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How to Take Better Care of Yourself

Self-care refers to any action or behavior that helps avoid triggering health problems (for instance, increasing our risk for heart problems due to excess stress) and benefits by improving mental and physical health through better self-esteem, less stress, and overall wellbeing. Self-care makes up an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It keeps us happy and our mind bodies healthy.

How to take care of yourself

The only problem is that we don’t get enough of it. Experts suggest that the reason why we neglect self-care is because it can be tough to make lifestyle changes and manage stress in healthier ways. Self-care also gets some bad rep for being associated with selfishness and lazy, over-indulgent behavior. This kind of thinking might make us feel guilty for considering taking a break from our lives to do something that makes us feel better.

Taking better care of ourselves shouldn’t make us feel guilty! In fact, studies show that the pursuit of health and happiness is far from selfish. When we take good care of ourselves, the chances of seeing an improvement in many aspects of our lives, including our physical health, relationships with other people, and even our income are higher! Moreover, by making the choice to practice self-care, we will develop a tendency to care more for others — proving that self-care is essential for not just ourselves, but the world around us.

Here are some tips to help you take better care of yourself:

1. Schedule some time when you don’t work. Focusing only on work is a great excuse to not take care of yourself. Instead set specific time slots where you won’t work and will instead spend time with your loved ones or on yourself.

2. Live Healthy. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs and alcohol. A study reported that filling up on seven portions of fruits and veggies per day might make us happier. Manage stress and go for regular medical check-ups.

self care

3. Stress less. By now, we all know that stress is detrimental for our health. Research suggests that stress may be contagious. The more stressed we think we are, the worse it might be for our heart’s health. Between work, relationships, family, and life’s curve balls, it’s difficult not to succumb to it. Experiment with some strategies, which range from drinking tea to practicing progressive relaxation, to find what works for you in managing stress better.

Taking better care of yourself

4. Listen to music. If you’ve ever noticed that certain songs bring a smile to your face, you are not alone. As it turns out, some studies have shown that listening to music intensifies already positive emotions. Upbeat music, in particular, can do wonderful things for your mood. Moreover, it can also improve heart health.

5. Hit the mall! Shopaholics, rejoice! According to some research findings, indulging in some retail therapy can help ease mild depression and make us more confident. Another study suggests that purchasing new clothes can improve a person’s mood.

Some Reasons to Donate to Charity

With Christmas right around the corner, thoughts typically turn to acts of good will and philanthropy. It is after all the season of giving. Americans, for instance, are particularly known for being generous as individual givers. 88% of households donate to charity. It is a big part of our culture. We give to various causes like education, religion, health, the arts, the environment, animals and the organizations and foundations that support them.

some reasons to give to charity

“Americans still give away more every year than the entire GDP of wealthy nations like Israel and Denmark, even after the Great Recession caused a sharp drop in donations,” reported the American Enterprise Institute, a non-profit organization based in Washington.

The motivation that drives people to give requires a complicated answer that researchers and scientists are still trying to decipher. Some would like to think people donate money because of purely altruistic purposes, however, some studies indicate otherwise. While I personally believe that the primary motivation for giving should be altruism, I also think that you should also keep in mind that there are great benefits to giving. After all, it is better to give and receive! Here are some for you to consider:

1. Tax Benefits – A gift to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax if you itemize deductions. More importantly, most, but not all, charitable organizations qualify for a charitable contribution deduction. These include churches and other religious organizations, tax exempt educational organizations, tax exempt hospitals and certain medical research organizations, a government unit, such as a state or a political subdivision of a state, etc,

advantages of donating

2. Promotes Cooperation and Social Connection – “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably, fosters a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in your social community,” wrote Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. These exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others. When you give, your generosity is more likely to be rewarded by someone else.

3. Giving makes us happier – A study published in the International Journal of Happiness and Development investigated how social connection helps turn generous behavior into positive feelings on the part of the donor. The study reached the conclusion that donors feel happiest if they give to a charity through a friend, relative or social connection rather than simply making an anonymous donation to a cause. The research implies that non-profit organizations hoping to maximize donations should advocate recruiting and help members build on their social connections.

 

 

The study’s findings also complement earlier research that demonstrated a positive effect on happiness of social interaction and voluntary work. “While additional factors other than social connection likely influence the happiness gained from pro-social spending our findings suggest that putting the social in pro-social is one way to transform good deeds into good feelings,” the team concluded.

benefits of giving

On a final note, remember that giving to Charity is NOT a sign of whether you’re a good person or not. A person should only give to a charity if he truly feels that it is the right thing to do with his money. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t donate.

Mark Zuckerberg is Giving Away 99% of his Facebook Shares

Earlier this week, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced that they are celebrating the birth of his daughter by giving away 99 percent of their net worth in their lifetime. That is approximately $45 billion, based on the current value of Facebook stock. He announced that he would gift substantially all of his shares of Facebook stock to further the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality by means of philanthropic, public advocacy and other activities for the public good.

Mark Zuckerberg with wife and daughter

In an open letter on Facebook, he outlined his aims for the charity which will focus on curing diseases, developing clean energy and modernizing schools. The vehicle for his charitable efforts will be the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, a charity that he controls.

Limited Liability Corporation

Zuckerberg is using the a somewhat unusual structure to fulfill this act of beneficence. Instead of creating a charitable trust, Zuckerberg and Chan have set up a limited liability corporation (LLC). The Chan Zuckerberg LLC’s structure would enable them to make for-profit investments and political donations. This gives the couple more control over the money that they are promising to give away, while still providing trust benefits.

The flexibility of the LLC could make the institution more effective, but it could also benefit the Zuckerberg family more than a charitable trust. “The beauty of having an LLC in today’s world is No. 1, you have the ability to act and react as nimbly as need be to create change. You have the ability to invest politically, in the for-profit sector and the nonprofit sector simultaneously,” said Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a philanthropy expert.

Previous Charitable Attempts

Some of Zuckerberg’s previous charitable attempts have been criticized for being mismanaged or poorly structured. For instance, in 2010, he and his wife donated $100 million to the Newark public school system, with the goal of improving education success rates. However, reports say that a big portion of the money was soaked up by consultants. Ultimately, the donation did not improve either the school system or the outcomes for students. In fact, some reported that may have even exacerbated the problems.

Charity efforts by Zuckerberg

Tech insiders speculate that these failed attempts could be part of the reason why Zuckerberg decided to make his foundation an LLC rather than a typical trust. Instead of just handing money over to existing charitable institution or non-profit organizations, the LLC would allow him to retain control and have a greater input on where and how the money is used.

Criticism

Critics of Zuckerberg’s plans have stated that the structure of the LLC will provide the biggest benefit for Facebook’s co-founder, as well as to any CEO who donates stock to a family foundation. He will be able to transfer ownership of his company’s stock without paying capital gains taxes. Moreover, there is also the possibility that his foundation will live beyond him, with his heirs holding the reins, untouched by estate taxes.

Mark Zuckerberg

Another financial benefit is that Zuckerberg will be able to deduct the fair value of his gift to his foundation from his taxable income in the year that he makes his donation. He could realize a tax benefit equal to about a third of the value of his donation.