10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part II

10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part II

By | posted Jul 21st 2014 at 11:17AM

10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy – Part 2


6. Hanging on to old beliefs

Take a few moments to listen to your inner soundtrack when you read or hear what others express. Notice that you have your own beliefs working as a filter or a lens through which you see and listen. Do you have an “always” and “never” mentality?
This is when you have a belief or statement that you use to generalise everything you experience. I won’t list too many of the common typical statements here but they resemble:
“People can’t be trusted.” (Or a certain sect of people can’t be trusted.)
“It is very hard to succeed.”
“Birds of a feather flock together.”
“Once bitten, twice shy.”
“I never win.”
“I always get sick after XYZ.”
It is the habit of generalising where you make things either “good or bad”, “right or wrong” and you live in judgment. This is a double-edged sword as you will apply the same harsh rules to yourself. There is no middle ground.
Ease up and cut yourself and the people in your life some slack. Things may not be exactly as you see it. Your beliefs may be outdated and disempowering. Give life a chance and learn to trust a little.
Here’s what Tony Robbins says, “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting a new, empowering belief.”

Every opportunity I get, I remind people that they are good enough, to be, do and have whatever it is they truly desire. “I am good enough” is the mantra to replace all the others that don’t evoke positive emotions in you.
In order to truly start embodying the new belief, you have to add action based on it. Not doing so, will only feed your old limiting belief. For example, if you had a belief that you are broke, you need to do something every day that shows you that you are wealthy and blessed. Take small steps to help breathe life into your new powerful beliefs.
Notice too when your thoughts and comments are extremely one-sided and judgmental. When you look through the filter of your beliefs, you can’t see both sides of the coin. Use the acronym W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking?), and take a few minutes to view the situation from different angles.
7. Not keeping your relationships in good repair.
Not giving affection to the special people in your life and giving too much time to the people who sap your energy.
We cannot deny that the people in our lives have a great influence on how we feel and we need to choose wisely. If you have a helper or employee who manages to upset you or bring out the worst in you, first, look at yourself and see if you are deliberately keeping this person in your life because you want a punching bag, or if this person perhaps is mirroring attributes about yourself that you are ashamed of and try to hide? If you can be honest that it is neither, then you can either change your attitude towards this person or you can also choose how much of power and time you’d like to give away to them.
More importantly, nurture the relationships you love. Make time daily and even several times a day to connect and GIVE love to the people you care about. Instead of waiting for them to show you appreciation and care, why not give it? The only way to have more joy and love in your life is to BE loving and joyful. Watch that your communication with loved ones is not always about getting them to do things or complaining to them.


8. Ignoring your health 
This includes binge drinking, smoking or eating. It also includes always making excuses or postponing exercise or being healthy, thinking you are enjoying life and will be healthy later or tomorrow. Realise that you would enjoy life more if you looked after your health. Not making time for exercise is just making time for illness. Keep pace and maintain a sustainable lifestyle so that you can live it for the long haul with balance. It takes only a few weeks to form new habits and tastes. Even something like sugar, after a few days of drinking tea or coffee without it will get you used to the taste and you will start enjoying it. Exercising every day too, once you stick with it for the first few weeks, you will feel more uncomfortable when you don’t! Create healthy eating and exercising habits that will last you a lifetime. When you are older, you will thank you for it. Start today, if not now, then when?


9. Having unrealistic expectations of yourself
Having unrealistic expectations of yourself and others is the surest way to kill your joy. You just can’t lose 10 kilos overnight (even Lipo takes time). Your relationships won’t improve without your loving energy and dropping most of these killjoy habits. You won’t be able to pay off $32k debt in a week. Your new business won’t be profitable from Day 1. So be kind with yourself, be realistic and give 100% effort and then accept where you are with the faith that you are getting there, slowly but surely.
10. Entitlement issues with others
Your family doesn’t owe you anything, your friends don’t have to pay for your drinks, your child may forget to acknowledge your help. Your brother may not buy you gifts, your partner may not remember your anniversary. No one owes you anything. The sooner you accept this, the quicker you will take responsibility of your joy and become adept at creating it in your daily life independently! I believe that Emotional Independence is one of the most important skills you can learn.
Instead of always setting people up to fail, make crystal clear requests of them if you really want something and if you still don’t get it, check your communication skills and also learn to give more to yourself by yourself, so that you don’t feel your joy is dependent on anyone else. Being selfish is a word that has been misused.
Looking after yourself and doing things everyday that make you smile, whether it is playing or listening to music or taking a walk or even playing scrabble, look after YOU and GIVE yourself permission to have fun! Balance isn’t about staying in the centre. Even a car cannot move forward in neutral gear. It is about swaying from side to side. Be kind with yourself and acknowledge your efforts to replace your killjoy habits with joyful ones.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images


Africa’s homemade aircraft builders.


Amateur enthusiasts are creating planes and helicopters out of recycled parts and little training. So why aren’t countries doing more to harness this talent?

Africa’s homemade aircraft builders


Its propellers are powered by an engine that once milled animal feed. Aluminium bars, bolts and plastic sheeting bought from a local shop and held together with cheap gum make up the frame. A large crowd applauds enthusiastically as young farmhand Onesmus Mwangi publically unveils the 25-kilogramme (55-lb) helicopter he has built from salvaged scrap in his backyard in the village of Magomano, Kenya. And for good reason.

Mwangi, 20, dropped out of school at the age of 12 and has no formal technical training. His labour of love took up every spare waking moment outside his farm job for over seven months, not to mention his savings of 57,000 Kenyan Shillings ($650) – about a year-and-a-half’s salary for him.

He is, of course, not the first person to build a helicopter. We can’t even be sure his machine actually flies. The engine works and he claims it has flown a few feet, although this cannot be confirmed. Regardless, his raw talent and determination have attracted local, national and even international recognition.

In recent years the media has highlighted a series of similarly inspiring achievements by other African amateur aviation enthusiasts, whose flying machines have been created with scant resources and little training. Some have achieved lift-off, others haven’t. Their stories are different, and yet linked by parallels in the barriers they have faced and overcome, and their motivations for doing so.

For at least as long ago as the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight in 1903, novice tinkerers and expert engineers have engaged in innovative aviation projects, varying in size and scale. Canadian engineer Paul Moller, for example, has put a good part of the last 40 years and at least $100 million into developing the Moller Skycar 400, an affordable personal aircraft that takes off and lands vertically. Then there is Toronto-based Jay Godsall, who is developing an aeroplane-airship hybrid with a helium-filled chamber and solar cells designed to get into remote locations for disaster relief, exploration and research.

Aeronautical innovators in the developing world have fewer resources, but they have similar motivations, says Emeka Okafor, curator of Maker Faire Africa, an annual pan-African event that showcases ingenuity and innovation.

“In any society, there’s always a subset of individuals with an interest in tinkering, fabricating, mimicking, inventing,” says Okafor. “At the very fundamental level, what drives them is curiosity. On top of that, it’s problem solving, or addressing gaps they see in society.”

Social recognition and material rewards matter too. “I built the helicopter to showcase my talent, hoping that people would invest in me and give me an opportunity to build bigger and better things,” says Mwangi.

Support network

The rise of the internet and social media in particular has brought greater attention to such efforts over the last decade. Gabriel Nderitu Muturi, another Kenyan, spent three years building a homemade two-seater aircraft running on a 40-litre Toyota engine. In 2010 he was forced to give up on this model, which failed to get off the ground due to “many troubles with weight and engine power”, as he wrote in a report on his efforts. Last year he designed and built a lighter single-seater, and is currently planning remote-controlled tests.

Then there is the Somaliland trio Mohamed Abdi Barkadle, Saed Abdi Jide and Abdi Farah Lidan, who, in 2010, built a helicopter from an old van engine and scrap metal with no financial support, with the aim of using it to fight fires. It is unclear whether their chopper ever made it off the ground. Jide cites a “lack of money and time” as the main challenges.

However, greater exposure is not enough to help them overcome the tremendous barriers they face, which extend far beyond time and money.

First, of course, is the technical challenge. “Building an aircraft is incredibly complicated,” says Jim Gaunt, a bush pilot and mechanic based in Nairobi who’s been flying planes in Kenya for over 30 years. “Everything you put into an aeroplane has to get off the ground.” Car and aircraft engines are very similar, however those that power cars are heavier, and made for rapid acceleration and deceleration, while those in aircraft are made lighter, and to run at a more steady speed. And of course while a Toyota or Honda engine can be found in many junkyards, cheap aircraft engines are far harder to come by.

Then, there is the cultural aspect. “What we have in most parts of Africa are lone wolf inventors, fabricators and dreamers, who unfortunately lack the types of support systems that are found in developed countries,” says Okafor.

A relative lack of financial and physical resources, and of education and training environments that foster innovation, in many African countries helps explain why the odds are stacked against these individuals. But it’s also frequently rooted in a failure of governments to recognise the role of innovation in development, which in turn comes from deeper societal attitudes.

In many African countries those who are most revered in history books are nation builders and founders, who, more often than not, were writers, artists, poets and politicos. The equivalents of the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford feature far less prominently. “In Africa, they are invisible,” says Okafor.

Faced with this combination of obstacles, those driven by the passion to innovate face an uphill battle. After Mwangi unveiled his helicopter in April, his employer fired him, claiming the media attention was interfering with his work. Then, the local authorities confiscated his chopper, saying it was a “security risk”. The police have since returned it, but have forbidden Mwangi from flying it.

‘Waste of talent’

And yet sometimes these innovators do get the rewards as well as recognition. In 2007, 24-year-old Nigerian physics student Mubarak Muhammed Abdullahi spent nearly a year building a 12-metre (39ft) long helicopter out of spare parts sourced from old cars, motorcycles, and even a crashed Boeing 747, using money he saved from repairing cell phones and computers.

“When I was a kid I loved helicopters,” says Abdullahi. “Whenever I saw one in the movies, I used to ask ‘how does this thing work?”

Years later when he told his college friends of his plan to build one, they laughed. “Only whites can build things like that,” they said. His response was to build a bright yellow helicopter with push-button ignition, an accelerator lever and a joystick for thrust and bearing. It was powered by a 133-horsepower engine salvaged from a Honda Civic.

Unlike the flying machines of many other amateur aviation innovators, Abdullahi’s contraption actually flew, although never above a height of 2.1 metres (7ft). But it did earn him international recognition, a TED Global Fellowship and a scholarship to study aircraft maintenance in the UK.

He now has a well paid job working for an electronics manufacturer in the UK, but dreams of starting his own aircraft company. He reflects that he got little support from the Nigerian government, and says the barriers faced by people like him result in a tremendous “waste of talent” in Africa.

These stories beg an important question: how can Africa better encourage and harness the talents of its aero-innovators?

“That person in Africa building his own chopper is someone who can make things happen, who is willing to take risks,” says Robert Weiss, President of the X Prize Foundation, which creates global competitions with multi-million dollar prizes to fuel innovation. Weiss says he would like to encourage greater participation from amateurs based in developing world countries in future X Prize challenges.

Okafor, however, is not convinced this approach will help. “One of the reasons prizes work in the US and elsewhere is because you already have the basics in place – infrastructure, spaces, labs, etc,” he says. “When you don’t have those basics, even for someone who may want to participate in a prize project, there are a lot of limitations.”

He sees more potential in the establishment of creative community workshops such as the hundreds of “Maker Spaces”, “hackerspaces” and “fab labs” that have sprung up around the world. These open spaces offer access to equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers, as well as computing facilities and advanced design software. Individuals can realise their ideas, as well as making links so they can collaborate in a supportive environment.

Such spaces do exist in South Africa, Egypt, Togo, Ghana, Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, but Okafor would like to see a great many more. He and others believe that the ultimate success or failure of projects undertaken by the likes of Mwangi, Muturi, Abdullahi and the Somaliland trio is less important than what they learn along the way, and where that takes them and their societies in future.

“We shouldn’t overlook or underestimate what these folks are doing,” Okafor says. “Whether they fly or not is not really important. These individuals have an interest in this form of transport. Can we imagine what they would be able to do if they had enabling environments?”


5 Excersize myths you should know.

 5 Exercises myths you should know

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There are many people out there looking for fitness and weight loss advice. At times it has become very difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. Every week there is a new Fad diet, or a new product that touts you can still eat the tasty stuff and not gain an ounce of weight, additionally you go to the gym and just get on the cardio machine for 10-30 minutes assuming it will make a huge difference. I take a new approach of looking at the various myths we have been told work, but upon further inspection are just myths. – Staff Writter (ihealthcareupdates.com)

MYTH #1: The best way to lose weight is to drastically cut calories

“Our bodies are smarter than we think,” says Jari Love, star of the Get Extremely Ripped: 1000 Hardcore DVD. “When we eat too little, our body believes that it’s starving so our metabolism slows down and holds onto fat as a potential energy source.” A much better approach: Eat more often, but eat less food at one time. For the fastest weight loss, break up your total daily calorie allotment—don’t eat fewer than 1,200 calories if you’re a woman or fewer than 1,800 calories if you’re a man—into five to six small meals to keep your metabolism humming.

MYTH #2: Heavy weights will bulk you up

“This just isn’t possible for most women,” says most person trainers “Ladies have too much estrogen in their hormone makeup. Yes, heavier weights build muscle and strength, but most of us women aren’t lifting anything so heavy that we are at risk for building man muscles.” Plus, muscle is the secret to a revved up metabolism, as it burns more calories than more fat, even when you’re sitting on the couch or at your desk.

MYTH #3: Keep your heart rate in the fat-burning zone

If you’ve been exercising at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate in order to shed flab faster, you could be slowing your slimdown. “The fat-burning zone is a complete myth,” says Wayne Westcott, PhD, Prevention advisory board member and fitness research director at Quincy College. “While it’s true that you burn a higher percentage of fat calories when exercising at a moderate pace, you burn fewer calories overall.” For instance, if you get on a treadmill and walk at a 3.5 MPH pace for 30 minutes, you might burn 250 calories. If you raise the speed to 7 miles per hour, you’d burn 500. Bottom line? “It’s much better to go at the faster speed.” Prefer the elliptical trainer? Make sure you’re not making one of the

MYTH #4: Boosting cardio is the best way to bypass a plateau

“The most effective way to lose weight is to include both cardio and weights in your routine,” says Love. “One study found that when individuals cycled for 30 minutes a day, they lost 3 pounds of fat and gained a half pound of muscle in 8 weeks. But individuals who cycled for 15 minutes and weight trained for 15 minutes a day lost 10 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of calorie-burning muscle.”

MYTH #5: Ab exercises are the fastest way to a flat belly

“Doing abdominal exercises can strengthen the different ab muscles, but it won’t burn body fat and reveal the ‘6-pack look,’” says Aaron Swan, Private Trainer at the Sports Club/LA-Boston. “Abs are made in the kitchen—not from doing crunches.” A proper diet low in refined carbohydrates and full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables will bring you closer to the flat belly you’re after. Still, you should work your tummy!

Source: Prevention Magazine

How to be happier in life: 6 Easy Tips to Follow.

Courtesy: (ihealthcareupdates.com)

How to be happier in life easy question right ? Not always, I visited an old friend of mine the other day. Their home is perfect, beautiful cars, two kids the perfect age apart; everything as it would appear is perfect. At work his career is going well. He is on track to become an executive at his company, which he has been at the perfect length of time, yet after spending a weekend with them it’s clear the family is a not a happy family. There seems to be a sense of disconnect, between them, the fighting, the negative behavior of the children, etc this is obviously a void that can’t be filled by all the material objects and work successes they’ve amassed.

I had to ask myself why is that ? How do you avoid letting your life get to a point where you have everything you need, or want but yet still fill unfulfilled ?.  Here are couple of tips I’ve discovered from a combination of books, magazine and online resources.

How to be happier in life Tip 1: Create a Plan for yourself

Create a realistic plan for goals that you feel will make you happy. Sometimes it’s not about completing the goal, but the effort and hard work you put to get there. Hence, the harder you work the better you will feel about yourself because you will feel better about going after something you value. If its not valuable to you, It will not be worth it to work or make the sacrifice to achieve the goal.

How to be happier in life Tip 2: Surround yourself with Positive People

This is often the hardest part of being happy, acknowledging the people you hang around with may not best for you, choose to surround yourself with happy and positive people, and relationships who accentuates the goals you want to accomplish for yourself. If you are around people who are happy with their emotional state, that feeling will be infectious.

How to be happier in life Tip 3:  Failure is inevitable

When something goes awry, or you fail at something don’t wallow in self pity. People who are happy accept their failures as a learning experience and move on. You can have a million failures; all you need is one great success moment. Mathematically speaking it’s statistically impossible to have all failures, you will eventually hit upon success, wallowing in self pity just make the failures last longer.

How to be happier in life Tip 4: Appreciate what/who you have

Don’t disregard the great things you currently have in life. Take a few seconds each day to think about the wonderful things, people, children, pets that are part of your life. These few seconds will give you the opportunity to focus on the positive things in your life and will often change your outlook on bad days.

How to be happier in life Tip 5: Treat Yourself

I once heard Oprah say, that “you must pay yourself first no matter what”, with that being said you have to take time each day and pay yourself, it maybe a compliment, a great lunch, or some extra alone time, these are all ways to subconsciously put yourself in a better mood.

How to be happier in life Tip 6 : Our biggest secret to Happiness…

You know this article had to come back to health and wellness, and healthcare has a lot do with your happiness. Maintaining your health is one of the greatest ways to achieve happiness. Being overweight or not eating nutritious foods can have a negative effect on your mood. Additionally, exercise, such as yoga, walking running and a myriad of other activities have all been proven to release endorphins that give you a feeling of happiness.

Life is full of so many wonderful people, places, and things. There will always be challenges and roadblocks to overcome. Choosing to focus on being happy and appreciating the things that are great in your life will provide you the necessary tools, and confidence to overcome the challenges and roadblocks you are facing, or will soon face.

5 Fun Ways to Stay Closer to Your Siblings.

1 Planning a vacation with your sibling can be a great experience.



My childhood memories would be incomplete if I did not mention the times spent with my bossy elder brother. After 14 long years of quarreling over the pettiest of issues, when the time came for him to leave for his further studies in a far-off city, we realized that we wouldn’t be seeing each other very often. Today, when I sit down to write a Rakhi card to him, I miss him more than ever before.

Living away from your siblings can be one of the most difficult phases in your life. But thanks to technology, you can stay in touch and maintain a healthy and happy long-distance relationship with your sister or brother in more ways than one. Here are some fun ways to enjoy the bond with your sibling if he/ she lives in a different city.

Hello, Whatsapp: You may hate it at times, but you cannot ignore it. Yes, that’s the effect Whatsapp has had in our lives over the past few years. But the best thing about this cool smartphone app is that it lets you create group chats allowing conversations with multiple people all at once! We say create one with your immediate family and stay connected with your siblings and parents at the same time.

Travel buddies: Planning a trip once a year with your brother or sister is a great idea we think. You can either pay each other a visit every alternate year or go on a vacation together. If you ask us, it is also the best way to relive those family vacations that you took when the two of you were kids. Nothing beats ‘travelling’ back in time, isn’t it? 🙂

Gifts galore: Gifts are always welcome. For brothers, it can be a greeting card on Rakhi, and for sisters, a customised keepsake. Having said that, don’t turn gifting into a ritual dependent of occasions! It doesn’t have to be a birthday or an anniversary for you to sit up and take note. Instead, surprise them by sending them something they always wanted. Everyone has a bucket list of sorts, you know! 😉

Family memories: Another great way to stay in touch with your sibling is by sharing family updates with them once in a while. For instance, give them a feel of your granny’s 80th birthday bash by capturing it through photographs and sharing them on Skype or Whatsapp. They wouldn’t feel that bad for missing it. 🙂

Treats & more:
Well, this one is rather sweet. On your birthday, ask your sibling to treat themselves to a fancy lunch or dinner. The fact that you cannot be together on important occasions can be taken care of by this cute gesture. Make it an annual ritual to celebrate the beautiful bond that you share.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

Why You Need to Take Family Planning into Your Own Hands.



Family planning is a delicate topic, especially when it concerns a woman. After all, it is a woman who undergoes physical and emotional changes during and after pregnancy. But unfortunately, in a culture like ours, where family and society gets (or rather wants) a say in everything, couples often find themselves confused, leading them to having a baby in haste, which may or may not work in their favour. But you don’t have to be one of those. Here are ways in which you can take charge of family planning in your marriage.

Pregnancy brings in many physical and emotional changes – an uncontrollable bladder, weight gain, sensitive breasts, swollen feet and mood swings are just a few of them. Yet often you have other people deciding that you should go through all of this, instead of you.

What is more alarming is that, most of us are aware only of the barrier method or the condom method to avoid pregnancies. Amongst many families, men still do not take responsibility for contraception and then the wife has no choice to pop a pill within 24 hours. According to WHO Global Health Statistics 2012, only 56% use contraception and most couples do not opt for long-term contraception like IUDs for the fear of side effects.

The options
“Lack of awareness, is a root cause for couples not opting for different methods of contraception,” says Dr Anita Soni, full-time consultant gynaecologist, LH Hiranandani hospital, Mumbai. “Condoms and low dosage hormonal pills are temporary solutions,” she adds. The choice of contraception depends on the age of a woman and her parity, she adds. This means a 25-year-old who has two children and doesn’t wish to expand her family anymore can opt for an IUD (Intra uterine device) like a Copper T to prevent pregnancy. “The Copper T again comes with three options – one which can be inserted for three years, five years or ten years,” Dr Soni explains. On the other hand, a woman above the age of 30 who still wants to have a baby at her own time can opt for other temporary methods like spermicidal jellies or foams.

The talk
“It is important that a couple is comfortable and ready to have a baby. You need to evaluate what you will be getting into mentally and physically. And while both sides of family might want to have a say on it, substantial proof like a prescription for oral contraceptives can help your elders understand about the methods you are adopting,” says Mumbai-based psychologist, Jenisha Shah.

However, she advises drawing lines on how much either of the parents have a say in these matters early in the marriage. And for that she recommends pre-marital counselling. “Important decisions that can affect formation of a child like – the mother’s decision to work or not, kind of schooling and imparting values are a major factor too,” Shah adds.

Baby No.2
Shah also feels that visiting a gynaecologist right from the early stages of family planning will go a long way in helping you decide if you would rather go for a hormonal patch, an IUD or sterilisation of either partners.

“It is advisable not to have the second child within a year of your first baby, even if your elders insist on getting it done with. You are bound to be exhausted and would want some quality time with your spouse. So the best thing to do would be to talk to your spouse about it and inform the family that it is a joint decision,” she suggests.

You may find babies adorable and may not mind babysitting your niece or nephew. But raising a kid on your own is a different ball game altogether. And no one can decide if you’re ready or not, except you. So, take the power in your hands, enlighten yourself and make the right decision.



Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

20 Easy Tips for Saving Energy at Home

LuminaStock / iStock / thinkstock.com




20 Easy Tips for Saving Energy at Home


Saving energy is not only important for the environment, but also vital to save money on the electric bill. These quick tips are easy to implement and do not require extra “energy” from homeowners. Save the planet and increase your pocket book with any of these 20 easy-to-implement tips for saving energy in the home.

Unplug Electronic Devices
When the device is not in use, be sure to unplug it, or at least turn it off. Phone chargers, coffee pots, and lamps are easy to unplug and re-plug. When left in the socket, electronic devices pull passive power from the socket, in preparation for it turning back on.

Change or Clean AC Filters
Around once per month, be sure to check your air filters. This keeps the system running optimally without fighting through dust and dirt.

Turn the Thermostat Off…
…or on auto when you’re not home. Leaving your machine in the on position uses energy nonstop, whereas putting it on auto will keep the house cool, without upping the bill.

Tune-up the AC Device
Many companies will also give a rebate for making sure the device is running smoothly as inefficient systems lead to costly electric bills.

Add a Rug
If you have wood flooring, consider adding a rug. Carpets and rugs insulate a room’s heat, thus keeping a room’s temperature a little more regulated.

Don’t Block Air Vents
Unfortunately, the best place for your couch sometimes just so happens to be on top of the air vent. For the most cost effective and efficient air flow, allow the air to flow unconstricted instead of fight, against couches, furniture and dressers.

Gradually Increase the Thermostat
In the summer, keeping the temperature a little warmer makes it work less, resulting in cheaper bills. If you like it cooler, when you get home keep it cold, but slowly increase the temperature a few degrees before bed. In winter, you can try just reversing this, decreasing the temperature a bit over a few hours to conserve energy.

Keep the Thermostat Consistent
When heading on vacation, it’s best to keep the thermostat at the same temperature. During the winter months, keep it lower, around 60 degrees. This keeps the system working, although not hard, and avoids the risk of damage due to the frigid temperatures. In the summer, keep it a little warmer than normal, that way you’re not wasting air conditioning on an empty house.

Use Motion Detector Lights
For all outdoor lighting, at least. Instead of leaving lights on all night when there’s no movement, put them on a motion detector. Plus it helps to scare away potential intruders.

Dust the Fridge Coils
In the back of the fridge, there are some coils sticking out. This ensures the refrigerator is working more efficient without dust blocking the energy and airflow.

Keep Refrigerators at 32 to 38 degrees
If you keep it under 32 degrees, you might as well just get a big freezer. If you keep it over 40 degrees, most things will spoil (especially dairy).

Cook with Copper Pans
Copper has a very high thermal and electrical conductivity rate. Therefore, it makes for an extremely effective cooking implement. You can use lower temperatures and it’ll cook as well as a higher temperature steel pan.

Use Cold Water
While washing your clothes, be sure to use the cold setting. Not only does this avoid shrinking, but it’s cheaper than heating up all that washing water.

Turn Down the Water
While brushing teeth and soaping up hands and bodies, either turn off or decrease the pressure of the water. This drastically reduces the use of water and energy, especially with hot water.

Let Your Computer Sleep
Go into your computer’s power settings (for Windows go to the Control Panel, and it’s either under the Screen Saver options, System Security, or Performance and Maintenance), and change the display sleep and computer sleep settings. What you change it to depends on personal preference, but the defaults are rarely the best option. For all personal electronics, be sure to completely shut them down frequently; keeping them on 24/7/365 wears them down faster than they could be.

Look for the Energy Star Label
Most electronics and devices such as televisions and microwaves, even rooftops, can be Energy Star certified.  These certified models are at least 30% more efficient than non-certified labels.

Use Burner-Sized Pots and Pans
Using a small pot on a larger burner drastically loses heat. Using a large pot on a smaller burner requires much more energy to heat the pan.

Hang Dry Clothes
Not only does this completely bypass the dryer, and energy, it’s also easier on your clothes.

Turn Off Your Water Heater
In addition to changing the thermostat, while away on vacation or for several days try turning off the water heater. This saves energy while away—plus water generally reheats within one hour of turning the on switch.

Clean Full Loads
This includes dishwashers and washing machines. If you fill up the dishwasher only a quarter of the way, most models still use the same amount of water as a full load. So fill them up all the way and save some energy.

LuminaStock / iStock / thinkstock.com

Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking


Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking

Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking

By Etsuko Ogiso, Business Consultants, Inc.

Trainers work with groups of people to teach them new skills and develop new abilities and attitudes. This often involves giving training presentations for both large and small groups. One thing that almost any trainer will have to deal with is anxiety about public speaking. This is perfectly natural and not unusual. Every new trainer has to overcome this anxiety. Here are three tips to help in overcoming anxiety while training others.


The first tip is for the trainer to admit that they are anxious. Ignoring the feeling will not help. Instead, it might cause the trainer to freeze right as they approach the podium. These feelings may keep the trainer awake at night or cause loss of appetite. This is not healthy and the trainer needs strategies for preventing these feelings from taking over. There is always a strong temptation to deny the problem. No one wants to admit that an important part of a job is causing feelings of anxiety. If left unchecked, these feelings can fester and cause the trainer serious problems. The anxiety will only grow in the future if no coping strategies are put in place. The best thing is to confront the issue straight on and deal with it. By admitting these powerful feelings exist, the trainer can then develop strategies to address them. This will build confidence for all future public speaking. It will help to restore a calm and peaceful mental attitude to the trainer’s life.

Once the trainer admits that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, there are a number of strategies that can help. The first is to believe in their self and build self-confidence. The trainer needs to constantly remind themself that they have something valuable to contribute. By training others, they are helping them develop valuable skills that will enhance their lives. They also need to remind themself that their audience is interested in what they have to offer. They are coming to the training because they want to develop new skills. The trainer should remind themself of this fact often, especially when strong feelings of anxiety are present. The feelings will pass but the fact that the trainer has valuable information to present will not. This belief creates the self-confidence to move forward and dispels anxiety. It allows the speaker to stay calm. This is an important key to successful public speaking.

Another strategy for overcoming anxiety is to visualize success. The trainer should take some quiet time and imagine themself at the event giving their presentation. They should imagine how well the event is going and how much their audience is absorbing from their training. By imagining a successful end result, the trainer creates positive feelings that will dispel the anxiety. This kind of visualization is a technique that is used by many types of people. Salespeople imagine successfully closing deals. Athletes visualize themselves performing well. And public speakers imagine themselves giving stellar presentations. By visualizing a successful result, the person helps to create the conditions and confidence to bring about that result.

Giving in to feelings of fear, nervousness and anxiety doesn’t do anyone any good. It makes the trainer miserable and it prevents them from effectively delivering the content that their audience is seeking. By using these strategies to build self-confidence, the trainer can dispel these feelings and create a calm mental state that will allow them to effectively deliver the training. These tips are a great start to building self-confidence at public-speaking. There are also many other strategies that successful trainers use to stay calm and dispel anxiety.


Courtesy: its-innovative.com

Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process.


Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process

Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process

By Business Consultants, inc.


According to Dr. Will Schutz, one of the most prominent psychologists and practitioners of personal development of our time, the biggest block that people have standing in the way of their ability to be creative is fear. When asked specifically in a training session about the creative process Dr. Schutz explained that fear and a feeling of conflict are most responsible for blocking the creativity of a person. What are these fears specifically? Here is a list of the most common fears blocking creativity in Japan.

  1. Fear of not being creative. It seems obvious, but the anxiety caused by the fear of not being creative (or not being creative enough) is the number one block on the road to creativity. Some people simply doubt their creativity in specific circumstances while others in more extreme circumstances feel unable to be creative indefinitely. Either way, when a person if full of anxiety the creative process naturally becomes blocked. If you’re worried about being creative, it’s almost certain to cause problems. For the best creative results banish fear and let the ideas flow.
  2. Fear of lacking rationality. In order to best share ideas with others we know that we need to present them in a logical and rational way. At times, however, it’s best for the creative process to not worry too much about being logical. Trust your ability to come up with a rational explanation when your ideas are put into practice and don’t let worrying about logic hamper the flow of ideas early on.
  3. Fear of humiliation and embarrassment. Similar to a fear of not being creative enough, a fear of feeling inadequate will compromise your ability to be creative. When we’re constantly worried about what everyone else will think, the creative ideas we seek will be buried by our own anxieties. There is a time to worry about other’s reactions, but that time is not during the early creative stages.
  4. Fear of being undervalued and even ignored. We all worry that our ideas won’t be given attention. Some of us have actually heard things like “You aren’t even in a position to make that kind of a proposal” and some of us are simply afraid that one day we might. This worry makes even the most creative of people shy away from offering great ideas.
  5. Fear of rejection. Even worse than being ignored people can be very concerned that their idea will be shot down completely. Creativity will not thrive if a person is worried about a negative outcome. These fears are magnified if a person is working outside of what’s traditionally considered practical, feasible or possible. The irony is that this is where some of the best creative ideas come from.
  6. Fear of not being appreciated. Everyone wants to be of value, everyone wants to be appreciated. When attempting creativity many people stop to ask “How will this affect the way I’m regarded? If it’s approved will I be valued more? Worse, if it isn’t will people regard me less? While these worries are understandable, especially in the business world, they cause serious blocks to a person’s creativity.
  7. Fear of failure. We all know that every idea we have carries a certain risk of failure. Even though we all know we aren’t any more comfortable with the concept. In a best-case-scenario innovative organizations would happily tolerate failure as a necessary part of the creative process. But, this isn’t always the case, most business are not as tolerant of failure as they could be, which only hampers the creativity of its fearful employees.
  8. Fear of a lack of proper rewards. People work harder when they know they’re working for a reward. They try harder, put in more hours and are able to put aside other fears because their “eye is on the prize”. Conversely, if they feel that no reward will happen despite their best efforts they are likely to lose motivation.

Which of these fear and anxieties that Dr. Schutz has identified do you feel hurt your creativity the most? Take the time to make a list of your fears, once identified you’ll better be able to overcome them and remove what blocks your creativity.

What Your Sleep Position Says About You


What Your Sleep Position Says About You

According to Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, the position in which you sleep may be linked to your personality type. The professor and his research team recently conducted a study that analyzed the sleep patterns of 1,000 subjects. Here’s what the study found:

The Freefall
Those who sleep face-down with their arms and legs to the side (a position known as ‘the freefall’) are often “extroverted and brash”; they may appear nonchalant on the surface, but deep down they’re sensitive and tend to take criticism very personally. They are also less likely to experience stomach troubles, since sleeping face-down aids the digestive process.

The Fetus
People who sleep curled up on their side (‘the fetus’) ― like the free-fallers ― have a tough outer shell that conceals a soft, gooey filling. They also have a hard time instantly connecting with people. This was also the most common position, despite the fact that ‘the fetus’ can cause organ stress; physicians recommend sleeping on the right side if this is your position of choice.

The Log
Lying on your side with straightened legs and arms extended downward
(‘the log’) is indicative of social charisma; these folks are typically laid back and conversational. However, they may be a little too easy-going, and fall victim to other people who might be out to get the best of them. This position is good for people with chronic back pain, since it allows the spine to completely straighten out.

The Yearner
People who sleep on their sides with outstretched arms (‘the yearner’) are at once open-minded and deeply cynical. They often struggle with crucial decisions as a result, but hardly ever regret their ultimate choices. ‘The yearner’ can benefit people with acid reflux and sleep apnea.

The Soldier
Individuals who choose to lie on their backs with arms and legs sprawled to the side (‘the soldier’) are often reserved, if not complete introverts. They celebrate accomplishments with minimal fanfare, and abide by a strict (one might say, militaristic) personal code of conduct and performance. Unfortunately, this may also be the most problematic position; it can lead to snoring, breathing problems, and other issues that can affect the quality of your sleep.

The Starfish
Finally, those who lie on their backs with their arms extended above their heads (‘the starfish’) are, among other things, great listeners. They’ll usually be happy to lend a hand, even if it means not getting any credit for helping out. The downside: like ‘the soldier’, ‘the starfish’ can induce snoring and respiratory difficulties.

Is this true of you and your sleeping position? Or is Professor Idzikowski’s study way off base as far as you’re concerned?

How to Improve Your Efficiency at Work


Image courtesy: © Thinkstock Photos/ Getty Images


There is way too much going on around you and inside your mind. It’s no surprise that attention makes only a short appearance in the day and is hard to sustain. Our experts tell you how to rise above the distractions and improve your efficiency.

One thing at a time
You are working on a project against a fast-approaching deadline and your boss comes and hands you another to complete. In the middle of this, your wife calls and asks you to help out with an address she cannot find. Your target is to complete these three tasks, say, within an hour. Multi-tasking would mean you giving 33 per cent of your efforts to each of the three tasks and the quality of output will be low for all three tasks with more time spent on each of them. Life coach Captain Vinod Nair suggests you prioritise what is most important for you. “By doing so, you will be giving 100 per cent of your brain to one task at a time, focusing on it and accomplishing it twice as fast,” he says.

Fast five
Whenever you are in the middle of a task and are tempted to give up, push yourself to do ‘five more’. This means don’t switch off, instead wait five more minutes, read five more pages or work five more minutes. Doing this will help build mental stamina just as sports persons push past the point of exhaustion to up their physical strength. When your mind is finally giving up, insist on reading a book or writing a project brief or solving a balance sheet problem for five more minutes. This will build mental endurance over a period of time and help you accomplish a given task with greater ease.

See and feel, really
Artist Frederick Franck said, “When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.” Your mind may be wandering through a hundred random thoughts, but it always knows to treasure a great sight. So when your mind is far away, it will help to look around and for a change, actually see everything around you. Admire the painting on the wall, revel in the beauty of the sculpture that has always escaped your attention, or just look again and closely at a loved one you tend to take for granted. This will make it come alive in your mind’s eye. Having white noise in the background such as instrumental music will help you ignore the more distracting stimuli from your surroundings.

Recharge with eustress
Nair advises indulging in activities that boost the eustress, which is basically the good stress. “You can feel eustress after engaging in a challenge, riding a roller-coaster, watching a scary movie or having sex,” he says. Eustress doesn’t carry the same type of damage as chronic stress. In fact, in the state of eustress, energies of the mind are highly focused and organized during which you can pull off tasks with competence. What also greatly aids concentration is the glucose metabolism in the brain, which is at its peak after breakfast. Concentrate on the most important or difficult tasks during this time.

To do or not to do
Fix a time in the day for worrying. When you are about to begin a job that needs your complete attention, worries tend to float into your brain. Tackle your brain’s never-ending preoccupation by telling it what to worry about and what not. Just remind yourself that you will worry about that unpaid bill exactly at 7 pm, and not now. To-do lists alleviate your brain’s anxiety — once written, you’re free to forget them. Assign every task a strict time-span. Tell yourself, “For the next 30 minutes I will focus on formulating the client brief for tomorrow’s presentation at office,” is a better bet than worrying about the worry. That said, taking short breaks between demanding tasks helps keep your mind alert. “Even a short break of 5-10 minutes every two-three hours improves efficiency of the brain with sustained attention,” says Dutta.

Rewire your brain
Just before you start, focus on your breathing for five to 15 minutes each day and it can make a significant difference to your attention spans in everyday life.From the experiments conducted on those who meditate, Dr Varsha Dutta, consultant clinical neuro-psychologist at Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, found that meditation increased activity in the brain regions used for paying attention and decision-making. “The experiments have shown that people who meditate, which is a mindfulness technique, are able to switch attention between tasks more efficiently than people who do not. Meditation has rewired their brain processes in such a way that their attention spans have increased more than average.”

Two hemispheres
When the communication between the two brain hemispheres is efficient, you are able to accomplish tasks with greater attention and proficiency. Scientific experiments have shown that horizontal movement of the eyes from left to right while watching a target on the move for at least 30 seconds can help improve communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Try this type of eye movement by watching a certain car move in the traffic.

Stop putting off tasks and errands by simply asking yourself these questions whenever you are about to postpone any work: Do I have to do this? Do I want it done so that it’s not on my mind? Will it be any easier later? The answers to these will give you an instant check on how this task will keep getting counter-productive the more you delay. And oh, the guilt of not getting it done, that will make its home in your head too.

Author: Ankit Ajmera

How to Use Mobile Apps to Increase Efficiency


How to Use Mobile Apps to Increase Efficiency


Next generation smart phones help professionals work better and quicker. Today’s working professionals, who are constantly wired in and on-the-go have found a ready ally and valuable resource in their cell phones. Next generation smart phones, fully loaded with every sort of application imaginable, are supporting professionals in working better and quicker. “The advent of the smart phone has made our lives so much easier. There are numerous mobile apps for every purpose possible which ensure that you are always wired in and in touch with ongoing projects, to the extent that you can manage entire projects from your cell phone,” explains Megha Moorthy, who works in the business development team of an IT company in Hyderabad.

The apps transcend a variety of purposes, right from networking to data transfer and storage, managing tasks and keeping updated with industry and current news. “Quite simply, it’s like this. Whatever office related task you are doing, there is an app somewhere that will help you do it faster and better,” smiles Moorthy.

Stay Up-to-Date
“The one app I simply cannot do without is the Economic Times news app. It’s extremely important to be constantly up-to-date with all that’s happening in the industry, competition brands, the business world in general, and the app allows me to do that easily,” says Bangalore-based digital marketer Siddharth Raman, who works in the alcohol beverages industry.

For those who are tired of reading dozens of different magazines and newspapers simply because they don’t want to miss out on anything, Flipboard is an excellent app. Flipboard allows you to select specific publications and news areas (for example, technology, stock markets, politics) to create your own customised news digest.

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Better Collaboration
There are countless apps available to help you stay better organisedand hence be more efficient in your work. Arvind Rongala, marketing manager at Invensis, a leading business processes outsourcing company in Bangalore, says, “I use Evernote for taking notes, maintaining a to-do list, creating reminders and archiving the same. The app allows me to seamlessly collaborate with my marketing team as well.” Rahul Shitut, who works with an organisation in the real estate sector in Mumbai, agrees, “I use Teambox extensively. It is a great help in task management. Tasks are organised under task lists for various projects. There are features that allow delegation and time-tracking as well.”

The Mint app is widely used in the professional world for tracking expenses and accounts. Anuradha Jhaveri, brand manager at a leading FMCG organisation, elaborates, “The app allows me to track all the transactions involved with my brand on a daily basis. I have set budgets under various heads and Mint lets me know if I am reaching the allotted cut-off too quickly, or how much of the budget allocated is available. You can also customise the app to know when bills are due.”

Apps also help easy sharing and storage of data. “I use Google Drive, a fantastic app from Google on a daily basis. It helps my team and I to edit and share documents within the group, keeping everyone updated of the most recent changes,” explains Rongala.

Connect and Network
Professionals are also using apps to connect, network and converse with contacts in the business world. Rongala, adds, “I use the LinkedIn app extensively to interact professionally. Additionally, we have a company page on which we post interesting topics and recent news articles. This helps us reach the right audience and achieve higher online visibility.”

Seemingly basic social apps are also being leveraged by professionals. “I use Blackberry Messenger and Whatsapp to communicate with my professional contacts. It helps work get done quickly, as it is easy to seek small clarifications or get status updates on the job at hand instantly,” explains Raman.

Efficiency and Ease
Copy2contact is an interesting app which instantly and intelligently creates contacts in your phone from texts and email signatures. This eliminates the unnecessary and tedious manual keying in of contacts and ensures that your phonebook is constantly updated automatically. The Docusign Ink app is the world’s first personal electronic signature. “My organisation uses this app extensively. It saves the effort of having to print, fax, scan or courier a document for signing, speeding up the whole process. Even if individuals are traveling, it is not an issue, as we use Docusign Ink,” says Moorthy.

For the ones engaged in the creative fields, Paper is an app which allows you to sketch, draw, write or colour-and put your ideas into images. The app is particularly helpful to explain concepts which cannot be effectively explained only through words.

Mobile apps, if leveraged properly, are a powerful tool in the hands of working professionals. It’s no surprise then that more people have turned to relying on their frequent use to be able to work better, faster and more effectively!

Image courtesy: © IDIVA.COM