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What Stress Actually Does to You and What You Can Do About It

Stress is an unpleasant fact of life. We all experience it for various reasons, and we all try to come up with ways of coping with it—some with more success than others. So what exactly is stress doing to your mind (and body) when you're staring down a deadline? And what can you do to power through it?
The real problem with stress is that, for such a well understood and universally experienced condition, as a society we deal with it so poorly that it leads to many of our most lethal illnesses and long-term health problems. High blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and insomnia are all medical conditions across the spectrum that can be related to or directly influenced by high stress as an environmental condition.
In order to cut through some of that fog, let's take a brief look at what stress is, how it impacts us on a physical and mental level, and finally what we can do about it, with the help of some experts. Photo by bottled_void.

Defining Stress: Acute and Chronic
Everyone experiences stress in some way, shape, or form. We all recognize when we're in stressful situations, and we all know when we're stressed. At the same time, stress is more than just a feeling that we have a lot to deal with. For the purposes of our explainer, we're focusing on so-called "bad stress," as opposed to "good stress," like the kind of you experience on a roller coaster (if you went on willingly), when you get a big promotion, or kiss someone for the first time. Aside from good stress, there are primarily two types of stress: Acute (short-term) stress that's usually a response to a specific influence (called a stressor), and chronic (long-term) stress that sticks with you and could either have sprung from a short-term stress that stuck with you, or a constant state of stress that you're under due to persistent stressors and conditions. Photo by Becky Wetherington.

Acute Stress: Acute stress is the type of stress you experience when you have an immediate reaction to something you're presented with. This is the "in the moment" kind of fight or flight response that you have when you have to speak in a meeting, your boss just asked you to stay late, you're startled by a sudden noise, or someone on the internet makes a ill-informed comment about your favorite smartphone platform/operating system/hardware manufacturer. (How could they!?)
Acute stress is defined by the fact that it's immediate and short term. In most cases, once the stressor has been removed, your body and mind return to a normal state.

Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is entirely different, and is characterized by its long-term nature. This is the type of stress that you feel that you're under every day, with no reprieve from the things that make you feel stressed. Most chronic stressors are situations, for example, in which you dislike your job and detest going every day, being there all day, and thinking about it when you leave. Living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling with financial security issues is another common source of chronic stress that many people are familiar with.
Its these types of chronic stress situations that are the most dangerous. They keep your body's defenses activated and heightened longer than is generally healthy, and unfortunately more and more of us are living under constant conditions that create stress. Add to this the fact that "coping with stress" isn't exactly a topic you learn in school and you have a recipe for a lot of very unhappy people.

What's Actually Happening When You're Stressed
Your body shows signs of stress in two ways: first, the rush of hormones that elevate your heart rate, boost your blood pressure, and stop your digestion, and then second the symptoms that you experience and are aware of, like clenched teeth, headaches, and emotional upset.
Most of us can tell when we're stressed momentarily, or are just feeling stressed out generally, but there's a lot going on inside our bodies when we're stressed that play a role in our health.
Symptoms: The most common and recognizable symptoms of stress are the ones most of us know all too well: insomnia, headaches, jaw pain, back and neck pain, stuttering, heartburn and nausea, nervousness and anxiety, fidgeting, nail-biting, lateness and trouble focusing, and a lack of interest in work or activities that are normally interesting. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) has a list of 50 common signs and symptoms of stress that include these, but also note a number of other symptoms that you may not have immediately associated with stress and not another condition like depression.
For example, behavioral changes that lead to other conditions can also be signs of stress, like addictive tendencies, a sudden interest in smoking, alcohol, excessive eating, or gambling, or any other addictive behavior that can be interpreted as an escape from chronic stressors. Often, even subconsciously, many of us try to escape stressful situations or conditions by blocking them out or escaping by way of anything that makes us feel better. Even if it's fleeting, it's common to search out an escape so you can relax for a while. Photo by The American Institute of Stress.

I spoke with Roger S. Gil, MAMFT, about some of the less productive ways people cope with stress, and he highlighted that trying to escape without dealing with the actual stressor is more common than you may think. "Overeating, displaced anger, denial, defensiveness, etc. All are signs of avoidance and coping strategies that are meant to protect the ego from the discomfort caused by the stressor…and none of them do anything about the stressor," he explained. "Withdrawing (i.e. checking out mentally) from the situation at hand is something I see A LOT of in my work with couples. For example a husband may withdraw into his own little world when his wife complains about something. Instead of hearing her concerns, he pulls away and encourages her to nag him some more…which causes more withdrawal."

These behavioral changes cut both ways though: the AIS notes that stress reactions can also lead to isolation, loneliness, and severe depression as well. If you've been suddenly feeling alone, forgetful, overly defensive, disorganized, uninterested in your everyday life, overwhelmed by what's going on around you to the point where you need to lie about them, and having difficulty communicating with others, it's possible that chronic, poorly managed stress may be part of the problem.

Physiological Effects of Stress: While stress is most often discussed in terms of how it changes our mental and emotional condition, stressors and stressful situations also have a profound impact on our bodies. Stressors, whether they're acute or chronic, immediately set off the body's fight-or-flight response, flooding your system with stress hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol that are meant to give you a needed boost in dangerous situations. Image via Wikipedia.
In short and small bursts, those hormones can make you more alert, more perceptive, raise your heart rate so your muscles get more blood to them, and raise your breathing rate so you get more oxygen into your lungs. Your digestive processes stop entirely so your body doesn't waste energy processing food when it needs all the energy it can muster to survive. It's a good thing if, say, you're dashing across a busy street or escaping a burning building, but keeping your body's fight or flight response turned on all the time and those stress hormones at high levels in your body is unhealthy, as this eHealth article explains.
If these hormones stay in your system for too long, they can eventually lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate, stress-induced hypertension and stroke risk, ulcers and other gastrointestinal distress, a suppressed immune system, fatigue, sexual issues like impotence and decreased libido. After all, those stress hormones are meant to be in our systems for a short period while we deal with an acute stressor, at a time where we need all of our faculties about us. Over the long term, keeping the body on full alert is more of a detriment than a benefit.

What You Can Do About Stress
Once you recognize the effects of stress and understand the damage you're doing to your body by not coming up with ways to cope with the stress that you're under, it's time to do something about it. I spoke with clinical psychologist Jeffrey DeGroat, PhD about some of the ways you can reduce the impact that chronic stress has on you and how to cope with acute stressors.

Dealing with Acute Stressors: If the stressor is acute and temporary, Dr. DeGroat suggests applying simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing, to calm the mind and the body so you can get the clarity you need to address the situation. He proposes taking a 10-second breathing cycle: breathe in for four seconds, and then out for six seconds. "Works as a thought distraction," he says, "as well as physically slowing down heart rate. This is a good technique to use anytime and anywhere." Photo by Shawn Rossi.

Previously mentioned app CalmDown for Mac is a utility designed just for situations like this: it encourages you to take a deep breath (or a few) so you can step back from the stressor for a moment, gather your thoughts, and push through the fog of frustration and anger that often come with stressors.

I also spoke with Roger Gil about dealing with stressful situations and he reinforced the point: "Stressors like these can produce physical responses at first; so if you're heart is racing, you're short of breath, or you feel your muscles tightening somewhere in your body, know that you're feeling a physiological stress response. In those cases, channeling your awareness of your body can sometimes distract a person away from the area of the body having the stress response." Recognizing that you're having a physical reaction will help you calm down and deal with the situation the way you really want to, as opposed to letting it stew in your mind only to come up with what you wanted to say 15 minutes after you should have said it.

In that vein, Dr. DeGroat explains that figuring out what you wanted to say a few minutes after you said it is very common, and often a result of being unprepared for the stressful situation you're presented with. Aside from making sure to be ready for those situations in advance if you can be, he suggests acknowledging that you're stressed in the situation and telling the person or people you're dealing with that you'll get back to them later. Photo by Sasha Wolff.
"Rather than responding immediately with something we may regret later, or not saying anything at all," he says, "another option might be to indicate to the person that you'll talk to them later about the situation. For example, [imagine] you find out that a co-worker is dating an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend of yours. Rather than yelling at them and making yourself look out of control, or saying 'oh, that's cool,' when you're really upset about it, you could say, 'let's not get into this right now.' This will give you some time to collect your thoughts and approach them on your terms and on your time." Time, as Dr. DeGroat explains, is key to defusing acute stressors, letting your body and mind return to normal, and giving yourself the space to deal with them in a healthy way.

Dealing with Chronic Stressors: Stressors that you deal with on a daily basis or that are always hanging over your head are a different matter entirely. Usually they give you a little more time and space to deal with the thing that's making you stressed, and there are other relaxation techniques for stressors that may not require action on your part right away, or stressors that are always lurking in the background, like your boss, for example.
Visualization is one way to relax yourself when you're presented with a stressor that you don't need to respond to immediately. Dr. DeGroat suggests that if you can, take five to ten minutes to immerse yourself in the most relaxing environment you can possibly imagine, whether it's green fields, a chair by the sea, or your favorite easy chair at home. Focus on as much of that environment as possible, trying to manifest the sounds, smells, and details about it in your head. The more you do this, the farther away you'll get from the thing that's bothering you. It won't make that thing go away, but it will give you a little clarity of mind and distance from the stressor. Photo by Gabriel Pollard.

If you have additional time to relax and some space to be alone, Dr. DeGroat suggests progressive muscle relaxation to defuse some of the natural tension that comes with being stressed. "Systematically tense and relax muscle groups, beginning at your toes and working your way all to the top of your head. [This] serves as a distraction from current stressors and can help reduce physical tension that often accompanies stress."

Another tip Dr. DeGroat offers is to identify whether level of stress and your response to it is realistic or unrealistic when you're in the middle of it. If it's realistic, as in anyone would respond the same way and there's something you can do about it (like your computer froze or you just dropped something,) then address the situation and move on. If the response is unrealistic and others may not respond the same way (traffic isn't moving fast enough or security lines at the airport are too slow,) then address yourself: calm down, step back, and try to relax.

The first step to addressing yourself is to challenge the way you're thinking about the stressor. "Challenging these automatic thoughts that often hijack our minds and promote stress has been shown in research to be a great way to help break the patterns of thinking & behaving that are counterproductive/harmful," Roger Gil explained. "Once the 'mental battle' is won, the IRL battle is more easily handled."

Granted, none of these measures have to be practiced only in the context of chronic stress, but it is more likely that if your boss is getting on your nerves again today or the rent is due and you're worried about being able to afford groceries, you're more likely to take a few minutes and address how you feel so you can approach the issues in a clear manner than you are if you're stuck in a meeting and asked to speak on a topic you weren't ready for.

How to Deal with Stress In the Future
When I asked Dr. DeGroat how we could deal with certain kinds of stress that seem to crop up from time to time, like an overbearing extended family or an aggressive and disrespectful employer, he pointed out that while there are ways to deal with each situation on its own merits, much of the stress that gets to us the most comes from relationships. "Really, I believe stress in relationships (occupational, family, social), often includes difficulties with setting and maintaining boundaries. Others seem to expect too much from us. Rather than setting our own limits/boundaries, we allow others to cross these boundaries, and end up feeling irritated and resentful. One of the best ways to prevent stress in relationships is to identify our own limits/boundaries and hold to them," he says. Photo by Joel Mendoza.

In some cases, it may simply be better to remove yourself from chronic stressors if you're having difficulty adapting to them or minimizing them. After all, if your job is wearing you down and there's no improving it, it may be time to look for a new job. If your relationship is so stressful it's destructive for everyone in it, it may be time to break it off, and if your apartment is run down and your landlord won't fix it, it's time to move out. There are plenty of good reasons to learn to cope with stress, but there are other equally good reasons to remove the stress from your life when you can.

To that end, there's no real way to live a completely stress-free life. Remember, there are positive stressors as well as negative ones, and the positive ones are usually good experiences that we enjoy or seek out. The same applies for negative stressors: they're bound to happen eventually and avoiding them is a futile effort. The key is in knowing how to deal with them, and how to minimize their effect on you.
If the stress you're experiencing is chronic, consider other activities like taking up a hobby, meditating, or traveling—anything that can take your mind off of those stressors and provide a healthy outlet where you can relax. "Other helpful stressful coping mechanisms are exercise, doing an activity you're good at that won't worsen the stress (e.g. cooking, video games, etc), and watching a very engrossing movie/TV show," Gil said, "Sometimes interrupting the state of stress a person is in with an activity they enjoy is enough to keep them from losing control."

There's no magic formula for dealing with stress, but employing coping mechanisms that give you distance, helps you get through the moment, and at best minimizes the overall impact the stressor has on you are a good way to stay healthy, happy, and productive. Photo by Jacob Bøtter.
"It is how we approach it that can cause us problems, or allow us to grow. The more control we can find within a situation, or over ourselves, the more likely we will grow from the situation," Dr. DeGroat explained, "The more we are able to identify and act upon the control and choice we have in situations, the less debilitating the stress will be."

This is just a short introduction, but unsurprisingly, entire books have been written on the topic of stress, its medical and psychological implications, and how you can deal with it in healthy ways. While we hope we've given you some insight into how your body reacts to stressors and how you can manage them in the moment and on the long term, we know that this is by no means an exhaustive study into the topic. What are some of your most successful ways of dealing with stressful situations, both short and long-term? Share your suggestions in the comments
source: Lifehacker

8 ways to banish boredom from your day

Are you bored? 8 ways to banish boredom from your day.

We've all been there, the daily grind, the same ol' same ol' of another day with young kids or the mountain of laundry which you swore you folded just yesterday (and you probably did!). The life of a mum can be rewarding, challenging but it can also be really, really boring. Whether you are at home with the kids fulltime or working, the daily care of children involves two things; routine and repetition. Under these circumstances it is easy for boredom to set in. And boredom make us unmotivated, unproductive and can even lead to depression if left unchecked.
Boredom is characterised by a general lack of interest and feeling which can make us feel disconnected from people. It is an unpleasant emotion that can leave us feeling restless, numb and even aggressive. When we are bored we can often seek to escape the unpleasant feeling by occupying ourselves with food, TV, surfing the internet, drugs and alcohol or sex. This kind of behaviour can be self-destructive and most definitely unproductive.

How to banish boredom

In order to deal with feelings of boredom you first need to recognise them. One of the ways to do this is to write down your boredom symptoms. For me it is surfing the net and overeating. When I find myself doing either of these things I am usually trying to outrun the uncomfortable feeling of boredom. When you recognise the symptoms of boredom, accept the feelings and just sit with it for a few minutes.
Once you know you are dealing with boredom you are in a position to do something about it. Try these tips:
  • Connect with people, call a friend, go chat to your local shopkeeper, even people-watching at your local café will help you feel connected again.
  • Get up and get moving. If you are boredom-watching TV or surfing the net, get up and do some laundry, even a quick walk around the living room will break the mindless cycle of boredom.
  • If boredom at work is a problem for you, try setting smaller goals which you can achieve with greater frequency which will help to keep you focused and motivated.
  • Create a "boredom list", a list of fun things you enjoy doing and post it around the house wherever you tend to experience boredom symptoms most (for me that's the computer and the fridge!). When you recognise boredom setting in, you won't need to search too hard for inspiration.
  • Get out of your routine. Routines can be very useful but they can also lead to boredom. Change things up a little. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand can be enough to wake you up.
  • Practice mindfulness and be present and focused on the here and now. When you are watching TV focus on all the sounds you hear or the clothes each character is wearing, focus on the sensations in your body.
  • Be careful of the company you keep. Boredom is contagious so make sure to hang with an active crowd.
  • Coach yourself! Ask some coaching questions when you notice boredom – what would make this interesting for me? Do I need to challenge myself to see how quickly I can fold the washing? Can I pack my groceries faster than the cashier can scan them? Can I bang out a blog post in under an hour (I may or may not be drawing from personal experience!).
How do you know when you are bored? What strategies do you find helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

Ego Destroys Love

The difficulty with ego is that it is deeply concealed. Most of us don't even know we have it. Ego destroys love. It destroys the ability to learn, so there is no more give and take. No more love. We go through many kinds of situations all day long so we should make sure we don't stop exchanging love. Ego can be overcome by developing humility. If we don't know how to bow love finishes.

Story: Two Brothers - Different Future

This is a story of two brothers. One was a drug addict and a drunkard who frequently beat up his family. The other one was a very successful businessman who was respected in society and had a wonderful family. Some people wanted to find out why two brothers from the same parents, brought up in the same environment, could be so different.

The first one was asked, "How come you do what you do? You are a drug addict, a drunk, and you beat your family. What motivates you?" He said, "My father." They asked, "What about your father?" The reply was, "My father was a drug addict, a drunk and he beat his family. What do you expect me to be? That is what I am."

They went to the brother who was doing everything right and asked him the same question. "How come you are doing everything right ? What is your source of motivation?" And guess what he said? "My father. When I was a little boy, I used to see my dad drunk and doing all the wrong things. I made up my mind, that is not what I wanted to be."

Both were deriving their strength and motivation from the same source, but one was using it negatively and the other positively....
Life keeps on teaching us from different situations however it is up to us what we want to learn. The rule is simple, "Good mind, good find !"

15 Surefire Ways to Impress Others

"The need to impress others causes half the world's woes." —Vernon Howard
More often than we would care to admit, the desire to impress others motivates our lives. This desire to impress others impacts the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the technology we embrace, and the careers we choose.

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Unfortunately, it is often elusive. Cars rust. Fashion changes. Technology advances. And the purchases that impressed your neighbor yesterday make no impression today. As a result, we live our lives with out-of-style clothes, jobs that we hate, skyrocketing personal debt, and jealousy towards our neighbor who seems to have it all… until that unquenchable desire to impress begs us to begin the cycle again.

The hard truth is we often look to impress others in all the wrong places.
Take a moment and identify the people in your life that truly impress you. What is it about their life that inspires you? Make a list. Very rarely (if ever) is it the car that they drive or the size of their home. Most often, the people that truly inspire us possess the invisible, intangible qualities that we all desire.
Consider this list of 15 Intangible, Surefire Ways to Impress Others:

1. Be Generous. Regularly give your time, energy, and money to others without expecting anything in return. The giving of your life to another is one of the most impressive things you can ever do.

2. Laugh Often. Be that person that routinely laughs at other's jokes and stories. It concretely communicates that you enjoy life and their company. They'll be impressed and you'll be a more joyful person.

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3. Be Optimistic. Always, always, always focus on the good aspects of people and situations. Sometimes you have to look harder than others, but you'll always be glad you did.

4. Love Your Kids. And by love your kids, I mean genuinely like them too. Enjoy being with them, spending time with them, and investing in their lives. This love towards children will be evident in your life even when they aren't around.

5. Be Faithful to Your Spouse. Marital fidelity is going out of style too quickly these days. Stay faithful to the one you chose. Trust me, your friends and colleagues will be impressed… not to mention your partner.

6. Develop Your Strengths. I am impressed by good singers, authors, writers, architects, speakers, CEO's, computer programmers, mothers, and athletes (just to name a few). There is only one thing they all have in common: They discovered their strengths and developed them with great discipline. Do the same with your unique giftedness and temperament. And regardless of the profession you choose, you will impress.

7. Travel. See the world. You will change and be better because of it.

8. Appreciate Different Opinions. While there is nothing wrong with being dogmatic in your beliefs, a healthy appreciation of how others came to theirs is definitely an impressive quality.

9. Love Your Life. Don't fall into the trap of living life like everyone else. Avoid television and consumerism. Embrace your passions and find enjoyment in your life. The people around you will be impressed… and jealous.

10. Encourage More. Living your life in competition with those around you will never impress. After all, everyone else is already doing that. Change the world by being different. Seek to encourage and lift up others. And the person who benefits the most just may be you.

11. Love Nature. People who exhibit care for the physical world around us exhibit care for all humanity.

12. Listen Intently. Eyes focused. Ears tuned. Cell phone off. In a world that can't move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen is as rare as a precious jewel… and far more valuable.

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13. Be Modest. You are special, unique, and gifted. And the less you make an effort to tell everyone that, the more they will notice.

14. Be Content. A contented life is enjoyable, desirable, and admirable. Those who don't have it, desire it. And are impressed with those who have.

15. Don't Live to Impress. Live to Inspire. Give up your desire to impress everyone you meet. But never give up your desire to inspire everyone you meet.

Of course, the greatest thing about this list is that you already possess everything you need to inspire others. So why not get started?
Stop trying to impress others with the things that you own and begin inspiring them by the way you live your life. (tweet that)

10 Things To Consider When Deciding Your Website Name

registering domain namesRegistering domain names is one of the most important steps in the website flipping process. A lot hinges on it when it comes to how fast you can sell your website and how good of a price you can get for it. While you may be tempted to go with whatever clever or fancy name that comes to mind when building a website from scratch or looking for one you can purchase, it's worth going over this checklist first to see if the domain name passes the test before registering it.

1. .com, .org and .net TLDs Only
Use your creativity in other aspects of the website but stick to the tried and tested TLDs when registering domain names. People often assume that a website ends in .com, while .net and .org domains are generally accepted too. This is why potential buyers look no further than these three TLDs when searching for a website to purchase. The only exception may be when you are targeting a specific country or region such as using for the Australian market.

2. Say No To Hyphens and Numbers
For a few particular sites, numbers and hyphens could be worked into a domain name but in most cases, they may bring down the site's market value. Stay away from these types of domains if possible.

3. Keep It Short and Sweet
When it comes to domain names, long is out and short is in. A long domain may allow you to play around with clever name ideas but if you've been doing this for any length of time, you know that short name domains get sold the fastest and command the highest prices. A domain name of 20 characters or less is ideal.

4. Include Keywords
What better way of boosting SEO value than putting a relevant keyword in the domain name. Such a move will help in the search engine rankings and will impress future buyers.

5. Use An Exact Keyword Only
If you can fit the exact keyword into the domain name – nothing more, nothing less (i.e. – then you'll hit a goldmine – not only with the search engines by getting a SEO boost but also with future buyers. If you can't get an exact keyword domain, then revert to rule #4 above and just make sure the keyword is included somehow (i.e.

6. Go For Mass Appeal
A generic domain can catch people's attention more than one referring to a particular market or brand. And understandably, a domain that reaches out to a greater audience would also appeal to more potential buyers. When registering domain names, try to keep them as broad as possible. For example, will be more appealing to more buyers than

7. Avoid Misspellings
Nothing discourages a potential buyer more than having a misspelled domain. While you may get some traffic from people searching with misspellings, you don't want to build a long-term asset on a misspelled domain. Save misspelled domains for your feeder sites or domain portfolio but don't build a website intended to be flipped on them.

8. Avoid Trademarks Like the Plague
Websites that contain trademark words may bring in more harm and controversy (which you don't need) than actual traffic and buyer interest (which you do need). And that's not even counting the cease and desist emails that are sure to come or worse yet, trademark infringement lawsuits that could be waiting for you.

9. Look For Advertisers
The more paid ads you see when doing a search for your domain's keyword, the better the chances of your site getting sold. If people are already paying to be on the front page of Google for the keyword in your domain, they'll likely be interested in buying a website that ranks naturally for that keyword and has the keyword in the domain to boot!

10. GEO Domains Are Hot
More and more local businesses are making the leap to the web every day, creating a significant demand for local geographical domains. Grab these local geo domains sooner than later and you'll make a profitable income out of them.
Website flipping success starts with registering domain names that pass as many of the tests above. A good domain can be the difference between a small payday and big payday. Get started on the right foot by applying these guidelines when registering domain names for your websites!

Are You Your Own Best Friend?

Thriving Through Adversity

Have you faced difficult times in your life?  Have there been times when life or circumstances just didn't seem fair? Have you struggled just to survive at times?  Have you felt like you are all alone?  Have you felt like the pain would never end? These feelings and these pains are real.  You need to acknowledge them and feel the emotions.  You may need to cry or scream or kick things.  That is ok…just do it and then let it go!  And that is the hard part…letting go, moving on, getting past it.  Our ego mind likes to keep us engaged and angry or getting back. 

The problems arise when you stay stuck in that place and can't find your way out.   I have found that people cripple themselves or limit themselves with old thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve them yet they still stay stuck.  If you don't step back and recognize the fact that you are stuck…you won't be able to move forward in life.  It is all about looking in the mirror to see what you are unconsciously doing to yourself and then making a conscious decision to face the other direction. 

It is all about changing your thoughts, feelings and emotions because what you think, feel and believe will become your reality every single time without exception.  Clients ask me if you have to fake it until you make it.  You can look at it that way if that is the only way you can get out of your hole but I prefer to look at it a little differently.  I choose to start focusing on and finding what is right in my life.  Instead of wallowing in pain and what is wrong or who did what…I slowly start to turn to face the other direction by finding what is right…even if it is small.  One baby step at a time will get you to where you want to go. Finding things to be grateful for every moment of every day.  What is right?  What is good? 

11 Great Ways to Reduce Stress

The reality of it is, you have to learn to become your own support system as no-one else will do it for you.  When facing tough times or uncertainty, you have to learn to turn off or shut down that part of your mind I call the ego which is where fear, worry, anxiety and sadness reside.  You instead need to begin to follow your internal barometer…which is deep within your heart. it is different way of thinking and being. 

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The good news is the pain is there for a very good reason. Every pain you experience will give you more strength.  You truly do gain from pain.  Think about it, most of us don't want change or tend to go to self-help books or workshops when in joy and bliss.  So when you face adversity or uncertainty…see it as a gift.  It is a time for growth and expansion.  This is when you will grow the most. Don't resist it…cry if you need to, mourn or stomp and throw things if it helps.  But once you have acted out, just release it and begin to turn to healing and moving forward and not staying stuck in your grief or problem. It is a wakeup call for you and you are the only one that can control this.  You are the only one that can make a choice to move forward.  It's not about saying when I get there…I will have peace or I will have happiness.   There is no waiting…it is all about choosing to thrive today, in this moment.    

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You don't have to feel disconnected or numbness. You don't have to get to the point where you say…" I have this terrible life…but I don't see options so I will put up with it."  What we all deeply want is to feel good.  We just want to be happy.  We just want to feel good inside…to be happy inside with peace of mind.  It is available right now.  For every single one of you.  You just have to choose it. Make a conscious decision to choose happiness and peace of mind right now in this moment.  It is about changing your belief system, how you think, how you feel and most importantly how you talk to your self every single day.  Make a commitment to yourself to go through this life as your own best friend. 

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If a 5 Second SMILE
Can make you look beautiful and improves your relationships
Just Imagine
If you keep SMILING
How beautiful your life would be….

Improve iPhone Battery Life With These Top Tips - UPDATED

Improve iPhone Battery Life
If you want to get the best out of your iPhone and improve iPhone battery life, we have some handy top  tips that will help you maximize your iPhone battery.
There are a number of things that can drain the battery life, if your follow our tips you will be able to improve your iPhone battery life and get the best out of your device.
Improve iPhone Battery Life
The first thing that your should do is check what apps or services are using up most of your battery life on your iPhone, this can be done by going to Settings > Battery, under the Battery Percentage settings you will see 'Battery Usage', this provides a list of the apps and features that have been using your battery and will show you a percentage of what each app is using over the last 24 hours and also over the last week.

1. Turn down the screen brightness on your iPhone

turn down screen brightness
This might seem like an obvious one, but if you are using your iPhone on full brightness then this could use up your battery much quicker than if you ran it on 50 percent brightness. Turning down the brightness to around 50% or even 25% percent could make some significant improvements on your battery life.
This can be done by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and then reducing the brightness to what you think will work for you. If you find a level of brightness that works for you, then you could turn off the auto brightness feature as this adjusts the handsets brightness based on the lighting around you.

2. Turn off background app refresh to help improve iPhone battery life

background app refresh
One feature in the latest versions of Apple's iOS that is worth looking at turning off is Background app refresh. This can be done by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
There are two options that you can use here, you can turn the Background App Refresh feature off for each individual app you have installed on your iPhone, or you can turn the feature off completely, so none of the app refresh in the background.
The second method of turning off the feature completely so that none of the apps refresh is the one I use and this will help you increase the battery life on your handset to get the most out of your iPhone.

3. Improve iPhone battery life by turning off notifications

iPhone notifications
If you are running a lot of apps on your iPhone and have notifications on for all of them, this can significantly use your battery, constant notifications from multiple apps will have a negative effect on your iPhone's battery, editing which ones send notifications can help improve battery life on your device.
I tend to turn off notifications for the majority of the applications I use, the ones I keep on are for things like email, text messagse and generally a few other apps that I want notifications from.
You can choose by each app that you have installed on whether you want to receive notifications from that application, this can be done by going to Settings > Notifications and then choosing the app that you want to change the settings on, this is a great way of saving power on your iPhone and increasing your battery life.

4. Change your email settings from Push to Fetch

Push mail settings
If your email is set to Push and you receive a lot of emails every day then this can use up a lot of your iPhone's battery life, one way around this is to change from Push email to Fetch email, this allows you to choose an interval where your iPhone will check for new emails.
By using the Fetch feature rather than Push, you can choose to let your iPhone retrieve your emails on a regular basis, you can choose to have them fetched every 15 minutes, 30 minutes or hourly. There is also another option, you can choose to Fetch your emails manually, this will happen when you open your email map, then latest emails will then be downloaded to your device when you run the Mail app.
In order to change your email settings from Push to Fetch, you need to go to Settings > Mail, Contact, Calendars > Fetch New Data, you can then choose either Fetch or Push and the time interval you want to use. This is really helpful if you get a lot of emails, even if you set Fetch to get your email every 15 minutes, it should be better than you receiving emails every few minutes.

5. Connect to WiFi wherever possible to improve iPhone battery life

Low Signal
One of the biggest battery drains on the iPhone is not the handset itself but a low or weak signal with your mobile carrier, a poor signal is one of the largest battery drains on the iPhone.
If you have a number of apps setup to use your carrier service, then connecting to WiFi whenever possible should help with this problem and stop your handset searching for a signal constantly.
If you are in a poor signal area, you iPhone will constantly search for a new signal, this can be a large battery drain.
If you are in an area with a really bad signal for a while and cannot connect to WiFi, then you can put the handset into Airplane Mode, this will stop your iPhone from constantly searching for a new signal, of course you will not be able to use many features of the handset in Airplane mode.

6. Improve iPhone battery life by turning off Automatic Downloads

Automatic Downloads
Another way to increase the battery life on your iPhone is to turn off automatic downloads when using cellular. This will also save you data on your monthly mobile data plan, as you can set it so that the downloads only happen when you are on WiFi.
You can choose whether you want to turn off automatic downloads for Music, Apps, Books and also updates for apps, it is possible to select the ones you want or turn them all off by turning off the mobile data feature.
This can be done by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Use Mobile Data, you can also select individual items including apps, music, updates and books.

7. Save battery life by reducing Auto Lock time

When you have finished using your iPhone the handset will automatically turn the screen off after a set amount of time, choosing a lower setting for Auto Lock can help improve battery performance.
I personally use the lowest setting which is 30 seconds, you can choose between 30 seconds and five minutes or choose never which means that you handset will always be on. With the latest iPhone's having a fingerprint scanner, it is easy to unlock your device after it auto locks, so choosing a lower setting is not a problem as it is simple to unlock your device.
This can be adjusted in the settings menu on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Auto Lock and choosing which time setting suits you.

8. Turn off Location Tracking on your iPhone

Location Tracking
You can turn off location tracking unless you use Apple Maps or Google Maps on a regular basis, this can always be turned back on if you want to use one of those apps, this should help improve the battery life on your handset.
Location Tracking can be turned off on your iPhone by Going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, you can choose to turn them all off or choose which apps you want to use to share your location

9. Cut down on what apps are using Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search
Spotlight Search is designed to search everything on your iPhone, this includes apps, contacts, your photos and more, you can turn off the ones that you don't need to use the feature with.
This can be done by going to Settings > General > Spotlight Search, you can then turn off apps individually.

10. When your iPhone battery gets low, turn on Low Power Mode to keep it going for longer

Low Power Mode
One of the features in iOS 9 is a new Low Power Mode, this can be turned on when your battery is lower than normal. Low Power Mode on the iPhone is designed to optimize battery life and get the most out of the battery power that you have left.
Turning on Low Power Mode on the iPhone will reduce usage of a number of services, including mail fetch, automatic downloads, background app refresh and also some visual effect, this can be really useful when you have a low battery. You can turn on Low Power Mode on your iPhone by going to Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode.

11. Don't shut down apps, it uses more power to shut them down

Apple's Craig Federighi recently confirmed that shutting down apps on your iPhone will not improve battery life.
Once apps are put into background mode they use no battery power at all, regularly shutting down background applications will actually use more power than if you just leave them open in the background.

12. Turn off Bluetooth and AirDrop if you don't use them

Many people, myself included have Bluetooth and AirDrop turned on even when we are not using these features, if you turn both of these off when not in use then this will give you additional battery life on your iPhone or iPad.
I only use Bluetooth with my hands free kit in the car, so turning this off when I am not in the car has helped increase the battery life of my iPhone. I also rarely use AirDrop, but when I do this can easily be turned back on from the settings menu.
These top handy tips should help you improve the battery life on your iPhone, most of them will work on the majority of versions of iOS with some only working on iOS 9 or above. These are designed to help you get the maximum battery life out of your iPhone.
You can choose to use all of the tips above or just the ones that think will benefit your battery life the most. You can find out some more details on how to increase your handsets battery life over at Apple.
Try out some of the tips on your iPhone and let us know what improvements in battery life performance your get in the comments below.
Updated 30th March 2016 with more iPhone battery saving tips!