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How To Help Your Dog Be Happy

Dogs are a human’s best friend. They provide us with pleasure, companionship and joy. In return, we can help our dog be happy and strengthen our bond in several ways. 

Provide Exercise

Exercise is essential for your dog’s physical health. Dogs also need movement to combat boredom. While you may need to crate your dog while you’re at work, offer adequate exercise, too. Take walks, runs or hikes together. And play games like fetch or tug-of-war. Even dancing and swimming keep your dog active. 

Rotate Toys

Your dog probably has a favorite chew toy, ball or stuffie. Even preferred toys can get boring, though. Stimulate your dog when you rotate toys. A few times a week, toss all the toys in a bin and bring out a fresh selection. 

Improve Diet

Feed your dog a nourishing and nutritious diet. After finding food she likes, follow serving size recommendations based on breed, size and age. Offer fresh water throughout the day, too. 

Promote Chewing

Chewing is a natural behavior. That’s why a bored or upset dog will chew on furniture and shoes. Offer plenty of chew toys to stimulate your furry friend. Bully sticks provide protein while dental bones clean your dog’s teeth and freshen his breath. 

Head Outdoors

Dogs love to sniff and explore. Meet this need with plenty of outdoor walks and playtime. Switch up the route or location every few days to add additional adventure and stimulation.

Offer Socialization

Dogs can be social creatures who need playtime with other dogs. Schedule doggie playdates with a neighbor’s pet or visit a dog park. If you’re new to doggie playdates, choose a neutral location, remove toys, start with introductions, and make sure your dog feels comfortable.  

Put Your Dog to Work

Some dogs thrive on hunting, digging or protecting, so give your dog a job. Hide a treat, several toys or yourself, and make them use their noses to find the objects. Or teach your dog to carry laundry and fetch your shoes. Also, consider setting up an agility course in your backyard. Give your dog a purpose and watch her thrive. 

Implement a Training Regimen

Your intelligent dog can learn tons of tricks beyond sit, come and roll over. Challenge and stimulate your dog to crawl, bow, spin, or jump through hoops. Use positive reinforcement methods and a consistent training schedule to give your dog confidence and strengthen your relationship.

Enjoy Snuggles

Pups appreciate physical touching like petting, brushing and snuggles. Maybe you don’t want your dog on your bed, but you can scratch her favorite spot. Or learn soothing massage techniques.

Study Your Dog

Because every dog is different, study your pet. Figure out what he likes and needs to be calm, stimulated and happy. For example, learn his boredom cues, offer his favorite treats and let him choose the walk route. 

You can help your dog be happy. Practice these tips as you support your pooch.


5 Strange Pets You Can Legally Own

When it’s time for a pet, who wants to stick with something boring? Everyone has a cat or a dog. Why not choose something more exotic? There are several exotic animals you can legally own. With one of these, you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood.

1. Serval Cat

Imagine a pet that looks like a miniature cheetah. That’s the Serval. Don’t worry, though. This exotic pet does well in captivity. It won’t tear through your yard at lightning speed. Also, they’re great hunters in the wild, but happily eat prepared food at home.

Servals are native to Central and Southern Africa. They live up to 19 years. You’ll love the exotic look fo their spotted coat.

2. Capybara

The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. These exotic pets kind of look like guinea pigs. Yet they can grow to 170 pounds. So they certainly are not cage pets. You’ll need more than one because they do best in groups. Because of their size and needs, pet capybaras also need a large outdoor space with a pool or pond. They are legal to own in most states.

3. Fennec Fox

The fennec fox has big ears and a small face. This adorable addition to your home may be legal with the right permit. But don’t let that adorable face fool you. These little guys are wild animals. They’re also skittish. This means they don’t like to cuddle. Also, they’re nocturnal. You’ll find they have a lot of energy when you want ot sleep. If you’re up for that challenge, this is one of the cutest exotics you can own.

4. Two-Toed Sloth

Many people are obsessed with the adorable, lazy sloth. Shockingly, it’s legal to own a two-toed sloth in several states. This exotic pet requires specialized care and doesn’t like to be held. You’ll need to give it climbing space and prepare for a long-term commitment. But one perk is that they don’t move fast. You’ll never have to chase your pet through the neighborhood if you choose a sloth.

5. Tamandua

The tamandua is a 10-pound variety of anteater. This popular pet has a personality similar to a cat. They may even be willing to cuddle. This makes them appealing as an exotic pet. You’ll draw plenty of attention walking a tiny anteater. Keep in mind that they sleep a lot. They are also nocturnal. This means they may be active at night.

Which exotic pet strikes your fancy? Before you buy, make sure you research local laws. Each state has its own exotic pet regulations. Always check the laws in your state before buying a pet. Also make sure to research care for your pet. Finally, choose a reputable, captive breeder.

Relaxation Techniques To Restore Clear Thinking

Finding ways to reduce stress and relax your body is critical for your well-being. Proper relaxation techniques help clear your mind and restore clear thinking. The key is finding the right techniques to suit your needs and goals.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, is a technique used to reduce stress at the physical level. You start with your feet and toes. Tense up the muscles, hold the tension for five seconds, and then release the tension. Repeat the process in your calves. Move onto your thighs and then your core muscles. Repeat the process in your hands and arms. 

By the time you complete the relaxation technique throughout your entire body, you will reduce the tension in your body. It helps you feel relaxed and stress free. Furthermore, the active focus on tension and relaxation on each part of your body draws your mind away from anxiety, stress, or specific concerns. You are able to clear your mind by focusing on a specific task.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that focuses on your breath. Take a deep breath while you count to ten. Hold your breath for ten seconds. Release your breath for ten seconds. If you have difficulty with ten second increments, then start with five seconds and move up to ten as you increase your lung capacity.

The advantage of deep breathing for relaxation is the focus on counting. Since you count each inhalation, hold, and exhale, you take your mind off of stressful situations or concerns. It helps you put your concerns into perspective by giving your mind a break from the thoughts.


Meditation is a useful way to relax and restore clear thinking. Since you have different types of meditation that range from mindfulness meditation to clearing your thoughts directly, you can choose a personalized strategy to meditate.

A simple way to meditate is to turn on a candle and stare at the flame. Clear your thoughts by simply staring at the flame until you do not have any active thoughts. Alternatively, use mindfulness meditation to recognize your thoughts, accept them, and then let them go.

Listen to Calming Music

Music affects your mood and mind. When you listen to calming music, it helps you relax and focus on the sounds. Depending on the type of music, it may make you feel happy, content, or calm.

In the case of relaxation, focus on calming instrumental music. Soft music without any lyrics or words will allow you to clear your thinking and relax into the sound of the music.

Relaxation techniques range from active measures to passive strategies. The key is finding a strategy that works with your mind and helps you calm your thoughts. By considering meditation, deep breathing, or Progressive Muscle Relaxation, you can reduce stress and anxiety. The result is a calm feeling that allows you to restore your clear thinking and focus on finding real solutions to any problems that contribute to stress.

How To Eat To Look Younger

Taking measures to look younger than your current age starts with your diet. The foods you eat play a critical role in your appearance. The right diet supports your skin, hair, nails and internal organs. By improving your food choices, you will notice changes to your skin that make you look younger and healthier.

Foods High in Antioxidants

When you want to eat to look younger, start with foods that are high in antioxidants. Generally, fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help improve the appearance of your skin. Common antioxidant foods include:

  • Blueberries and other types of berries 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea

A diet that is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables will naturally contain a high rate of antioxidants. Since antioxidants reduce the rate of free radicals in your body, they also slow natural aging and improve the appearance of your skin.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The human body needs a variety of fatty acids for good health. Unfortunately, many individuals do not get enough omega 3 fatty acids. By improving your intake of the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, you reduce inflammation in your body.

Inflammation is a key part of your body’s natural defense against infections and sickness. The problem is that inflammation is harsh on your body and a poor diet may contribute to excess inflammation. By adding more omega 3 fatty acids to your diet, you are able to reduce the negative impact of inflammation.

Common foods with high rates of omega 3 fatty acids include:

  • Fish, particularly fatty varieties like salmon
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Chia seeds
  • Oysters
  • Walnuts

Omega 3 fatty acids support your body’s health and well-being. It also improves the appearance of your skin to help you look younger.

Orange Vegetables

Looking younger through your diet requires more orange vegetables. The orange vegetables contain high rates of beta carotene. While the nutrient is often associated with eye health and night vision, it also impacts the appearance of your skin.

Vegetables that are high in beta carotene give your skin a healthy glow. As a result, your skin looks younger and healthier. Options that are high in beta carotene include:

  • Pumpkins
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash

The beta carotene in orange vegetables is not the only reason to consider adding it to your diet. They also contain vitamin C, which is a key building block for collagen. As a result, they have two benefits to help with anti-aging.

Foods with Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often overlooked when it comes to aging. As you get older, your body is not able to produce vitamin D at the same rate. As a result, you may notice more damage from the sun, sunburns, and aging skin. Foods that contain vitamin D include:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Liver

Your body will produce vitamin D with exposure to the sun; however, too much sunlight can damage the skin and contribute to aging. By adding more of the vitamin to your diet, you improve your health without the risk of sunburns.

Changing your diet may result in looking younger. The key is eating a variety of healthy foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other building blocks your body needs to keep your skin healthy.

3 Questions To Check In With Yourself

Checking in with yourself throughout the day is a great way to stay mindful, grateful, and well. 

One great question to ask yourself when you first wake up is, "What do I hope to accomplish today?" This question serves you throughout the entire day: 

  • it helps you set micro goals for health and well-being
  • it motivates you to do the things that move you toward your goals
  • it directs your thoughts toward the positive

When answering this question, it’s important to remember that goals that are too lofty can do more harm than good. Instead of planning to earn a Bachelor’s degree, for example, you might set a micro goal or reviewing the prerequisites.

Great examples of micro goals include: 

  • I will spend 15 minutes on my home or room today.
  • I will spend 5 minutes in prayer or reflection today. 
  • I will tell someone I appreciate them today. 

The second question to ask yourself every day is, "How am I feeling today?" Learning to identify and name your feelings has a butterfly effect in other facets of your life. 

When you know how you feel, you can take steps to better understand those feelings and cope in a healthy way. As a direct outcome, your behavior is less likely to reflect difficult feelings. That means your feelings are less likely to lead to negative behaviors that may have undesirable consequences. 

Finally, as you learn to recognize your own feelings, what causes them, and what helps, you begin to better understand those around you. Connecting with others becomes easier and easier. 

Finally, as the day comes to a close, ask yourself, "What went well today?"

It’s common to crawl into bed at the end of the day and replay all the moments that didn’t go as well as you had hoped. The result of this negative thought process at the end of the day is often difficulty sleeping, anxiety, remorse, and feelings of worthlessness. 

Asking what went well instead gives you an opportunity to reflect on your strengths. Which moments are you most proud of? Which habits would you like to repeat again tomorrow? Which decisions will support your larger goals? Which moments were the most fulfilling? Which of your micro goals did you achieve today?

Checking in with yourself throughout the day helps you stay focused on your goals and intentions. 

It helps you recognize and cope with difficult feelings in a productive way. 

And it helps you celebrate your wins and make habits out of them. 

So, to transform your life with three simple questions, ask yourself: 

  • What would I like to accomplish today?
  • How am I feeling?
  • And what went well today?

5 Habits to Improve Your Calm and Reduce Your Stress


If you’re like many others, you’re probably feeling stressed out right now. Most of us are tired, overworked, and over-committed. Unfortunately, stress can take a terrible toll on your physical and mental well-being. For example, it can lead to depression or an increased risk for heart disease. 

And that is why it is so important to reduce your stress levels. The following are 5 habits that can help you bring calm back into your life and also reduce your stress levels. 

Number one, practice mindfulness.

When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to practice mindfulness. That means you should stop worrying about any future events and issues that you have no control over. It’s also important to let go of your past regrets. Stressing out over things that occurred in your past will not change what happened.

Instead, be mindful. That means focusing on and living in the present. You can start by taking a few moments each day to think about and be thankful for the good things in your life. 

Number two, make sure to exercise on a regular basis. 

Why? Well, for one thing, a good workout will release endorphins into your system. These hormones can trigger a positive feeling in your body that is often referred to as a runner’s high. Exercising can also improve your overall physical health. 

Another plus? Exercising can tire you out, which will hopefully lead to a better night’s rest. That takes us to our third stress-busting habit. 

Number three, get enough sleep. 

Your body needs sleep to recover both physically and mentally each day. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body may feel as if it’s in distress. This could cause a stress hormone called cortisol to be released into your system. Cortisol is also known as the fight or flight hormone. And too much of it can cause your body to feel like it’s under constant stress.

On the other hand, getting enough sleep can actually decrease your cortisol levels significantly. 

Number four. Minimize your time on social media. 

Research has shown that spending too much time on social media can stress you out for several reasons. You might, for example, feel depressed by seeing pictures of people who seem to have everything that you want. Or you might read a comment that upsets you.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to let the virtual world negatively affect your reality. So if you find yourself feeling sad or anxious after being on social media, it’s time to put a limit on your screen time.

And finally, number five — prioritize yourself.

You are important. Don’t let other people hijack your life.

Sometimes that means saying no to an invitation. Or it might mean scheduling time in your calendar for self-care. That can mean anything from reading a book to getting a massage. 

Making yourself a priority might sound selfish, but it’s not. Because in the long run, when you take care of yourself, you’ll have more energy and love for others. And that is truly a win-win for everyone. 



Why You’re Procrastinating And How To Avoid It

Procrastination is often the result of the fear of failure. Instead of getting something done right away, we put it off because we’re afraid we won’t do it right. After all, it’s impossible to fail at something if you don’t even try. However, constant procrastination can severely impact your quality of life and cause others not to trust you to keep your word. Procrastination itself leads to feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Those who allow procrastination to become a serious problem often wind up living without things they want and need.

Many feel trapped by the cycle of procrastination, but there are ways to overcome this problem. Here’s how you can get on track to stop procrastinating.  

Take Baby Steps

Like other major life changes, getting procrastination under control won’t happen all at one. Building good habits takes time. One of the main reasons why people give up trying to avoid procrastination is that they don’t see immediate results. Taking baby steps makes it feel less overwhelming. Instead of trying to change all at once, tackle procrastination one task at a time. Remember that success builds motivation far better than failure.

Be sure to set achievable goals instead of setting yourself up to fail. For instance, you may be putting off getting that degree you’ve been wishing you had. Perhaps household and employment obligations pose obstacles to going back to school. Instead of focusing on the degree itself, focus on taking just one class. 

Practice Consistency

One of the reasons people put something off is that they tell themselves they can always do it later. Practicing consistency turns obligations into habits, and good habits create their own rewards. If you make yourself work out at the same time every day instead of giving in to the impulse to put it off, you’ll soon look and feel better. These improvements in your health and appearance will motivate you to keep working out on schedule. 

Eliminate Distractions

When it comes time to tackle something you’ve been putting off, eliminate all possible distractions. Put your phone on silent mode to prevent your attention from being diverted by notifications. Turn off the television if you’re prone to getting caught up in what’s happening on the screen. Choose a time of day when distractions from other household members or neighbors are typically at a minimum.

Set Realistic, Concrete Deadlines

Deadlines should be concrete and realistic. Those trying to break the procrastination habit sometimes subconsciously sabotage their own efforts by setting deadlines that aren’t realistic. This approach only fuels the cycle of procrastination. 

Make Rewards a Part of Your Routine

Making a practice of treating yourself to a small reward upon completion of a task you’ve been procrastinating on helps take the edge off. Once you’ve included rewards in your routine, you won’t dread certain tasks quite so much. A cup of coffee or a half an hour with a favorite book work well as rewards. 



5 Superfoods To Boost Your Energy

In today’s hectic world, energy often seems to be in short supply. The good news is that these five energy-boosting superfoods will give you the energy you need to make it through the day, no matter how stressful or hectic.


The avocado is truly unique. Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, the avocado is actually a type of berry. It’s one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Unlike most fruits which are high in sugar, avocados are filled with monounsaturated fatty acids. In fact, it’s the same healthy fat that’s found in olive oil and almonds. Monounsaturated fats are a ready source of energy. As a bonus, avocados are also good for your skin and hair. Monounsaturated fats also decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease and can help with weight loss.


Like avocados, almonds are high in monounsaturated fatty acids.  Almonds are also loaded with protein. This means that they’re a very healthy snack. They’ll provide you with a steady and slow release of energy that will keep you going for hours. Best of all, a small handful of almonds can replenish your energy levels without spiking your blood sugar levels.

When choosing what type of almonds to eat, raw almonds provide the most health benefits. Superfood nutrients are reduced when the almonds have been processed.


Maca is a green powder that’s filled with numerous health benefits. Maca is known to increase vitality and energy, and prevent adrenal fatigue. Maca also improves thyroid function, helps to balance hormones, and improves metabolism. Maca is great for your mental health as well. This powerful green powder acts as a natural antidepressant and assists with anxiety.

Although maca is non-caffeinated, the vitamins and minerals it contains provide the same energy buzz as caffeine. Maca is an all-around body balancer. It assists your body in dealing with stress which is the number one energy robber in today’s hectic and busy world.

Gojo Berries

The goji berry, also called the wolfberry, is a bright orange-red berry that is packed with nutrients. Goji berries have been eaten and used in Asia for thousands of years to increase energy and prolong life. Goji berries improve blood flow, which in turn, increases energy and concentration. Additionally, they are high in antioxidants which combat the tiring effects of free radicals.

Goji berries can be eaten raw, cooked or dried (like raisins). They are used in medicines, wines, juices and herbal teas. Although goji berries may be used to treat many common health concerns, they may also interact with some prescription medications. People taking prescription medications such as warfarin, blood pressure medications and diabetes medications should talk with their doctor before adding goji berries to their diet.


Oats are the perfect way to begin your day. They’re a good source of high-quality protein, slow-releasing carbohydrates and the powerful fiber beta-glucan. Oats are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. All this goodness translates into an amazing amount of energy for you and your body when oats are added to your diet.

When making your bowl of morning oatmeal, be sure to sweeten it with raw honey instead of sugar for more superfood energy.


If your energy is lagging, and you need a pick-me-up, be sure to reach for one or more of these powerful superfoods. Your body will thank you for the fast-acting energy boost.

5 Ways to Know If You’re With “The One”

Your heart pounds when you are together. You can stop thinking of the person when you’re apart. So far, the relationship is incredible, and you are beginning to think about wedding bells. Are you moving too quickly, or not quickly enough?

Here are five ways to be sure that the person you are with is "The One.":

Number 1: You Can Be Yourself

Everyone tries to be the best version of themselves when dating someone new. But that can’t last forever. Before committing to a life together, you should feel comfortable dropping your mask of perfection around the person without worrying about the consequences. Remember, "the one" will accept you for who you are and never ask you to change.

Number 2: You Would Choose the Person as a Just a Friend

Yes, physical attraction is vital to a long, happy marriage, but it is just one puzzle piece. After all, intense attraction can become a problem, leading you to make poor decisions about making a long-term commitment. The person you marry should be someone you would choose to spend time with as just a friend. If you can only connect in the bedroom, you probably don’t want to commit to a lifetime together. 

Number 3: The Person Supports Your Goals and Dreams

People desire different things out of life. And that is okay. You and your partner don’t need to want precisely the same things, but they should be compatible. Anyone who belittles your goals or discourages you from going after your dreams isn’t for you. But that special person will not only encourage you to reach for the stars but will make you feel like you can be successful in reach.

Number 4: Your Friends and Family Adore the Person

Sure, you should marry whoever you want at the end of the day. However, it is much easier if all the people in your life like each other. Expecting those around you to adore your future spouse as much as you do may not be realistic. However, everyone should all be able to spend time together on a holiday without a fight breaking out. Remember, it goes both ways. You should have a good relationship with your future spouse’s friends and family as well. 

Number 5: You Figured Out How to Resolve Conflicts Successfully

Marriage is never easy. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. But it is not the difficult times or the conflicts that break people up. It is the couples’ inability to resolve disagreements without creating even more damage. Until you are confident you have the type of relationship that can survive serious quarrels, it’s a good idea to postpone any wedding plans.   






How To Help Your Cat Be Happy

If you’re like most people who share their homes and hearts with a feline friend, you want your cat to be as happy as possible. Although they seem like mysterious creatures, making a cat happy isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Here’s what you need to know about making sure your cat is living a happy life. 

Play With Your Cat Every Day

Even though cats seem as if they’re less sociable than dogs, they still need interaction with their humans. Cats of all ages love to play, and it also provides indoor cats with the exercise they need to stay healthy. Change your play routine and switch out the toys to keep things exciting and fun for your cat. Keep toys with strings put away when you aren’t home because playing with these unsupervised has the potential to injure your cat. 

Keep a Clean Litterbox

Cats do not like a dirty litterbox. Failing to keep a clean litterbox may result in your cat using inappropriate areas of your home for elimination, such as your bed or favorite chair. The average litterbox needs to be cleaned at least once per day. Homes with multiple cats should provide a litterbox for each animal — cats don’t like to share their bathrooms. 

Provide Your Cat With a Catio

Catios are outdoor enclosures designed to provide spaces where cats can safely enjoy being outside. These enclosures come in many forms from basic to elaborate. Everyone wins when a catio is part of the picture. Cats get to spend time outdoors, birds and other wildlife are safe from them, and you don’t have to worry about your cat wandering off and getting lost. If you live in an apartment or condo without a yard, you can get a detachable enclosure that fits into a window frame. 

Provide a Sunny Perch Near a Window

Another way to keep your cat happy is to provide a sunny perch near a window. Cats love to bask in sunlight, and being next to window provides an opportunity to watch birds and other interesting things going on outside. Cat perches can be simple, cushioned spots elevated by a post or more complex structures often called cat condos or cat trees. These structures provide cats with climbing, play, and rest areas.

Don’t Forget Flea Treatment

No cat can be happy if it’s always having to scratch itchy places because of fleas. Pet owners often think their indoor cats cannot get fleas, but that is not the case. Fleas enter home interiors in a variety of ways, including on your clothing and the bottoms of your shoes.

Have Your Cat Microchipped

No one plans on their indoor cat getting loose, but no home is foolproof. If your cat gets loose and becomes lost, neither one of you are going to happy. Having your cat microchipped improves the chances of your cat being returned to your home safe and sound.