Top 7 Benefits of Becoming More Minimalist

Some minimalists define this “less is more” practice as owning 100 things or less. Others who enjoy a minimalist lifestyle don’t obey a strict rule that dictates exactly how many items they have, they simply limit the number of virtual and physical possessions they obtain, and practice this ideology on an ongoing basis. However you define minimalism, there are some definite benefits to the idea that you shouldn’t be defined by the number of things you have.

1 – Lower Stress Levels

When you own fewer possessions, you have less stress and anxiety. You don’t have to worry as much about maintaining, protecting, repairing and insuring possessions when you own fewer of them.

2 – Your Wallet Gets Fatter

Monitor all of your purchases for 30 days. Strictly judge whether or not you need any and every one of them. You will notice more money in your bank account at the end of that month. When you own fewer things, which you generally have to buy, there is more money available for you to save, or channel into other directions.

3 – You Are Not Cleaning as Often

This is a benefit of minimalism not a lot of people think about. Obviously, the more things you own, the more things you have to clean, dust, wash and maintain.

4 – More Free Time

Researching, shopping, negotiating, travel time and trial periods where you can test out a product for free all require your time. You treat yourself to a ton of free time when you are engaging in these activities less and less.

5 – You Feel Free

When you have a lot of stuff, you feel anchored to those possessions. People that practice a minimal lifestyle say that one of the first feelings they enjoy is a sense of freedom, as if a weight has been taken from their back, since they don’t have to worry about so many possessions.

6 – You Contribute to a Cleaner Environment

Yes, you help improve the health of the planet when you go minimal. Greedy consumption is leading to unsustainable earth practices. If everyone stopped making needless purchases tomorrow, the earth would instantly be a healthier planet.

7 – You Leave More for Others

Acquiring possessions can sometimes be a greedy endeavor. Even if you are not adding “things” to your life for greedy reasons, you are, by the very nature of supply and demand, limiting how many things are available for other people. Minimalism means leaving more for others, including future generations.

How to Feel More Confident About Your Body

More people today, both young and old, are overweight and obese than at any other time in human history. At the same time, print, television and online media display perfect images of the human body, sculpted, fit, trim and beautiful. It is no wonder that men and women, and even children, may suffer from a poor self-image about their bodies.

This shouldn’t be the case. You, and every other man, woman and child is unique and beautiful. You are truly one-of-a-kind, in body and mind. You should love and admire your body, especially since it is the only one you get. Practice the following tips and you will come to appreciate and respect your body, building confidence and a well-deserved love of self.

Add Cologne or Perfume

Dr. Jorien van Paasschen of the Bangor University in the UK points to studies which show that adding a little cologne or perfume makes you feel more attractive. The International Journal of Cosmetic Science agrees. They site research which shows splashing on a little perfume or cologne gives you a psychological boost of well-being. The same thing happens when you groom yourself in any way, or wash off the stress and grime after a hard day’s work.

Watch Your Posture

Stand and sit up straight. Pull your shoulders back, your chin up and don’t slouch. An Italian study shows that good posture boosts your self-confidence, and does so nearly instantly. Try striking a power pose with your hands on your hips and legs apart, slightly wider than your shoulders, and you can’t help but feel good about yourself. The 3 Warrior poses in yoga also empower you and make you feel good about your body.

Workout/Exercise Regularly

When you exercise, “feel happy” endorphins and other energizing hormones are released. This makes you feel good about your body, your mind and everything going on in your life. This is a simple way to develop a positive self-image, with the wonderful side-effect of burning off some excess weight and making your body stronger and healthier.

Get a Massage

The journal Body Image reports that getting a massage can make you feel better about your body. So does simply being touched by anyone. The mind assumes that since someone is touching you, they must be happy with your body. Once again, endorphins are released when someone touches your skin or embraces you, which is why you feel so good when you get a hug.

7 Natural Solutions for Boosting Your Energy

Are you tired of trying coffee, energy drinks, pills, and supplements to revive you when you run out of energy? You can increase your energy with natural methods, instead, and feel better all over!

Try these healthy, natural energy-boosters:

1. Exercise. It may be difficult to stay motivated and exercise while you’re tired. However, the energy boost you will receive can last for a long period of time.

* Exercise increases your heart rate and blood flow, so your body is able to get more nutrients and oxygen. This has a direct impact on your energy levels, and you begin to feel more animated.

* Vigorous and intense exercise isn’t necessary to boost energy levels. You can benefit from slower and calmer types of exercises, too, such as walking and yoga.

2. Eat more whole foods. Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits can help you raise your energy levels in a natural way.

* Health experts recommend avoiding energy drinks and bars because they’re considered a second-rate choice compared to whole foods. Focus on eating whole fruits, grains, vegetables, and other items.

* Check your calorie intake, especially if you’re on a low-calorie diet. If you’re not getting enough calories during the day to sustain your lifestyle, then you’ll feel tired. It’s important to evaluate your food intake and keep a diary to ensure you’re eating enough.

3. Laugh. Laughing can bring you a sudden boost of energy.

* Do you have an online video that always makes you laugh? Can you call a friend who is always ready to share a joke?

4. Add small breaks to your day. Working without breaks can lead to fatigue.

* Short breaks scattered throughout your day can help you fight stress and reenergize. These breaks can last a few minutes or 10 minutes. They should leave you feeling calmer and more energized.

5. Avoid negative people. If you’re surrounded by negative people, you’re more likely to suffer from stress and fatigue.

* Studies show that your body’s reaction to the stress response can leave you feeling drained. Negative people can make your stress levels go up, so it’s important to surround yourself with positive people who don’t make you tired.

6. Take a nap. Napping may seem like a counterintuitive idea, but researchers have found it can help increase energy levels. Short naps can help you feel refreshed and empowered to take on new challenges.

* Research from the National Institutes of Mental Health reveals that taking a nap can help your brain and body recover from stress and other activities.

7. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol. Water can help you prevent dehydration and fatigue.

* Nutritionists have found that even the beginning stages of dehydration can leave you feeling tired and weak. It’s important to drink water throughout the day and ensure you’re getting enough.

* Alcohol can contribute to fatigue, so you may want to avoid it.

* In addition, alcohol can mess with your normal sleep schedule and make it more difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. This can lead to more fatigue in the morning and feelings of weakness.

Natural methods can help you increase your energy levels without relying on caffeine or medications.

Follow these tips and you’ll enjoy fewer days where you’re lagging from a lack of energy.

Top 5 Fitness Tips for Seniors

You know you should exercise regularly, drink lots of water and eat nutritious foods. Those are 3 smart fitness tips everyone should live by. If you are a senior, the following tips provide even more support for a fit and healthy lifestyle.

1. It’s Never Too Late to Start

Don’t think that since you have lived a life of little exercise and physical activity, there is no need to start now. Just 15 minutes after you begin exercising, you benefit by the increased rate of healthy oxygen pumped throughout your body. Make exercise a regular part of your daily and weekly activities, and your health can improve quickly.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

There are always going to be other people in better (and worse) shape than you. Comparing your level of fitness to someone else is pointless. You are an incredibly unique individual. What someone else can or cannot do has nothing to do with you. Continue to make strides with your physical fitness, keeping moving and active on a daily basis, and your efforts will pay off.

3. Don’t Underestimate Yourself

The last 20 or 30 years research continues to show that what we thought about the inevitability of aging is not entirely true. The things that you can accomplish, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally, are not limited by your age. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start slow, but don’t underestimate what frequent physical activity, lots of rest, smart nutrition and hydration can accomplish in your life.

4. For Senior Citizens Who Used To Be Athletes – You Are Not That Young Anymore

You just learned that you may be able to do more physically than you ever thought possible as a senior citizen. This mindset can lead to incredible health rewards. On the other side of that coin are those individuals who overestimate their physical ability as seniors. If you used to be an athlete, or you were just very physically active as a youngster, don’t overestimate your strength and endurance. You can lead a wonderfully healthy life as a senior, but not if you injure yourself by overestimating your physical abilities.

5. Get Strength Training, Balance Exercises and Aerobics in Your Life

Balance exercises include yoga, Pilates and tai chi. Every year past 60, your chances of falling increase. That’s why balance exercises are so important for seniors. However, as mentioned above, so is regular and moderately intense aerobic activity. Add strength training, like body weight training or lifting weights, and you have the perfect trifecta of senior exercising for a fit and healthy body – strength training, balance exercises and aerobics.

How to Deal With Text Message Arguments

The popularity of text messaging has also increased the number of arguments that occur using this service. Learn to handle difficult text message conversations with style! Use technology to help you overcome relationship challenges instead of making them more challenging.

Consider these tips for dealing with arguments through text messages:

1. Understand the risk of misinterpretation. The lack of face-to-face communication makes it easier to misinterpret each other. You can’t see the other person’s face and body language or hear the tone of their voice. These nonverbal cues are a big part of communication. In fact, most of what others “hear” is what we don’t actually say.

* When you receive a message, if it can be taken a couple of ways, clarify the correct meaning from the sender.

* When you’re sending a message, before you hit that “send” button, take a moment to reread your message to see if your words could be interpreted differently than what you mean.

2. Pay attention to the conversation. Text messaging prevents you from interrupting each other. However, it’s still important to pay attention to each message and respond appropriately to it.

3. Take a break. If the argument is too intense, you may need to step away from it. Text messaging makes this simple because you can simply stop sending more messages.

* A break from the argument can help you collect your thoughts and ideas.

* However, before you take a break, let the other person know that you’ll be gone for a few minutes. You don’t want the other person to think you’ve abandoned the conversation.

4. Stay aware of your tone. Even an argument through text messages can be affected by the tone of your words. Some words carry more intense emotional connotations than others.

* In addition, when you use capital letters, it’s as if you’re screaming at them.

5. Consider the impact of emojis. The little face you add to your messages can help explain your meaning, but even their intention can be mistaken if your recipient thinks you’re using them sarcastically.

* You can use emojis to convey emotions, but you don’t want the entire conversation to be filled with little face icons. Use words as well as pictures.

6. Lighten the conversation with humor. A joke or other small statement can help alleviate some of the anger and other issues during the argument.

7. Avoid personal attacks. Because there’s no face-to-face connection, text messaging can easily raise the risk of personal attacks.

* Pay attention to your language and avoid insults. It’s not possible to take back a sent text message that hurts your partner or friend. These words can destroy relationships and make it difficult to recover for both of you.

8. Stay aware of emotional distance. Text messages can create emotional distance between you and your partner. It’s easy to forget the reality of your relationship and get lost among angry text messages.

* The use of text messaging creates physical and emotional distance that makes it more challenging to understand each other.

9. Try to move the argument away from text messages. A face-to-face conversation is still one of the best ways to handle issues in a relationship or friendship.

* If you can move the argument away from texting, it’s likely that you’ll be able to resolve it faster and easier.

You may want to try to save the conversation for later. You may also want to try other methods to communicate such as video calls.

If you’re having an argument through text messages, follow these strategies to help you navigate the treacherous waters and have a text message conversation that leaves both of you happy.

7 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude Every Day

Science has proven that being grateful leads to a higher quality of life. People who express gratitude regularly live longer, are healthier, and also have a lower incidence rate of overweight, obesity, stress, anxiety and chronic disease. The following 7 benefits are just a few of the many rewards of practicing gratitude every day.

1 – Healthy Relationships

Being grateful every day means telling the important people in your life that they matter. This improves your relationships on a daily basis.

2 – Stress-Relief

Worrying about what you don’t have is very stressful. When you experience mental and emotional stress, your body releases stress hormones. These impact your body in a negative way, causing physical and emotional health problems. The stress relief you receive from being thankful leads to a healthier body and mind.

3 – You Socialize More

Human beings are social animals. We were not intended to live a life of solidarity. People who are not grateful for the gifts in their lives tend to stay away from others. They huddle away in their homes, fostering a negative view on the world. When you appreciate the people and things in your life, you naturally want to socialize more, to reap more grateful benefits.

4 – You Sleep Better

The exact scientific and physiological connections between gratitude and better health are not entirely known. That doesn’t mean that positive effects noticed in grateful people can’t be tracked. One benefit scientists and sleep researchers have found in people that express gratitude regularly is healthier sleep patterns. This leads to better mental and physical health in a number of ways.

5 – Expressing Gratitude Makes You Happier

Several studies show that keeping a gratitude journal daily can increase your long-term well-being. One study shows that simply writing down the things you are grateful for every day can increase your health and well-being by more than 10%. Those studies showed that happiness level was the same as people who double their income!

6 – Gratitude Makes People Like You

This one is easy to understand. When you tell people they are important to you, that they matter, this makes them feel good. They want to be around you. They will often times repay the gratitude. When you take the time to express how grateful you are for others, rather than leaving it unspoken and assumed, you become a more likable person.

7 – Gratefulness Beats Depression

The Positive Psychology Progress study wanted to see how daily gratitude would affect depressed individuals. The results were nothing short of astounding. Keeping a gratitude journal “lowered depressive symptoms by 30+ % for as long as the practice was continued.” When test subjects took the time to make a physical visit to someone and express their gratitude, that single visit “reduced depressive symptoms by 35% for several weeks.”

Top 5 Fitness Tips for Busy Parents

Having kids calls for a busy, hectic lifestyle. When your children are very small, it seems you are changing diapers every few minutes. When they are bigger, you are running them here and there, acting as their personal taxi service. At home and at work, children make for very little free time for parents.

Even so, you understand how important it is to stay physically active. The mental and physical rewards from regular exercise are many, and when you stay active you set a healthy example for your children. Practice the following 5 fitness tips for busy parents, and you will always have time for health and wellness in your family.

1. Prioritize Physical Fitness

You must make exercise a priority, especially when you are busy all the time. As a parent, you are constantly “putting out fires” and dealing with problems that arise. That means that if you simply wait for spare time to develop, it may never happen. You have to prioritize being healthy, making it a part of your daily and weekly schedule.

2. When You Fail to Plan You Plan to Fail

If you have taken the mental step of prioritizing exercise in your busy life, good for you. Now you have to consciously make it a part of your family plan. This includes planning physical activity for kids. Don’t just do this mentally. Write down a weekly and monthly exercise plan and stick to it.

3. Stop Thinking of Exercise Traditionally

Any moderately intense to intense physical activity is a form of exercise. You don’t have to head to the gym or health club to be benefiting from exercise. Carrying around a small child all day is definitely a form of exercise, as is spending 30 or 40 minutes running around outside with your kids enjoying their favorite playtime activities.

4. Spread out Your Efforts

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You don’t need to experience long, drawn-out exercise sessions. Many noted health authorities recommend 2.5 to 3.0 hours of moderately intense aerobic activity each week. The rewards of exercise are cumulative, meaning you can enjoy that exercise in 10 workout sessions that are 15 minutes long each, or 5 sessions which are 30 minutes in duration.

5. Get Your Kids Involved
Why not schedule exercise activities the whole family can enjoy together? This ensures you get the workout you need, your children develop healthy exercise habits, and you strengthen your family bond, all at the same time.

How Does Strength Training Help You Lose More Fat?

A vast majority of women who exercise regularly do not do it to enhance their flexibility, increase strength, or build muscle. They do it to keep their body fat percentage low. But what exactly is the best and most efficient way for women to lose weight? Is it spending as many hours as possible on the treadmill? Running for miles up a hilly terrain? Or could it be engaging in High-Intensity Interval Training during your workouts?

While these 3 methods are effective in their own ways, there’s a secret fat loss weapon that many women are yet to discover – weight training, which also increases strength. Yes, lifting weights is the best way to go if you want to lose weight permanently and in the fastest way possible. But how does it work? Well, here’s a look at how lifting weights leads to significant loss of weight. 

It Burns Calories Continuously

The secret to losing weight is burning more calories than you eat. When the body stays in a calorie-deprived state for long, it starts burning through its own tissue for fuel. Weightlifting helps your body remain at a constant calorie-deprived state by initiating the burning of calories during and long after your workout routine.

Lifting gives you a great burn during exercise where a routine as simple and short as a circuit of eight moves can burn 160 to over 200 calories. Additionally, studies show that a well-designed weightlifting routine can elevate your metabolism by up to 39 hours after the workout. This is because after a weightlifting routine, muscles need energy to repair their fibers, which they get by burning calories. The heavier the weights you lift, the higher and longer your metabolism rate gets elevated.

It Triggers More Fat Loss

Cardio activity only burns calories during workouts, which means you do not get to burn fat when not exercising. With weightlifting, however, you burn a great deal of calories during and after your workouts. This translates to more fat burned between sets as well as during the workout itself.

It Increases Muscle

It’s no secret that weight lifting results in a direct increase in muscle mass. This is why many women steer clear from this form of training due to fear of developing a man-like muscular physique. What most women do not know, however, is that the more muscle you have to contract, the more calories you burn.

So, if you have a large percentage of muscle mass in your body, you end up burning more calories when you engage in any form of physical activity (be it lifting dumbbells, doing squats, or even the simple act of walking) than someone with low muscle percentage.

Whether you have struggled with weight loss for a while or simply want to tone up fast, strength training can help. Just make sure to avoid overdoing it and include a proper diet and aerobic training to the mix. This way, you’ll avoid injury and enjoy more profound results.

6 Ways to Help Your Children Get a Great Start at Their New School

Changing schools can be a difficult process for children. However, going to a new school doesn’t have to be a source of stress and anxiety for your children. You can make the transition to a new school easier and more fun.

Try these ideas:

1. Avoid dismissing your children’s fears. They may be genuinely scared of starting at a new school. Children may be worried about new bullies, difficult classes, and fitting in at the school. They may also be afraid of making new friends or being alone. So it’s important to pay attention to your children’s fears and address them.

* Transitioning to a new school is a big step for children. It may seem minor to adults, but children spend their entire day at school and have to deal with homework at night. Their lives revolve around school and the people they see there.

2. Consider the advice of therapists. Therapists recommend that desensitization may help your children with the transition to a new school.

* Desensitization is the process of repeated exposure to a negative item, idea, or other process that results in reduced emotional responses. This means that being exposed to something negative multiple times can help you deal with it.

* Children who are having a hard time adjusting to the thought of starting a new school may benefit from desensitization.

* The easiest way to handle this is to visit the school multiple times before the new school year starts. You can visit the children’s new classrooms, playground, and cafeteria. You can try to set up meetings with their new teachers.

3. Show children the new routine. Children who love routines need to see the new version that will affect them.

* The new school routine can include the bus route or your driving route.

* It can also include their routine at home before school. You may want to consider eating breakfast, packing their lunch, and practicing for school.

4. Involve them in the process of getting ready for the new school. It’s important for children to feel like their opinions matter. This will help them transition to the new school with less fear.

* Your children can help you pick out their school supplies and clothes for the new year. They can also help you think of new breakfast ideas or favorite foods they want for lunch or after-school snacks.

5. Look for positive features in the new school. Does the new school have a bigger playground than their old one? Does it have a nicer lunch menu with more options? Do they get a longer recess?

* By looking for the positive aspects of the new school, you can show the children that moving to a new school may actually be fun for them – at least in some ways. These positive aspects give them something to look forward to.

* Conduct research on the new school and amaze your children with fun, new facts. You may also want to get a list of after-school activities and go through it with your children.

6. Remind your children that they have overcome other challenges. Your children will feel more confident if they remember the other transitions they conquered.
* For example, did your children move to a different neighborhood several years ago? Did your children successfully join a new program at their local library? Maybe they took dance lessons, joined a sports league, or trained in a martial arts class.

A new school can be a scary place for children, but you can help. You can be instrumental in giving them a great start as they transition to their new school.

Top 10 Strategies for Making Your Body Language Work for You

Do ever wonder why you don’t get the respect you deserve? Do others often ignore you? Your body language might be sending out the wrong signals.

To alter your body language, you must understand what you’re currently doing with your body. If possible, set up a video camera and record yourself interacting with others. What you see might shock you.

Movie stars are excellent role models for body language. A good actor can convey a lot of information without even speaking.

Enhance your body language and your communication skills with these tips:

1. Make yourself big. Whether you’re sitting or standing, don’t be afraid to take up a little space. Spread your arms and legs slightly. Insecure people tend to do the opposite and attempt to appear small. Show that you’re confident enough to claim the space around you without apology.

2. Sit and stand up straight. Your mom told you to stop slouching. She was right. Sit like a professional in an office setting. Be proper, but relaxed.

3. Establish good eye contact. This can be tricky. Too much eye contact can seem a little creepy. Too little comes off as submissive. Strive for 70-80% eye contact. When you look away from the other person’s eyes, avoid appearing distracted.

4. Mirror the other person. Within reason, mirror the other person’s stance and mannerisms. If you do it too precisely, they’ll think you’re crazy. Keep it mild, but adopt a similar style. Mirroring is a common Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique. You can find plenty of additional information online.

5. Keep your body open. Avoid crossing your arms and legs. Stay open to the other person. There’s no reason to protect yourself. Show that you’re relaxed. Turn and face people directly. When your feet and body are pointed in another direction, it shows disinterest and a desire to flee the scene.

6. Provide feedback while others are speaking. This means nod, say “mmhmmm”, or provide other feedback on occasion. It lets the other person know that you’re fully engaged and paying attention. Avoid overdoing it. Remember that you’re supposed to be listening.

7. Keep your hands away from your face. It’s distracting when someone touches their face during a conversation. Hands are dirty. Avoid putting them near your face.

8. Avoid fidgeting. When you fidget, you seem nervous and uncomfortable. Shaking your foot and tapping your fingers is also distracting to others. Have smooth, slow, infrequent movements. Try to mimic James Bond. He wouldn’t be squirming in his seat or picking at his face.

9. Avoid looking down. There’s nothing down there of interest. You look evasive and bashful when you lower your head. Keep your head high and others will give you more respect. You’ll feel better about yourself, too.

10. Maintain an appropriate distance. It’s odd when someone stands too close or too far away during a conversation. This is often a cultural issue, too. Find an appropriate distance for the situation. You can stand closer to some people than to others.

It’s not challenging to change your body language. However, it can take time for the changes to appear natural to others. Your body language is largely habitual. It won’t change by itself. Adopt a new technique each week and practice each day. In just a few weeks, you’ll notice that people are treating you differently.

Until your new mannerisms become a habit, you’ll have to be diligent in your intentions. Much of communication is non-verbal. Ensure that you’re communicating with maximum effect.