Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Open the door to the world of natural creativity

Most creative types have known the frustration of staring at the blank page, the empty canvas, the block of marble, or the clear computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike.


New research suggests that getting away from the emptiness and out into the open air may be a better strategy.


According to an article on the Salon website, a University of Utah scientist realized that his mind felt more flexible and open to new ideas on his backpacking trips in the great outdoors. To test the hypothesis that nature might be an aid to creativity, the scientist teamed up with some colleagues and approached Outward Bound for permission to do some research during lengthy hikes in the wilderness.


The Outward Bound participants were given a standard word association test that asks people to find the connection between three seemingly unrelated words. Half the hikers took the test before starting their expedition, and half took it halfway through. Those who played word association during the trip scored 50 percent better on finding the connections than those who took the test at the beginning.


Whether it’s exposure to nature, or a disconnection from technology, the results indicated that sometimes you’re better off walking away and exploring the world around you when you need ideas, instead of sitting and hoping they come to you.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to deal with workplace bullying

Over a third of workers in the United States have been bullied in the workplace, with repeated mistreatment from either coworkers or a superior, including intimidation, threatening conduct, verbal abuse, social exclusion or harassment, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Those who become victims of bullying in the workplace end up suffering from increased feelings of anger, anxiety, fear and helplessness.

Human resources experts are telling victims that they need to speak up so that the issue can be resolved by the employer, who in many cases may be completely unaware of the problem. It is also a good idea to keep notes as to the actions of the bully, including the date and time of any incidents and their precise nature. Such information can be vital to the filing of an internal complaint or possibly even a lawsuit.

You should also consult the employee handbook of your company to determine if they have a policy that prohibits such behavior, a process for filing complaints and punishment for misconduct.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The human race

Mucus is a word that tends to make people screw their faces up in disgust, but the mucus that lines our stomachs plays a very important role – without it our stomachs would actually digest themselves!


The DNA of human beings is as much as 98.4 percent identical to that of chimpanzees. Perhaps more disturbing, it is also as much as 70 percent identical to that of a slug!


The lightest human baby ever to have actually survived weighed no more than 283 grams.

If you think women talk more than men, you’re right. Men speak an average of around 2,000 words per day. Women on the other hand speak an average of 7,000!


The human brain accounts for just 2 percent of the weight of the body, but uses 20 percent of all our energy.


Some people have a phobia about passing germs on by kissing, but statistics have proven that we should be more worried about shaking hands!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stretching your boundaries

Often in life we find ourselves falling into a sedentary lifestyle because we are actually rather afraid of the idea of moving forward. Unfortunately, this usually ends with us feeling like we are in a massive rut and with no idea how to go about getting out of it. What we forget is that moving forward in life is about challenging ourselves and what we are capable of.


It is very important to test our boundaries and see how far we can go. We should be willing to challenge our beliefs in order to strengthen our resolve and widen our sphere. That does not mean that you should go around risking life and limb, of course, but nonetheless, taking risks and overcoming your fears is very important.


Everyone is afraid of something, but challenging what we are afraid of enables us to overcome issues that may have been developing for many years and helps to broaden our horizons in the process.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Encourage your kids to apply themselves

Parents often grow frustrating trying to convince their youngsters that applying themselves to chores, schoolwork, and other necessary tasks is important. You don’t have to resort to threats or bribery, though. Try some of these tips:


• Focus on progress, not perfection. Kids will shy away from chores if they feel they can never do a good enough job. Set reasonable standards, but don’t obsess about their getting everything perfect. Reward progress, not just results.


• Give them a choice. If kids feel they have a choice about what to do, or how to do it, they’ll try harder. Provide them with options, and be honest about what how they can do a good job.


• Give them lots of praise. Make them feel good about what they’re doing. They’ll want to do more if they feel good about their work. Point out their strengths, and make sure you’re sincere, honest, and specific in your praise.


• Talk about your own work. When you share your own achievements in your job or hobbies, kids may be motivated to work harder so they have their own successes to share with you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Enjoy the Sun... Avoid the Burn!

Summer is here, and the days are warm and sunny again. But if you’re not careful, an afternoon on the beach or in the park can lead to a case of sunburn. And worse: Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen will offer some protection (though some re­searchers argue that it doesn’t prevent melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer), but you’ve got to follow the directions. Here’s some advice:


• Sun block, by the numbers. Pick the right protection in the first place: A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 will block about 93 percent of harmful UVB rays; SPF 50 screens out 99 percent. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. This gives your skin adequate time to absorb it.


• Apply sufficient amounts. Experts advise applying at least one full ounce of sunscreen before going out—roughly enough to fill a shot glass. Reapply your lotion every two hours, and after swimming or exercising enough to raise a sweat. During a long day outdoors, you should use from one-quarter to one-half of an eight-ounce bottle. Remember to apply sunscreen to often-overlooked areas of your body like your ears, lips, and feet.


• Minimize exposure. Think of sunscreen as a second line of defense against sunburn and skin damage, not your primary protection. Wear a broad hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing, and try to avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest and the atmosphere absorbs less UV radiation than it does during the rest of the day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Helping your kid's sales effort? Use care at work.

When your kids are involved in fundraising—Girl Scout cookies, band candy, raffle tickets, or whatever—chances are you’ll be helping them sell at least some of their merchandise at the office.


Just be careful not to alienate your co-workers, who probably get more than a few such appeals every year. Here are some tactful ways to sell in the workplace:


• Limit your email. Don’t clog up the office email system with dozens and dozens of announce­ments and reminders. Check with your manager before sending out any messages, and remember that office equipment such as computers and printers are there for business purposes, not personal use.


• Don’t inundate the whole workforce. Pick and choose to whom you’ll make a personal appeal. Enlist the support of interested parties and people who’ve been helpful before.


• Post flyers sparingly. Pick one central location to post a single flyer or sign-up sheet instead of blanketing every wall. Try the office kitchen, reception area, or employee bulletin boards.


• Thank your supporters. After the fundraising drive, buy bagels or doughnuts for everyone in the office. Show them you really appreciate their contribution to your child’s efforts.


• Show your own support. If you expect your colleagues to pitch in and help your kids, be willing to do the same for them. Spend a little money on whatever they’re selling to show that you’re a good sport.


• Get your child to write thank-you notes. A short note of appreciation to all your co-work­ers who contributed goes a long way toward building support.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to budet for caring for a special-needs youngster

Mothers have many concerns about their children, and these concerns only increase for mothers of children who have special needs. Although “one day at a time” can be a good idea for many aspects of this caring, it is a bad idea when it comes to considering the financial future of such a child.


One of the biggest challenges facing parents of a special-needs child is how to make certain that the child will still be cared for after the parents are gone. Despite this, 62 percent of parents of special-needs children have no financial long-term care plan in place.


The good news is that there are some fairly basic tips that can be followed to plan and prepare for the adult life of a special-needs child. The most important thing is to find a group of financial advisers who are well versed in the kind of planning that is needed by your family. These advisers can help with a multitude of things, including getting you through the red tape to claim all the government benefits that you are entitled to as a parent of a special-needs child.

A special-needs trust can also ensure that your assets will be safely transferred to your child with no disruption.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to suceed in college

There are numerous and varied reasons why a college education can be beneficial. It can provide better opportunities for employment, offer social encounters you would never find elsewhere and improve your intellect. Of course, college can also be a very stressful time and a lot of hard work, but there are a few tips that can ease the pain.


One good tip is to ensure that you are able to match your college class schedule with your personal schedule. Someone who utterly loathes having to get up early in the morning is not going to do well with classes that start very early, so classes held later in the day or even during the evening would be a better fit.


The creation of a sleep schedule can also assist you while in college. Not getting enough sleep can be highly detrimental to a college student and will make classes infinitely more difficult to cope with.

If you are not happy at college, do not make any drastic decisions right away. You should give it at least a year and then look at other options if you are still not happy.