Women

Make Monday a “funday”

When it comes to your job, it seems the first day of the week can be a huge downer. According to a recent British survey, nearly half of employees show up late to the office and then eke out a mere four hours labor. They’re not too happy either: Most don’t even smile until 11:16am! “After a lull in your routine, it takes time to readjust to your work environment and focus on the daily grind,” says Dr. Sudeepta Varma, from the New York University Langone Medical Centre (US). To avoid coming down with a case of the Mondays, go for an early-morning run, tune into songs with a lively beat during your commute, and schedule lunch with a friend.

On the ball

Want to empty that overfilled inbox in record time? Consider scheduling a regular action netball or soccer game with your friends first. A recent study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (US) showed that competitive athletes are better at juggling different mental task and have quicker reaction times both on and off the field than those who don’t play sport. Lead researcher Laura Chaddock explains that organized athletics, such as basketball and soccer, offer great cognitive training – you run and pass while avoiding opponents and keeping track of team-mates. Those skills, she says, apply just as well to everyday multitasking. In other words, you’ll be at the top of your game.

Bad = Good

Small amounts of trauma may help develop resilience. “Everybody’s heard the aphorism, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’” says Mark Seery, assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo (US). However, some research has suggested the best way to go through life is having nothing ever happen to you. But a study by Seery, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, found that people who experienced many traumatic events were more distressed in general – but people who had experience no negative life events had similar problems. The people with the best outcomes were those who’d experienced some negative events. “Just because something bad happened to someone doesn’t mean they’re doomed to be damaged from that point on,” he says.

A happier life after smoking

If you can’t imagine a life without cigarettes, it’s time to think again. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (US) have proven that smokers who successfully kick their habit will end up more satisfied and feel healthier than those who continue to smoke. According to this study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, long-term quitters scored higher on overall quality of life, health-related quality, positive emotions and had fewer stressors than those who continue to smoke. The quality of life measurements included: health, work, recreation, community, neighborhood, romantic, social and family relationships. Researchers pointed out that many smokers believe that if they stop smoking it will disrupt routines, interfere with relationships, and lead to loss of smoking-related pleasure. “Quitting is hard, but if you can actually do it, there are a lot of benefits that you might not have thought about,” says head of the study Professor Megan Piper. “If you thought you’d have more stress, that quitting would put more stress on your relationships, or that you’ll feel worse forever, that isn’t the case.”

Open wide: Share a yawn!

They’re infectious for all the right reasons, according to a new study. We’ve all been there – your best friend starts yawning and, soon enough, you follow suit. It’s undeniable that yawning is contagious, but new research suggests that it’s not only a symptom of fatigue or boredom, but can also be a sign of empathy. Researchers at the University of Pisa (Italy) analyzed 480 bouts of yawning and found that reciprocal yawns are more common when one is around family and friends. After considering factors that could have affected the time between a person’s yawn and an observer’s imitation, they found that social bond was key. Ivan Norscia, co-author of the study, explains that, “By re-enacting the mechanism, it’s like you share emotions.” The research, published in the journal PloS ONE, suggests that yawning back at a person with whom you have a connection shows your understanding of the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Norscia adds, “The rate of contagion was greatest in response to kin, then friends, then acquaintances, and lastly strangers.

A site for sad eyes

When you’re having a low day, it can feel as if nobody understands what you’re going through. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, give the simple but uplifting website imreallysad.com a chance to brighten up your day. It’s filled with instant-pick-me-up animal photographs (AnimLOLs) that users upload and create captions for. Have a giggle and a coo at the cookie-stealing rabbit, the trucker-cap koala and the baby otters, among others. Do it now!

Stack the Deck

Whether you’re gainfully employed or trying to re-enter the job market, experts say you should always be networking with personalized business cards in hand. “They help you stand out from the competition,” says Dan Schawbel, who’s been called “Gen-Y’s personal branding guru” and is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Best Future (Kaplan). “Plus, having a separate card prevents potential employers from calling or emailing you at work, which helps to keep your search on the down low.” Remember to include your full name, title, tagline or motto, email address, cell number, and social network handles and blog addresses (if you have them). Play your cards right and you might just land that dream job you’ve been yearning for!

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