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Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 Tips To Find Serenity In Your Busy Life

Stressed out?  Feeling stretched with too much to do?  Want to just escape from your life for a bit to a far away island for some peace and serenity?  
I have learned from years of meditation that some simple techniques help anchor us through difficult times and make the good times more enriching.
Here are some tips I have used to find serenity in my life:

1. "I AM" Breathing Exercise. You can do this any time, any place (even when you are stuck in traffic). Its a simple breathing exercise: every time you inhale, mentally say the word "I"; and every time you exhale, mentally say the word "AM." Pay attention to how the breath flows in and out of your body, and visualize the breath spreading from your lungs through your chest, down your arms and legs.  The "I AM" breathing exercise is meant to remind you that your true self is empowered, in control and creative - you not bound by your job title, your income, your age, your appearance or anything else.

2. Watch a video. 
Never underestimate the power of visual language to tap deeply into your subconscious to bring about a pure sense of happiness and inner peace. On Youtube and Vimeo, there are plenty of videos of ocean waves, falling rain, flower fields and other calming imagery that will be sure to bring an inner smile to your spirit.  Create your own library of images that soothe your soul.  Here is one that brings a smile to my face:

3. Practice the 3 C's. One of my favorite exercises growing up was practicing the 3 C's : no Criticizing, Condemning or Complaining.  Sometimes consciously changing your inner dialogue can have drastic results on how you see the world and interact with others. See if you can practice this exercise for one hour, or even better, one day.
4. Learn how to meditate. Meditation is one of the best lifelong skills you can give yourself for your longterm happiness and health. People who meditate regularly tend to be happier, live longer and lead healthier lives because they are better equipped to handle life's speed bumps and detours. Don't know where to start?

5. Anchor your thoughts with an intent. All action begins with an intention, whether consciously or subconsciously. So why not consciously make an intent that will pave the way for positive actions and greater happiness?
Whether your intent is abstract ("My intent is to be the change I wish to see in this world") or very specific ("My intent is to go to the gym today before dinnertime"), make a point to express it by writing it down or posting it on By making a point every single day to make an intention, you are taking control of the happy and productive life you want to lead.

How to Say "Goodbye" in Any Situation

There are plenty of ways to say goodbye, but it’s not always easy to know the right way to bid farewell to certain situations. It’s especially tricky when faced with things like a bad date, in-law visit or a party where you're making new acquaintances. To help navigate the tricky waters of social mores, we turned to etiquette experts for their tactful how-to exit strategies. Read on to learn a few rules that will ensure you always make a gracious departure.
Dinner with a Friend
First things first: If you’re exhausted or in a bad mood, it’s best to pass on the dinner date. “It’s your responsibility to contribute socially, even to a one-on-one dinner,” says K. Cooper Ray, founder of manners and style blog That said, if you’ve had a leisurely dinner and are tired—or have somewhere else to go—it’s best to tell your friend the truth. “This is when you can be the most real,” Ray says. “I always think that honesty is the best policy when it comes to situations with good friends.” However, Ray advises against pulling out your wallet as a signal that it’s time to pay the check. There should be a mutual exchange during which you both agree to end the meal. An ideal moment is when the waiter asks if you’d like dessert or another drink. Photo: Marc Oeder / Getty Images

Work Meeting
“The biggest mistake is to not have an agenda,” says etiquette and protocol expert Dorothea Johnson, founder of The Protocol School of Washington. She happily recalls a colleague’s style of running meetings: “He would say, ‘This meeting starts at 4 o'clock and ends at 5. You’re welcome to stay and enjoy the food afterward, but the meeting is officially over at 5.’ I practically fell in love with the man.” Johnson notes that if you are in charge of the meeting, it is your responsibility to maintain control, which includes taking a firm lead when it comes to wrapping things up in a timely manner. “Before adjourning, I always ask if anyone has anything else pertinent to the conversation to add, and make sure they’re clear on any next steps that need to be taken,” says Ray. “And then I thank the group for a productive meeting.” Photo: Comstock Images

New Acquaintance at a Social Event
Ray, who admits to being a social butterfly when it comes to cocktail parties—“if you put a GPS tracker on me, the trail would look like an insect flying around the room”—is well-versed in how to chat someone up and then elegantly say goodbye. “You’ve got to become adept at reading people’s demeanors if you’re going to be socially successful,” he says. “Are they fidgeting? Are their eyes glazed over? If they’re looking over your shoulder, that’s the biggest cue to me that they are ready to move on.” He suggests following a script such as this: “It was really good to meet and I hope to see you again very soon.” Before you leave, it doesn’t hurt to mention that you’re going to get a drink and offer to get them one, too. Photo: Thomas Jackson / Getty Images
Chatty Coworker
It’s nice to take a break and chat with friends at work, but it can be stressful when you’re ready to get back to your to-do list and they’re still recounting events from the weekend. “I tell my coworker, ‘I’m so happy we got to catch up, but I’d better get back to work or else I’ll be here until midnight,” says Patricia Rossi, etiquette and protocol coach and author of Everyday Etiquette. By blaming your looming pile of assignments, you won’t hurt your colleague’s feelings. Plus, you can both commiserate over how much you need to get done. If you’re worried that your worker-bee ways are putting you at risk of severing a friendship, suggest continuing the conversation over coffee or lunch at a later date, recommends Rossi. Photo: Clerkenwell / Getty Images

Heart-to-Heart with a Friend
“This is the price we pay for friendship,” says Ray. “No matter how draining it is to listen to a friend talk about a breakup over and over again, that’s the investment. As a friend, you have to be there in the tough times.” In other words: Grin and bear it. If you truly have somewhere else you have to be, explain your plans to your friend and arrange to reconnect when you’re free again. “Don’t ever leave them with the impression that you’re not there for them,” he says. Rossi recommends ending the emotion-filled session by reminding your friend about something you love about her: her laugh, her cooking skills—whatever it is that makes her shine.Photo: Clerkenwell / Getty Images

Bad First Date
If you’re on an awkward setup or dreadful first date, you owe it to your partner to stick around until the meal (or coffee or movie) is over. Beyond that, you shouldn’t feel any obligation to stay. According to Ray, when it comes to traditional etiquette rules, it’s the woman’s duty to signal when she’s ready to leave. So don’t be shy about saying something, like mentioning that you have an early meeting the next day. And though a quick hug or kiss on the cheek is a fairly harmless send-off, Ray admits that he doesn’t like assumed intimacy—nothing beyond a handshake is ever required. Photo: Ashley Jouhar / Getty Images

Run-In with an Ex
“Take the high road,” says Johnson. “The low road is so crowded.” Her favorite piece of advice is to always be cordial and say hello, but keep walking. You don’t owe an ex anything other than a friendly hello. No matter how things ended between the two of you, you shouldn’t feel obligated to have a lengthy conversation. Keep things short so that you won’t have to make a big deal of saying goodbye. Photo: Jupiterimages

Visit with Your In-Laws
According to Ray, this is when “you’re really at the mercy of your partner.” That’s why it’s best to create a plan with your spouse before the visit. For example, agree that you’ll stay for just one drink after dinner and be out the door at 10 p.m. “You can’t be the one who pipes up at dinner [wanting] to leave and acting as though you’re not absolutely thrilled to be there,” he says. When your agreed-upon departure time does arrive, Rossi suggests giving them a hug and kiss if that’s the norm, as well as thanking them for the activity you shared—the lovely dinner, wonderful concert or whatever you’ve just experienced together. Photo: PhotoAlto/Eric Audras /Getty Images

5 Sunburn Remedies You Should Try ASAP

We all know the drill: Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn-- and reapply frequently. But sometimes, we just forget. Or we fall asleep in the sun. Or we get caught up in a killer game of beach volleyball. 
For serious burns (i.e. blistering red skin), get to the doc STAT. But to get through the first 24 hours of a mild sunburn (read: no blisters) that stings and causes discomfort, we asked Skin Cancer Foundation spokeswoman Francesca Fusco for a few tips:

1.  Got milk? Make cold milk compresses by soaking a clean cloth in a bowl with equal parts milk, ice cubes and water. Then hold the cloth on the burned area for five minutes. Repeat three times. The fat, protein and pH of milk have a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. What's more, cold temperatures constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling.

2.  Take a pill! Aspirin acts as an anti-inflammatory, suppressing chemicals in the skin that cause redness and swelling.

3.  Follow the light. LED treatments use gentle wave light technology to help decrease inflammatory cells. The only drawback: you have to visit the doc's office for treatments -- and that can be pricey (or at least more pricey than Noxema or aloe gel).

4.  Slather on refrigerated aloe gel. Aloe is a botanical that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Store it in the fridge and you'll get the added bonus of cold temps (and reduced swelling).

5.  Rehydrate! After a weekend in the sun, water is key -- particularly if you're sunburned. Liquids are critical to rehydrating your body and replenishing lost fluids from the sun. Hate water? Try guzzling decaf iced tea with mint for an added antioxidant punch.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Astronomers launch search for alien life on 86 possible Earth-like planets

Washington, May 14 (ANI): Astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley are aiming a radio telescope to detect signals of alien life on 86 possible Earth-like planets.
The search began on Saturday, May 8, when the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope - the largest steerable radio telescope in the world - dedicated an hour to eight stars with possible planets.
The colossal dish will gather 24 hours of data on each of the planets, which have been selected from a list of 1,235 planets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope
"It's not absolutely certain that all of these stars have habitable planetary systems, but they're very good places to look for ET," saidC Berkeley graduate student Andrew Siemion.
The Green Bank telescope will stare for about five minutes at stars in the Kepler survey that have a candidate planet in the star's habitable zone-that is, the planet has a surface temperature at which liquidater could be maintained.
"We've picked out the planets with nice temperatures-between zero and 100 degrees Celsius-because they are a lot more likely to harbor life," said physicist Dan Werthimer.
After the Green Bank telescope has targeted each star, it will scan the entire Kepler field for signals from planets other than the 86argets.
The complete analysis for intelligent signals could take a year, Werthimer said.
"If you extrapolate from the Kepler data, there could be 50 billion planets in the galaxy," he said.
"It's really exciting to be able to look at this first batch of Earth-like planets," he added.