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12 Ways to Stay Calm During Relationship Struggles

12 Ways to Stay Calm During Relationship Struggles


Relationship struggles happen with every couple from time to time, but they don’t have to make your relationship spiral out of control. It’s important to stay calm during conflict so that both people hear each other out and come to a compromise. You might think that never fighting points to a healthy relationship, but experts say the opposite is true.

One study found that over 14 years, couples who argued often had the least likelihood of getting separated. The study followed 79 couples across the Midwest and found that the healthiest couples clashed and reconciled immediately afterward. So, don’t think that arguing a lot signals a strained relationship. It may strengthen your bond, depending on how you react after the argument.

Here are 12 ways to stay calm during relationship struggles:

Below, we’ll go over a few easy tips for remaining calm amid a disagreement. Remember, arguing is normal, and how you respond to your partner makes all the difference.

1 – Don’t expect perfection.

Many good, solid relationships fail because of unrealistic expectations. By expecting perfection from your partner, you never give them the freedom to make mistakes. They won’t feel comfortable in the relationship because of the impossible standards you’ve set for them. When you have relationship struggles, remember that both of you likely contributed to the problem.

This way, no one will get all the blame for the issues, and you can talk openly about your feelings. Of course, if you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to feel sorry for. If it was indeed on your partner, remember that they’re only human and likely didn’t purposely hurt you.

2 – Listen first, respond after.

Sadly, many people react without actually listening to someone’s point of view. However, make sure to stay calm and give your partner the chance to talk. You will learn more this way and perhaps understand why they reacted a certain way. Listening makes up a massive part of a successful relationship. Studies have shown that those who actively listen have better relationships.

What is active listening, exactly? It usually consists of the following:

  • Put away your cellphone or any other distractions.
  • Maintain eye contact with your partner
  • Restate or summarize what they’ve said for clarity
  • Acknowledge that you’re listening by saying “Mmm-hmm” or “yeah” occasionally.
  • Have empathy and understanding for your partner.
  • Most importantly, listen to understand wholly, not to reply.

3 – Try to remember you’re a team.

Don’t look at your partner as the enemy; instead, look at the problem you face as the real opponent. In relationship struggles, it’s easy to blame your partner for everything. However, this won’t get you any closer to solving the issue at hand. For any problem you face, you’ll want to stay calm and actively brainstorm on a resolution together.

4 – Keep in mind that every relationship has ups and downs.

Don’t get discouraged when you and your partner have disagreements; these will come up in any healthy relationship. Life does not come complete with an instruction manual. Indeed, you’ll face tons of challenges along the way. However, learning how to tackle problems as they arise helps you become stronger as a couple.

Of course, if a relationship goes through more bad times than good, you may want to reevaluate where you stand with them. Perhaps they haven’t been pulling their weight or have an overly negative attitude. As long as you work together and put in equal effort, you can get through anything.

5 – Don’t say anything you’ll regret later.

In the heat of the exchange, you may get a case of word vomit and say a few things you don’t mean. It happens from time to time. But if you wish to smooth things over easier, try to take a few breaths before you speak. Nothing good comes from anger, including lashing out at your partner during a disagreement.

Take time to formulate a response before you say anything because this can prevent a lot of heartaches and hurt feelings.

6 – Walk away for a few minutes to stay calm.

If taking a few breaths doesn’t work, you may need to walk away and get some fresh air. Or even revisit the topic later that day or the next day if you need to. Never put yourself in a situation where you don’t think you will have control over your response or reaction. This will only cause hurt to your partner and perhaps damage your relationship in the long-term.

7 – Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

Sometimes, the best way to overcome relationship struggles involves a hearty dose of empathy. If you want to resolve a problem, try to get inside your partner’s head. Where are they coming from? What can you learn from their side of the story?

You always want to approach relationship struggles as a team rather than you vs. them. You will only cause more strife and turbulence by trying to get your way or discarding their feelings.

For example, if your partner didn’t come home in time for dinner, they probably have a perfectly reasonable explanation. They may have gotten tied up at work or had a flat tire. Make sure to hear them out and get their side of the story before you react.

8 – Remember the positives of your relationship.

Many people ruin a perfectly good relationship by focusing too much on the negatives. In fact, according to the Gottman Institute, contempt in marriage is one of the most significant predictors of divorce. An excerpt from an article on the book’s website states:

“After watching thousands of couples argue in his lab, he was able to identify specific negative communication patterns that predict divorce. He called them The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Contempt is the most destructive of The Four Horsemen because it conveys, “I’m better than you. I don’t respect you.” It’s so destructive that couples who are contemptuous of each other are more likely to suffer from infectious illness than couples who are not scornful of each other. The target of contempt feels despised and worthless.”

However, even if you have a pattern of talking down to each other, you can always reverse this behavior. Relationship struggles can take a toll on a couple, but you can overcome them by recalling positive aspects of your relationship. Think back to when you first met and remember why you love your partner. If you can revive the fondness and admiration, you feel for each other. You’ll approach problems as a team.

9 – Put your partner’s happiness first.

Sadly, many people look to others to fill a void within their hearts, but this can quickly drain the other person. Of course, you should have a partner who makes you happy, but your relationship shouldn’t be primarily self-serving. In other words, you should want to make them feel fulfilled and put their needs first. If you both can do that for each other, you’ll have a higher chance of a successful relationship.

People who only think about their personal needs often end up jumping from one relationship to another. If you want a relationship, it takes a lot of sacrifice and selflessness to make it work. Sometimes, you must be willing to put aside your desires to make your partner happy.

10 – Practice mindfulness.

To stay calm during relationship struggles, you should remain mindful and present. Don’t recall old arguments and mistakes, and hold them over your partner’s head. This will only add more fuel and fan the fire and make your partner resentful or unwilling to discuss things with you. Tackling only the problem at hand makes it easier to smooth things over, and you’ll have the mental focus necessary to do so.

11 – Be open to being wrong sometimes.

You can’t be right all the time, especially in a relationship that requires humbleness and vulnerability. If you want a successful partnership, you’ll have to have an open mind and admit when you’re wrong at times. Focusing more on overcoming the issue instead of having to be right will ensure success in the problem getting solved.

12 – Don’t make assumptions about your partner.

Your partner may not be giving 100% lately, which makes you feel resentful and neglected. However, try to put yourself in their shoes– don’t assume they don’t care about you. Maybe they have a lot going on in their life, and asking them about it opens the floor for a heartfelt discussion. Not sure what’s on your their mind? Ask them–their inattentive behavior might be an outcry for help.

Final thoughts on how to stay calm in relationship struggles

Every relationship goes through phases, and it won’t always feel like the best time of your life. Anyone in a long-term relationship knows it takes enormous sacrifice and understanding to make things work. However, if you can apply some of the tips we’ve listed above, you can get through any relationship struggles that arise.

Lifestyle

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even if You’re an Introvert)

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even if You're an


“That’s all small talk is – a quick way to connect on a human level – which is why it is by no means as irrelevant as the people who are bad at it insist. In short, it’s worth making the effort.”— Lynn Coady

 Introverts naturally despite small talk because, in some ways, it seems forced or unnatural. However, deeper connections have to begin somewhere, which means sitting through a few generic conversations to start with. An easy question like “What do you do for work?” can easily lead to other exciting topics. Just because the discussion doesn’t include in-depth issues right off the bat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know someone.

If you think about it, all connections begin with some form of small talk that an introvert seems to dread. Thinking back to your very first date with your significant other. You can probably recall it being a little awkward. You may also have not talked about anything beyond surface-level stuff, like your jobs, family, or favorite movies. Humans need to build up a level of comfort before they delve into the more complex or sensitive conversation.

An introvert doesn’t digest this well, however, as they have a more challenging time with small talk. They crave stimulating, deep conversations and want to skip the awkward phases. Many introverts (and maybe even some extroverts) find typical conversation topics uninteresting and impersonal. For introverts, the societal rules surrounding social interactions between new people seem oppressive and inauthentic.

Why introverts hate small talk

  • It usually lacks in depth and meaning. Introverts need either in-depth intellectual discussion or an emotional connection. They don’t want to know “what’s up.”
  • It creates barriers between people. Talking about societally acceptable topics such as jobs, the economy, or kids gets boring for introverts. They believe this doesn’t allow room actually to get to know someone on a soul level.
  • It seems forced or fake. An introvert needs authenticity, and small talk seems like the exact opposite of that. They crave conversations where they can get lost for hours and truly vibe with someone.
  • Small talk lacks real emotion. Since introverts thrive on emotional connections, small talk drains them. They may overshare when getting to know someone because of this.

If you have trouble with small talk as either an introvert or extrovert, perhaps the following tips can help you.

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even as an Introvert)

1 – Ask the other person to tell a story, or suggest one yourself.

If you feel unsatisfied in your conversation with someone, maybe ask them to tell a story about themselves. People usually love to tell personal information about themselves, which gives you a chance to get to know them. Try these questions when the conversation stalls or you want to shift in a new direction:

  • “What’s the most interesting thing about your job?”
  • “What’s your favorite thing about where you grew up?”
  • “How did you choose your career/job?”
  • “What would you do to earn an income if money was no object?”
  • “What is the coolest place you’ve traveled to?”

These questions don’t cross any lines or push boundaries, so they still fit in with small talk. However, they allow you to get a little more out of a person than the usual questions. They can also make great icebreakers that lead to even more in-depth conversation.

2 – Be authentic.

Introverts crave authentic conversation and people but may have trouble expressing themselves honestly. However, if you want to attract these types of people, you have to be bold. Don’t pretend or hide who you are for the sake of fitting in. People love honesty, and if you don’t want boring conversation, bring something interesting to the table.

Express your real thoughts and feelings, even if you feel afraid of what others may say. Just remember that your people will love your realness, and the people meant for you will stick around. Not everyone will love you, but don’t let this stop you from being yourself.

For example, if you find yourself at a party, you can use these as your guide:

  • “I honestly don’t go to parties much. I feel kind of awkward being here.”
  • “I am kind of bashful at first, but I warm up after a while.”
  • “I’m better at listening than talking, honestly.”
  • “Sometimes, I want to walk away from my job and travel. Do you ever feel that way?”
  • “It took all my energy to come to this party! Being an introvert is hard.”

Of course, you can tweak these to fit your personality and life circumstances. This will hopefully give you a few fresh topic ideas for your next social event, though, and help you feel more comfortable.

3 – Share small details about yourself.

It would help if you did not get too deep with this, but sharing facts about yourself helps others feel comfortable, too. For example, you could talk about what you love to do after work or a cool place you recently traveled to. Small talk doesn’t have to equate with the mind-numbing, flat conversation. The more you contribute and share, the more others will follow your lead.

4 – Ask more why questions.

If you ask someone’s favorite ice cream flavor, you get an answer and then move on to something else. However, when you ask why questions, it helps the conversation expand. For example, if you ask someone about their career, you could ask why they chose it. This could apply to anything, such as why someone prefers nighttime to daytime or why they drink black coffee.

Simply put, asking people why makes them contemplate their answer more, which can lead to some interesting conversation avenues.

Here are the habits of introverts that most people.misunderstand.

5 – Keep in mind that small talk can boost your happiness.

If you have an aversion to small talk, keep in mind that even an introvert can benefit from a brief conversation. In fact, studies have proven that idle chit-chat or “shooting the breeze” increases feelings of belonging. It also boosts people’s happiness, whether they had a quick conversation with a mailman or their barista. Humans were wired for connection, but in our fast-paced world, we often miss out on it.

We spend train rides staring at our phone screen or listening to music instead of saying hi to the person next to us. However, this disconnection only increases tension and anxiety. If you want to feel more engaged with your surroundings, smile at a stranger or give a compliment to your neighbor. You’ll feel better, even as an introvert.

6 – Don’t overthink it.

We realize that overthinking and introvert often belong in the same sentence, but they don’t have to! We overcomplicate so many mundand things in our lives by thinking about them too much. When you socialize with people, go with the flow and don’t force conversation. Listen if you feel more comfortable doing that, and talk when you have something to contribute.

If you worry about awkward silences, remember that the other person probably feels the same way. Try to remember that other people are human too and that we all have some degree of social anxiety. If you genuinely listen and act friendly toward people, you’ll make a good impression.

7 – Talk about something meaningful to you.

Small talk only gets a bad rap because people expect of others what they won’t give themselves. In other words, conversations with people don’t have to stay superficial and devoid of meaning. If you want to steer any conversation in a different direction, talk about things you enjoy. Perhaps the other person will find the topic just as interesting and have a lot to contribute as well.

8 – Try to find some common ground.

Maybe you and other people have similar hobbies or went to school for the same degree. Finding common ground with people helps you establish a bond and perhaps a friendship. If you find similarities between you and someone else, you’ll feel less awkward during small talk.

9 – Listen and be engaged with the conversation.

You don’t have to talk constantly to have a good connection with someone. Do not put a lot of added stress on yourself about what you’ll say next. Instead, practice active listening, don’t look at your phone while they talk, and smile when appropriate. If you decide to look forward to social interactions rather than dread them, it could change your whole outlook on small talk.

Final thoughts about how to master small talk as an introvert

Many introverts loathe small talk, but perhaps it just requires a change in perspective. Instead of dreading it, think about how you and the other person can benefit from it. What can you learn from the other person? What can you share with them that could improve their life? Look at social interactions as a chance to make an impact on someone’s life and vice versa.

This way, you’ll start looking forward to small talk instead of wanting to avoid it at all costs.

Technology

Stay Connected With Your Customers Even in a Physically Disconnected World

Stay Connected With Your Customers Even in a Physically Disconnected


In a world where customers are used to getting everything they need immediately, chatbots have already become a vital part of our daily lives. From paying utility bills to getting financial advice regarding important investments to interacting with favorite brands without browsing their websites — chatbots are at the vanguard of round-the-clock online customer service. 

This level of superior customer service can not only result in customer retention but also overall profitability. Satisfied customers tend to stay associated with a company and even expand their investment, refer others, and – generally – agree to pay premiums rather than switching to a brand with whom they’re neither familiar nor comfortable. Both customer support chatbot and IT support chatbots bank on this phenomenon to boost a company’s sales and market performance via user experiences.

While older versions of chatbots relied on identifying keywords and solving only static, repetitive queries – modern chatbots improve customer service by a lot more. Advanced conversational AI support bots can now contextually converse with the user, creating an enriched, personalized, and compelling experience. They are designed to understand the intent behind a user’s messages and even identify emotions. This has made it possible for chatbots to go from being just an additional support accessory to a powerful business tool that directly corresponds with end-customers across various touchpoints including web, mobile, WhatsApp, email, and virtual home assistants like Alexa. 

The modern way to support customers

Traditional customer support services are plagued with issues like technical inconsistencies, inefficient practices, and sometimes, human error. These have given rise to customer complaints such as –

  • Difficulties in communicating with agents from offshore call centers
  • Lengthy wait and hold times
  • Repetitive call transfers
  • Never-ending automated self-service menus 

Many of these issues can now be addressed with the help of conversational AI. This is of vital importance given the physical distancing norms imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Incorporating AI-powered personal assistants across customer touchpoints can ensure a seamless service delivery even with support centers operating at limited capacity.  

Gartner claimed long back that 25% of customer service and support operations would integrate chatbots across engagement channels by 2020. However, little was it expected that the adoption rate would grow so phenomenally. Today, experts forecast that over 53% of service organizations will adopt chatbots by the end of 2020, and these numbers are only increasing as the need for social distancing grows. In the new normal of the business landscape, augmented automation and remote workplaces are a testament to this growth. That said, the ultimate goal of chatbots in customer service is very fundamental—providing customers with instant and accurate responses.

Automate routine requests and outbound notifications to prioritize the things that matter

So how can chatbots improve customer service? What are the chatbot use cases applicable to business operations? Well, let’s begin with simple numbers. Advanced, well-trained chatbots can accurately and instantly respond to 80% of routine customer service questions. Their popularity has been soaring as the number of chatbot use cases increase day-by-day, and the millennials populate the customer base. 55% of respondents of a survey said that they want chatbots involved in the customer service process. And with chatbots becoming a critical stakeholder in the customer service game, repetitive questions become less of a hassle for human agents. Without the need to handle routine requests and send timely alerts/payment reminders/follow-ups, human agents can focus predominantly on handling complex problems effectively. Some popular chatbot uses include-

This is the era of conversational customer services

From automated messages to visual search, chatbots empower companies to better support customer needs along their journey.

  • Personalized experience: Chatbots can leverage conversation and transaction history of customers to provide hyper-personalized suggestions and interactive experiences. 
  • Instant gratification: Customer queries are responded to or redirected almost immediately, making them reliable during times of emergencies. According to a survey, over 37% of people prefer customer service bots during emergencies. The efficiency achieved by having a chatbot in place can cut the average handling time of queries by 50% and reduce support costs by over 30%.
  • 24/7 conversational support: With chatbots in place, customer service teams can provide not merely round-the-clock customer support, but also ensure high quality and consistency of responses. This ultimately leads to customer satisfaction and a reduction in the volume of repeat calls by as much as 40%.
  • Preference pattern recognition: Chatbot conversations have proven useful in gathering information from users and understanding a preference pattern. These insights can augment user data collected during their shopping and transactions. This allows the chatbots to provide intuitive suggestions. 
  • Omnichannel integration: By integrating conversational AI, organizations can help customers get consistent responses across different channels, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, e-mail, website, and mobile apps. Further, this also ensures better conversation continuity, thereby reducing the need for customers to repeat their queries over and over. 
  • Self-learning and building of databases: AI, in combination with machine learning, can teach itself and build databases on-top of the training data. It can learn, understand, improvise, and execute with a continually growing library of data. 

Tailor new connections with chatbots

The apparent benefits that customer support chatbots bring to the table cannot be overestimated. By responding to most standard questions, conversational chatbots reduce overall costs and expedite response time. Owing to the faster and more accurate responses, organizations can benefit from lower customer bounce rate and increased retention.

By proactively educating customers with targeted messaging, preemptively answering their questions, and providing visual tours, they reduce the support volume and improve customer experiences across several customer-facing industries. 
Expand your audience outreach, boost your brand image, and augment customer satisfaction with zero-coding chatbot platforms. Reduce the training period and time-to-launch of your chatbot with pre-trained industry models that require minimal information input!

Lifestyle

New Study Confirms That Yoga Improves Anxiety Symptoms

New Study Confirms That Yoga Improves Anxiety Symptoms


If you want to improve your anxiety symptoms, you may want to try yoga for relief. Yoga means union of the body and soul or individual consciousness with Universal consciousness. It allows you to see the actual reality of existence beyond just the limited ego. While liberation from body consciousness remains the real goal of yoga, it can significantly benefit one’s mental health.

Because yoga leads to perfect harmony between mind and body, your anxiety will naturally melt away once you reach the highest consciousness. When you unite your consciousness with the highest source of intelligence, your mind will cease to cause suffering to the body. While yoga in the west seems to focus more on conditioning the body, the real goal is the liberation of consciousness.

While the yogic system is designed for upgrading one’s consciousness, the benefits for the mind and body are just as significant.

Health benefits of yoga

1 – Decreases stress.

Studies have shown that the practice can decrease cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone. One study of 131 people showed that after ten weeks of consistent yoga practice, their stress and anxiety decreased dramatically.

2 – Reduces anxiety.

Yoga can help improve anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. For example, in one study of 64 women with PTSD, the women had fewer symptoms after practicing for ten weeks. 52% of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after doing yoga just once weekly during the study period.

3 – Lowers inflammation.

One study in 2015 divided 218 participants into two groups. One group practiced yoga, and the other did strenuous physical exercise. At the end of the course, the yoga group had lower inflammatory markers than the non-yoga group.

4 – Improves heart health.

High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent risk factors for heart disease. One study found that participants over 40 years old who practiced yoga for five years maintained a lower pulse rate and blood pressure than the individuals who didn’t. Not to mention, yoga helps lower stress, which also contributes to heart disease risk.

5 – Helps reduce depression symptoms.

Depression remains the leading cause of disabilities worldwide; however, yoga may help alleviate these symptoms. One study found that after just two weeks of practice, participants had fewer depression symptoms and lower cortisol levels. They also had lower ACTH levels, a hormone that releases cortisol into the body.

6 – Improves sleep quality. 

Yoga can help increase the production of melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles. Lower stress levels due to yoga may also contribute to better sleep quality.

7 – Reduces chronic pain.

In one study, 42 people who struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome either did yoga for eight weeks or received wrist splints. By the end of the trial, researchers found that yoga reduced pain and improved grip strength more than the splints did.

We could list even more health benefits of yoga, but we want to discuss primarily how yoga can improve anxiety symptoms. Millions of people suffer with different types of anxiety disorders worldwide, and symptoms may range from mild to severe. However, yoga could provide a cure to this often debilitating disease.

Here’s how yoga can help ease anxiety symptoms:

 A new study shows how yoga can ease symptoms in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This condition causes excessive worry or nervousness about everyday life and can take over someone’s mind. People with this disorder display pronounced anxiety most days for at least six months about many different aspects of life.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating, the mind drawing a blank.
  • Becoming irritable
  • Having muscle tensions
  • Difficulty in controlling feelings of concern, fear, or worry
  • Having sleep problems. These issues include difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

The research on generalized anxiety disorder

Anyone with anxiety knows of the great suffering that can come with this disorder. It feels like you have little to zero control over your mind and body, and some people even experience dissociation in extreme cases. Scientists have found how yoga can provide relief to those suffering from GAD.

Led by a research team at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, the study found that yoga could treat GAD better than education on stress management. However, they discovered that it didn’t improve anxiety symptoms quite as much as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” said lead study author Naomi M. Simon, MD, a professor and researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”

Published August 12, 2020, in JAMA Psychiatry, the study assigned 226 men and women with GAD to three groups: CBT, Kundalini yoga, or stress-management education. After three months, researchers found that both CBT and yoga had more significant impacts on anxiety than stress management. Indeed, 54 percent of those who practiced yoga had significant improvements in symptoms compared to only 33 percent in the stress management group. In the CBT group, 71 percent met the symptom improvement criteria.

At the six month follow-up, the CBT group still showed more significant improvements than the stress education group (the control group). However, yoga no longer had the same benefits, suggesting that CBT may improve anxiety symptoms more effectively.

The study

 For the CBT group, the study used an evidence-based protocol for the treatment of GAD. This therapy included the following:

  • education on psychology;
  • cognitive interventions focused on identifying and correcting maladaptive thoughts;
  • muscle relaxation techniques.

The Kundalini yoga group learned physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, yoga theory, and meditation/mindfulness. The stress-management education control group listened to lectures about how stress affects the physiological, psychological, and medical aspects of health. They also learned how lifestyle factors could improve anxiety symptoms, such as reducing alcohol and smoking, eating healthy, and exercising. They listened to educational material on stress, lifestyle, and diet for homework assignments as well.

Three to six participants at a time received one of the three treatments over 12 weeks. They had weekly two-hour sessions with 20 minutes of daily homework assignments.

So, does yoga improve anxiety symptoms?

Currently, around 6.8 million Americans suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, many of them don’t get proper treatment for it out of shame, fear, or lack of resources. It can impair someone’s life if not treated properly, however. Most people have expressed feelings of anxiety at some point in their life; however, it becomes a disorder when it significantly impacts daily routines.

The study above shows that, while yoga can effectively ease symptoms of anxiety, CBT still ranks highest in treating the disorder. Medications can also treat anxiety, but not everyone wants to take the risk of having adverse side effects or complications from them. Also, the lack of access to medication or therapy prevents many people from seeing improvements in their anxiety symptoms. Because of this, yoga may prove useful for those who have no other options, as you can practice for free in your own home.

“Many people already seek complementary and alternative interventions, including yoga, to treat anxiety,” said Dr. Simon. “This study suggests that at least short-term there is significant value for people with a generalized anxiety disorder to give yoga a try to see if it works for them. Yoga is well-tolerated, easily accessible, and has several health benefits.”

Dr. Simon suggests that research in the future should try to narrow down who would benefit the most from yoga for GAD. That way, therapists and healthcare providers can personalize treatment to ensure better results for their patients.

“We need more options to treat anxiety because different people will respond to different interventions, and having more options can help overcome barriers to care,” she said. “Having a range of effective treatments can increase the likelihood people with anxiety will be willing to engage in evidence-based care.”

Final thoughts on how yoga can improve anxiety symptoms

As the study above shows, yoga has a vast potential to ease symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The practice helps promote feelings of calm and relaxation by reducing cortisol levels, and it brings awareness back into the body. The best part is that anyone in any age group can do yoga and reap all the benefits from it. No matter what ailment you may suffer from, you can see results from the practice if you keep consistency.

While cognitive-behavioral therapy still comes out on top for treating anxiety, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga as well. Plus, it provides an excellent option for those who don’t have access to therapy or don’t feel comfortable with it. Besides, yoga does more than improve anxiety symptoms – it also lessens depression, inflammation, and chronic pain. If you haven’t started your practice, you can find plenty of free resources online to help you.

Lifestyle

Don’t Use A Microwave To Reheat These 11 Foods, Reveal Experts

Don't Use A Microwave To Reheat These 11 Foods, Reveal


A microwave is such a convenient appliance. You can easily pop just about any food item into it, set a good time and temperature, and within just a few minutes or less. It’s warm and ready to consume. But can you put any food into a microwave? The answer, as it turns out, is no.

Certain foods, when microwaved, can produce catastrophic results. These results may affect your health, your safety, or even the lives of others! Here’s why you don’t use a microwave to reheat these 11 foods, as revealed by expert studies and official health warnings.

Eleven Foods Never To Reheat in Your Microwave

1.    Processed Meat

Processed meats aren’t healthy, to begin with, primarily because they’re packed with preservatives and all kinds of dubious chemicals. These preservatives are used to make them last longer, but they’ve never been good for health – and microwaving them makes them so much worse.

When you microwave these questionable substances, you may expose them to chemical changes – especially cholesterol oxidation. Here are some research papers detailing this information:

  • “Cholesterol oxidation in meat products and its regulation by supplementing sodium nitrite and apple polyphenol before processing” in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2000). This study showed that microwaving processed meats is likely to result in several different chemical processes, including the oxidation of cholesterol. It also found some potential alternative preservative products that could prevent cholesterol oxidation and be more positive for health overall, though most processed meats do not use them even now.
  • “Consequences of Microwave Heating and Frying on the Lipid Fraction of Chicken and Beef Patties” in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2003). This study found that frying chicken and beef patties can cause a 1.5 to 2.6-fold increment in cholesterol oxidation products. It sounds like a lot until you hear about microwaving them instead, which generates 5.3 to 6.1-fold increments!
  • “Formation of cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) in animal products” in Food Control (2007). This study revealed that the products of cholesterol oxidation are likely to lead to disorders and diseases that can be life-threatening, including coronary heart disease.

2.    Fresh Mushrooms

The danger in microwaving fresh mushrooms doesn’t come from the process of microwaving itself, but from the context in which you may microwave them.

You see, fresh mushrooms are best consumed very shortly after preparation. Mushrooms have a lot of short-lived proteins that can go bad very quickly. If not eaten immediately, they can harbor harmful bacteria and start to taste pretty terrible.

It’s recommended that you only store fresh mushrooms in a refrigerator for up to a maximum of 24 hours before eating them. Anything beyond that, and it’s safer to toss them out. When reheating, make sure they’re heated to 158 degrees, at least.

Luckily, only fresh mushrooms need this extra-careful treatment. Mushrooms that can be kept and microwaved safely include:

3.    Water

Superheating is an event where certain parts of water can rise to temperatures above water’s boiling point, meaning higher than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When you microwave water, certain “hot spots” can develop where the water becomes superheated.

When you move a cup of superheated water, even to take it out of the microwave or tilt it to take a drink, an eruption can occur from within it. This eruption splashes out scalding water that can land on you as you move, causing severe burns. In fact, the FDA has a warning about overheating water and recommends the following more positive ways of using your microwave for water:

  • Always read the instruction manual of your microwave often and follow its recommendations and precautionary measures, especially in regards to heating times.
  • Make sure you don’t use too much time when heating water, or any other kind of liquid, in a microwave.
  • Learn to heat your water to the exact desired temperature (never close to the point of boiling) and familiarize yourself with the setting that gets you safe but satisfactory results.

4.    Rice

Rice contains a surprising amount of toxic bacteria known as Bacillus cereus. Even when the bacteria are killed by heat, a lot of its produced spores will remain, according to research. This presence can wreak havoc on the digestive system. This is why rice left at room temperature after being microwaved winds up giving its consumers food poisoning or “fried rice syndrome.”

Why does this happen? It has to do with the warm, humid environment of the rice that is a fertile breeding space for microorganisms. You can avoid this bacterial haven by heating rice to an almost boiling point, then keeping it warm at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This will kill the bacteria and keep its spores from thriving.

5.    Eggs

Eggs are, in a way, self-contained. They are protected by their shell or the thin membrane around them, so when they’re microwaved, a lot of heat can get trapped inside.

This is exacerbated by the moisture that naturally exists inside an egg. When you microwave it, that moisture is heated and causes a high buildup of steam. It almost becomes a sort of pressure cooker in there! This can happen even if the eggs are:

  • Raw
  • Cooked
  • Shelled
  • Unshelled

All that steam buildup can, over time, result in the egg exploding in your microwave, leaving you quite the mess to clean up. Worse still, this explosion may not occur in the microwave – but outside. This means an egg can explode in your hand or your mouth, spilling scorching egg on you and even burning you.

If you need to microwave an egg, cut it up first. Still, it’s a better idea not to microwave any eggs at all!

6.    Leafy Green Vegetables

A lot of leafy green vegetables contain nitrates, which are very healthy typically. But when heated in a microwave, nitrates have the chance of turning into nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are organic compounds that some research indicates are carcinogenic. Some examples of leafy greens that contain nitrates are:

It’s worth noting that it’s not just these types of green, leafy veggies that run the risk of converting their nitrates into something more dangerous. Beets also shouldn’t be microwaved for this same reason. For both them and leafy greens, you’ll want to reheat them on the stove for safety’s sake.

7.    Fruit

There is minimal benefit to microwaving fruit. Most people agree that fruit tastes best cool, cold, or at least at room temperature, and warm fruit can sound pretty unappetizing. But even if you’re in the rare, somewhat odd minority that enjoys the occasional hot fruit, you shouldn’t take to the microwave for that job.

Take, for example, grapes. Some people have a false idea that microwaving them may produce raisins, which it absolutely will not. Instead, the microwaving of two grapes can lead to a significant amount of plasma creation. That plasma is so powerful and substantial that it can melt a hole in plastic dishes or containers, which doesn’t do very positively for your house, microwave, or smell.

Even if plasma doesn’t ruin your bowls or plates, microwaving whole fruit is risky in general because microwaving eggs is risky. Their skin can trap a lot of heat and steam thanks to the added moisture, so biting into that microwaved fruit could burn your tongue badly. The fruit may also explode while you microwave them.

8.    Carrots

Do you know what arcing is? It’s what happens when a microwave begins producing sparks as it reacts to something metallic. Nothing quite saps away positive thinking like the fear of your microwave setting your house ablaze!

Carrots are dangerous to the microwave because many of them contain leftover minerals from the soil. This presence can cause sparking, even when there doesn’t look like there’s any reason for this. It’s OK to try microwaving cut-up carrots, but the second there’s a sign of arcing, stop immediately.

9.    Hot Peppers

Not all peppers are safe to microwave thanks to their crucial ingredient, capsaicin. Capsaicin is a chemical that is responsible for the spicy punch that peppers packed. When you use a microwave to heat peppers, what you’re doing is releasing that capsaicin into the air.

As an airborne chemical, capsaicin can cause a lot of grief. It might burn your eyes or other sensitive parts of your body, and worse still, it won’t just be you who suffers! In 2016, an entire building in New York had to be evacuated after someone microwaved a pepper and ruined everyone’s day ( plus their positive thinking). Residents started experiencing breathing difficulties and coughing fits due to the capsaicin. So save your neighbors, and don’t reheat hot peppers!

10. Baby Formula

It’s not uncommon for breastfeeding parents to decide to pump breastmilk and freeze it for use later. This is a great idea and perfectly fine to do, but make sure you don’t reheat that milk in a microwave!

You’ve probably noticed by now that microwaves don’t evenly heat food, even when that food is spread across a plate. This results in “hot spots” that may develop in a bottle of breastmilk, with uneven temperatures throughout. A baby drinking from the bottle may then accidentally hit a “hot spot” and find their mouth and throat burning up!

This doesn’t even take into account the possible carcinogenic consequences of heating a material like plastic. This is probably why the FDA has their guidelines on reheating breastmilk for positive results. Heat a bottle of milk in a bowl of hot water or reheat it on the stove in a pot.

11. Potatoes

Botulinum is a dangerous bacteria found in potatoes. At room temperature, C. botulinum can survive after a spell of heat from the microwave and affect those who consume it with botulism. It doesn’t sound very likely, but there is a lot that toxic bacteria can do. In fact, some experts refer to C. botulinum as the “most poisonous poison.”

It’s safe to cook potatoes from scratch with a microwave – if you possess the know-how. But for reheating potatoes, stick to using a baking sheet and an oven to do the job. Be sure not to use aluminum foil – that protects the bacteria!

Final Thoughts On Some Foods That Experts Recommend To Never Reheat In A Microwave

We’re all grateful for how much easier a microwave can make food preparation, especially for a busy go-getter. But there’s wisdom in knowing what can and can’t be stuffed into this machine. Be sure that you don’t reheat any of the foods we’ve discussed, and you’ll be just fine!

Lifestyle

Therapists Reveal 6 Reasons Perfectionism Can Be Self-Sabotaging

Therapists Reveal 6 Reasons Perfectionism Can Be Self-Sabotaging


It’s healthy to think highly of yourself and to hold yourself to high standards. But these standards have to be reasonable and grounded in reality. Unfortunately, for many perfectionists, that’s not the case for them.

Perfectionism doesn’t sound too bad as a concept. You want the best and are willing to do whatever you can to achieve it. But many times, those perfectionist traits come with their fair share of downsides that can negatively affect you. In a cruel sense of irony, being a perfectionist can jeopardize your progress! Here’s how therapists reveal six reasons perfectionism can be self-sabotaging, and how to fix it.

1.    You Take Ages To Make A Simple Decision

There is no such thing as a perfect decision. No matter what you choose to do, there will be some downsides. If you’re a perfectionist, you might feel the need to excessively obsess over all the possible factors involved in that decision-making process.

What this does is it forces you to spend a lot of energy and time working on these choices, which can wind up burning you out, explains author and published researcher Alice Boyes, Ph.D., who has papers published in leading peer-reviewed journals around the world. She stresses that this can cause you to focus on smaller things instead of more significant priorities, which isn’t great for your energy levels. Here are some tips to get around this form of self-sabotage:

·         Focus On The Most Important Things

Let your brain zero in on only the most crucial tasks first. This focus means you’ll have less to devote to obsessing over minor decisions, and your efforts will go where they deserve to.

·         Put Yourself In Time Constraints

Need to make a decision quickly? Put yourself in a situation that forces you to make your choices in a fast manner. If you have multiple things to make decisions for, or if someone is demanding a decision by a specific deadline, you will often be more motivated to make choices faster or move on.

·         Learn To Prioritize

Use simple rules of thumb to find ways to prioritize tasks quickly. This habit can be referred to as heuristics, a process by which certain things are given priority over others based on a value such as effort, monetary influence, or fluency. This is, by nature, not a perfect decision-making method, but one known for its positive effect on efficiency, short-term goals, and finding optimal solutions without the need for lengthy consideration.

2.    You Procrastinate

Procrastination is often seen as a bad trait, but that doesn’t mean that perfectionists don’t suffer from it. But how can someone who wants to do perfectly put off their work? Well, according to the author and licensed psychotherapist and codependency expert Sharon Martin, LCSW, here are some reasons a perfectionist may procrastinate:

·         Fear

You might be terrified of being embarrassed, of failing, or of not being good enough. This fear paralyzes you, making it impossible for you to perform your work as your anxiety holds you in place. To overcome this, understand that the only way to improve is to make mistakes. If you fear failure, you are, by proxy, fearing something crucial to improvement.

·         Self-Worth

Your sense of self-worth might tie into a possible achievement from this perfectionism. Unfortunately, that means that you can become especially discouraged when you realize you may be unable to succeed and envisioned in a task. Remember, your successes do not define you as a person. Learning to be secure in your identity, not in your goals alone, is crucial.

·         High Stakes

Perfectionists often set very high goals, and the momentous task before you might make it difficult for you to know how or where to begin. Learn to temper the stakes you put in what you do. Keep things reasonable – what can you accomplish?

·         The Cycle

These factors all make you avoid your task, but avoiding your task only increases the emotions attached to those factors. This cycle means it will feel more challenging to complete the job you have the longer you procrastinate.

The common idea that procrastination is the mark of a lazy person is scientifically and psychologically inaccurate, according to research. Instead, it is the factors mentioned above that often lead to this habit putting-off your to-do list, even when you’re not a perfectionist.

3.    You Feel Like You Must Finish Every Single Task

Urgency and importance are two different things, but if you’re a perfectionist, you might struggle to choose between them. Specific tasks have more time to complete but have a much larger impact on your everyday life; these are the important but non-urgent tasks. Other jobs have a minimal window before their deadlines, but failing to complete them wouldn’t significantly affect your life; these are the urgent but unimportant tasks.

In life, you’ll often need to prioritize important things, even if there are urgent tasks around you. For perfectionists, this can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around, says Boyes. You might feel like you have to do every single thing on your to-do list, causing you to rush to finish urgent tasks, leaving less time for essential ones.

You’ll burn out from a cycle and pattern like this one. You’ll never have the energy you need for things that matter. You need to learn to prioritize what is essential and become comfortable with letting some unnecessary tasks slip by. Without that, you’ll fall victim to the same issue many perfectionists face: increased burnout rates, higher stress levels, and decreased positive thinking.

4. It’s Always All-Or-Nothing

If you’re a perfectionist, you might have a very extreme view of situations, refusing to exist on the broad spectrum between “all” and “nothing”. This is commonly referred to as “splitting”, according to Mary Mykhaylova LCSW. Here are some examples of all-or-nothing behavior:

  • If you feel that you cannot achieve perfection, you will elect not to do something at all.
  • You insist on getting “fresh starts” whenever something goes wrong, resulting in your always starting again but never actually finishing.
  • If you fail one aspect of a goal, you might give up altogether and abandon everything.
  • You rapidly swing between the extremes – on some weeks, you’re blasting through all your goals at a ridiculous rate, and on others, you can’t do anything at all.
  • Your identity can only be one extreme or the other – you’re either a failure or a success, stupid or smart, incredible or terrible… there’s no in-between.
  • Your entire self-esteem can be destroyed by one flaw or mistake as you label yourself negatively for any perceived problem.

Remember, balance is essential. You need to learn to make compromises along the spectrums of your life. If you can’t find perfection, then find something close to it. If you fail, you’re not a failure. You’re a successful person who makes mistakes, like any other human being. Learn to use these more positive thinking points!

5.    Your Mental Health Suffers

As aforementioned, perfectionists often find themselves experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. This downside to your mental health isn’t something that should be overlooked. Here are some aspects of mental health that can be affected by perfectionism:

·         A Harsh, Negative Inner Voice

According to an expert on perfectionism and University of British Columbia professor of psychology Paul Hewitt, Ph.D., people who are perfectionists often have a loud inner critic that always tells them they aren’t good enough and that they need to achieve perfection to finally be positive, successful people. Of course, that kind of success isn’t humanly possible, leading to issues such as depression and suicidal ideation.

·         Depression

Your mood can be dragged down significantly by that voice in your head, telling you that your perceived lack of perfection means you’re a failure. Science proves significant links between perfectionism and depression at convincingly obvious rates.

·         Burnout

Being a perfectionist is hard work, and your brain can get tired too. Think about it like exercise. If you overexert yourself, your muscles will be strained, and your body will be too exhausted to move. That can happen with mental exhaustion, too. Overworking yourself can cause your brain to become too exhausted to move, and that loss of productivity and positive thinking is very common in perfectionists.

6.    Your Relationships Are Hurt By Perfectionism

Perfectionism is commonly associated with work, but it can also affect the interactions with others. Being too much of a perfectionist can hurt those around you even more than you might expect, and it also sabotages your life. Here are some ways that this happens:

·         You Refuse Offered Assistance

Even when you need help, you might refuse it simply because you don’t think others will achieve the perfection you seek. Other people’s hands in your work might “corrupt” it, ruining the vision you have of it, says Boyes. But it’s important to remember that outside perspectives and assistance are just as capable of helping your efforts. Sometimes, you’re going to need help, and that’s okay.

· You’re Critical

You notice all the wrong things that everyone else is doing. Your high standards that you hold yourself to are ones you hold everyone else to, as well. You criticize them, nag them to abide by your high expectations, and barely notice their efforts if they don’t achieve perfection. This outcome can make you unpleasant to be around and even damage previously strong relationships, according to Martin.

·         You Have False Ideas About Relationships

As soon as you make a mistake in your relationship with someone – platonic or otherwise – you might spiral into self-loathing. According to Mykhaylova, this can result in defensive or toxic relationship behaviors that push people away. When people begin to separate themselves from you, you might then go on to blame your failure for this phenomenon, not realizing that your own self-loathing became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Final Thoughts On Some Reasons Perfectionism Can Be Self-Sabotaging And How To Fix It

Not all perfectionism is bad. It can, occasionally, be a good thing to chase after lofty goals. But the keyword here is “perfect”, and no one can truly be perfect. To expect perfection out of yourself is to expect the impossible, and no matter how positive your achievements or successes are, they will never be “perfect”. That’s not humanly possible!

If your perfectionism comes in the form of wanting to do the best you can without attaching your self-esteem to it or being unreasonable, that’s perfectly fine. But if your perfectionism involves the acts of self-sabotage talked about here, then you’re doing yourself more harm than good.

It can be not easy to unlearn perfectionism. If you’re having trouble learning to manage your expectations, or if you beat yourself up over failing to meet very high standards, you need to learn to dial down your drive for perfection. Don’t be afraid to talk to a therapist, counselor, or other relevant medical health professional to overcome this mindset.

Lifestyle

10 Natural Treatments for Split Ends and Shiny Hair

10 Natural Treatments for Split Ends and Shiny Hair


Do you have any grey hairs that are peeking through your hairline? Your mane will inevitably start to change as you age. The once vibrant locks will lose their color. Another thing you will see happen is those gray hairs will turn wiry, dry, and brittle. Your entire head of hair will change over time. You will begin to see your mane switch from oily to dry and unmanageable. Another problem you will encounter is split ends.

What is a Split End?

When you have long locks, it’s easy for the hair to develop split ends, which means the hair is growing an extension or splitting off. These splits are caused by damaged hair that is dry and trying to compensate for the injury.

Did you know you can have more than one split on a hair shaft? The damaged hair can split in several directions, which is commonly seen when your tresses are longer. Regular trims can help with split ends, but it’s only cutting away the problem. Your hair needs nourishment to keep it in top shape.

Collagen is natural oil produced by your body that helps keep your hair and skin looking great. These oils nourish your system to ensure that you don’t have dryness. You run into problems when you dye your hair, use curling and flattening irons, and wash your locks too frequently.

All these things will cause the oils to be stripped from the hair and result in dry tresses. Now, you could do none of those things and still have split ends, so you should take preventative measures if you want longer hair and don’t want to deal with the unsightly dry issues.

Ten Preventative Ways to Stop Split Ends Naturally

Are you ready to do something about all those splitting hairs that are dry and unmanageable? Well, here are ten natural things that you can do that will help and not hurt your locks.

Avoid purchasing these ten items at the drugstore.

1. Wash Your Hair 1-2 Times Per Week

Are you washing your hair too much? When you’re younger, you may wash your hair every day to get the style you need and keep the oil issues at bay. However, as you age, you need those natural oils to nourish your long locks.

It’s appropriate to wash your hair once or twice each week. If you find that your hair gets too oily in between washes, you can consider using a dry shampoo. Stripping the oils in the hair is the most common reason why it will become dry and split.

2. Use Natural Hair Dye

While it’s easy to go to the drug store and pick up a box of hair dye or go to your local salon, you may want to try something new with your hair. Why not use a natural hair dye like henna?

It’s not nearly as damaging to your locks, and you can get vivid colors and almost the same results. Since henna is natural, it won’t cause issues like ammonia and peroxide, which are two common ingredients in hair dye.

3. Turn Down or Off the Heated Hair Styling Products

One of the most significant ways that your hair gets damaged is from excessive heat. Some curling irons can go up to 180 degrees or higher. All that heat and pressure put on the hair shaft is drying and damaging.

Even blow-drying your hair can cause problems. You can put unique products on your mane to protect it when you are using these devices. Additionally, you can find more natural ways to style your long locks.

For instance, your hair will dry nicely in the breeze outside or when you sit in front of a fan. Also, most hair dryers have a cold setting on them, which will help to minimize the damage.

4. Deep Condition Your Hair

Depending on the state of your hair, you should be deep conditioning at least once per week. Some people won’t need to do it as often, but these treatments are great for dry, brittle hair that needs to be restored.

Get a conditioner at your local drug store or try some all-natural coconut oil. Apply a generous amount to the hair trying to avoid the scalp area if there are oil issues. Now, please pay close attention to the ends of the hair where it’s prone to breakage.

Allow the condition to sit for about an hour, then gently wash it away. Your hair will be soft and manageable.

5. Get Regular Trims

It’s your prerogative if you want long or short hair. However, long hair comes with significant responsibilities, which include having it trimmed frequently. About every six weeks, you need to get approximately an inch of hair trimmed off.

If you see split ends further up than the one inch, you should cut above that area. The goal is to remove any splitting during these trims. It seems that once they start, they will continue to multiply all over your hair. Trimming removes the brittle ends and allows the health and vitality of your hair to remain.

6. Use a Silk Pillowcase

It sounds like such a simple request, but using a silk pillowcase can dramatically impact the oils in your hair. Did you know that cotton or wool pillowcases can cause damage to your hair?

It sounds crazy, but your head is rubbing up against that pillow for eight hours a night. If it’s silk, it won’t cause near the damage as the other varieties.

7. Don’t Towel Dry Your Hair

Speaking of materials rubbing against your hair, did you know that towels can be very damaging to your tresses? It sounds bizarre, but your cotton towel can cause damage and cause hair loss. Do you have an old t-shirt hanging around the house that you could use as a method to dry your hair?

The t-shirt is softer and won’t cause damage when vigorously rubbing your hair to remove water. It’s a simple trick that will work wonders.

8. Take Collagen Supplements

If you’ve tried many methods and nothing seems to be working, you should consider adding all-natural collagen supplements to your diet. Keratin is the protein that makes up your hair, and collagen has a great deal of keratin.

When what you’re doing on the outside doesn’t seem to be working, you need to nourish it from the inside out. Another thing you can do is to make sure you get plenty of water each day.

You should be drinking half your weight in ounces, so if you weigh 120 lbs., you need to be drinking at least 60 ounces of water each day.

While that may sound like a lot of water, remember that’s only about eight glasses spread over 24 hours. You will see a dramatic change in your hair, skin, and nails when you’re getting the proper hydration in your body.

9. Use a Detangling Spray

If you notice that your hair is often tangled after you wash it, don’t rip a comb through it, trying to blast through the knots. It would help if you used a detangling spray. It will nourish the hair shaft so that each knot comes apart with ease. The more you yank and tug on your hair, the more damage you will cause.

10. Switch to a Natural Shampoo

Another thing that can cause significant issues to your hair is the shampoo you use. Many shampoos have added ingredients that are made to dry the oils and offer little moisturization. You want to remove the dirt and excess oils, but you need to leave some behind for nourishment.

Thankfully, many natural shampoos and products can help you with your dry locks. Some of the most common are:

  • Soap Nuts
  • Aloe Vera Shampoo
  • Castile Soap Shampoo
  • Rhassoul Clay
  • Eggs
  • Shikakai
  • Hibiscus Cleanser
  • Fullers Earth Cleanser
  • Rice Water
  • Besan or Chickpea Flour

There are all sorts of holistic products online and in local stores; make sure you read your labels to ensure that you’re getting no additives that can be damaging. You will find that you can keep your hair clean and healthy using nature’s products, and they will do just as good if not better than overly manufactured ones.

Final Thought on Managing Your Split Ends

Have you ever seen a person with gorgeous hair that shined and had the perfect hue? Did you ever feel jealous and wish that hair was yours? You can have the hair of your dreams with a little work and the right products backing you.

Split ends are unsightly and can cause your hair to look lackluster and frizzy, especially if you keep it long. Thankfully, you can have the long hair you want, and the healthy shine you desire by switching your routine. Don’t you want to be the envy of everyone when they see your gorgeous locks?

Lifestyle

Therapists Explain How to Develop Your Self-Belief in 8 Easy Steps

Therapists Explain How to Develop Your Self-Belief in 8 Easy


Self-belief, as the term suggests, means believing in yourself and your abilities. If you don’t have much self-confidence, it makes it hard to achieve your goals and maintain healthy relationships.

Low self-esteem can occur due to several reasons, such as:

  • You’re struggling with unresolved trauma or neglect.

If your parents always criticized you and didn’t reassure you very often, you probably had to work even harder to love yourself as you got older. Learning how to build self-confidence as a young adult may take time if you never knew this valuable skill as a child.

  • You are surrounding yourself with unkind people.

If you have friends who always tear you down or make snide comments, it may affect your self-belief. Not having boundaries and allowing people to walk all over you can hinder your confidence levels. Usually, people who have to put others down have low self-esteem and lack love for themselves, so try to remember that it isn’t about you. Also, make sure to distance yourself from these types of people and try to find positive friends.

  • You entertain negative self-talk.

If you continuously entertain defeating thoughts about yourself, you won’t have much confidence and may find yourself in unpleasant circumstances. Perhaps you may take jobs that only allow you to barely scrape by because you don’t feel good enough for something better. You may also get involved with relationships that invite more stress and negativity into your life.

A few poor choices can take a toll on your self-belief. If you moved to a new city for a job opportunity and it didn’t work out, for example, it may cause your self-esteem to take a nosedive. Some people take things much harder than others, so a minor setback or a poor choice can cause them to second-guess themselves in the future.

Why do you need self-belief?

To put it simply, you need confidence in yourself to achieve goals and maintain relationships with people. Low self-esteem can affect every facet of someone’s life, from their job to their relationships to lifestyle choices. If someone holds a negative view of themselves, they may use substances or get involved in dangerous lifestyles in an attempt to numb their emotions.

If you grew up in a challenging home environment where your personality didn’t get a chance to flourish, you might consider therapy to help you develop confidence. When your upbringing doesn’t give you what you need, it usually reflects in some way in your adult life. Therefore, to have a healthy self-image as you grow up, you will need support from someone such as a therapist or a close circle of friends.

Not everyone who experiences trauma or neglect as a child will have self-esteem issues. However, studies show a strong correlation between childhood trauma or abuse and low confidence levels. Having a good relationship with yourself and believing in your abilities can help you navigate life’s challenges and create a fulfilling future. We all need some level of confidence to complete tasks and tend to our responsibilities in life.

With that said, what if you struggle with self-esteem and have no idea how to develop it? Don’t worry; we have some tips you may find helpful to get you started on your journey to self-love.

Here are eight steps to developing your self-belief:

  1. Have an idea of who you’d like to become and what you want to accomplish.

If you have no clue what you wish for in life, you don’t know what qualities you need to develop in yourself or what steps you need to take. So, you first need to make a list of character traits you’d like to work on and goals you would like to set for yourself. This way, you have a clear idea of what direction to take your life in and who you see yourself becoming. Don’t put any limitations on yourself for this exercise; go all out and write down all the qualities you want in your highest self as well as your loftiest dreams.

You may not have confidence you can achieve these dreams in your present state, but put that negative thinking out of your mind for a few short seconds. Remember that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to – it just takes willpower and belief in yourself.

  1. Practice positive affirmations.

If you want to achieve a more positive relationship with yourself and grow your confidence, you’ll want to include some positive affirmations in your daily routine. Before work or school each morning, write down a few motivational phrases such as “I love myself” or “I attract beautiful things into my life.” This way, you will start the day on a positive note and set the tone for the rest of the day.

You can even write them down on some flashcards and bring them with you so you can refer to them throughout the day. We all need some encouragement, and affirmations make a great way to reset your brain and prime it for positivity.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone often.

Plenty of us get complacent after a while and don’t want to do anything to disrupt the order in our lives. However, we can’t grow unless we actively choose to experience new things and get outside our bubble sometimes. Unique experiences that may seem scary at first can help build your confidence and reveal your true potential. You can take baby steps at first, but make it a point to step outside your regular routine at least once a month.

Keeping life fresh and exciting will improve your perspective and allow you to expand your realm of possibilities.

  1. Challenge any harmful and negative thoughts that pop into your head.

Humans have thousands of thoughts every day, most of them on repeat from the previous day. So, when you have self-defeating thoughts, remember that you don’t have to believe them. Because your thoughts are fleeting, you shouldn’t put too much stock in them. Meditation can help you remove yourself from your thoughts and gain clarity if you struggle with having a monkey mind.

  1. Have a winner’s attitude.

Life boils down to our attitude about it. Because we create different realities based on our most prevalent thoughts, we all have varying experiences. If you want to have a more satisfying life, you should work on improving your attitude and seeing the silver lining whenever possible. This doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with practice, you can start having more positive experiences as your mindset shifts. If you believe wholeheartedly good things will happen, then they will because of the intentions and energy you’re putting out.

  1. Encourage yourself and others.

Treat yourself like you want to treat others because the relationship you have with yourself determines all your other relationships. Hold yourself in high regard, and practice self-love and care often. None of us has all the answers to life, so don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone walks a different path in life, so focus on the one in front of you.

No matter your circumstances, as long as you show yourself kindness and love, you can achieve anything your heart desires. If you can fill your cup, make sure to give the rest to the people around you. We all need some love and encouragement to get by, so if you have any to spare, be generous!

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice regular self-care.

If you don’t feel good on the inside, you won’t have much energy to create a beautiful life on the outside. Confidence comes from within, so start there. Eat healthy, nourishing foods, move your body in a way you enjoy, tell yourself positive thoughts, and surround yourself with uplifting people. Also, make sure to get good-quality sleep and follow your heart when it comes to your career. If you have a good relationship with yourself, it will help build your self-belief.

  1. Distance yourself from negative people and influences.

People who complain all the time or have a negative outlook, in general, won’t help you improve in life. Try to choose positive people and influences so you can continue to develop your self-esteem. Also, avoid watching emotionally upsetting TV programs or listening to depressing music, as these will influence your mood as well.

Final thoughts on developing your self-belief

Positive self-belief comes from the choices you make and the influences you have in your life. If you want to have more confidence, make sure to feed your mind and body well, keep positive people in your circle, and have goals for yourself. The beautiful thing about life is that we can change it in a moment’s notice. We do not have to keep stuck in a mindset or place that doesn’t allow us to flourish. As long as you continue working hard on your self-belief, you’ll never feel disappointed in life.

Lifestyle

School Counselors Explain 5 Signs A Teen Is Under Peer Pressure

School Counselors Explain 5 Signs A Teen Is Under Peer


Peer pressure is commonplace today, especially among teenagers. The pressure can come from verbal or nonverbal influences. Additionally, a little bit of external force can be a good impact, or it can have a detrimental effect.

Since this is such a powerful influence in your child’s life, it’s something that you need to understand to help them. Under the control of this pressure, your child can make bad decisions that can cost them dearly. How does peer pressure affect your teenager, and how do you, as a parent, know when to step in and help?

Let’s assume your child suddenly takes an interest in working out at the local gym to bulk their muscles. This once couch laden teen has joined a group of kids at school who want to better their health. In this scenario, the influence of others is positive because your child is making changes to better their body.

Now, what if your child is caught smoking cigarettes or vaping behind the school with her friends? She felt the pressure from others to do something that can have a detrimental effect on her health.

Yet, she willingly did it because she succumbed to the urgings from others to try something new and dangerous. It’s easy to see that peer pressure can have different effects on your teen, but why is it such a powerful influence?

The Power of Suggestion

Your child goes through various developmental phases as they grow. As a baby, your son or daughter learned that you would take care of all their needs, and they trust you. However, when children reach their teenage years, they try to break away from your influence to form a sense of self.

Your child no longer holds your values in the same light as they did before, as now, they are more inclined to listen to their peers. Your kid needs to fit in at school. Teenagers are at a developmental stage where friends are of the utmost importance, making them more influential than you.

Why is Peer Pressure so Nerve-Wracking?

Let’s assume that your daughter is very wasteful and likes to litter. If she starts hanging with a group of earth-conscious friends, they will pressure her to change her ways. She may change and begin to recycle, picking up any trash she sees lying on the ground, and stop her wasteful habits.

In this instance, the social pressure she feels has influenced her to make positive changes. However, when you find a vape kit in your son’s backpack, you are sure that peer pressure is the invisible enemy you fight. He’s making a very destructive choice.

He knows that smoking and vaping can be harmful to his system. While his brain can register the danger, he can’t comprehend the risks he puts his body in at this point. As your children are growing, their brain is still incredibly young, and you should think of it as a work in progress.

Your teen is going to seek new experiences as they grow and develop, but their brain can’t rationalize what they’re doing. Young people have a higher need for stimulation more so as they age. Inadvertently, new, exhilarating, and powerful encounters many times, transform into high-risk actions.

It’s difficult for a parent to deal with a child who is continuously seeking new stimulation. You won’t always be there to prevent them from doing crazy things or stop their friend’s suggestions to do something dangerous, just so they can “have fun.”

While painting graffiti on the local restaurant wall may seem like a bad idea, the gratification and temptation to “live a little” causes them to ignore the consequences.

5 Signs Your Teen is Dealing with Negative Peer Pressure

Regardless of all the people around your son or daughter, you’re still a powerful influence. While it appears that they are rebellious and not listening to what you have to say, they hear you. Now, whether they listen or not is another story.

It’s essential to stay involved in their lives so that you can help them make better choices. How do you know if your child is under peer pressure and may need help? Well, here are five warning signs to indicate an issue.

1. Sleep Habits Change

Sleep habits naturally change as your child ages. They will sleep more than ever when they hit those puberty years. However, when your child feels pressure from those around them, they can either sleep too much or too little.

You may notice signs like dark circles or bags under their eyes if they aren’t getting enough sleep. You may see their social media time increase as they are on it all night. If they are sleeping too much, you may have problems getting them out of bed or doing things they once loved.

These alterations in behavior can develop into depression if it goes on for too long. You must be careful because of peer pressure and bullying walk a fine line in some instances.

2. Loss of Appetite

Have you noticed a change in their weight? Are they eating too much or too little? A loss of appetite is not uncommon with someone who is under pressure or strain. If their weight plummets or takes a dramatic increase, then it could be a sign that there is emotional upset going on.

3. Moodiness

What teenager isn’t moody? However, you know your child better than anyone else. Hormonal fluctuations can cause Their moodiness, or it can be caused by being unhappy, not eating right, and not getting sufficient sleep. If you can’t even say “good morning” without them biting off your head, then you should investigate further.

4. Withdrawn

Social isolation is a big thing for teens as they develop and change. They may be socially withdrawn from the family and prefer to eat their dinner in their bedroom alone.

However, when you only see them for a few minutes each day, even though they don’t leave home, it’s a warning sign. It would be best if you interact with your child on some level each day.

5. They Have New Friends

Is your teen running with a new crowd? Usually, if there are significant changes in behavior or they become risk-takers, then new friends may be at the crux of the issue. If you’ve noticed that the friends they’ve had since elementary school don’t come around much anymore, you should question their absence.

A new crowd can bring about either a positive or bad influence. Consequently, if you see any of these signs that something is amiss, you can assume that the new friends aren’t the best of characters.

Here is what teenagers who inflict self-harm are trying to tell you.

Common Peer-Pressured Activities

Your child may be a level-headed person that uses common sense to make decisions. Sadly, when hormones begin to rage during puberty, they can be an emotional wreck and make questionable choices. They will push the limits as they try out new personas. Never assume that your teenager is immune from the influence of peers; they just need your positive influence to be stronger.

You know your child better than anyone, and you know if he or she is a leader or a follower. Some teens won’t be swayed by temptation, while others will follow their friends to say and do just about anything. It would help if you were on guard, and here are the five most common things your teen will feel pressured to do.

1. Shoplifting

Remember, teens need to feel an adrenaline rush. They may not need to steal that candy bar at the store, but it gives them the “rush” to do something dangerous. If your child has developed “sticky fingers,” then it could be a sign of pressure from peers.

2. Sexual Encounters

Since their hormones are raging and they are going through puberty anyway, it’s not uncommon for them to have sexual encounters. Sadly, they can use sex as an outlet for their frustration, which can lead to teen pregnancy. Parents need to be observant of abnormal sexual promiscuity as it can get teens in trouble.

3. Smoke, Vaping, Trying Drugs

You may remember smoking in the bathroom when you were in high school. Times change, but some problems remain the same. Smoking, vaping, and trying drugs is the number one temptation that your child will feel pressure to do.

4. Engaging in Risky Behaviors

Life is all about taking chances, but it may cause them to take more significant risks when it comes to the uncertainty of the teenage years. If you’ve noticed that your child is engaging in downright dangerous activities, outside influence could be blamed.

5. Bullying

If one teen starts picking on a peer, then others will jump on the bandwagon. Bullying is never okay, but your child may feel outside influences to torment or taunt another student.

IKEA’s Bully a Plant project proves the power of positivity can alter an outcome.

Final Thoughts: Prepare Your Teens for Peer Pressure Before It Happens

It’s essential to keep the communication lines open with your teenager. If you see any changes in behavior such as inappropriate language, clothing style alterations, social isolation, or disrespectfulness, then you need to keep an eye on them and their friends.

The truth is that if you keep a close relationship with your child that you can usually quickly spot problems and help steer them back in the right direction.

Lifestyle

12 Daily Positive Thoughts to Motivate You to Do Your Best

12 Daily Positive Thoughts to Motivate You to Do Your


There is power in using positive thoughts throughout the day. Research has proven that there are both mental and physical benefits of an optimistic mindset. People who tend to keep on the sunny side have better self-esteem, more confidence, and they are usually motivated and in a good mood.

Did you know that having at least one positive thought each day can dramatically impact you? You care about your health. What if your ideas could affect your heart, blood pressure, and other conditions caused by stress? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s factual.

You can help keep conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes at bay by merely altering your mindset. Some folks think that you must get rid of your problem or have a perfect life to find an inner smile. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

You can learn to find joy and peace, no matter what’s going on outside. When you tend to be positive, then you see things in life to keep you focused on the good things around you.

Sure, it’s easy for you to focus on your problems, negative experiences, or wrong things. However, when you switch to positive thinking, you commit to using your challenges as fuel to drive you to be a better person.

You will notice that it is hard because when you are trying to have positive thoughts, there will always be someone around you trying to be negative. It’s easy to have setbacks and try to switch back to the old mindset. Thankfully, here are some tips that you help you to start having positive thoughts every day.

1. Always Make Time for Humor

There are plenty of funny things that happen around you each day, but you might miss them if you’re caught up in a negative mindset. Try to see the humorous side in things even when they look bad.

Remind yourself that even though it was so embarrassing that you fell down the stairs today and could have got hurt, it made for a great story around the dinner table as you can look at the event and laugh rather than cry.

2. Control Your Mornings

Are your mornings chaotic and a jumbled mess? Did you know if you start your day in chaos, then it’s likely to continue that way? It would help if you had plenty of time to prepare and be up early enough to make sure it’s a good day.

It’s hard for some people to have positive thoughts when they would rather sleep a couple more hours. Start by using positive affirmations and say things like, “Today, I will have a good day.” You will be amazed at how different your life will be when you start each day on the right foot.

3. Don’t Judge

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of judging other people. However, you can’t let yourself get sucked into this malicious trap. It would be best if you learned that everyone is human and infallible.

Don’t be so eager to point fingers at others because it not only is a negative mindset, but it also sets yourself up as superior, which you are not. Remember that everyone is fallible, and you just saw a moment of weakness from someone else.

4. Never Compare Yourself to Others

It’s easy to look at your neighbor’s new car and be a bit jealous because it’s better than yours. You’re human, and you can’t help but be a bit envious. You work just as hard as her, and why shouldn’t you have a vehicle like that?

However, when you compare yourself to others, you are setting yourself up for failure. Be thankful for the blessings you have and have a grateful heart. Gratitude will go a long way in life and keep your positive thoughts on track.

5. Tune Out the Haters

There are always going to be grumbling people in your path. They are mad when it’s too hot, mad when it’s too cold, and they never seem to have anything nice to say. You don’t have to feed into this negativity. You have the power to tune them out and never join in on the conversation.

6. Take Chances in Life

Carpe Diem! If you don’t take chances in life, then you will live with regrets. The “what if” questions can drive your mind crazy. Don’t be afraid to try that new job or go on a date with a new love interest.

You are holding yourself back for fear of failure. You may ask yourself if you will stumble and fall. However, what if you fly? Sometimes you must take the chance and jump.

7. Know that All Things End

Just as all good things come to an end, so will the storms you face in your life. There are a starting and ending point for everything. You may be in a season of financial demise, but remember that this too shall pass.

While there are rainy days with plenty of thunder and lightning, there are always those sunny days that make everything seem better.

8. Don’t Do Things to Satisfy Others

Are you a people pleaser and go out of your way to make others happy? Well, stop it right now! You will get nowhere in life by putting yourself out in the hope of pleasing someone else.

You are feeding negativity into your spirit when you take on more than what you can handle. How can you have positive thoughts when you’re doing something you hate. Learn how to say “no” and take control of your life.

9. Get Rid of Things That Bring You Down

If you don’t like your job, then you should quit. Other jobs will be more exciting, pay better, and bring you some sense of happiness. Life is too short to be caught up in things that make you miserable.

Does your marriage uplift you or bring you down? It would help if you were with a partner who makes you happy, not sad. True love should awaken the soul and set afire down inside. It doesn’t make you see red with anger and feel horrible bout yourself. Fix the things that bring you down, and it will change your whole outlook.

10. Stay Focused on the Good

You will have many things that will come against you during the day to tear you down. There are always obstacles and roadblocks that you must endure. No matter how hard life tries to get at you, keep, those positive thoughts coming.

When you stay focused and make a commitment to remain optimistic, then you won’t let the pessimistic things that come along detour you.

11. Count Your Blessings

Maybe you feel down on yourself because you haven’t counted your blessings. It’s easy to get in the mindset of failure when you are constantly comparing your wealth with someone else. Stop ruminating about all the wrong things and the material possessions that you don’t have in life.

Instead, it would help if you focused on the things that you do have. When you are grateful, the universe will entrust you with more. Count your blessings, no matter how small, and you will see how it will change your entire day.

12. Help Others

To keep those positive thoughts flowing, look around every day, and find someone to help or bless that day. Maybe you buy coffee for the people in line at the donut shop, or perhaps you let someone go ahead of you in line at the BMV.

These little acts of kindness put positive things out into the universe. Karma will come back to you, though that shouldn’t be the motivation for doing good. You have an opportunity every day to make an impact on yourself and others, so you need to utilize the chances you’ve been given.

Final Thoughts on Keeping the Positive Thoughts Going

Listen, there are plenty of things that go wrong in a day or your life that you can ruminate about. If you start making lists of all the wrong things in your life, you won’t even think about all the right things.

When you have thoughts that try to tear you down and make you feel less than others, you need to counteract that negativity with positive thoughts. Sure, you may not have the perfect body, the most excellent car, or the most prominent home. Thankfully, you have a healthy body, a nice vehicle to drive, and a place to lay your head at night.

By merely altering your mindset a bit, you can help keep your heart healthy, your blood pressure in check, and ensure you stay mentally strong. What can you do to make a difference in your life and those around you? Grasp that philosophy, and it will change your life.