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5 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

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Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to diminish stress, which is a constant for just about everyone. But many people find it difficult to focus on the present, which is something that mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn (an MIT graduate who has been involved with the practice for over 45 years) says is essential. He says mindfulness is about thinking “Oh yeah, brand new day and I’m still alive!” and going about the day with awareness.

So, how can you—in this multi-tasking world of ours—practice mindfulness? Here are five easy ways to find inner peace and be alone with your thoughts.

1. Start slow, grasp the true essence of mindfulness

First, get rid of the assumption that you must be some kind of Zen master or assume a certain position when the moon and your astrological sign are in synch. Practicing mindfulness is nothing like that. It is simply about focusing on one thing at a time, free of the distracting thoughts that typically plague your mind. Kabat-Zinn says, “When you’re walking, just walk. When you’re eating, just eat. Not in front of the TV, not with the newspaper.”

So, take time for self-reflection and ask yourself: am I texting while “watching” television? Am I scrolling through Facebook while I have my mom on speakerphone? If you are, you aren’t honing in on thing at a time. By physically removing all that clutters and distracts you from the one main thing that you are attempting to do, you can devote all of your thoughts to moments as they occur (rather than living in anticipation of what’s coming next or considering what happened in the past).

2. Take a simple walk

Walking is a great way to clear the mind, especially if you refrain from listening to music or using your phone. Enjoy the scenery. Look all around, even up at the sky or at the pavement beneath your feet. Think only of what you are doing, not about what you need to add to the grocery list or your child’s upcoming school project. Take everything in, allowing yourself to embrace what you otherwise don’t (when you’re caught up in the inner rumblings of your mind).

Walking need not involve hitting the gym or being active for an hour. Buddhist author and teacher John Ciancosi explains that such focus can be accomplished while walking in short bursts of time, even from just the car to the office: “If you can learn to establish awareness during walking meditation—when you are physically moving with your eyes open—then it won’t be difficult to arouse that same wakeful quality during other activities… and your meditation will begin to permeate your entire life.”

So try going for a walk, whether it’s a short stroll up and down your street, around your workplace or in a local park.

Must Read: 5 Mistakes to Avoid During Walking Exercise

3. Sit

That’s right, sit. How easy is that? Kabat-Zinn says “Sit down and take a minute to just be here. Stop, breathe, and feel. Let the past be over and done with, and let what has not yet happened to be off in the future.” He notes you may feel as though you’ve been sitting a long time when in fact you’ve only been sitting for a few minutes, but this is normal. He says, “This practice is about feeling where you are right now. Just give yourself three minutes to feel your body and mind. The goal isn’t to have any particular experience, but rather to check in on how it really is to be you.”

4. Observe your immediate surroundings

Eden Kozlowski (founder and CEO of Just Be, LLC) wrote about mindfulness as it pertains to truckers. How can they, she wondered, practice mindfulness when they are always on the road? You can take some tips from her suggestions for truckers by observing life around you wherever you are. “You don’t need incense, an exotic location or to be transported to some elevated state of being. Your truck can be your sanctuary,” she explains.

So, if you’re a trucker, notice the scenery as you drive. If you’re in an office all day, look at the plant on your desk and observe details such as new growth or the intricate designs in the leaves. You’ll find yourself achieving a state of relaxation by being more mindful of the everyday surroundings you probably rarely notice in the first place.

5. Shower

Resist the urge to use shower time as an opportunity to ponder some family conflict or rehearse a presentation. Instead, focus on your shower and nothing more. Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. even wrote a brief post titled, “Turn on Your Shower and Reduce Your Stress Today.” She says that showers are an easy way to engage in mindfulness. “Habitual rumination on regrets into the past will sap your energy and open the doors for a barrage of self-judgment that will keep you from living the life you want,” she cautions.

So, she encourages shower mindfulness, rhetorically asking, “What would happen if instead of thinking about all the plans you had to catch up on while you were in the shower, you took a pause, and then brought your nose to the smell of the soap…and again, just exploring the scent of it with your nose…?”

Resist the “more is more” mindset and instead focus on these easy ways to practice mindfulness, all of which you can do from the comfort of your own home and personal space.

Sources:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes/
http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/practicing-mindfulness
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eden-kozlowski/why-truckers-need-meditation_b_7204732.html
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2009/02/turn-on-the-shower-and-reduce-your-stress-today/

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Lifestyle

Basic Camera Care All Photographers Should Learn

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Camera maintenance, Camera care tips

Whether you are a seasoned business portrait photographer with several years of experience tucked under your belt, or just a newbie who has started dipping his toe in the hobby, one of the critical lessons that you need to learn and master by heart is camera care.

Knowing how to care for your camera correctly will not only allow you to take care of your investment. Proper attention can also ensure that your gear performs optimally, enabling you to make the most out of it, whether for business or fun.

Store Your Gear Correctly

Dust, moisture, and sunlight are the greatest enemies of your photography gear. This should be your guiding principle when storing your equipment.

Cameras and batteries are best placed in a cool area where any temperature fluctuation should be minimal. High temperatures can damage your camera’s central processing unit and sensor, while cold temperatures can pose serious harm to its LCD.

Make sure that your camera’s storage area is well-ventilated with a humidity of around 35 to 45 percent. Excessive humidity, coupled with moisture, will only invite mildew and rust. Extreme dryness, on the other hand, adversely affects the lubrication of different parts which can fast-track wear and tear.

Whether you are storing your camera and lenses in a box or a bag, put some silica gel inside to counter moisture.

Invest in a Good Camera Bag

An essential aspect of caring for your camera is using a camera bag.

Most cameras are susceptible to dust and scratches which can be easily avoided by storing them in a proper bag. Furthermore, water-resistant bags can shield your precious gear from rain.

Make it a Habit to Turn Off Your Camera

Turning off your camera allows you to conserve the power of your batteries and increase the overall lifespan of these.

But more than conserving battery juice, there is another reason to turn off your camera’s power – to protect it from damage.

Avoid leaving batteries inside your camera as much as possible, especially if you are storing your camera for an extended period. Batteries can corrode when stored in a moist area or if left completely drained off.

Whether you are changing your lenses or removing the memory card or attached cables, make it a habit to turn off the camera first. Changing lenses when the camera is still turned on increases the risk of dust getting into the sensor. On the other hand, there is a significant chance that you can damage your memory card by pulling it off from the camera when it is still running.

Clean Your Gear Right

First things first – before you schedule a cleanup for your camera, make sure that you have a special cleaning kit on hand. Under no circumstance should you touch your camera with ordinary household cleaning materials.

Go to a reputable camera shop and invest in a few brushes, a microfiber cloth, and specialized cleaning solutions.

Don’t waste your money on canned air. You might see a few people cleaning their gear with it, but you can seriously damage your camera and its accessories if you insist on using it.

Canned air contains chemicals which are harmful to your equipment. Instead of canned air, consider using a brush or a squeeze bulb for hard-to-reach areas.

Protect Your Lenses

It is relatively easy to damage lenses. And unless you are willing to cough up money over and over again, it is sensible to invest in lens protection.

A simple filter can prevent breakage, cracks, dents, and scratches. Additionally, filters offer a variety of uses, depending on the type you get, ranging from glare reduction to reduction of shutter speed.

Care for Your Memory Card

Memory cards are a vital item of photography gear that can be easily overlooked. If you want to get more out of your memory cards, you need to learn how to care for these properly.

First, invest in a protective case which will help keep your memory cards dust-free. Second, do not expose the cards to heat. Place these in a cool, dry place. Finally, never put your memory cards near magnetic sources.

Camera care is an essential skill that anyone can and should learn, whether you are a hobbyist or a professional photographer. From a financial standpoint, this vital skill can help you save a lot of money. And from a functional perspective, keeping your gear in good order can help your equipment perform optimally.


AUTHOR BIO: Stefanie Descheemaecker is the Studio Manager at Stu Williamson Photography at The Palm Jumeirah – Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. She has been with the company for almost 3 years and is the driving force behind the success of the business. A keen amateur photographer, Stef combines her natural creative eye with a strong business acumen to help Stu Williamson Photography become the most trusted and successful photography business in the UAE.

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Fitness

How To Get In Shape While On Holiday

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Vacation. This is a word that can mean so many different things. Some people consider vacation as a time away from all the hassles of their daily work. Others look at it as a way to break away from routine and there are also those who just want to use up their vacation leave. Whatever your purpose is on your next holiday, there is one important thing that you need to make plans for – your fitness regimen.

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Shopping – A Great Form of Exercise

Since a huge chunk of every vacation is one’s shopping spree, then you might as well use this opportunity to stay fit. Imagine walking all over the different malls that you can find. To add to this, you also get to carry the things that you buy so this is an effective way to work off on self-indulgence.

Do not just buy the first items that you find. Ask around first so that you get to find the best bargains on athleisure while you also spend more time (and more energy) going from one shop to the next. Also, make it a point not to use elevators or escalators, utilize the stairs so that you will burn more calories.

Utilize the Hotel Gym / Boot Camp It

Yet another part of any holiday is the need to stay in a hotel. Most hotels now have indoor gyms so it would be a waste if you do not use the exercise equipment there. Being on vacation is no excuse to stop your exercise regimen. What you need, though, is your strongest willpower and an activewear. Have the determination to continue exercising and you will surely reap the benefits later on.

Another fun way to get into shape is to go to a bootcamp. These prove to be a super fun way to burn excess pounds, test your body’s limits, and learn new and positive habits. Imagine how much better you’ll feel in that bikini after you’ve been sweating it out in a boot camp!

Pack Some Exercise Essentials

If it is impossible to hit the gym during your vacation, then you might as well take any of these with you – light weights, exercise band or a jump rope. Toning your muscles isn’t all about sweating in the gym. Sometimes, you just need to be disciplined enough to exercise on your own and make do with your packed resources while vacationing.

Steer Clear of Some Foods

One other thing that is equated to vacation is food, especially if this is your first time to visit a certain place. For instance, if it is your first time to go to Germany, you might be instantly tempted to try their different types of beers and fattening cuisine. If you do not curb your urges, you could end up trying every bit of food that you could lay your eyes on – and this is not good for your figure.

The secret is to try one, unique meal at a time and then to couple this with your usual fruits and vegetables; this way, you maintain your healthy diet while still getting to taste exotic cuisine.

Swim That Body Fat Away

If your destination for your holiday vacation is a beach resort, then make good use of the resource that you have right in front of you – the rolling waters! Swimming is an activity that can help you trim down while keeping your heart healthy – technically, you are hitting two birds with one stone. If your vacation does not involve any water activities, then plan for a lot of walking. Rather than ride a cab, it is best to walk and enjoy the scenery or architectural wonders around you. Tuck that pedometer and you’re just about ready to walk around a city!

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Lifestyle

The Largest Pizza in the World and How Long It’d Take You To Eat It Alone

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest pizza was made in Norwood, South Africa, on December 8, 1990. It weighed a staggering  26,883 pounds and measured 122ft 8in in diameter – that’s about the same size as two cricket pitches laid end to end, two thirds as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and three quarters the height of the Arc de Triomphe. Big then.

No matter how much of a pizza lover you are, you’d have to admit that’s something of a challenge for one person to get through.

The monster-sized pizza contained a waistline busting 9,920 pounds of flour, 3,960 pounds of cheese, 1,763 pounds of mushrooms, 1,984 pounds of tomato puree, and 1,984 pounds of chopped tomatoes.

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Put into perspective, the average individual large pizza, with a 14” base, contains around 225g of flour,  6 ounces of chopped tomatoes, and 8 ounces of cheese!

Which means that for one person eating the record breaker, it would be the equivalent of eating approximately 7,920 individual large pizzas! If we assumed one person could stomach the same meal – the equivalent of a whole pizza – three times a day, everyday, without succumbing to boredom, or a very sore stomach, then it would take our pizza eater 2,640 days to eat their way through the various slices, which translates as around 7 and a quarter years! Just to get through one pizza!

We’re fans of pizza, but even we might be a bit less enthusiastic about pizza at the end of that. And I’m not sure it’d be in a fit state to eat after 2,640 days… or where you’d store it as it certainly wouldn’t fit in the average fridge!

There’s a slightly more palatable world record holding pizza however. In Moontower Pizza Bar, in Texas, USA, home of giant sized food, it’s possible to order the Guinness World Record holding largest commercially available pizza which comes in as measuring a cool 8ft by 2ft 8in.

The pizza pie, named “The Bus” on the restaurant’s menu is designed to feed a group (or a very hungry individual) and requires a 48 hour advance notice order. The cost? The one-topping whopper would set you back a hefty $299.95 (plus tax). And if you’d like extra toppings with that, you could be looking at $400 for a pizza.

“The Bus” knocked the previous winner – Los Angeles’ Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria – off the top spot for the largest pizza on a commercial menu, when it was launched in 2018. According to Guinness, the new heavyweight champ measures 1.98m² or 3,072 square inches. Amazingly, it only takes 30 minutes to make by the Moontower Pizza Bar’s master chefs and comes in a special, giant sized, flip top pizza box. Which is handy as there might just be some leftovers at that size and weight!

As the Moontower Pizza Bar menu says, “at over 26 times the size of our 12” pizza, you better be hungry”. Indeed.

Here’s a few choices of toppings you can add to the record breaker, because, you know, 3,072 square inches of pizza definitely needs a few toppings!

Pepperoni

Pepperoni may be one of those controversial pizza toppings, but it is beloved by a great many people, and if you are going to eat pizza every day for a month, it doesn’t hurt to have some of the best toppings on it.

Chicken

Who doesn’t love delicious and marinated chicken? Having this as a topping makes our pizza super delicious. You can eat and eat and eat some more. This makes it nutritiously healthy for you as well.

Chicken has been known to be low on calories, and hence having it combined with some cheese and sauce makes it better than any other topping you may have chosen. It is also a favourite for most people that love good food.

Ensure to request for chicken when you order your world’s largest pizza.

Bell Peppers

These are super delicious, and the fact that you can bite them down with a crunchy sound like apples makes them a favourite topping for most pizzas.

They are so very good, and they will ensure your pizza is not only fresh tasting but also healthy, nutritious and simply divine. If you are going to order the worlds biggest pizza and eat it for almost a month, then having some vegetables on the topping is not a bad idea. In fact, it is a great and fantastic idea for you.

Cheese

Go for lots of extra cheese, that will ensure that you have a good topping whenever you re-heat your pizza. Remember you shall consume it over a long period of time, and it is essential that you have some cheese every time you are eating your pizza.

Do not be afraid of keeping some additional cheese in the house so you can be topping it up whenever you like. This also keeps it tasting great and delicious at all times.

Choose from a wide variety of cheeses, and mix everything up for a great looking and tasting pizza all the time.

Black Olives

This is a controversial topping which most people do not agree on, but if you have some black olives, it will make your pizza even more delicious than it already it. These olives are super delicious and nutritious, plus they contain some added salt for that extra flavourful taste.

That extra salty taste makes your pizza even more delicious and savoury that you could end up eating all of it at once.

Ham

Ham is so delicious and it’s perfect on pizza. It adds some extra flavours that cheese alone cannot give. When buying the world’s largest pizza, ensure to include some ham on the toppings so that your experience can be that more rewarding.

It is not unheard of to have some delicious ham as a topping and most people actually love this, so, ensure to order it for your pizza delivery.

Bacon

Bacon is so delicious; we cannot even begin to explain it. When ordering your pizza, ensure to include some bacon on your world’s largest pizza because it will make the difference between enjoying it and not. This is a world class topping that almost everyone will enjoy.

Tomatoes and Onions

Some people do not like to have tomatoes and onions on their pizzas, but they are so wrong. There is nothing as delicious as tomatoes and onions combined, especially tomatoes that are not fully cooked taste great.

Ensure to add some tomatoes and onions on your pizza toppings and this will make it more appetizing and nutritious as well. Remember that tomatoes and onions are vegetables that should be included in the pizza in order to make it healthier.

Pineapples

Now, this is the most controversial and has rendered some households fight-prone. Pineapples are extremely delicious and most people tend to state that they are not great as a pizza topping but they are actually quite delicious.

If you are going to order the largest pizza in the world, ensure to include some vegetables and fruits so that your overall meal becomes extra and super delicious, and ideal for the whole family as well.

Pineapples are tropical fruits that are extremely nutritious. Only people who are allergic to pineapples should consider not having them on their pizzas, but if you love them to keep them close and always consider them to be a great topping.

Conclusion

Now, in the modern-day world, you can possibly order a pizza delivery of the largest pizza and this can be delivered. The largest pizza delivery today should measure about 54 x 54 inches, and the delivery company will need to keep it at the roof of their vehicle in order for it to fit.

This will cost you plenty of cash approx. $400 which is a lot.  This is a pizza that can take you at least 15-30 days to complete if you eat it alone and ensure that you eat it on a daily basis. That is almost a whole month.

Ordering the largest pizza may not be the best idea because it will, of course, have too much of everything, and it is already a fast food so it doesn’t contain many nutrients, but it is a fun thing to do, and one that will make your days so much more fun.

Keep the toppings delicious, nutritious and healthy so you can be assured of having a balanced diet when you consume the pizza daily. Keep some extra cheese ready and add it on top of the pizza as often as possible, and whenever you need to eat your delicious goodness.

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