Using Zoning Laws to Protect Affordable Housing

After five years of negotiating with Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office, the New York City Council has approved extension of a zoning-law amendment aimed at protecting affordable housing units in several districts. Affected areas include the Garment District, West Chelsea and Hudson Yards – three areas that have seen a lot of new developments and increases in property prices.

The new zoning law prevents both landlords and developers from significantly changing more than twenty percent of existing units in multi-family buildings. Renovations and updates can be made, but can't significantly alter the unit's price.

Historically, when an apartment or townhome complex is renovated, the result is increased rental or purchase prices. The ability the charge higher prices is typically the motivating factor behind renovations and upgrades. While the city council doesn't want to interfere with a property owners right to make changes (or profits), it has also seen low-income people repeatedly forced to move out of renovated properties that they can no longer afford.

The Chelsea area, in particular, has become a popular place for new developments – both residential and commercial. City Council members were concerned that landlords – in an effort to capitalize on higher-end business – would renovate existing structures to the point that they would become unaffordable for current residents.

City Council members also hope the new zoning laws will preserve some of the older architecture in the affected districts. The new law extends an existing Special District amendment that was passed in 1974. It affects all multi-family buildings of three units or more that were built in 1974 or prior.

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Advantages of RGP Contact Lenses

Just because RGP (rigid gas permeable, oftentimes referred to just as GPs) contact lenses have been around a long time and have been seemingly displaced in popularity by soft contacts, they are still an important player in correcting eye disorders.

Rigid Gas Permeable lenses came along as a better alternative to PMMA, or hard, contacts. Hard contacts did not allow oxygen to pass through to the eye, setting up a situation wherein prolonged wear caused complications such as swelling, cloudiness to the cornea, blurred vision, and infection. The materials in RGP contacts are more oxygen friendly and the firm construction of the lens conducts a flow of tears across the cornea during blinking; this provides adequate and much-needed moisture to the eyes.

Gas permeable lenses hold their own alongside soft contacts for a variety of reasons. They can be fitted in a more custom-made manner to the eye and retain their shape better during the blinking process, which keeps crisp vision from fluctuating. The rigidity also assists astigmatism patients in maintaining a rounded cornea that will let light hit the center of the retina, producing desired clarity of vision. In this vein, GPs become the only resort for those with irregular or severely scarred corneas. They are also a top choice when post-LASIK wear becomes necessary to correct remaining aberrations following surgery.

While it is true that on average it takes two to three weeks to become comfortable with GPs (soft lenses tend to provide more immediate comfort), once a satisfactory fit is reached, the quality of vision attained makes the adjustment period well worth it.

The care regimen* for GPs is easier because of their resistance to proteins and other deposits; they hold up over time to repeated cleaning. Needless to say, a longer-lasting lens can be less expensive due to fewer replacements.

Gas permeable lenses can be made with various designs and materials, freeing the fitter to fashion a contact to meet precise needs. Recent advances in technology have allowed a hybrid lens to be developed that combines the best features of soft contacts with those of GPs. The result is a lens with a rigid gas permeable center married to a soft outer skirting-giving the wearer sharp vision and comfort.

So, despite the vogue for soft contacts, GPs should not be discounted when selecting a suitable lens. They have a proven track record that makes them far from obsolete.

*Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for proper wear and cleaning of contact lenses. They will also assist in choosing the best lens and answer any questions concerning GPs, soft contacts, and other lenses available to you.

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Not the Smokey Eyes You're Looking For

I quit smoking when I found out I was going to be a dad. This was the catalyst that made me want to change my life for the better. After twenty years of trying different ways to quit, it was the thought of not being with her that helped me quit. I thought of my life, her life, without me in it. I want to be there for her every moment I can, for as long as I can. Roughly a month or so before I found out she was going to be in my life, I started working at an online contact lens retailer. It was here that I learned about contact lenses, the eye care industry, and overall eye health. I knew smoking was bad for my lungs, my heart, and my overall long-term well-being; and I guess it just never crossed my mind, but I also learned just how bad smoking was for my eyes. Not only do I want to be alive with my daughter in the long term, I also want to be able to see her grow and become the amazing woman I know she will be.

Working in the contact lens industry I've read a lot of horror stories about people who don't follow proper contact lens care directions and end up with gruesome results. Your eyes are the only organs that get their oxygen from their surroundings rather than from your body. When you smoke you pollute your environment and cause your eyes problems from the lack of oxygen. Every smoker has felt the sting of smoke in their eyes. When you wear contacts it compounds the inflammation, soreness, dry eyes and irritability. Plus when you smoke it not only leaves tar and nicotine on your fingers, but also on your contact lenses themselves causing a litany of issues which I will lay out below.

The CDC estimates the United States alone has roughly 480,000 deaths a year attributed to smoking. That's half a million people that die each year from a preventable habit! The health risks associated with smoking are well known and numerous: Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, a reduction in my overall life expectancy are just several of the dozens of concerns detrimental to my long term liveliness. This number does not take into account those people who are still alive and suffering from the adverse effects of smoking. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking another 30 live with a serious smoking related illness.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) starts as a loss of central vision and makes it harder to read or see fine details in things. Smoking increases the severity and triples the risk of this disease, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. There are two types of AMD, "dry" and "wet", with dry being the most common. Dry AMD causes fatty deposits to form in the back of the eye behind your retina, with vision getting worse slowly over time. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels to leak or break open, which in turn causes scar tissue to develop. Wet AMD is less common, but more quickly to produce harmful vision results.

Glaucoma is the gradual breakdown of the optic nerve cells that sends visual information to your brain. As the cells die, your vision slowly begins to deteriorate, usually starting with your peripheral vision. This is often not noticeable until a significant amount of nerve damage has occurred. Due to this, almost half the people who have glaucoma may not be aware they have it. There are two types of Glaucoma: Primary open-angle Glaucoma and acute angle closure Glaucoma. The former is the most common type, which by the time you are aware of it, can have already caused significant vision loss. The latter form of Glaucoma is less common, but can come on more rapidly due to increased pressure on the inside of the eye. Symptoms can include: eye pain, nausea, red eye, seeing colored rings around lights and blurry vision. Smoking can significantly increase the risk of developing open-angle Glaucoma, which can lead to blindness. Unfortunately, presently there is no cure for this horrible disease.

Smoking thins your blood, not allowing enough oxygen to flow to the parts of your body that need to breath; like your eyes. Smoking enhances your risks for developing diabetes and the potentially blinding complications that come with it; one of them being Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy causes tiny blood vessels in your eye to become blocked, leak or break down completely. When new blood vessels begin to grow they can cover your retina, which can cause extreme vision complications and even blindness. There are four stages of Diabetic Retinopathy: mild, moderate, severe non-proliferative Retinopathy and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy; the last of which leads to permanent vision loss. People with all types of Diabetes are at risk for this additional complication. Roughly 40-45% of people with Diabetes have some stage of Diabetic Retinopathy, yet only half are even aware of it.

When you smoke it leaves a sticky brownish black residue on your fingers which you can wash off; imagine the gunk it is leaving on your eyes, this cannot be rinsed away. This gunk over time accelerates the erosion of the lens in your eye, which can lead to Cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and smoking doubles your chances of getting them. Cataracts are a build-up of protein in the lens of the eye which causes cloudy or blurry vision. Generally cataracts take years to develop and can be undetectable in the early stages of growth. This is why cataracts for the most part start being noticeable in people age forty and older, although you can develop them when you are young or even be born with them. Symptoms may include double vision, cloudy, blurry vision, faded colors or a stark glare around light sources. Cataracts are estimated to affect roughly twenty million plus people in the United States over the age of forty; with this number set to double in the next twenty years. Strangely enough, out of this number, 61% of those affected by Cataracts are women. Cataracts can be classified by their location in the eye and length of time they have been present. There are a few types of cataracts: Subcapsular Cataracts develop in the back of the lens, Nuclear Cataracts develop in the center of the eye, and Cortical Cataracts form along the edges of the lens and point inward. The only solution to cure Cataracts is through surgery. This is an expensive and uncomfortable in and out procedure. Luckily for the majority of patients, the Cataracts don't return after they're removed. Only in about 10% of patients does a film begin to develop over the lens again. Beyond smoking and aging other causes of Cataracts can include: Excessive alcohol consumption, overt exposure to the sun and other UV rays, Diabetes, certain medications and injury to the eye itself.

Smoking ruins lives. Not only does it affect you, but the lives of those around you and the lives of those you love. I love my daughter more than I've ever loved anything else in my life. I want to live for her as long as I can, see her grow and see her experience life. I can't do that if smoking takes away my vision or worse yet my life. Whether it's your eyes, your lungs, your heart or any other part of your body; smoking is just not worth it.

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A Mother’s Day Wish

Any holiday is tough to get through after the death of a loved one, but Mother’s Day can be especially hard for those who have lost their mother, and for those mothers who have lost a child. Holidays tend to be painful reminders of what you’ve lost and how you used to celebrate that day. Whether you’ve lost your mother or you’re a mother who’s lost a child, this Mother’s Day is for you. Find a way to celebrate it in a way that brings back memories of your departed loved one and sheds light on the wonderful celebration of mothers everywhere.

Buy Flowers

Flowers are one thing that any mother would love to receive. If you have lost your mother, buy a beautiful bouquet and deliver it to your mother’s memorial. Pay her a visit and tell her how much you still love her. If you are a mother who has lost a child, buy a bouquet for yourself. Set the flowers out to remind yourself that you are a wonderful mother, on this day and every day.

Celebrate with Your Children

If you’re suffering the tragic loss of a child, there’s no doubt that mother’s day will be tough. But don’t forget the other miracles you have in your life. If you have other children, let them celebrate you the way you deserve to be celebrated. It’s okay to be sad and to reflect on the loss of your child, but try not to shut out your other children. They love you very much and will want to take this opportunity to show you.

Celebrate with a Different Mom

Losing a parent is heart-breaking, no matter how old you are. You relied on your mother for things that no one else could provide; support, advice, and unconditional love. Although no one can replace your mom, you can still honor Mother’s Day by celebrating a different mom. Maybe you have a grandma or aunt in your life who you are particularly close with. Perhaps your friend’s mom has been particularly supportive to you over the years. Reach out to one of these other moms this Mother’s Day so that you don’t let the day go by uncelebrated. Your mom would be happy to see you connecting with someone in her absence.

The reason Mother’s Day is so special is because it gives us a reason to give thanks to the woman who brought us into the world and for the many wonderful things she did for us thereafter. If you are that woman to someone, this day is for you, whether that ‘someone’ is with us here on Earth or not. If your own mother has past away, there’s no reason why you still can’t celebrate her on this very special day.

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Law of Attraction at Work

So you hear a lot these days about the Law Of Attraction. There are many books, videos, reports and even movies talking about it. Today, I just want to share a short bit of what it looks like when it is in action.

Last night I went to a local networking event for business owners and entrepreneurs. A place where we gather monthly not necessarily for the purpose of networking but to learn How to market and to share ideas using the Dan Kennedy technique of direct marketing.

So I sat down at a round table preparing for the meeting to start. A women, new to the club, sits down next to me and we exchange pleasantries, what we do for a living and our business cards. As a side note, she is an estimator for an excavating company I happen to be wearing my hat of Gold Star Referral Club Director.

So, our meeting started and I didn’t really think too much more about the women until she approached me again at the end of the meeting. She asked me if I could call her the next day.

I said «of course, what can I do for you?» She replied back with «I had been thinking of starting my own chapter of BNI, however, I wasn’t too sure that it would really be a good fit for my group. There are 6 of us and we even have a restaurant set up and available. I think maybe your club model may be a better fit.»

That, my friend is the Law of Attraction at work. Some of you may call that coincidence. But is it a coincidence that good things always seem to happen to good people and bad hings always seem to happen to bad people? It’s the Law Of Attraction without a doubt.

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9 Ways to Successfully Create Good Habits and 5 Reasons Why You Fail At Breaking the Bad Ones

9 Ways to Successfully Create New, Good Habits and the 5 Reasons Why You Fail At Breaking the Bad Ones

"Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones." – Benjamin Franklin

We all have habits. Some are good, healthy habits, while others are bad and possibly even dangerous. Throughout our lives we often set goals to try to create new, good habits or to break the bad ones we already possess. Many people try again and again to change their habits for the better only to meet with failure in the end. Learning a new habit can be just as difficult as breaking a bad one that you've struggled with for years. There are reasons for this and steps that you can take to help ensure your success.

Establishing good, healthy habits can enrich your life in countless ways. When an action becomes a habit, it becomes automatic and you don't really have to give it much thought. Some of the healthy habits that people try to develop include; eating healthier, exercising regularly, meditating, completing chores around the home, or simply taking time out daily for them-selves. These are just a few examples but, basically anything that you want to do on a regular basis that will enrich your life and make you happier can become a habit.

Here are nine, simple tips that are easy to follow and can help you to turn healthy activities into lifelong habits.

1. Take baby steps. – You cannot expect to just dive in and be successful when developing a good habit. Start with small manageable steps. If you would like to make healthy eating a habit, start by swapping out specific foods or meals for healthier options. If you make sudden, drastic changes to your lifestyle, the odds are good that you will not be successful.

2. Make yourself accountable. – Tell a friend or family member whose opinions matter to you. By telling a trusted friend or family member about your intension to develop a new habit you promote accountability. You will be more likely to stick to your habit if you know that you will have to answer to someone other than yourself.

3. Treat yourself. – You should be proud of the fact that you are trying to make positive changes in your life. Reward yourself regularly when you stick to your new habit. Treat yourself to a pedicure or a warm bubble bath. Spend a Saturday morning sleeping in, or play a few rounds of golf on the course. Whatever it is that you love … do it.

4. One habit at a time. – Work on developing one habit at a time. If you are anything like me, there are a ton of new, healthy habits that you want to incorporate into your life. Focus on one at a time so that you don't get overwhelmed. Developing a habit, like exercising regularly might seem like a small change but it's not. When you begin to develop a new habit of any kind you are changing the way that you live your life.

5. Make sure that you really want it. – The more you want to make even small changes, the more likely you will stick with them. Don't ever begin to develop a habit that you don't want just because you think, or have been told, that it's the right thing to do. If you try to force yourself to do something you hate, you will avoid it at all costs. If you hate going to the gym, don't do it. There are plenty of good habits that you can develop that will enrich your life and that you will enjoy.

6. Plan it out.- Sit down and make a list of the good habits you would like to develop. Prioritize the list and determine what habits you would like to develop first. Once you have this figured out, write out a plan. By putting this in writing you can refer back to it whenever you need a bit of extra motivation and it will help you stay on track.

7. Be very specific. – Don't just say, "I want to make it a habit to drink more water". Instead, say, "I want to begin drinking eight glasses of water each day". By being specific you know exactly what you have to do to develop your new habit and will not become overwhelmed. If you are too vague, you could easily rationalize that you drank more water today than yesterday, even if it wasn't your desired eight glasses.

8. Use tools. – Utilize every resource that you have at your disposal. You can make lists, journals, charts, spreadsheets … anything that will help you to keep track of your goals. I often use sticky notes around the house. I will place reminders on walls, mirrors, the refrigerator, and anywhere else that I think they may be helpful. They may not look pretty but they help me to stay motivated.

9. Don't berate yourself for slip-us. – We all slip up from time to time. Just yesterday, I was snacking on a few potato chips while watching television. Before I knew it, the entire bag was empty! It happens to everyone. Realize this, and don't be too hard on yourself. Remind yourself of why you wanted to develop the habit in the first place, and then start again

"A man who can't bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them." – Stephen King, The Dark Tower

Why is it so difficult to break bad habits? There are things we do on a daily, or even hourly basis that we know aren't good for us. We bite our fingernails, smoke cigarettes, make unhealthy food choices, procrastinate, lead sedentary lives, etc. Every one of us has a bad habit that we would love to break, but we often have difficulty doing so. This is because, once a habit is developed, we rarely even notice we are doing it. It becomes part of who we are. If we want to improve our lives, breaking bad habits is a wonderful place to start.

Here are 5 common reasons why we often fail at breaking bad habits.

1. We expect results too quickly. – We didn't develop our bad habit in one day, and we certainly can't expect to break it in one day either. Breaking a habit takes time. We must be patient and persistent in our goals.

2. We have a low level of self-awareness. – I have been a nail biter for the majority of my life. I do it without even thinking and am usually not even aware that I have been chewing on them until I feel pain or see blood. This is because I am not always self-aware. We often go through life on autopilot, but when we are trying to break a habit, we need to slow down and pay attention to everything we are doing. We must make an attempt to really live in the moment. If we develop a stronger sense of self-awareness, we can head off our bad habits as soon as we begin doing them.

3. We use our habits as an emotional crutch. – Many of our habits, like smoking or turning to food when we are in need of comfort, serve as a coping mechanism for emotional stress or pain. We need to look for other, healthier substitutes for these habits. When I was trying to quit smoking, I would often exercise whenever I would feel an urge. The exercise took my mind off of my immediate craving and helped me to relieve my stress in a healthy way.

4. We don't tell anyone we are trying to break our habit. – Breaking a bad habit is extremely difficult. It is even more difficult when we do not have the support of our friends and family. We often fail to tell them out of fear. We think that by not telling them, we can avoid disappointing them if we fail. In order to successfully break a bad habit we must tell those we love and trust. They will give us the support we need and they will also make us accountable for our actions.

5. We are too hard on ourselves when we slip back into old patterns. – Just as developing new habits is hard, breaking old ones is extremely difficult. We will all slip up from time to time. We must stay positive and remember why we want to break our habits. Do you want to be a better role model for your children? Do you want to avoid a second heart attack? Do you want your nails to be beautiful for your wedding day? Whatever your motivation is, remember, there is a very good reason why you decided to break your bad habit in the first place. When we slip up and fall back into our bad patterns, we must take a moment to remember why it is important to break the habit. Then, we must start again.

I hope that these tips will help you to feel guided in having motivation to break habits you're not happy about or develop new ones you're proud of.

"Successful people are simply those with successful habits." -Brian Tracy

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14 Weird Pregnancy Facts

So let’s start off with the fact that pregnancy in general is a weird and exciting experience to go through. Isn’t it crazy to think that you’re growing another human being inside you? Mind blowing right? There’s this living creature inside of you moving around which is another crazy experience. I’ve heard people explaining what it supposedly feels like to have a baby move inside you when you really won’t understand until it’s actually happening to you. There are many more things you could possibly experience while being pregnant however, I only touched on a few.

1) When you get to be at about four months pregnant your little, innocent, baby begins urinating inside you! On average, your baby urinates at about a liter a day. Weird right? Oh it gets better! Your little one actually drinks the urine they are excreting!

2) At the end of your pregnancy, your placenta will produce the same amount of estrogen that a non-pregnant woman produces in three years’ time!

3) The longest pregnancy that resulted in a live birth belongs to Beulah Hunter which was 375 days. Nine months is long enough, can you imagine over a year of having that big belly and heartburn?

4) Your heart actually get’s bigger during pregnancy! According to Live Strong, the size of your heart and its position changes during pregnancy. Your uterus expands thus pushing the diaphragm upwards which then pushes the heart farther into the chest cavity. It will increase by about a total of 12% during pregnancy.

5) One in every 2000 babies is born with teeth. These teeth are called Natal teeth and are extremely rare, as you can see by the numbers. Most of the time these Natal teeth have just come earlier in life when their usual schedule doesn’t make an appearance until later on when they receive their baby teeth. So far, there is no known cause for this condition but studies show that there are hereditary links. If a baby is born with teeth and they are not loose in any way then there is no need to remove them because it is not considered a choking hazard unless another reason to remove them becomes evident. Another reason that these teeth might be pulled would be if they are very sharp because they would cause a lot of discomfort to the nursing mother. How scary would it be trying to breast feed a baby with teeth? Ouch!

6) Having a lot of heartburn during your pregnancy? Well it looks like your baby will be born with a full head of hair. Yes ladies, this is TRUE. According to CBS News, a study was done at Johns Hopkins which was published in the journal Birth stating that there is some type of correlation between heartburn and a child being born with hair.

7) Ever heard of having «pregnancy brain»? Well apparently it’s due to the fact that women have less oxygen in their blood which causes this phenomenon. «There is 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy,» says Louann Brizendine, MD. Another factor that supposedly causes «pregnancy brain» is a lack of sleep. No one thinks clearly or functions normally when their going through some sort of sleep deprivation. Bad news is ladies that this fogginess could last up to a year after giving birth! No one can blame you for forgetting things now, it’s a pregnancy thing!

8) If you’re having a little baby girl she develops all of her reproductive eggs that she will ever use in utero whereas little boys don’t develop sperm until they reach puberty years later.

9) Did you know you can actually share your pregnancy symptoms with your spouse or significant other? It’s a term that’s called Couvade Syndrome which is also known as sympathetic pregnancy. This is actually a type of condition where the father-to-be will have similar experiences to you in the sense of some aches and pains along with those crazy dreams that come along with pregnancy. Is your spouse gaining some weight right along with you and having those never ending back pains? Then most likely they are suffering from this condition.

10) Babies can actually cry while their in the womb. This can start as early as the 28th week of gestation. They don’t make any kind of crying noises just yet but they silently cry which makes us want to cry right along with them! There was a study done that recorded ultrasounds of fetuses during the third trimester in which they startled the baby with a low decibel noise against the mother’s stomach which caused the baby to display traditional crying behavior. Such behavior consisted of opening their mouths and gasping irregularly. Makes sense that this can happen though right? I mean, it is rather dark and scary in there.

11) Nipple stimulation is the only scientifically proven method of legitimately bringing on labor. So eating pineapple and spicy food is really unnecessary because that’s not going to cause you to go into labor. Nipple stimulation actually releases oxytocin which is a hormone that causes contractions to start. This hormone also helps your labor to progress. Now don’t think that by doing this that it’s a sure fire way to kick start those contractions into gear, this can only work if your body is primed and ready for labor to actually start.

12) More twins are born in Central Africa then anywhere else in the world. According to Livescience, the central African country of Benin, has the highest average of twin birth rates with 27.9 twins per 1,000 births.

13) A woman’s uterus expands to more than 500 times its normal size over her entire pregnancy! During the third trimester, a woman’s uterus gets to be the size of a watermelon! The human body is truly an amazing thing.

14) Your little fetus can actually get erections in the womb. As parents, thinking about your young child getting aroused isn’t the kind of thoughts we want to have however, these little babies have been caught being aroused during ultrasounds.

As I said previously, there are so many other symptoms that can happen during pregnancy and these are just a few of the weirdest that I found interesting. None of these symptoms put your baby at risk for anything or endangers him or her in any way. These are just some interesting facts that occur thanks to good ol’ Mother Nature. Pregnancy is a mysterious and magical experience that makes you come to appreciate all that the human body is capable of doing to keep your little fetus safe, secure, and growing strong.

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5 Sentiments to Share in the Visitation Line

Going through the visitation line at a funeral is overwhelming. Sometimes it’s the first time seeing the family since the death of your loved one. Seeing everyone so distraught is emotionally draining and can leave us feeling stymied when it’s our turn to meet the family in the visitation line. Prepare yourself to come face to face with the family of the departed by thinking about what you’re going to say ahead of time. Here are 5 sentiments to share with the family as you make your way through the visitation line.

1. I’m Sorry for Your Loss

If you can’t think of anything else to say in the visitation line, tell the family that you are sorry for their loss. It lets them know that you recognize their sadness instead of minimizing their grief. Saying things like, «at least he lived a long life,» or «at least you got to spend those final days with her,» is insensitive and shows that you truly don’t understand the magnitude of their loss. Tell the family that you’re sorry for their loss and if that’s all you can muster up the strength to say, give them a hug and leave it at that.

2. Share a Memory

As you make your way through the line, share a story about the departed with the family. Whether it’s a memory that you all share together or one that is unique to you and the departed. Hopefully it will lighten their spirits, even if for just a moment.

3. Share Your Favorite Thing About the Departed

Say something like, «I just loved how your mom always had a smile on her face.» Or, «your sister had a special way of lighting up a room, I sure will miss her.» Pointing out the great qualities of the departed will remind the family of what a great person they had in their lives and keep the memory alive.

4. What They Meant to You

Telling the family just how important the departed was to you will give them a sense of pride: To know that their father was a mentor to you, or their daughter taught you everything you know about cooking. Share your profound experience with the departed with the family to let them know how much you will miss having them in your life.

5. Bring a Photo or Keepsake to Share

If you have a special photo of the departed or something that reminds you of them, bring it to the visitation and share it with the family. It’s a physical reminder of the departed, and can even show the family their loved one at a stage in his or her life that they had never known.

So often people fail to give any thought to what they’re going to say during the visitation and end up unintentionally saying something hurtful or insensitive. Plan ahead and think about what you want to say so the words don’t come out wrong when you come through the visitation line.

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Binge Eating and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Beyond a physical drive for food or water, shelter and safety, what motivates our behavior?

According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated in order achieve certain needs. His hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.maslow hierarchy of needs

His hierarchy of needs model is often displayed as a pyramid, with the lowest or base levels of the pyramid being our most basic human needs. Our more complex needs are at the top of the pyramid.

In a nutshell, it means that our basic needs must be met first before we can move on to meet more complex needs. For instance, it’s hard to focus on self-esteem if you’re starving.

As we get our basic needs met, we move up the pyramid. Our needs become more psychological and social rather than physical. Soon, our needs for love, friendship and intimacy become important for our overall well-being and health. Later, our needs for personal self esteem and the ability to accomplish goals become important.

Maslow puts self-actualization at the very top, which is the highest «need» of a human, the need to grow and develop as a person to reach your fullest potentials.

Indeed, if you’ve found yourself bored by the pace of your everyday routine, itching for something «deeper» or «greater» for your life, then you’re experiencing your self-actualization need.

Abraham Maslow theorized the physical, security, social, and esteem needs are deficiency needs (also known as D-needs), meaning that these needs arise due to deprivation.

The highest-level of the pyramid are considered growth needs (also known as being needs or B-needs). Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to develop as a person.

The deficiency, or basic needs are said to motivate people when they are unmet. Also, the need to fulfill such needs will become stronger the longer the duration they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food the more hungry they will become.

Originally, this model came out in 1943, then revised in 1954. It later expanded to include cognitive, aesthetic and transcendence needs in the 1970s.

Here’s Maslow’s model, as it stands with all needs incorporated:

1. Biological and Physiological Needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety Needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, etc.

3. Social Needs – Belongingness and Love, – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem Needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Cognitive Needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.

6. Aesthetic Needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-Actualization Needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

8. Transcendence Needs – helping others to achieve self actualization.

Now, how does this relate to eating?

Maslow’s model points out the needs that drive our behavior… and, since overeating or binge eating is often not due to physical hunger, it’s behavior that’s driven from other needs.

Binge eating is generally motivated from something usually not obvious. It’s often the result of a habit or a reaction to something emotional or situational: stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, guilt, shame, anger… you get the idea.

If it’s become a habitual reaction, there may not be an obvious connection to an emotion or situation. It might just be what you’ve gotten used to doing.

If you find yourself overeating regularly and feeling disgusted at yourself for being «weak» or having «no control» around food… step back for a moment to look at the 8 human needs above. Is there a need where you’re not entirely fulfilled?

Maybe you’re feeling stagnant. Or like your life is on auto-pilot. Maybe you are missing beauty and balance. Perhaps there’s a relationship that’s not what you want it to be.

Take Action

For the next 8 days, focus on one of the 8 listed needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Plan and do whatever makes you feel most fulfilled in that area on that day. Nourish yourself on that level.

Notice your eating behaviors as you make conscious efforts to fulfill your needs on multiple levels. Do you feel hungrier than ever? Do you feel inspired to try something new? Do you not feel your usual cravings?

I’m very curious to know. For myself, after tinkering with this, I realized that it’s often social, esteem or self-actualization needs that can have me feeling restless or unfulfilled. And when I’m feeling unfulfilled… it’s very easy to fill up with food without even thinking about it.

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Use Karaoke Software to Help You Improve Your Technique and Sing Better

Throughout the world karaoke software is making it possible for amateurs to rise to new performing heights as shining stars of their own living rooms! Software exists that helps you improve your singing ability without leaving the comfort of your home, which makes it a perfect selection to practise for that night out.

Karaoke software builds confidence using the microphone and improves singing habits and technique. Karaoke is very easy and quick to set up, so it won’t be long before you can starting singing with the experts! Every computer on the market today has a port to put a microphone, using that you can simulate your stage performances, which will help with your confidence and drive. All you need to do is to get the karaoke CDG files for your favourite tracks, open them with the software, and then you will have turned your own laptop into a portable karaoke machine! The software is ground breaking because you have the opportunity to hear yourself actually perform!

Some higher end karaoke software come with a feature that allows you to evaluate how well you are singing and in some cases the software even allows you to improve your singing abilities. This feature gives you the opportunity to critique your signing skills and find out your weaknesses in some areas.

By using the internet you are able to download and buy many songs that you would like to sing and perform, in the specific karaoke backing songs that will load into the player. In the comfort of your home improve constantly and become the star you want to be with special software that helps you to analyse the pitch, tone and shriek in your voice!

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