12 Signs of Highly Sensitive People

12 SIGNS OF HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE

Being sensitive and caring is usually considered to be a good thing, but if you take it too far then it can end up turning your life into a living hell. This is because people who are over-sensitive often end up being diagnosed with many other debilitating conditions such as severe anxiety or paranoia. Here are the most common signs of being way too sensitive:

1. Your stress becomes real pain.

Inner anxiety can eventually develop into physical pain, such as headaches and stomach issues. Such symptoms may either be initiated from accumulated stress, from the suppression of negative thoughts or from a single incident that was especially traumatic.

2. You care about what others think.

Your anxiety over what others think of you applies to pretty much everyone you meet, not merely your friends and family. You may feel that people are analyzing your every move, when in reality your harshest critic is probably yourself.

3. You find it hard to accept critical feedback.

Whether it’s from your boss or your mom, negative feedback really seems to leave a huge impact on you. This is particularly important to be aware of since overly-sensitive people already struggle with their own perception of themselves, and such feedback could further aggravate symptoms.

4. You feel discomfort in large crowds.

Huge crowds are often highly agitating for sensitive people, as too many things happening at once can overwhelm and exhaust. It goes without saying that such people would do best to avoid dense cities like New York and Miami, where emotions on the street are way too palpable.

5. You feel self-conscious in romantic encounters.

Even if you have been with the same person for quite a while, you still often let your anxiety get the better of you and end up questioning your partner’s every move. Every minor disagreement feels like the apocalypse, and you are frequently overwhelmed with emotion in the aftermath.

6. You often feel unhappy online.

Social media makes it all too easy to compare ourselves to others, and this often results in sensitive people feeling even more inadequate than they did before. This can weigh deeply on your mind until they end up affecting your day-to-day life. We’d recommend simply logging off and staying off if it makes you feel better.

7. Bad days impact your sleeping and eating habits.

Bad days turn into more than just a need to blow off some steam but may end up causing your anxiety to skyrocket, which in turn can affect your eating and sleeping habits. Usually, you end up focusing intensely on every bad aspect of the day, replaying scenes in your head until you realize that it’s been hours since your last meal!

8. You are easily startled by bright lights or loud noises.

Sensitive people are easily startled by bright lights, loud noises or anything else that is unexpected. Because of the need to feel prepared for everything, anything that shocks the system is highly frustrating and a cause for concern!

9. Group outings challenge you.

Group outings are challenging for sensitive individuals because leading a conversation or trying to win the attention of others seems to go against a sensitive person’s passive personality. After such outings, you feel drained and need to recharge your social batteries.

10. Driving is a nightmare.

If you’re a sensitive person, it’s very probable that you hate driving. While your road rage may not necessarily be aggressive, you have a tendency to be easily driven to fury when people cut you off. Rush hour is the largest stressor of all, as anxiety levels increase and your number of inhibitions disappear.

11. You get ‘hangry.’

After a few hours without eating, your hunger will consume your mind, causing you to act way more aggressively than is acceptable. You never meant those things you said when you were hungry, but now it’s way too late to unsay them.

12. There’s way too much drama in your life.

Your friends are always marveling at the amount of drama in your life. If you’re finding that your life is starting to resemble a never-ending soap opera, it could be because you often end up blowing most stories out of proportion due to your sensitive nature.

Navigate Empty Nest Effectively

NAVIGATE EMPTY NEST EFFECTIVELY

Family Life Radio

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. ─   Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Research shows that about 25 percent of people will experience Empty Nest Syndrome. A syndrome is really a collection of responses that come together to become a pattern or condition. Empty Nest is depressed and lonely feelings that come after your children leave home. Many parents admit that of all the transitions in life, empty nest can be the most difficult. We see an increase in divorce at this stage in life because the children have been the focus for decades.

Let’s look at four facts about the empty nest time:

  1. Life is made of seasons. Ecclesiastes 3 says, in everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven …. There’s a time to be born, there’s a time to die and there’s a time to build up and there’s a time to tear down.  There’s a time to raise children and there’s a time to let them go. 
  2. Empty nest is one of the many normal losses.  The word loss here is used because you’ve been investing in your children every day and now that looks different.
  3. Just because you have an empty nest today doesn’t mean you’re going to have an empty tomorrow.  Thirty-six percent of millennials are living at home again with their parents.
  4. Empty nests make room for buried issues to come to the surface. When the last child leaves home, those areas in marriage relationships are now exposed. 

Understanding that these challenges may come during this season can help you to navigate them more effectively.

Today’s One Thing

Talk about empty nest with your spouse or a close friend if you’re a single parent. Pray together and ask the Lord to help you understand the season you are in and how to prepare for the seasons ahead.

I’ve Picked My Job Over My Kids

I’VE PICKED MY JOB OVER MY KIDS

Lara Bazelon

I am a lawyer, a law professor and a writer. I am also a divorced mother of two young children. I’m often asked some version of: “How do you excel at work and be the best mother you can be?”

Every working mother gets this question, which presupposes that a “work-life balance” is achievable. It’s not. The term traps women in an endless cycle of shame and self-recrimination.

Like many women, I often prioritize my job. I do this because, as the head of a single-parent household, I’m the sole breadwinner. My ex-husband, who has joint custody, is an amazing father and my life would be impossible without him. Neither of us pays the other support.

My choice is more than a financial imperative. I prioritize my work because I’m ambitious and because I believe it’s important. If I didn’t write and teach and litigate, a part of me would feel empty.

In 2013, I was the trial lawyer on a case to free an innocent black man improbably named Kash Register. As a teenager in 1979, because of police and prosecutorial misconduct and witnesses who lied, he was condemned to serve life in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Thirty-four years later, he was still behind bars. Even though we had presented the district attorney’s office with what we believed was overwhelming evidence of my client’s innocence, it insisted on what was essentially a retrial in front of a judge.

At the time, my son was 4 and my daughter was 2. One month before the retrial started, I moved from San Francisco to a tiny apartment close to the courthouse in Los Angeles. I went long stretches without seeing my children. They were lovingly cared for by their father, their grandmother, my son’s preschool teacher and my daughter’s babysitter. When I would fly home, I was often not fully present. My client needed me more than my children did. So he got more of me. A lot more.

During these months, my son had a lot of questions. “Why are you gone so much?” “Why are you always on the phone talking about that guy with the funny name?” I explained what was at stake. The good guys are fighting the bad guys. If we lose, it means racism won and a man’s life was destroyed.

“Are you going to win?” he wanted to know.

“That’s my job,” I said.

I have missed meetings to take my kids to the park or a museum, and picked them up early to go to karate class. Recently, I turned down an offer to teach an extra class for a significant amount of money because I didn’t want to lose that time with them.

But there is always another client to defend, story to write or struggling student who just can’t wait. Here are things I have missed: my daughter’s seventh birthday, my son’s 10th birthday party, two family vacations, three Halloweens, every school camping trip. I have never chaperoned, coached or organized a school event.

Sometimes my choices make me sad. My daughter’s seventh birthday was the worst. She cried, and I did everything I could not to. I felt sick to my stomach. But I had a trial starting the next day, six hours away.

I had picked the date, not the judge, because I knew that the other side wasn’t ready. Delaying even a few days would have meant losing a crucial advantage. I wasn’t going to risk it knowing what was on the line for my client.

Of course, I sometimes feel doubt, shame and fear. I know I’m not a “normal” mom, because my kids tell me so. I remind myself that this does not make me a “bad mom.” I also remind myself that if I were a dad, I would be getting accolades for all the times I scheduled a doctor’s appointment or arranged a play date.

I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am prouder that I can support myself and my children. But sometimes I wonder if my choices will damage them.

In 2017, my son’s third-grade class had a midday Thanksgiving potluck. Driving back from court, I dashed into the Whole Foods, bought the first thing I saw — a loaf of lemon poppy seed poundcake — and rushed over to school. The room was full of mothers with a smattering of dads. I was the only person in a suit. I put the lemon poppy seed loaf on a table, next to another mother’s homemade stew. My son looked over at me and winced.

After the meal, it was time for presentations. Each child had been given a piece of orange paper shaped like a leaf with prompts to answer: “I appreciate my parents because” and “this helps me to.”

One by one, the children stood up and read what they had written. Many of them talked about how much they loved their moms, because they made them delicious food or gave them a safe place to live.

I grew uncomfortable as I listened, my smile frozen on my face. What on earth was my son going to say when it was his turn? That he lived in two different houses and routinely ate boiled hot dogs and chicken fingers while his mother told true crime stories? That he had once told me, politely, as we sat down to dinner, “Mom, I think you forgot the vegetable”?

My son was one of the last children to speak. He stood up and, in a clear voice, said: “I appreciate my parents for being lawyers because they get people out of jail. This really helps me reflect, do the right thing and have positive role models.”

He looked over at me, the barest hint of a smile on his face. I wanted to leap out of my pint-size chair, raise my fists in the air and yell, “That’s my boy.” I have his orange leaf on the wall in my office. Sometimes I look over at it when I’m working late at night.

I hope my kids get it. I think they do. I love them beyond all reason, and their existence gives my life profound meaning. And I have the same feelings about my job.

The Role of Spouses in Making Decisions

THE ROLE OF SPOUSES IN MAKING DECISIONS

Os Hillman

“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

When John Benson decided to make some financial investments in a new business venture, he was very excited about the possibilities for a handsome financial return. His business and financial background had served him well. John felt strongly that his wife Jenny would not understand the complexity of his investment, so he casually mentioned it to her. When she asked a few simple questions, John became defensive and justified his plans for investing in the venture.

A year later, after investing a large sum of money, John received a phone call from the investment company. All the investors who had put money in the company were going to lose their investment with no ability to recoup it.

This story could be retold repeatedly across the world. God’s principles for making decisions require input from both spouses, regardless of their level of expertise. If you are not married, make sure you seek wisdom from a few close associates you know and trust.

God has called married couples to be one. If we seek to make decisions independently, then we benefit from only 50% of the intended resource God has placed within our grasp. In marriage this stewardship of decisions requires two people. God blesses this union by honoring the decisions made with the motive of glorifying God and relying on His Spirit to lead in our decision-making process.

Before you make a major decision, get confirmation for your decision from your spouse.

25 Lessons You Will Appreciate When You’re Ready for a Simpler Life

25 LESSONS YOU WILL APPRECIATE WHEN YOU’RE READY FOR A SIMPLER LIFE

Angel Chernoff

When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting. Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter that makes it complicated.

It’s time to focus on what matters, and let go of what does not.

For almost a decade now, Marc and I have been learning to do just that—live a simpler life.

Not simpler as in “meager.” Simpler as in “meaningful.”

We’ve been working on eliminating many of life’s complexities so we’re able to spend more time with people we love and do more activities we love. This means we’ve been gradually getting rid of mental and physical clutter, and eliminating all but the essential, so we’re left with only that which gives us value.

Our overarching goal is living a life uncluttered by most of the things people fill their lives with, leaving us with space for what truly matters. A life that isn’t constant busyness, rushing and stress, but instead contemplation, creation and connection with people and projects we love.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we have zero clutter and complications. We’re human and living in the real world with everyone else. We have a home, possessions, computers, gadgets, distractions and occasional busyness. But we have reduced it to make space.

Today, after finishing up a call with a new course student who’s working diligently to simplify various aspects of her life and business, I’ve been reflecting on this simpler life Marc and I have created for ourselves, and I thought I’d share some of these reflections with you.

Some lessons I’ve learned about living a simpler life:

  1. A simpler life is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. Thus, you are wealthy in proportion to the number of unnecessary things you can afford to live without.
  2. Simplifying is not merely seeing how little you can get by with, but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a difference and mean the most to you.
  3. Besides the art of getting things done, there is the often-forgotten art of leaving things undone. The simplicity and efficiency of life relies heavily on the elimination of non-essentials.
  4. Overcommitting is the biggest mistake most people make against living a simpler life. It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the day with to-do list tasks or distractions. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space.
  5. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are so many activities that sound fun and exciting. We check Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and see what others are doing and immediately want to add these things to our lives. But before you let these new ideas get the best of you, remember that by adding too many things to your life, you are subtracting space. And that space is vital to focusing on what matters most.
  6. Distractions are both more tempting and more damaging than we realize. When we fill our lives with distractions, its often because we’re scared of what life might be like without constant social media, TV, video games, snacks, chats, music, etc. Don’t numb yourself with noise. Don’t let distractions hold you back. Control your distractions before your distractions control you.
  7. You can’t live a simpler life if you’re unwilling to change and let go of what you’re used to.
  8. Priorities don’t get done automatically. You have to make time for what’s important to you: time with your significant other, time with your kids, time for creating, time for learning, time for exercise, etc. Push everything else aside to make time. By saying no to more things that sound really exciting, you get to say yes to more of what’s truly important.
  9. Rising earlier helps. A quiet, unrushed morning routine is a gift to treasure. (I awake early so that I have quiet time to read, write, and practice a gratitude meditation.)
  10. Letting go of old routines and habits and building new ones can be hard, but it’s easier if you do a 30-day challenge. Let go of something for 30 days and see how it affects your life. (Letting go of cable TV was one of the best decisions Marc and I made a few years back—no more continuous, distracting noise in our home, and no more advertisements for stuff we don’t need.)
  11. Buying more stuff doesn’t solve our problems. Neither does more snack food or another TV program.
  12. Shopping isn’t a hobby, and it certainly isn’t therapy. It’s a waste of time and money, and inevitably leads to a cluttered life.
  13. When we travel lightly, we’re freer, less burdened, and less stressed. This applies to traveling through life too, not just traveling through an airport.
  14. It’s not how many, or how few, things we own that matters. It’s whether we make those things count. Thus, it’s better to have three good books on your bookshelf that you’re actually going to read rather than 300 you never get around to.
  15. Decluttering your physical space can lead to a less cluttered mental space. These visual distractions pull on us and distract us in more ways than we often realize. 
  16. Overthinking is one of the most rampant sources of stress and mental clutter. The key is to realize that the problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.
  17. Positivity always pays off in simplifying outcomes. So before you waste it on anger, resentment, spite or envy, think of how precious and irreplaceable your time is.
  18. Stay out of other people’s drama. And don’t needlessly create your own.
  19. A simpler, more positive mindset can be created anytime and anyplace with a change in thinking. Because frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress evaporates.
  20. The simplest secret to happiness and peace in the present is letting every circumstance be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.
  21. Gratitude always makes life easier to deal with. Because happiness comes easier when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.
  22. Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along. Waste not a minute on outcomes you can’t control.
  23. There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. 
  24. The truth—your truth—is always the simplest path forward. If you listen closely to your intuition you will always know what is best for you, because what is best for you is what is true for you.
  25. The feeling you get from doing something important (and true) is far better and less stressful than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were doing it.

Afterthoughts

For the cynics out there who might say the list of lessons above is too long to be “simpler,” there are really only two steps to simplifying:

  • Identify what’s most important to you.
  • Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

Of course, that advice is not terribly useful unless you understand how to apply it to various areas of your life… which is why I gave you the lessons above.

13 Untold Sex Secrets You Need To Know

13 UNTOLD SEX SECRETS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Kayla Kissinger

Is there more to sexual intimacy than meets the eye? Use these 13 untold sex secrets to understand sexual intimacy better and get better at it too.

The idea of sexual intimacy changes all the time for us.

At one point in life, we’re craving for it.

And at another point, we’re feigning headaches to avoid it.

You’d see this kind of behavior in many relationships.

At the beginning, you can’t keep your hands off your lover no matter where you are.

But as the relationship grows, sex can start to feel more like a chore if you haven’t created ways to make sex feel more exciting.

The untold sex secrets you need to know

Firstly, sex isn’t a secret. It’s natural and as humans, we’ve been doing it for a very long time. But rewind back a few thousand years, and you’d see that humans weren’t really monogamous.

As time passed by, we’ve understood the benefits of monogamy and society has engrained into our minds that monogamy works out better for us in the long run.

Loneliness and lack of emotional intimacy versus lots of sex, which would you prefer?

Sex isn’t a secret, but the ways to ensure that sex stays exciting in a monogamous relationship, well, that’s definitely a secret worth knowing, wouldn’t you say?

There are some couples who always seem to have the perfect relationship with the perfect sex life, and then, there are most others who have a really hard time staying happy in one.

The biggest sex secret you need to know is the recipe for perfect romance. And it needs just two ingredients, unconditional love and lustful passion.

If you can truly love each other AND stay sexually attracted to each other even after several years of marriage or dating each other, you’re definitely in the right path.

13 sex secrets to a better sex life

Staying in love is easy if you’re a compatible couple that understands each other perfectly. But getting intensely attracted to each other sexually a few years into the relationship, well, that’s definitely the hard part.

If you ever choose to indulge in a day-to-day chore or a mundane hobby over having sex with your partner, you need to give it a serious thought. What could start off as a small excuse to avoid sex could turn into voluntary abstinence over time.

If you want to have a great sex life and keep the sizzle of sexual attraction alive in your relationship, even years after lying in the same bed with each other, you need to understand these 13 sex secrets.

These sex secrets will help you understand what it takes to feel sexy, and keep your partner interested in you, and give you the perfect romance that will be envied by other couples.

#1 Sex isn’t all physical attraction but… It’s been said that romantic sex isn’t all about physical appearances, but we all know that good looks can increase the sex appeal by a long way. Work out and try to look better for each other. The fitter you look, the sexier you’d look and feel, and that’ll definitely increase your sex appeal and make you a better lover too.

#2 Attention makes you sexy. The more you’re admired by other members of the opposite sex, the more your partner will sexually desire you and stay interested in you. Attention from the opposite sex always has this effect on our partners.

In a long term relationship, both partners would start to take each other’s sex appeal for granted. After all, when something’s easily accessible, it’s easy to overlook its value. But when your partner is standing in a crowd and getting everyone’s attention, that’s when you’d realize just how awesome and sexy your partner truly is.

#3 Regular sex is monotonous sex. Sex always gets monotonous and boring if you don’t try something new every now and then. Sex isn’t just about penetration. It’s what you do with each other before, during and after sex that makes lovemaking feel more special.

#4 Talking is sexy. When two lovers talk about sex, it helps each other understand the other partner’s desires and expectations better. Talking about sex even when you’re not having sex is always great for the relationship. So don’t be a prude, speak up and your sex will only get better.

#5 Hide your sexy bits. Don’t be naked all the time in front of your partner. The more you walk around naked in the bedroom when you’re not getting intimate, the more both of you will end up sexually desensitized.

If you’re out at a party, and unexpectedly see a flash of your partner’s skin, doesn’t it turn you on? Create the same sexual excitement in bed. Dress up and don’t reveal it all at once.

#6 Missionary rules. The missionary position is the most comfortable and the most intimate of sex positions. Evolution has taught us to have sex while facing each other, and that’s something very few species can do. Use it to build the romantic connection, but every now and then, try to vary the positions.

If one of you feels like a position is uncomfortable, try something else. You never know how a new position could feel until you try something new now and then.

#7 Sexy imagination. Whether you accept it or not, your mind would definitely stray while having sex with your partner. It’s obviously not easy to just stare into each other’s eyes for a good half an hour with a blank head. Instead of hiding your thoughts while making love, talk about it. Exploring each other’s imagination in bed is a sexy rush that’ll make sex a lot more exciting and lustful.

Have an active imagination, read and watch porn, and talk about your fantasies. It’ll bring back that spark you’re craving for, and each time a fantasy gets boring, talk about something new!

#8 Sex is happiness. Having sex regularly makes you a happy person. Just like working out or shopping, sex too stimulates the release of endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. Sex can relieve a headache, eliminate stress, and make you feel calmer and more confident at an interview. So instead of avoiding sex when you’re stressed, indulge in it. It’ll make you and your partner feel better and bond better too.

#9 Men and women and the way they look at sex. Men and women just don’t look at lovemaking the same way. Men are visual creatures that are aroused by what they see physically, while women are more aroused by emotional intimacy and what they hear and feel while making love.

#10 Drunk sex. Intoxicants like alcohol can at times be the biggest aphrodisiacs. Alcohol in small amounts reduces inhibition, which makes you open up more and feel relaxed while getting undressed in the company of another person.

Alcohol consumption in males reduces the testosterone levels which reduces their libido proportionally to the alcohol they consume. On the other hand, alcohol consumption increases the testosterone levels in women. For most women, increase in alcohol consumption creates an increase in sexual satisfaction during orgasms.

#11 Dress up and look sexy. Look your best around your partner instead of dressing down in frayed overalls all the time. If you can do that right, there’s a good chance that your partner won’t cheat on you.

Here’s the reason why. If you find someone sexually attractive, you’d find it very hard to lie to them or do something that may offend them. So instead of hiring a private eye or suffocating your partner into staying loyal to you, just ensure that your partner still finds you sexually attractive.

#12 Foreplay is a big part. The longer the foreplay, the more intense the orgasms and the pleasure both of you experience. So the next time both of you are under the sheets, don’t go straight for the big act. Take your time to warm up, and the sex will last a lot longer. And good foreplay can even help a man who’s having a hard time staying up stay up for longer.

#13 True love doesn’t define a perfect romance. True love is not the same as intense sexual attraction. This is the biggest sex secret that can quash a lot of misconceptions about romantic relationships. Experiencing true love will not give you the perfect relationship. True love is love. But a perfect relationship needs more. It needs love and lust to be successful.

When you’re in a relationship, don’t just hold hands and walk down a street and assume you’re in the perfect romance. Push your partner against a wall now and then and make out too. Well, then you’d definitely have the perfect blend of love and lust, the perfect ingredients for romantic love.

Remember these 13 sex secrets and use them in your relationship. And don’t ever let sexual intimacy stagnate in a relationship, because a perfect relationship needs more than just love to stay perfect. It needs a good dose of passionate sex too.

How Important is Sex in a Relationship? The Truth Revealed

HOW IMPORTANT IS SEX IN A RELATIONSHIP? THE TRUTH REVEALED

Bella Pope

If you’ve been wondering just how important is sex in a relationship, these twelve truths might shock you and make you jump under the sheets.

Sex has been the driving force of relationships for as long as we know. Sure, two people can be together without sex occurring, but the whole point of being in a relationship *for human survival, anyway* is to procreate. So on that level, the question on how important is sex in a relationship answers itself. Well, you can’t exactly make babies without having sex, now can you?

But what about the other, non-procreation needs? Human existence pushes us toward sexual relationships more so than any other kind of relationship. So sex must be pretty damn important in a relationship.

Benefits of sex

Sex isn’t just for the purpose of making babies. There are actually many health benefits associated with sex too. My boyfriend knows how much of a health nut I am, so he frequently uses these reasons to get me into bed and making love to him.

Your immune system actually strengthens the more sex you have. Not only that, but your heart also benefits from the increased blood flow of exercise. It has even been proven to increase self-esteem and other mental health concerns.

How important is sex in a relationship?

Sure, sex may be healthy for our bodies, but how vital is it for your relationship? Is it something we can all go without and still be in a happy and healthy relationship? Or is it the driving force in a relationship that can mean the difference between happiness and misery?

The truth is, sex is extremely important in most relationships. There are SO many reasons that couples should keep a healthy and active sex life in order to maintain a happy relationship. These are the reasons sex is so vital in relationships everywhere.

#1 It keeps you connected. One of the major reasons couples end up straying from one another is because they no longer feel a connection with them. This is largely due to the fact they don’t have sex frequently enough.

Sex connects two people and allows you to bond with them in ways nobody else can. Sex becomes extremely important in a relationship for this reason.

#2 It encourages communication. When you sexually open up to someone you also open up to them emotionally. When you have frequent sex, you allow yourself to be open and honest with your partner. This encourages communication. and we all know how much bad communication hinders a relationship.

#3 It reduces stress levels. I think the worst thing about being around my boyfriend when he’s stressed is how quickly he becomes irritated. This leads to arguments, and those arguments can turn into full-blown fights.

By have regular sex you’re reducing stress for each other. You keep your stress levels low enough to make the relationship happy and healthy. The next time your partner is feeling stressed, help them relax!

#4 It boosts feelings of being appreciated. Those who feel unappreciated in a relationship have a tendency to seek that appreciation elsewhere. In other words, unhappy partners leave if they don’t feel very appreciated. Having sex with them frequently is basically your way of telling them how much you appreciate them.

#5 Helps you sleep better. I, for one, love nothing more than taking a nice long nap after having sex or even passing out for the night right after a great romp in the sheets. Sex helps you sleep better! When I have been sleeping great I’m usually in a much better mood. Something that helps stave off frequent arguments.

#6 Higher self-esteem. I love anything making me feel better about myself. Sex definitely does this. When you feel secure in yourself you also feel secure in your relationship.

Higher self-esteem means you aren’t as jealous, and you won’t require a ridiculous amount of attention from your significant other. Both of which often lead to the demise of a healthy relationship quickly.

#7 Keeps the relationship from drying up. By ”drying up,” I simply mean that relationships get boring from time to time. If you don’t have sex this will happen much faster. When someone is bored they usually look somewhere else for entertainment, and this could mean away from you if your sex life isn’t top-notch.

Don’t let your relationship get so boring and predictable. Keep your partner engaged with some fun, hot, freaky sex, and they’ll never look elsewhere again. Sex can save your relationship from ending simply because it’s fun.

#8 Keeps you healthy. I don’t know about any of you out there, but I HATE dealing with a sick boyfriend. He’s such a baby and gets really cranky all the time. A lot of our fights take place when he’s not feeling well.

One way to fix this and ensure you’re not breaking up because of silly fights is sex because it keeps you healthy. Your heart and immune system will be stronger than ever, just like your relationship.

#9 Gives you two something fun to do! There’s nothing like staying in on a weekend night wrapped around each other and forgetting about the world. Having sex is important in a relationship because it gives the two of you something productive to do instead of getting into arguments.

#10 Helps you get to know your partner better. I have found out more about my boyfriend from having sex with him than anything else we’ve ever done together. The reason for this is because having sex leaves you vulnerable.

When someone is vulnerable they’re much easier to read, and they’re more willing to share information about themselves that they otherwise might keep hidden inside. This is important in your relationship because knowing your partner better leaves you well-equipped to deal with any downfalls.

#11 It gives you time for each other. Alone time is EXTREMELY vital in a relationship. You have to be able to get time with just the two of you and that can be difficult depending on your situation.

When you have sex you’re taking exclusive time to just be with each other. You’re getting rid of any distractions and just being in each other’s embrace and strengthening the relationship you have.

#12 It helps you remember why you love each other. Whenever I have sex with my boyfriend, no matter how many times or how long it’s been, I’m always transported back to the first time we did it and how much happiness I felt for him.

Sex is so important in a relationship because you remember why you love each other. You go to a place where there’s nothing else to think about except for them and how much you care about them.

As you can see, having a healthy sex life improves your relationship and keeps it really healthy for a long time. If you and your significant other are having some issues, try solving them with sex!

Emotional Connection: 8 Small Ways to Build a Happily Ever After

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION: 8 SMALL WAYS TO BUILD A HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Waverly Smith

Having an emotional connection with your partner builds intimacy and bonds you as a couple. These eight easy ways develop that intimate bond you crave.

New relationships leave your head spinning for more reasons than one. In fact, the thrill of new love leads to a lot of conflicting emotions. Butterflies in your stomach, nerves, flirty texts, and feeling that amazing sensation as your emotional connection slowly grows into something more. New relationships, am I right?

Opposites may attract with nothing in common, but an emotional connection is still an absolute must when it comes to keeping the fire alive in your relationship. So why is having an emotional connection so important? Sure, being ridiculously attracted to your crush doesn’t hurt either, but looks fade. An emotional connection? That sticks around.

Whether you’re in a new relationship or are rekindling one you’ve been in for years, we’re looking at eight ways to create an emotional connection with your partner.

Do’s and don’ts of creating an emotional connection

When it comes to creating a bond with your new love, there are definitely some guidelines to live by. If you’re trying to create an emotional connection in a new relationship, here are some dos and don’ts you might want to consider.

#1 Bond over interests and experiences. Easier said than done, right? This may not be an issue for couples who both enjoy working out, playing video games, watching sports, and cooking together.

But what about the rest? If you and your mate are truly opposites, try bonding over something new together. *Think: wine/painting nights, traveling together, bungee jumping, escape rooms, or skinny dipping!* Not only will this experience of sharing something new together create fun memories, but it also bonds you emotionally.

Don’t believe us? The Association for Psychological Science did a study of 23 female college students who were asked to sample chocolate. First with a partner and the second time alone. The findings revealed when the girls were in pairs they reported enjoying the chocolate more than when they were chomping down solo.

#2 Don’t be shallow. It’s easy to feel like you have chemistry with someone who you’re physically attracted to. That said, don’t be overly shallow with your partner. Yeah, they’re good looking, but that doesn’t make a lasting relationship. Go beyond the superficial and get to know your new partner deep down. This helps you build an emotional connection to who they are, not what they look like.

#3 Have sex! We really don’t have to give you the list as to why sex is awesome for your relationship, but we’re going to anyway. Having sex is a stress reliever, it’s fun, it releases feel-good endorphins, it lowers blood pressure, burns calories, and not to mention… sex is a fantastic way to create an emotional connection.

This is because of that ever talked about super-drug, oxytocin! This little hormone releases from the brain and creates a bond of love and trust between partners. Interestingly, Dr. Daniel Amen suggests in his book that this limbic, emotional bonding is part of the reason friends with benefits never works. The bond has already begun!

#4 Don’t take without giving. We’ve all had that one friend or partner who only calls you up so they can talk about themselves, their lives, and their problems. Two hours later you hang up the phone and realize you’ve barely said a word! It’s exhausting. The lesson? You want your partner to feel uplifted by you. This creates an emotional connection, and they view you as someone who is giving, not draining.

#5 Share in spirituality. Psychology Today suggests adding spirituality into your relationship creates an extra layer of love, kindness, and respect. Whether you have your own religion or not, bringing a form of spirituality you are comfortable with adds a whole new level of emotional bonding into your relationship.

Reading the Bible together and applying its principles regarding marriage, praying together, asking one another what you believe are the answers to life’s biggest questions *what happens when you die, how did we get here, etc.* and indulging in the spirituality of nature and grand sights creates a heavenly emotional connection.

#6 Don’t fight dirty. Purposely pushing your partner away when you’re fighting is a surprisingly common reaction to a fight. Emotionally disconnecting as a form of punishment to your partner is not only unhealthy, it falls under the ‘fighting dirty’ category.

Name calling, low-blows, and physical reactions can be deadly to a relationships well-being. Avoid tarnishing your emotional connection by keeping the lines of communication open.

#7 Talk, talk, talk! Bonding over activities and common interests are a great start, but the strongest emotional connection is built by getting to know your partner and talking to one another on a daily basis. Whether you’re talking about your favorite memories, personal opinions, or what flavor of chip you could really go for right about now, talking regularly creates a strong bond on an intellectual and emotional level.

#8 Show your love. The simple answer? People like to be liked. One way to bond with someone is by making them feel loved, special, and not to mention S-P-O-I-L-E-D. And we don’t mean with dollar bills. Lavishing attention on your crush and showing them you think they’re one in a million is going to make all the difference in creating an emotional connection with your special someone.

Some examples of showing your love in little ways to your partner include:

– Celebrating one another’s successes
– Ask about your partner on a daily basis *”How was your day?” “What are you up to?”*
– Regularly text one another
– Let your partner know when you think about them throughout the day
– Create inside jokes together
– Expressing your attraction for your partner
– Showing forgiveness

Creating an emotional connection with your crush or partner shouldn’t be hard. We hope with these tips and tricks you’ll be one step closer to building an emotional connection with your honey-bunny.

It’s Us Against a Particle of Dust

IT’S US AGAINST A PARTICLE OF DUST

Maggie O’Farrell

To raise a child with additional needs is to inhabit a different country from those around you. You will have your own customs, rules, rituals, habits, mores and vocabulary. People may visit, but they will never truly know what it is to live within the border.

During our time inside this country, my husband and I have developed our own code. It’s a language only we understand.

By and large, we are very different people, he and I. Will loves jazz and sports, in that order; I am highly averse to both, to the point of despair. He’s a Londoner, born and bred; I grew up in a series of small Celtic towns that he would find unthinkably claustrophobic and scant on good coffee. I wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without finessing every detail of my outfit, even if I’m going to the corner shop; he would wear a paint-stained, fraying, decades-old sweatshirt to a party, if I didn’t stop him.

Nevertheless, we share this secret language, which we use every couple of weeks or so, sometimes more. We can conduct conversations in it entirely without words, so that no one else around us knows we are communicating or what we are saying. It is an argot evolved from necessity, from desperation, from love.

We were on a bus recently with our three children. It was late, it was snowing, everyone was tired and the bus was crowded. I was squeezed on one seat with my two youngest children. Will and our eldest were strap-hanging in the aisle.

From behind us came a noise: a crackling, rustling, splitting, then a specific crunch-crunch-crunch. My head spun round on my neck, as did Will’s. We took in our fellow passenger and his snack for a split second before I shot from my seat, hustling my daughters ahead of me, locking eyes with Will.

And so began our wordless conversation.

He tilted his head, meaning, “Is that person eating nuts in the same airspace as our daughter?”

I narrowed my eyes, which meant, “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

He frowned, to say, “Don’t let her breathe in until we get off the bus.”

I shrugged, implying, “Don’t worry, I won’t.”

We ushered our baffled, uncomprehending children off the bus and into the snow, miles from home.

I realize this sounds like a deranged thing to do, so let me explain. When our middle daughter was quite young, we learned that she had an immune disorder. Born with chronic eczema, she was distressed and uncomfortable every minute of every day and didn’t sleep through the night until she was 6.

She is prone to sudden and severe infections. She is allergic to a long list of things, some of which can tip her into life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Just the inhalation of a single particle of nut dust could kill her within 10 minutes. Life, for her, is a series of dangers, strung together, one after another, like beads on a thread.

So our family exists in a state of high alert. Will and I must constantly be thinking about how best to protect her — as well as trying to minimize the impact of her condition on her siblings. From the moment she wakes to the moment she goes to sleep, we are engaged in a waltz with peril. We are trained in resuscitation, in emergency medical action plans, in auto-adrenaline injection.

We never leave the house without her medication. We taught her brother, age 7, how to dial for an ambulance and to say: “This is an emergency case of anaphylaxis.”

Her condition and all its attendant cares is what makes up our secret language, its grammar, its vocabulary, its punctuation. This daily battle on behalf of our daughter is the semantics of our silent communication, which runs on an invisible wire stretched between the two of us, at all hours of the day.

Wherever we are, whatever we are doing — working, having meetings, taking phone calls, watching films, eating with friends — this issue will be there, at the forefront of our minds. It runs through us like mica through granite.

In the interest of full disclosure, the above is the expurgated version of our relationship, edited to make us sound like virtuous and unified parents. The truth is that he and I can also argue like fiends. He is mulishly stubborn and I am unfailingly volatile. He is a stickler, a rationalist, and I have been known to throw things, while not exactly at him, then near him.

We are both exhaustively lexical people; we can dispute the ideal method to cook scrambled eggs for a startling length of time, the subject spiraling outward to encompass other extraneous flaws, neither of us willing to give way. His constant music and iPhone habit can tip me over the edge; my stockpiles of shoes by the front door and penchant for constantly rearranging furniture infuriate him.

There is, however, a sense of solidarity between us on this one issue. We never argue about how best to take care of our daughter, not because we always agree — far from it — but because we know we need to channel every atom of energy into protecting her and her siblings. Family life can be fraught at the best of times, but if one of you suffers a complex medical condition, it is something that affects all of you; every member of the household must face the stress and challenges.

Last winter, Will and I were in the throes of a disagreement that had lasted for more than two days. We whispered furiously at each other when we were alone; we shot dark and freighted looks across rooms; we sent each other long, vexed text messages.

I forget, now, what exactly we were feuding over. Probably some minor domestic detail. All I do know is that the moment my daughter started to feel unwell at the dinner table, the argument that had been so all consuming evaporated, like steam. By the time her throat had swollen and she was losing consciousness, we were assuming our roles, running seamlessly through our well-rehearsed action plan: I administered the adrenaline, he called the ambulance; I raised her legs, sending the blood back toward her heart; he cleared her siblings from the room.

What I’m saying is this: If you are a couple raising a child who for whatever reason — physical, mental, neurological, immunological — requires you to go the extra distance, there will be stress. Enormous stress. You will be tested in every way, beyond limits you didn’t even know existed.

Under these circumstances, you must not, in the smoke and noise and welter of the battlefield, mistake your partner for the enemy. You have to recognize that they are coming out of the same trench as you; they are facing the same enemy.

It’s crucial, when you are under fire, that you don’t lose your head and discharge your weapons at them. Because no one else will understand your situation, the rules of your tiny country, like they do; even your closest friends, sisters and parents won’t have seen you at your lowest ebb.

It is Will who has seen me cry after Googling side effects and survival rates and medical statistics. It is he who has taken the keyboard out of my hands and said, “Enough.” Only he knows, really, how many times a night I got out of bed and applied emollient and wrappings and bandages to my daughter’s skin. Only he knows how little sleep I got. Only he has witnessed my frustration and grief at the cruel ignorance of others.

It is he who has sat with me, beside her hospital bed, his hand gripping mine. Only he, among all my acquaintances, comprehends what it is like to witness our child sink into the clutches of anaphylaxis, to see the color drain from her face, to watch her features swell, to hear her breath rattle and strain, to wait by the door, holding her, desperately listening for the spiraling wail of the approaching ambulance.

So, yes, we can fight like preschoolers about jazz and shoes and sofas and when, in the cooking of scrambled eggs, is the optimum time to put in the butter. Maybe we need to. Maybe these are the small radiator keys that need to be inserted into our marriage in order to drain off the excess steam that builds and fizzes inside its structure.

When it counts — when it’s a situation of life or death — all that stuff and strife is forgotten. The secret code kicks in, and I know one thing: He and I will stand, teeth bared, between death and our daughter, unquestionably united, saying, Get back, get away. You’re not having her. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not any time soon.

8 Little Wake-Up Calls You Need to Receive Before it’s Too Late

8 LITTLE WAKE-UP CALLS YOU NEED TO RECEIVE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

Marc Chernoff

You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing. Be thankful for the lessons. Take them and make the best of things right now.

For my 18th birthday, many moons ago, my grandfather on my mom’s side gave me four lightly-used flannel shirts that he no longer needed. The shirts were barely worn and in great shape; my grandfather told me he thought they would look great on me. Unfortunately, I thought they were odd gifts at the time and I wasn’t thankful. I looked at him skeptically, gave him a crooked half-smile, and moved on to the other gifts sitting in front of me. My grandfather died two days later from a sudden heart attack. The flannel shirts were the last gifts he ever gave me, and that crooked half-smile was the last time a directly acknowledged him. Today, I still regret the little thing I didn’t say when I had the chance: “Thank you Grandpa. That’s so thoughtful of you.”

This was a huge wake-up call for me—one that has served me well for over two decades now.

And here are eight wake-up calls for you—some important lessons worth learning before it’s too late:

1. You might not have tomorrow to say, “I love you.”

About a decade ago a coworker of mine died in a car accident. During his funeral several people from the office were in tears, saying kind things like: “I loved him. We all loved him so much. He was such a wonderful person.” I started crying too, and I wondered if these people had told him that they loved him while he was alive, or whether it was only with death that this powerful word, love, had been used without question or hesitation.

I vowed to myself then and there that I would never again hesitate to speak up to the people I love and remind them of how much I appreciate them. They deserve to know they give meaning to my life. They deserve to know I think the world of them.

Bottom line: If you love someone today, tell them. If you appreciate someone today, tell them. There might not be a tomorrow. Today is the day to express your love and admiration. 

2. Your judgments of others are often inaccurate.

You will never know exactly what another person is going through or what their whole story is. When you believe you do, realize that your assumptions about their life are in direct relation to your limited perspective.

Many people you believe to be successful are extremely unhappy. Many people you think have it easy worked their tail off achieve what they have. Many people who appear to be wealthy are in debt because of their extravagant tastes for material possessions. Many people who appear to you to be old and uncool were once every bit as young and hip and inexperienced as you.

3. Not trying is why most people fail.

It’s not the mistakes and failures you have to worry about, it’s the opportunities you miss when you don’t even try that hurt you the most. Trying always leads to success regardless of the outcome. Even mistakes and failures teach you what not to do next time. Thus, every outcome is a lesson that makes you stronger and wiser.

In the end, there’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the failure to try. The results you achieve are not based on what you plan to do or what you say you’ll do. Your results come from what you actually try and do consistently.

Your life will get better when you get better. Start investing in yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Make it a priority to learn and grow every day by building positive rituals and sticking to them. The stronger you become, the better your life will feel.

4. Patience does not mean waiting and doing nothing.

Patience involves productive activity. It means doing your very best with the resources available to you, while understanding that the results you seek are worth the required time and effort, and not available elsewhere for any less time and effort.

Patience is the realization that the quality of your life is much more significant than the quantity of things you fill it with. Patience is your willingness to accept and appreciate what you have right now, while you put forth a steady, focused effort into growing toward your dreams and goals.

5. You don’t need anything more to be happy.

Intuitively, you already know that the best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all, and that relationships, experiences and meaningful work are the staples of a happy, fulfilling life. Yet you live in a consumer driven society where your mind is incessantly subjected to clever advertising ploys that drive you, against your better judgment, to buy material goods you don’t need or even want.

At a certain point, the needless material objects you buy crowd out the emotional needs advertisers would like you to believe they are meant to support. So next time you’re getting ready to make an impulsive purchase, ask yourself if this thing is really better than the things you already have. Or have you been momentarily tricked into believing that you’re dissatisfied with what you already have? 

6. You aren’t perfect, and neither is anyone else.

All humans are imperfect. At times, the confident lose confidence, the patient misplace their patience, the generous act selfish, and the knowledgeable second guess what they know.

And guess what? You’re human—we all are. We make mistakes, we lose our tempers, and we get caught off guard. We stumble, we slip, and we spin out of control sometimes.

But that’s the worst of it; we all have our moments. Most of the time we’re remarkable. So stand beside the people you love through their trying times of imperfection, and offer yourself the same courtesy; if you aren’t willing to, you don’t deserve to be around for the perfect moments either.

7. All the little things make a big difference.

Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment. It’s about the trials and errors that get you there—the blood, sweat, and tears—the small, inconsequential things you do every day. It all matters in the end—every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction.

The seemingly useless happenings add up to something. The minimum wage job you had in high school. The evenings you spent socializing with coworkers you never see anymore. The hours you spent writing thoughts on a personal blog that no one reads. Contemplations about elaborate future plans that never came to be. All those lonely nights spent reading novels and news columns and comics strips and fashion magazines and questioning your own principles on life and sex and religion and whether or not you’re good enough just the way you are.

All of this has strengthened you. All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had. All of this has made you who you are today.

Truth be told, you’ve been broken down a 1,000 times and put yourself back together again. Think about how remarkable that is, and how far you’ve come. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even yesterday. You’re always growing… stronger!

8. Excuses are lies.

Make no mistake, there is always a lie lingering in between a dream and too many excuses. And the lie is you lying to yourself.

The excuses and explanations won’t do you any good. They won’t add any value to your life or improve the quality of it by even the slightest margin. To fulfill your calling and get where you wish to go in life requires more than just thinking and talking. These feats require focused and sustained action. And the good news is, you’re perfectly capable of taking whatever actions are necessary. You just have to choose to actually do it.

No one else can succeed for you on your behalf. The life you live is the life you build for yourself. There are so many possibilities to choose from, and so many opportunities for you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Now is the moment to actually step forward.

Now, it’s your turn…

Today, I hope you will have another inspired day, that you will dream boldly and dangerously, that you will make some progress that didn’t exist before you took action, that you will love and be loved in return, and that you will find the strength to accept and grow from the troubles you can’t change. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and wisdom in this crazy world), that you will, when you must, be wise with your decisions, and that you will always be extra kind to yourself and others.

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