The Fitness Coach’s Choice: 10+ Tasty and Easy-to-Make Vegan Recipes

Most people tell me that they have never eaten a vegan meal in their life. Let me tell you one thing: if you’ve ever eaten a banana, this statement is false.

Eating vegan is easier than you may think. Skip the cream, cheese and meat and you’re halfway there. Making a dish healthier is a more difficult topic, but also doable. A huge part of my last post How to Go Vegan: From Meat Eating to Vegetarian is simply eating more whole foods and vegan alternatives.

Let me tell you ten healthy vegan recipes, that I’ll recommend you as a Certified Fitness Coach.

Prevent Deficiencies As A Vegan

Meat is not a super package. You don’t have to worry that much about deficiencies. People eating a normal western diet suffer from way more deficiencies than vegetarian or vegan people do. Most people are deficient on fiber for example, which is crucial for our gut health and the prevention of gut cancer.

Make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat the rainbow they say – lots of colorful foods in your diet are a great source of healthy antioxidants. Also make sure you incorporate some nuts and seeds in your diet (Tip: Flaxseeds, add them to the breakfast recipe idea Nr. 3).

If you go fully vegan, you have to consider supplementation. Vitamin B12 is crucial. Watch a video about the supplements that you truly need here.

10+ Energy-Boosting Vegan Recipes

These 10+ recipes will help you get started with a healthier diet. They’re not calorie-dense, made of whole foods and don’t contain any salt or too much oil. They will keep you satiated and energized the whole day.

Credit where credit is due. These vegan recipes are inspired by the books Thrive, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Plant-Based Whole Foods Way to Staying Healthy for Life by Brendan Brazier,[1] and Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory by Dr. Neal Barnard.[2]

Life is short. Let’s start with three dessert ideas.

Dessert Ideas

Finding the right desserts was hard as first. Most of the conventional dessert options contain dairy.

These are simple dessert options that literally only take minutes to prepare.

#1 Banana Ice Cream

This recipe only has one ingredient. Super fast and easy.

Ingredients

  • Ripe Bananas

Steps

  • Peel and slice the bananas, place them in a container and freeze them for 1 hour.
  • Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and let them thaw a little at room temperature.
  • Place the bananas in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, like soft-serve ice cream.
  • You can vary the recipe by adding a little cinnamon, vanilla or cocoa powder.

#2 Fruit Pops

This is an all natural treat on those hot summer days.

Ingredients

  • About 3 cups unsweetened fruit juice of your choice, such as grape, pomegranate or orange juice (squeeze at home and use the pulp for more health benefits)

Steps

  • Fill an ice pop mold (set of 6) with the juice, put a wooden stick in there.
  • Let it freeze for a couple of hours.
  • To remove a frozen pop from the mold, run briefly under warm water.

#3 Vanilla Berry Sorbet

This refreshing sorbet makes a light finish to any meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup date sugar

Steps

  • In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Adjust the sweetness with the date sugar amount to taste if needed.
  • Pour into a freezer container, cover and freeze for a couple of hours.
  • To serve, remove the sorbet from freezer and let stand at room temperature until soft enough to scoop out.

Image Credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

Breakfast Ideas

Your morning sets the tone for your day. A healthy breakfast will keep you mentally sharp and energized.

#4 Baked Oatmeal

This nourishing breakfast will help you start your day the right way.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots for raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • Rice milk, for serving

Steps

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and lightly oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until well combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Cool slightly, then cut into 8 squares.
  • Serve warm, topped with a little rice milk and extra cinnamon.

#5 Banana- Chocolate Pancakes

A good way to help children start down the vegan journey – they will love this dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 peeled and mashed bananas
  • 2 dried dates, stoned
  • 20g amaranth
  • 250ml chocolate hemp milk
  • 250ml water
  • 70g buckwheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons of linseeds
  • 4 tablespoons of hemp protein
  • 3 tablespoons of carob powder
  • 2 tablespoons of caca onibs

Steps

  • Blend all these ingredients together.
  • Pour very few coconut-oil (use an oil-spray) into a baking pan.
  • Pour the ingredients into the baking pan until you have the right size of the pancake for you.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, turn it to the other side and bake for another 5 minutes.

#6 Breakfast Bowl

Conventional cereals contain a lot of refined sugar and artifical sweeteners. This breakfast bowl is all natural and will help you get those antioxidants in early on.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 pear
  • 1 date, stoned
  • 3 tablespoons of almonds
  • 1 tablespoons of flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup of millet flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 250ml soymilk

Steps

  • Peel the banana.
  • Stone the pear.
  • Cut the banana, pear, almonds and the dates into tiny pieces.
  • Put all the ingredients into a bowl.
  • Add the soymilk. Enjoy!

Dinner Ideas

End your day with style – the vegan way.

#7 Almond-Flaxseed-Burger

The good thing about the vegan diet is: You can eat the ingredients raw. There’s no need to heaten the patties up in a burger, but you can try it for extra taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 6 tablespoons of flaxseeds
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Steps

  • Blend all the ingredients together.
  • Form two burger patties. You can eat these vegan-meat-patties raw or put some coconut oil on them and put them into a baking pan at medium heat.
  • Cook until they’re golden.
  • Add them to two whole-grain pieces of bread.
  • Add some vegetables for extra taste.

#8 Chickpeas-Curry-Pizza

Yes, you can even eat pizza on a vegan diet.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 230g of grounded sunflower seeds
  • 180g of cooked chickpeas
  • 60ml of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of curcuma

Toppings:

  • 1/2 middle-sized sweet potato
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 piece of broccoli (floweret)
  • 1/2 piece of cauliflower (floweret)

Steps

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Blend all the ingredients for the crust together.
  • Stir it until it forms lumps.
  • Put some coconut-fat on the baking plate.
  • Distribute the blended mass evenly on the baking plate.
  • Add the toppings.
  • Bake for aprroximately 45 minutes in the oven. Baking time can be adjusted, according to your likes.

Image Credit: Vegan Richa

#9 Amaranth-Hemp Seeds-Salad

Low on calories and very tasty. Light dish. Great for helping you lose weight.

Ingredients

  • 1 Nori leaf, chopped
  • 4 handful of mixed salads
  • 10g of amaranth
  • 1 handful of sugar snaps
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

Steps

  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add some dressing, I recommend an italian dressing.
  • Make sure you use only a little bit of oil.

Beverages & Smoothies

Tip for making a smoothie: Remember to start with the slowest speed at the blender and slowly amp it up. Otherwise the ingredients won’t blend together as good as they should.

#10 Chocolate- Hemp milk

Ingredients

  • 875ml of water
  • 135g of hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of carob powder
  • 2 tablespoons of date sugar

To do: Blend all the ingredients together in a blender. Simple.

#11 Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2 cups frozen fruit (I prefer raspberries)
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I prefer soy)

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes.

#12 Perfect – Crunchy Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Breakfast Smoothie (see #2 Smoothie)
  • 1/4 cup toasted dried oats
  • Fresh berries

Steps

  • Layer 1/4 cup of the smoothie at the bottom of a glass.
  • Add a 2-tablespoon layer of oats next.
  • Followed by another 1/4 cup of smoothie, then the last 2 tablespoons oats.
  • Finish it off with the last 1/4 cup of smoothie.
  • Top with fresh berries. Crunchy and tasty.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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How to Be More Sensitive for an Emotionally Insensitive Person

emotional intelligence

Everything seemed fine at first. You were just having a chat, but then she walked off abruptly and you didn’t know why.

This common problem is often ignored because it’s not very obvious. People’s lips are moving and words are being said, but something is missing.

A lot of the social cues involved in communication are non verbal, so if these cues are not noticed, it can leave the other party feeling like they’re not being heard. Yes, you heard the words, but you didn’t see what they were saying.

Communication Always Goes Beyond Words

Unconscious signals make up most of our communication. Our brains tend to pick up on these signals without any conscious effort on our part.

We can usually feel when something isn’t right, or the mood in a room changes. We’ve probably all been in situations where everything felt right with an intimate partner, then we hit a cold wall.

UCLA research has shown that only 7 percent of communication is based on the actual words we say. As for the rest, 38 percent comes from tone of voice and the remaining 55 percent comes from body language.

The challenge arises for some people who haven’t internalized all of the signals which are being thrown their way. Just like anything in life, some people are naturally better at seeing what is being said.

Others need to train themselves once they become aware of a gap in social sensitivity.

Emotional Intelligence Is the Foundation of Sensitivity

Sensitivity can be learned like any skill. It’s mostly a matter of learning to read other people’s physical cues. Paying attention to empathy is also important. What would you feel in their shoes?

Emotional intelligence is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. – Dr. Travis Bradberry, Talentsmart.com

This takes a conscious effort to do because it’s easier to not do. In other words, we have to try. Instead of running the same old mental record, it’s important to be conscious of what’s going when observing people.

Our emotional intelligence directly affects how sensitive we are to others. It allows us to read social situations, individuals, and even ourselves.

Understanding Yourself Is the First Step to Understanding Others

The first step in retraining your mind to be sensitive to others is to understand yourself. It’s shocking to see how many people are unaware of what they’re communicating through non verbal cues.

Many people who suffer from depression, social anxiety or shyness could improve their own moods by becoming conscious of their body language. The same unconscious signals they’re projecting to others also affect their own moods negatively.

The way we use body language isn’t just a projection of our feelings, it also affects our feelings.

To first start becoming self aware, pay attention to the link between your body language and you emotions.

What happens when you feel insecure socially? For most people, their hands go in their pockets. Many people will fidget. Shallow breathing usually accompanies all of it.

Exercise: When you feel a negative or positive emotion, what did your body do reflexively? A smile, clenched fist, tight jaw or staring at the ground will all correlate to your feelings. Pause when you feel a particular emotion and see what your body is doing.

Becoming self aware will not only help improve your emotional sensitivity, it will also give you the power to change your emotions.

Observe, Observe, Observe

Now that you understand something about yourself, start paying attention to others. How do people react to you when you talk about certain subjects?

I wouldn’t suggest it, but if you’ve ever been at a table when someone brings up politics, the change in mood is easy to see.

Based on your own self-observations, you’ll be able to tell a lot about other people’s feelings. Is his fist clenched? That probably indicates stress. Hands in her pockets? She might be feeling insecure. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll be able to see it in others. Match your own self observations to the way other people behave.

If someone is talking, drop your phone. Leave the social media, text, and emails alone in order to give your full attention. Sometimes emotional insensitivity doesn’t mean you can’t read the signals, it’s just that you’re not tuned in.

Distractions can have a negative affect on our relationships. I personally won’t even bother talking if someone is looking at their phone. Usually the abrupt silence will get their attention again. Sometimes a friendly reminder is necessary.

Listen to Understand, Not to Reply

Just as being distracted will kill communication, waiting to respond will also block true connections. It’s hard to truly understand what someone else is feeling when we’re just waiting to start talking again.

Try this exercise to develop your listening skills. This is conversational method I call the snowball technique. Not only will you experience deeper levels of communication, you’ll also be able to keep the conversation going. No more awkward silences.[1]

  1. Pay attention – Obvious enough, but this is where many people fail. By paying attention, you’ll learn a number of different facts about people which could all become conversations on their own. This is one reason I call it the snowball technique, because your conversation will grow like a snowball as you continue.
  2. Reword their wording – Whatever they say, take the main point and summarize in your own words back to them. Not only will you show that you’re listening, you’ll also understand better using your chosen words.
  3. Add your opinion on their topic – Now that you’ve rephrased their point, add your opinion. This will keep things conversational so it’s not a question and answer session.
  4. Dig deeper – You have an understanding of his point, now dig deeper. Here’s a real opportunity to learn someone’s true feelings, motivations, and interest. It also creates some vulnerability. That vulnerability builds trust and a deeper sense of connection because we feel connections to those we open up to.
  5. Recall – You might be running dry on one topic, but if you were paying attention you can now recall another point he made earlier, and bring it up. Even better if it relates to the last topic but it’s not necessary. Recalling something he said 5 minutes ago will surprise most people, demonstrating your excellent listening skills and interest in what they were saying.

Bring Conscious Attention to the Small Signals

All in all, by bringing conscious attention to social sensitivity, you’ll learn the signals which paint the big picture.

Start with understanding yourself better, and pay more attention to what people are saying and doing. Then you’re unlikely to run into sensitivity problems again.

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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10+ Stylish Bookcases that Will Brighten Up Your Home

If your home feels cluttered, or you have a lot of cool stuff but nowhere to put it, or your home needs a certain something to bring it to life, you need a bookcase to display your stuff with style and keep your things organized.

Bookcases are typically for books, but ordinary bookcases can be so boring and dull your décor. Luckily there are tons of awesome options, styles, colors and sizes that you can choose from to customize while you organize.

We have handpicked 13 stylish bookcases to give your space that organized, stylish, and modern vibe that it’s been missing.

1. Bookshelves “U” – Set of 4 white wall shelves 

These suspended shelves will almost look as if they disappear. The shelves are extra thin and light, made of a 2mm thick steel imported from Italy. Regardless of its thin appearance, the steel will never bend.

Each shelf can hold up to 44 pounds of books and trinkets. The U-shaped shelves are perfect for books. They’ll help you to stylishly declutter your living space so you can move around freely.

Bookshelves “U”, $322

2. DIY Industrial Retro Wall Mount Iron Pipe Shelf Storage Shelving Bookshelf

It is made from quality metal pipe, and will look great long after you install it. It can be customized to add additional shelving space easily and effortlessly. This easy, simple and unique design is perfect for any home, office, or café interior.

DIY Industrial Retro Wall Mount Iron Pipe Shelf Storage Shelving Bookshelf, $36.23

3. Y-Nut Loft Style Bookcase, “The Iron Librarian”, Steampunk Industrial Vintage Style

At a whopping 6.6 lbs and 17” x7”. 8’ x7’ it’s as heavy as it looks! This stylish bookcase is made entirely of water pipe.

It is exclusively for hardcover books. Soft-covers unfortunately will fall through the cracks, so use this shelf to display your best!

Y-Nut Loft Style Bookcase, “The Iron Librarian”, $43.25

4. Industrial Pipe Shelving Bookshelf Rustic Modern Wood Ladder Pipe Wall Shelf

The classy shelf is perfect for the home or coffee house interior. The 3 level rustic industrial pipe shelf is made out of quality metal pipe and solid timber. You can add additional shelving shelf easily and efficiently.

Industrial Pipe Shelving Bookshelf Rustic Modern Wood Ladder Pipe Wall, $153

5. SKB Family Red MDF Floating Wall Display Bookshelf/DVD Storage New Ladder Bookcase

This versatile display shelf will compliment any space and décor. Turn that empty, useless wall space into a focal point of your space.

With an invisible mounting system, this shelf is incredibly easy to install. It is made of high quality MDF with a matte finish, adding a dose of contemporary style to any room.

SKB Family Red MDF Floating Wall Display Bookshelf/DVD Storage New Ladder Bookcase, $30.79

6. American Country Style Wrought Iron Shelf Bookcase

This bookcase is incredible flexible and can be fit in a variety of spaces. The unique and industrial design will brighten up your space and give it that classy edge you want.

American Country Style Wrought Iron Shelf Bookcase, $65.99

7. Rustic Torched Wood Slanted Design Desktop Bookshelf Magazine Stand

This is a unique desk top rack with an upward tilted design, complete with a rustic torched wood finish. The torched wood finish compliments rustic decors and provides a unique accent for eclectic design schemes.

You can now keep all of your magazines and newspapers organized, and off of your desk, floor or coffee table. It can also be used to store frequently used books in the office, classroom, or kitchen.

Rustic Torched Wood Slanted Design Desktop Bookshelf Magazine Stand, $32.50

8. 5 Tier 57.5″ Natural Bamboo Bookshelf Revolving Bookcase

Liven up your space with this 100% natural bamboo bookshelf that is both elegant and durable. The sleek, clean design is both stylish and convenient.

You can easily install it in minutes, and the hardware is included. It has 5 tiers, a 360 degree rotating design. It’s also very simply to maintain, just wipe clean with a mild cleaner and a lint-free cloth.

5 Tier 57.5″ Natural Bamboo Bookshelf Revolving Bookcase, $99.95

9. HomCom 4-Tier Rotating Cube Media Tower

Save space and spruce up your look with a rotating storage solution for your entire media collection. The unique and eye catching design will transform and declutter your space.

It’s easy to assemble, lightweight and portable, yet extremely durable and sturdy.

HomCom 4-Tier Rotating Cube Media Tower, $62.99

10. 9-shelf Tree Bookshelf, Superjare Book Rack Bookcase

These shelves are made out of CARB certified board, non-formaldehyde so it is safe for your family. The smooth surface and curved edges don’t only look cool, but they also help to avoid snags and scratches.

The 9 tier division shelves give you a lot of playroom as to how you want to store your things. The shelves carry around 5-10 books depending on the size and thickness of the books. The innovative design allows for the unit to fit in small spaces, only taking up 1.34 sq. ft.

Superjare Book Rack Bookcase, $119.99

11. Contemporary Salvaged Cabin Bookcase

You’ll be the envy of your friends with this salvaged cabin wood bookcase with a silver finish. The rustic style multi-spaced bookcase provides plenty of storage for all of your books, décor and knick knacks!

Contemporary Salvaged Cabin Bookcase, $143.10

12. Furniture Pipeline Industrial Modern Decorative Storage 4 Shelf Display Bookcase

Ideal for small spaces, this bookcase is perfect for an urban space or a tiny house. It features four shelves for storing and displaying your treasure trove of books and trinkets.

Furniture Pipeline Industrial Modern Decorative Storage 4 Shelf Display Bookcase, $191.84

13. Kartell 8003/09 Bookworm Bookshelf by Ron Arad

This bookshelf has a very flexible and unique design with a contemporary flare that can accent any space. The shelf is ideal for displaying books, as well as your media, pictures, and plants.

Kartell 8003/09 Bookworm Bookshelf by Ron Arad, $381.24

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The Power of Memory Palace: How a Superb Memory Is Built

Since we are going to discuss a completely crazy technique, let’s first get our brain in the right frame of mind. What would you say if I posed the following question: Whenever Pavlov rang a bell, did he have an urge to feed a dog?

Now remain in this state of mind as we learn a crazy and amazing technique that works immediately.

Memory Palace — The Power of Remembering Without Memorizing

So, what is this crazy thing called Method of Loci, otherwise known as a Memory Palace? It is a method of memory enhancement using visualization and spatial memory. It anchors familiar information so you can quickly recall data. It is credited to the ancient people of Rome and Greece and is used by memory champions across the world.

This is a technique that should be taught in schools across the globe. The key here is to forget about trying to force facts and information into your head through repetition. Instead, try to link the ideas in interesting ways that allow you to easily recall the data. Essentially, this is a journey through your mind.

Creating a Memory Palace

Let’s see how this technique works.

  • Step 1: Choose a location you are familiar with (i.e. your current home).
  • Step 2: Rehearse this journey in your mind several times. Try to think of your emotion in each room.
  • Step 3: Place a piece of information in each room and anchor it in a corner or on a physical object like a bed.
  • Step 4: Draw your Memory Palace.
  • Step 5: Begin your journey and make things interesting so they pop in your mind (i.e. nude images in weird locations!). The key is for the information to stick. Essentially, go wild and crazy with this technique… you don’t have to tell anyone.

Method of Loci for Geometry

Let’s demonstrate how this can work with math. If you are learning Geometry, which is difficult enough as it is, let’s see how this can be done using a Memory Palace in combination with a mnemonic device (First Letter Mnemonic).

How to Remember the Value of Pi

The number Pi is a mathematical constant. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Typically, people will approximate it to 3.14 or 3.14159. Yet, Pi has been calculated to the quadrillionth digit… that is 2,000,000,000,000,000! I don’t expect anyone to calculate this, but let’s look at an easy way to remember Pi up to 10 decimal places.

To do this we simply count the number of letters in each word. Pi to 10 decimal places (word lengths are digits):

  • May I have a large container of coffee ready for today?
  • May (3) I (1) have (4) a (1) large (5) container (9) of (2) coffee (6) ready (5) for (3) today (5)

So, we find Pi to 10 decimal places = 3.1415926535

Mnemonic Device + Method of Loci = Superb Memory

If you are looking for a superior memory, try combining a mnemonic device with the Method of Loci. Let’s look at a few examples of this.

Remember the Days in a Month

Remember the World Geography

Look at the first letter of each country and makes up an easy-to-remember sentence with each word’s first letter share the same letter as the county names’.

Stop Memorizing, Start Having Fun

You will be amazed how powerful these techniques are once you start practicing them. They are fun, easy to learn, easy to use, and they work immediately. It is hard to believe how powerful some of these crazy techniques are. So, get weird, have fun, and develop a superb memory!

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This is How The Use of Emojis Can Shape Our Impressions

If you’ve ever been tempted to include a smiley face in work correspondence, you aren’t alone. A recent survey found that around 76% of American workers use emoticons or emojis in professional communication.[1]

Knowing when it’s okay to use this communication tool can help you build relationships and save you from misunderstandings. Using them improperly can negatively affect how people view you.

How emojis can affect others’ impressions of you

I have a former colleague, Amanda, who communicated with me mostly via text message. She worked from home most days, and this was the fastest and easiest way for us to stay in touch. Amanda had a signature texting style. Whenever I asked her to confirm whether she understood something, or if I double-checked make sure that she received a document from me, she replied using her three favorite emojis: Smirk, Laugh Cry and Okay with a Laugh.

Texting with Amanda so often led me to develop some impressions about her. I assumed that because she used emojis in her correspondence, she must be funny and relaxed. Even when we discussed serious matters, such as confirming the budget with clients or discussing the direction of our work, she used emojis. Over time, I began to wonder whether she took her job seriously.

It didn’t matter that Amanda had great ideas and did amazing work. I had a hard time taking her seriously because replying with Laugh Cry (or any of her other favorites, for that matter) didn’t seem professional at all. Researchers have found that my impression of Amanda wasn’t unique. Their research concluded that study participants considered senders who used emojis to be less competent than their more traditional counterparts.[2]

Emoji-based impressions can be deceiving

When I met Amanda for the first time, I was completely blown away. It felt like I had been texting a different person. She was in a tailored black suit, and she carried a briefcase like a top-tier professional.

When she gave her presentation, she impressed everyone in the office. She outlined the budget, offered suggestions based on marketing data, and displayed projections for the upcoming year in a series of graphs. She was confident and answered our questions by citing her research during the Q&A portion of her talk. She had truly done her homework. If you imagine the ideal business presentation, that was what she gave.

There was nothing playful about Amanda’s presentation. She epitomized professionalism. Surely this was not the same person who insisted on concluding every interaction with a string of smiley faces.

After that, we conducted a survey about emojis at Lifehack

After I met Amanda in person, I became more conscientious about my messages at work. I wondered if I gave my colleagues the wrong impression about my work because of the way I used emojis to communicate. I also wondered how using emojis affected my colleagues’ opinions of others.

I decided that the best way to figure out how my coworkers viewed people who used emojis was to ask. We use Slack to communicate at the Lifehack office, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for emojis to show up at work every day. I interviewed 40 employees to gather their insights about communication at work.

I came to some interesting conclusions.

Serious people tend to use less emotionally involved emojis

Most of my colleagues noticed that people with higher rank in the office, such as managers, avoid using emotion-related emojis like smirks or smiley faces. This makes their texts seem more serious and professional.

Whenever a manager does use an emoji, it’s normally to offer appreciation or support. They favored emotion-neutral emojis, such as clapping hands, or items like a bonfire. If it had a face, our managers didn’t bother with it. Connecting emotions to their communication must have seemed too informal for their position.

My colleagues also agreed that they view sentences without emojis as items that need to be taken seriously. When an emoji is used, it signals that that part of the interaction is supposed to be humorous or entertaining.

Creative people can use emojis to form a completely understandable sentence FAST

Some people take communicating through emojis to a whole new level. They can make simple answers seem more interesting and creative. For example, when we’re trying to decide where we should eat, someone might text an emoji of a burger or sushi roll instead of typing an explanation about what they want.

Some of my creative colleagues can use emojis to string together complete thoughts without using any words. Once I was waiting for a colleague to show up so that I could start a meeting. I sent out a message over Slack to figure out where he was. One of my team members sent me two emojis: a man running and a toilet. I understood. It was simple, creative, and clear, and we didn’t have to go into the details.

The key with using emoji creatively is to think quickly. My colleagues said that when they saw someone spending too much time looking for the right series of emojis, it seemed like they were trying too hard. It’s like when you take too long to figure out a joke. By the time you respond, it’s not funny anymore.

Repeated use = identity

Just as I learned from Amanda, over-using emojis can become your signature. It’s the same as having a catch phrase or a tag-line, emojis contribute to your identity and others’ impressions of you.

We have a colleague who loves using the Yummy emoji. Whenever we have to order snacks, we let him choose first because we assume that he’s a foodie and will know where to find the tastiest snacks.

Unless you want to be known for a specific personality trait or interest, avoid over-using an emoji.

Tips for using emojis in workplace communication

All this discussion with my coworkers led me to a few conclusions about when and how to use emojis at work. Here are the best practices that the Lifehack Team passed on to me:

  • Only use emojis in the opening or closing of a conversation. If you want to say, “Hi,” or end your communication, it is appropriate to include an emoji. This can help to reassure others that you are a human being, but it keeps the body of your work from seeming unprofessional.
  • If you aren’t certain how someone will interpret your text, an emoji can help. So much of our communication is done over text message and email these days. Sometimes it’s challenging to convey tone and meaning with words, but an emoji can help.[3]

I recently received the style guide for an assignment I was working on, and my collaborator had listed all these strict-sounding guidelines for the job. She included an emoticon at the end of an example that she had given. The emoticon helped me understand that she was trying to lighten the mood, and it reminded me that there was a real person on the other side of the text box.

  • It’s okay to use emojis in casual conversation and when you are building relationships with peers. When you are engaging with your coworkers on some non-work related task, like figuring out where to go to lunch or discussing what to bring to the office picnic, it’s fine to use emojis. Their causal tone can make your communication seem friendlier.

These are just a few pointers from our small office, but they illustrate the ways that emojis can affect how others perceive us. There’s a time and a place for them, but it may not be at the end of every interaction, nor would including them in the middle of a formal proposal be a good idea.

Have fun with your emojis. Just be careful about how you use them at work 😉

Reference

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How You Can Maintain A Healthier And Better Sex Experience By Understanding Women’s Sexuality

You’re at home, relaxing, watching TV when you notice your female partner walk by. You think: “she looks good.” And you find yourself suddenly thinking about sex. You walk over to playfully put your arms around her and suggest going to the bedroom. Except that instead of turning around and kissing you passionately, like you had hoped, she rolls her eyes, removes your hands from her waist and says: “are you kidding me!?”

There is a pervasive belief that men are always in the mood to have sex while women are the gatekeepers who say yes or no to men’s sexual advances. And while that dynamic is certainly true for some men and women, we know from the research that women are actually just as likely to be the partner in a heterosexual relationship who has a higher interest in sex.

Put another way, that means that if you feel you often want sex but your female partner doesn’t , there is a pretty good chance that she actually has more sexual desire than you may realize. So what’s getting in the way of that scenario I just described going more favourably for you both? There are three key things about women’s sexuality to consider.

Let Her Relax So She Can Focus And Enjoy The Moment 

There is a saying that the sexiest thing a husband can do is pull out the vacuum. And there just may be some truth to it.

That’s because one of the biggest things that contributes to higher sexual interest and enjoyment for women is feeling relaxed so they want to engage in, and can enjoy, sexual activities. But this is really hard to do when she is feeling overwhelmed and stressed with a million other things that are vying for her attention. Many women admit to making “to-do” lists during sex or even saying no to sex because they can’t relax until the dishes are put away (the bed is made, the kids are sleeping, their work deadline is met, the list goes on and on).

An unhelpful response to this sounds something like: “Come on, sex will help you relax!” And although there is scientific proof to this sometimes being true (i.e., sex can lead to orgasm which releases Oxycontin which can, in turn, help us feel more calm and at ease) saying these words will almost never work for a woman who is running around madly trying to keep her life (and the rest of the family’s lives) in order because it doesn’t actually address the root of the problem.

What can you do instead? Focus your attention on non sexual areas. Instead of trying to get her in the mood by honing your oral sex skills, focus more on the circumstances surrounding sex. If she is running around picking up dirty clothes, getting groceries and meeting work deadlines, ask how you can reduce her stress. Offer to vacuum or to take care of the kids so she can focus on work for a couple of extra hours. If you can help her with the things that are stressing her out, not only will she likely feel more cared for and loved, but it also has a better chance of reducing her mental load and helps to make space to think about the possibility of sex.

Don’t Rush. The Slower The Better

While there is certainly no “one-size-fits-all” for men’s sexuality, more often than not men report that their sexual desire is somewhat spontaneous in nature. It comes on fairly suddenly and once men are in the mood they can move forward with sexual activity relatively seamlessly. In contrast, women’s sexual desire is more often responsive in nature. Meaning that most women take time to “warm up” to the idea of engaging in sexual activity. They may initially feel sexually neutral (or even uninterested) but in the right circumstances they could experience building desire.

But just because you might like when she initiates sex out of the blue, chances are that reciprocating that sudden initiation will not work for her. Going straight for her erogenous zones (like her breasts or butt) while she is writing at her computer or making dinner may not do the trick as she may not be in a mentally sexual space, nor able to transition to one immediately. Instead these spontaneous moves could be perceived as invasive and unwanted.

What to try instead? Engage in pre-sex foreplay. And I’m not talking about kissing and heavy petting that we traditionally think about when we hear the word “foreplay.” I’m talking about setting the stage long before that. That’s because a lot of women indicate that they need to feel close and connected to their partner in order to want to have sex. Sometimes that means having a good conversation to feel more on the same page.

For some that means flirting and being romantic throughout the day (or even days). For others it could mean engaging in an activity together like cooking a meal or a dance class. (Or maybe all three!). But what you definitely don’t want to do is initiate sex in a way that doesn’t give her time reflect on whether or not she’s in the mood. Her first, in-the-moment evaluation of whether or not she is interested when she is caught off guard is more likely going to be no than yes. And then you’re left feeling sexually frustrated – and chances are so is she.

Share Your Thoughts Openly And Make Things Pleasant And Healthy

We are all responsible for our own sexual pleasure. But some women have difficult times asking for what they want in bed. And this is because most women have learned through years of socialization that they shouldn’t enjoy being sexual. In fact, I have yet to meet a woman who hasn’t received the message while she was a teenager that “good girls don’t (or shouldn’t) like sex” or who hasn’t been warned about their reputation if they “give it up too fast”. Then women enter into a romantic, sexual relationship and they are expected to be open and comfortable with sex and know what they like. Not an easy thing to do.

So don’t assume you know what she likes. In fact, you shouldn’t even focus your energies on guessing. There is a stereotype that men should be responsible for women’s pleasure. They face pressure that men should just know how to touch. When. Where. How much. But no one is a mind reader – not even Don Juan.

What you should do instead? Ask your partner what she likes. Ask her when she likes having sex (Late at night? First thing in the morning? Right after coming home from work?). What kind of sex she likes having (What position? Gentle or on the rougher side? Creative and different or predictable and routine?). What her favourite sexual experience with you was and why. And be aware that even if you’ve asked what she likes, really listen. Pay attention, and maybe even ask again. Because it could take her a while to feel comfortable and safe enough to share. Or it may take time for her to consider what it is that she does like. But sharing our sexual wants and needs helps our partner better meet our sexual needs and initiate accordingly.

There are plenty of things that impact women’s sexual desire. But by focusing on stress reduction, creating a slow build up to sex, and exploring sexual preferences you could discover that what you thought was absent sexual desire was perhaps only temporarily dormant instead.

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How Your Legs Secretly Tell Others About What You Are Thinking

The only time I’m acutely aware of my legs, or what they are doing, is when I’m in spin class. Otherwise, I just accept that they exist. Walking and breathing are two things you do not typically have to think about; it just happens. Unfortunately, this usually means I don’t know what my legs are doing when I’m interacting with someone. This is not to say I have no awareness of my legs, just that I don’t often think about the position they’re in when it comes to body language.

I try to constantly be aware of how “closed-off” I seem to be in regards to my arms. Are they crossed? Did I intend for them to be? Am I balling my fists? But rarely do I find myself questioning which way my toes are pointed, if my ankles are crossed or whether I seem ready to jump up and head for the door.

The farther away from the brain a body part is positioned, the less awareness we have of what it is doing. This makes sense in regards to what I just said. I always think about my arms. But why shouldn’t I? They’re almost always in my field of vision. But only while I’m writing this am I realizing I’m sitting with my left leg in a figure four over my right.

So what does all this mean? When it comes to body language and the way you appear to others, flashing a fake smile can still appear sincere. Your legs, however, are likely to betray you if you’re trying to put on a false front. The following leg-related body language graphics can help you to me more aware of what you’re saying, even if you’re sitting quietly still.

Legs apart signify dominance

When you stand with both feet firmly planted on the ground, distributing your weight evenly, it makes a clear statement that you have no intention of leaving. While you may think you take on this position all the time, think about it: are you standing on both legs, or do you tend to jut one hip out a little bit?

When a man uses this legs-apart stance, it often signifies dominance, as it highlights the pelvic area. It allows men to highlight their masculinity and show solidarity as a team by all performing the same actions.

So, if you want a confidence boost, or just to appear confident, use this stance. But be careful not to use it in the wrong situation, it could make you look unnecessarily threatening or mean.

The ankle lock means the person is nervous

As a woman, sitting with your ankles crossed can be viewed as polite and feminine. However, when it comes to a situation such as an interview, sitting with crossed ankles can make you appear nervous. It’s the equivalent of mentally biting your lip.

The gesture can show that you are holding back a negative emotion or uncertainty. When you withdraw your feet under a chair, it makes it look as if you have a withdrawn attitude.

If the situation is reversed, and you observe a peer crossing their ankles and seemingly nervous, asking positive questions about their feelings can often get those ankles unlocked.

In fact, one study of 319 dental patients showed that 88% locked their ankles as soon as they sat in the chair to have work done. Patients who were only there for a checkup or teeth cleaning locked their ankles only 68% of the time. A whopping 98% locked up when the dentist administered an injection.

While those patients were most likely quite nervous, as most people tend to be at the dentist office, if you find yourself copying this position, relax your ankles and uncross them. Even if you are nervous, undoing the position can help you appear a bit braver and more open.

Figure four leg: the person is ready to argue

This is a position you want to be aware of. Be it intentional or not, having a “figure four” position indicates you’re ready to argue and be competitive if necessary. While you may feel this position is justified in some cases, it’s important to know when you’re making this move in case you are not trying to give off an argumentative vibe.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I found myself sitting in this manner while writing and I certainly wasn’t in an argumentative state. But because that’s the attitude this position gives off, I’m glad I now know how often I do it.

This position is amplified if you use one or both hands as a clamp. It locks the figure four into a permanent position giving the sign of a tough-minded, stubborn individual who rejects any opposing opinions.

Standing leg-cross: different meaning for men and women

The standing leg cross is for women what “legs apart” one is for men. It shows, very clearly, that a woman intends to stay exactly where she is; it’s authoritative. Additionally, it sends a message of denied access.

When a man takes on this position, it also says he intends to stay where he is, but it also shows an insecurity for his groin area; he doesn’t want to be kicked!

Legs Together

This is a very neutral position, as it illustrates an indifference as to whether you plan to stay or leave. If a child does it when talking to a teacher, it demonstrates attention. Likewise, people can do it to show respect, such as someone meeting royalty. Therefore, this one tends to be a pretty safe stance if you are trying to avoid offending anyone.

The Direction in which your Feet are Pointing Indicates where you’ll go

Looking at the position of someone’s feet can prove to be very telling. For instance, if you’re standing in a group, take note of where the person beside you has their feet. We tend to point our lead foot toward the most interesting or physically attractive person. Alternatively, when someone has their feet pointed toward the nearest exit, it’s a sure sign they are ready to leave.

Stay Focused

So what about you? While you were reading this, did you realize you do one or most of these?

Try to remain present throughout your day and realize what your legs are doing in any given situation. You may be surprised at the messages you’re sending!

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