Quick Hits!

When it comes to advice about being happy, what works for some generally doesn’t work for others. It’s pretty subjective stuff, right? Well, here's some advice that’s actually backed by science.

Alex Korb, a UCLA researcher of neuroscience, has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here are four rituals (backed by SCIENCE) that will make you happy:

  • Ask Yourself "What am I grateful for?": Yeah, gratitude is awesome… but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup. You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.
  • Label Negative Feelings: You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry? Boom. It’s that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.
  • Make That Decision: Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That’s no random occurrence. Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.
  • Touch People: No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble. But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t it’s painful. And I don’t mean “awkward” or “disappointing.” I mean actually painful.

Source: The Ladders


Even if you’re not a germaphobe, when you have kids, you have to think about all the stuff they come in contact with that could potentially be exposing them to strep, pink eye, and yuck…WORSE! Sure, you’ve got your Purell, and you’ll need it after visiting any of these germy places your kid is likely to catch their next bug.

  • The pediatrician’s waiting room - Even when your little one is hacking and feverish, they still want to touch every truck, puzzle piece, and toy in the waiting room, and maybe even put them in their mouths. And all other kids do too, so they’re probably being exposed to some nasty germs.
  • Ball pits - These are known for being dirtier than a toilet seat, so remember that next time your kid jumps in face first. And don’t forget the toddler in there with the leaky diaper who just got out. The thing is, how would you even disinfect a ball pit? It’s not easy, so it’s not done often.
  • Your sink - Get this: the kitchen sink has 1,000 times more illness-causing microbes than a toilet bowl. Let that one sink in for a minute...
  • Classrooms - This is the germiest place in the whole school, especially the water fountain spigot. Next time you want to do something nice for your kid’s class, buy them some more Clorox wipes!
  • Car seats - Once again that phrase “dirtier than a toilet” comes up. Researchers at the University of Birmingham found “an average of 100 dangerous bacteria per square centimeter of car seat,” which is more than double what they found on toilets. So gross!
  • Your floor - If you don’t already have a no shoes inside policy, consider this: A few of the toxins typically found on the bottom of our shoes include pesticides, fecal bacteria, and gasoline. And a baby crawling on the floor might put her hand in her mouth as many as 80 times an hour. That shoes basket by the door sounds pretty good now, right?

Source: PureWow

Summery weather is here and along with the lovely long warm days comes something we don’t love so much about the season - mosquitoes. Sure, you can coat yourself in sticky chemicals to ward them off, but who wants to do that? So here are some plants that can help keep you mosquito-bite-free while you enjoy your fun in the summer sun.

  • Lavender - We think it smells fantastic, but bugs? Not so much. Look for the lavandin variety, it has a high concentration of camphor that keeps the critters away.
  • Lemon balm - It smells lemony, but it’s more appealing than citronella. And the plant has high levels of citronellal, a compound bugs don’t like.
  • Basil - It’s not just for cooking anymore! Having a pot of basil around is great because the plant emits a strong scent and you don’t even have to crush the leaves.
  • Catnip - Your kitty will love it, and you will too when you learn that mosquitoes hate catnip.
  • Mint - You can make a mojito with it and it’s good for your skin, too. Mint leaves can keep mosquitoes away, but if you do get one, the essential oils in it can soothe the bites.

Source: Woman’s Day

As we head into a short work-week after Memorial Day, chances are your social media feed has some wedding pictures from the long holiday weekend. So, what about holiday weddings, anyway? Are they tacky or acceptable?

USA Today has a breakdown of the holidays that are okay – and not okay – when it comes to wedding planning:

  • TOTALLY FINE: Columbus Day - Pretty sure this is only a real long weekend in New England, so go for it, because most people won’t even have Monday off, anyway.
  • GO FOR IT: New Year's Eve- New Year’s Eve is awful, why not go to a wedding? You’ve got a built-in party, the food is free, and it’s the perfect excuse not to go to any dumb New Years Eve parties.
  • NOT RUDE: President's Day - If you have kids, I can see where this one would be annoying. But if you don’t, you’re probably not going to be heartbroken about giving up a long weekend in winter to go to a wedding.
  • NOT THAT RUDE: Martin Luther King, Jr Day - Don’t get married on that Monday so that people who want to go to an event honoring Dr. King can do so. But this is generally an okay weekend to get married, as the same logic as President’s day applies.
  • BORDERLINE RUDE: Memorial Day - Make sure the ceremony isn’t on Monday so that people can pay their respects to those who’ve served in the military.
  • PRETTY RUDE: Labor Day - It’s the last long weekend of summer, and making someone give it up to go to your wedding is pretty inconsiderate.
  • SUPER RUDE: July 4th Weekend- July 4th is the best party weekend of the year, don’t mess it up with your wedding.
  • ALMOST RUDEST: Thanksgiving - Are you insane?
  • ABSOLUTE RUDEST: Christmas - You better have a really, really good reason for getting married on a weekend that bookends Christmas or a) no one will come to your wedding and b) the ones who do will resent you forever.

Source: USA Today

Jay and Dawn

Jay and Dawn

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