Tag Archives: happiness

10 Things Your Commute Does to Your Body

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The average American’s commute to work is 25.5 minutes each way, according to a report in USA Today. That’s about 51 minutes a day getting to and from work, or about 204 hours a year spent commuting. You know that commuting can be a huge pain in the ass—but what does all that back and forth actually do to your body, besides put you in a crap mood when you get stuck in traffic for what feels like the nine-thousandth night in a row? Read on to see how commuting impacts your mental and physical health—and what you can do to offset the damage.

Your Anxiety Increases
A new report from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics finds that people who commute more than half an hour to work each way report higher levels of stress and anxiety than people with shorter commutes or no commutes at all. While there’s not much you can do to shorten or eliminate your commute, you can make the most of it by doing something like listening to an interesting audio book. Check out these other ways to take advantage of the time you spend in transit.

Your Happiness and Life Satisfaction Decline
The same report from the U.K. found that people with commutes of any length experience lower life satisfaction and happiness than people with no commutes at all. Riding a bus for 30 minutes or longer was associated with the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness, but even if you’re lucky enough to bike to work and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, your satisfaction takes a nosedive commensurate to how long you spend doing it. Womp womp. If you want to feel happiness in spite of your commute, be sure to check out these 12 Things People Believe About Happiness That Aren’t Actually True.

Your Blood Pressure Temporarily Spikes
Commuting during rush hour—especially when you’re concerned that you may be late to work or to an important meeting—can result in temporary spikes in stress levels that jack up your blood pressure, even if it’s normally stable. In fact, a researcher from the University of Utah set up an experiment where participants were placed in simulated driving scenarios: They were told they were late to a meeting and had a financial incentive to get to their destination quickly. Half the group was put in high-density traffic; the other half “drove” in a less congested environment. The people who drove in more intense traffic had much higher reports of stress, as well as higher blood pressure. If you feel like you’re always in a rush, it might be worth leaving well before rush hour—even if you arrive at work at the same time as you normally would, you’ll definitely feel less anxious on the drive over. Plus, you may also want to employ these tips on how to use yoga to de-stress during the drive.

Your Blood Pressure Rises Over Time, As Well
A study of 4,297 Texans found that the farther the participants lived from where they worked—the longer their commutes—the higher their blood pressure was. High blood pressure over time is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. To learn more about how stroke is related to high blood pressure, click here.

Your Cardiovascular Fitness Drops
The same study out of Texas found that people with longer commutes also had lower levels of cardiovascular fitness and physical activity. Cardiovascular fitness is critical for heart health and maintaining a healthy weight. For more intel on maintaining your heart health, check out four great (and four terrible) things you can do for your heart.

Your Blood Sugar Rises
Driving more than 10 miles each way, to and from work, is associated with higher blood sugar, according to a report written by researchers from the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas and published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. High blood glucose levels can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes. To counteract the high blood sugar issue, check out these 12 ways to never get diabetes.

Your Cholesterol is Higher
The same report in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the 10-mile one-way drives were also associated with higher cholesterol levels among commuters. Scary stuff since cholesterol is a warning sign for heart disease.

Your Depression Risk Rises
The researchers from the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas also noted in their report that people with commutes of at least 10 miles each way have a higher tendency toward depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if your down-in-the-dumps mood is a real problem or something that’ll pass. Check here to determine if you’re depressed or just feeling blah.

Your Sleep Suffers
The Regus Work-Life Balance Index for 2012 found that people who commute for longer than 45 minutes each way reported lower sleep quality and more exhaustion than people with shorter commutes. To get better a better night’s sleep and feel more rested, regardless of your commuter status, check out our story, “Why Are Modern Women So Exhausted?”

Your Back Aches
Spending hours a week slouched over in a car seat (either as a driver or a passenger) has negative consequences on your posture and your back; commuters are more likely to report pains and aches in their backs and necks, according to this story in the Washington Post. To counteract these ill effects, be sure to check out six ways to straighten up your posture.

 

[Source: Women’s Health]

Helpful Ways to Relieve Stress

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Whether your stress is coming from your job, family, friends, a relationship, etc. there are a bunch of different ways one can lessen their stress levels. Of course, it won’t be gone forever (don’t we wish?) but temporary relief is better than nothing! Check out some of the ways I like to alleviate stress.

1. Cleaning. This may sound weird to some people and even cause stress for some. But try it out and see what happens. Usually once you start, it’s harder to stop and you end up cleaning the whole house. It gets your mind off things and helps you focus on the task at hand. Throw on some music to add some fun to it.

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2. Cooking. This is for those of you who actually enjoy to cook. Pour yourself a glass of wine and make a delicious dish. Cooking can be very relaxing if you let it. And the best part is, you get to indulge afterwards.

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3. Working Out. The hardest part to working out is getting started. So, once you push yourself it will get easier as you go. After your work out, you will feel better than before and will feel satisfied knowing you didn’t back out of doing it.

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4. Yoga/Meditation. This is something I’ve only tried a couple of times but when I did do it, it definitely made me feel relaxed. Apple has a bunch of apps you can download to listen to soft, spa-like music and most are free to download. You can also look some up on YouTube if you don’t want to download anything. The music will help set the mood and make you feel extra peaceful.

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5. Take a bubble bath. Light some candles and take a nice, long bath. Even if your mind is still running rapid from the day you had, your body will be forced to calm down… soon making you feel amazing. Put on some soothing music and drink a glass of wine to really set it off.

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6. Get organized. This is another idea that some people may find to be weird to alleviate stress. But if you think about it, when things are cluttered and all over the place, your mind feels that way as well. So, once you have everything in place, neat and clean you will gain a sense of fulfillment knowing that it’s one less thing to worry about.

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7. Blast the music and sing along. Even if you can’t sing, let it out anyway. It’s sort of like screaming really loud and feeling relief after. The music and singing will boost your mood.

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8. Get a massage. You may think massages are expensive, but local nail salons sometimes do a better job and are less expensive than spas. I do this every now and then just to get some temporary back pain relief without breaking the bank.

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9. Take a road trip. This is one I wish I could do more. Take a short road trip one weekend with a friend, lover or even by yourself if it’s what you need. Just being away from your routine life and daily surrounding will give you a sense of serenity. And another great plus, you will have the chance to explore new things and see new places.

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10. Drink a glass of wine, or three. I mentioned wine a few times in this post so it’s easy to tell that I use it as one of my stress relievers. Get together with the girls and have a wine night or cuddle up on the couch and watch a feel-good movie to take you out of your element for a bit.

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Eat, Pray, Love – My Peaceful Spot

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If you could pack up and just leave where would you go? What places do you see inspiring you and making you a better version of yourself? In Eat, Pray, Love a woman sets out on an adventure to pursue the things she believes will give her happiness. What’s so special about these places you want to travel to that you feel you cannot receive being at home living your everyday life?

When I’m having a bad day or just day dreaming while at work… I picture myself somewhere peaceful, and warm with a slight breeze. I can see myself looking over an ocean or grassy hills while the wind is blowing through my hair. I’m on top of something, a rock or a hill. I have a smile on my face because I’ve never seen something so beautiful. I’ve never felt as happy as I am in that very moment. I breathe in air that feels pure and clean and when I breathe out I feel all the everyday burdens lifting off of me. I feel as light as a feather. I have my hair up, which I never really do while at home because I feel it looks better down. But, in this moment my hair is up so I can see the smile on my face. The wind makes it a bit messy, letting the strands fly up in the air and over my face.

Now, I wonder, where exactly is this place? There’s a couple of places it could be that I’ve always dreamed of going to. Tuscany, Italy… Ireland… or a place like Bali which the woman in Eat, Pray, Love actually travels to. Bali is attractive to me because she seems to really find herself and get in touch with her inner thoughts while there. This is what I feel like when I’m in my peaceful spot. I’m also alone. Maybe someone has traveled there with me and is out being a tourist or inside the villa making breakfast. But either way, my peaceful spot is just mine.

Until I find my peaceful spot, I live everyday waiting to get to it. Maybe under the surface it is what keeps me going. Knowing that one day I will find it and feel the breeze while I’m smiling big. My everyday life gets in the way of finding my peaceful spot here. I just don’t feel that it’s possible to find here, but that’s okay with me because I don’t plan on being where I am forever. So, after reading this think of your peaceful spot… you may not even know you have one. It’s the place your mind travels to when you need to go the most.

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Living is More Important Than Money

This is something I’m starting to learn, it’s hard but I’m learning. Today I get paid and pretty soon this will be my only job… after going from 3 jobs to 2, back down to 1 is a bit of a transition. I went from getting paid 7-8 times a month (ridiculous, I know!) to 4 times a month and soon to 2 times a month. One of my jobs was seasonal and the other was one day a week so I put my two week notice in. I have some money set aside but I never realized how much I was making until I started making less. I have more time to do things though and enjoy life which is the pro of all this and that’s what I try to remember when looking at my bank account. I re-blogged a post yesterday about a nurse who asks her terminally ill patients what they regret the most in life now that they’re on their death bed – a good number of them said they regret working so much. This made me realize that I was making the right decision about going back down to just 1 job. I have to enjoy my life before it’s too late. We never know what can happen and I’m not going to wait for it, in the meantime I’m going to try my best to do the things I’m dreaming to do. The longer we wait, the sooner life passes us by.

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Changes are Coming [Also, Ways to Make it on A Little Less Income]

So, after over 5 years at the real estate office, I am putting in my 2 weeks today. My manager should be coming in sometime today and I’m a little nervous but so excited to finally move on from this place. They literally just signed off on a tiny raise for me (after 5 years) and I feel like it might be a slap in the face to them but that’s how I’ve felt for awhile so I guess it’s called karma? I have continuously thought about leaving here for well over a year and have not had the courage to do so for money reasons and comfort reasons. I slowly cut my hours as time went by, now I’m only working Saturdays because I work at the website during the week. I have been dying to have my Saturdays and weekends back to myself instead of giving my time to a place that has yes taught me responsibility, but has also taken a lot out of me. Many rude encounters and phone calls, many times biting my tongue to please people and customers. I’m happy that at the website I don’t have to answer phone calls, I write and keep to myself! Coming here on Saturdays to answer the phone to sometimes extremely rude people, really makes you start to lose it after awhile. I hope that after today, I no longer feel stuck here. I was staying because of money reasons but have realized that my happiness is more important. (And I won’t be missing out on THAT much money, honestly.)

I have written a couple of different blog posts regarding making the right decisions to make yourself happy, even if you’re afraid to do so. Like I said in those other posts, it’s fear of the unknown and fear of making such a big change. Change is good though and is a positive thing. And if you’re at a job that you’re starting not to enjoy as much anymore and it isn’t your career… then nothing is stopping you! Even if it is your career, it’s never too late to make a change. Think about it, your happiness is at stake here! Our time on this Earth is too short to let jobs consume you. I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m ready to move on and continue with the website where I’m content doing things that are useful for my career path. Too many of us feel stuck and never make a move to change things for the better, I don’t want to fall under that category. I’m done just talking about it, now today I’m going to be about it. As a young girl starting to work here, I had to learn about kissing ass and keeping your mouth shut regarding confrontation with agents or people over the phone. Don’t get me wrong, I have been rude right back plenty of times because you know what? If you’re rude to me, I’m being rude back. I let some things slide because I don’t need strangers ruining my day but some people go way too hard to be rude, and those are the ones I let loose on. THE CUSTOMER ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT! I don’t care how many companies use this ridiculous saying because honestly, those who are high up and telling you this – are probably annoyed they have to be nice to rude people as well! It’s all about the business baby. But, after awhile, kissing ass gets tiring. And I’m tired.

So the point of this post is – MAKE MOVES! MAKE CHANGES! A month from now you will be glad you did it and it will make it easier for you to get what you want in the future.

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Ways to make it on a little less income:

1. Spend less! Start bringing lunch with you to work instead of buying each day. I have been doing this, sometimes buying once a week to treat myself. It really pays off in the end.

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2. Be smart when it comes to going out and spending. If you want to get together with friends, pick a night when there’s good deals going on. I did this the other night and only spent $15 (with tip!) for 3 Blue Moons and quesadillas! The friend I was with only spent $8! It’s possible to eat and drink cheap if you find the right place with the right deals.

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3. Coupons. I am just starting to do this because I’ve realized that it can help a lot. This isn’t only for married people either! Young people in their 20’s should most definitely do this because a lot of us have financial struggles trying to get to where we’re going. Start buying what is on sale and what you have a coupon for. Even if it’s only a couple cents, it stills helps.

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4. Groupon or similar websites. I’ve had a Groupon account for a long time now and really haven’t used it much. Now that I plan on only working one job, I have been searching on here a lot. It gives you great deals for a variety of different things, even weekend getaways!

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5. Cut down on the non-necessity things. For example, getting your hair done or your nails done. Stretch it for as long as you can with the hair, I understand it’s hard to keep up with but if you need it done that badly, do it yourself at home until you have the money to get it professionally done. When it comes to nails, I have acrylic and it can get expensive but I try to get the permanent french which can last a whole month. It takes a bit longer but it’s worth it to not have to go every two weeks. (I haven’t gone every two weeks in probably two years, it’s a waste of money.) Pedicures – it’s winter now so you can do them yourself.

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6. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE DONE – Not buying a new car just because I was sick of mine. I have a 2006 Hyundai Elantra, it’s not the ideal looking car but I’m almost done paying it off so it was stupid of me to want a brand new car just to have another payment. Only get a new car if you have no other choice, it doesn’t matter what others think. What matters is you not breaking the bank just to drive around in a luxurious car that you’re just going to get sick of again. Don’t get me wrong, I almost bought a new one because I was bored with mine until my mom talked me out of it. And now, I am so thankful I listened to her! I would much rather put my money aside for better things like traveling! If you NEED a new car, buy it at the right time when they have major sales going on. Ex: Labor Day weekend!

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7. Wait for the right time to splurge. I recently bought a lap top in October from Walmart for just $300. Electronics are cheaper in October, up to 40% off! If you’re looking to get something, wait it out if you can so you can get a cheaper price. Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well. (If you’re the type of person who can do Black Friday, I’ve done it twice and am surprised that I even could deal!) Some things aren’t worth getting on Black Friday but large items like TV’s, iPads/tablets and other electronics are a good idea.

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8. PINTEREST! I am obsessed with this site. They have so many DIY ideas that can save you a lot of money. Ideas from decorating a new home to DIY home cleaning products that cost a lot less than buying the name brand stuff.

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Good luck with your future changes and hope these money saving tricks can come in handy! 🙂