July 18, 2018

Hobby Happy? Here's Why Everyone Should Get A Hobby


Note: This post has been contributed.

“Do you have any hobbies?” It’s a common question asked when dating, during job interviews, and occasionally when someone finds out you’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. It might seem like an obvious question but many people find there is little time for hobbies outside of work and managing their personal lives. 
Image: Pxhere

Having a hobby is important, and can help your health and happiness in more ways than you imagine. Why should you get a hobby? Find out more below.

It helps you switch off

Whether you work in a demanding job or you’ve got a busy home life, your hobby can be your escape. Finding something fun to do with your free time will help you to switch off from the stresses of the day and allow you to do something for yourself. Discover hobbies that relax you and help take your mind off things to reduce stress in your life.

It helps improve your health

Hobbies that are more active can be a great way to improve your health and wellbeing. From taking up yoga to writing, there are plenty of hobbies that will improve your health. Many people see exercising as a hobby, and turning your fitness into something you enjoy will help you feel more motivated to do it. Consider joining a fitness class or start running as an enjoyable hobby that will also help you get into shape.

It can become much more than just a hobby

While hobbies might start out as a fun way to pass the time, they can develop into so much more than that. Some hobbies can even be turned into a career. A hobby with a goal, such as restoring an airplane from aircraft parts or putting together a classic car can give you a lot of joy, with a great end result. Hobbies help you to discover your passions, so you never know where yours could lead.

It can help you become more interesting

Having hobbies gives you interests that set you apart from other people, helping you to become a more interesting person. This can improve your social life, your dating life and more - giving you something to talk about and teach others.

It can help you meet new people

If you want to expand your social circle or make friends in a new town, then a hobby can be a great way to meet new people. Hobbies can take you to classes, projects and more where you can encounter people with similar interests. Social interactions and connections are essential for your happiness and wellbeing, so find hobbies that you out and about in your local community.

Finding hobbies that interest and excite you can have all kinds of benefits. Hobbies help you to keep learning as you get older, keeping your mind sharp and broadening your horizons. From meeting new people to helping you stay in shape, they can be a great way to give your health a boost. Could starting a new hobby benefit your life? Start something new today and find out.

July 17, 2018

Life After An Accident: How To Cope


Note: This post has been contributed.


You’re going about your life, minding your business when the phone buzzes. After answering it, everything changes. This is how it feels when a loved one has been in an accident. At first, it’s about ensuring they are okay and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Then, when the dust settles, it’s about adjusting to a new way of life. Their needs come first, but it’s essential for you to regroup too. After all, the mental impact it can have on a person is hard to explain.

Because it’s new and strange and full of emotion, it can be tough to find coping mechanisms. Below are four for the people that need inspiration.

Talk To Them

As harsh as it sounds, it is easy to feel pity for someone who has been struck down in their prime. A loved one that now has to deal with a disability, permanent or temporary, is bound to be in a difficult place. As a result, you may feel as if the universe has been tough on him or her. This can impact your relationship. The key is to communicate. They may be sad, angry and more, yet they probably understand how they need to act to get better. A simple conversation can make you see the light, too.

Stay Busy

Thoughts and emotions intensify when there are moments of clarity. Laid in bed at night with your brain running wild, the severity of the situation will hit home. In the beginning, this is a necessary part of the recovery process because it allows you to deal with your feelings. However, it can get in the way after a while. People that struggle with the emotions are crippled by sadness and grief. Staying busy is an effective way to prevent the brain from obsessing as there won’t be time to evaluate and analyze.

Fight Back

Accidents wreck lives. Therefore, the changes may be costly and not covered by the insurance. For example, a person with a disability will need constant medical attention. Although there is a stigma to it, there is nothing wrong with suing for compensation. The Abelson Law Firm points out family members need fairly compensating because the outcome wasn’t their fault. Plus, the behavior requires stopping as soon as possible to save lives and prevent accidents. A lawsuit causes individuals and companies to evaluate their processes and be better. Just because they’re injured doesn’t mean they can’t fight back.

Focus On The Memories

And not the most recent ones where they are hurt and in pain. Concentrate on the good times when there were joy and happiness on their face. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, focusing on the current memories will prolong the grieving process as it will intensify the emotions. Secondly, whether they are gone or aren’t the same, they can live on in your heart. If mental pictures aren’t enough, then print off real ones and start a scrapbook or frame them.

What method do you think is the best one for your journey?

July 09, 2018

Improving Your Kids’ Vacay Experience


Note: This post has been contributed.

Going on vacation as a family can be a really fun and fulfilling experience, but it can also be highly stressful. There are a lot of things you have to consider when you take the kids on vacation with you, and you need to think about them. Getting away from it all is crucial for recharging the batteries, and this is something you need to work on. The simplest way of making sure you have a memorable and stress-free trip is to ensure your kids have the time of their lives as well. 

The best way of achieving this is to make sure they have everything they need to have for an epic adventure. The more involved and interested your kids are, the better it will be for the future, and the trip will become much less stressful. These are some excellent ideas you can use that are going to help you make the most of your kids’ vacay experience.

Help Them Discover the Ocean
The ocean is such a magnificent and wonderful place for kids to explore, and you should encourage them to spend plenty of time in the sea. Swimming will be heaps of fun for them, but they might also get a lot out of checking out the ocean life, and that means a bit of snorkeling. Check out a Ninja Shark full face mask, as this is the sort of product that would be ideal for enhancing your children’s ocean activities, and making their snorkel experience more fulfilling. 

Let Them Boss a Day!
Another great way of getting them to connect better with the trip is to make sure they get to be in charge for a day! Of course, you are still going to be able to manage this and keep control of it, but there are many ways you can allow your kids to take a more active interest in your vacation. Let them make the decisions about what to do on one of the days. Present them with choices, and let them pick one. That way, you will be in a position to get them more engaged, and they will feel like they are more in charge than they actually are!

Go Self-Catering
One of the big decisions you need to make when traveling as a family is what you’re going to do about food. If you have kids with you, eating out every night is not viable, and it will soon cause the costs to mount up. However, all-inclusive can be an issue too because you then have a time limit you have to observe every day. The best, cheapest and least stressful approach to take is to go self-catering. That way you can provide the kids with what they want when they want, and ensure they are getting healthy mealtimes. 

Taking a vacation as a family is a wonderful way of bonding and spending more quality time together. There are so many excellent places you can go and things you can do while you’re away, and the best thing to do is think about the kids. If you can make sure they have the best possible trip, it will make everything more pleasant and enjoyable. 

July 05, 2018

4 Tips for Maintaining Your Intellectual Honesty


Note: This post has been contributed.


Image via Pixabay

We live in interesting times, as the old proverb goes, and much of what was taken for granted throughout human history is now being questioned on a daily basis. Fierce arguments and debates rage all around, new ideologies emerge, and old ones take on new formats.

In this dynamic, chaotic intellectual climate, worries over anti-scientific thinking have been rising steadily for some time now, particularly with the rise of the internet dethroning the vanguard of traditional media.

It is, however, the case that we are all prone to shoddy thinking and to being intellectually dishonest, if we don’t guard ourselves carefully against our own shortcomings, and remain humble, self-aware, and honest enough to spot them.

Here are some things you can do to help ensure that you remain intellectually honest despite all the temptation to the contrary.

Cultivate the art of entertaining an idea without accepting it

A quote attributed to Aristotle runs “it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.”

What this means, essentially, is that being able to mull an idea over honestly, consider it’s merits and shortcomings, and consider the possibility that it might be true — without feeling compelled to accept it — is one of the highest forms of intellectual refinement.

This practice is increasingly being lost these days, as more and more of us seem to dismiss any ideas which go against our values, opinions, and biases, out of hand.

But it is only by entertaining ideas — even ones we find reprehensible — that we can come up with sophisticated, nuanced, and intellectually honest positions on things.

Try to actually listen to what the other person is saying in a conversation, rather than trying to defeat them

Humans are inherently tribal, and once we’ve identified ourselves with a particular political or ideological viewpoint, it is very easy for us to seek ways to defeat those in differing camps, rather than trying to engage in honest conversation, find out what they’re really saying, and use that information in the formation of our own views — whether we accept the other party’s motivations as ethical or factually valid, or not.

A conversation should always be about laying ideas on the table and interrogating them in the spirit of curiosity. A conversation should not be a Machiavellian game wherein in each party does their best to discredit or browbeat their opponent at all costs.

Nurture a sense of curiosity, and listen to what the other side has to say, then play with those ideas and see what you can unpack from them, in a dispassionate manner.

Resist the temptation of thinking that you’ve got the final answer

Issues that people consider worthy of emotional investment, are typically nuanced in the extreme. While we might be tempted to think that we have the final answer on any given topic, remaining open to the possibility that we might have more to learn — even more our opponents — is a way of ensuring that our ideas don’t stagnate, and that we remain intellectually honest.

It’s possible that the person you’re talking to may know less than you in many regards, but might know more than you in others, or might have insights you’d never have considered.

Teasing out the implications of these insights can force you to either strengthen and improve your own positions, or to adopt new, better and more cogent positions.

Avoid straw-manning and caricaturing your opponents

As a general rule, it’s highly unlikely that everyone who has radically different ideas to you, is just an evil, sinister, moron, and nothing else.

When we strawman our opponents, and make caricatures of them and their positions, all that we ultimately succeed in doing is ensuring that we never allow ourselves to see what they’re really saying, and why they’re saying those things.

When we’ve written someone and  their ideas off as “not worth engaging with”, we don’t disarm those ideas, or learn anything from them, we simply avoid the entire, difficult process of getting to the bottom of things, because we have convinced ourselves that we are above even acknowledging that real, normal people, genuinely hold those views.

This is an intellectually dishonest position, and flies in the face of the spirit of truth and open enquiry. Sometimes this straw-manning is done out of genuine biting contempt for the other party, and sometimes it’s done because we fear that the other party might say make a point that we’re forced to concede, and that our entire belief structure will come tumbling down as a result.

July 04, 2018

What Kids Don't Learn In School But Should


Note: This post has been contributed.

If you would like to raise happy and successful kids, it is important that you pay attention to more than their grades. While they will get them into college and university, alone, they will not land them in a successful career. Have you ever met college graduates working in dead-end jobs? Of course you have. People, unfortunately, don’t learn how to progress their lives, be assertive, question everything, and focus on their long term goals. This is something they - if they are lucky enough - pick up from family members and mentors. Below you will find a few skills not taught in school that kids would certainly benefit from. 
Image via Erik Lucatero

Critical Thinking 
With so many facts and dates to learn from heart, and living in the world of information overload, it is hard to develop critical thinking skills in school. Kids are not welcome to question authority figures, such as teachers and the writers of the textbooks, and are told to take what they learn for granted. However, no invention was born without breaking up with the traditions. Instead of acting as an authority figure at home, you might ask higher level questions from your kids, so they can consider other approaches and unconventional methods.

Decision Making 
The reason for most missed opportunities is the lack of effective decision making skills. Kids are told what to do, and they are presented with the problem and the solution at the same time. In school, most decisions are made for them. As a parent, try to encourage your child to make their own decisions and choose between different options. This will help them decide which college or university course to take later in life, or which job offer to accept. There are great decision making resources available on the internet to help you with this task.

Creativity
Of course, kids learn art and music in school, but they will have to follow a pattern and official guide. Creativity is all about finding unusual solutions that work better than original ones. Whether your kid is a talented writer, programmer, painter, or singer, you will need to encourage them to follow their passion. Even if they will not end up making a living off their skills, they will be able to use their creativity in real life situations and be more innovative than 90 percent of people.

Self Defense 
Image via Clarisse Meyer

It is a big world out there, and it is full of good and evil. If you are worried about letting go of your child’s hand and allowing them to go to college away from home, visit friends alone, or simply drive to another city, you want them to be safe. Kids should learn some basic self defense skills at an early age, so they can deal with bullying, crime, and offensive behavior. If you want to make sure that they are safe when out and about, you might want to enroll them for a self defense course where they can learn how to protect themselves. Check out Defensive Planet for information on self defense and the skills and tools needed to stay safe.

Debating 
You might think that your child doesn’t need to have strong debating skills unless they want to become politicians, but this is not the case. Kids don’t learn in school how to be assertive, get their point across, and convince others through the facts and logical arguments. Debating skills will not only be useful when they go to college and university, but also when they start pursuing their careers and try to be more assertive when proposing a project or initiating change. While not many schools hold debating clubs, you might find some in your local area to get your child to practice.
  
Negotiation 
For most kids today, it is all or nothing, black or white, and they are used to instant gratification. If they cannot compromise, however, they will be up for a surprise when it comes to getting what they want in real life. Negotiation skills are based on one’s ability to compromise, put themselves in others’ shoes, and coming up with a solution that is beneficial for everyone. The skill will be useful when your child is trying to manage their career, get a pay rise or promotion, or simply sort out a conflict at work.

Money Management 
While some schools have financial education, they don’t base their scenarios on real life situation. As soon as your child gets their first part time job and becomes responsible for paying for their fuel and car insurance, they will need to have the money management skills of adults. While you can talk to your child about different forms of credit and budgeting, saving up for deposits, and having their priorities right, they might benefit from professional advice as well. Money management courses can help young people build wealth, avoid credit traps, and make their money work for them.

Mental Health Self Care 
Image via Kinga Cichewicz

It is said that one in three adults is likely to experience mental health problems. With the increased pressure at school and at work, chances are that your child will need to develop their own coping mechanism. Without learning how to care for themselves and practice self-compassion, they might turn to unhealthy habits or cope in an unhealthy way with the problems they are facing while transitioning into adulthood. You have to teach them some of the mental health skills you are using, such as meditation or exercise, so they can be ready for the challenges. 

If you would like to make sure that you are raising happy, healthy, and successful kids, you can’t rely on school education alone. Instead, make sure that you are addressing the different challenges of working life and adulthood from an early age. Teach your child to respect others’ opinion but question everything. Encourage their creative talent, and help them make better decisions using advanced techniques. Teach them about managing their money, their mental health, their relationships, and being assertive when it is needed. 

July 03, 2018

Disability Abuse Still Happens: Here’s How To Deal With It


Note: This post has been contributed.

You may think that disability abuse is something that has died out, along with many other outdated disability practices. However, the sad fact of the matter is that disability abuse is still a very real thing, and it happens everywhere. Sometimes this abuse is verbal or emotional abuse other times it’s physical, but either way it is not acceptable. 

Many people feel so shocked and upset by this type of abuse that when it happens to them, they go into a state of shock and don’t know what to do. There’s a fear of being judged or blamed in some way, but there shouldn’t be. The truth is that abuse is never the victim's fault, no matter what, and it’s important to remember that. 

Luckily, most of the world has a much stricter policy on disability abuse, with this kind of awful behaviour being taken seriously across the country. If you fall foul to disability abuse of any kind, it’s important that you know how to deal with it and put a stop to it immediately. Here’s what you should do if you feel that you’ve been the victim of any kind of abuse or have seen someone else being abused.

Report it 

The first step that you should take is to report the abuse. This is crucial, never try and deal with the situation on your own, because if no one knows about it, things could get even more out of hand. Whether the abuse has occurred at work, in a care environment, or somewhere else, it’s important that you report it straight away. That way, you will be able to remember the incident more clearly in your mind. 

Get what you’re entitled to 

While you may not want to take the situation any further than reporting it and having the person behind it disciplined or let go of, you might want to consider taking it further and seeing what you’re entitled to. You shouldn't’ have to suffer from abuse and neither should anyone else. That’s why there are attorneys who deal with these kinds of incidents - you can learn more about what they can do online via resources like AttorneyGuss.com/services/houston-nursing-home-abuse-lawyer. There is a lot of support out there, it’s just a case of finding out what you are entitled to. 

Make a stand 

When it comes to dealing with disability abuse, it’s important that you make a stand. Far too many people think it’s okay to ‘pick on’ people because they’re different and it’s really not okay, which is why taking a stand and making an example out of them and their behaviour is so important. If you are going to make it clear that abuse in any form is never acceptable, you need to be brave and stand up for yourself and other people who are also at risk of abuse. 

There is never any excuse for abuse, in any setting. However, abuse is particularly serious when it occurs in a care setting such as a hospital, for instance. Abuse is not something that you should ever be willing to stand for, which is why it’s so important that you know how to deal with it, should a situation like those mentioned above, ever occur. 

Hobby Happy? Here's Why Everyone Should Get A Hobby

Note: This post has been contributed. “Do you have any hobbies?” It’s a common question asked when dating, during job interviews, a...