There might be dangerous chemicals in your tap water — here’s how to stay safe

Remember the movie “Erin Brockovich”? Of course, you do.

But unless you’ve rewatched it recently, you may not remember that Brockovich—in real life, and in the movie—was fighting a company suspected of polluting a small California town’s drinking water with a cancer-causing contaminant called chromium-6 (aka, hexavalent chromium).

Fast-forward 20 years, and it may shock you to learn that chromium-6 is still a threat to 218 million Americans, including residents of every state. That’s just one of the many findings of a just-released Environmental Working Group (EWG) report on the state of our nation’s drinking water.

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“We’ve known about chromium-6 since Erin Brockovich, but it’s still a pervasive problem, and there’s no federal legal standard for it,” says Nneka Leiba, MPH, the director of Healthy Living Science at the EWG.

Unfortunately, chromium-6 isn’t the only dangerous chemical of concern. After examining data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and almost 50,000 public water systems across the nation, the EWG found 267 different contaminants in our nation’s water supply—more than half of which have no established legal limit.

How could this be, you ask? “The Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t put a new contaminant on its regulated list since 1996, which is when the Clean Water Act was passed. We’ve learned so much more about chemicals since then, but we still haven’t made any improvements in our policies,” Leiba explains.

Arsenic, lead, the agricultural herbicide Atrazine, perchlorate, and perfluorinated chemicals are just a handful of the hundreds of contaminants the EWG found to be widespread in public tap water systems. Many of these chemicals have been shown to be carcinogenic, impair thyroid function, and cause harm to fetal growth and development.

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When asked for a response, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesperson was quick to point out that “more than 90 percent of the country’s drinking water systems meet all of EPA’s health-based drinking water standards” and that the EPA has “set drinking water standards for more than 90 contaminants, including microorganisms, disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic and organic chemicals, and radionuclides.”

How you can protect yourself

Start by plugging your zip code into the EWG’s database to learn what contaminants are in your local tap water.

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Next, check out the EWG water filter guide and buy one, stat. You can input contaminants of concern and find filters that are third-party certified by NSF International, a product testing, inspection, and certification organization.

“In most cases, activated carbon water filters will reduce many or all contaminants,” Leiba says, referring to the pitcher-style water filters many of us already use. “Having one is especially important if there’s a vulnerable population in your house—someone who is pregnant or sick, or a baby,” Leiba says. (One EWG-approved filter to try: Brita Chrome 8-Cup Water Filter Pitcher, $40, amazon.com)

Put your water filter to good use with this de-bloating sassy water recipe:

One thing you shouldn’t do: turn to bottled water.

“In many cases, bottled water is just filtered tap water, so it’s the same thing you’d get using a filter,” Leiba says. “But bottled water is much more expensive, and it can also expose you to contaminants leaching into your water from the plastic bottle itself.”

Protecting future generations

Leiba says we all need to “raise our voices” and let elected officials know we need greater source-water protections and infrastructure upgrades (contact information for local government officials can be found on USA.gov.) “Our water utilities are constantly dealing with the influx of contaminants, but the onus isn’t only on the utility,” she says. “They’re usually within federal safety limits, but being within federal limits does not mean our water is safe. In many cases, we’ve done the science and the testing, and we know that these contaminants are unsafe, but there’s been no action taken.”

6 Handy Tips for Staying Productive When You Are Overwhelmed

The title itself sounds silly, right? If you are lucky to relax when you feel overwhelmed, I envy you. I do not have such an opportunity so I have to increase my productivity regardless of everything.

When my productivity goes down due to work overload or stress, I do not allow it to hit rock bottom. I take immediate actions to eliminate any possible factors that lead to low productivity. Here are some tips to consider the next time you need to stay productive despite feeling overwhelmed.

1. Take a full control of emotions


When you feel overwhelmed, irritation comes along the way. There are times when we have to go through challenges. They may be painful and hard, but letting your emotions ruin your relationships will only lead to demotivation and low productivity.

As soon as you remove negative thoughts from your mind and focus on the task or project you have to complete, you will stop procrastinating and get all the things done on time.

2. Choose to stay productive
Remember, you always have a choice. When you are overwhelmed, you are more likely to make a bad choice. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are going to be productive today despite all the emotions. There are many reasons to complain, pity yourself, stop and frown, but will they help you?

3. Break your tasks and projects into phases
Large projects and challenging tasks require tons of focus and effort that you actually lack when you feel overwhelmed. Breaking them into smaller parts that take 30 minutes to complete is a sure way to get those projects and tasks done on time. The last thing you want to do is to try to accomplish them all at once. Not only will you fail, but you will also cause extra stress to your body.

4. Watch what you drink
Ditch coffee and black tea, and avoid drinking energy drinks and soda. Being productive requires a lot of energy. Sugary drinks can affect your energy level, which is why it is crucial to choose what you drink throughout the day wisely.

While water is the healthiest option, lemon water, green tea or a fruit or vegetable smoothie is a great option as well. Food that you put in your body can affect your productivity level too, so try to make as healthier meal options as possible.

5. Avoid imagining the worst
Imagining a failure is a misuse of your energy that you need to stay productive. Let go of those negative scenarios in your mind, and focus on the best instead. When you are trying to stay productive and get things done, positive thinking is a must. Do not guilt and deprive yourself. Even if you fail, the world will not collapse beneath you.

6. Acknowledge the strength within you
You have enough strength to complete any hard task or project. All you need to do is to stop dreading and start doing it. Get it done the first thing in the morning so that you could feel more relaxed in the afternoon.

Do not do what is easy. Do what is needed. As soon as you will accomplish that task, you will feel proud of yourself and your productivity level will increase itself.

When you are overwhelmed, all you want is sleep. If you feel like you faint in a minute, consider taking a 10-20 minute nap to recharge your batteries. Let your coworkers know that you need that sleep, or ask your boss to give you a chance to work from home for a few days. Remember, health is wealth. You have no power to earn all the money existed on the planet.

7 Best Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Want to live a long, healthy life? The great news is that it’s really possible with little effort. It’s difficult to keep track of the latest researches on what is good for you and what is not and what can help you live longer. However, a healthy lifestyle is certainly the key here. Making just a few small changes in your lifestyle can actually help you live much longer. Follow the tips given below and you will surely live a longer and healthier life.

1. Make time to relax
We all live in a busy world with constant meetings, deadlines, events and parties and it seems we never have time to relax. However, if you want to live longer you should always make time to relax, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Relaxing is vital for your mental state since you need a break every now and then.

2. Don’t stress
Unfortunately, stress is inevitable in the modern world and it’s important to learn how to cope with it, especially in the most difficult situations. Stress can cause premature aging, various diseases, and even acne, so make sure you don’t stress. In any stressful situation, I recommend you to take a few deep breaths and think about good things in your life. One of the best ways to live a longer, healthier life is to minimize and eliminate stress from your life.

3. Stick to a healthy diet
Whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help you balance your mood and have a good health. It’s an important component in living a longer, healthier life. Stick to a healthy diet and make sure you don’t eat junk food. Nourish your body with the healthy choices only.

4. Exercise
Exercise is a secret to a longer life! It helps reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, MS and Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise also can improve your mental and physical health. Exercising regularly will certainly help you stay healthy and live longer.

5. Make the right choices
When you live every day doing what is right, you guide yourself in the optimum path. Help out people in need, listen to your friend who’s going through hard times, call up your parents to thank them for everything they’ve done for you and let them know you really care. Making the right choices daily will help you be on your way to a longer life.

6. Stay positive
Numerous studies show that optimists are much more successful and they live longer than pessimists. So smile more, stay positive throughout the day every day, even when your day is extremely hard, and you will live a longer, healthier life. With a positive attitude, your life may seem easier and happier.

7. Follow your dreams
If you want to be an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor or a dancer, be sure to follow your dreams. It’s always possible to make your dreams come true, no matter how many times you failed in the past. Stop wishing and start working toward your dreams right now. If you live a happy, fulfilled life, you will live a longer life.

Now that you are aware of some of the best ways to live a longer and healthier life, I hope you start living a really happy life. Follow your dreams, smile more often, eat healthy and exercise regularly and you may hope for 100! What’s your secret to a longer life?

9 Smart Ways to Become Healthier

Health is one of the greatest things that really matter in our life. We used to take our health for granted and we often forget to pay attention to those things that can make us healthier. If you are healthy, you’ll be able to work, study and do various activities more productively. But if you have certain problems with your health, nothing will bring you happiness. Due to the fact that our life is very busy we almost don’t have time to take care of our health. As a result, lots of people suffer from different diseases that make them feel bad. However, there are some simple things that may help us improve our physical and emotional state. To stay healthy and happy you don’t have to spend huge sums of money, just make sure you include the following things into your daily routine and you’ll manage to prevent numerous health disorders.

1. Sleep More
It is a well-known fact that good sleep contributes greatly to our health and beauty either. According to scientific researches people who don’t sleep enough are more subjected to illnesses as their immunity is weak. Plus, they tend to gain weight quickly that can turn out to be a big problem. When you stay awake at night, the hunger will bother you and you’ll consume foods that may be harmful to your waistline. Dietarians say that those who constantly lack sleep usually eat more than they really need. That’s why you’d better sleep more instead of eating unhealthy snacks.

2. Laugh As Much As You Want
Laughter is considered to be extremely beneficial for us. Every day we face plenty of stressful situations that have a negative impact on our health, so, if you have an opportunity to laugh, don’t restrict your emotions and enjoy the moment. It has been proven that laughter can expend blood vessels and support your vascular health. Moreover, it stimulates the production of endorphins, hormones that are responsible for our good mood and bright emotions.

3. Eat Carotenoids
At first it may seem that there is no connection between our health and beauty, but when you look beautiful and attractive, you’ll feel more confident and content. Consequently, these positive feelings will be reflected in your physical condition. Thus, it is necessary to focus on our beauty as well. We all know that health benefits of fruits and vegetables are countless. Furthermore, they are perfect for our skin. Make it a rule to eat veggies like cabbage, tomatoes, kale, broccoli and peppers. Being full of carotenoids they will provide a fresh glow to your skin. This way, you’ll be able to stay attractive and healthy at the same time.

4. Stay Active While Aging
Certainly, nobody wants to get older but the process of aging is inevitable for all of us. Then, why not age artfully? Unfortunately, most seniors prefer to stay at home after they retire. Having no social life, these people feel unnecessary in society. Finally, it may lead to stress and their health will get worse. For this reason, it would be a splendid idea to do some enjoyable activity when you grow old. It has been found that aged people, who do things like painting, singing or creative writing, are healthier and more satisfied with their life unlike those who sit back. More importantly, your active lifestyle will give you an opportunity to enhance the immune system and develop your personality.

5. Get a Massage
Doctors assert that massage is always salubrious to our body. Firstly, it will help you relax and refresh your mind after a hard day. Secondly, you should try massage since it will lower your blood pressure and the number of stress hormones in your body will be diminished. All together this increases the amount of natural killer cells that protect our body against bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Even a single massage session can ensure particular biological changes.

6. Work with Friends
It’s quite difficult to imagine our existence without work. Taking into account the fact that we spend hours in the office it is necessary to create supportive and friendly atmosphere at our workplace. There are lots of evidences that those who get on well with their colleagues live longer because they don’t often deal with tension and anxiety caused by hostility and misunderstanding. Therefore, you are recommended to get acquainted with your co-workers when you apply for a job.

7. Clean without Toxic
Today we have an enormous choice of detergents that are very effective when it comes to cleaning our homes. Despite this most household products are dangerous to our health as they contain toxics. Instead you can prepare a home-made detergent that will reduce bacteria. Mix some lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and use this substance to clean any dirty place in your house. It has been discovered that vinegar is excellent in fighting mold and germs.

8. Communicate with Your Neighbors
People are social beings and communication is an integral part of our life. In order to be healthier and happier we should develop a strong community. These days the majority of the world’s population lives in cities and towns that are full of bustle and inhabitants don’t notice each other. Some people living in block apartments even don’t know their neighbors and never talk to them. I think it is terrible to be surrounded by hundreds of people but still stay alone. Studies show that heart disease occurs rarely among those who live in a close-knit community. In addition, their emotional health is greatly improved.

9. Don’t Lose Your Hope
Sometimes we have certain difficulties that may result in frustration and depression which affect our health ruinously. Hence, you ought to be optimistic and think positively in spite of all troubles. Professors say that happy people almost don’t have risk of cardiovascular disease. Don’t lose your hope whatever happens in your life and work persistently to achieve your goal. This is the main key to your success and well-being.

Nothing can be more valuable and important than our health, that’s why we must always find time to care for it. I hope that these tips will help you become healthier without extra efforts and expenses. The only thing you need is a great desire to improve your health and positive attitude to life. If you know other ways to be healthy and happy, I’ll be glad to hear from you.

10 Best Ways to Minimize Pores

Skin pores are actually just the outlet ducts for hair and sebum, which is just an oil that helps to prevent your skin from drying out. Pores are home to hair follicles and, as such, cover your body from head to toe (except the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, your eyelids, and a few other limited areas.) The size of the pores on your body is determined by genetics, with some people having larger pores and some people having small pores. Despite their genetic underpinnings, the appearance of pores is still influenced by environment. Notably, pores can stretch and thus appear larger than they otherwise might. Keeping pores relaxed and at their smallest size can go a long way to helping you avoid acne. Here are ten ways to minimize pore size.

1. Remove Debris
Debris, dead skin, and oil can get trapped in pores. Over time, the accumulation of this material can cause pores to stretch and thus make them more noticeable. To reduce the amount of debris trapped in your pores, look for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which is particularly good at clearing away dead skin cells.

2. Exfoliate
Just like a good cleanser, exfoliation can remove debris and dead skin that would otherwise get trapped in your pores. The key to exfoliating is to do it daily. A gentle scrub with a warm wash cloth or other exfoliating agent will reduce pore size dramatically over time. After you exfoliate, be sure to apply a high-quality moisturizer to prevent inflammation and oil secretion as your skin attempts to replace lost oils.

3. Don’t Touch
Our fingers are among our oiliest body parts, so touching your face frequently is simply adding more oil to the mix. Even more problematic is the fact that touching your face (or any part of your body) will stimulate the production of oil in that region. The more oil there is, the more likelihood it has of clogging your pores. Avoid touching any part of your body where you want to minimize pore size.

4. Use Pore Strips
Pore strips are just pieces of cloth that you put on wet and let dry. When you peel them off, they pull dirt and dead skin off with them. They are usually targeted at problem regions like the nose, though you can use them anywhere. Pore strips can be purchased in just about any pharmacy or beauty aisle, but they can also be made at home. Use them daily to see the best results.

5. Remove Blackheads
Blackheads and whiteheads are related in that both contain dead skin, oil, and bacteria. Whiteheads have a layer of living skin over them whereas blackheads do not. Blackheads appear as small, dark spots on your skin and are the first stage in the development of acne, so it is a good idea to remove them. Once they are gone, you’ll have visibly smoother skin.

Removing blackheads can be difficult and while careful cleansing will get rid of many of them, it won’t take care of them all. To remove blackheads, you can use one of the following techniques: 1. Mix a tablespoon of honey with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and dab it onto your skin. Rub the mixture around for three minutes and then wash it off with warm water. 2. Create an egg white mask by applying a thin layer of egg white (no yolk) to your face and letting it dry. After fifteen minutes, when the mask feels tight, rinse it off with warm water. 3. Purchase a cosmetic clay and follow the instructions to make a clay mask. 4. Have a cosmetologist remove them for you. You’ll probably need a treatment every 2-4 weeks.

6. Use a Pore Minimizer
Many cosmetic companies produce products designed to minimize pores. The specific product that works for you may be different that what works for others, so experiment with the options to find one that suits your needs. They are usually applied in the shower or right after, so they don’t take much time out of your routine.

Some people will use toners and astringents to minimize pores, both of which are fine and work well in certain cases. Take note, however, that both of these will dry your skin. Use a moisturizer any time your skin gets too dry to ensure that you don’t promote a state of inflammation, which can worsen acne.

7. Wear Primer
Primers are designed to go onto the face before foundation. They help to keep makeup from seeping into pores, which has two benefits. First, your makeup will look smoother and more consistent. More importantly, makeup is a great way to clog pores, so if you have to use it, at least use a primer to prevent it from seeping into your pores. If you feel comfortable doing so, cut back on the amount of makeup you wear.

8. Steam Bath
Boiling a pot of water on the stove and the putting your face directly over it for fifteen minutes or so is a great way to help open your pores. When you are done, rinse your face with clean water and pat it dry with a soft cloth. You can also use the steam bath as a preparation to more radical cleansing procedures, like blackhead removal.

9. Stay Hydrated
Water will keep your skin healthy and moist, but it will also ensure that your cells are plump and not dehydrated. Dehydrated cells shrink a little, which can open up pores and make them more noticeable.

10. Ice
This tip is only to be used in a pinch, such as when you want to apply sunblock or you just need to look great for a photo. Ice will shrink your pores and thus prevent sunblock from entering. The effect will last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Of course, you can’t use this technique all of the time and you need to ensure you aren’t creating blockages by using it when you are sweaty, after you have applied makeup, etc.

If the above tips don’t do much for you or you feel you need a little professional help, then consider consulting with a dermatologist. They can offer treatments that exfoliate the skin with chemicals and with light, both of which are highly effective. Professional treatment can be expensive, however, so see if the remedies above work for you first.

10 Simple Steps to Rosy Pink Lips

Your lips play a big role in determining your overall attractiveness. Having dry, dull lips can be unsightly and off-putting to those around you. However, it’s easy to get the healthy and vibrant lips you’ve been dreaming of if you know a few tricks. Here are ten simple steps to rosy pink lips:

1. Keep lips moisturized
The first step towards getting naturally pink lips is to use moisturizing lip balm. It’s best to apply a liberal coating at least twice a day. It’s especially beneficial to put on a thick layer before bed. Your lips will soak up the added moisture while you sleep and you’ll awaken to a rosier color in the morning!

2. Avoid too much sun exposure
You probably know that too much sun can be bad for the skin on your face and body. However, you may not know that those rays can damage your lips as well. Try to limit your sun exposure as much as possible. If you must be out in direct sunlight, at least use a lip balm with a high SPF count.

3. Lay off the caffeine
Caffeinated drinks can be detrimental to your health in general, but they can particularly affect your lips. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, soda and tea are often dark in color. Sipping them too much can lead to dark lips and may wear away at your lips’ natural protective layering. If you aren’t willing to give up your daily latte or cappuccino, consider opting for a smaller size and drinking it right down rather than nursing it all morning.

4. Stay hydrated
While you should steer clear of caffeinated drinks, that doesn’t mean you should avoid drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a great way to achieve rose-colored lips. Just like the rest of your skin, your lips will appear brighter and healthier when they’re given an adequate amount of H2O. So drink up and you will have those pinker lips you’ve been hoping for.

5. Use a lip scrub
Exfoliating is another terrific tactic to attain pink lips. There are several good products available at your favorite cosmetic store. However, you can also make your own homemade scrub by blending equal parts of sugar, water and honey until a paste forms. Rub the mixture onto your lips with your finger or a lip brush before rinsing it thoroughly. The exfoliation will repair damaged lips and stimulate the growth of new skin, which means your lips will look rosier.

6. Avoid high-pigment lipsticks
If you typically use somewhat darker shades of lipstick like burgundy, fuchsia or maroon, you may be darkening your lips without even realizing it. Many of those darker shades contain higher levels of pigment. That pigment can be absorbed into your lips and leave them looking drab. Stick with lighter tones of lipstick to highlight your natural rosiness.

7. Remove lipstick before bed
You should always take off any heavy lipstick or lip liner before you hit the sack. Be sure to remove any traces of lip makeup by rubbing on a little petroleum jelly and letting it sit for a few minutes. Then, you can wipe off the jelly with a cotton ball and any remaining lipstick will smear off with it. By taking away all the lip makeup you’ve worn throughout the day, you’ll allow your lips to “breathe” and reduce the chance of absorbing the aforementioned pigment.

8. Suck on some citrus
Citrus fruits like limes, lemons and oranges all contain acidic properties that can rejuvenate lips and make them appear rosier. By sucking on one of these fruits, you’ll coat your lips with the juice and reap all the healthy benefits. In other words, puckering up with citrus can lead to puckering up pinker lips!

9. Cut down your sodium intake
Consuming too much salt can leave your lips dull, cracked and dry. Cutting down on your sodium intake can help combat that dryness. Skip the salt shaker and try to avoid eating too many sodium-laden processed foods. Your lips will benefit greatly from the dietary changes.

10. Smack your lips
Sometimes you don’t want to wait for moisturizing lip balms or scrubs to work. For example, you might want your lips to have a rosy glow for a driver’s license picture or a selfie while you’re on vacation. In those cases, pursing and smacking your lips together a few times will stimulate blood flow and momentarily give them a pinker tone. It’s a temporary fix, but at least you’ll have the rosiest lips in all the family photo albums!

Every woman would love to have lips that look vivid and nourished. By using the steps on this list, you can get the rosy pink lips you’ve always wanted. Give all these tips a try to sock that dullness right in the kisser!

10 Essential Fitness Habits to Develop When You’re Young

There are a few important fitness habits you should develop at a young age to live a healthier, longer life. If you adopt unhealthy fitness habits when you’re young, as you get older, it will be harder to get rid of these bad habits. However, if you start leading a healthy lifestyle at a young age, it will remain a part of your lifestyle down the road. Read on to learn 10 most essential fitness habits to develop when you’re young.

1. Eat healthy
You’ve probably heard this many times, but did you build the habit of eating healthy? It’s hard to make healthy choices, when there are so many tasty junk foods. Plus, junk food is more convenient than healthy food. Many people fall into a habit of eating fast food at a young age and then find it hard to break this habit as they get older. As a result, this bad habit puts them at a higher risk for numerous health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. No matter how busy you are, you need to develop healthy eating habits now when you are young. Eating healthier is not as difficult as you think. Junk food won’t help you live a healthier, longer life, remember it.

2. Make exercise a regular part of your life
One of the most important fitness habits to develop at a young age is to exercise every day. It can be walking, jogging, running, swimming, whatever. Even if you are not trying to lose weight, you need to exercise to stay healthy. Regular exercise helps protect you from high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It can also help fight anxiety, depression and mood swings. If you develop this habit while you’re young, your future self will definitely thank you.

3. Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day so you should never skip it. I know it can be hard to eat something when you have to rush out the door in the morning. But try to develop a habit of waking up a bit earlier in order to eat your breakfast. Eat a healthy breakfast like oatmeal and eggs to speed up your metabolism, start your day with plenty of energy, and fuel your workout.

4. Eat 7 mini meals throughout the day
Eating healthy is not just what you eat, but when you eat, too. Learn to eat seven mini meals throughout the day to have more energy and keep your weight under control. From personal experience I can say that it’s not easy to learn to eat mini meals, but it’s worth it. Keep in mind that your mini meals should always consist of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

5. Stay active
Stop playing those video games and watching movies every day. Fall into a habit of staying active throughout the day every day. Go for a walk, play with your kids or pets. Also, ditch the lift and start taking the stairs. This way, you will have a stronger heart and overall better health. If you adopt the habit of staying active at a young age, you will stay active throughout the day as an adult.

6. Do basic fitness exercises
If you don’t have time to exercise every day, you can develop a habit of doing some basic fitness exercises on busy days. For instance, you can jump rope. It’s an easy, fast and fun exercise that you can do almost anywhere. Not only does jumping rope help improve your health, it can also help you lose weight.

7. Boost your workouts
When you’re young, it’s great to develop a habit of amplifying your workouts every now and then. If you are finding that your workout is becoming a boring routine, amplify it a bit. Push yourself more and try to complete your workout covered in sweat. You will be astonished by fantastic results and wonderful health. This is an essential habit that you should adopt when you’re young since this shapes how you’ll be later in your life.

8. Try new exercises
Don’t be afraid to try new exercises. When it comes to fitness, the possibilities are endless. You can try surfing, rock climbing, or anything unusual. Be open to try new exercises once in a while and you will see how it’s fun to work out and learn new things.

9. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is highly important during exercise, so it’s vital to develop a habit of drinking enough water each day at a younger age. Drinking water can help cleanse the body of toxins, reduce stress, build muscle, and lose weight. It can also help you have more energy throughout the day.

10. Eat more greens daily
Whether you want to lose weight or improve your health, you should incorporate more greens into your daily diet. Greens contain essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. You may not like the taste of most vegetables, but you don’t have to eat them raw. Add them to your omelet, green smoothies, salads, wraps and sandwiches. A research has shown that eating vegetables each day adds two years to your life. I think that’s a good reason to munch on greens.

Developing healthy habits when you’re young is always a good idea. Sure, these are just a few important fitness habits and there are many other habits to adopt. What do you think about these fitness habits? Are you going to develop any of them?

Things My Husband and I Do Daily to Stay Happy

My marriage is one of those things that are the most precious for me and that bring sense into my life. I’m strongly convinced that relationship between spouses is like a plant which needs daily care and attention in order to stay alive and fresh. That’s why we should always nurture our relationship and increase the power of our love, no matter how long we have been living with our significant other.

My husband and I have been married for 3 years, and during this short period of time I have clearly understood a few things that really matter to my family life and which make it stronger and happier. Those are our hard work, patience and mutual desire to have a successful marriage. I should say that love alone is not enough for a happy marriage, especially when you have to go through hard times that are waiting for you after the honeymoon.

Now I see that our understanding, support and respect to each other can work wonders. I’ve found out that to be happy and feel satisfied with my husband I need to follow some simple rules every day. With the help of the following things that my husband and I do daily, we manage to stay happy and feel like we’ve just married.

1. We say compliments to each other
Regular compliments are one of the most effective ways to show our appreciation to those we love. Unfortunately, lots of couples simply forget to do that after their wedding. However, I try to use any chance to praise my husband whenever he does something well, even if it is a small thing like making a cup of coffee for me or washing dishes after the dinner. In his turn, my loved one always tells me how beautiful I look in my new dress and how much he enjoys delicious dishes I cook for him.

All these compliments create positive atmosphere in our relationship promoting us to feel appreciated and loved. As a result, our marriage is filled up with freshness and excitement we experienced while dating. Keep in mind that daily compliments are an indispensable part of the perfect and long lasting relationship.

2. We express our love in different ways
By expressing our love in various small ways we energize and refresh our marriage. Do you remember how often you told the words of love to your sweetheart before getting married? Certainly, you did that dozens of times a day. I think now, when you’ve lived some years with your spouse, nothing prevents you from saying those magic words at every possible opportunity.

Perhaps somebody may find it ridiculous but I can’t even count how many times my husband and I say “I love you” to each other during the day. Surely, telling your love is not the only way to show your partner how much you care about him. There is a variety of little things that you can do to express your affection and make your significant other happy. When my husband kisses me, hugs me or does something pleasant for me, there is no need to tell any words as I can feel all his love and tenderness. Personally I always kiss my beloved before he leaves for work and give him a massage when he gets home. These are the best signs of my love that bring him happiness and satisfaction. If we love someone, we shouldn’t restrict our feelings but tell about them as often as possible.

3. We share household chores
Family life is extremely busy because we have to go to work and cope with a tremendous amount of household chores that are waiting for us at home. But when should we relax and enjoy with our families? It is considered that all the housework is exclusively a woman’s responsibility, however, I’m convinced that both spouses should take part in the household running equally.

It would be great if we did at least something to make our partner’s day easier. Actually, the list of the tasks to do is endless. For instance, my husband usually buys some foods, like bread or milk on his way home in the evening and I really appreciate this small help. Whenever he sees I’m completely exhausted after my working day, he may also wash the dishes and clean the kitchen in order to lighten the load for me. By doing this he shows me his affection and appreciation.

Moreover, we made it a habit to do some chores together. Cooking is my favorite one since it gives me a perfect opportunity to spend an unforgettable time with my sweetheart. Cooking together creates more love, connection and intimacy in my relationship. Once a week we have a romantic dinner with the candles lit on the table and the television off. This habit builds an intimate and deep connection between us.

4. We communicate with each other
In my opinion, constant communication is the basic key to a happy marriage. No matter what you speak about, you simply need to share your thoughts, ideas and problems with your spouse. My husband and I have no secrets and forbidden subjects to talk about. I can discuss everything with my husband, including family budget, menu for the dinner or our plans for the weekend. It’s not difficult to ask your spouse how was his/her day and this simple question will express your interest and care about him/her. Even small talks help us to understand each other better and avoid conflicts that may harm our marriage.

5. We reconnect throughout the day
Taking into account the fact that we have busy schedules, it may be rather problematic to stay connected with those we love in the course of the day. But if you want to keep your marriage strong and happy, you will allocate time to reconnect with your spouse by all means.

I think nothing can be better than getting a spontaneous message from my husband when I’m at work. His tender words of love always cheer me up and inspire me to carry out even the most difficult tasks. Every lunch break I send sweet and flirty texts to my husband like “I love you”, “I miss you” or “I can’t wait to see you.” My husband never forgets to give me a call on the way home. All these things assist us to keep in touch throughout the day and focus on our relationship. You may discover plenty of other ways to reconnect with your loved one, just bear in mind that you need to be creative.

6. We stay romantic and give presents
Romance is a crucial part of a happy marriage, so we should remember to show romantic gestures to our spouses to enhance our happiness. My husband and I never let the stress and turmoil of daily life get in the way of having romance in our relationship. We don’t need any special occasion to give presents to each other or make surprises. I love to get gifts from my beloved without any reason. At such moments I feel that I’m important and special to him.

Giving a gift to the one you love is one of the most efficient ways to express your affection. It doesn’t mean you have to buy only expensive jewelry or perfume for your spouse. It will be even more pleasurable for him/her to get something that you’ve made yourself.

I should admit that my husband is a very romantic person and that is one of the reasons I love him so much. He regularly surprises me with flowers on my bed in the morning, delicious dinner or relaxing bubble bath. There is a wide range of romantic ideas. The main rule is to practice them often to make your marriage thrive.

You can be sure that all the things and family habits I’ve mentioned above are really worth doing as they helped me to create a blissful relationship with my spouse. Within the 3 years of our marriage we’ve experienced everything: happy moments, misunderstandings and quarrels. But we still love each other as much as we did while dating.

The major rule I’ve learned from my family life is to keep the burning fire between the two of us, support and love each other whatever happens. Only this way we can stay happy in our marriage. What do you do daily to strengthen your relationship with the one you love?

Want to Become Happier? Here Are 8 Rules to Follow

Happiness is something we desperately struggle for throughout our life without even realizing how close it is to us. If you want, you will see happiness everywhere around you: in the rays of morning sunlight, in the smiles of those you love and in the pleasant atmosphere of your home. All people are individuals with their own points of view, life experiences, expectations and passions. Due to this every person has different perception of happiness. For some of us, a successful career is absolutely enough to be happy, while for others marriage and kids are the ultimate purpose in life. So, first of all you should define what happiness means to you and only then search for it.

I’m a happy person since I can enjoy life blessings such as warm family relationships, the job that brings me pleasure, my friends and my independence. But most of all I appreciate my family that is the basic element of my happiness and the biggest treasure in my life. I’m convinced that happiness is achievable for everyone. It’s not our destiny, it’s the way we live. That’s why it’s important to learn and master certain rules and habits that will enhance your happiness. If you feel sad and dissatisfied with the quality of your life, try to practice the following strategies that will bring more joy and comfort into your life and make you happier.

1. Build strong relationships
Social relationships have a great impact on our happiness as only by keeping in touch with our family and friends we can get love, respect, support and understanding that make us feel confident and happier. Relationships with those I love are the top priority to me. I know my family and friends will be always near me when I really need them and never let me down; only with these people I can share my secrets, troubles and achievements. True friends are the greatest value of my life and in order to relish this value I try to make friends among sincere people whose characteristics and principles resemble mine and suit me.

However, any relationship requires time, efforts and constant nourishment. Thus, I do my best to nurture relationships with my loved ones. No matter how busy I am, I always make time to communicate with my husband, go for a walk with my daughter and call my mother who lives so far from me. According to numerous scientific researches, healthy relationships are the key to happiness. Therefore, it is recommended to allocate time for your friends and family members, share your success with them, show your appreciation and support them.

2. Set your goals
Setting goals every day is one of the major rules you should follow to become more successful and improve your life. Psychologists say that people who set objectives for themselves are much happier than those who don’t. I’ve made it a habit of writing down all my plans and short-term goals on a daily basis. As a result, I can easily fulfill my tasks and achieve the desirable outcome. Plus, when I work towards my goal I feel more positive and energetic. The pursuit of goals will fill your life with passion, enthusiasm and make it more meaningful. Keep in mind that your goals should be specific, relevant and achievable.

3. Stay positive and smile
Every day we have to deal with lots of negative things that can spoil our mood and make us unhappy. Though, it doesn’t mean we should give way to stress and wear gloomy faces. My life is full of stressful situations and sometimes it may be really hard to stay optimistic and smile, but still I make efforts to weed out negative thoughts and see the bright side of the world around me. The main rule that my life has taught me is to be able to control my mind whatever happens. There is always something positive in every bad situation, all you need is to change your attitude towards it.

Without a doubt smiling makes people feel better and happier, so it might be helpful to put on a happy face even if you feel distressed. Scientists claim that smiling and pretending we are happy can help us to add more joy and gratification to our life. This habit is extremely beneficial to me: every morning I look into the mirror and see my smiling face, I get inspiration to overcome all the barriers and reach my goals.

4. Boost your independence
Independence is an indispensable part of our self-development, freedom and happiness. Learning to be an independent person is crucial for me because it assists me to achieve success and happiness. We live our lives as individuals, but not as a team, so we should learn to cope with all the difficulties that appear on our way individually without anyone’s help.

Sometimes we are left face to face with our problems and there are no friends and family near us who can suggest their assistance. At such moments we must rely on ourselves only. I’m sure you won’t feel happy and satisfied if others always solve your problems. It would be wonderful if you could manage your life without somebody else’s interference. There are plenty of rules that I practice daily to boost my independence: I make my own decisions, develop my self-confidence, keep to my own standards and try to be financially responsible. These things contribute greatly to my happiness.

5. Be kind and help others
Being kind to others is one of the most efficient ways to feel better about yourself. Every time I watch acts of kindness my mood is elevated and I become obsessed with the desire to perform good deeds. By doing something good for others I can experience new splashes of enthusiasm, joy and happiness. When I offer my help to those who need it I forget my own problems, strengthen my social interaction and give people a reason to like me.

Researches claim that we should dedicate at least 2 hours a week to helping others in order to enrich our life. You can find different ways to help people. For instance, it would be a splendid idea to buy a concert ticket for your best friend. When you’ll see his/her pleasure from this present, your happiness will be endless. Spending money on your friends and family will fill you up with positive emotions. And what about dedicating our time to others? Volunteering is an excellent example of kindness and self-devotion that increases your life satisfaction, physical and mental health, self-esteem and finally your happiness.

6. Express gratitude
You need to express your gratitude to remind yourself how lucky you are. Can you count at least 3 things you are grateful for? If you can, there is no doubt you are a happy person, even though you might not think so. I’m always grateful for 3 things that are the most significant to me: my family, my friends and my health. These are the only treasures in my life I can’t buy for money.

Moreover, I never forget to say “Thank you” when something good happens to me. Unfortunately, very often we take lots of things for granted and begin to appreciate them only after we experience loss. Learn to be grateful, look at what you have and you’ll see being happy is so easy. Bear in mind that your sincere gratitude to those who care about you will push you on the way to happiness.

7. Be yourself
I think everybody will agree that our self-acceptance is an essential element of permanent happiness. We can be truly happy just when we become who we are and don’t have to play roles and wear masks to impress others. Consequently, you should be aware of your uniqueness, love and accept yourself as you are with all of your traits, behaviors, desires and choices. There are no perfect people in this world and all people have flaws that make them special. As long as I’m honest with myself and focus on the good sides of my personality I’ll be able to live a happier life.

8. Exercise regularly
Scientific studies have shown that physical activity is incredibly useful to us since it assists the body to release endorphins which are known to make us feel relaxed and happier. Isn’t that a convincing reason for you to incorporate physical exercises into your daily routine? Their benefits are immense. My regular workouts help me to distract from my troubles, combat stress, boost my self-confidence and improve my mood.

Despite your busy schedule try to allocate about 30 minutes a day for exercising. To get enough exercise you can do a variety of activities like jogging in the park, playing with your kids or simply doing household chores. Don’t forget that constant movement will give you an abundance of positive emotions.

Being happy is much easier than you might think. Strong desire and persistence are the golden keys to your happiness. I take pains to develop these happiness rules and make them a part of my daily routine because they enable me to fight frustration, anxiety, sadness and save every minute of my life. What do you do to become a happier person? Which of the listed rules are the most effective to you?

7 Ways to Reboot Your Family Budget

Budget’ does not have to be a scary word. Yes, I know it sounds restrictive; rather like ‘diet,’ or ‘schedule.’ But what if we had a little perspective shift?

What if we thought of it as a tool for managing and maximizing our money? Suddenly, it becomes less about punishing ourselves and more about rocking our financial goals.

So if you want to keep your own money stress low, your kids happy and your bank account in the black, then these tips for improving your family budget are for you.


1. Stay clear of the edges
This is about leaving a little buffer between you and the edge of your financial resources. When you plan your budget, round down your income and round up your expenses. This leaves a small zone of safety for miscalculations or surprise costs.

2. Need versus want
Let me start by saying that both categories are perfectly valid – you are allowed some desirable objects. But take care of your needs first.

3. Short versus long term
Do not just budget monthly. Keeping your eyes on the prize quarterly and annually is a very smart move too. Where do you want to be financially in one year’s time? Plan for it now and you can make it happen.

More: How to Give Your Kids an Allowance Properly

4. Keep it in context
When we focus so much on how much money we have, it is easy to get carried away with it. Money does not need to be on your mind every minute, and let’s just remind ourselves that it is not the center of the universe.

If there is one truly finite resource on earth, it is time, not money. So I suggest you focus more on spending quality time with your family, and that does not have to mean spending much at all.

5. Teach the kids the value of money
Do your kids expect you to just hand over their allowance when they want it? That is not a great deal for them or for you. Try setting them some chores in exchange for allowance. Yes, I am suggesting that they earn it.

Not only will your housework benefit from the extra help before the kids ‘payday,’ but also they will understand the concept of money being earned.

6. Plan your menu for the week
Every family budget has a few leaky points, and for many, groceries are a big hole in the bucket. So many families shop without a plan, and it is a classic way to waste funds.

Plan your meals for the week, list the ingredients, and then buy only what you need. It is so simple. Hey, why not keep a note of how much you save each week, and use it to treat the family at the end of the month?

More: 4 Sanity-Saving Ways to Spring Clean Your Financial House

7. Work in some fun
Just as it is true that a diet that it too strict will not last very long, the same is true of budgets. Fun, in my opinion, is essential. After all, what are we working so hard for if we are not allowed to live a little?

With a few simple steps, you can totally reboot your family budget and have more extra cash for the essentials or entertainment. Do you have any clever budget tips? Please leave me a comment below.