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A Quick Guide on How to Decorate Your Home’s Empty Spaces

There’s always that one part in every home, whether it’s a corner in a room or a wall that stays bare and feels like there’s something missing. But while most people try to fill it with whatever spare furniture is lying around, there’s a little more than that when it comes to filling up space.

Using the Basic Principles of Design

Even if you don’t already have a knack for design, knowing the techniques behind things that are visually pleasing to look at can go a long way when you can apply them successfully to your own home.

Keep these principles in mind the next time you want to make changes or fill any boring, empty spaces in your home to avoid that feeling of awkwardness in your interior decor:

  • The Rule of Odd Numbers – If you’re already familiar with the rule of thirds when taking pictures, a similar principle can be applied in home decorating. For instance, three similar objects with varying sizes or heights can serve as great statement pieces.
  • Focal Point – The eye tends to naturally gravitate towards the most emphasized object or feature of your room. One way to help with this is by using symmetry, and another way is through complementing and contrasting color schemes.
  • Negative Space – Negative space can be used strategically to highlight the few pieces of decor in your home. When employing negative space to highlight a specific feature or decor, be sure to avoid clutter and look at any recurring shapes, and have a clear intention when doing so.

Decorating Ideas for Empty Spaces

To get you started on what to do with the spaces you have, here are a few amazing ideas you can use when you’re looking to fill up any empty spaces in your home with decor and furniture:

  • Home library – If you have a lot of books and nowhere to put them, installing a few floating shelves in a bare corner is the easiest way to add something with both funciton and style.
  • Statement chair – Combined with a small table and adequate lighting, a corner with a well-placed statement chair is the recipe for an instant reading area.
  • Home office – Dead space can be made lively by turning into a dedicated home office with the right chair and desk, along with some extra shelves for a quick and easy storage option.
  • Gallery wall – Say goodbye to odd corners in the living room by hanging different kinds of art pieces whose color schemes coordinate well with the rest of your furniture, pillows, or curtains.
  • Pegboard – Take advantage of vertical storage by installing pegboards in your walls to keep things organized and off the floor.

Four Reasons Why Your Hair Looks Greasy

Having oily hair makes it difficult for you to style it the way you want, but it’s not the only reason why you don’t want to have oily hair when you start your day. In fact, oily hair can be both an eyesore to look at as well as feel weird. Here are the reasons why your hair looks greasy (and what you can do about it):

1.  Too frequent shampooing

Daily shampooing can strip your scalp of its natural oils. When this happens, the oil glands in your scalp work twice as hard to produce more sebum to replace what was washed off.

2.  Using too much styling products

Another reason why your hair is oily is because you use too much or too many styling products to give your hair the appearance that you want, since these particular products can mess with your oil glands’ natural production of sebum. The wrong styling products can also make your hair greasy and heavy as a result, so be sure to look for lightweight formulas. 

3.  Your hairbrush has too much hair

If you have long hair, brushing it too much can stimulate oil production, which can look greasy later on. However, it can also be caused by having too many strands of hair stuck in your brush.

4.  Using products with silicone

Many hair products, especially shampoos and conditioners, tend to have silicone listed in the ingredients since it keeps hair smooth and adds a certain amount of shine. However, this extra gloss can look really similar to grease, and the different compounds such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone can build up on the surface of each hair strand, which can weight your hair down and even trap dust and dirt.

Managing Oily Hair

Oily hair can be lifeless and challenging to maintain and style, so it’s important to know how to clean it better and keep the production of sebum in your scalp at a healthy rate.

Here are a few tips you can use, especially if you hate leaving your hair unwashed for more than a day:

  • Choose your shampoo and hair products carefully – As much as possible, avoid choosing products that have the words “dry”, “smoothing”, or even “glossy” on the label. These products can contribute to the oil produced and will only leave it dull.
  • Minimize greasy foods – Your diet can also have a direct impact on your hair’s condition, so be sure to maximize your daily fruit and vegetable intake and keep oily foods to a minimum.
  • Use apple cider vinegar – Dilute a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water, pour it through your hair, and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it off to wash away the build-up of dirt, dust, and sebum.

Brain Train: How to Change Your Old Thinking Ways

If there is one obvious truth that mentally strong people don’t do is that they do away with self-limiting beliefs in their heads. Our thoughts dictate how we feel and how we behave. We have various ideas about different subjects across diverse sources—and then, we have thoughts about ourselves.

More often than not, we make self-talk anytime of the day whether in silence or out loud. If this self-conversation is jam-packed with doubt, criticism, fear, and tragic predictions, you will surely find it difficult to hit your goals. But you don’t have to doom yourself to this kind of pessimistic thinking. You have the complete power to alter the way your brain thinks!

Did you know that training your brain to think differently influence physical changes, too? No wonder why therapists make us of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a psychotherapeutic treatment to modify dysfunctional thoughts, emotions and behavior to boost positive outlook amongst patients.

CBT on the other hand, is not a quick fix method that provides temporary happiness against negative issues. It is a process that focuses on solutions that encourage and challenge patients to alter destructive patterns of thinking and behavior. Studies reveal that this therapy creates measurable and physical changes in the brain; this is due to the neuroimaging results that identify CBT as modifier of neural circuits in regulating negative feelings.

According to SingHealth.com, the clinical effectiveness of CBT has been revealed in hundreds of studies eve on cases where patients displayed physical pain syndromes such as lower back pain and headaches.

Rooting from the principles CBT teach, here are straightforward means to train your brain to think properly:

Disprove your self-limiting beliefs

Our brain lies to us, sometimes and we have this natural tendency to believe its stories. So, when it tells you that cannot pass the job interview, or that you’ll get rejection from your crush, treat it as a challenge.

This may sound a little tough, but force yourself to take one step closer even when you feel tired to continue. Challenge yourself to persistently apply for that dream job despite the fact that your brain is telling you to give up. Every single time you out win your brain by successfully disproving negative outcomes, you train you brain to realize that your degrading beliefs aren’t true. As you practice doing this, your brain will have more accurate and measurable basis of your capabilities and limitations.

Master a personal maxim

Make an inventory of your negative self-thoughts. Do you insult yourself by using derogatory adjectives? Identify these areas and create an effective rebuttal that will work for you to counterattack these messages by repeatedly saying “I’m so capable of doing this,” or “I can make it happen.” As you think about this often, you will be more inclined to consider these beliefs than those of unpleasant ones.

Build that pleasant thinking

Like learning any new job and skill, brain training is difficult and takes time. But again, just like any new task, the more it is practiced, the more it becomes familiarly easy.

How to be Good at Achieving Your Goals

Whether it is a lack of exercise, weakness for shopping or social media addiction, we all have a bad behavior that we aspire to change. But wanting to make the change and actually doing it are two different things. Clearly, intentions are never enough to make things happen. VTeach training partners SG emphasize that setting goals is a great way to approach your future, as well as a motivational tool to turn your ideal version of yourself into reality.

Behavioral psychologist, Sean Young, points out in his book, “Stick with it” that goal setting is mainly about changing behavior. Making use of Young’s framework and research conducted by psychologist Christine Carter at UC Berkeley Science Center, these goal-setting steps made all easy and can be applied to many things in life—from small to big goals:

Declare your goal

Ask yourself what would you like to achieve in the next six months or so? It can be hoping to reach a specific amount of savings in the bank that includes cutting-off unnecessary expenses and doing extra income.

It is important to strike a balance between a challenging goal and a realistic one. In the example above, you can break and adjust your savings goal on a weekly basis sufficient to hit your desired amount come six months (target savings = # of weeks x amount). When you are realistic about it, you will come to realize that taking small successes over big failures is more tolerable. Small progress shows us that we have the power to make changes in a lasting way.

Make that goal become a habit

For example, you want to follow a skin care routine before going to sleep every night, and you want to use a particular moisturizing cream. Chances are, when you clean your face you turn into an “autopilot” mode” and don’t think of the process. You don’t always remember to use moisturizing cream. Sometimes, you simply clean your face and go straight to bed; in some cases, you rely on a sticky note reminder. In this example, cleaning your face is the habit and using moisturizing cream afterwards is the goal.

The journal Neuron recently published a study showing that goals and habits are stored separately in the human brain. Endocannabinoids, a neutral messenger in the brain, which are responsible for modulating memory, appetite and mood, convert goals into solid habits. The most effective way to get endocannabinoids to work is by being consistent. Work on your goal everyday even if you don’t feel like doing it, this can also mean setting a specific schedule or context to do it. For example, you can use moisturizing cream immediately after cleaning your face (specific context). The more consistent you are, the more easily your brain can transform it into a habit.

Change the environment

Environmental factors are important to habit formation as the brain is great at connecting an environment to a certain situation. If you find yourself constantly forgetting or giving up on your goals, take a look at your surroundings. Do you find it difficult to clean your room because you are so used to binge watch in that area? Try changing the room arrangement for a change. Sometimes, a new environment is your best friend when it comes to kicking your brain to start hitting your goals.

Gratefully, with these simple steps, it’s possible to do at least one. You just might change your life for the better. As the saying goes, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration—the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Recent studies show that at least 0.5% of the population in Singapore is affected by rheumatoid arthritis. The number might not seem significant, but research about the burden of diseases also show that it is the 12th leading condition that causes burden in the country.

What is rheumatoid arthritis and how is it different from other types of arthritis?

Causes and Risks

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks your body mistakenly. When this happens, the joints are inflamed. This is the cause of the pain and swelling that patients feel. Over time the prolonged and repeated inflammation of the joints will cause irreversible damage.

There is no known cause for this condition, but because it is an autoimmune disease, it means that it can possible run in families. However, it has been found that a person might have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis if he/she is a smoker or is overweight. Prolonged and repeated exposure to silica and asbestos has been linked to the disease as well, although this needs further research.

Symptoms and Complications

This is the most common autoimmune arthritis in the world and may affect people as young as 30 years, although there are cases where younger people exhibit the symptoms much earlier. The affected parts are most commonly the hands and feet, but the disease might also affect other organs, specifically the lungs, eyes, and skin. The chronic illness will result in joint pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness, and decreased movement.

The most severe symptoms can last for hours or even an entire day, but they are more pronounced in the mornings. It is sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite, low-grade fever, fatigue, dry mouth, dry eyes, and the appearance of firm lumps on the hands and elbows.

These lumps are very characteristic of the condition and are called rheumatoid nodules. If the lungs are affected, there is scarring and inflammation which may result in difficulty breathing; but if blood vessels are affected, it can lead to damage in the skin, nerves and other organs. Anemia is a common complication of rheumatoid arthritis besides the damage to or deformity of the joints, scarring of lung tissues, hardening or blocking of the arteries, lymphoma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and abnormal proportion of fat to mass in the body.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There will be some damage to the nerves, but the goal of the treatment is to reduce that damage and to prevent other complications. However, it can be tricky to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis at its earliest stage because it is similar to several other illnesses. Tests are administered to determine the stage of the symptoms and to confirm that it is indeed rheumatoid arthritis and not lupus, osteoarthritis or other forms of arthritis.

Medication is given to reduce pain and inflammation as well as slow down the damage to the joints are restore function. Additional treatment may be necessary such as physical therapy and occupational therapy. Surgery is only recommended if there is severe deformity, damage, or pain in the joints.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Pet Scorpion

Despite the danger they pose to inexperienced handlers, scorpions can make fascinating pets. They don’t take a lot of space too which might make them ideal for a small apartment. Before adopting a scorpion, you need to keep in the mind the following facts.

They live for up to six years. If healthy, a scorpion can live for three to six years. Its longevity will also depend on the species, the ideal conditions of its habitat, and its diet.

A scorpion is relatively huge for an insect. An adult can reach up to 8 inches in length depending on the species, so it is a large insect compared to other insects you can adopt as pets. Because of its size, its enclosure needs to be big enough for it to move around as well. As it grows older, you will want to upgrade its enclosure to make sure it has enough space.

The scorpion is an insectivore. This means you can’t feed it fruits or vegetables like you would other insect pets. The best meal for a scorpion are live insects such as mealworms, waxworms, and crickets. Some experienced pet owners raise these insects to save money on the food. Make sure to supply it with chlorine-free water daily.

They have special feeding habits. To avoid overfeeding or underfeeding them, remember that adults need only to eat every other day while juveniles need to feed daily. Feed them only at night because they are nocturnal creatures.

They might need a supplement. Because they might not be getting enough vitamins and minerals, you will want to include calcium supplement once or twice a week depending on the veterinarian’s recommendation.

The scorpion molts. As it grows, it will remove its exoskeleton by molting. You can only feed a scorpion if it isn’t molting. Do not be alarmed if the scorpion refuses to eat, because they might be preparing to molt.

You need to provide the right landscape. As much as possible, you should make their enclosure resemble their natural habitat. An aquarium is your safest choice, but make sure it has a lid on top. Use a mulch-type substrate but avoid gravel and turf. Maintain the temperature between 80°F to 90°F and provide 8 to 12 hours of lighting by installing infrared or nocturnal lights.

You will need several enclosures. Never place a scorpion with other pets in the same enclosure. You should also separate adult scorpions to avoid fighting.

Handle carefully. Avoid handling the scorpion if it is not necessary. However, if you need to move or inspect it, you should only handle it if the exoskeleton ahs hardened after molting. Otherwise, you might injure it.

Know the warning signs. You should check the scorpion daily for the following signs of health problems: dull exoskeleton, swollen limbs, bumps, sores, abnormal feces, and discharge from the eyes or mouth. It might be difficult to look for a veterinarian who specializes in insects too.