News Flash: Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness.

497294952_c06a81d93b_bI’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for  couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected. Continue reading

10 Unusual Reasons You Might be Feeling Sick All the Time

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Surviving without air conditioning when it is hot and humid is nearly impossible, especially in some regions. Keeping an AC running requires more than just the right appliance; it demands maintenance, which a lot of people neglect. An air conditioning unit that does not receive proper servicing not only spikes the power bills but poses health risks as well. It may be surprising to learn that you may be feeling a bit under the weather because of your home’s cooling system. Continue reading

3 Causes of Food Cravings You Can Conquer! 

Comfort Eating In Office

(The following is adapted from the new book Cravings Boss: The REAL Reason You Crave Food and a 5-Step Plan to Take Back Control by Natalia Levey , CHC, CNC)   

Unsatisfying relationships, stressful jobs, disappointing sex life and emotional highs and lows can all cause excessive binging or deprivation eating. Remember the break-up movie scene? When emotions run high, the body sends craving cues in order to obtain “rewards” from the brain, even if temporary. It’s always best to seek out non-food related rewards first.

When was the first time you bought a ticket for the emotional rollercoaster? Are you still on that ride? Or do you receive a monthly subscription of emotions, gradually increasing over time? Let’s take a look at how this might play out.

1. Fear. Fear and worry show up throughout the day. You may be nervously anticipating your next meeting, worried about a conversation you had, or simply anxious about how to get everything done on your to-do list. Continue reading

7 Easy Ways to Avoid Your Sugar Cravings

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(The following is adapted from the new book Cravings Boss: The REAL Reason You Crave Food and a 5-Step Plan to Take Back Control by Natalia Levey , CHC, CNC)   

Sugar is found in almost every processed food on the market today. It is used as a flavor enhancer more often than any other seasoning, including salt. I can almost guarantee that if you grab an inexpensive processed food from your local grocer, it will be loaded with sugar. Manufacturers are well aware of sugar’s addictive quality  People who are caught in this addictive loop usually drink several sugary sodas per day or consume large quantities of candy, processed sweets or packaged, ready-to-eat goodies. If you recognize yourself in these words, you’re not alone.

Did you know the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar per year? One hundred and fifty two pounds. POUNDS! A baby giraffe weighs that much! That’s approximately twenty- two teaspoons per day and it only takes about two cans of soda to reach this daily maximum.

Here are 7 surefire strategies to get your sugar cravings controlled… Continue reading

How to Make Sure That Trumpism Never Returns

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The problem isn’t Donald Trump but Trumpism—many commentators feel safe enough to utter these words. What made them feel unsafe over the past year, despite the toxic extremism that Trump the man represented, was timidity. Someone posing as a strong man, capable of viciously demolishing his political enemies, posed a potential threat to anyone who spoke out against him. But now more people have found a way, even a growing handful of Republican politicians, to denounce him.

There’s a collective sigh of relief that Trump has become his own worst enemy, but relief isn’t the same as feeling safe, much less immune. America hasn’t seen the last of Trumpism until remedies against its return are undertaken seriously. As a physician sees it, we are past the prevention stage, past the first signs of disorder, and well into rampant symptoms that threaten a full-blown outbreak. In a word, Trumpism has become a persistent virus, and although it fuels a sense of self-righteousness to blame the long line of Republican presidents going back to Nixon who planted the seeds of Trumpism, we can’t afford that luxury.

To compress Trumpism into its essential ingredients, they are actually a batch of stubborn illusions that have been turned into a belief system, as follows: Continue reading

4 Secrets to Banishing Homesickness When Traveling Abroad

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While traveling abroad offers a host of opportunities and new experiences, it can also get a bit lonely at times. And that longing for the connection and belonging that you feel back home can not only ruin a trip, but it could prevent you from taking another one. Banish the homesick blues with these tips so you can focus on exploring and enjoying your new environment.

Share your new culture with loved ones

While phone calls and social media make staying in touch easy, take it a step further by sending home local delights. Find your favorite sweets, baked goods, spices, candles or health and beauty products and mail small care packages to your nearest and dearest to give them a taste of your new local culture. The mere act of finding these items, packaging them and navigating the local postal system can also help you get more acclimated to your new surroundings abroad.

Make your accommodations feel like home

Whether you are staying in a hotel, a house or apartment rental or a dorm, there’s no reason that your new accommodations can’t feel like home. It’s worth the extra effort to add a few of your favorite decor flourishes, as it can make even the more generic quarters feel cozy and familiar. Here are a few ideas: Continue reading

A Message to Caregivers Everywhere: What Family Members Want You to Know

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The moment a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, families are met with overwhelming responsibilities. Navigating the cruel and lengthy process requires a tremendous amount of support. Often outside help is required, which means caregivers and family members must work together as a team.

This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges. The care families desire for a loved one goes beyond merely completing tasks. These unspoken expectations often result in confused caregivers who perceive requests as unreasonable. What do families really want? The essence is found in these seven simple requests. Continue reading

Mindful Abundance

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Last week in Virginia, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of female solo entrepreneurs about mindful abundance. To some, mindful abundance may seem like an oxymoron; however, if you are self- employed chances are thoughts of abundance often cross your radar. And as an independent contractor, there is a strong likelihood that you’ve made some significant financial sacrifices along your journey. And I understand that kindness underlies all that you do. However, financial pressure is very real, and the body tends to swarm with stress at the mere mention of scarcity. And not addressing issues of wealth means you continue to live in fear, so, in order to be in on the flow of abundance, I suggest that you strengthen your prosperity portal.

I believe often the problem is not that you lack the ability to generate a particular income, but the struggle comes in how you support your portal to abundance. To embrace wealth means that you not only care about money, but you attend to its energy. Money is not a dirty word. Let me repeat: money is not a dirty word. Look at how you greet the word “money”: Do you blush? Does your heart skip a beat? Do you sigh? My point here is that if you pay attention to how you engage with money, you will begin to recognize why you may be signing over abundance to others. When you avoid the language and energy of finances, this blocks you from prosperity because you are engaging with fear. Continue reading

Tupperware and Choosing a Guilt-Free Life

A photo by Jason Briscoe. unsplash.com/photos/sfze-8LfCXI

Oh how the mighty have fallen
Yeah, I was that guy. Black car home every night because I worked Past 10pm every night. Dinners paid for from almost anywhere I wanted; An office that overlooked the Statue of Liberty, long stints in exotic places like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK to fix business units that were determined to need fixing, etc. I was that guy. When I walked into your office, it wasn’t to tell you that you were doing a good job. I was the perpetual hammer in search of a nail. If I found you, it wasn’t pleasant. I fully admit that I wasn’t a nice guy. I made people miserable, but that was my job. There was no margin for error in my old business. One small mistake could literally turn into millions of dollars diverted into incorrect risk pools. A domino effect would ripple through many areas of the firm. Inaccuracies were unacceptable. After years of this, I lost myself and became this character, devoid of any compassion or empathy. I was a one man wrecking machine. That was the way it had to be in investment banking. It was the nature of the beast. I remember getting a blackberry message from my colleague Steve on that fateful September Sunday evening; “Turn on MSNBC”, it read, and I did. Our stock price had plummeted from $92 to $2 a share over the course of a few months. We had been sold to a bank, a real bank that takes depositors money. In that sale, it made my entire line of work and thousands of people’s jobs, in direct violation of the SEC Bank Holding Company act. We would have to go. After about an hour of absorbing this, my wife broke out her emergency pack of stale Parliament cigarettes, and we sat on our stoop at 11:30pm, inflicting torment on our lungs. “What are we going to do?” she asked. “I don’t know” was my reply. And that was the truth. I didn’t.

Dylan had it right “For the times, they are a ‘changin…”
I spent the next eight months trying to reconcile the loss of most of my life savings and career, sleeping until noon, staying up until 2am scouring job boards and applying for positions that I was grossly overqualified for, or just watching YouTube videos on anything from car engine repair to doctors removing infected pus filled boils. The meltdown of 2008, and the related pain, was not just reserved to “Main Street” as the politicians spewed. It hit many ex-Wall Street’ers just as hard. I eventually held several high level positions at smaller firms, and was absolutely miserable. At my lowest point, I lost my desire to eat, lost a ton of weight, and frequently vomited up blood before leaving for work. The negativity of my work environment was literally eating me alive. One day in a brief moment of clarity, I realized that none of this really mattered. I calmly typed an eight paragraph resignation letter to my CEO, left my ID card, Amex card, and office keys on my desk, pushed my chair back, stood up and left. And that was it. I got into my car and hit the NJ Turnpike with the windows open and the radio blasting “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen; “Talk about a dream, try to make it real, you wake up in the night with a fear so real. You spend your life waiting for a moment that just won’t come. Well don’t waste your life waiting.” Those lyrics hit me hard. I kept repeating that line, “Well don’t waste your life waiting”. That was the answer. You need to make it happen. YOU need to make CHANGE happen. I felt good about myself for the first time in almost three years. I originally thought the smell in the car was the methane belched out of the Linden Co-Generation Plant on the Turnpike, but it became sweeter the longer I drove. It was the smell of freedom. It was the smell of change. It was intoxicating.

From a small seed, a mighty oak grows
While I’m far from comparing myself to a mighty Oak, even the smallest effort to foster a positive change in your life should be lauded as a Herculean effort. Quite honestly, the only difference between leaders of industry, innovators, and economic titans like Jobs, Forbes, Gates, Edison and the rest of the world is that these few had the spine (or the stupidity) to take that first small step. Continue reading

Being Supportive

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When we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.

So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.

Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.

Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away. Continue reading

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