Lifestyle Category

Friends and Lovers

June 12th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

No romantic relationship is without its challenges. Sure, you may claim to have a pretty good relationship with your partner, and truly believe that the both of you will last for the long haul, but in no way does that mean that you two don’t have your rough patches. All people have their differences, and there will come times that the two of you are going to have to butt heads. Remember, though, that it’s not what you argue about but how you address the argument that proves how great of a pair you really are.

Love in Progress

A truly fantastic relationship is one that is willing to admit to its faults and possess a sincere desire to be better. Change is a certainty, no matter who you are, and to deny its call would pretty much spell disaster! So, if you, your partner, or the both of you have apprehensions about changing the way your relationship currently is, then be prepared to fight the exact same fights, and run the risk of crumbling apart! :(

In contrast, if the two of you decide to make some key alterations, then that can only mean good things. :) The fact alone that you two are willing to own up to your faults and weaknesses is already an enormously good sign. Just getting past that hurdle is an achievement in itself!

A desire for progress is proof that the two of you place a great and sincere value on your relationship. The last thing you would want to do is take your relationship for granted. To you two, every moment with each other is meaningful, and must be experienced to the fullest.

The Secrets behind Change

But how, exactly, do you go about with your progress project, so to speak?

There’s this article in Healthy Wealthy nWise by Mayank Jayaswal that actually addresses that question to the letter. Aptly enough, it’s entitled “Tips on How to Make Your Relationship Stronger.” It’s the perfect read for any couple that craves for the ingredients to a better, healthier relationship.

One of these ingredients, for instance, is communication. Jayaswal says, “What most people forget is that communication is one of the most important aspects in keeping a relationship healthy. Two people in a relationship must communicate often. It is when you communicate often and share all the details, you build the trust, get to show that you’re honest with them and thus love them a lot. Another important part of communication is listening. Listening attentively to what your partner is saying is a good way to keep things alright between the two.”

I really couldn’t agree more. :) In fact, if I were made to choose among all the ingredients listed in the article, I’d really put communication at the top of my list. I really believe that without it, all the other ingredients would be pretty much meaningless. Can you imagine trusting someone you don’t communicate with, let alone forming a commitment with that person?

Friendship: The Ultimate Secret

Ensuring a communicative relationship, however, relies on certain factors. And what I think is the most crucial factor is the extent of your friendship with your partner. That’s right: friendship.

Now, if you believe that you can’t really, truly be friends with your romantic partner in the midst of your relationship, then you are happily mistaken. So many aspects of friendship are required in a healthy relationship that you can’t really separate the two things in the end. Simply put, you can’t be a lover without being a friend.

There’s another article on Healthy Wealthy nWise, this time by Sarah Ruiz, that really gets this point across. In her piece “Can Lovers be Best Friends?” she says, “I learned that in order for a real relationship to develop and grow, all the aspects and critical components of a friendship have to be present. I learned that these two very different, but same concepts, are intrinsically mingled offering the same results. I learned that you couldn’t have a loving healthy relationship without a committed loving friendship.”

Think about it: friendships have a lot to do with communication. The more you openly communicate your thoughts and opinions with someone, the more you consider that person your friend, right? So if you want to have a communicative romantic relationship, then the idea of seeing your romantic partner as one of your closest friends is the ticket. J

Friends Forever

Can you imagine if your romantic partner was not someone you could call a true friend? Wouldn’t it be downright terrible if you had to turn to someone other than your lover when faced with a big dilemma, or when you have something important on your mind?

A friend, furthermore, is someone you can easily foresee being with long into the future. I’m sure you have at least a couple of friends from all the way back in high school, or even elementary!

In the same vein, your romantic partner should be someone you can instantly turn to for help without any hesitation, as well as someone whom you can foresee spending the rest of your life with. Give a new meaning to the term “friends forever,” and find a Mr. or Ms. Right whom you can be true pals with! :)

Goodluck! :)


Tips on True Love: Is the Nice Guy the Right Guy?

April 3rd, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

I was talking to a good friend of mine a few days ago and she was telling me about a nice guy she met. She said he was attractive, had a good job and makes her feel very comfortable. Needless to say, he was an overall nice guy. But there was a big problem: my friend wasn’t attracted to him.

She just couldn’t help but see him as a friend. She told me how she went out with him on several dates in the hope that she would feel a spark of passion, something that could inspire her to see him as a potential romance. She hoped that he would do something to take her breath away or sweep her off her feet. It was clear that she really liked him as a person and she wanted so bad to see him as the type of guy she could be romantically attracted to. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

I believe that nice guys deserve someone who would love them and be passionate about them, because they deserve nothing less. I feel bad for nice guys who don’t do well romantically. But I feel worse when a woman “settles” for a nice guy that she’s not passionate about, simply because she thought he was a good catch.

Pamela R Reaves says it best in “When Nice Is Not Enough,” an article I found in Healthy Wealthy nWise. She says, “Once we define him or her as nice, the sense of entitlement enters the picture even when we’re desperately trying to exercise restraint. He or she is “nice,” so we must have this person in our lives. If they are attractive and nice, then we must definitely have them close to us.

There is a tendency for us, women, to rationalize going into a relationship with a nice guy we’re not passionate about. Many of us have been involved with “imperfect” partners before and meeting someone who is “nice” could be refreshing. But if the passion or chemistry isn’t there, we shouldn’t force it.

Forcing ourselves into liking a nice guy would be unfair not only to him, but for you as well. You might prevent Mr. Nice Guy from meeting a girl who could be passionate about him. And worse, you might miss an opportunity to find someone who stirs your soul, makes you feel giddy like a high school girl, and drives you head over heels in love! That’s the type of relationship we should be looking forward to!

As much as we don’t want to reject Mr. Nice Guy, being nice just isn’t reason enough for you to be in a relationship with someone. If you want more specific situations when “nice” is not enough, here are some from “When Nice Is Not Enough”:

  • When two people desire a commitment that goes far beyond casual;
  • When you want your love-interest to have no regrets, reservations, or questions about spending the rest of his/her life with you- especially if you’re planning on living a very long life;
  • When you need the comfort, care, and support of the individual to whom you have entrusted your well-being and you are not well; When you need unwavering support during a period of test, trial, or tribulation;
  • When you want the slightest touch from your partner to convey far more than the touch itself – the kind of touch that reaches the soul;
  • Or when you want to see a smile on his/her face that matches the wonderful feeling you have inside just thinking about the time the two of you spend together.

As Pamela says, “This level of commitment, depth of love, degree of stamina, soul-stirring touch, and mutual passion calls for far more than “nice”. Be honest with yourself. When you started out by describing him or her as “nice”; when you envisioned where the relationship was going, when you decided to forsake all others and commit solely to this person, you expected much more than “nice.

We should learn to be patient when it comes to love. I know how awful it is to be single when all your friends seem to be happily involved with great partners. But don’t just settle for the next nice guy you meet. Find someone you not only like, but someone you adore.

If you’re finding it hard to find true love, read 3 Tips for Finding True Love Any Time of the Year which is also from Healthy Wealthy nWise. Shay Dawkins gives three tips that can help you find not just Mr. Nice, but Mr. Right!

  • Be thankful for everything (including your mistakes). Learn to be thankful for the good things in your life.
  • Forgive others so that you can forgive yourself.
  • Find enjoyment and satisfaction in every day. Strive to find the happiness in your average, workaday life.

Shay believes that before we can find love outside ourselves, we must strive to find love within ourselves first. It’s much easier to be open and generous with our emotions when our hearts are free from emotional turmoil, guilt, or discontent.

The joy and positivity we feel will radiate from within us and attract the right people we can share our wonderful life with. You don’t have to seek out love. Be generous with your compassion and love will come find you.

May you find someone you are passionate about and who is passionate about you! :)


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Building a Green Home

March 20th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

I recently saw a documentary about the negative effects certain human habits have on our planet and it made me realize we really need to develop awareness about our impact on the environment. Many of the most devastating damages done to the environment are unconsciously committed by average people like you and me.

If you use a plastic bag, you are already making a negative impact on the environment. By refusing to segregate your wastes and recycle, you are dealing nature another blow. By using products that harm our atmosphere, you are contributing to global warming.

Individually, using a single plastic bag may not seem much. It may seem trivial. But if you multiply this behavior millions of times over, the collective effect would be devastating. We all have to make a positive contribution towards the preservation of the planet. We have to change the current trend, and this change has to begin with us and in our homes.

Thankfully, there are many ways we can contribute to this cause. As I have mentioned earlier, we can start recycling, we can avoid using products with ingredients that harm the environment, we can even contribute by choosing to design and construct our homes in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

I read a recent article from Healthy Wealthy nWise called “Finding A ‘Green’ House Builder.” In that article, John K Taylor talks about the availability of the “green” house builder. He says, “Believe it or not, environmentally sustainable house building isn’t actually new to the construction industry – it’s just a practice that has been slow on the uptake amongst most contractors. Even so, many builders will actually be quite familiar with ‘green’ building practices, as they have a range of contacts in the industry from whom they receive materials and systems.”

I’m happy that even the construction industry is becoming more environmentally conscious. But if we want to speed-up the process, we should make it a point to support sustainable products and services. As long as there is a market demand for such services, more companies are going to be encouraged to shift to more sustainable methods and more environment-friendly means of production.

As it stands though, green house builders are not as widespread. If you’re looking for “green” construction it might take some extra effort to find them. John provides a few tips on how to find a green house builder in your area:

  • Word of mouth is generally the most preferred method of finding a green builder, as some contractors do not actually think to advertise the fact that they can construct an environmentally sustainable home. This also allows you the opportunity to view some of the builder’s past work.
  • Online searches using the keywords ‘green house builders’ and the suburb or area in which you live is another preferred method for people to find environmentally friendly contractors.

If, however, you can’t find a green house builder in your area, you still have another option: you can build your own home!

In “Budgeting for a Self Build Project,” another article Healthy Wealthy nWise, Paul Coupe describes the process of building your own home as “one of the most rewarding yet testing ventures of your life.”

However, although the prospect of building your own house is very exciting, you can’t just go ahead and do it without careful planning. Paul says, “One of the most common issues which blight many a self build is poor control of the budget which can result in frightening overruns on costs.”

If you’re serious about building your own home, here are a few reminders from Paul that you should carefully consider:

  • Before starting any self-build project you need to get serious about costs.
  • Keeping track of your cash is the key to self-build.
  • Stamp duty is should not be forgotten when self-building.

Paul talks about these pieces of advice in more detail in his article. Be sure to visit it for in-depth explanations on why these elements are extremely important. In any case, as a rule of thumb, it’s much safer to price up your estimates to avoid going over budget. You also have to be realistic about how long the project will take. Leave some room for setbacks and delays. Also, as an extra security measure, set aside up to 15% of the total estimate “just in case.”

The mere fact that you’re looking for “green” options for construction is something that you should be proud of. You hear a lot of people rant about global warming and other environmental issues, but it really takes a lot of determination to incorporate green ideas into your lifestyle.

Building a green home is not just about construction. We should establish a green lifestyle that goes along with a green home. We should set an example for our neighborhood and our children. We should create environmental awareness.

It may seem as if we’re making it harder for ourselves for choosing “green,” but at the end of the day, we’re doing the right thing. We’re choosing “green” because we want our children and our grandchildren to live in healthy and safe environments. We’re choosing “green” because we want to preserve the wonder and beauty of the world. We’re choosing “green” because we want to take care of nature.

As human beings, we are an intrinsic part of nature. Choosing to take care of nature is as rational and as ethical as choosing to take care of ourselves and others.

Take care! :)


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A Few Reminders on Family Health

February 6th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

Being a career-woman can be pretty exhausting. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you have to maintain a pretty intense schedule. Some days are so busy that you go from one business meeting to the next with barely enough time to eat a snack in between. With everything that’s going on, it’s quite easy to forget to take care of your health. The extremely busy schedule you keep often prevents you from preparing healthy meals or getting regular exercise.

While I was contemplating on my own personal health, I came across an article from Healthy Wealthy nWise. The title says it all – Health Needs to Be Top Priority for Parents With Busy Schedules, Say Experts. Needless to say, I became more concerned about health. You should be too, especially if you’re a parent. According to Dian Griesel, PhD and Tom Griesel, “Our children need us to be there for them, and putting your own health on the back burner may be detrimental to those who count on you as a parent.”

Thankfully, the article itself provides plenty of advice regarding how we can maintain our health and, at the same time, not compromise our productivity. Here are some of them:

  1. Don’t eat unless you’re actually hungry.
  2. Focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and small amounts of quality animal protein.
  3. Eliminate refined foods, processed foods and sweeteners, particularly high-fructose corn syrup.
  4. Avoid fast food.
  5. Prepare your own meals and keep them simple.
  6. Stay on your feet as much as possible.
  7. Incorporate short exercise sessions into your day.
  8. Take time daily to relax, de-stress and focus on goals.

These tips are just a preview of what you can find in Dian and Tom’s article. However, if you would like more comprehensive information on the topic of health, I suggest you checkout their new book as well, “TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.”

Our health as professionals and as parents is not the only thing we should be concerned about. Our children’s health should be a priority as well. Another article also from Healthy Wealthy nWise called Many Young Adults Stop Exercising When They Hit College talks about the how young adults tend to develop sedentary lifestyles upon entering college. A sedentary lifestyle might not seem like a dangerous threat until we realize that it is linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Sometimes, in our desire to earn a bigger income to better provide for the financial needs of our family, we overlook one of their most important needs: good health. I certainly hope that the information in these articles has inspired you to make your family’s health a top priority.

As business professionals, it is our main duty to do our jobs well and to maintain profitable businesses. As parents, it is our main duty to ensure that the needs of our family members, especially their physical health, are well provided for. Since most of us are both parents and business professionals, we must strive to find a delicate balance between these duties. The key to do this is awareness. We have to be aware of what we’re up against. We have to be aware of what we need to do.

With the right information, we can overcome anything. :)


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Knowing When to Sever the Ties that Bind

January 10th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

I’ve heard some rather unfortunate news lately – a few of my favorite couples have decided to call it quits and break off their relationships. Don’t worry, I’m most certainly not talking about Ric and Liz. They’re one of the happiest couples I know of, and I don’t think anything can break them apart. :)

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of rocky relationships, and so have my friends. The hardest thing to do in any relationship is to actually make the decision to break it off. Sometimes you just want to hold on to an unstable relationship and try to work things out, but sometimes that just prolongs your agony. So when should you decide to take that big step and call off the relationship altogether?

In his Healthy Wealthy nWise article Bonding or Bondage? How Does Your Relationship Stack Up, Dr. Noel Nelson cites a specific scenario that he uses as an example of “bondage” being mistaken for “bonding”. He talks about couples forcing themselves to do something that they’re not interested in simply because the other is. Of course, doing things together is one of the main ways that couples bond, but as Dr. Noel says: “It’s natural and wonderful to want to stay close, but there’s a world of difference between being close emotionally and mentally, versus being joined at the hip in your every activity. Forcing yourselves to do things together that one or the other doesn’t enjoy isn’t bonding, it’s bondage.”

Though Dr. Noel does make a good point there, I don’t think that this is the only aspect of relationship “bondage” that may give you enough cause to break-up. In truth, the kind of bondage described by Dr. Noel can easily be fixed through enough communication and an honest appreciation for the joy that your partner’s interest stirs within him or her. The kind of “bondage” that I feel is dangerous and merits a break-up has to do with tying yourself down to a relationship even though it’s hopeless no matter how much you’ve done to fix it.

In another Healthy Wealthy nWise article called Why Do Relationships End? Pitfalls and Deception, Janina Judek describes two relationship problems that may turn out worse for you unless you manage to break out of it when you need to.

Lack of interest

One of the reasons for break-ups that Janina describes is the opposite of what Dr. Noel described – not spending time together. While forcing yourself to do things with your significant other even if you’re not interested at all is bad, not spending time together is also a bad sign. Sometimes we start off relationships with a bang – you can’t get enough of one another, and the many hours you spend together never seem to be enough.

But after that initial thrill wears off, you may find yourselves in a bit of a standstill. When you notice you don’t seem to be spending time together the way you used to, you can try to take the initiative and organize a date or a vacation – anything exciting and new to both of you. If you still have that spark between you, this should be enough to ease your way back into really spending more time together as a couple. Talking also does wonders – knowing what it is that’s making your partner a bit frigid will help you set the relationship back on track. But if things don’t seem to be picking up at all after you’ve done these things and you find your partner simply doesn’t seem to want to be with you anymore, then it’s best that you just end the relationship right then and there. After all, why should you stay in a relationship when your partner isn’t even interested in you anymore?

Broken trust

For me, breaking your partner’s trust is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship, second only to physical/verbal abuse and harassment. When you enter a serious relationship, you both make the conscious decision to commit to each other and trust one another. Breaking that trust, especially through infidelity, is a serious offense. Like Janina says, “there are no easy solutions” for this kind of situation. It depends on what the one partner did to break the other’s trust, and how often it’s happened. Sometimes the transgressions can be forgiven over time, but if your partner keeps on breaking your trust repeatedly, then it would be best for you to break the relationship off. Relationships are supposed to be built on love and trust, and you really shouldn’t feel beholden to someone who deprives you of both.

Freeing yourself from bondage

As Janina says at the end of her article, the “ultimate” question that you need to ask is: “Is this relationship worth it?” There may be many reasons for you to keep trying to repair a problematic relationship. You’d probably be doing it for love, for the sake of the happy times you’ve shared, for the children…but if nothing happens after all your efforts, then perhaps it’s time for you to move on instead of allowing yourself to remain tied down. Relationships should be making couples feel loved and happy. If you find that you’re constantly unhappy with a relationship or feel like your heart’s being shattered into a million pieces by your partner’s actions, then you really have learn to let him or her go.


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Working Out at Work

January 4th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

We spend five days a week sitting in our offices, glued in front of our computers, and unmindful of the hours that pass. We scarf down takeaway Chinese or club sandwiches (my favorite!) on days when we have pressing deadlines. Before we know it, it’s already close to six pm. We get up, do what is probably the only real stretch we ever do in a day, rub our lower backs and head home.

We get home, have dinner by our lonesome or with loved ones, and if it’s still too early to retire, we flop down on our comfy chair and watch TV.

Now pause right there and think of the last ten hours of your day. Were you kind to your spine?

If that strikes you as a funny question, I’d like to point out right away that it was asked in all seriousness. You see, I just finished reading a Healthy Wealthy nWise article by Jon Bjarnason called “Proper Sitting Positions and Your Spine”. It got me thinking and agreeing that we ought to be always aware of our postures at work lest we suffer the consequences to our spine.

Busy office workers who sit in unhealthy poses and don’t take time to stretch every now and then are putting their spine and ligaments at risk for joint injuries. When your ligaments are damaged, your muscles won’t work properly and you will become weak and tired. According to Bjarnason, “Sitting properly helps keep the ligaments strong, reduces muscle fatigue, the muscles use less energy and do not get tired as easily.”

He then shares five helpful tips on how to sit correctly to minimize back pain and spine injury:

“It is very important to take a break at least every hour.” No matter how busy you are, you need to set aside a minute or two to stand and stretch. If you really can’t stand up – like if you’re in the middle of a marathon meeting with the top bosses – then, at the very least, shift your position in your seat.

My friend Kate has a funny way of incorporating little workouts and stretches in the office. When she wants to “wake up” her circulation, she heads to the corporate pantry, grabs a couple of unopened bottles of juice and does squats and arm raises, using them as light weights. :) She assures me that she does this when no one is around, and wouldn’t mind at all if someone saw her. “I might inspire them to do the same thing, and then we’ll have to stock up on more juice bottles!” she laughed.

“Always make sure that your knees are lower than your hips.” Don’t let the back of your knees touch the seat.

“You should always keep both feet firmly on the floor.” If you happen to be petite and your feet don’t touch the floor at all when you’re seated, get a footrest.

“Never cross your legs while you are sitting.” Ladies, I know this makes us look attractive but it’s not good for our posture. Instead, keep your ankles in front of your knees.

“Having a chair with an adjustable backrest is crucial.” Adjust it to support that arch in the lower back. Bjarnason recommends asking your employer to provide you with one. If this is not possible, you will need to purchase it yourself.

If you’re already feeling the small effects of bad posture over the years, it’s time to visit your friendly local chiropractor. He or she can provide you more tips on how to maintain good posture and change bad habits.

Now what if you’re a business traveler who is always on the go? You may not be stuck at your desk the whole day but you’re also prone to health issues. In fact, in Suzy Buglewicz’s Healthy Wealthy nWise article, “5 Secrets of Healthy Road Warriors”, it is pointed out that business travelers have higher obesity rates than those who don’t travel as often. Chalk it up to all that heavy airplane food, hotel and diner meals, business cocktails, and sampling the local cuisine of the state or country you’re visiting.

So how do you combat weight gain on your next business trip? Follow these five tips that Buglewicz shares in her article.

“Choose meals wisely”. At a hotel buffet, keep in mind that no one is forcing you to sample everything. Pick the healthiest fare you see and choose more vegetables than meat. That doesn’t mean you can pile on the dressing though!

“Fit in fitness time.” Bugelwicz says that a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of dying from cancer and heart disease by more than 30%. Compensate for all those hours sitting in a plane and in meetings by using the exercise facilities in your hotel gym. If the hotel doesn’t have one, jog around the city. Don’t forget to pack your exercise gear.

“Sleep like you’re at home.” Lack of sleep will prevent you from being alert and productive. At night, forget about your paperwork and tuck yourself in early. Switch off all lights and electronic devices. Resist the urge to answer that one last business email. It can wait the next day.

“Keep germs at arms length.” Airplane bathrooms, drinking fountains, and ATM buttons have the highest concentration of germs. Wash your hands frequently and carry a hand sanitizer with you always.

“Take charge of your health care.” Pack your insurance card, vitamins and medicines in the event you catch a cold, get a tummy ache, or suffer an allergy from exotic foods.

Keep fit and healthy wherever your job takes you. When you feel the urge to sneak in a little exercise during the day, go for it and grab those juice bottles! :)


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What Makes the World Go ‘Round

December 27th, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle

I’m a romantic. While it seems like a lot of people these days have grown more cynical about relationships, I still happen to believe in true and lasting love. Nevertheless, I’m not just some nut on a perpetual search for Prince Charming. :) While I do believe in ‘happily ever after,’ I know full well that people need to work hard at making their relationships last. You can have that ‘happily ever after,’ yes, but it requires patience, understanding, discipline, and a lot of other things.

How Love is Lost

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I’ve met a lot of couples that started out spectacularly. They really seemed like perfect matches for each other—they enjoyed the same things; they were super-sweet to each other; they talked about the future they would have together, with kids and picket fences and all those other lovely tidbits. Seeing these couples could really fill you with hope that you’d find your match, too!

But as time wore on, I would notice little changes here and there. I’d notice that they didn’t finish each other’s sentences as often as they used to, or that they didn’t have much to share when prodded about what they’ve been up to. These people didn’t hate each other exactly, but I could tell that the spark they used to have was no longer there. It was like they weren’t really interested in each other anymore and, at worst, was just putting up with each other. Bear in mind that I didn’t observe these things right away. They would accumulate over time, and it would just gradually dawn on me that something was amiss.

After some time, I would just find out that these relationships had gone kaput. More often than not, I would learn that the couple didn’t see it coming either. It was like it just hit them one day that they didn’t love each other anymore. Isn’t that horrible? It breaks my heart that love could be lost this way.

But, whether we like it or not, that’s really the truth of the matter. No matter how well you may start off in a relationship, and no matter how confident you are that the love will last, there is always a possibility that the relationship will falter.

Unless, as I’ve mentioned, you work hard at keeping that spark alive.

One Day at a Time

The thing is, maintaining a relationship doesn’t have to be that hard. If you truly love the person you’re with, being with that person shouldn’t be a chore at all! It’s just that we become so comfortable in our relationships that we end up taking them for granted. Fortunately, there are many great ways to keep that from happening, and they’re all quite simple. It’s all just a matter of making a little extra effort to show how much you love and appreciate them.

If you need a good primer on what to do, Edwin Locke and Ellen Kenner have a great piece in Healthy Wealthy nWise entitled “Ten Secrets to Making Love Last”. The advice they give is easy, straight-to-the-point, and very effective. Tip Number One, for instance, is “Work to thoroughly understand your partner.” The authors then suggest that you learn as much as you can about their tastes and preferences, from the music they like to their definition of a great career.

This makes a lot of sense. You may think you know your partner inside-out, but in truth, there’s always a lot more to discover as time goes on. So, in order to let your relationship grow at a healthy pace, you have to keep yourself up-to-date regarding what makes your partner tick. The same goes for them as well. Work together to understand each other. That way, no matter what obstacles life throws in your direction, you both know how to deal with these problems in a manner that covers both of your unique needs.

The rest of the authors’ advice, from caring about your appearance to telling your partner you love them as often as possible, are just as straightforward. It’s really amazing how much impact these simple acts have on relationships, and it’s incredibly important that all couples take these tips to heart. :)

Happiness + Confidence = Love

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One hitch to the above strategy, though, is if you possess the wrong attitude to begin with. You won’t be able to really savor your relationship and take things one day at a time if you don’t actually love and respect yourself. If you believe that you absolutely adore your partner, but can’t manage to think the same way about yourself, then your relationship is in even greater danger than the ones I mentioned earlier. This problem is more serious than just taking love for granted. If you take your own self for granted, so much so that you toss your needs and wants aside, then you will make it very difficult for your partner to want to stay with you for the long haul.

I read this piece by Cedric Benson also from Healthy Wealthy nWise that discusses this so well. The title alone says it all: “Happy, Confident People Tend to be Better Partners”. And it’s really true—the happier and more confident you are with yourself, the more capable you are of being a positive force in your relationship.

Benson expounds on this quite sharply: “If you aren’t happy with yourself, how happy do you think your partner is with you? If you give the message to your partner that says, ‘I don’t love myself but you should love me,’ your partner will see through this. Remember, it isn’t your partner’s job to give you constant reassurance that you’re okay the way you are.”


But seriously, that’s the truth. So, if you’re currently in a rocky relationship but are not entirely sure why things aren’t working out that well, look inside of yourself. Try to see if it’s your attitude that’s getting in the way. If your partner truly loves you, they will let you know that you need to believe in yourself more, and that they will help you improve in any way they can. Hopefully, this trial can bring the two of you closer to each other as well.

Love is a Promise

Every couple will experience all sorts of trials in their relationship, and that’s okay. True love is more of an action than an emotion; it is a promise you make to your partner, and that you have to renew each and every day.

To all the budding new couples out there, this old romantic is rooting for every one of you! :) We may no longer live in a time of castles with spiraling towers and knights in shining armor, but the idea of true love remains the same, and I hope that everyone gets to experience this. I know it’s the sap in me that’s saying this, but love is really what makes the world go ‘round! :)


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A Stronger Mind for a Stronger and Happier You

December 22nd, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle

A typical fitness program has the following common denominators: an exercise regimen, a list of foods to eat and avoid, and recommended lifestyle changes – such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. It basically has all the physical improvements covered, but what about our mental and emotional state? How often do you spot a fitness program that touches on mental health and self esteem?

I’m guessing not very often, and that’s where I’d like to voice out my opinion that getting fit should also mean working on our mental health – primarily the thoughts that govern us and impact our confidence. Because let’s face it: you can’t truly be fit and happy if you’re constantly in a blue funk. You may be at your ideal weight and dress size, with a washboard stomach to boot, but if your confidence levels are low, then you’re not “whole”. Negativity has no place in our health and wellbeing.

I was pleased to see my standpoint validated in a Healthy Wealthy nWise article I saw recently, one written by Kac Young, a doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy and a Minister of Religious Science. In her article “Getting Healthy Begins in the Mind: Top Five Ways to Create a Healthier Life”, she echoes the same school of thought: good health starts in the mind. If you nurture the idea of health, your actions will follow suit. The power of your thoughts can fuel you to carry out your plans willingly and enthusiastically.

Let’s say you just decided to start a fitness program. You paid for a year’s gym membership and cleared out all the junk food in your pantry. Now imagine yourself focusing on the loss of your favorite snacks and the perceived hassle of having to go to the gym five times a week, rain or shine. Would those very thoughts motivate you to choose healthy fare and show up for workouts? Of course not! You’ll only end dragging yourself to the gym, probably even missing sessions and heading straight to the nearest store to buy yourself a pack of (insert favorite fattening food here).

How does one cultivate a healthy and positive mindset? Young offers these five great tips:

“Take a few moments to recognize the beliefs and patterns that are keeping you from acting like a healthy person.” Think of your knee-jerk reactions to dealing with different situations. For instance, when boredom strikes, your usual reaction is to while away the boredom by munching on buttered popcorn and washing it down with sugary soda while watching TV. Recognizing unhealthy patterns helps you become aware enough to “interrupt” the pattern of self-destruction and select a healthier alternative.

Ask yourself: “Are words poisoning your thoughts? Are you talking to yourself, or is someone else talking to you, in negative ways?” If yes, then the solution is to talking UP, not DOWN, by using (and even listening to) positive words and self affirmation. Simple declarations such as “I am going to eat a healthy salad for lunch” or “I am going to do really well at that job interview” are powerful enough to impact the way you perform and make decisions.

“Have you tried before and failed? Are you afraid the same thing will happen again? Give yourself a break.” Sometimes taking a break is what we need to recharge and reflect on our actions and circumstances. It takes a calm mind to properly analyze where you erred and what you can do to avoid it ever happening again. You need to learn to forgive yourself so you can move on.

“Do you give up too soon? Change doesn’t happen overnight.” Impatience can be our worst enemy. It demonizes our thoughts and can lead us to throw in the towel when things aren’t going our way fast enough. Combat impatience by looking back at past accomplishments that also took you time to attain. That should help, as Young put it, “resurrect your faith in times of self doubt”.

“Still don’t know how to begin? Get help.” Learning about healthy living and positive thinking entails research. Go find a website that addresses your needs, get a book or even enroll in a program that will help you boost your self confidence. It pays to surround yourself with like-minded people who can inspire you to do think positive thoughts and strive to accomplish goals.

Keep fueling your mind power with self confidence. It is self confidence that will carry you through a bad day and prevent you from throwing yourself the proverbial pity party. If you feel your self confidence could use some work, let me share with you some tips I gleaned from Lynn Kennedy Baxter’s Healthy Wealthy nWise article, “5 Steps to Build Self Confidence”:

“Identify the tasks you did well today.” Knowing you accomplished something is a feather in your cap and motivates you to do more.

“Give yourself the pat on the back that you deserve.” Don’t wait for others to praise you; be your own special cheerleader! :)

“Accept the pat on the back and enjoy it.” We’re so willing to praise and acknowledge others when they do well, so why don’t we willingly accept compliments in turn?

“Identify the tasks that need improvement.” We need to figure out what we need to work on so we can arrive at our goals. When we get things done, it’s an added boost to our morale.

“Take some specific action related to the task to improve before the next day.” Always strive for improvement. Take action as soon as you identify the problem. The earlier you nip it in the bud, the better.

I have incorporated the suggestions above into my daily life and I find myself becoming a better and stronger person each day. I’m no superwoman, but I think that having a take-charge mentality and an attitude of gratitude helps me a lot in dealing with life’s challenges. I’m less prone to stress and self doubts. Things aren’t always perfect and I still experience the occasional negative thought, but I’ve become much better at dealing with them. :)


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Harnessing the Power of Your Mind

October 27th, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle

Someone asked me a very interesting question recently. It was, “Do you believe that we were all born pessimistic?” I was in a light mood that day and replied jokingly, “Mary Poppins wasn’t, for sure.”

Okay, before I go further, let me just address first those who don’t recognize the name of that classic persona of all things wholesome and positive. Mary Poppins is the title character in the children’s book written by P.L. Travers and immortalized by Walt Disney Productions in the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews. That film remains one of my favorites to this day. I guess you could say that it was Mary Poppins’ can-do attitude that won me over. She successfully disciplined two children who had a history for terrorizing their previous nannies. She got people with the proverbial stiff upper lips singing along with her. She never lost her cool and I thought that was, well, really cool. :)

Mary Poppins made a game out of even the dreariest task and was so patient and unflappable she became one of my role models growing up. Not that I broke into song every time I did a chore but you get the point.
Sorry if I somewhat digressed from the introduction but I will segue into that now. :) I like to think we were all born with our minds as empty slates, free of prejudice and fear. But growing up and experiencing and hearing unpleasant things have shaped our minds to be on our guard.

Speaking about being on our guard, you know what’s another interesting thing I found out? Negative experiences are “chemically supercharged” in a way that bad memories or negative thoughts last longer than the happy ones. That’s what Marci Shimoff shares in her article for Healthy Wise nWise, “3 Happiness Habits for the Mind”. I suppose that’s Nature’s own way of hard-wiring us to protect ourselves – turning us into overcautious skeptics so we don’t fall for the same trap again.

I’m fine with being cautious as a means of self-preservation. I guess with how the world works these days, everyone has a license to be wary. However, there is that danger of becoming too skeptical and intolerant that we start making a big deal out of everything. That’s how drama queens and worrywarts are born. On the extreme side, you’ve got your chronic whiners and ragers. Would you want to become like those people? Certainly not!

There’s a thin line separating caution and paranoia. With the latter, all you have are negative thoughts which impact your health and prevent you from leading a peaceful, well-balanced existence. In that same article, Marci Shimoff says that when we release stress chemicals as a result of our self-inflicted tension, those same chemicals “hang around and accumulate, creating fatigue and disease in your body”. Simply put, you can literally worry yourself sick!

Here’s a standpoint she and I – and hopefully many others as well – share: It’s okay to be wary. But don’t let being on your guard turn you into a basket case that you’re simply unable to enjoy life any more. If you have made a career out of seeing only bad intentions, predicting negative outcomes and seeing the glass as half-empty than half-full, then it’s time to take charge of your mind.

Yes, that’s right. You can take charge of your mind by reprogramming it. Marci Shimoff calls it “teaching an old brain new tricks”. You can override the negative thoughts and turn the positive into the dominant thoughts. Interestingly enough, our brain has both negative neural pathways and positive neural pathways. We have the ability to shrink the former and widen the latter by focusing on positive things.

How can you start appreciating the good things in your life while tuning out all the drama and dreariness? Here are Ms. Shimoff’s three Happiness Habits to get you started:

“Question your thoughts.” Refuse your own negative thoughts and “override them when necessary”.

“Go beyond the mind and let go.” Don’t dwell on the negative and move on.

“Incline your mind toward joy.” Gravitate towards good thoughts and play your own version of “The Glad Game”.

Taking charge of your mind and reprogramming will take some time. You need to forgive yourself first and accept that you deserve to be happy. You don’t have to stay stuck in a rut. And just to stress that point a bit more, let me grab a few excellent passages from another Healthy Wealthy nWise article “Excerpts from the Seeds of Greatness Treasury” by Dan Millman:

“Oftentimes, a person may be so caught up in the negative emotion of disappointment that they are unable to see all of the opportunities that lie before them…Many individuals are afraid to be happy and refuse to accept success into their lives.”

And this is what struck me the most: “…there is no reason why you should be afraid to be happy, as happiness is what will help you to separate yourself from a life of fear and failure.”

I encourage you to write down that last passage and turn it into a tangible reminder. So when you’re having one of those days when things aren’t going great, or when someone is being selfish and discouraging, retreat into a quiet corner and read that passage. Bad things happen and bad people exist, unfortunately. However, they certainly do NOT define you as a person. Weed them out; you don’t need deadweight in your life. If someone says the sky is falling, wish them a good day and move on.

Remember that you are in control of your thoughts regardless of the situation you’re in. Keep focusing on the good things you have, the things you have achieved both big and small, and turn to loved ones and trusted professionals for advice and support. Eventually, you will get to your happy place. :)


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Balancing Work and Play

September 13th, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle

As a small business owner, I know how important my presence is at work. But as a human being, I occasionally need to take break from work, too! :) I know that going on a short vacation is not easy when a company is relying on you for survival – one day of absence might contribute to a major business disaster! But still, taking a break or mixing a little bit of fun into work is an essential to keep ourselves in top form in our professional and personal lives.

No matter what time of the year it is, it’s possible for you to go on a short break or have some fun at work, provided that you plan everything out carefully. Let me walk you through a few of the key steps to organizing everything at work in preparation for going on your much-needed vacation.

Delegate Ahead
Before you leave work for a short vacation, make sure that you already met the deadlines and delegated any other pending tasks to your trusted employees. You shouldn’t be taking your work along with you – the whole point of taking a vacation is to get away from work, after all! :)

In her Small Business CEO Magazine article, Can You Delegate?, Linda Talley mentions that “delegation is an important skill for managers/owners to master”. According to her, “You either delegate to others within your organization or develop a way to self-delegate without becoming overloaded”. When you delegate, you increase productivity and prevent burn-out.

To help you delegate properly, make a clear list of expected output for your people to complete during your absence, complete with detailed instructions for each. Do this so that your people will have a clear line to follow and they won’t pester you with work-related calls during your vacation! :)

Find the nearest vacation spot
You don’t need to go to the Caribbean or Hawaii just to enjoy a good vacation, especially if you can only go on a break for two to three consecutive days. You most likely have a couple of prime vacation spots near your place of residence – you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Before seeking a vacation spot, set a goal first. Is there something you want to do in this particular getaway? Would you like to sunbathe, take a swim, or go on a hike? Now, with that goal in mind, are there nearby areas that would fulfill it? Try searching online, or asking your friends who live around the area. Your vacation spot don’t have to be a beach or a far-flung mountain range – maybe there’s a Caribbean-themed hotel nearby with a great pool in it, or maybe a place that provides a guided nature hike.

Finding a nearby vacation spot is also beneficial if you have urgent to return to work immediately. Your return trip will be shorter and cheaper. :)

Include your loved ones in your vacation plans
Going on vacation gives you the chance to shed your formal business persona and step back into the role of a doting mother, loving wife, or loyal gal pal. That said, your vacations shouldn’t be just for you; it should be for you and your loved ones. If you’re an especially busy business owner, you probably don’t get to spend a lot of time with your family or your friends on normal working days. Taking a short vacation is a great way to spend some quality time with relatives and friends, and to catch-up on the things that you may have missed while you were toiling away at the office.

Don’t worry, be happy
Whether you take a short vacation or not, you need to enjoy yourself once in a while to help you cope with and manage your stress. In the Healthy Wealthy nWise article called How can you laugh when your world isn’t funny? Lynette Crane, M.A says: “it’s difficult to force yourself to laugh, and annoying if someone else urges you to do so when you don’t feel like it. But developing strategies to bring genuine laughter into your life can be an important part of stress management.”

Arriving at your office in a bad or gloomy mood tends to contaminate everyone else’s. Your people will become more edgy or paranoid around you, thinking that your foul mood might result in you having little patience with them. This will obviously heighten their stress levels, and you’ll undoubtedly get even more irritated or upset if nobody does their job well due to the stress that you’re indirectly causing. Do your best to come into the office in a good mood, no matter how many problems you have at home or elsewhere. :)

If you feel like you need to calm down after something gets your goat at work, then go ahead and take a few minutes to grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, or just do some little things to lighten your mood. Read a few pages of a book that you like, listen to your favorite music, walk up and down the building’s stairs if you must; just anything to help you release that stress without bringing anyone else’s mood down at the office.

Remember: even though your business or team expects a lot from you as a leader, you need to maintain a careful balance between work and play. If you manage to de-stress and unwind once in a while, you’ll be in a better mood at work, be more productive, and ultimately foster a healthy, positive atmosphere in your workplace. :)


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