They say it takes about 21 days to form a simple habit. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that depending on the habit, the person, and the circumstances, it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days — 66 on average — to form a new habit.
Even if it takes more work or a longer amount of time to make a behavior automatic, some habits are worth forming. Some habits help you stay safe, others keep you healthy, and some are worth the effort because they improve your quality of life. Everyday stresses and worries can wear you down and take some of the joy out of your daily life. To enhance your well-being and live a more meaningful life, consider adopting some of these habits (if you haven’t already):
Pay Your Debts Every Month
Money is the top source of stress for 61 percent of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association. Millennials especially face a grim picture with their everyday finances. Record amounts of debt make sticking to a budget, meeting increased costs of living, and saving for the future difficult.
While paying for the necessities can take up most or all of a paycheck, be sure to contribute toward paying off all your debts every month. You can split up payments to relieve the burden: pay off your credit card early in the month and make payments on your student loans in the middle or at the end of each month. Consider setting up auto-payments if you have trouble remembering. For example, if you are thinking of getting a car, “it may be best to look into leasing deals, as this will save money as the monthly payments is generally lower than purchasing a car”, said personal leasing company ICL.
Even paying just a little bit or the minimum balance can help reduce any large balances. Not only will it improve your finances, regular debt payments will help put your mind at ease and hopefully reduce your stress about money. When you aren’t worried about finances, you can put your energy toward other things and spend more time enjoying your life.
Go to Sleep Earlier
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep on a nightly basis. Between work, family, and other obligations, sleep is often the first thing to fall by the wayside. However, on top of being cranky and tired, sleep deprivation can lead to health complications, like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Do your best to develop a healthy sleep schedule to get that full eight hours before you have to wake up the next day. Prepare as much as possible for the next day: pack your lunch, choose your outfit, and get the coffee pot ready. Set an alarm for an hour before bedtime so you can begin getting ready. If you have a tough time calming down and unwinding after a long day, create a pre-sleep routine. Do something that helps you relax, like meditation, yoga, reading, or listen to calming music.
Whatever you choose to do, be consistent! By establishing a steady routine, your body and mind will begin to associate it with sleep, and you’ll be able to drift off with ease. You may feel like you’re taking away precious time from your day, but this is an investment worth making in yourself. If you regularly get better sleep, you’ll likely feel more energized and productive than ever before.
Use Your Phone Less
A recent study found that Americans look at their phones 80 times per day — about once every 12 minutes. The amount of time that people use mobile devices has been on the rise, which can contribute to health problems like sleep disturbances or deprivation, strained vision, and headaches. Rutgers University also notes that social media use, in particular, can contribute to mental illness by causing or exacerbating feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and depression.
Whether or not you’re a social media addict, you can probably cut back on the amount of time you spend using your phone. Using your phone can affect everything from your communication skills to your driving. Nomophobia is the fear of being without a mobile device, and it may still plague you if your phone dies or you leave it behind.
Work to become less dependent on your devices and spend your time doing other things. If you have some time to kill while waiting at your doctor’s appointment, flip through a magazine or read a few pages of a book instead of checking your Twitter feed. In group settings, make an effort to leave your phone in your pocket and give your full attention to the other people there. Focusing your energy on things outside of the digital world will help your life feel fuller and freer.
There are many habits you can take on to improve your quality of life, so pick one that will truly make your life better. Try to do something that really speaks to you; if you aren’t passionate about forming a new behavior, it will be even harder to stick to it. Set yourself up for success, take it slow, and you’ll truly bring out your best self.
Madison Ann Baker is a writer, Netflix-binger, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her Borador, Dash, and re-reading Harry Potter. You can follow her on Twitter @mabakerwrites and check out her work on https://mabakerwrites.contently.com/
Lower The Risk Of Cancer With Cancer Prevention Diet
While there is no magic diet or foods that can guarantee to prevent or cure cancer, lifestyle factors which include your diet can make a huge difference in lowering your risk to develop the disease. And if you are battling cancer at present, by adopting the right diet you can maintain your strength and boost your overall emotional well being as you undergo treatment. By eating the foods that support your immune system and avoiding cancer-causing foods, you can better protect your health and boost your ability to fight cancer and other diseases.
The Link Between Cancer And Your Diet
Though some of the risk factors for cancer such as genetics and environment are uncontrollable, about 70 % of the cancer risk is within your power to change including diet. Limiting alcohol, avoiding cigarettes, reaching a healthy weight, healthy diet and getting regular exercise are great steps to prevent cancer. There are certain dietary factors that can have a major influence on your risk. For example, eating a traditional Mediterranean diet which is rich in vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like olive oil lowers your risk for a variety of common cancers. If you have a family history of cancer, just by making small changes to your diet and behaviors you can make a big difference to your health.
Building Your Cancer-Prevention Diet
To lower the risk of cancer, you must include antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats in your diet. You must also try to limit the amount of fried and processed foods, sugars, unhealthy fats and refined carbs you consume.
Lowering the risk with antioxidants
Antioxidants are found in plant-based foods and these are known to boost your immune system and protect against cancer cells. Fruit rich diets lower the risk of stomach and lung cancer. Vegetable containing carotenoids – carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts reduce the risk of mouth, lung, larynx and pharynx cancer.
Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, beans and broccoli help protect against esophageal and stomach cancer. Oranges, peas, berries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens protect from esophageal cancer. Foods containing lycopene, like tomatoes, watermelon, and guava may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Add more veggies and fruits to your diet
It is recommended to have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. In breakfast, you can add fresh fruit, seeds, nuts to a whole grain, low-sugar breakfast cereal like oatmeal. For lunch, you can have salad filled with your favorite peas and beans or other veggies like tomato, lettuce, or avocado.
For snacks grab an apple or banana. Dip celery, carrots, peppers, cucumbers in hummus. Keep a trail mix made of nuts and dried fruits handy. Add fresh veggies to your favorite rice or pasta dish. Top a baked potato with sautéed veggies, broccoli or salsa. In dessert choose fruits instead of sugary desserts.
Fill up with fiber and choose healthy fats
Fiber also known as roughage is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and plays a major role in keeping your digestive system healthy and clean. It helps keep the carcinogenic compounds moving through the digestive tracts before they can cause harm. High fiber diet can help prevent colorectal cancer and common digestive system cancers of stomach, mouth, and pharynx.
Avoid unhealthy or Trans fats found in cookies, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, French fries, etc. Also, limit saturated fat from dairy and red meat to less than 10 % of your daily calories. Add more unsaturated fats from olive oil, fish, nuts, avocados. The omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna, salmon, and flaxseeds can fight inflammation and support heart and brain health.
Other Lifestyle Tips To Prevent Cancer
Though your diet is central in preventing cancer, other healthy habits can also lower your risk further. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight. This is because obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, like breast, bowel, pancreatic, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney and ovarian.
Be active for at least 30 minutes every day as it reduces the risk of endometrial, colon and postmenopausal breast cancer. Healthcare product development has resulted in several innovative medical devices that can help you keep track of your activity and help plan your diet.
Limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks to no more than two drinks a day for men and one a day for women. Post-treatment, the cancer survivors must follow the recommendations for diet, physical activity and healthy weight from a trained professional or your doctor.
Shuchi Sankhyayan is a Mumbai based Content Specialist who has spent 15+ years romping around the healthcare, medical device, manufacturing, content and software industries. She is currently a Content Specialist at Technosoft Innovations, Inc. where she documents and presents the latest researches and innovations of the company in medical devices industry. She holds a graduate degree in Science and Post-Graduation degree in HR. In her spare time she is an avid reader, hobbyist and enjoys sharing medical product development knowledge and experience via her posts and articles.
What Strongman Has Done For Me
Before Strongman I was in college living a very typical college girl life (parties, class, stress). I was also living with some serious insecurity and uncertainty. Fitting in was important and peer pressure seemed to be the only motivation I had for social activities. In essence I was just going through the motions. Then, my junior year, I found Strongman. I was desperately trying to find myself and was at the point where I’d do just about anything anybody told me for some attention. When I first started Strongman, I didn’t intend to compete or really take it anywhere, I just wanted to get strong and do something different. It was my way of turning my back on the normal, and climbing out of what felt like a prison that society had put me in.
When first starting out in this sport it never occurred to me that I was one of the only females in my state training this way. It didn’t matter to me, because there was this awe and power in getting strong that I soon became addicted to. There wasn’t this male dominated vibe either. In fact the men in this sport have only ever been encouraging, motivating and inspirational.
What has been the most surprising to me has always been the reactions I get from other women who are not in the sport. A typical response is bewilderment and disbelief as they cannot fathom that a small woman (5’2” 140 lbs) is involved with strongman. They just can’t believe that I’m capable of such feats and that I have enough confidence to do it without apology. This reaction seems to implode in on them as they go onto to say, “I could never do that”, “I’m too weak for that type of thing” or “aren’t you afraid of getting too big?” My passion now lies in helping these women truly understand that being strong is not about the males or the competition. It’s about you and it’s about putting yourself out there enough to do what it takes to get strong and leave all the doubts behind. Of course that means taking care of your body, working hard, and being disciplined when training gets hard and life is pouring down the rain.
For me, being female in a male dominated sport has never actually bothered me, on the contrary, it’s helped me. You know how you always hear motivational quotes about surrounding yourself with people who you want be or the people you want to be like? Well that’s exactly what I did when I started Strongman. All I have ever wanted to do was be the strongest version of myself (mentally and physically) possible. By surrounding myself with the people who are strongest (and that has mostly been men up to this point) I have gotten really strong and am well on my way to fulfilling that potential in myself.
As a woman in a man’s world, I’ve been more inspired to work harder than ever. The strength world has exploded and now more than ever females want in on what strength is and how it can change their life. So for me, being in strongman I don’t look at it as a “male dominated sport” I look at it as an opportunity for women to see my journey, and want in on how amazing this experience can be.
Before strength training and Strongman I had no idea what it was like to be strong. I was self conscious, worried about what the guys in the gym thought and would never go in the free weight area. When I discovered what strength training could do for me, I was no longer concerned with the opinions of others. This journey was about ME and it didn’t matter how male dominated it was. I wanted to be strong and nobody was going to take that from me.
Again, no men in the strength community has ever discouraged me from training, competing or accomplishing my goals. In fact, most promoters I’ve met have been ecstatic that there are females willing to compete. The Strongman world has been pretty awesome to me. Sure you’ll always have the dudes outside of Strongman who will say something negative, but it’s not something I let phase me. To me, strength will always matter, and excuses will not. I will not allow someone else’s opinion become an excuse for me to deny myself.
For me it is more about building women up and wanting them to get into something that pushes their limits and changes their lives. It is not about being a female in a male dominated sport. It is about getting strong, being resilient, staying consistent, learning discipline, working hard, and then taking those qualities from the weight room and applying it to your daily life.
Through Strongman I have not only become confident, but I’ve become the person I used to dream about. I worry much less about what people think and I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I ever thought possible. I look at myself as a fierce Shieldmaiden crusading for my cause that has brought me so much happiness and gratitude! This weekend I’m headed to compete at the Arnold Sports Festival for the largest strongman competition in America. Strongman has taken me places that I never conceived possible and this is just the beginning for both of us.
Hannah has spent the last ten years in the weight room being as an athlete and coach. The last few years she has become a champion powerlifter and Strongwoman. Holding several state records and placing in the top 7 at at the 2018 Arnold Amatuer Strongman World Championships. Hannah has been putting her love for lifting to good use. In addition to lifting heavy weights, she also holds a Masters degree in Coaching and Sport Education. Hannah continues this journey through her writing where she educates others on how to build strength through Strongman training. Her passion is to share with the world how lifting weights-specifically competing and training in Strongman-has changed her complete outlook on life. Hannah’s goal is to help women gain confidence, strength, and build healthy mindsets using strength training.
7 Benefits Of Being Single
More and more people are embracing the single lifestyle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than half of the U.S. population over 16 years of age were single in 2014, compared to just 37.4 percent in 1976. So, why are relationships fading in favor of the single lifestyle?
Eating Out is Cheaper
Eating out when you’re in a relationship is downright expensive. Even at mid-grade restaurants, you can easily spend $40 on dinner for two. When you’re single, though, you’ll pay just half this amount. You can then take this money and save it for a vacation, new clothes or anything else you want to buy.
Holidays Are Less Stressful
You can also relax just a little more during the holidays when you are single. You won’t have to visit your partner’s family or buy them gifts, reducing the chaos associated with this time of year. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, the holidays are less stressful when you’re single.
You Can Watch What You Want
If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, you’re probably familiar with television battles. You want to watch “Game of Thrones,” but your partner wants to watch the local news. With only a single television in the living room, you are forced to throw in the towel and turn on the news. This isn’t an issue when you’re single, however. You’ll have complete control over the television remote at all times. If you want to watch a movie or show, you can flip the channel without worrying about upsetting your partner. You can also watch adult content on websites like Nu Bay without having to worry about making your partner insecure.
You might be surprised to learn that being single is good for your health. According to research cited by Huffington Post, single men and women who’ve never been married get more exercise than couples in relationships. The reason for this is unknown though some experts theorize that singles are more conscious of their health and appearance. Regardless, you’ll reap the benefits of better health when single.
More Time to Read
If you’re a bookworm, you’ll have more time to read when single. Many men and women stop their personal hobbies once they enter into a long-term relationship. If you have a partner, for instance, you may struggle to find time to read. But when you’re single, you can laze around reading whenever you choose. Whether it’s a workday or the weekend, you’ll have plenty of time to knock out those books on your reading list.
When you’re in a serious relationship, you may distance yourself from friends. While usually not intentional, most people in relationships lose track of old friends. You may stop calling your old high school friend with whom you grew up, instead focusing your time and attention on your partner. When single, though, you’ll naturally want to foster stronger relationships. This means calling up your friends from high school as well as coworkers and social acquaintances.
Your Browser History And Social Media Profiles Are Safe
Finally, you don’t have to worry about someone scrutinizing your web browser history and social media profiles when single. Granted, not everyone will look through your computer or smartphone, but many partners are guilty of doing this to their significant other. It’s frustrating when you send a friendly message on Facebook, only for your partner to accuse you of flirting. Well, you are free to look at and post whatever you want online when single.
As you can see, there are many benefits to being single. From the cost-savings benefits of eating out to better health and stronger friendships, there are many reasons to embrace the single lifestyle. With that said, relationships offer their own benefits as well. So, choose your own path in life and find enjoyment in your present status whether single or in a relationship. If you need some more help and advice, there are loads of websites to help you manage issues, for example, get over betrayal.
Monica loves to write about television and film and is a regular contributor to www.bighivemind.com. When she’s not typing over a hot keyboard, Monica loves to keep fit by running, cycling and going to the gym.
6 Habits That Will Improve Your Quality of Life
It’s true what they say—life’s a journey, not a destination. You have the power and ability to change the quality of your life, and thus your journey, at any given point. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” person, and not just because perfection is subjective and doesn’t exist. Humans are innately flawed and can fall into a variety of traps. However, addiction is one of the most dangerous, and it can be impossible to untangle yourself without the help of experts. As we begin a new year, challenge yourself to a better, healthier, and more enjoyable life.
Here are six habits that can make a huge difference:
Be honest with your technology addiction and get help if necessary. Drug and alcohol addiction is well-known, but technology addiction can be a little murkier. After all, it’s conceivable in western culture to avoid alcohol and drugs for good, but not technology. Most of us need tech for work, to connect with loved ones, and simply to enjoy activities of daily living. There’s also the issue of “technology addiction” being made flippant (kind of like OCD). It’s not taken as seriously by mainstream society, but that’s starting to change. There are recovery centers prioritizing tech addiction and can help sufferers identify tools to better co-exist with technology. An addiction can be defined as any habit or substance/product that interferes with other parts of your life including health, work, and relationships.
Give appreciation freely and honestly. This goes for both those around you and yourself. It’s amazing how something as simple as a genuine compliment can turn a person’s entire day around. Every day, try to find an authentic way to compliment at least one person. It kickstarts the cycle of caring and compassion, and you’ll benefit from an endorphin rush of making someone else feel good. (Plus, if you believe in karma, there are some excellent karma points to enjoy). Also, appreciate yourself and speak kindly about your worth, whether aloud or to yourself. Silence that inner critic.
Get outside for at least 20 minutes a day when weather allows. There are countless studies touting the benefits of the great outdoors. If you live in a metro area, try to seek out a park so that the greenery can feed your soul. Try to avoid bringing any technology with you. Spend time appreciating the beauty of nature, whether it’s a leaf or a nearby river. You’ll be energized and may even be able to ditch that afternoon cup of coffee.
Swap coffee for tea at least once a day. Green and black tea have both been tied to a number of health benefits including being potential arthritis and dementia fighters. They have a gentler caffeine boost than coffee and can be a great way to start your day. Choose a cup of green tea instead of java first thing in the morning if you’re a coffee addict, and consider a decaf “sleepy time” tea as part of your sleep best practices.
Find out how many hours of sleep you need on average. Many people think eight hours is the standard, but that’s just an average. People need various amounts of sleep, and the only way to find out is to figure out how many hours you require to wake up without depending on an alarm. This is the first step in creating better sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a set of best practices to optimize quality sleep. Additions include ditching screen time at least two hours before bed and making sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and tech-free.
Move at least once a day for 30 minutes. Movement doesn’t necessarily have to be hardcore exercise. Movement should be joyful and desirable. Try out a new dance class, check out urban hiking trails, or find a gently used bike and explore your neighborhood in a new way. Moving is essential for energy, joy, and health.
Healthy habits don’t have to be a sacrifice. There are many ways to up the quality of your life without making a huge commitment. How will you be better to yourself in 2018?
Emily Walters is a freelance content writer. She has written for a variety of industries including business, beauty, healthcare, technology, and travel. Aside from writing, Emily enjoys traveling, gardening, and paddle boarding.