normally, the Fed can create inflation no problem--they create additional bank reserves, the banks lend more money, the money supply goes up, and you've got your inflation.&nbsp; (It shows up in prices when people spend the borrowed money--prices get bid up because there's more money but no more stuff.)&nbsp; Just lately, though, this mechanism hasn't worked well, because the financial crisis has broken the transmission mechanism at the step of &quot;the banks lend more money&quot;--the banks are bust, so they're not lending, consumers are bust so they're not borrowing (and the ones who would borrow are poor risks for paying the money back), and businesses staring into the economic abyss are not borrowing either.</p> <p>Faced with that problem, the Fed has now brought out the big guns.&nbsp; Last week the Fed <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20090318a.htm">announced that it was going to buy</a> &quot;up to $300 billion of longer-term Treasury securities over the next six months.&quot;&nbsp; Because here's the thing--there's one entity that can and will do the necessary borrowing and spending to produce inflation:&nbsp; The US Treasury.</p> <p>That $300 billion, plus another $1.55 trillion spent on US government agency securities, are guaranteed to work their way through the economy and produce some inflation, pretty much ending the risk of deflationary collapse.</p> <p>The questions then become, &quot;How much inflation?&quot; and &quot;What next after that?&quot;</p> <h2>How much inflation?</h2> <p>Nobody knows.&nbsp; It's impossible to even guess.&nbsp; The Fed's governors and the presidents of the individual reserve banks do make projections (for what they're worth, they <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20090128ep.htm">recently projected </a>inflation of 0.3% to 1.0% in 2009 and 1.0% to 1.5% for 2010), but their projections are no more accurate than anyone else's--which is to say not accurate at all.</p> <p>It's easy to say what they're trying to do.&nbsp; They're trying to offset the deflationary impact of the financial crisis.&nbsp; And, because they know how to stop inflation, they're willing to aim a bit high--they want to be sure that they're <strong>entirely</strong> offsetting the deflationary impact, and they're willing to risk an accidental inflationary surge.&nbsp; They view the downside risk in that direction as much smaller than the downside risk of an accidental deflationary spiral.</p> <p>The problem is that they could easily overshoot much too high, producing inflation on a scale that trashes the whole economy.&nbsp; (Inflation of just 10% wreaks drastic havoc with a modern economy.&nbsp; It becomes impossible to make any sort of long-term plan, because there's no way to know what the money will be worth a few years down the road.)</p> <h2>What next after that?</h2> <p>Yes, the Federal Reserve knows how to stop inflation--by causing a recession.&nbsp; Of course, we've already got a recession.&nbsp; Unfortunately, the process doesn't work in reverse:&nbsp; Being in a recession doesn't prevent the next round of inflation.</p> <p>What we're looking at now is ameliorating this recession with a burst of inflation, in the hopes that doing so will keep it from turning into a depression.&nbsp; At that point things can go one of three directions:</p> <ol> <li>The inflationary burst falls short and the deflationary spiral continues in earnest&nbsp; (The Fed's latest move signals that they'll do whatever it takes to prevent this scenario.)</li> <li>The inflationary burst is &quot;just right,&quot; halting the deflationary spiral without pushing inflation up to levels that threaten the economy.&nbsp; (This is what the Fed is trying to do.&nbsp; Let's all wish them luck.)</li> <li>The inflationary burst is excessive, producing a serious bout of inflation.&nbsp; (There really isn't an upper bound here.&nbsp; Just a few percent does serious harm to the economy, but 10%, 50%, 10,000% and more have all been seen in various places around the world, over and over again since the invention of paper money.&nbsp; In 1979 and 1980 the US saw inflation rates over over 1% per month, which is plenty to wreck individual household budgets.)</li> </ol> <p>If the inflationary burst turns out to be excessive, the Fed will reduce the rate of growth in the money supply to bring it back down, but we know what that does--it produces a recession.&nbsp; Maybe that recession will be different from this one--specifically, maybe it won't come hand-in-hand with a collapsing financial system--in which case maybe the Fed will stick to its guns and grind the inflation rate back down low enough that its economic effects are minor.&nbsp; But I don't see much reason for optimism.&nbsp; First, we'd have to fix the financial system between now and then--and there hasn't been much progress on that front so far.&nbsp; Second, a solid majority of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee members would have to grow a pair, and I'm not too hopeful about that either.&nbsp; The upshot is that I foresee inflation followed by a half-hearted attempt to rein in money supply growth, followed by more inflation.</p> <p>And, to bring things full circle, we know where that leads.&nbsp; If you want stagflation, all you need to do is try to bring down inflation and then cave in at the first signs of recession.&nbsp; Kick the inflation rate up nice and high first and you can legitimately call it stag-hyperinflation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stag-hyperinflation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inflation-is-going-away-for-a-while">Inflation is going away for a while</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-with-inflation">How to live with inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oh-noes-inflation">Oh noes! Inflation!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance depression Economy Fed federal reserve Great Depression hyperinflation inflation recession stagflation Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:15:48 +0000 Philip Brewer 2970 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Remedy for the Economic Blues http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Depressed Bear.jpg" alt="" title="Depressed Bear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the wake of the frenetic holiday season coupled with all the anxiety over these uncertain economic times, it&rsquo;s little wonder that many of us are feeling a little down. In fact, when you add in the cold weather and the short winter days, it&rsquo;s a veritable perfect storm of discontent that is hitting many of us at a time when we can least afford to be anywhere but at the top of our game.</p> <p>So in an effort to battle the economic and seasonal blues, I&rsquo;d like to suggest a way that has been shown to not only lift your spirits, but might even make you smarter, more productive at your job, and may very well go a long way to help you to live a longer, more fruitful life.</p> <p>Simply put: get some exercise.</p> <p>Sure, we&rsquo;ve all know well enough that exercise is good for our bodies, and that a lack of exercise has been implicated in a whole host of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. But now there is a growing body of evidence that seems to indicate that what benefits the body also benefits the mind, not only in terms of our <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17662246/site/newsweek/print/1/displaymode/1098/">intelligence</a>, but for our emotions and our <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1095783/People-exercise-work-days-happier-suffer-stress-productive.html">productivity</a>, as well.</p> <p>Truth be told, people have known about the mind body connection since antiquity, with the Greeks promoting the importance of exercise almost as much as learning. Even you and I, in the deep recesses of our minds, have experience firsthand how refreshed and clear our minds feel after a good period of exertion.</p> <p>Somehow, even in lieu of all that we know, we still have trouble getting some exercise. In certain instances, it&rsquo;s gotten so bad that we can&rsquo;t even get our of our car seats to buy cigarettes or donuts.</p> <p>Maybe with the new year, it&rsquo;s time to do change all that. The impetus lies with you, however, although it need not require a lot in terms of effort, time or money, and when you really get down to it, you can&rsquo;t beat that.</p> <p>1. Whenever possible, walk to where you&rsquo;re going, or ride your bike. I know, it&rsquo;s a no-brainer, but I grew up in a city (Los Angeles) where it was amazing what lengths people went to in order to avoid walking, even a quarter of a mile.</p> <p>2. Keep it simple. The biggest deterrent to making the first step is getting too ambitious, and then nothing gets done. Make it as simple as putting on something comfortable and getting out the front door.</p> <p>3. Eat healthy. The two go hand in hand, but also reinforce one another. Eating too much garbage will only motivate you to eat more garbage (Funny how that works). A healthy diet, on the other hand, will make it that much easier to get up and go.</p> <p>4. Avoid drive-throughs. You usually find them at fast food joints, and even though the amount of exercise you might get is negligible, it might discourage you from even going entering in the first place.</p> <p>5. Get an iPod. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be an iPod, just something that personalizes your routine and makes it more enjoyable. Besides, it could motivate you if you feel guilty having made the investment.</p> <p>6. Take the stairs. I know, another obvious one, but so hard to employ.</p> <p>7. Choose to be active. When you have free time, get out and try to break a sweat rather than sitting around the house. Sure, we&rsquo;re all tired people, but sitting around all day on the couch will only makes us more so</p> <p>8. Form a group. There is strength in numbers, not only in motivating you, but in sharing your goals or at the very least, clarifying them. And let&rsquo;s face it, camaraderie is fun.</p> <p>9. Join your kids. If you&rsquo;re a parent, join your children when they go outside. Not only is it a chance to spend some quality time with them, but as every parent knows, parenthood is the ultimate endurance sport.</p> <p>10. Create a schedule. Organization can be an amazing means to an end, especially for disorganized people like myself.</p> <p>11. Turn off the TV. Nothing saps your energy or motivation more than television. It&rsquo;s just too darn easy, and once it&rsquo;s on, it&rsquo;s like a vacuum that sucks you in, making not only your body soft, but your mind, as well (for all you TV advocates, this is true even when you watch the Discovery Channel). I&rsquo;ve generally found that most people who take that fateful plunge and stop watching TV don&rsquo;t regret it.</p> <p>In the end, getting more exercise will pay off in so many ways, but it is hard to appreciate this concept when you&rsquo;re not actually doing it.</p> <p>So just do it. Once you find a groove, you&rsquo;ll want to do it more, but you just have to take that first step. Otherwise, nothing will change. Plus, when your confidence and self esteem get a boost, the benefits will cross over into all areas of your life, including your love life.</p> <p>Whatever you do, dedicate yourself to getting more exercise as if your life depends on it, because the truth of the matter is, it does.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">4 New Year&#039;s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Lifestyle depression exercise intelligence productivity Fri, 09 Jan 2009 11:07:39 +0000 Fred Lee 2726 at http://www.wisebread.com Time for some new retro http://www.wisebread.com/time-for-some-new-retro <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/time-for-some-new-retro" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/alexander-hamilton-us-customs-house-sculpture-2.jpg" alt="Sculpture of nude woman outside Alexander Hamilton US Customs House" title="Alexander Hamilton US Customs House Sculpture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For some time now, we've had good success drawing on the decades from the 1950s through the 1990s for our retro. Some bolder types have even made some use of the 1890s and 1920s--periods of wealth and excess--to inspire fashion, architecture, lifestyles, and the arts. The new economic realities, though, I think will convince us to draw on some new periods for our retro: the 1930s and 1940s.</p> <p>In the United States, the 1930s are generally remembered as &quot;the Great Depression,&quot; and not much else. In fact, it was a much more complex and subtle decade than that. Even the economics is more complex than that--there were actually two recessions in the 1930s, with a period of growth (albeit weak growth) from 1933 to 1937 in the middle.</p> <p>Similarly, the 1940s are generally remembered as &quot;the war years,&quot; even though the US didn't enter the war until 1941 and the war ended in 1945. Of course, the war had already been going on for years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and its aftermath held sway over at least the second half of the decade.</p> <p>Still, I think there's a lot of retro available to be mined from those decades. To start with, there's frugality. There's also a curious blend of independence and a willingness to pull together and work for a common purpose.</p> <p>So, any time in the next few years when you feel like seeking out some inspiration from the way things were done in the past, take a look at the 1930s and 1940s. There's lots of good stuff there.</p> <p>That's not to say that there isn't great retro to be found in even earlier decades. The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1910s">1910s</a> (a decade with three recessions <strong>and</strong> a war) offer plenty of art, literature, and economics to draw from. And, of course, there are useful things from decades even before that, such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0192833456?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0192833456">Isabella Beeton's <em>Book of Household Management</em></a> from 1861 (also available as a <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10136">free e-text from Project Gutenberg</a>). Besides considerable advice on hiring servants, it has numerous recipes--complete with cost estimates circa 1860--and extends as far as discussing the raising of sheep and chickens.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/time-for-some-new-retro">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/designing-your-life">Designing your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle decades depression lifestyle recession retro war Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:36:58 +0000 Philip Brewer 2660 at http://www.wisebread.com