When you were an undergrad, making new friends was as easy as attending class, striking up a convo and grabbing a coffee afterward. As an adult, though, it seems like a struggle to find others with whom you mesh. As you get older, work and family responsibilities eat up more of your time, but you still want quality friendships that enrich your life with people that share your values. How can you make new friends as an adult? The following 10 methods can help you build your tribe. 1. Join a Gym Is Zumba your go-to stress-buster after a challenging day? If so, why not seek an adult BFF while you sweat? Besides, working out with a buddy helps you keep your commitment to fitness. 2. Visit the Library Your local library is a fabulous place to meet new people as well as score reading material. Call to see what free classes your venue offers. You could meet someone as hopeless with computers as you are and help each other master the intimidating ropes. Many libraries are community hubs where others who seek companionship while away pleasant, air-conditioned hours. Although you don’t want to interrupt anyone engrossed in their reading, you can strike up a conversation with the woman who is also perusing the off-the-grid gardening section. 3. Get — or Walk — a Dog Are you among the millions of Americans who wouldn’t recognize your next-door neighbor if they bopped you on the nose? What if you could correct the issue without knocking on their door? Dog-walkers have long known that a furry friend makes people want to stop and pass the time chatting about the weather. If you dwell in an apartment where your landlord hung a “no pets allowed” sign, don’t despair. Local shelters always seek volunteers to exercise canines. 4. Attend a Meeting Introverts can find a ray of sunshine amid pandemic clouds — shutdowns have caused online meetings to flourish. You have more opportunities to meet people behind the safety of a screen than ever. Resources such as Eventbrite have links to online conferences and retreats to match nearly any interest. 5. Sign up for a Class Now is an ideal time to expand your knowledge base and make meeting new friends as an adult nearly as painless as it was in school. If you recently dealt with a reduction in hours or job loss, double-dip on learning and friendship by taking a course intended to advance your career skills. Otherwise, take Basket Weaving 101 and meet others who share your laid-back vibe. 6. Say Yes to Happy Hour Guess what? Due to the pandemic, you no longer have to show up at the pub to mingle with colleagues after work. Zoom has had so many online happy-hour creators that the platform sometimes becomes overloaded. Say yes to Barb in Accounting’s invite — you don’t even have to explain why you mixed up a virgin version of the beverage of the day. 7. Show up at Parties Depending on where you live, authorities likely frown on gatherings of more than 10 or 15 individuals. You don’t want your “I survived the 2020 pandemic” to come with the codicil “with a criminal record.” However, many people now mingle at smaller, more intimate klatches. Accepting an invitation to your aunt’s Pampered Chef party might mean an introduction to a second cousin whom you’ve never met — but click with instantly. 8. Volunteer The need for folks to help distribute food bank resources and run errands for elderly and disabled folks has never been higher. If you have an altruistic nature, why not meet new friends as an adult by pitching in and helping? Just because someone has physical challenges doesn’t mean they don’t possess a brilliant wit and lively intelligence. Perhaps you will find a “Morrie” with whom to spend pleasant Tuesdays. 9. Find a Club Do you have a passion for cosplay? Could you play or talk about “Final Fantasy” for hours? Other people share your interests, and you can find them online. Those who spent quarantine buried in novels can join an online book club, while lovers of the game of kings can find others with whom to practice pawn strategies. 10. The Pen Is Mighty Even in today’s technological age, there’s something to be said for an old-fashioned letter in the mail. For many folks, it’s their only means of communication with the outside world. You can sign up to write letters to prison inmates, troops stationed overseas or individuals in nursing homes. Either way, you know your message brings a smile — and you get to meet a new adult friend. These 10 Tricks Teach You How to Make New Friends as an Adult — Painlessly While it can seem daunting to learn how to make new friends as an adult, you only need to modify your approach. Use the 10 tips above to break the ice and let your effervescent personality take care of the rest.
Everyone engages in emotional manipulation — your 4-year-old does it when she tells you you’re the best parent ever in hopes of winning a predinner cookie. Most of the time, the behavior is benign — you know the guy on the used car lot will pull out all the stops to make you see that lemon as a juicy ripe watermelon. However, emotional manipulation can sometimes take a pernicious turn. If your romantic partner uses sneaky tactics to control your behavior, you can start to feel like you’re losing your mind. When it happens in the workplace, you may feel profound career dissatisfaction without knowing why. Here are eight signs to watch for to identify the insidious types of emotional manipulation. 1. Forcing Closeness Your grocery bag rips on the way to your car, and a fellow rushes over to help you pick up the cans of Alpo rolling across the parking lot. Such behavior is admirable. Offering to follow you to your apartment and carry the dog food because “we’ve got a hungry dog to feed” is not. Forced closeness occurs when someone uses wit, charm or verbal adeptness to get you to do what they want. You often see this behavior in romantic relationships where one partner wants to move forward physically, and the other hesitates. If someone has psychopathic tendencies, it can turn dire — think about how Ted Bundy lured women by requesting their “help” moving objects due to a “broken” arm. Fortunately, the guy who offers to help you with your groceries often wants nothing more than a smile, a word of thanks and maybe an opening to request a date. However, it pays to be aware of this type of emotional manipulation. 2. Twisting the Facts You frequently see this type of manipulation in the workplace, although it also occurs in romantic relationships. For example, if your boss spots an error on the budget report, they’ll justifiably ask the responsible team what happened. If an unscrupulous colleague knows you have vision problems, they may blame the mistake on you, when in reality, anyone could have made the oversight. The next thing you know, you’re weeping at the optometrist’s office. 3. Insulting Your Intelligence Some people have low self-esteem, and they might put you down to make themselves feel better. Unfortunately, this realization doesn’t keep their behavior from making you feel like a garbage bag. Such folks may insult you in front of others, making subtle digs like, “Well, I couldn’t expect you to understand the implications.” While you may feel tempted to counterattack, try to stay neutral and reply with a calm, “why don’t you explain them?” If they persist in unfounded insults, walk away. 4. Downplaying Your Legitimate Concerns Unfortunately, you see this dynamic at work a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scores of people, like essential workers, feel unsafe performing their duties but remain unable to realistically escape their obligations. Emotional manipulators will downplay these concerns and make you feel worse — “why are you complaining over something that’s usually no more than a cold?” Try to keep your distance from such toxicity. Instead, identify one or two people you can trust to confide your fears. 5. Claiming They Were Joking Another type of emotional manipulation occurs when someone says something intentionally cruel, then claims they were only joking. This behavior can cross the line into gaslighting — more on that shortly — because it makes you doubt your response’s legitimacy. The best way to respond to this manipulation is with a shoulder shrug. An “I didn’t find it funny” should suffice. If they keep at it and accuse you of having no sense of humor, walk away. 6. Refusing Accountability If you encounter someone with narcissistic personality disorder, they have a grandiose sense of self-importance and probably believe they can do no wrong. Therefore, if they make a mistake, they will refuse to accept accountability. Consider it a red flag in a romantic relationship if your partner clearly orders chicken masala, but then berates the server for not bringing beef goulash. In the workplace, keep a careful distance from those who never accept blame for their errors, lest they try to pin them on you. 7. Dividing and Conquering You see this emotional manipulation type frequently in “mean girl” scenarios where a trio of friends gang up two against one. If you get caught in a narcissistic relationship, your partner might bring in your parents or in-laws to testify on their behalf and make it seem like the problem with your union is all your fault. This triangulating behavior gives your attacker an ally and makes you feel like you must be the “bad” one. Examine their criticism for any merit, and if you aren’t entirely to blame, don’t shoulder the guilt-burden. Instead, consider a path to exit the situation peacefully. 8. Gaslighting Gaslighting may be the most pernicious type of emotional manipulation because it makes you question your very sense of reality. This form of abuse occurs when another person intentionally does or says things to make you think you’re losing your mind. For example, you know you left a vital work report under your keyboard, but it’s no longer there when you return to the office. The colleague who had it out for you ever since you got promoted over them mysteriously “finds” it on their desk. When you ask how it got there, they smile sweetly and say, “Don’t you remember discussing this with me yesterday,” even though you did no such thing. Still, it shakes your confidence in your recollection. The best way to deal with gaslighting is to document everything. This process will help convince you that your version of events is genuine — plus, it serves a legal record if matters get ugly. Recognize and Beware of These 8 Types of Emotional Manipulation People don’t always play your feelings in an attempt to do something nefarious. Often, they want nothing more than a first date or to sell you a new kitchen appliance. However, there are pernicious types of emotional manipulation, and it pays to recognize the insidious variety.
Are you struggling to get your Zzz’s? With all the anxiety that 2020 has produced and more tumult likely on the horizon, you’re far from alone. However, lack of adequate rest can lead to a host of adverse mental and physical health effects. How can you get more sleep without turning to potentially addictive drugs? Why not turn to Mother Nature? Learn more about the following eight plants that help you sleep while beautifying and purifying your home: 1. Chamomile Chamomile has a longstanding reputation for easing people into dreamland. The delicate white blooms add a touch of innocent sweetness to your bedroom or kitchen windowsill herb garden. If you plant it outdoors near your garlic, it will shoo away onion flies and protect that crop. To dry the flowers for tea, snip them in the early morning once the dew dries. Lay them on a mesh, such as the type used for window screens, and let them rest in a warm, dry place for a week or two. Voila! You now have homemade organic tea from this plant that helps you sleep. Pour a cuppa before bed. 2. Lavender Lavender is another flower with a reputation for inducing sleep. The delicate purple blooms look stunning as a backdrop to chamomile, especially if you decide to plant a moon garden where you can meditate before bed. You can dry these blooms to add them to your tea the same way you use chamomile flowers. You can also add a few stems inside your pillow to let the scent ease you to sleep, or extract the essential oil and make a spray. Add some blossoms to your evening bath to make it even more relaxing. 3. Valerian Valerian is an outstanding herbal sleep aid. If you have a basement bedroom with window wells, plant these in the surrounding garden for privacy. The stems reach as tall as 5 feet when fully grown. While this plant possesses sleep-inducing properties, it can take a while to work if you have severe insomnia. Try adding some to your evening tea and give it two to four weeks to work. 4. Pasqueflower Pasqueflower is another enchanting plant to add to your moon garden. However, as it only reaches a maximum height of 12 inches, it looks every bit as lovely on your nightstand. Plants can remove toxins from indoor air, and if you have allergies, filtering out troublesome substances can result in more restful slumber. Even though this plant is small, all of its above-ground parts have medicinal properties. Leaves, flowers and stems can all make a soothing, sleep-inducing tea. 5. Jasmine Jasmine is a shrub, but you can grow it indoors. They grow best in cool locations between 65 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making them an ideal addition to your bedroom. Your body temperature drops when you get ready to sleep, and lowering your thermostat may also bust insomnia. Please don’t neglect the delicate blooms. You can use them in a tea or slip a few blossoms in your bathtub to soak away the tension keeping you awake. 6. Wild Lettuce If you live near a field where plants grow wild, you might stumble right over this healing variety without recognizing your wealth. This species is well-known by herbalists for natural pain relief. It goes by the nickname opium lettuce, but it isn’t in that family. While the toothy leaves hold little aesthetic appeal, you can grow some in your outdoor garden. If your insomnia stems from chronic pain that makes it problematic to get comfy, adding the dried leaves to your evening tea might help. 7. California Poppy Remember the scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where the Wicked Witch of the West uses poppies to lull Dorothy and her companions into dreamland? This type of poppy is one of the best plants for helping you sleep. While it does contain trace amounts of opiates, they aren’t substantial enough to cause addiction. However, if you have reservations, you can nevertheless grace your bedroom windowsills with these pots of gold and let the aromatherapy do its magic. 8. Lemon Balm Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, which contains several varieties renowned for easing tummy trouble. If your insomnia arises from the conditions listed in a Pepto-Bismol ad, adding this herb to your tea might help. This plant grows best in full sunlight. If your kitchen has a tiny greenhouse window, your lemon balm will thrive in the sun and provide you with fresh, organic leaves to add to beverages. Get Your Zzz’s With These 8 Plants That Help You Sleep Anxiety breeds insomnia, and 2020 offers ample amounts of both. Try raising these eight plants that help you sleep so you can get the rest you need and deserve.
One of the greatest benefits of working remotely is the ability to travel. Realistically, all you need is a stable internet connection and a place to focus. There are also many ways to make your adventure go a bit smoother. Here are nine useful tips for traveling while working remotely: 1. Choose an Accommodation With Wi-Fi The United Nations might have declared that the internet is a basic human right, but it doesn't mean your hotel will offer free Wi-Fi. Check on the amenities page to see if it includes Wi-Fi. Call ahead if you have any questions about speed, usage caps or availability. Since you rely on a stable internet connection for work, create a few backup options. Many phones allow you to hot spot other devices and use your cellular data. This could satisfy in a pinch, but the data may add up fast if you’re on a capped plan. Once you've chosen the hotel, look up coffee shops or restaurants nearby that offer free Wi-Fi. Now you know your options if the internet is spotty. 2. Update Your Time Zone If you are taking a trip to a new state or country, your time zone will likely change. Pay attention to the shifts so you can submit assignments on time. Alert your colleagues if your office hours will change so they know what to expect. Some companies may allow you to keep a flexible schedule, but others might require that you maintain typical office hours. Incorporate this into your planning so you know what time zones will be most compatible with your workday. The continental U.S. is divided into four different time zones, and Alaska and Hawaii use separate ones. Zones can vary from country to country, so research in advance if you are uncertain. 3. Budget for Travel Delays As with all things in life, it's best to expect the unexpected. There might be travel delays, you could lose your luggage or maybe you'll miss a connecting flight or bus. Give yourself extra time by creating buffer space in your schedule. If possible, plan to travel on the days you have off from work. This provides you with the flexibility to adapt if things deviate from your original plans. If you catch yourself with extra time at the airport or train station, log into the Wi-Fi and get projects done ahead of schedule. Pro Tip: If you intend to take trips frequently, consider getting a travel credit card to earn perks like room upgrades or admittance into airport lounges. These lounges often have clean desk areas, recharging stations and unlimited Wi-Fi. 4. Create a Schedule Traveling is exciting — there's a lot to see and do — which makes striking a balance challenging. To simplify this, create a schedule and stick to it. Communicate with your office that you will only be available till a specific time and then log off. By creating a routine, you will improve your efficiency and increase your productivity. You will also be able to plan activities around your schedule since you'll know what time you finish each day. 5. Maintain Long-Distance Relationships When you travel, typical interactions between friends, family, clients and colleagues become more complex. Dedicate time for phone calls and video meetings to ensure you maintain healthy long-distance relationships. 6. Minimize Distractions to Work Efficiently Being able to travel while working remotely is a perk that you should respect. Operate efficiently by reducing the distractions around you. Your attitude will improve, leaving you with more time to adventure in a new area. Use noise-canceling headphones and utilize an area that suits your workflow. The desk in your room may not be as exciting as a local cafe, but you'll be able to focus on the tasks at hand. 7. Establish Your Personal and Professional Goals Traveling should enhance your life rather than distract you from your goals. Set personal and professional goals to strive toward as you journey to new locations. By establishing these targets, you will have something to focus on, which will help with concentration. 8. Seek Remote Work Communities or Co-Working Spaces Teleworking can get lonely, so seek out co-working spaces or communities! These locations will likely have great internet and fewer distractions than casual coffee shops. Best of all, you will get to meet similar-minded hardworking people who can share their experience and recommendations. 9. Check Your Visa, Passport and Insurance Regardless of your itinerary, think ahead by reading up on visa and passport requirements when traveling to other countries. Many places require a visa if you intend to stay for more than three months. Make sure your passport is up to date so you can traverse with ease. It's a great idea to keep a few backup copies in your bag in case anything happens. Decide whether you need to buy special travel insurance. Some plans may already include coverage when abroad, but it's best to prepare in case anything is lost, stolen or damaged. Insurance can also come in handy if you need to visit the doctor while out of town. The World Is Calling — Start Exploring Traveling while working remotely can be one of the best ways to experience the world. You can explore different cultures without sacrificing your career or budget. Use these nine helpful tips to ensure your journey is relaxing and enjoyable.
It’s no secret that processed foods have taken over grocery stores. From prepackaged frozen dinners to chips with red dye, it’s hard not to find processed foods everywhere you shop. They’re often laden with preservatives, sugar, additives and other poor ingredients that impact your health. That said, you may be surprised to know that not all processed foods are bad. Take a look to find out why. How Are Processed Foods Made? The term “processed foods” refers to any food which isn’t immediately fresh. You may think that processed foods only involve packaged, canned and bagged items that you grab from shelves or freezers. In reality, you make processed foods every day. That’s because raw ingredients technically become processed when you turn them into another form. Therefore, you “process” oranges when you cut and squeeze them for juice. However, you’ll note that more common methods for processing foods tend to be more involved. They exist within a range from minimally to heavily processed. The former level includes somewhat processed items like chopped nuts. The latter level encompasses more involved products such as frozen pizzas. It’s safe to say that many processed foods are unhealthy. However, you can still find items on those lower levels that contain decent nutritional values. They’re not all doused with excess sodium and saturated fats. Which Processed Foods Can You Eat? Some particular food items need processing. For example, you can’t safely consume cow’s milk when it’s unpasteurized. Raw milk contains harmful bacteria and viruses that can lead to illness. A similar idea applies to other beverages, as well as canned fruits and wheat products. They’re processed to make them more accessible and nutritious. In some cases, it’s better to choose processed foods. They’re sometimes less expensive than fresh alternatives, so you can save money while you eat healthily. It’s also true that many processed foods last longer than fresh ones. As a result, you don’t have to waste any food that you may not consume. What to Avoid When You Choose Processed Foods Still, remember to read labels so you can avoid particular ingredients. There are some specific ones you shouldn’t eat. Try to stay away from: Added sugar and sodium.Refined white flour.High calorie and fat contents.Processed meats, like hot dogs. You won’t experience any adverse health implications when you have an occasional cookie, but you should limit your intake. These products are by no means healthy. It’s perfectly fine to indulge when you prioritize a diet with proteins, vegetables, fruits and grains. The Final Verdict on Processed Foods In short, you can eat some processed foods. There are various reasons why you may want to choose certain packaged items over fresh alternatives. However, you need to take care when picking products while you shop. The labels can tell you whether you should make another choice. Any option with high fat, sugar, calorie or sodium contents isn’t a good choice. The best way to avoid processed foods involves spending more time in your kitchen. If you prepare your own meals, you know exactly what each dish contains. You can control your food’s ingredients to your heart’s content. This effort ensures your nutritional choices are ideal for your health. It all comes down to balance. A few processed foods won’t hurt you, but you should always prioritize a nutritious, diverse plate for every meal. Processed Foods Can Be Beneficial When Chosen Correctly There are many valid reasons why people avoid processed foods. Mostly, they’re largely unhealthy, as they contain unnecessary added ingredients. That said, you can still enjoy some processed foods if you strive for moderation. A bag of chips won’t hurt you as long as you prioritize healthy options otherwise.
Another wedding season is about to begin, so you might be thinking about taking the next step with your partner. Before you look at engagement rings together, you have to think critically about marriage. This isn’t as romantic as browsing through wedding dresses online, but it's a crucial part of making your marriage work from day one. Check out what to know before getting married so you feel confident about your future when you get engaged. Starting a few tough conversations now will save you and your partner from potential heartbreak later. How Do You Handle Stress Together? It’s easy to feel deeply in love when life seems great, but the good times won’t always last. You and your partner will have to overcome challenges both together and alone during your marriage. This could be what makes or breaks your relationship. Think about how you’ve both handled stress in the past. You’ll know you have a healthy foundation for your marriage if you support each other when things get tough. How Do You Both Receive Love? Sometimes there’s a divide in relationships because you don’t know how your partner expresses and receives love. You can always foster your love after learning about the five love languages and interacting with your partner in a way that they naturally understand as love. You might do more acts of kindness around the house or spend quality time with them before thinking about yourself. When you and your partner feel equally loved, your marriage can conquer anything. How Do You Handle Finances Together? Whether you share a bank account or not, money will become a significant influence on your marriage. Recent studies show that 29% of baby boomers and 41% of Generation Xers blame money for their divorce because they disagreed about handling their income or tackling debt. Talk with your partner about your financial habits to avoid the strain of arguing over money after every paycheck. What Expectations Do You Carry? Do you have existing expectations of your partner? You might want them to change certain habits or accomplish goals in a specific time frame. Even if your motive for these expectations is to help your partner grow and thrive, they will ultimately hurt your marriage. You and your partner will both feel free to grow personally and together when you let go of your expectations and choose to love each other as you are instead. What Happens When the Love Fades? Right now, your partner gives you butterflies when they walk in the room, but that won’t always be your reality. Your marriage will become a normal part of your life like anything else, making love fade with time. Everyone experiences this, but how you both handle it will determine if it’s the reason you divorce or become stronger together. Think about if there are any underlying insecurities. Will you get jealous when the love fades and your partner makes new friends that you view as a threat? Will you fight for your marriage? If you think your relationship is in a bad place, something as simple as prioritizing date nights can change your relationship for the better, so you can start your marriage with a healthy view of love. Are You Good Roommates? Chores won’t be on your mind while you plan your wedding, but you should both know if you’re good roommates together before committing to a lifelong relationship. Discuss how you each live if you’re currently in separate places, or move in together before getting engaged to test your roommate compatibility. You can also take a long vacation together if you don’t want to live together before marriage. Learning how to be a good roommate is a great way to know that you’re marrying the right person and will feel right at home waking up to them every day. What Are Your Personal Struggles? You’ll both carry personal baggage into your marriage, but you can work to minimize that baggage before you get engaged. Consider if you or your partner struggle with addictions, family problems or other personal challenges. Working on yourself improves your relationship because your significant other becomes part of your support system and not the solution to your problems. What Are Your Future Plans? You might not usually think too far into your future, but making plans with your partner will clarify any lingering differences before you walk down the aisle. Start conversations about when you want to buy a house, what you want from your career and if you want kids in the future. After you bring these topics up, you can hash out parenting debates and discuss how you’ll both tackle your respective careers before you get married. No one should walk into a marriage when their partner wants something different that keeps them from their ultimate goals in life. Talk About Everything Now that you’ve learned what to know before getting married, you can recognize what common denominator pulls these tips together. The most important thing is to talk about everything that concerns you or your partner before getting engaged. Get on the same page about as many things as possible to understand what the future holds for your marriage.
People use the term “narcissist” frequently today, but not everyone who exhibits these traits has a mental disorder. The absence of diagnosis doesn’t keep these individuals from carving a path of destruction through your life. One of the factors that makes narcissism so insidious is that such individuals don’t often create problems until you become entangled in a personal or work relationship. Therefore, it benefits you to recognize potential red flags and react accordingly. Here are nine signs someone has a narcissistic personality. While one alone shouldn’t cause you to bolt, identifying several should give you pause: 1. A Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance Everyone has a touch of narcissism — if you were 100% selfless, you’d give the shirt off your back to a stranger even if it meant freezing to death. However, narcissists believe they are the only people in the world who matter. At least, that’s how their behavior makes the people around them feel. Their grandiose sense of self-importance extends beyond arrogance and vanity to a belief that they are somehow superior. You can recognize this trait through the subtle put-downs they use. If you walk in on a narcissist giggling at something they’ve read and asked them what made them laugh, they may dismiss you with a hand wave and a phrase like, “You wouldn’t understand it.” 2. A Need for Admiration Another hallmark of narcissism is an overwhelming need for admiration. This desire stems from the fact that, underneath all the boasting, the narcissist’s extravagant behavior protects a fragile, insecure sense of self. Narcissists need the praise of others to feel like they are worthy. Unfortunately, they often manifest this desire by unreasonably demanding others to show them respect they haven’t earned. They may expect to win Employee of the Month every month and disparage those who get the honor despite doing less work than the recipient. 3. An Inability to Receive Criticism Narcissists come in two subtypes — grandiose and vulnerable or covert. The grandiose type may behave more outlandishly but rarely feels negative about themselves. Therefore, they tend to react to criticism like a duck to water — it rolls right off. Vulnerable or covert narcissists, however, suffer from negative emotionality, and they react defensively to criticism. They may turn the tables back on the speaker. For example, if you point out a minor mathematical error in one of their spreadsheets, they might respond with, “Well, what about that time you messed up the entire department’s budget report?” 4. A Lack of Empathy Toward Others Both grandiose and vulnerable narcissists display a lack of empathy toward others. This callousness can take the form of dismissing legitimate concerns or descend into manipulation. If you tell your narcissistic partner about your rough day at the office, instead of sympathizing, they might respond with, “That’s nothing. Today, I…” and turn the conversation to their woes. More insidiously, they might drink your anniversary bottle of wine themselves — then claim that you consumed it and forgot that this happened when you ask about it. 5. A Tendency to Dominate Conversations Narcissists can turn any conversation into an opportunity to show off or brag. They can look at an infectious disease expert like Dr. Fauci and claim he knows nothing about the novel coronavirus — then assert their superior scientific expertise. It doesn’t matter that their degree is in underwater basket weaving. When conversing with narcissists, you may do best to avoid the toxicity altogether. If one of your colleagues continually boasts that they could run the company better than the founder, quietly exit the discussion. You don’t want your manager to overhear and think you agree. 6. An Excessive Sense of Jealousy Remember, narcissism masks a deep-seated core of terrified insecurity. If they perceive that you are useful to them somehow, they will do anything to keep you from leaving. This possessiveness often manifests in extreme jealousy. If you go on a first date and excuse yourself to use the restroom, you might return to the narcissist looking at your phone. Consider excuses like, “Someone texted, and I thought I recognized the name,” with a grain of salt. Anyone who disrespects socially accepted privacy boundaries so early in a relationship will only increase their intrusion the closer you become. 7. A Need to Demand for Special Favors When you go on a blind date, pay attention to how your partner treats the wait staff. If the service is terrible, appropriate behavior includes discreetly talking to the manager. However, if they make unreasonable demands and ask for special treatment — the best table in the house or a meal not on the menu — take notice. Consider heading for the door if denial of their request results in a tantrum. 8. A Tendency to Take Advantage of Other People Narcissists think other people exist to serve them. If someone cracks jokes about how they got a free meal or product by lodging a false complaint, keep your distance. Sometimes, this behavior manifests itself through seemingly innocent requests. If someone you dated a handful of times loses their housing, it’s appropriate for them to ask you if you have any apartment leads. It’s quite another to ask to move in with you after having dinner once or twice. 9. A Pattern of Projecting Faults Onto Others In a narcissist’s mind, they can do no wrong — so any mistakes must be someone else’s fault. This behavior can become particularly insidious in the workplace. If your team makes a costly error, expect the narc to point fingers at everyone but themselves. This inability to take blame wreaks havoc on the personal side, as well. When partners fight, both people usually carry their share of fault. However, the narcissist will make their loved one shoulder 100% of the guilt burden unfairly. Eventually, this erodes the other person’s self-esteem. Learn These 9 Signs of a Narcissistic Personality Narcissists may be insecure children at the core, but their behavior can adversely affect your career and home life. Learn the signs indicating someone may have this personality disorder so you can keep your distance — and sanity.
You probably have a somewhat negative attitude toward daydreaming. If your caretakers ever criticized you for having your head in the clouds as a child, you might associate letting your mind wander with wasting time. However, science tells us that visualization can offer a host of benefits. Many of the perks improve your overall well-being. Is daydreaming healthy, and how can you make it more so? The Benefits of Daydreaming If you study Olympic athletes, many of them cite visualization as a core component of their training regimen, even though it involves no physical movement. The practice helps because your body follows cues from your brain — which provides a clue as to how daydreaming is healthy. Here are seven benefits you can reap from your wandering mind: 1. It Gives Your Brain a Break To perform well at any task, you need to focus. However, your brain can only maintain its attention span for so long — it performs at its best when alternating between periods of rest and concentration. This improvement with breaks occurs because your brain has what’s called a “default mode network.” While some scientists dub this the “do mostly nothing” circuit, this nickname is a misnomer because your brain never rests — as anyone who has ever spent a night counting sheep can attest. This circuit uses 20% of your body’s energy to integrate new knowledge with existing memories and helps you develop sharper awareness. When you focus, it only takes 5% energy — but your mind won’t let you ignore the need to synthesize by taking you off-task. A few minutes of daydreaming can be just what the doctor ordered. 2. It Can Help You Resolve Conflicts Have you ever faced a conflict with a micromanaging supervisor or dealt with an argument with your teenager? Daydreaming can help you resolve disputes by letting you visualize the outcomes of various courses of conduct. This action can lead to revelations like how setting a weekly prioritization meeting with your boss can help you tackle a demanding workload. 3. It Can Boost Your Productivity Think back to the last time you crammed for an exam. You probably didn’t retain the information long after you took the test. That’s because, when long-term memories form, your hippocampus changes the brain’s physical neural wiring to integrate new information into your existing schema. This reformation takes time. As a result, you can stare at that expense report until Judgment Day and still not see where you missed a zero. However, a five-minute walk break while you daydream about an upcoming road trip may provide adequate time for that "aha" moment — there’s no way the supplies exceeded the advertising costs — to hit you like a recognition bomb. 4. It Encourages Creativity Creativity occurs when you look at everyday matters in a fresh light. For the connections to happen, your brain needs time to play, free from directives of what it should be doing. Since there are no rules to daydreaming, it’s natural to think outside the proverbial box — with innovative results. 5. It Can Help You Achieve Your Goals Olympic athletes rely upon visualization and training combined to achieve stellar results. When you picture yourself accomplishing a task, your brain begins sending messages to the muscles responsible for carrying it out. You can’t genuinely feel the pressure of competition until game day, but when you imagine doing well beforehand, you function more effectively when the heat is on. 6. It Helps You Build Empathy Even if you daydream about Jason Momoa — who hasn’t! — you nevertheless visualize how you would interact. That exercise places you in another person’s shoes momentarily, which is ideal for building empathy. Even revenge daydreams have positive effects when you think through the consequences and realize you’ll feel worse for taking action. 7. It Can Ease Stress and Anxiety It’s 5:07 p.m. on Friday, but the keynote speaker in your Zoom meeting is still warming up their vocal cords. You could sit and stew over the happy hour beverages you wish you were having. Conversely, you can dial up a pleasant daydream of sipping mai tais on the beach. Throw Jason Momoa in there because why not? Can Daydreaming Ever Be Unhealthy? Maladaptive daydreaming refers to spending so much time daydreaming that you struggle to complete daily tasks. If you find that you forget to pick up the kids after school because you’re lost in a fantasy world, it’s time to come down to Earth. Likewise, daydreaming about unrealistic aspirations can make you feel overwhelmed and derail your progress. Fantasizing about fitting into your prom dress again can encourage your weight-loss goals. However, if you have 100 or more pounds to lose, you might do better to visualize a short-term goal, like zipping your jeans without trouble. Is Daydreaming Healthy? Most of the Time, Yes! Most of the time, daydreaming is healthy. It relieves stress and helps you imagine a brighter future and the path to attaining it. The next time you lose yourself in the clouds for a few minutes, congratulate yourself on taking care of your brain.