Five Research-based Reasons to be Kind

kindness2There can be few things that pay as big a dividend as simple acts of kindness.

Selfless acts of giving, be it a smile, a word of encouragement, or the offer of a helping hand, result in an emotional uplift not only for others, but also for our self.

Research has shown what we ourselves may instinctively know — kindness can be a major contributor to the levels of happiness any of us experience.

Kindness Is Inbuilt

Performing acts of kindness may well be a choice, but the ability and the tendency to be kind appear to be something innate, something that we have even in infancy.

Research conducted by Dr. Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute, demonstrated that children begin to help others at an astonishingly early age. [1] For example, a 14-month-old child seeing an adult experience difficulty, such as struggling to open a door because their hands are full, will automatically attempt to help.

In other words, when we perform acts of kindness, we are being true to our own nature, and this naturally makes us feel good.

Kindness Can Have Positive Effects On The Brain

Not only does kindness make us and others feel good, studies have demonstrated that the psychological benefits of kindness are actually reflected in the neural circuitry of the brain. [2]

When we allow ourselves to be kind, regularly engaging in random acts of kindness, we create neural pathways that enhance feelings of well-being and the natural flow of feel-good endorphins and mood elevating neurotransmitters.

Kindness Can Actually Help You Live Longer

Some remarkable benefits can be reaped by those who engage in kindness. In one 2003 study, University of Michigan psychologist Dr Stephanie Brown found that people who regularly offered practical help to others had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who did not. [3]

One interesting aspect revealed by this study was that those who received help showed no reduction of death risk. Only those who practiced kindness reaped the longevity benefits.

Kindness Is Contagious

A fascinating feature of kindness is that it appears to be self-replicating, inspiring kindness in others. Simply put, when we ourselves perform an act of kindness, this is likely to encourage others to act in a similar way.

One study conducted by researchers at Cambridge University, the University of Plymouth and the University of California LA, found that seeing someone else help another person produced good feelings, which subsequently caused them to reach out and do something altruistic themselves. [4]

When we are kind, we help make our world a kinder place to live in.

Kindness Makes You Happier

If all of the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you to behave in a kinder way, consider this: Kindness actually does make you happier.

A study, conducted by a University of Pennsylvania research team headed by Dr. Martin Seligman looked at the effects of writing a thank you letter and personally delivering it to someone who had never been properly thanked for their kindness. In other words, performing an act of kindness and gratitude towards someone who had themselves been kind. Participants who did this were able to immediately exhibit a massive increase in happiness scores, with benefits lasting for a month after. [5]

Another recent study, conducted by the Department of Psychology of Tohoku Gakuin University in Japan, looked into the relationship between kindness and happiness. The results indicate that happiness was increased simply by counting kindnesses performed over the course of a week, an exercise that also increased both kindness and gratitude in the participants. [6]

The Bottom Line On Kindness

With research to back it up, it seems clear that doing good for others can also do good for us. It’s a habit that can be developed anywhere, at any time, at little or no cost. Actively work on this, make it a habit, and your happiness quota will automatically sky rocket.

“There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy,” said the Dalai Lama, spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism. “Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Practice a philosophy of kindness and you will retrain your brain and alter your mind, making for a better relationship with yourself as well as with others. This is sure to bring greater happiness and joy into your life.

Above all, be kind to yourself! See yourself as a person of worth; doing the best you can with what you have. You are human. Like every other person, you also have your emotional baggage, and you’re working to unpack it. What we can handle varies from day to day. Acknowledge that you’re continuing to grow into the person you’re becoming, and that the person you are also deserves the benefit of the doubt. Remember that you, too, deserve your own generosity, compassion and kindness.

Kindness is one of the most important habits we can develop on our journey to real and sustainable happiness. It is an essential key to a life lived creatively: one in which we remain healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. Kindness costs little but pays huge dividends in our own lives and in the lives of those we touch. It’s a habit that paves the way to a happy life.

“The simplest acts of kindness are far more powerful
than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and board certified hypnotherapist. His hypnotherapy Birmingham and London clinics provide hypno-psychotherapy services for a wide range of issues. His new book The Chi of Change focuses on the fascinating world of hypnotherapy.



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Breaking the Ties That Bind Us

There comes a point when we realize that some of the people we have held close are around us because we think we want or need them to be there and not because they add to our lives in a positive way.  On closer inspection, they may event create the drama that we desperately try to avoid.

Walk away from anyone who takes away from your joy.

Facing an unpleasant and upsetting situation recently, I was surprised that several of my friends, unrelated to the incident, took the opportunity to share with me that those people who challenged me did not deserve my friendship.

Friendship, like trust, is earned.  It is a gift and a very special gift, indeed.

It’s true, I am a very good and loyal friend.  I have generously opened up my home to college acquaintances who needed temporary lodgings on a moment’s notice, and friends wanting a quick vacation or even a more permanent place to live.  I plan parties, BBQs, dinners and other get-togethers so that we can enjoy each other’s company.  I visit people in the hospital.  I remember and make a concerted effort to celebrate their birthdays.  I have sent gas money to people that I knew needed it.

My boyfriend, who generally does not speak up about these things, offered that one of the individuals who contributed to the drama recently had not been a good friend for a number of years.  Funny, when I reflected back on my relationship with her, I always put the kindnesses she exhibited during a particularly difficult period in my life ahead of the times her behavior disappointed me.  And, in hindsight, there were several of these occasions that hurt pretty deeply.

Sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care but because they don’t.

How true.  But how hard to pull away.  Because there’s a history.  And isn’t it interesting that the few good memories usually overshadow the bad?

Coming to this reality was very freeing.  For one thing, I am very blessed to have a lot of friends, and with my new found freedom I can redirect my attention to enjoy the company of people I just didn’t have the time for before.  Turns out, although unrelated, they’re a pretty neat and fun bunch.  In the process, I have opened the door to fresh, new and exciting adventures that have enhanced my life and broadened my perspective … without the guilt of leaving behind those who, basically, sucked the happiness out of me.

Let go of people who dull your shine, poison your spirit and bring you drama.  Cancel your subscription to their issues.

If you question the loyalty of some of the people around you, if you’d willingly swim across oceans for them and they won’t jump puddles for you, then listen to yoAmerican-Quarters-25-Cent-Coinsur intuition.  Ask the tough question:

Are they adding to the joy in my life or detracting from it?

If someone doesn’t appreciate your efforts, stop trying to please them.  If they don’t appreciate you, they don’t deserve you.  Take a good, hard look at your relationships, and focus on those that offer a good return on your investment of time, kindness and love.  In doing so, give yourself permission to break the ties that bind you.

Remember, having four quarters in your pocket is a lot better than carrying around a hundred pennies.


How to Get Your Flight Attendant to Like (Maybe Even Love) You

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Maybe you don’t want to please your cabin crew next time you fly. I know, I know, it’s their job to be nice; you’re the customer, they’re the employee. But if you’re good to them, they’ll be extra nice to you. So here’s how to charm them.

1. Say hello! If a flight attendant greets you upon boarding at the jetway, say hi back. Don’t just ignore them. A simple “good morning” or “good evening” does it. How would you like to greet 20 people in a row and be greeted by silence? Well, that’s what usually happens.

2. Listen to the safety demo. It’s just polite. Put down your iPad and Kindle. When was the last time you really listened? If it was more than a few years ago, it’s time for a refresher. At the very least don’t talk loudly to your neighbor when a flight attendant is standing in front of you trying to keep you safe.

3. Headphones off! Take your headphones off when they ask you what you’d like to drink so they don’t have to repeat it three times. How would you like it if they were wearing headphones when talking to you? It’s the Golden Rule.

4. Be specific when ordering. When you ask for coffee or tea, specify milk or no milk, sweetener or not, without being asked as in, “I’d like coffee with milk, please” or “I’d like coffee, black.” Not only does it make their job easier, but everyone on the plane will get served more quickly.

5. Same for cold drinks. “I’d like Diet Coke, no ice, please” or “Water, with ice and a slice of lemon, please.”

6. Say please and thank you. As in the examples above, say please and thank you when asking for and receiving something. Again, common courtesy that will get you treated extra well. A flight attendant once told me “We thought you were company” (meaning that I worked for the airline) because I was so polite.

7. Magazines! Donate copies of your current magazines to the crew. After you finish reading this week’s US Weekly or GQ, give it to your flight attendant. Flight attendants love to read magazines when they’re off duty or on break.

8. Treats. It’s perfectly permissible to bring a little tasty treat for your crew. Just make sure it’s safety-sealed — not your homemade muffins, which might be considered a safety hazard. I bring boxes of Walker’s Scottish shortbread or factory-sealed chocolates. They’re always a big hit and you may be rewarded with a free cocktail or maybe even get reseated in the exit row. It happens!

9. Pens! People are always asking flight attendants for pens, whether to complete immigration and customs forms or to simply do the crossword puzzle. Bring a few extra cheap pens, bundle them up and give them to your crewmember. It may not be as enjoyable as a box of chocolates, but they will surely put them to good use.

10. Wheels in! Try to put your carryon bag with wheels or handles facing in before commandeering twice as much space putting it horizontally. And, for Heaven’s sake, don’t put your jackets or tiny bags in the bin. That takes up space for larger items that have to go there, and these smaller items easily can fit atop existing bags once everyone has boarded or underneath the seat. Flight attendants will tell you that boarding is the most stressful part of their job, and by exhibiting an ounce of courtesy and common sense, it helps the entire plane get on the way more quickly.

11. Stay out of the aisles. Make your best effort to stay out of the aisles when the carts are brought out or when the plane is boarding. Try to use the bathroom before boarding or after takeoff, but if the crew begins their service, it is best to stay seated. The carts are heavy and awkward to maneuver, and there’s no reason to become an obstacle to them unless absolutely necessary. And if a crewmember reminds you that the seatbelt sign is still illuminated, remember that they are just doing their job.

12. Stay out of the galley! Sure you need to stretch your legs and all, but galleys are tiny and your flight attendant doesn’t want you there.

13. Tell the airline. If a flight attendant offers exceptionally nice service, most airlines have a mechanism for recognizing them. Ask for their employee number and note the flight number.

Where will all this kindness get you? No, you probably won’t get an inflight upgrade (although flight attendants do have the ability to offer them if there’s room). Maybe the crew will forget to charge you for your cocktail. Maybe they’ll reseat you if the child behind you is wailing like a banshee. I’ve been offered a bottle of wine at the end of the flight on more than one occasion. But sometimes being nice is its own reward.

Follow the author, George Hobica, on Twitter:

The Actual Difference Between Women Who Are Hot And Who Are Beautiful

raphaeli-bikini-rainbowWomen. We’re curvy, skinny, hood, pretty, cute, ethnic, bad, dime pieces, unicorns, babes, pieces of tail, juicy, fine, sexy, foxes, sultry, voluptuous… The list goes on.

When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman with an adjective that isn’t dripping in sexual innuendos and defaming premises? When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman by something that compliments her soul and her inherent elegance? When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman as beautiful?

There’s been a loss of respect when it comes to admiring women, shifting towards describing us as objects, rather than people. Men look at women as pieces of tail, “things” to be conquered, rather than appreciating women for their individuality.

A large portion of today’s men are momentarily allured by hair extensions, large chests, big bottoms and stilettos. They think sexuality comes in the form of bronzed skin, bikini waxes and fake eyelashes. They’ve been programmed to believe that any woman with a sculpted body and perky breasts is attractive.

What about the women who don’t want to indulge in the male fantasy? What about the women who just want to wear comfortable sweaters and flats? What about the women who don’t dress to impress the opposite sex, but instead, to just feel good in their own skin? Isn’t there attractiveness in that? Isn’t there an appeal to that sense of confidence?

When did women become forced to acquiesce to this standard, or otherwise get lost in the crowd? When did getting a man mean painting on layers of makeup and investing in mini skirts?

There is a certain type of man that continually defames women, judging us solely on sex appeal, they fail to see the actual grandeur of a woman. They miss the rare moments of natural beauty and uniqueness.

They don’t recognize that “hotness” doesn’t last past midnight, when the makeup has smudged onto the pillow and the hair extensions have been taken out. It doesn’t last when the spray tans have washed away and the tight dresses have come off.

It’s not real; it’s an illusion that’s been forcing women to conform to unhealthy habits for too many years.

It’s time these men are reminded of the difference between hot and beautiful. It’s time men realize that women have more to offer than just a body.

Women are stunning creatures, with assets and traits both unique and enchanting to each one of us, and it’s time we started showcasing our individuality and stop giving in to the illusion of sexy created by man. Beauty isn’t about wanting to f*ck her; it’s about wanting to be with her.

Hot is admired from afar; beauty is to be held.

Hot is perception; beauty is appreciation.

Hot is smokey-eyed; beautiful is bare-faced.

Hot is an appearance; beautiful is more than skin deep.

Hot is the way she moans; beautiful is the way she speaks.

Hot is a strong appeal; beautiful is strong mind.

Hot is youthful; beautiful is ageless.

Hot is conventional; beauty is unique.

Hot is a one-night stand; beautiful is sleepless nights.

Hot is a state of being; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hot is devious; beautiful is innocent.

Hot is bending her over; beautiful is baking her blueberry pancakes.

Hot is sultry; beautiful is wholesome.

Hot is her curves; beauty is her nerves.

Hot is a text message; beautiful is a love letter.

Hot is a facade; beautiful is a woman.

Article by Lauren Martin

Top Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

Would You Date An Unemployed Man? – 75 Percent Of Women Would Not

If you had asked me 10 or even five years ago if I would date an unemployed man, the answer would probably have been no.  As a career-oriented woman with two businesses to her name, I would have viewed unemployment with a jaded eye.  I mean, how could a man without a job be a good (prospective) provider for his wife and kids, holding up his end?  In all fairness, this is not a black and white situation.  Obviously, if the man had “a plan” and was just between jobs (and actively looking for a new position), that would be entirely different from someone who was simply uninterested in being gainfully employed.  My single girlfriends tell me that there are plenty of men who find nothing wrong with being supported by their wives or girlfriends.  Uh … no.  

However, the times they are a-changing, as Bob Dylan said.  The U.S. economy is in the toilet and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve real soon.  I have personally felt the pinch, making half of what I did 10 years ago.  Clients are paying later and later, making me their personal bank loan.  One client even defaulted – this was a first in my three decade work history.  As a result, I am forced to rethink my career path.  

Some of my girlfriends are struggling to find employment and keep their heads above water.  One in particular – a well-educated, hard-working gal who went to an excellent college (with me!) and grew up in a very affluent ‘burb in Westchester, NY – is about to lose her house.  Another one of my friends was unceremoniously laid off after running a man’s rather multi-faceted business enterprise for over two decades.  And yet another very capable friend, who brought in well over a million dollars in business, was let go without any cause or warning after working for the same hotel for over twenty years.

I am very fortunate to have someone in my corner who understands my situation, sees my potential, and appreciates the difficulty of having to change gears midlife.  He has been very supportive and helpful throughout the frustrating process.  I thank God every day for bringing him into my life.  But this is not the case for everyone out there, I know.

What are your thought on the article that follows?


If you are a man living in America today, to a large degree your value to society is determined by how much money you make.  It should not be that way, but that is how our society works.  And if you do not have a job at all and you cannot take care of your own family, then almost everyone looks down on you even if it is not your fault.  Once you are unemployed, it becomes the number one defining factor in your life.  Yes, there are a few people that may look at you in the same way, but in the eyes of most you will now be less of a man.  Sadly, this is particularly true when it comes to romantic relationships.  Unemployed men tend to have unhappier marriages, they tend to divorce more frequently, and as you will see below approximately 75 percent of all American women do not have any interest in dating unemployed men.  Unfortunately for American men, the decline of the U.S. economy in recent years has had a disproportionate impact on them.  The past five years have been the worst years for employment for American men in the post-World War II era, and things are only going to get worse from here.

Yes, unemployed women go through similar things.  I do not mean to downplay the economic suffering of unemployed women at all.  In fact, I write about it quite frequently.

Today, however, I want to focus on how the steadily declining U.S. economy is affecting men.  If you are a single man and you are unemployed, that automatically means that most single women will not be interested in you at all.  At least that is what one very shocking survey discovered…

Of the 925 single women surveyed, 75 percent said they’d have a problem with dating someone without a job. Only 4 percent of respondents asked whether they would go out with an unemployed man answered “of course.”

“Not having a job will definitely make it harder for men to date someone they don’t already know,” Irene LaCota, a spokesperson for It’s Just Lunch, said in a press release. “This is the rare area, compared to other topics we’ve done surveys on, where women’s old-fashioned beliefs about sex roles seem to apply.”

So what would happen if things were reversed and that same question was asked to men?

Well, it turns out that there is a big difference.

When men were asked that exact same question, the results were absolutely startling

On the other hand, the prospect of dating an unemployed woman was not a problem for nearly two-thirds of men. In fact, 19 percent of men said they had no reservations and 46 percent of men said they were positive they would date an unemployed woman.

Perhaps traditional gender roles are not quite as dead as many people believe that they are.

And as I mentioned earlier, the declining economy is hitting men even harder than it is hitting women.  Yes, millions upon millions of women are deeply suffering in this economy.  There is no doubt about that.  But men are actually having an even more difficult time than women are.

The following are 12 signs that the decline of the U.S. economy is having a disproportionate impact on men…

#1 The labor force participation rate for men is now at an all-time low…

Men - Labor Force Participation Rate

#2 During the last recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women did.  All of the jobs that women in the United States lost during the last recession have been regained, but only about 70 percent of the jobs that men lost during the last recession have been regained.  Meanwhile, the size of the overall population continues to grow rapidly.

#3 The inactivity rate for men has risen even higher since the end of the last recession and is now hovering near an all-time record high…

Inactivity Rate Men

#4 Since 2010, about a million construction workers have either been forced to switch industries or have disappeared from the labor force entirely.  This has had a disproportionate impact on men.

#5 Back in the 1950s, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Just before the last recession, about 70 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, only 64 percent of all men in the United States have jobs…

Employment-Population Ratio Men

#6 Back in the 1980s, more than 20 percent of the jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs.  Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.  This has had a disproportionate impact on men.

#7 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported.  A disproportionate percentage of those job losses tend to come from male-dominated industries such as manufacturing.  Since 1975, the United States has run a total trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars, and right now there are more than 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job.

#8 Between 1969 and 2009, the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#9 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “real entry-level hourly wage for men who recently graduated from high school” has declined from $15.64 in 1979 to $11.68 today.

#10 Thanks to Obama administration policies which are systematically killing off small businesses in the United States, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low today.  This has had a disproportionate impact on men.

#11 According to CNN, American men in the 25 to 34-year-old age bracket are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as women the same age are.

#12 According to Time Magazine, unemployed men are significantly more likely to get divorced than employed men are.

When a man cannot take care of his own family, it can be absolutely soul crushing.  Though many would like to deny this, the truth is that men are still considered to be the primary breadwinners in society today.  When a man finds that he cannot provide what his family needs no matter how hard he tries, it can be really easy to descend into a spiral of despair, depression and self-pity.

Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore and it never will again.  Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline at a staggering pace.

What all of this means is that the number of Americans living in poverty is going to continue to grow, and there will be lots more men that feel worthless because they can’t provide for their families.

The following is one example of a single dad that is forced to turn to the government for assistance because he cannot provide for his children on his own

It means Lyman Curtis, single dad of five kids, will only be able to reliably heat his home in Dexter, Maine, for the first half of this winter, maybe through February.

After that, Curtis will drive to the local gas station to buy kerosene oil in 5-gallon increments — all he can afford to buy at one time.

“I know a lot of people who do it that way, because there’s just not enoughmoney to heat your home and pay for groceries in your everyday life,” said Curtis, 38, who is the primary caregiver for his kids and relies on disability benefits and food stamps to survive.

Nobody should ever look down on someone like Lyman Curtis.  He is doing the best that he can.

At this point our economy is kind of like a very twisted game of musical chairs.  If your family is doing well at the moment, you should not be too complacent because the next time the music stops you might be the one that loses a job.

In recent years, millions upon millions of Americans have lost good jobs, and in most cases it was due to forces beyond their control.

And as the economy continues to deteriorate, Americans are going to become even more angry and even more frustrated.  In fact, one recent survey found that 60 percent of all Americans “report feeling angry or irritable“.

But we have not even reached the next major wave of the economic collapse yet.

How “angry” and “irritable” will people feel once millions more Americans lose their jobs?

That is something to think about.

So what do you think about all of this?

What do you think about the fact that most women would not even consider dating anunemployed man?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Michael T. Snyder is the Editor of The Economic Collapse Blog.

Managing Your E-Mail Effectively

computerhands1Whether or not you’re a busy entrepreneur like me, if you have an e-mail address, chances are you are inundated with e-mail.  Tons of it, much of which is electronic junk mail. Try as we might to keep those nasty spammers at bay, it becomes challenging to sort the important messages from the Viagra offerings. Well, I have tackled that problem with some success, and offer my simple solution to keeping things under control.

First, you should know that I monitor many different e-mail addresses on a constant basis. Huh? you say.  Let me explain …

I use Yahoo, which is a free, popular and user-friendly (no matter what your ability level) e-mail service that everyone knows about, for most of my e-mail addresses. There are others, such as Gmail (Google) and Hotmail to name a few, but I cannot comment on their reliability. I have found Yahoo to be very dependable, easy to set up and navigate (even for beginners), and I can view my e-mail from anyplace in the world with simple Internet access (WiFi or hardwire) – important for me because of the amount of travel, domestically and internationally, that I do.

I efficiently manage my e-mails by breaking down my e-mail access into separate e-mail accounts (or addresses). Specifically:

– I have a personal e-mail address that my family and friends use to send me notes, invitations, announcements, humor, etc.

– I have a personal business e-mail address that appears on my resume and is used when applying for jobs, communicating with headhunters, general business correspondence not related to my companies et al.

– I have a business e-mail addresses that ties into my company, and is used for direct communication with clients or prospective clients.

– I have an e-mail address which ties into my Facebook Page (Coyaba Saratoga Bed and Breakfast) for my bed and breakfast.

– Perhaps most importantly, I have an e-mail address (affectionately referred to as ‘Lori’s Spam’, although I use the word “info” in the address name and not “spam” so as not to offend) for all those stores and other often annoying sites that want your e-mail address to pelt you with notifications (sometimes daily) about sales, special promotions and the lot, and that might sell your e-mail address to others (which really ticks me off). This keeps these time-sucking solicitors at bay; I can control them better.

With a smartphone or tablet, you can set-up/import your e-mail addresses (which would normally be accessed from a desktop computer or laptop) so that you can read your e-mail while out and about. On my smartphone, there is one box (a default, it is set up automatically) called All Boxes that dumps all the e-mails into it as they come in. Then there are individual e-mail boxes (e-mail accounts) that I have set up which sort and copy those specific messages, allowing me to view these messages in their individual boxes if I choose to do so. I can, therefore, separate out the messages I really need to see right away from those that I don’t. It also makes it fast and easy to delete those unwanted e-blasts sent to my Spam e-mail address.

On my smartphone and tablet, there is also the option to ‘flag’ messages – those you want to revisit, require action or have important information that you need at a later date – and the ‘flagged’ messages have their own, separate box which I find extremely helpful.

On a recent business trip to The Bahamas, I was without an Internet connection for two days, and when I was finally able to view my 835 (no joke) e-mails on my smartphone and tablet, I did so by going into my family/friends and business e-mail accounts first because I could view the messages in these boxes separate from All Boxes (default). I read the messages in the Spam account when I am sitting in a doctor’s office, beauty salon, having a cup of coffee, watching TV (rare as it is), and so forth, and have some extra time on my hands.

This simple system has cut my e-mail monitoring time by about 60%, and eliminated the stress of the thought of missing an important message. Even if you are not a constantly-on-the-go hospitality consultant like me, just to have a separate ‘Spam’ e-mail address will make managing your e-mails a breeze and reclaim a lot of time in your busy day.

Women And Success: 26 Things Every Woman Should Know

takeasmileI did not write this, I am sharing it … great advice!

At The Huffington Post’s first ever women’s conference recently in New York, executives, politicians, physicians, celebrities, authors, filmmakers, journalists, nutritionists and more gathered to discuss the critical issue of how to begin to measure success beyond money and power, according to a third metric: well-being.

Hosted by Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the conversations over the course of the day yielded so much wisdom that they decided to collect some of the highlights in one place.

Maybe you’re just starting out in your job. Maybe you’re on your way but feeling torn between work and family commitments. Or maybe you’re in a leadership position but desperate for ways to infuse your life with more joy. In any of those cases, this advice will help you succeed on your own terms — and enjoy that success a little more.

1. “First of all, you have to work hard and earn it.”

That was White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett’s basic but essential advice to young women on HuffPost Live during Thursday’s conference.

Once you’ve done that, you may be surprised what happens when you ask for more money or other perks. If you don’t do it, all of the strategizing and networking in the world can’t help you.

2. You’re interviewing them, too.

“When you’re in a job interview, you should remember it’s a two-way street,” said Jarrett. “Yes, you’re trying to make the best case for why you should be hired, but they need to make a case for why this is an environment where you’re gonna do well.”

3. Seek money and power for the change you can effect when you have them.

Discussing why young women often don’t negotiate for their entry-level salaries — which usually means they make less than their male peers throughout their careers — Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, hypothesized, “They don’t want to be that person who believes in money and power above all else. They believe in their own personal growth, and they want to work for a company that has a mission.”

“All of that is fantastic,” she continued, “but if you fall too far behind men and you don’t fight for at least what you are worth, then you’re … not going to be the person who’s in charge and able to create a culture that has meaning.”

4. Your best ideas won’t come in the office.

When wellness expert Tony Schwartz asked audience members where they get their best ideas, their answers included “the shower,” “running,” “meditating,” “walking,” even “sleeping.” Not one person said “in the office.”

5. Stop apologizing for those ideas.

No, really. Comedian Susie Essman observed that when she first started doing standup, “All the women had funny material and they were apologizing for their material.”

Cindi Leive said she lays down the law with young women in her office, telling them, “You’re not allowed to do that thing that women always do when they’re pitching their ideas, which is say, ‘This probably isn’t a good idea.'”

6. Do not ask a stranger to be your mentor. Especially if that stranger is Valerie Jarrett.

“Sometimes young women come up to me and say, ‘Will you be my mentor?'” Jarrett told HuffPost Live. “A mentorship is a relationship, and it’s earned over time. Just as you earn a promotion, you earn that somebody else is gonna invest in you. If I recommend somebody for a job, that’s my reputation on the line too.”

7. That thing you’re doing isn’t multitasking.

“Multitasking is a myth — what we actually do is task-switching,” psychology professor Amishi Jha said. “Out of all the things our mind does, that switching function is the most depleting.” Psychologist Donna Rockwell put it a little more bluntly, “There’s no such thing as multitasking — you’re just not doing anything well.”

8. Introverts have an unexpected advantage.

Work can feel like an environment that requires being “on” all the time. But people who naturally keep more to themselves may have a leg up when it comes to dealing with stressful scenarios. “One of the benefits of being an introvert is that it’s not very hard for me in these situations to find a sense of calm,” said Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts.

9. Hanging out with your coworkers is part of your job.

Who has time for that? If you want to get things done, you do, suggested Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). Taking time to socialize with other members of Congress helps them all work together much more effectively, she said. “When we are socializing, talking about things other than work, invariably the next time we try to work together, it just goes better. We listen to each other more carefully. I think compromise has a more likely chance of surviving.”

The female senators, she added, are good at setting aside downtime with each other. They get together every three months for dinner, she said, and once a year they invite the women on the Supreme Court to join, “and then we really gossip.”

10. Career moves that might look like a step backward can be a step forward.

Valerie Jarrett told the story she related to the graduating class at Wellesley when she delivered their commencement address on May 31. She went from a corner office at a law firm to a city government cubicle that looked out on an alley. “It took a lot of courage to basically walk away from the conventional knowledge of the track I should be on and go work for city government,” she told Huffington and Brzezinski. But as she told HuffPost Live, “From the very first day I moved in there, I knew that I was where I belonged.”

11. The promise of the women’s movement was not that you would be perfect.

“We felt that the women before us, the trailblazers and the people who broke glass ceilings and the ones that demonstrated and litigated and everything — we thought that they did that in order that we would be able to compete with men and do everything that women traditionally did,” Valerie Jarrett said.

As a result, she put pressure on herself to be a rock star at work and have a perfect dinner on the table every night. It was only when that proved impossible, when she had to ask for help, that she realized she had interpreted the message all wrong. “That wasn’t the lesson from the women before us. That’s not what they were fighting for. They were really fighting for us to make our own choices.”

12. So stop trying to make it look easy.

Mika Brzezinski told HuffPost Live, “Women, one of the things we do … is make everything look so easy. We’re supposed to be perfect. We’re supposed to be beautiful. We’re supposed to be thin. And it’s all supposed to come easy … And it isn’t. On every level. Trying to work, balance a family, succeed, make money, which should be as fundamentally important as everything else we do, it isn’t easy.” Brzezinski said she feels the pressure to make it look easy herself, which is why “we all need to have a true, honest conversation about not only the challenges we face but how we can help each other.”

13. And ditch the judgment.

Brzezinski brought up Anne-Marie Slaughter’s controversial Atlantic article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in which Slaughter recounted her decision to leave her position as director of policy planning at the State Department and return to academia.

As we saw in the aftermath of Slaughter’s article, many people -– including many women — are all too willing to judge women for their choices. Brzezinski argued that criticizing other women’s decisions isn’t useful. “There’s a certain partnership that we need to have with each other … because these decisions are so highly personal, they’re so highly charged. Quite frankly, we need to let some of that [judgment] go.” When women resist judging, Brzezinski said, “We make it easier for each other.“

14. “You can have it all, just not at the same time.”

Valerie Jarrett emphasized this when she spoke Thursday morning, and although comedian and author Ali Wentworth agreed, she had something to add. “I think that’s true, but I also think you redefine what having it all at [any] point in your life is.” Wentworth’s priority right now is her kids, she said — she turned down a job opportunity this week because it would require too much time away from them -– but being with them is “having it all” for her right now.

15. Listen for the laugh track.

Tanya Wexler, director of 2011’s “Hysteria,” a movie about vibrators, has a great approach to those times when nothing seems to go right: “Imagine your life as a sitcom, and when things start to get bad, just hear that laugh track.”

16. Don’t assume men have things figured out.

In conversation with Huffington and Valerie Jarrett, Brzezinski delivered one of the great lines to emerge from the conference. “People say men compartmentalize. I think they forget.”

17. Gratitude will get you through a lot.

“I am endlessly grateful. Every day I’m grateful,” said Sallie Krawcheck, former president of the Global Wealth & Investment Management division of Bank of America. “Yes, I worked hard to have the career that I have and plan to continue to do so, so I don’t want to take anything away from that. But how in the world I was born in this time to my parents in this world, right, as opposed to another time, a slum in India — I am so grateful. I’m grateful for everything.”

That gratitude proved very useful when she was fired from the job that had made her the most powerful woman on Wall Street. “I got grateful when I got fired,” Krawcheck said. “I said, ‘How many people get to be fired and it’s on the front page of the Wall Street Journal?’”

18. Worrying will not.

You think you’re being vigilant, that if you dare to think about something else, you might miss coming up with a solution. Or you may think that if you worry enough, convince yourself that the worst possible outcome is imminent, the gods will reward your self-flagellation with a positive result. It doesn’t work that way.

“Worrying is just a prayer for the worst possible scenario,” said Daphne Oz, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew.” And in most cases when you’re worrying incessantly, you have very little control over whether that prayer will be answered.

19. Everyone says passion matters, but passion really matters.

“I would add another element to that Third Metric, and that’s passion … and learning how to say no to things that are not in the service of that passion,” said Susan Cain. Cindi Leive added, “These work-life issues are so much easier when you really love what you do.”

20. If you love your work, that is good for your kids.

If you need or want to work rather than staying home with your kids, there are some good reasons not to feel guilty about that. For one, “going out and making stuff is awesome,” said Tanya Wexler. Susie Essman put the sentiment a little differently — and more ominously — when she paraphrase Carl Jung, “The most dangerous thing to a child is the unlived life of a parent.”

If a particular type of work is integral to your happiness, do it. Those dependent on you will be better for it.

21. Know the little things that bring you joy and do them.

“I’m looking at every day in my calendar as a playground — what can I do to have fun with it?” said Desiree Gruber, executive producer of “Project Runway.”

Ali Wentworth named a couple of her little pleasures when she said, “If I take a nap and I have a tiny slice of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough, I’m a better woman.” And Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, shared an unforgettable only-at-Cosmo joy trigger. “If I need a pick-me-up in the day,” she said, “I’ll sidle up to the lingerie editor’s desk and say ‘Charles, show me the latest bra.'”

22. Recognize when you’re leaning in too far.

Sheryl Sandberg’s call for women to “lean in” to their careers has resonated deeply, if sales of her book on the issue are any indication. But it’s also important to know your limits and respect them.

“If I ‘lean in’ any farther, I’m going to fall over,” Cindi Leive said.

23. Assess what you can let go of.

Claire McCaskill recalled what a powerful moment it was when she realized, “I didn’t give a sh*t about dust bunnies under the bed.”

24. Work ultimately isn’t going do it for you.

We all have to worry about our own bottom line, but that’s just the bottom, the starting point. “We make a huge mistake when we think that work is going to make us happy,” said writer Nell Minow. Claire McCaskill also had some wisdom on this theme: “My grandmother, an amazing woman, told me just before she died, ‘Just remember, Little Miss Full-Of-Yourself, the most important days of your life will be the days you don’t forget.'” Not many of those days will be the ones where you worked yourself into the ground.

25. Your life is your empire. Give the empress some respect.

“Women are not managers, they’re leaders. We’re all running an empire. When you’re running a home and a career and taking care of yourself, you’re a leader,” said Susie Essman. “Women have to embrace that power.”

26. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

Talking about how to get more women interested in working in tech, Megan Smith, VP of Google[X], discussed the need to sell women on tech as an opportunity to make an impact. “I love the expression: ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,'” she said.

No matter your field, it’s quite possible that you are the one you and everyone around you have been waiting for.