7 Ways To Engage Employees With Training

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On-going employee training can be a natural aspect to overlook – especially when there are more pressing or urgent goals on the horizon. This goes both ways, for the employee and the employer. However, on-the-job or on-going training is a crucial part of growing your company by developing the skill set of your employees. Another reason to spend time training your employees is that it creates buy-in from them, especially when the training will provide direct benefits for their current and future work. 

With so many great reasons why employee training is so beneficial, it can be difficult to understand why some employees seem resistant to the idea. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to engage your employees with the idea of more training:

1. Make it personal

Typically, making something personal isn’t the best idea – especially in the workplace. However, when it comes to employee training, the more personalized you make training, the more likely your employee will respond positively to training. The best way to do this is to keep the learner at the center of the training. Pushing learning, especially learning curriculums that are of a one-size-fits-all variety, is a quick way to turn your employees off, and even results in an adverse effect on their work, with time lost and possible feelings of devaluation.

2. Ask your employees

Sometimes asking your employees can lead to a dead end, due to the circumstances, office politics, and so forth. Sometimes you need to intervene and make a decision that’s best for the company. Training can be like that too. Sometimes you might have an employee who is good at recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and other times you’ll have to step in and offer some guidance. Regardless of the type of employee, when it comes to training and self-improvement, it’s always a good idea to ask them first. After all, it’s important for employees to be engaged. For example, in various coding classes, there are many ways to help employees retain their training knowledge, while also being a win-win for the company. This doesn’t need to be a daunting thing at all. A simple conversation about personal development goals is likely a conversation that will leave you both feeling better and it’ll offer clearer insights into how your employee views their development while also giving you some key insights into what motivates them and what they see as important.

3. Career advancement

If your employee sees a clear path in their professional development through training, they’re much more likely to be invested in their training. This can be the outcome of higher wage or even a better position within the company. In some ways, this is dangling the carrot. You offer a potential reward, and they’ll do the work to try and achieve what they need to achieve in order to get that reward. Beware of making promises you cannot keep, as there’s nothing more demotivating than a broken promise.

4. Multiple formats

The advances in eLearning have been dramatic over the last few years. With sources such as Lynda.com and more, there has never been a better time to offer eLearning for your employees, which provides further training without breaking the bank. Combine this with a BYOD (bring your own device) or a working from home option, and you’ve got a compelling mix of learning and flexibility that will appeal to many people. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer in-house, in-person training too. There is still a lot of value to be gained from learning from each other one-on-one or in a small classroom environment.

5. Bake training into the culture

An excellent way to get your employees to respond to training is to make it a part of your company culture. This doesn’t mean superficially offering training or forcing unwanted or unnecessary training onto your employees; it means encouraging people to learn from each other, to make learning a priority and not a secondary act. Have a centralized knowledge base, one that is actively maintained and contributed to. Encourage discussion. Make problem-solving and helping a virtue in your company, not a taboo. Encourage questions, allow people’s curiosity to flow, and ask people to punch holes in ideas. This takes everyone to buy-in if it is to succeed. It’s not a one-off trick and it’s got to start at the very top.

6. Recognize experts when you have them

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate enough to have an expert on your team. No matter what they’re an expert in, an expert is always a great asset for a company – when their expertise are used correctly. There are many ways to utilize expert knowledge within your company, but simply recognizing when someone is excellent at something and having that information be known to the rest of your company, is a great way to start. They could hold a small discussion or a classroom style meeting. They could present some of their knowledge to the people who are most interested and in need of their expertise – the list goes on. Regardless of how your company uses this expert, merely recognizing this person will provide a boost in morale to everyone.

7. Rewards

The final idea on the list appeals to our most basic human selves: a reward for doing something good. Everyone enjoys a pat on the back now and then and a pat on the back with a gift card or dinner at a nice restaurant or a trip to a sporting event are all simple ways to reward someone for their hard work. These are best presented at milestones, big or small, and are an excellent way to affirm your employee for the job they’re doing positively.

Let’s get training for 2017!

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How To Become A More Efficient Freelancer: Tips for Staying Focused and Productive

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Unbeknownst to many, freelancing is a challenging career path. It’s easy to get fooled by the flexible hours, freedom, and a seemingly endless amount of “free” time that most freelancers seem to enjoy. But unlike colleagues in the 8-5 day job that have a guaranteed check every month’s end, freelancers need a lot more than the willpower to wake up every morning and go to work.

To make ends meet as a freelancer, you must cultivate sharp focus and discipline in order to stay productive throughout the day. Freelancers are more likely to get distracted by small things, especially when working at home. Loud TVs, household chores, kids, idle friends, and a long list of other distractions can easily break concentration and keep you further from your goals.

So, how can you stay focused and productive in the face of all these challenges? Read on for tips on how to grow and establish yourself as an efficient, high-achieving freelancer.

1. Set A Work Routine & Stick To It

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Setting a regular work schedule will help you separate work and play and become a more successful freelancer. A routine enables you to avoid burnout, sleepless nights, missed deadlines, and unproductive days when working as a freelancer. When making a routine, assign the toughest jobs to times of the day when you are most creative.

Though work schedules and routines vary, a typical routine should look something like:

  • 5:30 am: Wake up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 am: Emails, catching up on news
  • 7:00 – 11:00 am: Work
  • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm: Gym, lunch, social media, emails
  • 2:00 – 7:00 pm: Work
  • 7:00 – 10:00 pm: Family
  • 10:30 pm: Bedtime

Of course, this can be amended to fit individual lifestyles but, as a rule of thumb, always ensure that at least 60% of your day is committed to productivity.

2. Manage Distractions

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One of the major challenges of being your own boss is managing distractions, especially if you are working from home. Family, chores, TV, and the general temptation to lounge at home can keep you away from achieving your goals. Getting an affordable shared office space can be a good option to avoid such distractions, especially if it’s impossible to establish a No Distractions Zone in the house.

Apart from the physical distractions, you can also get hooked to unproductive internet habits. We all know the pitfalls of the cat video conundrum: once you watch the first cat video, you must watch ALL cat videos. Thankfully, there are tons of software you can use to block web-based distractions, including Cold Turkey, Self Control (for Mac), and the chrome extension, Stay Focusd, which gives you time limits to certain addictive sites.

Your phone can also be a source of distraction, especially after blocking yourself away from your computer. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” to prevent unnecessary distractions while working.

3. Make Time To Work Out

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Your work schedule should make time for some form of physical activity. Prolonged durations of sitting have been associated with numerous health problems, including metabolic syndrome and obesity. Working out, even in its simplest form, helps to rejuvenate the body and give you a fresh perspective of the task at hand. For instance, a 10-minute workout was recently shown to be just as effective as longer workouts of moderate intensity.

Physical activities also help to improve brain power and boost problem-solving skills, thanks to the rush of oxygen and nutrients into the brain when your heart rate goes up.

4. Reward Yourself 

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Cultivating a good reward system will not only help you breathe between tasks, but will also give you something to look forward to when working on a task. It acts as a good self-motivational system that can help you tackle the most difficult of tasks. Set small milestones and a reward for each completed milestone, for instance, a chocolate bar after every two blog posts.

Don’t forget to relax after a long day of work. Pour yourself a glass of wine or pop open a bottle of beer while reflecting on the day’s accomplished tasks.

There are so many measures different people take to become productive and focused as freelancers. The key is finding what works for you through trial and error and making it part of your daily freelancing ritual to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency when working at home.

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A Letter To My 50-Year-Old Self: On Grace and Getting Older

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Today, I turned a different age somewhere along the continuum of the roaring twenties. I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday and in some ways, I am quite humbled by the life I’ve been privileged to live with its many lessons and experiences, its mountaintops and valleys, and the trek in between the two. When I was 12, I didn’t exactly write a letter to myself, but I did write down all the things I wanted to do with my life. Looking back, I’ve done a good deal of those things and I’m grateful. When you’re 12, 20-something seems like a grown-up age, and you long to get there. But when you’re 20-something, 50 seems so old and so far away that you dread the thought. Maybe it is a thing to fear or just the thought that scares us. Then again, maybe it isn’t. You be that judge. But here is my letter to myself at 50.

Dear Self On Your 50th Birthday,

Today, you changed ages. You’ve entered that strange and beautiful group of people between middle age and elderly. You’re not super young, but you’re not old either. You’ve come a very long way from thirty. Congratulations!

I am certain you have grown enough to understand that life is precious and fragile. It must be lived boldly yet handled with care. You understand that it is not so much about you as it is about you living for something higher than you. I’m certain that you have accomplished way more than you imagined but your underlying aim behind all of those accomplishments was to make a difference in the world.

I think you have done that well.

Make your mark.

Everyone seems to have that common desire to make a mark on the world. At least at this age, some expect to have had this goal reached. Indeed, some people have done so long before now, while others are just getting started. But you have thought about your place in making a difference long before now. And you’ve reached a pinnacle that has you everywhere you want to be, doing the things you want to be doing at this age.

You are settled, strong, and gracious. You’ve found your happiness – that one thing (or maybe more) that gives you joy, that gets you excited even after decades of doing it. Your writing, your research, your speaking, your leading pushes you out of bed every morning, even after so much time. I’m certain that you have smiled at your successes, celebrated your achievements, cried at your pain, reevaluated your progress after failure, and even worried about one thing or another at some point. But you realize that every experience was a blessing in disguise even if the blessing came after the fact.

So you walk with your heart humbled and your head up. To see you doing so well in life, feeling so fulfilled and satisfied, brimming with meaning and the best excitement, gives me pride and great joy. You went through some very difficult times and crushing moments, yet you managed to stay strong and use the negativities to push forward on your path to where you are now. In a nutshell, you’ve done well. I have to pinch myself when I look at all of your accomplishments and especially the people who are impacted by your work.

Much deeper than gold.

You’ve developed a tough mind and a tender heart through it all. You know that your wealth, your fame, your success, and even your material gains are worth nothing compared to the joy you feel in your soul each night. You used to think of grace as some heavenly idea for a select few. But now you know what it is and how it feels to be perpetually in its grasps. You have learned that every step you’ve taken has been an exercise in grace. And you desire to live no differently.

You’ve struck that careful balance between work and play, career and family, goals and achievements. You’ve always wanted to move people with your words and research, and boy, you’ve done a good job. People used to not like it that you spoke your mind, told the truth, stood by your beliefs, and had no worries about the opinions of others. But most have gotten over that now. You’ve learned the longer you stick with something, the more respect you gain.

And then there is the part of you who has grown to be accepting. Accepting of everything – the good and the bad, the difficult and the easy, the favorable and disappointing situations, the news that brings joy and sadness. For a long time, you have chosen that path of gratitude that you spoke and wrote so much about when you were younger. You’ve stopped beating yourself up and stopped feeling like you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or anything else enough. You’ve learned to show yourself grace.

Embracing grace.

That grace doesn’t come directly from you exactly. You know, you used to be quite the perfectionist. But you’ve allowed yourself to be open to that grace that is unconditional, incomprehensible, unlimited, and wholehearted. You’ve pulled back the curtain and let in the light that comes from God above, that leads you into paths you never thought you would enter because you’ve stopped relying on the past to answer questions about your present or future and you’ve let go of what you could not control, and you’ve turned your focus to accomplishing something worthwhile not for yourself, but for the people around you.

You know what it feels like to be friendless, to be lost, to feel stressed and emotionally drained, to feel like things aren’t moving fast enough. You know what it feels like when everyone around you is shouting at each other and nobody is listening. You know what it feels like to let yourself go even in the midst of the unknown. You know what it means to love and to be loved. You have been someone’s hero and someone has been yours.

And you know that if you were to take a few days to thoroughly look back over your life, you would realize that God’s grace is not like man’s grace. It is so divine and flourishing that you are blown away when the sun shines on you. You have all people, so unsuspecting of your success, continue to have that heart that puts others ahead of yourself. You are living, working, and playing now because you have grown into a person who can do all these things because you are gracious and thankful for the experience.

Where you’re headed.

Yet you’re still the same person. You drink coffee for the good feeling. You eat chocolate for the good feeling too. You go to grocery stores just to buy snacks and look around for nothing in particular. You dress up because it is important even on odd days and you’re not afraid to just be who you are. You listen and you talk because you can feel people’s hearts that way. You love your old soul because that is where you get to understand people and show compassion and grace. You know what it was like to be 20-something and uncertain. You know what it was like to create your own path forward with not an inkling of an idea of what you were doing. You remember that it took you some time to get to where you are. And you’re not afraid to share all the personal horror stories because you’re happy to help even if you’re the example.

I am happy to see you where you are right now.

So bold yet humble, so free yet always striving to be better, so amazed by what you know and even more surprised by what you don’t. Yes, you’ve grown a great deal since the last time we talked. You’re not exactly striving anymore, just cruising in your life’s goals. Self-actualizing as they call it. You’re not getting old; you’re just getting older. You’ve grown up and you continue to grow and improve and make a mark on the world for good. And I’m crazy proud of you for that.

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Hoverboard: An Efficient Means of Transportation

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This may be the best news your inner child hears, well, ever: Yes, hoverboards are real, and yes, you may just get to ride one soon. In this day and age of modern technology and advancements, the process of transporting from one place to another has become immensely convenient, easy, and entertaining. Technological advancements such as hoverboards have become a fun alternative to the old method of walking. The reliance and dependency of common individuals on these technological advancements has certainly changed the way we go from place to place in our daily routine. Hoverboard is basically a “self-balancing scooter” and a form of two-wheel motorized gadget.

Working and Manufacturing

How these hoverboards work is fairly simple. Their stability is based on the principle of weight transfer. We can move forward on it by transferring weight in the forward direction, and brake or reverse by transferring weight in the backward direction but you must need to have speed under control. A couple pressure-sensitive footpads control the speed and movement of the hoverboard.

Because stepping on this board transfers some amount of weight in either forward or backward direction, the board starts to move which it makes the process of mounting and dismounting is a bit challenging and tricky. This makes the riders have a little difficulty to steady and balance the board, especially while they’re still in the midst of getting used to ride a hoverboard.

Balancing and steering the hoverboard stresses calf and foot muscles. Just like all the others motorized and non-motorized transporting gadgets, there is a presence of a fair share of risks involved, and there is a dire need of due safety measures that an individual must address before hopping on the hoverboard or any other scooters or boards.

Pros and Cons

The pros and cons associated with these technological advancements of hoverboard play a pivotal role in shaping and transforming our life and our daily routine. The benefits and pros of using modern technologies such as hoverboard overshadows the risks and disadvantages coupled with its usage.  But recently, the emergence of heat issues in these hoverboard has ringed the warning alarms and caution in the minds of hoverboard users. This ignited a spark of fear in the minds of the users and created an element of uncertainty.

The main reason for such issues, that quite often leads to minor accidents, is the usage of cheap batteries that are prone to leakage. Hoverboards are usually powered by large lithium ion batteries that can overheat or sometimes even explode under some conditions. But, most of these complaints and accidents are found in cheap and low-quality hoverboards that are available online.

The price of these hoverboards are usually under $300, but the presence of faulty batteries can cause the accidents probability increases immensely. There has been an active investigation going on, that the primary objective is to find which brands are prone to disasters and which brands are considerably safe. But despite all the risk and dangers involved, none can argue with the fact that these hoverboards are the modern mean of transportation which is efficient, enthralling, and convenient.

Cost Estimation and Specification

It’s probably best to buy hoverboards from leading manufacturers and brands, which eliminates the chances of heat issues and accidents to a great extent. The prices for scooters calling themselves hoverboards can start from as little as $300. Some of the infamous and widely popular big-name models include the likes of IO Hawk, Monorover, Phunkeeduck, Swagway, and Power Board. The price of these boards ranges from $400 to $1800, and the specifications and features vary with the price. Some special discount deals like black Friday also provide utilities to their customers.

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The Sacrifice of Success and Its Cost

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A large number of people like to be called successful, even with clear indication human beings like and wish to connect themselves with successful people. Who does not like good stuff? Everyone would like to enjoy everything but will not sacrifice anything. Success is not built in a day, it is just a product of long perseverance, endurance, and challenges.

The definition of success differs from person to person. My own definition of success might be different from yours but the fact still remains that achieving an objective or goal generalizes the definition of success. Working hard only as sacrifice might not work for you because it should not be the only and main to push for success. Without a doubt, you need a spiritual tool called ‘prayer’. The key to success, as I believe, is the addition of both hardworking and prayer. Though, some people only believe in the intelligence or smartness to achieve success.

However, your smartness and being intelligent can make you a successful being but you have to go through some rigorous processes and face some challenges. There are some sacrifices you need to make to achieve that height no matter how small it is.

While one of my friends does indeed say, in the realm of success there will be no negotiating, you must pay money for the price. Never ask for a deep discount in that market, no book me down, no credit, kindly pay the full purchase price in order so that you can enjoy that commodity called SUCCESS.

To achieve success, there are many costs and sacrifices that person would make. Listed here are just a few of the cost or what you will experience when you are on course for the success trip.

1. Late Nights and Early Mornings

Laziness can never be attributed to any human being who seeks the gateway of success. A success seeker goes past due in bed and awakens up early in the morning to stay the mission. No doubt, you will spend much time late in the nights. Taking students as a case study, students need to read overnight to get fully prepared for any examination.

2. Loss of Associates and Few Good Friends

In the course of pursuing of success, some friends will leave you while some will stay with you. You might even be surprised that those you think are your best friends leave you. That is, those that leave you are not part of your plan to attain your success. Not all friends are important so you need to lose some friends in order to focus on the journey of success.

3. You Think Alone

Most of the times you feel only and abandoned. Don’t be afraid at that moment, it is a crucial moment to gear up and follow-up the right cause. It is merely a subject of time when you succeed, you will see people surround you. There are many things to sacrifice to achieve your objectives, for this reason, your thinking is very important.

Your level of thinking plays a crucial role in achieving your aims and be successful in life. You might it difficult that many people don’t understand your thinking, just keep going. The road to success land is not smooth – your positive thinking and determination can help you to overcome any challenge.

No success story is sweet without sacrifice story. Many stories you read about successful men or women is sweet but ask them what they have passed through, they will tell it was not an easy job. The road was rough, tough and many obstacles were passed through. You have to keep your head high, be determined and lose not your focus which makes your confidence level as high as anything to achieve your set objective or goal.

It is not too late to come back to the round table to draw that plan that would make your journey to success workable.

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6 Science-Backed Ways To Beat The Stress Hormone In Your Body

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Cortisol, or as it is widely known the “stress hormone”, is a hormone produced by the adrenaline gland and it influences our immune responses, blood sugar levels, metabolism, and blood pressure as the part of the natural defense mechanism that gives us the energy to either fight or flight in stressful situations.

In today’s hectic world, we are dealing more with emotional stress rather than physical dangers, and our body can’t tell the difference so it tells cortisol to do its job. Before we manage to relax and lower cortisol levels, we find ourselves in yet another stressful situation and cortisol kicks in again, thus the cycle continues.

Having constantly high cortisol levels can deprive us of sleep, lead to chronic fatigue, weight gain, impair our natural ability to fight against diseases, and cause various digestive problems. According to these statistics, 77% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Luckily, there are simple techniques you can apply to reduce cortisol levels and feel better.

1. Listening to soothing music reduces cortisol levels by 66%

Music can evoke positive emotions and brighten our day, and you can use it as a part of your stress-relief therapy. According to one study, exploring effects of instrumental music during a surgery procedure has been proven that music really helps in reducing cortisol levels during such stressful situations.

So, whenever you feel like you are going to hit the roof and stress out, play some music that relaxes you. Make your I’m-not-going-to-stress-out playlist and unwind. Find which music has the most soothing effect on you, preferably instrumental music, such as classical music or sounds of nature.

2. It’s tea time! Reduce cortisol by 47% with a cup of black tea

Having a cup of tea is not just a chance to take a break and gossip with your friends. Researchers from the University College London conducted an experiment on 75 volunteers where one group was given 4 cups of black tea every day, while the other group was drinking a placebo over a period of six weeks. Both groups were exposed to stressful tasks, and while they recorded similar increase in cortisol levels, those who drank black tea had 47% lower cortisol levels 50 minutes after completing the tasks, while in the placebo group, cortisol dropped just 27%.

Pick your favorite time of the day when you can be on your own, and make yourself a cup of black tea and enjoy the silence. Make this your daily habit.

3. Find a friend you can laugh with and reduce cortisol by 39%

Having good friends is important, but they can do more than just offering you a shoulder to cry on when you have problems, they can improve your health as well. It has been proven that joyful laughter reduced cortisol levels, so find your laughing buddy and let go of the stress.

4. Massage the cortisol out by 31%

Who doesn’t like to treat themselves with a nice relaxing massage? Besides making you feel good, studies have shown that several weeks of massage therapy can reduce cortisol levels by 31%.

Pamper yourself with a massage after a particularly stressful day and enjoy its benefits.

5. Going to bed early or taking a nap reduces cortisol by 50%

The benefits of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated – it goes a long way in improving the quality of your life. Moreover, it is vital to get enough hours of sleep – the study conducted by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Germany showed that the helicopter pilots who slept 6 instead of the recommended 8 hours, had an increase of 50-80% in cortisol levels.

Don’t stay up late browsing through funny YouTube clips and wake up tired and stressed out – organize your day so that you could get 8 hours of sleep. However, if for some reason you didn’t manage to get enough sleep, take a nap – it can bring your cortisol levels down as well.

6. Fight stress with food

Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids helps you regulate cortisol levels, so include fish such as wild salmon, sardines or anchovies in your diet. In addition to fish, foods such as spinach, citrus fruits, and dark chocolate can help you fight the negative influence of cortisol.

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10 Foods To Avoid For Clearing Your Stuffy Nose

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A stuffy nose can be unpleasant and frustrating. It means that you can’t breathe easily through your nose, causing you to feel weak and tired all day. It can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, making you feel even more tired. Your throat may also feel blocked or sore which can make swallowing difficult.

Most people blame these symptoms on allergies or the common cold, but if it happens all of the time it could be caused by your diet. Some substances can irritate the body, causing your body to produce extra mucus to keep the irritant at bay.

Everyone reacts differently to food, but certain foods have been found to affect more people than other foods. Here are 10 food that you should avoid if you have a stuffy nose.

1. Spicy Food

Eating spicy foods like curry and tacos can cause your nose to run as they create more histamine in your body. Histamine is an inflammatory compound that is created by cells in your body when you are having an allergic reaction.

2. Red Meat

Red meat can cause a stuffy nose as it contains lots of protein. This can cause an excessive mucus build-up in your nose which irritates your sinuses.

3. Bananas

Bananas are great for the body, but for some people they can also cause a stuffy nose. This is because eating the fruit can prompt your body to release histamine, which causes your nose to run in an effort to protect your body from unwanted visitors.

4. Milk

Milk can temporarily thicken the mucus in your nose, which means that it takes longer for the mucus to travel through your body. This means that any allergens present will stay in your system for longer, causing a stuffy nose. Research has also found that milk increases the production of mucus, so you should definitely avoid milk if you have a blocked nose!

5. Cheese

Cheese causes a stuffy nose as it contains milk which thickens the mucus in your nose.

6. Refined Sugars

Refined sugars are bad for us in a few different ways, and one of those ways is that it is pro-inflammatory. This means the body makes more mucus to help reduce the irritation caused by inflammation.

7. Chocolate

As chocolate contains sugar it can increase yeast levels in your body, causing bacteria overgrowth and nasal congestion. Chocolate also contains dairy which can cause even more irritation for your nasal tissue, resulting in a swollen and runny nose.

8. Tuna

Tuna is filled with histamines that cause inflammation in some people, causing their nasal passages to swell. This can make breathing difficult.

9. Pizza

Pizza is filled with ingredients that can make your body produce extra histamine, including cheese, gluten, and tomatoes. Tomatoes are known to have anti-inflammatory properties but they can still trigger an increase in histamine levels, causing your body to produce more mucus. The high acidity level of tomatoes can also cause problems for people who have problems with acid reflux, as the acid travelling to their throat can irritate the throat.

Most people are fine after a slice, but if you get a stuffy nose and feel tired this could be why.

10. Wine And Beer

Wine is filled with sugar and natural histamines which cause your nasal tissue to swell and run. Beer can also contain gluten which can result in a stuffy nose and a flushed face. This is normally referred to as an alcohol allergy, but in reality it is an alcohol intolerance. This is a genetic condition where your body is unable to break down alcohol, causing complications like a stuffy nose.

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