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The Intelligent Life Blog

Helping millions of Americans become educated
in making intelligent decisions around their life needs

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Set Your Competitive Nature Free

Mar 21, 2017 7:03:00 PM

Are you fiercely competitive? In ancient times, there wasn't much choice in the matter. If you didn't compete for food, shelter, or companionship, you would die. Fortunately, things aren't quite as intense today, but we still compete in various aspects of our lives.

We continue to live in a world in which competition is highly valued and where achievement is often tied to self-esteem or personal value. Here are a few reasons why your competitive spirit might be a good thing, when it could get you into trouble, and some ways to use your drive more productively.

The Positive Aspects of a Competitive Spirit

It's a fallacy to believe that we all live a world where everyone is going to get a participation trophy just for showing up. Success is valued in our society whether we like it or not and competition is one of the best ways to drive success.

When we have competition, it pushes us to grow and even advance as a civilization. It can be argued that man might never have stepped on the moon if we were not in a race to beat the Russians for the prize. If viewed in the correct light, we can actually learn from the setbacks that occur when we're competing with others. These are some of the most positive aspects of competition.




The Connection Between What You Eat and Your Heart Health

Feb 11, 2017 3:47:00 PM

Many of us fear being injured in a car accident or hearing a cancer diagnosis when the biggest danger is something else entirely. Heart disease, which includes stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, is the number one cause of death in the United States.life

Fortunately, some forms of heart disease can be delayed or even prevented with some simple dietary adjustments. Here is what you need to know about heart disease, how choosing a heart healthy diet can make a difference, and ways to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Heart Disease and Risk Factors

Not only is heart disease the number one cause of death in the U.S., but it's also the leading global cause of death, taking more than 17.3 million lives each year. Cardiovascular disease includes various conditions that affect the function and structure of your heart such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and vascular disease.




Your Health Matters: Avoid Stress - Avoid Financial Worries

Jan 24, 2017 3:50:00 PM

Most of us know that a little bit of stress can be motivating, but too much pressure is no fun and can actually be dangerous. Positive stress can keep you alert and even ready to respond in a dangerous situation. Stress becomes negative, however, when there is no relief or relaxation between challenges. In some cases, this anxiety can impact your health and in many instances this stress is tied to financial worries.

Impact of Stress on Health

We've all experienced the physical symptoms related to stress, whether we want to admit it or not. Stress over work, family, and finances can cause sleep issues, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and stomach problems. Researchers are finding some other disturbing consequences of stress as well.

There are several studies related to stress and cancer, indicating that the level of distress can affect cancer tumor growth. One Yale University study showed that stress causes a reduction in gray matter, effectively shrinking your brain. Another study revealed that chronic stress could lead to depression. Finally, stress can wreak havoc with your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, and even some chronic diseases.




Are New Year's Resolutions a Good Idea?

Dec 24, 2016 8:36:00 AM

Are you one of the many people that flood into the local fitness center during the first weeks of the new year, determined to make a change? How about tossing out all of the sugar in the kitchen or vowing to give up social media - except on the weekends? Many of us make resolutions at the start of the new year with the best of intentions, only to fall back into the same habits in short order. So, it's a pretty common debate about whether New Year's resolutions are a good idea at all or even healthy.

Why News Year's Resolutions Are a Good Idea

New Year's resolutions are an excellent idea for several reasons. Anyone who is willing to sit down and take stock of their life and see where a few things might need improvement should be commended. Setting goals can work but only if done properly.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on goal setting and the psychology of goals. Several overriding themes have surfaced from these studies. Among these are that goals should have meaning, be realistic, and be measurable. Setting a goal to lose 30 lbs. over the coming year is a noble quest, but without an action plan, you likely won't get very far. This is why too many goals, or resolutions, fall by the wayside.




Winterization: 7 Tips To Keep You Comfortable and Safe

Dec 20, 2016 6:43:00 PM

When the temperatures start to drop, it can be tempting to shut all the doors and curl up with a blanket until the spring weather arrives. If you care about your home or other expensive possessions, this could be a mistake. Winter conditions can be rough on your home, your vehicle, and even your lifestyle so a little preparation can save you time and money long-term. Here are just seven winterization tips to keep you comfortable and safe this coming winter.

1. Prepare Your Yard

There are several things that you can do outside to prepare for the coming cold snap. You'll want to mow the lawn one last time, cut back flowers and shrubs, and store away all of your lawn equipment. Also, be sure to empty fountains and hoses and cover or put away patio furniture to protect it from the elements. If you have winter gear, such as a snow blower and de-icer, now is the time to take stock of those items.




Top Gift Ideas for 2016

Dec 16, 2016 3:52:00 PM

Do you struggle with gift ideas for your loved ones? Buying gifts for a 2-year old might be a snap, but beyond a certain age, the holidays become a challenge for most of our loved ones. Whether you're shopping for your spouse, parent, teenager, or Uncle Joe, picking from the hottest trends is often a safe choice. If you're already straining for inspiration, we're here to help. Here are some of the top gift ideas for 2016 so far.

Top Children's Toys

Babies are easy to shop for, but even toddlers start to make choices about what they like and don't like to do with their time. A few of the hottest toys this year might actually get parents excited because they are both original and fire up our collective imaginations. Check out Hatchimals, which is a new release that was a hit at the 2016 Toy Fair. These are eggs that your children care for until they "hatch" a surprise animal like a bearakeet, draggles, or penguala.

Tech-savvy older children and adults alike will want to get their hands on the new PlayStation VR. Named one of the best inventions of 2016 by Time Magazine, this new virtual reality headset transports PS gamers inside their gaming universe for an entirely new, and unprecedented, experience.




Making the Holidays Meaningful, Even On a Budget

Dec 12, 2016 12:24:00 PM

Do you equate the holidays with stress and the potential to land yourself in a pile of debt? Few people consider that good times and saving cash can go hand in hand, but you don't have to break the bank to have a meaningful holiday season. After all, the spirit of this time of year really has nothing to do with "Black Friday" or scoring the latest electronics. Here are several ways that you can make the holidays special on a budget.

Emphasize Time With Loved Ones

Most people are gifted with time off from work during the holidays and children get those cherished school vacations. This is the perfect opportunity to place emphasis on family time and creating some new memories, which don't have to cost money. Turn off the television during meal times and catch up. Go to your community's tree-lighting ceremony or holiday parade. These are experiences that are much more valuable than the latest toy or gadget.




5 Online Tools That Will Help You Stay On Budget This Holiday Season

Dec 8, 2016 7:43:00 PM

The holiday season is upon us once again. This is a time of year for family dinners, holiday parties, and exchanging gifts. The holidays should be exciting, but they may not be entirely so for everyone. For many, it's also a period of financial stress because budgets are tight and holidays aren't cheap.

The American Psychological Association conducted a study on holiday stress, in which more than half of respondents reported being more tired, stressed, and irritable than normal during the holidays. The most common reasons were time and money. Let us help you de-stress your upcoming holiday season with these five online tools to help you stay on budget.

1. Holiday Budget Calculator

Many of us have no idea what we spend during the holidays, and this is where we quickly get into trouble. If you have your receipts from last year, this might be a good place to start. Otherwise, create a list of your major spending categories (gifts, meals, travel, entertaining) and create a budget for each person and category. This online Holiday Budget Calculator is an excellent tool to help with this exercise.