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Monday, December 1, 2014
10 Keys to Happiness
10 Keys to Happiness

Happiness as a lifestyle is a choice; not every situation will make you happy, but you have to choose to stay happy. Maintaining a relatively happy lifestyle is something that will help to improve your overall well-being. Here are a few things you’ll want to make sure you do to keep yourself happy.

1) Make the Choice to be Happy: Everyone deserves to be happy. Whether or not they actually are happy is up to them. A main component to living a happy life is to be the best person you can be. The happiness that can come with some of life's situations is often momentarily, but if you want to live a happy life you have to make the choice to and find ways to make it happen.

2) Take Charge but Eliminate the Stress: Not everything will be within your control. Therefore, there’s no need to stress yourself out over things that you have no control over. They will be what they are regardless of how you feel about it. Rather, set your focus on things that you have control over, and make the best of it.

3) Live in the Moment: Don’t find yourself dwelling in the past. Some of us let too much of our past control our present. Things will happen, that’s life. But that has nothing to do with your present or your future; only you are in charge of those. Another thing you want to avoid is being over consumed by what you want in your future that you neglect to see all that you have today.

4) Keep Your Expectations High: “So you think, as you are.” You’ll come to find that this saying is really true. May times when we already expect a situation to turn out bad, it does. If you expect the best, it will usually happen.

5) Be Confident in Yourself: Others may not see your dreams the way you see them. And keep in mind that people will speak to you from where they are in life; their successes, their failures, their hurts, etc. So make sure you take on their perspective before taking all of their advice. Some things you’ll find you will need, and others you won’t. But never doubt yourself and your dreams because of someone else.

6) Give Yourself Permission to be All You Can Be: Some of us may not realize it, but we are usually the very ones telling ourselves we can’t do something because we’re not capable of it for whatever reason (or excuse, rather). Not realizing that you’ll never know all you can be if you never give yourself the permission to explore those things. You’d be surprised what you could achieve if you actually went for it.

7) Never Take Anything for Granted: Sounds cliché, but it’s true. We get used to seeing the same things every day, interacting with the same people, having the same commodities that we’re used to having, not realizing how easily we can take these things for granted. There is always someone doing worse off than you. Focus on what you have already, not on what you wish you had. You’ll find true joy in that.

8) Be Generous in All You Do: Giving generously (not just material things, but time as well) can go farther than you’d even realize. Set some time aside to spend with a friend, volunteer at a homeless shelter, buy a gift for a family member. It will be very much appreciated, and you’ll feel really good about yourself.

9) Don’t Stop!: Make sure you are putting forth an effort to maintain this lifestyle. As I said before, happiness is a choice. Make sure you don’t give up and chose the more complacent lifestyle, as you’ll be sacrificing your happiness.

10) Be Brave: Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new every now and then. You will never know what you enjoy until you’ve tried it. In addition to this, make sure you’re always doing what's best for you, even if it’s not easy!

Posted Monday, December 1, 2014 9:39 AM    0 comments

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
5 Simple Steps to Change Your Habits
5 Simple Steps to Change Your Habits

Most people probably don’t realize this (I didn’t until it was brought to my attention), but in fact, it’s actually proven that once a habit is set, your brain goes into “auto-mode” and carries out the actions almost without putting much of any effort into it; all your brain needs is something to trigger this sequence. This process is called “chunking” and scientists say that the brain does this in order to save time for more important tasks instead of putting so much effort into routine tasks such as brushing your teeth or driving a car, which makes sense. However, no matter how set your habits are, your habits CAN be changed. All it takes is a strategic restructuring of your brain, and you’ll be well on your way. It’s a lot easier to do this than you would think.

Here are a few tips to helping to change your habits, big or small:

1. Learn which cues trigger your habits—Habits always have a cue, routine, reward cycle. Your brain gets a cue to perform a certain task, to think a certain thought, or to feel a certain emotion, and it will act on this cue. It is important to find out what it is exactly that triggers this habit. Once you’ve found that out, you can work on changing it. For instance, say you’re trying to eat better. If you are used to going out to a restaurant with a certain friend and you always order a dessert after your meal, maybe you can suggest a different restaurant to break this habit cycle. At the new restaurant, you may not even think to order a dessert. Another option to this problem is to order a salad before your meal, that way once your meal comes you won’t eat as much because you’ll be full from more healthy foods.

2. Make a plan—Write it down. It’s good to keep a visual reminder of why you want to change your habits. Make sure you have good, strong and reasonable motivators, such as family, bettering your mental or physical health. You will also want to devise a plan. Pick a “Start Date” and tell your buddies or family in order to create an accountability system. Plan for obstacles and possible setbacks AND how you will overcome them. This way when you come across something to hold you up, you’ll already have an idea of how to handle it. You also will want to envision yourself once you’ve made these changes; what will be the benefits to your health, how will this put you ahead in life, who will be proud of you, who will you be helping other than yourself. Use these things as motivation to get it done!

3. When trying to change a habit, don’t overwhelm yourself—Focus changing on one thing at a time, that way you can devote more energy to figuring out just what your habits are, what triggers them, and what steps you need to take so you can change these habits. Also, START SMALL. One step at a time. And keep in mind a small step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction, so don’t sell yourself short. For example, if you’re planning to cut back on social media and spend more time with friends and family, a good start would be to turn your phone off for one hour every week. Even more so, once you build a rewards system for this habit (enjoying the quality time spent with family members), you’ll be more inclined to do it and will want to increase the occurrence of this new habit.

4. Keep it up!—Once you have set a new, better habit, great! Just make sure you take the necessary steps to keep doing it, and stay away from those things that will trigger old habits! That’s the last thing you'll want.

5. Most importantly (because we’re only human, so you can’t expect to get it right every time) if you fail, figure out where you went wrong and try again!—Don’t give up on yourself after you’ve tried and failed. It’s okay to fail! We all do at one point or another. But use this as an opportunity to see where you went wrong, what you could have done better, and what you will do the next time around. Then go for it! If you have enough motivation to change your habits, then you will. It’s all up to you. After all, who doesn’t want to be a better person?


The above article was written by Janiqua Dunn.

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 8:41 AM    0 comments

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Tips for Preparing for an Audition
Tips for Preparing for an Audition

If you are interested in any kind of performing arts, and wish to perform, whether you do it as a hobby or as a career, you will have to go through an audition, which is a time to showcase your talent.  Here are a few tips on what to do to prepare for an audition, whether you are an actor, singer, or a dancer.

1) Pick a relatable piece.  If you are acting, choose a monologue you can relate to.  For example, if the monologue has a sad tone, try to recall a sad memory in order to make your acting appear more genuine.  This also pertains to singers.  If you are a singer, then find a song you can relate to.  If you choose a love song, maybe think about your loved ones while you are singing.  Lastly, if you are a dancer, you can recall memories to make you feel the emotion of the song.  Maybe you would think of sad times if you have a slow ballad, and happy times if you have a more upbeat song.

2) Consistently practice.  Of course, not only should you prepare by performing your audition piece over and over, but also, try to perform for audiences as much as possible.  You may wish to simply perform informally for your friends and family, and if you can, try to find opportunities to perform at karaoke events, open mic nights, talent shows, etc.  You can even get your practice at different auditions.  You know have had enough practice if you can perfectly perform your piece even on your worst day ever.

3) Be aware of your abilities.  This tip is mostly pertinent for singers and dancers.  If you are a singer, be sure that your song has notes well within your vocal range, so that not only can you sing the song easily, but it will also sound great.  If you are a dancer, make sure you only perform moves that you know you are physically capable of doing.  Do not try to add complex moves hoping to impress the judges, if you are not capable of doing them.

4) Stay healthy.  Having a successful audition requires having both a healthy a voice and healthy body.  This means you should eat healthy, sleep sufficiently, and get some exercise everyday for at least a week before your audition.  When the day of the audition comes, if you are a singer, try not to consume foods that may affect your voices.  No matter what, however, always be sure to have enough food so that you have enough energy to perform your best at the audition, but also, do not overeat, so that you won't feel sick and full during the audition.  Lastly, drink plenty of water!

5) Don't worry about mistakes.  If you ever happen to make a mistake during your audition, don't worry too much.  Just pretend like it didn't happen and continue.  For example, if you are acting out a monologue and forget a line, just improvise some words that logically flow with the monologue.  If you are singing, you can do the same thing with lyrics.  You can just simply sing some vowels or other lyrics, but make sure you commit to what you do.  Also, remember that even professional singers don't always hit all the right notes.  If you are dancing and you forget a dance move, just think of something, but make sure you are still moving to the rhythm of the music.

6) Overcome stage fright.  Stage fright is simply an emotional state of mind.  When you walk into the audition room, convince yourself that you are capable of succeeding, and believe in yourself.  Just try to have fun and smile!

Posted Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:05 AM    0 comments

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