25 Ways To Be Happier In Your 20s
Life in your twenties is one weird, wild emotional roller coaster. You’re finding your first job, getting your first promotion, meeting new friends, and losing old ones.
Everything is constantly changing, but don’t get stuck feeling like everything is one mistake away from falling apart; the chaos of early adulthood is totally normal.
Instead of being overwhelmed by the changes around you, there are certain tips and tricks that can help you shift your focus and ultimately feel happier.
There are so many things that make your twenties an amazing period of time, and it’s the good stuff you’ll really want to remember. So read on for 25 ideas on how to live a happier, healthier life as the amazing 20-something you are:
Don’t sweat being broke: Almost everyone your age is having a tough time making ends meet.
Have fun for free: Just because you’re low on funds doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself.
Master body language: Learn psychological mind-hacks and read people better.
Make new friends: Meeting new people is hard after college so give yourself an extra push to be more social.
Build a network: From friends to coworkers, everyone you meet could help you get your next opportunity.
Learn to cook: You’ll eat better, feel accomplished, and save money.
Try new things: You might find a new hobby you never expected to love. Plus, even if you don’t love it, you’ll at least learn something about yourself.
Do something that scares you: Step out of your comfort zone whether that means stepping on stage at karaoke night or going out to dinner alone, always push your personal boundaries.
Learn the difference between true friends and fake friends: Then focus on the people who truly love you, and let the others fall aside.
Accept your mistakes: With so many changes, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. And that’s OK.
Step up: Instead of avoiding those mistakes, do your best to learn from them.
Take good care of yourself: Eat healthy, sleep well, and get exercise — it really does make a difference.
Be a little selfish: You deserve to make choices that will help fulfill you.
… But not too selfish: Don’t knock others down to get to the top, what goes around does come around.
Remember family time: Your elders can offer up some pretty good advice, after all, they’ve lived it first. Plus, if you don’t listen now, you might regret it later.
Stop comparing your life to other people’s Instagram accounts: No one is perfect, no matter how great a filter makes everything look.
Expect change: As hard as it is, your twenties are all about change. Do the best you can to keep your head up and face new challenges head on.
Work hard: Earn respect and set yourself apart by always remembering to do your best. Things won’t always work out as you hoped, but if you can say you gave it your best effort, you’ve accomplished something great.
Talk less, listen more: We all love to share our stories, but the secret to building relationships is letting others speak first. This simple secret will help you connect with the people around you.
Remember not to get too serious: Though you’re officially an adult, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or laugh at yourself. Life will feel easier if you learn to take things with a grain of salt.
Pursue what you love: Whether it’s your career or your after-work hobby, make sure there are things in your life that you love. Carving out the time to read, knit, eat cheese — whatever, will make life enjoyable every single day.
Love your body: Learn to look in the mirror and know that you are beautiful. Every so-called imperfection is what makes you unique and interesting, so wear them with confidence!
Travel: Visiting other parts of the world offers you a chance to experience the lives of others and experience situations that teach you new things about yourself. Plus, there are so many beautiful places to see.
Don’t pressure yourself to fit an ideal: Everyone is on different tracks through life and though you may envy the successes of others, learn that it’s OK to be different. Your successes cannot be compared to anyone else’s.
Appreciate your freedom: Adulthood is full of difficult responsibilities, but a huge upside is the freedom to be yourself and to do what you love. Appreciate how lucky you are to live a life where you can choose your path every day.
Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd 2014
Most Energy Efficient Cities
By most measures, Reykjavik tops the list of energy efficient cities worldwide. Along with the rest of Iceland, Reykjavik relies on renewable hydropower and geothermal plants to provide all of the heat, electricity and hot water for its more than 120,000 citizens. The Nesjavellir geothermal power station services all of the space heating and hot water needs of the greater Reykjavik area. The city plans on becoming fossil-fuel-free by 2050 and the final piece of that puzzle is hydrogen power. In the mid-2000s, the city began replacing its public transportation with hydrogen-fueled buses. The only “pollution” emitted from these vehicles is pure water. Although Iceland may be a small country, its big energy ambitions are leading the way for the rest of the world.
Vancouver gives Reykjavik a run for its money. In 2012, the city of Vancouver laid out an action plan to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. While that may seem like a big accomplishment in a fairly small amount of time, the city is well on its way. Hydroelectric power already accounts for 90 percent of the city’s energy supply, while the other 10 percent includes renewables like wind, solar and wave power. Add in Vancouver’s mass transit — nearly 250 miles of bike lanes and ride sharing programs — and the city has one of the lowest per capita carbon emissions of any major city in North America.
With a large off-shore wind farm and streets known for being incredibly bike friendly (with over a third of residents riding every day), the city of Copenhagen is considered by many to be one of the world leaders in clean technology. As part of the city’s goal to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, green roofs have sprouted up all over Copenhagen, not only helping to insulate buildings, but also allowing water to be more slowly absorbed, lessening the pressure on sewers and drains. Plus, as the city’s website puts it: “Green looks good” and can provide a bit of nature in dense urban areas.
80 percent of Oslo’s heating system is powered by renewable energy – mainly bio-methane from waste. In the next 10 years, the city hopes to get that number up to 100 percent. The city also uses “intelligent lights” that adjust their output depending on weather and traffic conditions, which have greatly improved the city’s energy efficiency. By 2030, Oslo hopes to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent, while all of Norway hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050. Oslo also boasts “hugely successful” car and bike sharing programs. Thousands of electric vehicles are already enjoying “free parking, toll immunity, and access to lanes generally reserved for public transport.”
Beginning in the mid-2000s, London has committed itself to upping its energy efficiency. Its 2007 climate change action plan laid out plans to switch 25 percent of its power generation to more efficient, local sources, as well as cut CO2 emissions by 60 percent over the next two decades. The plan also offers residents incentives to improve the efficiency of their homes, while implementing stiff taxes on automobiles – hitting SUVs particularly hard (electric vehicles and hybrids are exempt). And it’s not just London that’s going green: England has 10 of the top 25 operational offshore wind farms.
Most of Sweden’s energy already comes from nuclear power and the country has reduced its consumption of fossil fuels by 25 percent from 2008 to 2012. Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo, has created an ambitious and innovative energy efficient housing plan. In a former shipyard called Western Harbour, the city of Malmo has constructed housing for 10,000 residents as well as space for 20,000 employees – all powered exclusively with “100 percent locally produced renewable energy from the wind, sun and water.” Along with measures for waste management, minimized transportation needs and increased biodiversity – this urban experiment could be the future of energy efficient living.
Boston, San Francisco, Portland and New York
These four U.S. cities topped the charts in the 2013 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy city scorecard.
The scorecard looks at key areas of efficiency, including transportation policies, local government operations, community-wide initiatives, utilities and building policies. Each city is scored out of a possible 100 points, with Boston coming out on top with 76.75 largely due to its community-wide programs and utility partnerships, including the Renew Boston Initiative.
San Francisco also often tops the list of greenest American cities. The city recycles 77 percent of its waste, reserves nearly 20 percent of its land for green space and has been a leader on the electric car front. In 2001, San Francisco residents approved a $100 million bond initiative to finance renewable sources of energy, including solar panels and wind turbines.
Portland has long been one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the U.S. With an eco-conscious citizenry that makes extensive use of bikes, the Pacific Northwest is green in more ways than one. Portland has replaced its traditional street lights with LEDs and has the goal of someday relying 100 percent on renewable energy sources.
The gritty streets of New York may seem like a surprising place to find renewable energy, but the Big Apple tied for third in the 2013 scorecard. New York was a leader in community-wide initiatives, building policies, utilities and public benefit programs as well as access to energy data. New York has long been known for its subway and transit systems and the city plans to double its recycling rate to 30 percent by 2017.
Posted on Thursday, July 10th 2014
Less Sleep May Accelerate Brain Aging
With less sleep, normal aging-related structural changes in the brain progress slightly faster in middle-aged and older people, according to a new brain imaging study.
Sleep troubles are more common with age, and shrinkage of certain brain structures is normal. But for the over-55 study participants, those changes could be seen accelerating slightly with each hour less of sleep each night.
“Among older adults, sleeping less will increase the rate their brain ages and speed up the decline in their cognitive functions,” said lead study author Dr. June Lo, a researcher with Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.
Plenty of past research has shown that lack of sleep can worsen fuzzy thinking and memory problems in the short term, and at all ages, Lo and her colleagues note in the journal Sleep.
“Our lab has also shown repeatedly in the past decade that in young adults, brain and cognitive functions are affected when people do not have enough sleep,” she told Reuters Health in an email. “As a result, we wanted to know whether sleeping less would affect brain and cognitive aging in older adults.”
Fewer studies have looked at physical changes in the brain and their link to sleep over time, the report points out. And none have done it for older adults, according to the researchers.
To assess the effects of sleep duration on both thinking and brain structure, the study team analyzed data on healthy people over age 55 participating in the larger Singapore Longitudinal Aging Brain Study.
Lo and her colleagues looked at data on 66 Chinese adults who had previously undergone magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure brain volume in specific areas and had taken tests to assess their cognitive skills.
The researchers used questionnaires to determine participants’ sleep duration and quality, and measured blood levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation.
When the cognitive tests and scans were repeated two years after the initial round, the researchers found those participants who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster brain shrinkage and declines in cognitive performance.
The ventricles are fluid-filled spaces in the brain, and they expand as the brain ages, indicating a shrinkage of brain tissue. Faster ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to the authors.
For each hour less participants slept, on average, the rate of ventricle enlargement rose by 0.59 percent, after adjusting for other individual factors like weight, age, sex and education.
And for each hour less of sleep, the decline in cognitive performance increased by 0.67 percent – though the researchers caution that result was more variable and should be considered preliminary.
Lo and her colleagues found no links between inflammation and sleep duration or cognitive decline. Nor was sleep quality linked to the brain changes.
The study cannot prove that total sleep time caused the changes observed. Although the study subjects were free of any major diseases or diagnoses, the researchers did not determine, for example, if other factors that might affect both brain structures and sleep duration could account for the results.
The reasons why shorter sleep time might affect brain changes are still a bit of a mystery, Lo said, but there are several possible mechanisms.
“Some have proposed that sleep loss increases inflammation which has a negative impact on the brain, but our own data do not support this view,” she said. “Alternatively, short sleep is associated with other medical conditions which may accelerate brain aging.
Dr. William Kohler said that although the new study was small, it was interesting and makes sense overall. Kohler, who was not involved in the study, is medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute.
He said that studies on mice suggest one possible mechanism may be that sleep removes wastes from the brain.
“If one of the purposes of sleep is to remove toxic products, then if those products aren’t removed because you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re going to be more likely to develop cognitive problems and degeneration later on,” he said.
Kohler added that as we age, our sleep mechanisms weaken so it’s harder to get to sleep, but there are things people can do to improve sleep.
“Avoid napping during the day, have a firm routine as far as going to bed at the same time, get up at the same time and try to ensure that we get to sleep by following good sleep hygiene techniques,” he said.
Kohler suggested that the environment should be dark and quiet enough for sleep and that the mattress should be comfortable. In addition, he suggested avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and exciting activities close to bedtime.
“Many people think that sleep is something you can sacrifice if you have work to do, a game to watch, etc.,” Lo said. “Therefore, insufficient sleep is so common that CDC has announced this as a public health epidemic.”
She added that people should understand sleep is crucial for many physiological functions, such as cell repair and memory consolidation.
“Knowing that there are negative health consequences of sleep loss may motivate some to sleep more,” she said. “Having good sleep hygiene and habits may improve the amount and quality of sleep.”
Posted on Thursday, July 10th 2014
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
Memory is a complicated process that’s made up of a few different brain activities. Before we look at ways to improve retention, here is a simplified version to show how memory takes place:
Step 1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we’re experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called synapses.
Step 2. Consolidate that memory. Do nothing else and that memory could soon fade away. Consolidation is the process of committing something to long-term memory so we can recall it later. Much of this process happens while we’re sleeping as our brains recreate that same pattern of brain activity and strengthen the synapses created earlier.
3. Recall that memory. Recall is what most of us think of when we talk about memory or memory loss. Recalling a memory is easier if it has been strengthened over time, and each time we do we cycle through that same pattern of brain activity and make the connection a little stronger.
While memory loss is a normal part of aging that doesn’t mean we can’t take action to slow it down. Now let’s look at some of the ways research has shown we can keep memories around as long as possible:
1. Meditate to improve working memory.
Working memory, which is a little like your brain’s notepad, is where new information is temporarily held. When you learn someone’s name or hear an address of a place you’re going to, you hang on to those details in working memory until you’re done with them. If they’re no longer useful you let them go entirely. If they are useful, you commit them to long-term memory where they can be strengthened and recalled later.
Working memory is something we use every day, so it makes our lives a lot easier when it’s stronger. While for most adults the maximum we can hold in our working memory is about seven items, if you’re not quite using your working memory to its maximum capacity meditation can strengthen it.
Research has shown that participants with no experience in mindfulness meditation can improve their memory recall in just eight weeks. Meditation, with its power to help usconcentrate, has also been shown to improve improve standardized test scores and working memory after just two weeks.
Why does meditation benefit memory? It’s somewhat counterintuitive: during meditation your brain stops processing information as actively as it normally would.
So occasionally take a break to empty your mind. Not only will you feel a little less stressed, you may also remember a little more.
2. Drink coffee to improve memory consolidation.
Whether caffeine can improve memory if taken before learning something new is debatable. Most research has found little to no effect from ingesting caffeine prior to creating new memories.
One recent study, though, found that taking a caffeine pill after a learning task actually improved memory recall up to 24 hours later. Participants memorized a set of images and were later tested by viewing the same images (targets), similar images (lures), and completely different images (foils).
The task was to pick out which were the exact pictures they had memorized without being tricked by the lures (which were very similar.) This is a process called pattern separation, which according to the researchers reflects a “deeper level of memory retention.”
The researchers in this study focused on the effects of caffeine on memory consolidation: the process of strengthening the memories we’ve created. That is why they believe the effects occurred when caffeine was ingested after the learning task rather than before.
So don’t just drink a little coffee to get started in the morning–drink a little coffee to hold on to more of what you learn throughout the day.
3. Eat berries for better long-term memory.
Research shows that eating berries can help stave off memory decline. A study from the University of Reading and the Peninsula Medical School found that supplementing a normal diet with blueberries for twelve weeks improved performance on spatial working memory tasks. The effects began after just three weeks and continued for the length of the study.
A long-term berry study that tested the memory of female nurses who were over 70 years old found those who regularly ate at least two servings of strawberries or blueberries each week had a moderate reduction in memory decline. (The effects of strawberries might be debatable, though, since that study was partly funded by the California Strawberry Commission… and another study focusing on strawberries suggested that you’d need to eat roughly 10 pounds of strawberries per day to see any effect).
More research is needed in this area, but scientists are getting closer to understanding how berries might affect our brains. In particular, blueberries are known for being high inflavanoids, which appear to strengthen existing connections in the brain. That could explain their benefit on long-term memory.
And even if it turns out they don’t help your memory much, berries are still really good for you.
4. Exercise to improve memory recall.
Studies in both rat and human brains have shown that regular exercise can improve memory recall. Fitness in older adults has even been proven to slow the decline of memorywithout the aid of continued regular exercise. In particular, studies shown that regular exercise can improve spatial memory, so exercise may not necessarily be a way to improveall types of memory recall.
Of course the benefits of exercise are numerous, but for the brain in particular regular exercise is shown to improve cognitive abilities besides memory. So if you’re looking for a way to stay mentally sharp, taking a walk could be the answer.
5. Chew gum to make stronger memories.
Another easy method that could improve your memory is to chew gum while you learn something new. Contradictory research exists so it’s not a solid bet, but one study published last year showed that participants who completed a memory recall task were more accurate and had higher reaction times if they chewed gum during the study.
A reason that chewing gum might affect our memory recall is that it increases activity in the hippocampus, an important area of the brain for memory. (It’s still unclear why this happens, though.)
Another theory focuses on the increase of oxygen from chewing gum and how that can improve focus and attention, helping us create stronger connections in the brain as we learn new things. One study found that participants who chewed gum during learning and memory tests had higher heart rate levels, a factor that can cause more oxygen to flow to the brain.
6. Sleep more to consolidate memories.
Sleep is proven to be one of the most important elements in having a good memory. Since sleep is when most of our memory consolidation process occurs it makes sense that without enough sleep we will struggle to remember things we’ve learned.
Even a short nap can improve your memory recall. In one study participants memorized illustrated cards to test their memory strength. After memorizing a set of cards they took a 40-minute break and one group napped while the other group stayed awake. After the break both groups were tested on their memory of the cards.
To the surprise of the researchers the sleep group performed significantly better, retaining on average 85% of the patterns compared to 60% for those who had remained awake.
Research indicates that when memory is first recorded in the brain (specifically in the hippocampus) it’s still “fragile” and easily forgotten, especially if the brain is asked to memorize more things. Napping seems to push memories to the neocortex, the brain’s “more permanent storage,” which prevents them from being “overwritten.”
Not only is sleep after learning a critical part of the memory creation process, but sleep before learning something new is important as well. Research has found that sleep deprivation can affect our ability to commit new things to memory and consolidate any new memories we create.
Now you don’t need an excuse to nap–or to get a little more sleep.
Posted on Tuesday, July 8th 2014
Things to Do Before Launching Startup
If you’re busy jamming on your startup, then you know that even the thought of marketing beforehand is the most daunting thing you don’t want to think about. But, it should be one of the most important items on your prelaunch to-do list.
Building an audience before you even have a product is critical. You’re going to need to tap people to test what you’re building, and it can’t be Aunt Mary and Uncle George. You’re going to have to answer the question every potential investor asks: “How many people are using the product today?” (Tip: Almost no one anymore invests in companies that don’t have customers.)
Companies have proven that you can build an audience with prelaunch marketing. This is how Gmail started, isn’t it?
So what should you be thinking about when you’re in the throes of building a company and a product?
1. Gather all your peeps.
Get your contact list together. Download your contacts from Outlook and Gmail, and anyone you’ve spoken to in the past five years. Get your data into a customer relationship management system like Zoho, Insightly, Salesforce or any of a myriad of great tools out there. Then go through it; merge, purge, and really cultivate your list. Make notes of who might be an “influencer” or who might be a “press contact.” You’ll need those when you launch. Go as far as to input a LinkedIn profile so that you can get a quick view on who someone is.
2. Get a webpage with a sign-up form.
This is going to be a way to capture people who are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at your company. It’s also their ticket to be the first in line to get free access to your product.
Monitor your sign-ups on a daily basis. Set up the webpage so that you get an email every time someone signs up, so you can send the person a follow-up thank-you. Most CRM packages offer free sign-up forms for you to place on your website. Wufoo is also great if you need a quick sign-up form and webpage to host it.
3. Start a blog.
Content is your prelaunch friend. Why? Because you can start to build solid search engine optimization for your keywords. The secret is to offer quality informational content daily.
Not sure what to write about? You can offer sneak peeks at the progress you’re making, industry news, how-tos, fun quips…you get the idea. A startup called Dasheroo is doing a great job at posting daily and giving weekly progress reports. These posts add some color about the trials and tribulations the team is uncovering as it gets closer to launch, and make readers feel more involved.
Work your keywords into your posts, and optimize your blog for search engines. UseWordPress, and redirect it to your domain. Use the Yoast plug-in for WordPress to help you through the SEO process.
When you publish a new piece of content, immediately post it to the social-media networks that you’ve already set up for your new startup, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (if applicable).
Integrate the WordPress blog comments with Facebook comments so you can have one set of comments for both posts. Social Media Examiner tells you how to do it.
4. Get active on Facebook.
Invite your friends to “like” your new startup page that you’re posting all of your daily content to. Like your competitors, influencers, and any press outlets that you want to eventually cover your launch. Pin a post to the top of the page asking fans to add themselves to the early-access list. Launch a Facebook “like my page” campaign to boost likes so you’ll get some engagement. Boost a few posts a week for as little as $5 to get the word out.
5. Don’t forget Twitter.
Follow the competition, any press related to your industry, influencers, and consultants. (Make a separate “press” and “influencer” Twitter list for later launch.) Retweet or favorite their tweets so they make note of your new startup. When you post the content from your daily blog, make sure you’re including images. Tweet about your weekly progress, and tweet reminders about being added to the early-access list.
6. Leverage LinkedIn.
Send LinkedIn InMails to your connections and invite them to your early-access sign-up form. Tell your connections what’s been going on with you and your new startup. Don’t forget to post your blog content daily to your LinkedIn blog. Take that amazing content you’re creating and post to appropriate LinkedIn Groups as well.
7. Start your email marketing.
Take all of your contacts you have in your CRM and send an email inviting them to be on the early-access list. Tell them what’s been going on with you and your new startup, and make it as personal as possible.
Send a weekly email to all of those leads that signed up to get on the early-access list. Include your weekly progress blog, but only half of it–send them to the blog for the other half! You want to make these people feel like they’re a part of your new startup.
Feel free to use my email marketing company, VerticalResponse. When I say “feel free,” it’s because it’s free–for life–if you’ve got less than 1,000 contacts.
8. List your biz.
It’s important to get backlinks to your site, and not just any backlinks–you need great ones. One way to do this is to get your business listed in directories. DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, and The Best of the Web are a few of them. If you’ve got a tech startup and you’ve got a “beta” product, get your site listed on Betalist. I’ve known sites that get hundreds of people signing up for beta, and it’s not bogus!
9. Track everything.
Finally, make sure you’re gathering data on what’s going on. Use Google Analytics to track your webpage and blog sessions (or visits). Analyze where your traffic is coming from and what are the most popular forms of content or topics, and then do more of those.
Track your engagement rates on each post for LinkedIn and Facebook to see what’s driving more clicks, shares, and likes. Check your email marketing metrics as your list grows. See who is opening and clicking and who isn’t, then send a nonresponder campaign to try and hook them in the second time around.
Launching a startup sure isn’t easy, and there’s a lot of work to do. I know because I’ve been there. But getting ahead on your marketing, so you’re not starting from zero when you launch, will be a key to your success.
Posted on Tuesday, July 8th 2014
9 Signs You’ve Found Your Soulmate
Mention the word “soulmate” to a group of people and you’re bound to get a few eye rolls. The idea that there’s one magical person for you who you’ll fall in love with instantly and never disagree with is just not realistic.
What does exist — at least for many people — is a person who you know instinctively, who you connect with on the deepest level and who allows you to grow as a person within the relationship. When that person is a romantic partner, you’ve come across something truly special.
So how do you know when you’ve found The One? Below, a team of love and relationship experts identify the most telling signs.
1. You communicate without speaking.
Soulmates can read each other like an open book. “They connect fervently on every level of being,” clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Carmen Harra told The Huffington Post. “One may finish the other’s sentences, they may pick up the phone to call each other simultaneously, or feel like they simply can’t be without their partner.”
Dr. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and author of Love Sense, said that a soulmate also knows how to respond to your emotional signals. “They stay close when you confide, give you their full attention and move in to answer to your needs, touching your hand when you are a little unsure, beaming and hugging you when you are glad, and tenderly comforting you when you are in pain,” she added.
2. You know in your gut that you’ve found The One.
The old adage “When you know, you know” rings true when it comes to a soulmate connection. “There really is no guessing or wondering when the real thing comes along,” wedding officiant and author Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway told The Huffington Post. “There is usually a telltale sign that lets you know when true love has arrived -– a voice in your head, a sense of recognition or a gut feeling that this is someone special to you.”
3. The physical chemistry is palpable…
…and the electricity that you feel doesn’t just happen on a sexual level. “Holding the hand of your soulmate throws your spirit into a whirlwind, even many years into the relationship,” Harra said.
4. You’ve been totally comfortable around each other since day one.
Soulmates connect with ease right off the bat and let their true colors show without fear of judgment. “Soulmates often feel a sense of the familiar and a sense of comfort around each other,” Brockway said. “Many people say it’s easier to relax into that person and allow themselves to be vulnerable.”
“It is the one who opens up to you –- who lets you in, so you can see them,” Johnson added. “This is the kind of person who takes risks and shares about their inner world, their emotions and their needs.”
5. But the relationship isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. He or she challenges you like no one else can.
The soulmate relationship, despite what people might assume, isn’t always smooth sailing. “A soulmate isn’t always wrapped in the perfect package, physically or in terms of life circumstances — nor does it mean that the relationship will come without challenge,” author Kailen Rosenberg of matchmaking firm The Love Architects said. “Yet, the difference is that the life circumstances and the difficult challenges are a strengthening power that becomes the glue that keeps you together through the difficult times and helps each of you become your most authentic self.”
What’s more, we rely on our soulmates to help us evolve as people. “You might find a soulmate relationship to be rocky, and that your partner is someone who pushes your buttons and aggravates you at first because they bring with them some of the more difficult lessons for the soul,” Brockway said.
6. You may not see eye-to-eye on every little thing, but you’re on the same page where it really matters.
“A soulmate relationship doesn’t necessarily mean both partners always share the same views, but that their overall goals and ambitions match,” Harra said. “More diminutive opinions will differ, but soulmates generally have the same virtues and values and see the world through a similar lens.”
7. The relationship brings both partners a sense of inner calm.
It’s obvious when you’re with the wrong person; you are insecure about the relationship and worry that one false move will turn your partner off. That’s not the case for soulmates.
“You feel confident that your partner is with you for the long haul,” dating expert Tracey Steinberg, author of Flirt For Fun & Meet The One said. “No matter what happens in your lives, you both agree that you are teammates and in it together.” She continued, “Your inner voice tells you that you are in a healthy relationship. You trust each other, feel confident and comfortable around each other and feel safe discussing challenging topics in a mature way.”
8. You and your partner have separate identities, but you face the world as one.
“Soulmates recognize that they are two parts of the same whole, and no outside influence or external matter can break that bond,” Harra said.
9. You may have known each other for years, but you suddenly find yourselves ready for love at the same time.
When it comes to true love, timing is everything. “I have married so many couples who met in high school or in their twenties, maybe dated, broke up, moved on, or hung out around the same circle of friends and never connected,” Brockway told The Huffington Post. “Then one day, they run into each other again, sometimes in magical ways, and love blooms.” Keep an open mind and an open heart so that when your soulmate comes knocking, you’re ready to answer the door.
Posted on Friday, June 27th 2014
10 Ways Any Guy Can Improve How He Looks
Far from being superficial, a concern with one’s external appearance is deeply ingrained within our nature as humans.
After all, a potential mate’s attractiveness ranks as one of the top traits of interest to the opposite sex. In addition, research suggests that more attractive individuals might actually earn more in the long term.
Fortunately for you, even if you weren’t as lucky in the genetic lottery as Brad Pitt, there are a number of tactics you can avail yourself of in the service of making the most of what you were given. Here we list our top 10 tips to help you look like the best version of yourself — and increase your share of life’s treasures.
1) Pluck unwanted hair
Nose hair, ear hair or scraggly hair that’s poking out anywhere else on your face isn’t sexy. Get rid of excess hair in these areas by using tweezers. Grasp each strand firmly and pull in the direction of the hair growth. Once a week, check your face for new hairs that might have popped up. If you have unruly eyebrows or a unibrow, consider getting your brows professionally waxed or shaped — it doesn’t cost much, and this way you won’t end up with any grooming accidents.
2) Exercise before you go out
When you’ve got a big night out planned and you want to look your best for it, sneak in a sweat session a couple of hours before your event. Ideally, you should mix cardio with weight-bearing exercises, concentrating on doing reps that engage your major muscle groups (particularly if you’re short on time), as this technique will make your muscles look ultra-toned for several hours. Plus, exercising will boost your confidence and give your skin a healthy glow.
3) Practice good posture
By standing up straight, you’ll automatically look leaner, with more defined musculature. You’ll also project more confidence, an attribute that most people find very appealing. When you’re standing up properly, your weight should rest more on your toes than your heels, your abs should be taut and pulled toward your belly, and your shoulders should be rolled back.
4) Take care of your mouth
Brush your teeth regularly with whitening toothpaste, floss every night and whiten your teeth with a home kit twice a year. Everyone finds a healthy set of teeth and gums attractive, and not taking care of your mouth can be downright repulsive. Go one step further and get soft lips by running your toothbrush lightly over them to slough off dead skin. Then, in the morning, apply a non-noticeable lip chap and switch to a heavy-duty, super-intensive healing balm before bed.
5) Invest in skin care
To ensure that the products you buy will work for you, figure out your skin type. Men with oily or acne-prone skin will benefit from a facial wash containing a 2% salicylic acid concentration, while guys with dry skin should seek out a cleanser with a creamy texture. Your skin-care arsenal should also include a hydrating moisturizer, an eye cream to reduce any signs of aging, sunscreen to protect against the damaging effects of UV rays, and an exfoliator to make your skin brighter and help unclog pores by getting rid of debris and dead cells.
6) Match your face to your hair and facial hair
A haircut and facial hair style that are based on your face shape can make a monumental difference in your appearance. A square-shaped face, for example, suits most short- to medium-length haircuts and can take on a variety of facial hair styles. Talk to your barber about employing tricks like a longer front to conceal a high forehead or strategically growing facial hair to render a soft jaw line or a small chin less noticeable. Whatever combo of hair and facial hair you settle on, always take pride in grooming. That means maintaining healthy hair with regular cuts, changing your razor blade often, investing in shaving cream, and making sure your facial hair has sharply defined edges.
7) Cultivate a classic wardrobe
There are two reasons timeless pieces are the backbone of any stylish man’s wardrobe: 1) Assembling a collection of basics — including a navy suit or blazer, white dress shirts, dark denim, easy-to-layer tees, neutral-colored cardigans, and an all-purpose trench — means that you’ll always appear effortlessly elegant, and, 2) By adding trendy items to an otherwise classic ensemble, you instantly freshen up your look and come off as having an amazing sense of style.
8) Wear clothes that fit
You can shell out for all the upscale designer wool suits and cashmere sweaters you want, but if your clothes don’t fit you properly, you’ll seem like you have more money than style. The biggest mistake men make when it comes to ill-fitting clothing is to favor baggy apparel over more body-conscious designs. Even if you’re on the heavyset side, clothing that holds close to your body (but isn’t skin-tight) is the most flattering.
9) Know your flaws
Taking an honest assessment of your body and face can go a long way toward helping you make the most of your appearance. When you know your weak points, you’ll be able to minimize them or conceal them to your advantage. For example, some clever work on your barber’s part can take the focus off a receding hairline. Additionally, accepting your spare tire means you can get rid of pieces that add bulk, such as double blazers, and start shopping for clothes that create the illusion of a more V-shaped physique, like two-button blazers in lightweight fabrics.
10) Eat and drink right
Make a concerted effort to eat right and you’ll have won half the battle in looking your personal best. Your body is like a machine, and refueling that machine with high-quality fuel will profoundly affect how efficiently it runs in addition to how much fat you store, the clarity of your skin, and the strength of your hair and nails. There’s no magic to it: Just make sure you include plenty of lean protein in your diet from poultry and fish, fill up your plate with green veggies, and favor antioxidant-filled fruit for dessert. Finally, hydrate properly by consuming eight glasses of water daily.
Posted on Tuesday, June 17th 2014
How To Be A Great Leader
A lot of people think they are natural leaders, when they probably aren’t.
It’s not easy to take on a leadership position even if you’re thrown into one at work after a sudden promotion. You have to work on a daily basis to become the right type of leader that will succeed.
Here are ten things you need to work on to be a leader:
1. Keep learning because you don’t know it all.
No one knows it all and you can always learn from other leaders within your company. Emulate some of their leadership styles and ask them to mentor you. Read leadership articles on blogs, business websites and follow famous world leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. You will develop your own leadership style over time, as you receive feedback from both your peers and direct reports.
2. Over communicate.
Many leaders think they are communicating the right way with their team but many leaders end up failing because they haven’t used the right medium or didn’t set proper expectations. Sit down with your team and agree upon deliverables and the medium in which you communicate, such as email or social networking. Instead of sending a few sentences in an email, it might be more beneficial to write a longer paragraph so that there are fewer emails back and forth. After you ask someone on your team to do a project, find out if they have any questions immediately so you know that they can handle the work.
3. Share credit.
It’s easy for a leader to get caught up in their role. Many start to develop a big ego and start taking credit for the work of their reports. This can really count against them in the long term because their employees won’t be motivated and will want to leave. When more employees leave, it signals to the higher ups that there’s something wrong with the leader, which could result in termination. You should always bring members of your team up with you because they can support your rise in the corporation.
4. Don’t micromanage.
One of the biggest challenges leaders have is that they want to continue to do all the work because they got their position that way. Micromanaging doesn’t work because you end up stressed out and not having enough time to execute projects at the highest level. Instead of trying to do everything, distribute that work evenly amongst the team such that each project plays into their own unique strengths. You should be overseeing the completion of the work from afar and having weekly check-ins to make sure it’s complete and on time but nothing more.
5. Accept the right criticism.
Don’t take criticism to heart or it will bring you down. Instead, analyze all the criticism you get and do a self-assessment. Some of the criticism will be true and useful and some will be based on jealousy. Think about where the criticism is coming from and what it’s based on. Then, incorporate the right criticism into your daily leadership habits so that you improve.
6. Set clear expectations for your employees.
When you don’t set expectations, you don’t get the results you want. Instead of holding back, and under-communicating, put it all right out there for your team. Tell them upfront what is expected of them, how they can accomplish the tasks and when they should check in. This way, you are creating a protocol that they can follow so they meet your expectations, and hopefully exceed them.
7. Adapt to change.
Change is constant and for a leader it means that you need to adapt yourself to new people and work situations. You might be pushed into a new role in a different department or have to hire a new employee. You might not be able to implement the same leadership techniques with these new situations and people so you have to adapt to them. Some might need more direction than others, while others might be more independent instead of collaborative.
8. Be a good listener.
Leaders can get ahead of themselves by always talking and trying to push people in one direction or another. Instead of doing that, listen to what other people are saying around you. Listen before you speak because you have more data and thoughts to go by. If you are speaking all the time, people will feel like you don’t care about what they have to say either.
9. Train and develop the people around you.
In order to better distribute work and start positioning yourself for bigger roles at your company, you have to train your people. There’s really no other way to do it! Since you’re the leader, you know what skills they need. Start teaching them those skills and explaining to them how to best use the skills to help both yourself and your company push forward.
10. Hold yourself accountable.
At the end of the day, it’s on you to make sure you are delivering your best work. If your team isn’t performing, then it’s your fault. If you aren’t leading them, then don’t expect them to perform at the highest level. Invest in your own personal training and development, while supporting your team. Take responsibility for your actions and don’t place them on the team.
Posted on Thursday, June 5th 2014
5 Signs You Should Be Eating More Carbs
It’s unfortunate how we treat the poor carbohydrate. Mistakenly associated with weight gain and empty calories, carbs are actually an essential part of a balanced diet — especially if you want to do any sort of physical activity — and often a tasty one, at that.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adults get about45 to 65 percent of their daily calories from carbs. Of course, not all carbs are created equal. Those that come from refined sugars and flours may only cause more troublesome cravings. But carbs from whole grains or veggies don’t result in the same dramatic blood sugar spike, LiveScience reported.
So skip the sugary cereals and the second spaghetti helping, but get your fill of squash, beans, fruit, quinoa, oatmeal and so much more. Don’t believe us? Here are a few good reasons you’ll want to do just that.
1. You have bad breath.
The aim of low-carb diets, of course, is to burn the body’s stores of fat for energy instead of carbs, although most experts agree this does not lead to long-term weight loss. When the body burns fat, it does so by a process called ketosis, which releases chemicals called ketones. Ketones, unfortunately, have a less than pleasant smell, and are often released through the breath. The bad news for low-carb dieters is this isn’t an oral hygiene issue, so “all the brushing, flossing, and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this,” Kenneth Burrell, DDS told WebMD.
2. Your workouts are slipping.
When physically active people don’t get enough carbs, the body can resort to using protein for necessary muscle function, including muscle building, which is why carbs are often called “protein sparing”. Replenishing the body after workouts with the carbs burned during the workout can therefore speed recovery, better preparing you for tomorrow’s routine.
3. You feel a little fuzzy.
Just like the body, the brain also relies on carbs, broken down into glucose, for energy. And when the brain doesn’t get the glucose it needs, it might not work to the best of its ability. A small 2008 study found that women on a low-carb diet scored worse on a series of memory tests than women on a low-calorie but nutrient-balanced diet. When the low-carb women started eating carbs again? Their brains quickly bounced back to normal.
4. You’re cranky.
People following a low-carb plan consistently report feeling more irritable, stressed and fatigued, even when their diet results in weight loss. One possible cause may be that carbs are essential to the body’s production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that’s responsible for lifting your spirits, U.S. News reported. But a low-carb plan, as compared to a low-fat plan, may also just feel like less fun, according to a 2009 study. The research followed 106 obese and overweight people on either a low-carb or low-fat diet for an entire year. While people from both groups who stuck to their diets lost weight, the low-carb dieters reported a worsening of their moods over time, and the moods of the low-fat dieters improved, Health.com reported. Researchers surmised that being told you can’t eat as much food as you want when you’re eating smaller portions of those calorie-dense foods higher in fat and protein may just put a damper on the mood.
5. You’re irregular.
“One of the primary places where you are going to see metabolic changes on any kind of diet is in your gastrointestinal tract,” Dr. Stephen Sondike, M.D., of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin told WebMD. Most likely, those changes will manifest in the form of constipation, likely due to the fiber low-carb dieters miss out on when they cut back on grains. Eating more high-fiber vegetables can help.
Posted on Tuesday, May 27th 2014
7 Tips to Building Your Brand’s Reputation Online
Your brand is you.
It comes through in your messaging, in your website content, in your social media activity, at the trade shows, when you speak to audiences, and in your internal meetings.
However, if your branding doesn’t match what internal and external audiences feel about your organization, things can go off the rails. Many businesses have a scattered approach to branding. They don’t know what they’re trying to achieve. Some want to be all things to all people. Some don’t have specific niches.
No one cares about these brands.
While you can’t control what people say about your brand, there are some things you can do to help shape perception:
1. Be vigilant. Monitor and listen to the conversations happening online about you, the company, the products, the services, your competitors, and the industry. Harness that information, be vigilant about paying attention, and use it to massage your messaging, tweak your offerings, or even create new products.
2. Be honest. Two little words work wonders: “I’m sorry.” If there is a product issue, be honest about what is happening. Keep people updated. People will appreciate the honest communication and reward you with loyalty.
3. Be open. It’s difficult for human beings to keep open minds about many things. When your company, your product, your service, your employees, or even your policies are under attack, it’s really hard not to get defensive. But if you show a willingness to talk about issues, and even change your policies based on feedback, you’ll create the most loyal customers.
4. Be active. Many business leaders think they have to jump on the social media bandwagon and have accounts on all of the social networks. That just isn’t true. If your customers and prospects aren’t on Twitter, for instance, why would you spend precious resources there? Find out where your audiences already participate, and be active in responding to them.
5. Be consistent. Many organizations don’t know who they want to be when they grow up. Because of that, employees all deliver a different message when they attend trade shows, when they meet someone on an airplane, when they blog, when they tweet, or when they go to networking events. Figure out what your vision is, create your elevator pitch and supporting messages, and train everyone to use them.
6. Be creative. Not every person who complains about you online deserves a response. And not every complaint will be solvable. But if you’re creative in how you handle those things, other customers and prospects will see you trying and will appreciate the effort.
7. Be proud. Once you figure out your vision, post it everywhere. Create plaques for employees to hang over their desks. Have a sign made for your entryway. Include it on your website. Some organizations even include it in their email signatures. While it will eventually be something people are accustomed to seeing, no one will have any doubt about where you are going.
Posted on Thursday, May 22nd 2014
The One Morning Work Mistake You Can’t Recover From
Rolling into the office around 9:30 a.m. every day may be killing your career, even if you stay late to put in a full day’s worth of work.
A new study from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business found that despite working the same amount of time, a worker who starts the day earlier will come off as more conscientious, and consequently receive better performance reviews, than someone who starts later.
Past studies have shown that giving workers a little leeway in setting their hoursmakes them happier and more productive – presumably a win for both the employee and the company. That’s why companies like Google and Microsoft let employees work from home or adjust their schedules to account for personal responsibilities, like taking a child to school in the morning.
But the study suggests a downside: Your boss may be unconsciously judging you for giving yourself a later start time, regardless of how much work you’re getting done.
In the study, which will be published in full in the Journal of Applied Psychology later this year, researchers asked 149 supervisors to rate an employee’s performance; employee start times ranged from 5 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Even when employees who started later in the day worked the same number of hours as those who started earlier, supervisors were inclined to rate employees who began work earlier as more conscientious, and gave them higher performance ratings.
Bosses who preferred to work later hours themselves were less inclined to display this “morning bias.”
In a second experiment, the researchers assigned a group of 141 college students the role of a supervisor, and asked each student to review a profile of a fictitious employee. The performance of the fictional employee was the same in all cases, but start time varied across profiles. Researchers found that employees who worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. were consistently given higher ratings of conscientiousness and performance by the student supervisors than employees who worked from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The researchers concluded that employees who can opt for flexible work schedules should shift their schedules earlier, not later, to account for managers’ morning bias.
“It seems likely that some employees are experiencing a decrement in their performance ratings that is not based on anything having to do with their actual performance,” the three researchers wrote in a post for the Harvard Business Review.
This “morning bias” appears to be deeply ingrained. In a word-association experiment designed to test the implicit stereotype that early risers are more diligent workers, the researchers also found that a majority of the 120 working adults surveyed linked words associated with the morning (like “sunrise”) with words associated with conscientiousness (like “industriousness”).
Another recent study covered by the New York Times further suggests there may be an implicit view among some managers that employees who take advantage of flexible work policies in any way are less conscientious than employees who work more “traditional” hours.
“Most organizations still treat workplace flexibility as an accommodation,” Erin Kelly, a sociology professor at the University of Minnesota, told the Times. “You are implicitly saying, ‘Most of us will be working these traditional ways and the rewards will come to those working these traditional ways.’ And that is where you have this stigma or career penalties.”
Although the study did not consider gender, it seems women could be more adversely affected by morning biases than men. That’s because more women than men are primary caregivers for their children and assume a disproportionate amount of household tasks, according to a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Studies have shown that women take advantage of workplace telecommuting policies more often than men for the same reason — and that their careers may suffer as a result of not logging as much face time at the office.
Posted on Wednesday, May 21st 2014
5 Hidden Benefits Of Sleep
1. Puts you in a good mood.
Sleep keeps you well rested and ultimately put you in a good mood. Let’s be real, Monday’s suck, but if you have a good night’s sleep it makes the day that much more bearable. Lack of sleep can make you irritable and leave you feeling more stressed than you probably are. According to a study done at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, these symptoms can lead to things much worse, such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. I know if I do not get at least seven hours of sleep a night, I will be a miserable person and everyone better steer clear! I would hate to develop a disease or bad habit due to my sleep behaviors. Life is already stressful as gen-y women; why add to it?
2. Poor sleep habit take years off your life
“I’ll sleep when I am dead.” How many times have you said that when you choose to go out on a night when you have to be up early the next day? I am sure you all have. But it turns out that getting more sleep each night actually adds years to your life, according to a study done by the American Psychological Association. So that statement we say is really an oxymoron and contradicts itself. By getting the proper hours of sleep every night, we’ll ensure a long and happy life.
3. Improves your memory
As the world of medicine advances, it has been shown that most individuals suffer from a loss of memory in their old age. Dementia and Alzheimer’s runs in both sides of my families, and I have unfortunately watched many loved ones suffer from these incurable diseases. However, if you sleep the proper amount of hour’s every night; you can improve your memory. Research conducted by Men’s Fitness shows that when people looked at images and then were either allowed to sleep or forced to remain awake, the people that were able to sleep could recall the objects much better than the people that were forced to stay awake. Sleep enhances our memories. So even though this is not a cure, it can certainly help!
4. Sharpen your attention
Our brains our powerful machines; they need to rest every now and then. While you are sleeping you are allowing your brain to recharge, which will ultimately sharpen your attention. Your attention span and concentration decline when you do not get enough sleep, according to a study done by the Harvard Medical School, which causes your reaction time to be delayed. This causes your brain to have a hard time making decisions. When you get a good night’s sleep, your body and brain will be prepared to react to whatever comes your way.
5. Keeps you beautiful
A good night’s sleep keeps you beautiful. According to a study done on WebMd, beauty sleep is a real thing! The lack of sleep causes blood vessels to expand in your face, which ultimately creates dark circles under the eyes. Like your brain, your skin needs rest, too. No wonder Princess Aurora was gorgeous, she got to sleep for 100 years and then wake up to a handsome prince!
Posted on Wednesday, May 21st 2014
How To Be Productive
Productive people appear to have the ability to do it all, but that’s only an appearance. The truth is they’ve figured out some important lifestyle habits, that while simple, most of us have not yet mastered.
Here are 10 simple things that productive people are doing better than you — at the moment:
1. Getting enough sleep
Your body literally restores itself during sleep. In the four stages of a healthy sleep cycle, the first three are all dedicated to what is called Non-REM sleep and specifically act to restore the physical body. You know from experience what a bad night’s sleep feels like the next day. You feel slow, sluggish and foggy. Your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. You body is craving carbs and sugar. You need to make sleep as important of a priority as your waking day and devote yourself to at least six hours of good sleep a night.
2. Taking breaks
You aren’t meant to sit at a desk or computer for eight to 12 hours a day, and yet many people do. While that may be the reality of your entrepreneurial path, mix it up by taking breaks in your day. Get up, walk, move and stretch. Try a standing desk platform for certain work portions of the day. Take a real break to enjoy a healthy meal for lunch and follow it up with a walk. Time is always precious, but breaks and moving will make you more productive and help your body to stay well adjusted in the long run.
3. Outsourcing to create time
Speaking of time being precious, get some time back by outsourcing anything and everything you can afford. Get a virtual assistant, hire a freelance designer, book your first CPA — just start outsourcing as much of your business as possible to get some time back.
4. Working at the best times
One thing that’s great about the entrepreneur lifestyle is the ability to be flexible. Really productive people know when they’re at their best. Some love to cram out huge productivity sessions after 10 p.m. when the family is in bed while others know they shine first thing in the morning. Whatever you body’s naturally most productive time, do most of your work then.
5. Prioritizing everything
Productive people know that there are urgent things and then there are important things. They’ve mastered the skill of letting go of “urgency” for what’s actually important and a priority. You won’t be able to do it all every day. Prioritize and plan to make the most efficient use of your time.
6. Taking actions vs. overanalyzing
Productive people know that good planning doesn’t work without taking action, too. It’s important to plan, but many will get lost in the perfectionist trap. It’s better to take action on a good plan then to sit on a perfected plan and wait. Productive people create the future by taking action.
7. Getting organized
If time is always of the essence, productive people understand that having an organized life means saving time. It takes less time to label something properly or put something back properly than it does to try to find it later in a heap of disorganized junk. Get organized in every aspect of your life for maximum productivity.
8. Not multitasking
Some people make the case for multitasking and some have even managed to pull this amazing feat off, but let them be the expectation and not the rule. Productive people realize that multitasking is a myth and they choose to stay focused. So should you.
9. Creating and upholding boundaries
Boundaries tie together many of the things productive people do. They keep productive people organized and help them prioritize. When you make boundaries and uphold them, you save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run trying to figure out and analyze all the exceptions. Boundaries are a great way to organize. Come up with your own and try them out.
10. Shopping online
Productive people know the value proposition of time, and when possible, shop online. It’s a simple trick that can save a lot of time. There are shops online that sell literally everything. From grocery service delivery to bathroom supplies and more, most of your everyday needs are available online to be delivered to your door. That saves a lot of time, and in most cases, money.
Posted on Monday, May 5th 2014
11 Things You’ll Regret In Your 30s
1. The shoulds
You’ll feel societal pressures in your 30s more than ever before, but don’t let the shoulds hold it back. You may constantly worry about how you should own a home, you should have kids, you should be married, or you should have a steady career. Drop all those expectations, and live life the way that makes you the happiest. Don’t feel like a failure just because your life happens to deviate from the norm — you’ve got one life to live, so live it your way.
2. Not spending time with parents
One common regret that many people in their 30s have is not spending time with their parents while they are young enough to actively participate. Simple pleasures like taking a walk, traveling, or even having a conversation may be harder to come by once your parents age.
3. Putting work first
Something to keep in your mind in your 30s: if you put work first, you’re going to regret it. Spend time with people you love, because those are precious moments that money and moving up the ladder can’t beat.
4. Spending time on negativity
And you thought those negative people would disappear from your life in your 30s. Nope, there may be some hanging around, so don’t waste time on them. Watch out for people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, and reevaluate your relationships with them. Be careful of spending time on negative thoughts and issues that you have no control over. Just. Let. It. Go.
5. Thinking your 30s was old
“I’m too old for this!” may be a common phrase you use in your 30s. You know what? You’re not. And I bet people in their 50s and 60s will agree. The world was your oyster in your 20s, and it still is. Take a chance, live, and enjoy life as the young’un you are, and never lose that child in you.
6. Not putting yourself first
Maybe you’re putting everyone else first in your life but you. Snap out of it! Know that once you put yourself first, everything else can fall into place. Putting your needs first will make you a happy camper, which will result in better relationships — a win-win. When you take care of yourself, you’ll have fewer regrets in your 30s. The partner your life revolved around? You probably won’t regret that as much if you had focused on your needs and chased your dreams as well.
7. Not taking better care of your body
It’s quite the paradox — you say you’re too old for something, and yet you still keep the junk-food-fueled and antiexercise habits of the younger you. Those habits are harder to drop, but treat your body right early, or it’ll catch up with you before you know it.
8. Not taking chances
Maybe you’re overly cautious at this age and perhaps it’s the shoulds we mentioned earlier that are holding you back. Don’t play it safe, and live a little.
9. Not saving and investing enough
This seems to be a huge, huge regret that a lot of 30-year-olds carry. If you start saving earlier, you’ll be reaping bigger rewards by the time you retire. And if you don’t put off saving and investing in your 30s, you’ll be more likely to retire at the age you want.
10. Not traveling enough
The world is at your fingertips, so take off on a travel adventure! Don’t keep procrastinating and putting this off — it’ll be harder to make time for travel as you get older. Get inspired by this list of the 10 most beautiful travel adventures.
11. Caring too much about what others think
It seems we’re guilty of this at every age. Don’t waste more time on this useless habit in your 30s. Stop investing time and energy into caring about what people who don’t care about you think. The ones who do care for you will accept you as you are.
Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd 2014
Things You Need To Know About Coconut Oil
So … is coconut oil actually healthy or just a passing health fad? And, if it is healthy, why did we used to think it was so bad for us?
Coconut oil is everywhere these days — as a butter substitute in vegan baking, a smoothie topper for natural health nuts and even a beauty treatment, for moisturizing skin and hair and improving oral health via oil pulling.
But … wasn’t it just a generation ago that we were decrying coconut oil as the worst of the worst, due to its high levels of heart-harming saturated fat? Did we get it very wrong back then or is the reemergence of the tropical oil nothing but a slick stunt?
According to Tom Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, the answer is some combination of both. Not all coconut oils are created equal. The flakey, fragrant stuff you might find in a superfood smoothie is a very different type of coconut oil than the partially-hydrogenated fat found in junk food in the ’80s, which was a highly-processed version of the plant oil, containing trans fats and other dangerous, cholesterol-promoting compounds.
“The older refined-deodorized bleached coconut oil causes rapid and very unhealthy looking rises in cholesterol, for sure, no doubt,” Brenna said in an email to HuffPost Healthy Living. “There is no evidence that that is the case for virgin coconut oil, which is available today but was not in the 1970s and ’80s when people were using RDB coconut oil.”
Virgin coconut oil and even a refined version (most studies have been conducted on refined coconut oil) are now available in grocery stores and health stores and are being touted for their ability to help us lose weight, stave off illness and even prevent Alzheimer’s. Sure, it’s better than its junk food predecessor, but is it quite all that?
“It has properties that are promising, but we need a lot more research before we can say this is the superfood of 2014,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick MS, RD, LD, manager of wellness nutrition services for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
Recently, a study conducted on mouse cells and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease got some attention when it found that treatment with coconut oil helped protect cortical neurons in a lab setting. Can we extrapolate that to a protective brain effect in living humans quite yet? Of course not.
Coconut oil may also help encourage weight loss, as in a 2009 study during which women with abdominal obesity who supplemented their diet with coconut oil were able to lose more weight than those who were given a soy bean oil supplement. But Kirkpatrick cautions against the “health halo effect,” in which we give a pass to foods that we think are healthy and lose sight of portion control. “Just because we think there are some health benefits doesn’t mean you can use a whole jar of coconut oil to cook,” she says.
Natural coconut oil is made of 90 percent saturated fat (butter, a distant second, contains a comparatively puny 64 percent saturated fat), but the kind of saturated fat matters just as much as the amount. About half of virgin coconut oil’s saturated fat is lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that turns out to have a number of health-promoting properties, including the ability to improve levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. People can also more easily digest medium-chain triglycerides and convert them to energy, according to The Wall Street Journal, making coconut oil a good choice for athletes. That said, because it’s so high in saturated fat, even the purest, most natural coconut oil could be problematic for longterm heart health, according to a Harvard nutrition professor.
“Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. We don’t really know how coconut oil affects heart disease,” wrote Walter C. Willett, M.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School for Public Health, in a newsletter. “And I don’t think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL.”
Kirkpatrick herself cooks with coconut oil about once a week for taste, but is hesitant to use any more than that until there’s more research. “I really stick with olive oil,” she says. “It’s not as sexy, but there are so many more studies about its benefits.”
Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd 2014