Prepare Teens for the Road (and Enjoy Greater Peace of Mind!)

This post is by Evan Fischer of

Most parents approach the teenage years with a mixture of hope and dread. 

You hope that the lessons you instilled in your kids as they grew will be enough to help them through this difficult transitional period.  But at the same time you dread the many firsts they will face without you as they become more independent; first date, first kiss, first breakup, and of course, the first time they roll out of the driveway behind the wheel of a car.  And it may be the last one that concerns you most, especially considering the high risk that is posed by inexperienced drivers.

Image courtesy stock.xchng user JosephHart

But if you take the time to prepare your kids for the responsibilities involved in operating a moving vehicle, then chances are good that they’ll make the right choices.  So here are just a few tips that can help every parent feel a little more relaxed and confident when it comes to sending their kids out on the road.

The Talk

The first and most important thing to discuss with your teens is the responsibility that comes with driving a car.  And there are three main topics that fall under this category: financial, legal, and personal. 

They need to know that there are consequences for failure to take the weighty responsibility of operating a car seriously.  You can help them understand the financial burden by making partial payment mandatory.  In other words, make it a condition of driving that your teens get jobs and pay for a portion of the costs themselves.  This will teach them a valuable lesson about the rewards of hard work and relieve you of some of the financial pressures associated with teen drivers. 

There are also legal obligations that come with driving, so sit down with your teens to go over the driver’s manual and talk about the rules of the road.

Then comes the most important conversation: personal responsibility. Teens need to understand that reckless behavior puts them, their passengers, and other drivers at risk for accident and injury.  You don’t necessarily want to bombard them with statistics, but you should open their eyes to the gravity of the choices they make when they get behind the wheel. 

Of course, you’ll also need to set some ground rules (for their safety and your sanity!).  You will almost certainly want to include limitations on where they can go, who they can have in the car, and time restrictions on driving at night (a curfew, in other words). 

You definitely want kids to get the most out of life, but you’ll feel better knowing that there are rules in place to protect them.

The Practice

Of course, you need to make the time for plenty of practice.  You are ultimately responsible for the safety of your kids, so it is in your best interest (and theirs) to withhold the keys to the kingdom (so to speak) until you’re sure they’re ready. 

This means taking them out for frequent practice sessions, so that you can monitor their progress and help them to prepare for any situation that might pop up. 

Preparation is the key to helping your teens become the safe and responsible drivers (and adults) you know they can be, and it will certainly help you to sleep better at night!

Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for, where used Dodge engines are shipped nationwide daily.

Are You Really Relaxing During Your Relaxation Time?

This post is by Karol K. of

We all need a little relaxation every day, just to keep our productivity at high levels. There’s no productivity without relaxation. No one is superhuman enough to be able to keep going 24/7 like a Duracell bunny.

But is there a possibility we’re getting the whole idea of relaxation wrong?


Image courtesy stock.xchng user januszek

I can’t remember where I got this concept from, but there are basically three main areas we operate in: physical, intellectual, and emotional.

No matter what work or activity we’re engaged in at any moment, it always falls into one of these three categories.

So what’s the problem with relaxation?

“Default” relaxation

Most of us have a “favorite” way of relaxing—a favorite activity, for example. This becomes our go-to relaxation activity by default, no matter what we were doing just a minute before.

Unfortunately, sometimes this activity isn’t relaxing at all. I’m sure you experience that feeling from time to time. Let’s say that you love to read, like many people do. And you use it as your main way of relaxing whenever you feel like you need a moment off.

But there are times when you just can’t seem to enjoy it as much as usual. Times when each page isn’t that easily consumed. Times when you can’t even focus on what you’re reading, and you have to re-read each sentence a couple of times.

Does it mean that it’s not a good day for reading? No way. There’s no such thing as a bad day for reading. So what’s the problem, then?

Why your default relaxation activity doesn’t work

The reason why your favorite relaxation activity may not work today lies with the activity you were doing prior to having a moment off.

As I said, there are three main areas we operate in: physical, intellectual, and emotional, no matter what we do. And the thing is that we can’t work and then relax within the same area.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re a web designer, and you’ve just finished working on a new website, or at least you’re reached a milestone and you want to relax for a minute. So you think “I know, I’ll check what’s going on on my favorite design blogs.” This isn’t relaxing.

You can’t relax that way because you’re forcing yourself to keep operating in the same area. Designing costs you a lot of intellectual effort, and now, instead of switching to another area, you’re continuing to put your intellectual self to work by forcing your mind to consume new articles about design.

Physical exercises may be an even better example here. If you’ve just finished your workout at the gym, you’re not going to “relax” by running back home. This makes no sense, right?

So the main question is: how can you truly relax?

True relaxation is simple

To truly relax, simply switch to another area of activity.

If you’ve been using your creative, intellectual mind for the last hour or two, the only way to relax now is to either do a physical activity of some sort (like working out), or some emotional activity, so to speak.

In most cases “emotional” means “social.” So meeting your friends for a beer falls beautifully within this area. Basically, emotional activities are everything that don’t require you to think (intellectually), and don’t involve any type of physical activity.

If you’ve been working out for the last two hours, then reading a book is probably a great way to relax. If you’ve been writing an article, you might relax by playing with your dog. And so on.

On the other hand, if you’ve been writing an article then reading an article about writing isn’t relaxation. If you’ve just finished painting your house, hitting the gym isn’t relaxation.

Here’s an interesting example. Contrary to what you might think, if you’ve been in a fight with your partner then meeting your friends afterwards isn’t relaxing in most cases. What is relaxing though is working out or working intellectually, perhaps at your job.

The simple rule of thumb is: whatever you do, always notice which area you’re operating in, then switch to another area for relaxation. Give your body (or your mind) a little time off.

How long does it take to relax?

Interestingly, if you take this approach, relaxation happens rather quickly. But you have to witch areas often.

You shouldn’t ever be operating in a single area for more than two hours without a break. And I mean it. If you’re doing the same thing for eight hours, it will take you what remains of your day to relax. This isn’t efficient at all.

I’ve found that the most effective thing for me to do is to work for one hour, and then take a ten-minute break (shifting to another area of activity). After that I resume work, and repeat the process.

By using such an approach, I can easily “work” for many hours without any sign of being tired. It doesn’t even feel like working. But that’s just my story … your mileage may vary.

Anyway, give it a shot. Just try to work for one hour, and then take a ten-minute break, switching to another area. Finally, get back to work again. Do it for one week and see if it doesn’t improve your productivity and your levels of relaxation.

Once you’re done with this experiment don’t forget to come back and share your opinion about this whole idea. Is it working for you like it is for me?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a 20-something year old writer and web 2.0 entrepreneur from Poland, and a grad student at the Silesian University of Technology. He shares his thoughts at Tune in to get his Getting Things Done (GTD) tips and other personal productivity advice.

How a Positive Attitude Affects Your Looks

This guest post is by Cindi Lewis of Glossy.

Appearance is important in society. Having a positive outlook creates a more attractive appearance. There are different aspects about inner beauty that make it affect a person’s outer beauty. Also, being a beautiful person on the inside is important because it makes good things happen in the world.

Inner beauty reflects outwardly

Inner beauty is reflected through a person’s appearance. A beautiful personality—one that is vibrant, lively, optimistic, and caring—creates a gorgeous person on the outside. For instance, a confident person stands up tall, smiles and laughs, looks other people in the eye, and carries an aura of self-worth. Inner beauty affects how beautiful a person can really be.

A positive attitude illuminates beauty

A smile and a positive attitude instantly brighten a person’s eyes and flush their cheeks. The person suddenly looks much more attractive. An optimistic person always looks the most beautiful.

Obtaining natural optimism

A truthfully positive attitude is most rejuvenating for a person’s appearance. It is possible for anyone and everyone to be positive. A positive attitude asks people to “speak” to themselves with optimistic words. This can be done when they become aware of their thought process and use affirmations in their thoughts most of the time. Once a person speaks positively to themselves, they can speak positively to others, and the positive attitude will shine forth, revealing a truly beautiful person!

Aging is beautiful

Age can bring out a positive person’s beauty. By maintaining a positive attitude throughout life, a person will be beautiful forever, for it will be reflected in their smile and eyes. Some individuals grow more beautiful as they get older, because they become more carefree from having more faith, compassion, and optimism. In fact, age often shows wisdom, and wisdom is an attractive trait.

Proper self-care creates better health

Good skincare and hygiene is important, because the person is caring for their health and well being. There are some natural skincare products that can be used for people who want a fresh and healthy look. Face washing in the morning and night, combing or brushing hair every day, brushing and flossing teeth twice a day, and using quality body cleansers, are great ways to maintain good hygiene and health. Facial masks, exfoliating cloths, and astringent and toners are also beneficial.

When a person practices proper self-care, and has a positive attitude, they show their most beautiful self and put their best features—inner and outer—forward. Being a beautiful person on the inside helps create a positive world.

Cindi Lewis writes for Glossy a skin care products and beauty products online retailer.

New Year’s Health

This guest post is by Jesse Langley.

It’s the start of a new year, and many of us are thinking about how we’ll improve life for ourselves in 2012.

Resolutions to get healthier, to spend more time with family and friends, and to begin new professional pursuits are common; but for others struggling with financial hardship, illness, or work issues, the new year can seem like just more of the same obstacles with a new date attached.

You may have to carry problems with you into the new year, but you don’t have to carry your stress, your anxieties, or your fears along with them. Making a commitment to change your outlook on life can make a significant difference in the way you handle challenges—and it can spur you into action that can make your new year better than the year before.

Take stock

The start of the year is a time for reflection and examination; it’s also a time to plan for your future. By taking a little time to list your goals—along with your fears and your obstacles—you can start to put together a plan of action that can carry you through 2012 and beyond.

Of course, making resolutions is much easier than keeping them: while half of us will take the trouble to make a resolutions list, about 12 percent of us will actually keep them. Writing your list of resolutions and sharing them with friends can help you stay accountable for the promises you make, and help you stay committed to the promises you make to yourself.

Make contact

While sharing your goals with friends or family can offer you a group of people who’ll keep you accountable, building or rebuilding a support network can also help you see your life from a different perspective. We’re social creatures, and sometimes we need others to encourage us to take care of ourselves.

In some cases, it can even save your life: a marathon-running firefighter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma after his father encouraged him to see a doctor. He wasn’t prepared for the diagnosis, but with the support of medical professionals and his family, he was able to return to the job he loves. Building relationships can encourage us to take care of each other.

Keep going

Even when he was faced with a cancer diagnosis, the firefighter resolved not just to survive, but to return to his active life. Even living a normal life can be an exercise in patience, endurance and strength; adding new goals or resolutions to overcome your difficulties, particularly if you’re dealing with illness or financial issues, can seem nearly impossible.

The only way you’ll find a better job, or save for a new home, or recover from a chronic illness, is by working every day to change your current situation. Churchill’s advice can be applied to everyday life: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

A new year gives us all the chance to start with a clean slate, to pursue new directions and conquer our fears. Whether you succeed is up to you—but by committing to meet your goals and seeking the tools to craft a better life for yourself, your new year could be a new beginning for you.

Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing, and family life. He has a keen interest in blogging and social media and is an advocate for online training.

Why I Love … Golf

This post is by Stephanie Staszko of Blue Octopus Flat Fee Recruitment.

Golf is an incredibly popular sport enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether they get their kicks from playing, spectating, or having a flutter on the professionals, golf is a loveable sport for people of all ages and backgrounds.


Image copyright sculpies -

Every golf lover has their own reasons why golf is their primary sport—these are mine.


Playing a round of golf can be a great chance to socialize with people who share your passion for the sport. Getting away from home and working life to converse with different people can be just the refreshing break you need to unwind. Rather than socializing in a bar or pub, you can enjoy conversation in the great outdoors while playing a sport.

Some businessmen and women even use golf as a networking opportunity to rub shoulders with people of interest to them on a business level. Many deals and business decisions are made on the golf course, the relaxing atmosphere clearing the mind and allowing for wise business decisions to be made.

Stress relief

When you’re teeing off, taking that almighty swing can be a great stress-reliever, releasing tensions from your back and shoulders, which are prone to being tense. There’s something refreshing about inhaling the clean air as you walk round the course, too. The tranquil setting can be also be a relaxing respite.


Sometimes a little competitive spirit can really get your adrenaline pumping, helping to boost your energy levels. If you win, it’s an even better feeling as you’re filled with an overwhelming sense of achievement! Setting yourself personal goals as well can help to occupy your mind and give you something to work towards.


With constant reminders in the media that obesity’s becoming a growing problem, making sure you exercise is incredibly important. Exercising isn’t always convenient, however, and the prospect of squeezing a half-hour slog on a tread mill into your daily routine can become tiresome very quickly.

Golf can be a great exercise which is more enjoyable than sweating profusely at the gym. You can breathe in the fresh air, take in the scenery and socialize while burning the calories.

Golf can be a great mood enhancer; an 18-hole course can be just what you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’ve never played golf before, then buy yourself some golf accessories and equipment and join a club to Feel Gooder!

Does golf do it for you? Tell us in the comments.

Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Blue Octopus Flat Fee Recruitment. Steph enjoys writing various posts on recruitment for candidates and employers alike. You can find her on Twitter @StephStaz where you’ll find more career/recruitment posts.

Cheers to Being Well this Holiday Season!

This post is by Jocelyn Anne.

While encouraging us to “feel good” during the holiday season might seem silly (it’s the holiday season, after all—how can we not feel good?), it’s actually very, very easy to feel poorly at this time of year.

Keeping well

Image copyright Monart Design -

I think if you think very long about it, you’ll see what I’m alluding to.  While of course, it’s perhaps the happiest, cheeriest of times, it’s also a time when we become busier than ever, stretched in more directions than ever, and placed in sometimes stressful situations (holiday party small talk, anyone?). To top it all off, the routines we’ve had in place for eating right and exercising regularly typically get tossed to the side (sometimes willingly, sometimes not).

This often means that by January 1, we often find ourselves stressed, completely exhausted, lacking nutrition, and sometimes even feeling guilty or distraught over weight gained and muscle lost.

If that’s ever been your experience and you’re ready for something new this year, make a decision to start this holiday on the right foot. Commit to finding the motivation and dedication to do whatever it takes to stay happy, healthy and feeling good physically and mentally!  If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some of my favorite easy tips.


It’s often difficult to convince ourselves of the importance of this point.  We tell ourselves “it’s only one month,” and convince ourselves that every possible activity or invitation is crucial—we can’t miss even one!

But the truth is that going to a few less events will actually make the others so much more enjoyable, since you won’t be stretched so thin.  You’ll have had ample time to prepare and create anything you need to bring, and when you’re there, you’ll be awake, focused, and engaged. 

If you’ve already been to three parties that week, the fourth will be much less special.  Prioritize what you must go to (daughter’s Christmas carol night), what you truly want to go to (best friend’s party), and then attempt to cut out the “extras” that you can live without.

Save time to relax

One of the best things you can do for yourself during these busy, stressful days is to ensure that somewhere in the day, you have time to simply sit down and let your mind regroup. 

It might only be ten minutes, but that ten minutes of not thinking about the 20 things you have to do before the day ends will allow you to calm your mind and body, take some deep breaths, and reorganize your mind without doing something else at the same time.

Make healthy eating easy

My favorite way to sail through the holidays without ditching all my normal eating habits is to make some guidelines beforehand, and put some extra time into preparation. We’re going to be busier, that’s a given, so meal times are likely not to happen after two hours spent cooking a healthy, nutritious meal.  Rather, they’re likely to be served between ballet recital practice and Christmas caroling. 

My favorite way to deal with this is to spend an afternoon making large freezable dishes that I can have for nights when it’s too crazy.  The earlier in the month you get to this, the better, and it’s perfect when the kids are watching Christmas movies or crafting holiday cards, for example. And it will save you from throwing a frozen pizza in th oven because you simply don’t have the time or ingredients on hand for anything else.

If you struggle with overeating at holidays, or taking in more sugars and carbs than you like, consider setting limits.  Give yourself a list of acceptable foods (you can include some healthier “treats” here too, like a baked apple for dessert). If it’s not on the list, you don’t eat it.  Simple as that.  When you have the option to decide at the party if you’ll eat the gingerbread cookie, chances are, you will.  But, if it’s not even an option for you to think about, then you don’t have to worry about it!

Switch your list every week so you don’t get bored.  And of course, if you feel strong enough, then let yourself indulge occasionally.  However, remember: there are some foods that, once we have one, we find ourselves incapable of saying no to next time. Spare yourself the anguish later and just make those particular foods off limits altogether.  It’s not worth it!

Grab exercise where you can

Many of us will find it impossible to get in that 45 minutes at the gym during this time of year.  So, make it count elsewhere when you can.

Park as far away from the store as you can.  Power walk in the malls.  Watching movies with the kids?  Do power squats and lunges for part of it.  Instead of a second day of baking cookies, take the family out for a long hike.

You get the idea!  When you’ve got a second, get some physical activity in quick!  It’ll help boost your mood and keep you feeling energized.

Cherish the season!

In the end, you just have to do what you can, but do remember to take care of yourself in every way possible, and remember to savor every moment.  Putting your health and well-being at the top of your list of priorities will allow you to enter into January feeling invigorated and re-energized for a whole new year!

Jocelyn Anne is a full time writer who loves to offer tips and advice for living simpler, healthier lives.  She currently works for Air & Water and writes their content, most of it related to their electric infrared heaters.

How to Recognize Vision Problems in Children

This post is by Evan Fischer.

Your child may not recognize or be able to articulate vision or eye problems if they are experiencing them, and you may not suspect that anything is wrong … at first. 

Sometimes, behavioral problems or seeming learning disabilities may stem from an undiagnosed vision problem.  Your child may need assistance with their vision. 

Vision problems in children

Image copyright forestpath -

The group Prevent Blindness America has studied such problems in children and determined that one in four children of school age is affected.  If you notice that your child is experiencing any of these signs, it is important that you schedule a full vision examine from an eye care professional, preferably one who specializes in pediatrics.

Trouble concentrating

If your child is having trouble seeing the board at school or reading assigned texts, it may be that they are experiencing vision difficulties and not that they have attention deficit disorder (or ADD). 

This problem can extend to your child’s homework patterns.  Are they taking longer than they once did, or are they working inordinately longer on their studies?  It may be that they are forced to reread passages because they can’t see or focus on long enough to comprehend them.  Skipping words or lines while reading points to the possibility of astigmatism.

Sitting too close to the TV

Sitting or scooting nearer and nearer to the television or squinting at it are signs that your child is having trouble seeing the screen, or that they might be nearsighted.  If they are covering up or closing one eye while watching television or performing other close activities like reading, it may be that they are experiencing double vision. 

Pay attention to the way they look at objects:  are they holding books further away?  Squinting?  Is one eye crossing?


Children with eye strain from reading or staring at the computer screen may complain of headaches.  The child may also complain of dizziness.

Red eyes

If a child is experiencing some kind of vision problem, they are more prone to rubbing their eyes, which makes them look red and irritated.  Listen to see if your child is complaining about eyes that itch or that hurt.


If your child seems more accident-prone than before—and this can include bumping into furniture, dropping objects, or missing the table when laying down dishes or silverware—they may have a vision problem.  This may extend to the ways that they play, including their ability to handle toys and balls.

If your child is experiencing any of these problems, you should take them to an eye care specialist or read more information at All About Vision, to determine if they need corrective glasses or contact lenses

The American Optometric Association recommends that your child have a comprehensive eye exam at six months of age, again at three, and again at five or six, even if they are displaying no outward signs of vision impairment.  After that, they should have yearly check-ups. 

Left untreated, certain eye problems can develop into serious medical issues, while in their earlier stages they may be easily and affordably curable.

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

5 Ways to Slow Down This Holiday Season

This post is by Rachael of

The holidays are always about good food, relaxation, and family. Or at least, that’s how we pretend they are. For most people, the reality is that the holidays are a chaotic time of last-minute preparing and entertaining, stressful shopping, eating poorly, and ultimately being exhausted by the “most wonderful time of the year.”

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos that ensues the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But with a few days off and people we care about coming together, we should be relishing in this time instead of trying to shift our attention to what we’re told is important.

While all your friends and family are buzzing in and out of stores, eating a few too many pieces of pumpkin pie, and hosting tons of holiday parties, you’ll be set with these five ways to slow down this holiday season.

1.    Plan meals and food gifts ahead

Cooking for the holidays

Image copyright Noam -

Set aside a few hours on a weekend to plan out your meals through the month so you can have peace of mind and not have to worry about last-minute planning or be tempted to order takeout. Take it one step further and prep some of your ingredients in advance. Think about chopping vegetables for meals later in the month, then freezing them. Or preparing slow cooker meals and placing in freezer bags, so on a busy day, you can defrost the ingredients and toss them right into your slow cooker with almost no effort.

If you plan on giving out any type of food gifts, like cookies or quick breads, prepare these early as well. Many cookie batters and baked cookies and quick breads will freeze fantastically for up to a few months. Get started now and you won’t have to think about it again until it’s time to start handing them out.

2.    Determine your priorities and be okay with saying “no”

If you’re often bombarded with too many requests for get-togethers or family events, take some time to write down what your priorities are. List the events you know are coming up and the ones you’re certain you will make time for in your calendar. Write down three goals for the season and if an event doesn’t meet one of the goals, be okay with declining the invitation.

3.    Shop at home or give handmade gifts

For so many of us, the holidays are more about shopping and gifting than they are about savoring the time we have surrounded by the people we care about. Flip this notion and vow to do all your shopping online from home, or create handmade gifts, so you don’t have to worry about fighting crowds or getting frustrated not finding the perfect item for someone.

The go-to solution whenever I can’t think of a gift to give someone is to make something. I tend to favor food gifts and handmade crafts, but you could also just write a nice letter to someone or find a photo of the two of you and having it framed. The more thoughtful gifts we give this year, the better we can feel about giving them out.

4.    Start a brand new tradition this year

Make it a point to start a tradition to take in some of the most enjoyable parts of the season. Bundle up the whole family, pack some hot chocolate, and take a car ride around town for a Christmas light parade. Find a local venue that puts on a show or offers ice skating at a low cost for an afternoon of fun. These simple but festive activities can really get you in the holiday spirit and help you to enjoy the people you’re with.

5.    Make a date with close friends

You don’t have to see everyone you know on Christmas Day or on a specific holiday. The “holidays” are plural for a reason! Make your plans with people last throughout a few weeks leading up to Christmas or the New Year so you don’t get burned out. Setting a date to get together and catch up in the middle of the month when stress levels are high is a great idea to get some quality time in and break up some of that stress that you and your friends are probably encountering.

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be stressful and chaotic if you make plans to simplify and set aside time for the things you really care about. These are just a few ways to slow down this holiday season so you can make the most of your time to relax with good food and people surrounding you. What are some of the ways you like to slow down for the holidays?

Rachael is the blogger behind and is the author of How to Cook For Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide. She writes about her passion for food, eating well while saving money, and inspires people to get familiar with their kitchens and cook for themselves.

5 Realistic Ways to Live a Healthier Life

This post is by Josh Sarz of

Are you as healthy as you should be? Everyone wants to live a long, healthy, meaningful life. But the harsh reality is, it’s not that easy at all.

A healthy life

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We talk about it every day. How we always plan to turn our lives around live a healthier life. But do we actually follow it? Do we get up and work on our body? Do we invest in ourselves the way we all should be doing?

I didn’t think so.

Is living healthily hard work?

Of course it is. We don’t expect to get something so beneficial for free. By just sitting on your couch all day and watching mind-numbing television, you won’t miraculously turn into a healthy human being.

It’s supposed to be hard! That way, not a lot of people will turn out healthy—and the ones who do will have something to gloat about.

Well, not really.

There are actually small, realistic steps that you can take to turn your life around and start living more healthily.

You don’t have to be The Biggest Loser, folks

You don’t have to slave and torture your body in an effort to force it to lose weight. Remember, you’re not on a TV show. You don’t have to go through psychotherapy or hypnosis to quit that bad habit like smoking or drinking. There are step-by-step guidelines on this. And you don’t have to go through the whole ordeal alone.

You don’t have to finish an Ironman triathlon. Although one of the highest accomplishments bestowed upon man, this is not required to prove you are living a healthy life.

You don’t have to venture into the extremes. There are easy and realistic ways to start this healthy, upward spiral.

1. Get enough sleep

I can’t stress this enough. There’s a reason why this is number one on the list.

If you plan on living a healthier life, you need to understand that sleep is one of the most important parts of your day. You shouldn’t miss it for anything. If you run late, just make up for it.

The average adult body needs around eight hours of sleep per day. Any less would mean a visible decrease in productivity and quality of work. Spending more than nine hours on sleep causes more or less the same effects.

For the incredibly busy, what I can suggest is to prioritize your physiological needs over anything else.

2. Eat well

Healthy does not mean that you avoid food. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Food has a purpose for our bodies. It helps us grow. It helps us live for tomorrow. It gives us the nutrition and energy we need to achieve anything physically and mentally.

How many times do you eat a full meal each day? If by any chance that number is below three, then you need to change that. Fast.

If you’re trying to lose weight, simply eat smaller meals five to six times a day. It’s much more effective compared to actually starving yourself. Go on, don’t be scared. Indulge.

3. Clean up your act

I’m not just talking about physical clutter here. I’m also talking about emotional clutter, as well as psychological clutter. There’s a lot of forms of clutter. The most common ones are smoking, alcoholism, drug dependency, etc.

Moderation doesn’t cut it in the long run anymore. As long as you still have addictions in your life, you’re not going to get any better. Wean yourself off of that baggage. Lessen your smoking, day by day, to the point where you actually quit. If you can pull this off, you’ll find that this is one of the best decisions in your life.

I myself had to let go of alcohol and cigarettes. My body was addicted to them. I had to let go of alcohol because I didn’t like how my body felt every time I had a hangover. Although there were withdrawal symptoms, I was able to beat the habit after about a year.

I also defeated smoking once, until one fateful day where I eventually went back to it. This time was much harder, as my body actually wanted to smoke like a fiery dragon. The thing is, it damaged my personal relationships with my family and my girlfriend. So I decided to try and quit smoking again. I’m now on my third week of being smoke-free.

4. Put down those gadgets

This can be tied up with the previous point, on de-cluttering. But you don’t have to throw away your computer. Your console. Your phone. Or that iPad.

What you need to do is make time for yourself. Your physical self—not your social media account. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Find time to smell the roses. Learn how to ride a bike. Take leisurely bike rides along the beach or on the countryside. Play some basketball with your friends. Do something physical. Work out. Get fit. Anything.

No, Angry Birds isn’t a physical activity.

5. Fall in love with walking

One of the simplest, yet most effective way to live a healthier life is by walking. Yup. Walking.

Research shows time and time again that people live longer if they’re physically active.

No, they didn’t do some research on athletes. They did it on regular adults, both male and female, aged 40-79. One group walked for more than an hour a day, and the second group didn’t.

The results were amazing. The group who actually walked for at least an hour a day came out healthier and lived longer lives than the other group.

Just by walking for an hour a day, that group of people had an average lifespan increase of three years. Amazing.

The stage is yours

See how simple the above guidelines are? That’s the key. There are no secret techniques, and no marketing. Just simple, realistic steps you can take to start living a much healthier life.

Once you’re able to put them to practice, you can then incorporate the intense workout routines if you still need to.

Now, when do you plan on living a healthier life? What are you waiting for? What steps have you already taken toward this goal? And how many times have you tried, but failed? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Josh Sarz is a Cebu Blogger who writes about Finding Ways to Enjoy Life. You can check his series about Rest Days, or you can read all the other posts over at his blog.

How to Be Positive When Everything Seems Like it’s Falling Apart

This post is by Lea of

At times life can throw so many curve balls that it feels like things are falling apart one after another. Just when you seem to fix something, another thing falls to pieces. When it rains, it pours right?

It’s not easy maintaining your positive attitude and motivation when a downward spiral consumes you. For instance, it you are having financial troubles you may get anxious every time another bill or notice comes in.

However, focusing on the point that you don’t have money is not going to pay them.

The pointlessness of worry

Take a second and think about the pointlessness of worrying. When you worry, do you come up with great ideas to get you out of a jam? No, if anything, you shoot down every suggestion presented to you. Worrying may be an emotion that you feel the need to express, but don’t linger in it. It is an idle state that will get you nowhere fast.

At some point you’ll have to face this problem and all the time you spent worrying is not going to provide you with a solution. It is bad enough that you are in financial turmoil—there is no benefit in worsening your mental and emotional state.

Instead, devote your time and energy to doing something more constructive. Stop focusing on the negative and take positive action.

The effort is worth it

Your situation may not be easily changed, but it can be changed. The effort you put into it will be worth it in the end.

If you need some help getting into a more positive place, practice the attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you do have even when it feels like everything has fallen to shreds. Something is still very much together.

If you’ve had to give up little extras, like going out to dinner weekly, in an attempt to save money for something else, be appreciative that your basic needs are still covered. Be glad that you can still but food in your fridge, even if you have to cook and serve it.

No matter how small the item is, acknowledge it because will help improve your state of mind so that you can be productive.

When your emotions have changed from negative to positive, think about what you can do. Brainstorm your next course of action, things that you can do to put yourself in a better place. Maybe research the issue to get the ideas flowing. Look up articles and tips to save or make extra money. Talk to someone about it. Another person may have workable solutions you haven’t even considered because you were too busy moping around. There is always something—even small steps add up.

While you are searching, keep in mind that there are ways to overcome your situation, regardless of what it is. You just need to be proactive when it comes to finding these solutions. Even if an opportunity just presents itself to you, you need to be open enough to realize that it’s worth a try, and do it.

Small steps add up

In order to get over your problems, the first and most vital thing you need to understand is worrying will not help. You must to be positive and take action, otherwise you are just stalling.

A positive attitude is an effective characteristic to have while doing what you need to do overcome your issues. Knowing that something is out there to help you is the motivation you need. Stay positive, have faith in yourself, and take action, and you’ll find yourself in a better place sooner rather than later.

Lea is a conscious living advocate and personal development coach. She enjoys helping others reach their potential and achieve true happiness. You can get your free guide to personal development at