Friday, December 30, 2016

The Whole World Thinks I'm Alone, What If I Never Felt That Way

Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches, I dread the infamous question “Do you have a date for Valentine’s?” I don’t dread the question because I don’t have a date, which is supposed to make me sad. I dread the question because people are convinced that I will spend the day crying over my unfair fortune, and that single equals miserable. Well, guess what – I’m single and I love it!

Don’t get me wrong – I am still looking for a fulfilling romantic relationship. But I learned that I can be perfectly happy on my own. Whoever says you need to be with someone to be happy – has some deep insecurities to work on.

Nobody can truly love you if you don’t love yourself

I’ve learned so much from the last time I had a relationship, a long-term “serious” relationship. What I mean by serious, is that we were constantly asked “When are you going to get married?” or “When are you going to have kids?” And I was smiling and politely responding to the questions, eagerly waiting for those things to come. I thought it was supposed to be that way, and that I will miss out on happiness if I don’t perfectly follow the timeline: meet – start relationship – get married – have children. Why? Because that’s what my surroundings led me to believe – do it as soon as you can, or you’ll be miserable for the rest of your life. You are worth nothing if you are not in a relationship.

We were perfectly happy (or so I thought). But one thought came to my mind and it wouldn’t leave me alone. I started feeling like I was in somebody else’s shoes. Is this really me? Do I know what I want and what I like, it has just aligned, over time, with what my partner wants or likes? Is this happiness, or I’m just too afraid to be alone? Am I really satisfied with myself? Do I really love myself?

Am I going forwards or backwards?

I realized I’m lost in all the expectations I didn’t create myself. I’ve lost myself in the process. I felt so alone. I realized that deep down, I’m not happy. I needed to find myself.

The unavoidable conversation came. “But I love you!” “How can you love me if I don’t love myself?”

After the breakup, people were walking on eggshells around me, constantly asking “Are you OK?” Of course, I felt sad, but I was excited at the same time, because for the first time in years, I didn’t know what the future holds, and I could build it the way I wanted to, not the way people expect me to. The word “single” stopped having the negative meaning. It now meant that I can take the time to really get to know and love myself. I started doing everything that came to my mind – learned a new language, read a whole load of books (epic fantasy is what I like the most, if you want to know), tried new foods,  and took up new hobbies (I’ll stay away from volleyball in the future, thank you very much, but at least now I know). I came to realize who I truly am.

I can truly appreciate the meaning of love now, since romantic love is not the only kind of love. I found that the love I have for myself is the most important part of happiness. I now love myself and only now I can find my significant other who will love me for who I really am. I also found out that the love I have for my dearest friends and family can warm my heart and make me a better person. That’s the kind of love that gives you strength. So, me being single was the best time of my life, because I learned so many things. Now, I’m ready to find my significant other. My truly significant other. And I will wait. I won’t settle for less. Because being single is not that bad after all.

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Either You Run The Day, Or The Day Runs You

credit: Quora

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This One-Minute Life Hack Will Make You Do Everything Better Than Before

We all want quick fixes. We search for the fastest way to lose 10 pounds, a shortcut to riches, and the easiest way to find the perfect relationship. Harry Potter wielded his magic wand, why can’t we? While there may not be a magic spell to aid us in our ailments, what if there was an easy life hack that would only take a minute of your time and could help you do everything better than before?

No, this is not a super drug like Bradley Cooper swallowed in the movie Limitless, but an easy life hack according to writer Rishabh Singh at Quora [1] to help make you able to do everything better than before, and all you need is a pen and a minute of your time.

Easy One Minute Life Hack that Can Rock Your World

One minute is all it takes to improve your memory, boost your self-esteem, help you to be more productive and happier.

Take a pen and hold it up to your face, about 30 centimeters from your eyes, then focus your gaze on the point of the pen for one minute. Don’t let yourself think about unpaid bills, cleaning the garage, the report due at the office, or even who Taylor Swift is dating. Stop the inner chatter of your mind, hold your focus on the point of the pen, and just breathe. One minute is all it takes, in fact setting a timer will help prevent worrying about the passing time as well. Focus your eyes on the pen for only a minute. Singh also cautions that doing this for more than a minute may cause eye strain.

Why this Works

Yes, you may feel silly at first, but one minute staring at the pen can help you increase your focus and concentration. According to studies,[2] due to technology and over-stimuli of our hectic, multi-tasking lives, the average person has an 8.25-second attention, that’s a little less than a goldfish. However, this pen life hack trick is the equivalent to a minute of deep focus meditation, the perfect antidote to this over-stimulated life.

Usually associated with Buddhist monks and Eastern practices, meditation has been embraced by modern successful entrepreneurs of our time like Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson and Michael Jordan, to aid them in their productivity, generating ideas and focus.

One minute of deep focus on a daily basis can calm your “monkey mind,” as life coach Tony Robbins likes to call the incessant mental chatter and worry that dances around our brains all the time. Once you tame your monkey mind, you are better able to concentrate on the tasks before you.

One minute of pure focus can make you feel more relaxed, more productive, less stressed and even happier. Researcher Catherine Kerr of the Osher Research Center stated that meditation helps to improve rapid memory recall [3] by tuning out the outside distractions around you. One minute of meditation can boost your immune system, decrease pain and make you feel more compassionate.[4] You can learn faster, learn more, get better grades, stay more focused and become calmer at the same time. Tasks that once seemed daunting no longer feel that way. The task did not change, you did. Your reaction to the situation changes the situation.This quick life hack changes you for the better.

Using this easy life hack trick on a regular daily basis can help you do anything more focused and better than before. One minute, one easy life hack and one pen. What do you have to lose?


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Collect Moments, Not Things. You'll Have No Regrets When You Get Old.

Do you remember your first mp3 player, or that non-fat caramel latte you bought last week? How do those items make you feel? Now, think of a Christmas with your family. It probably isn’t the gifts you think of first; you probably think of the conversations, the laughter, and the board games. Lasting joy doesn’t come from objects, it comes from experiences. Our brains are like living scrapbooks; they collect moments in time, frame them, and revisit them constantly. We can derive happiness from these memories years after they are made, and we can enjoy them in a way we can never enjoy material things.

Seek Experiences And Collect Memories

Most of us can distinguish quite clearly the difference between the pleasure we get when our new iPhone arrives in the mail vs. the happiness we feel during a dream vacation to Italy. Whereas we may feel excited during the days leading to a vacation, we tend to feel impatient when waiting for an object. Where most of us lose interest in a new gadget or toy relatively quickly, we tend to cherish a memory.

In one study, researchers explored the relationship between happiness and memory and found that people draw upon past experiences for a sense of happiness and well-being[1]. Another research article analyzed what people tend to regret in life; they discovered that in a descending order of importance, these were the most common regrets in life: education, career, romance, parenting, the self, and leisure[2]. Notice that nowhere in this list is, “not getting a yacht,” or “not buying a Coach purse.” The things on this list are experiences, not things. When we focus on pursuing experiences that we want to have, instead of things we want to buy, we are filling up our scrapbook with beautiful pictures and rich, funny stories. Even more stressful events, once over, can make the most riveting and funny stories.

So, in this society of materialism, how do we change our focus from consumerism, to the pursuit of experiences?[3] Most of us aren’t going to jump off the couch right after reading this and go skydiving, and that’s OK! Some of the happiest moments in our life aren’t the most exciting ones. Here are several ideas to help you start collecting.

Make A Bucket List

We all have things that we secretly want to do. Making a list and sticking it up on your bulletin board will bring those experiences that much closer. Most of us give up on our more ambitious plans, believing them to be impossible or too expensive.

Keep An Adventure Jar

Keep a jar on your kitchen table. Every time you decide not to buy something you don’t really need, or decide not to eat out, put the money you would have spent on those things in the jar. Most of us don’t realize how much money we could save if we didn’t spent it on little, pointless things.

Have Some Small-Time Goals

Not all experiences need to be world-changing. Try doing something differently every week or even every day. Choose a different way to get to work, or have some new people over every once in a while. Take a little time out of the day to experience life instead of becoming stuck in a mindless routine. You may be surprised how these little things can change your life.

Take Time For Family And Friends

Some of the best memories we have are with other people. Just a conversation with a dear friend may be enough to bring you happiness one day when you’re feeling down.

Be Open To New Things

Many of us are afraid to stray outside our comfort zones, which will often keep us from experiencing many things in life and result in regret. Life is meant to be lived. Do new things, they’re how memories are made!


[1] Sociological Research Online: Happiness and Memory: Some Sociological Reflections
[2] US National Library of Medicine: What We Regret Most…and Why
[3] The Atlantic: Buy Experiences, Not Things

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Vacation Might Change Your Gene Activity, According To New Study

Most people’s lives are filled with high stress—the pressure of meeting deadlines, battling with colleagues and angry customers, or simply the monotonous, but demanding, day-to-day grind. Their minds and bodies are coiled up, defensive and taut.

A relaxing vacation in a resort-like atmosphere can allow your body to lower its guards, get out of the defensive posture, and unwind. The reduction in stress levels can positively affect the immune system cells at a molecular level.

Relaxation versus Meditation

A study was conducted to compare the benefits of just relaxing in a pleasant locality with attending a meditation retreat in the same place. Improvements were seen in many cellular markers in the blood including better stress regulation and immune function. [1]

The researchers continued to measure the gene activity and blood markers, and they discovered that there was a large and immediate “vacation effect” in all the candidates. The benefits were seen even ten months later in the participants who continued meditating.

Senior author Dr. Eric Schadt, founding director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai in New York, revealed that on a relaxing vacation, stress levels are reduced, and this in turn affects the states of cells that are involved in your immune system. Schadt told Reuters Health that at the molecular level, additional changes only happened, or happened more, in the meditation group, including more effective manufacture and use of proteins. He said “We don’t know what this means exactly, but given associations with biomarkers of aging, there is the potential that these changes could enhance overall wellbeing and longevity.” [2]

How the Study was Done

102 women between the ages of 30 to 60 participated in this study in which their blood was tested before and after five days at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.

A third of these candidates were regular meditators who had already booked the retreat. Half of the remaining 70 non-meditators were randomly assigned to meditation or yoga programs, while the remaining ones were assigned to just vacation and relax. Reports were collected from these women concerning their depression symptoms, stress, vitality and mindfulness on day five, one month later and 10 months later.

The Study Results

At the end of the retreat, gene-expression changes and aging biomarkers in blood samples had improved significantly for all groups. This indicates the benefits of simply being on vacation. For all three groups, the psychological well-being scores improved by day five and one month later. The candidates who had meditated during their vacation had bigger reductions in their depressive symptoms and stress at the 10-month point compared to the ones who had only been on vacation.

Telomerase is an enzyme that repairs and fortifies the tips of chromosomes. Telomeres grows shorter and shorter as age progresses. The regular meditators in the study group showed a higher activity of the enzyme telomerase. The results of the study indicate that vacation and meditation seemed to turn down defense response, inflammation response, and innate immune response. Schadt said, “Of course you want these pathways activated if they are fighting off a disease, but if they are continually activated we have seen that they are partially responsible for increasing susceptibility to a whole range of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.”

Limitations of the Study

The researchers acknowledged that there are several limitations to this study, which was funded by The Chopra Foundation and Benioff Foundation.

“It’s not clear if a weeklong vacation or meditation sessions would lead to changes in corresponding diseases. I don’t know that our results are such that they would speak to changes people should make in their lives to achieve a more healthy state, but rather it is another strong piece of evidence that relaxing and meditating may produce favorable healthy benefits,” Schadt said.


Irrespective of these study results, there is no doubt that high levels of continuous stress is harmful to our bodies, especially our immune system, and that reducing stress is definitely beneficial to our health. There are many things you can incorporate into your daily life to boost your immune system. Find ways to de-stress, massages with aromatic oils are a great way to relax, and essential oils like tea tree oil help stimulate the immune system and ward off colds and flus. Whenever you can find the time, enjoy a relaxing vacation in a great resort at a beautiful locality. It will surely lift your spirits, if not your immune system.


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Science Reveals The Best Time Of Day To Brainstorm Creative Ideas

Got a riddle stuck in your head that has been annoying you for weeks? Do you want to try to build or paint something beautiful? Give it a try when you are feeling tired.

Lots of people think that the worst time to be creative is when you are tired, but a recent study has found that the opposite is actually true. The study[1] found that people are more creative when they are sleepy, which allows them to think outside of the box so that they can solve problems.

The Study: Are You A Morning Person Or A Night Person?

The study, led by researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks, analysed data from 428 undergrads. The researchers asked the undergrads to classify themselves as a morning or night person (unsurprisingly the majority of people classified themselves as night owls!).

Afterwards, the students tried to answer analytic questions and problem-solving tasks. The researchers found that the students who classified themselves as night owls were better at solving problems during the morning, and the early birds were better at solving problems at night.

This confirmed that people are more creative when they are tired when their brain isn’t functioning as well. These results may surprise some people; if you prefer to stay up late at night, it can be difficult to imagine that you would be most creative during the early hours when you are still tired. However the research is very useful, as people can use it to embrace their creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Why We Are More Creative When We Are Tired

When you are sleepy your brain struggles to filter out distractions around you, making it difficult for you to focus on one task. It also struggles to form connections between different concepts and thoughts. Both of these things may seem bad, but when it comes to creative thought they are actually very useful. This is because creative thought requires you to think outside of the box and be open to new ideas. This helps you to think in different, new ways that help you to make new connections!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via


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80+ Great Tips To Transform Your Life In 2017

1. 9 Habits That Make You Go From Good To Great

2. Changing Yourself Can Be Hard, But You’ll Lead A Better Life If You Take The First Step

3. Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Largely Improve Your Life

4. What To Do To Be Really Successful

5. If You Want A More Fruitful Life, First You Need To Simplify It

6. 11 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself Quickly

7. They Think Successful People Work During Weekends, But The Truth Isn’t…

8. Start Doing These 8 Things And You’ll Be Much More Confident

9. 9 Tricks To Learn Everything 10 Times Faster

10. 10 Tricks To Be Much More Productive

11. Worst Habits To Get Rid Of Before New Year Comes

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