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Saying 2 words most of us overlook can save your tired relationship


couple shadow holding hands

My family often makes fun of me for being overly effusive in restaurants:

Oh, thank you so much for bringing the bread — we really appreciate it! Water? I love water! Thank you for being so kind!

Though no one in my family has ever said it explicitly, I imagine part of the reason they find it so hilarious is that I hardly ever show them so much gratitude.

Not even for oh, say, bringing me into this world and putting a roof over my head for 18 years.

So I had a quiet "aha!" moment while reading Janice Kaplan's "The Gratitude Diaries," in which she chronicles her yearlong effort to show more appreciation in different areas of her life.

Before writing "The Gratitude Diaries," Kaplan, a journalist who was formerly the editor of Parade magazine, helped conduct a survey on Americans' gratitude habits.

Results showed that 97% of respondents said they would express gratitude to a server in a nice restaurant (guilty as charged). But how many women said they regularly thanked their husbands? Just 48%.

In the book, Kaplan writes that she gets it — we have way higher expectations for our partners than we do for waiters. Beyond that, she suspects we also get so used to our partner being there for us that we generally forget to appreciate it.

Simply making the effort to say "thank you" can breathe new life into a tired relationship.

janice kaplanWhen she visited the Business Insider offices in August, Kaplan told us:

"When you're in a relationship, particularly for a long time, you kind of stop noticing somebody. Psychologists call it habituation."

"You get used to somebody. You stop realizing why you wanted to be there in the first place."

During the first month of her gratitude experiment, Kaplan focused on appreciating her husband.

She'd thank him for driving them home from a party or fixing a leaky faucet — and he'd be confused, because he always does those things.

"I know you do," Kaplan would tell him. "But I appreciate it."

As Business Insider's Erin Brodwin has reported, psychologists have known for a while that couples who express gratitude toward each other are more likely to stay together. In fact, thanking your partner even once can bring you two closer months later.

That's possibly because a single act of gratitude sparks a cycle of gratitude and generosity: You thank your partner, so your partner feels appreciated and invests more in the relationship, which in turn makes you feel more grateful to them.

Perhaps the part of "The Gratitude Diaries" that struck me most was a scene Kaplan describes in which her husband, a doctor, is rushing off in the middle of the night to treat a sick patient.

Typically, Kaplan writes, she'd be frustrated and angry that her husband was leaving at that hour. But during her gratitude experiment, she pushed herself to find the reason to be grateful.

So she told him:

"I was just thinking about how lucky your patient is to have you. She must feel so much better knowing you're on the way. The world needs more doctors like you. Thank you for being so special."

To me, this scene reflects how showing gratitude to the people we're closest to can take more effort than thanking the barista at Starbucks. It requires seeing the person in a new light — or simply seeing them at all.

But that effort can pay big dividends. Kaplan writes that her small acts of gratitude appeared to change her overall marriage for the better.

In the book she mentions one professor of marriage and family therapy who told her that every day he emails his wife thanking her for something. It doesn't have to be anything huge — thanking her for running errands when he was busy is fine.

The point is to make gratitude a habit so that, eventually, you don't have to think about it — it's just the default lens through which you see your partner's everyday behaviors.

SEE ALSO: 15 relationship facts everybody should know before getting married

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NOW WATCH: Saying these 2 words can save your tired relationship

There’s a massive worldwide ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange — here’s how to take part


This is the eighth year Reddit will be running its Secret Santa exchange. All you have to do is sign up, enter your info and interests, and agree to send a gift to someone else. Reddit suggests they be about a $20 value, but some giftees — like Bill Gates — love to go all out. Hurry! Registration closes November 29th.

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Watch the trailer for the new Martin Scorsese film that took over 20 years to make


It's been a passion project for director Martin Scorsese for nearly 30 years. Finally, his film, "Silence," hits theaters on December 23 and it's already generating some early awards hype

Set during the 17th century, the film follows two Jesuit priests, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who embark on a journey into the Japanese jungle to find their mentor, played by Liam Neeson. From the trailer, it appears their efforts to find their mentor and spread the gospel of Christianity is met with violence and persecution.

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14 science-backed answers to your biggest questions about wine



Going to any social gathering involving alcohol inevitably clues you in to who is the sommelier and who is the amateur.

And if the latter happens to fit your description, have no fear. Here's a handy guide to 14 of your slightly embarrassing and nerdy questions about wine that will increase your wine expertise.

SEE ALSO: The turkey you're about to eat weighs twice as much as it did a few decades ago

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BI Graphics_Wine_01

No way. When it comes to fears about high levels of arsenic in wine, you'd most likely have to drink more than 13 servings' worth to reach troubling levels.

BI Graphics_wine_02

The price comes from a number of different factors – the type of grape, how long it's aged, etc. For the casual drinker, an inexpensive bottle could taste just as good if not better.

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You can thank tannins naturally occurring chemicals for that dry feeling you get in your mouth after a sip of red wine. They bind to proteins like the ones in saliva, which is what makes your mouth dry out.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Chop onions without tears, thanks to this kitchen science trick

11 dining etiquette mistakes no one should make at Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is essentially a yearly dinner party. And dinner-party etiquette, like most etiquette, is often lost or misunderstood.

Which (we think) is a shame, since it's so vitally important to all involved. After all, no one wants to make a fool of themselves.

Avoid these 11 behaviors, and you're more likely to make it through this forced familial bonding without too much social damage.

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Not responding to an invite until the last minute.

Not responding until the last minute says, "I was waiting for something better to come up, but since there isn't anything, I guess I can go."

Don't send that message — if you're not already going somewhere for Thanksgiving and don't plan to, say yes as soon as you feel you can commit.

Showing up empty-handed.

Even if nothing is said explicitly, it's expected that when showing up to someone's house for Thanksgiving, you don't come empty-handed.

Ask the host beforehand if there's anything they need that you can bring with you. Even if they say no, you still shouldn't come with nothing. A bottle of wine will almost certainly do the trick. 

Showing up underdressed.

Don't think that just because you're among friends and family you can dress in your PJs. Show respect for the hosts and look the part expected of you. You'll make your parents proud.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 of Yale's super-elite secret societies ranked by wealth


skull and bones

Yale's secret societies often seem shrouded in mystery. They are bastions of influence and intrigue that hold among their members some of the world's most powerful people.

But some information about secret societies isn't as clandestine as some might think. Yale's "landed societies" — those that meet in tombs or halls — are registered with the IRS as charitable organizations. One of the societies on our list, the Elizabethan Club, is not a "secret society" per se but an elite social club that owns a house on campus.

These landed societies are legally obligated to file public tax information, since they are 501(c)(3) organizations.

Not all of Yale's societies meet in tombs or have relatively sizable wealth, though. At last count, Yale had 41 secret societies, and the vast majority are not considered landed.

We were able to dig up tax forms for seven landed societies from 2014. These societies have considerable wealth, the majority of which was garnered through original endowments and has been maintained through voluntary donations by members.

Check out the list, as ranked by total assets.

7. St. Elmo — $90,472

Filed under "St. Elmo Society Inc."

St. Elmo was founded in 1889. Its notable alumni include HBO's "Girls" actress Allison Williams and former US Attorney General John Ashcroft.

6. Berzelius — $1,945,346

Filed under "Colony Foundation."

Berzelius was founded in 1848. Its notable alumni include Bill DeWitt III, president of the St. Louis Cardinals.

5. Skull and Bones — $4,129,936

Filed under "RTA Inc."

Skull and Bones was founded in 1832. Its notable alumni include former US Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's what can happen when you eat too much salt


Our bodies need a certain amount of sodium to survive, and one of the most common ways we get it is in salt. About 40% of what's in your table salt is sodium.

Salt does more than just take that salted caramel ice cream to the next level. Healthy levels of it in the body also help keep our blood pressure under control and ensure that our muscles and nerves function properly.

Each person reacts to salt differently. But generally, physicians agree that if you want to control high blood pressure, you should limit your salt intake, and not doing so can be unhealthy. Here are some of the reasons:

BI Graphics_How eating too much salt harms your body

LEARN MORE: 20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions

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6 tricks the smartest business travelers know



The modern business traveler needs to be both organized and super tech savvy for maximum productivity and efficiency gains. From choosing the right place to stay to packing smartly and being switched on at the airport, the most experienced business travelers never miss a trick. 

Booking.com for Business suggests some of the best travel hacks to help you travel smarter and enjoy stays in the simplest and most rewarding way.

 1. Be an accommodation guru

The last thing you need on a business trip is to arrive at an apartment, villa or hotel without Wi-Fi, or be stuck in the middle of a hectic hen-do when you’re trying to prepare for an important presentation. That’s why it's worth finding a destination that has been recommended by other business travelers. Booking.com for Business provides access to more than 700,000 properties with verified reviews from millions of business travelers, with 10% off selected properties for account holders.

As business travel evolves beyond the one-size-fits-all approach of the past, you can find a different, unexpected place to stay on your next business trip. Booking.com for Business also has a range of diverse properties from apartments and homestays to boats and treehouses and more, everywhere from major cities to mountains and coasts. 

2. Get smart with your air miles and airport time

If you travel frequently for business, then it's really worth being loyal to one airline. Not only will you have access to more perks, but it's more likely that you will get an upgrade. You could also consider signing up for a rewards credit card. This will also let you earn points and save miles regardless of which airline you choose.

Arrive at the airport early and make use of the airport lounge, which can be a great place to unwind or get some extra work done for a small sum — which you can claim as a legitimate business expense. 

3. Find the right travel tech apps 

Keeping a record of and claiming expenses, as well as keeping on top of boarding cards and schedules, is one of the main headaches of business travel. Air miles tracking apps can be a lifesaver, such as AwardWallet, a one-stop shop for tracking miles from all of your accounts or TripIt, an invaluable app to keep your entire travel itinerary in one place. 

There are also plenty of apps that can help, letting you track any kind of expense as well as billable time and mileage, too. Wi-Fi app finders are also great and will direct you to the nearest zone and you will avoid paying those expensive roaming charges. 

Don't get caught unaware by currency rates again. XE is the go-to place for currency conversions. It also functions offline by saving the last updated rates, which is great if you’re in a place with limited connectivity or trying to save on data.

Because business trips aren’t always predictable, the Booking app from Booking.com helps you find a room at a moment’s notice. Stand on any street anywhere in the world and the app will use your personal preferences to automatically suggest accommodation choices based on your current location, as well as provide a step-by-step route map to get you there quickly.

4. Be on top of your packing game 

Remember: Frequent fliers never check their luggage.

David Barrett, founder and CEO of Expensify, only carries a bag slightly larger than a tennis racket case. He says: “Aim to travel light enough that you can carry everything with you at all times — to the conference, to dinner, to the meetings, everywhere. It’s a business trip, after all, and to make the most of it you need to be out shaking hands, not ferrying back and forth to your hotel room.”

If you do lots of back-to-back business travel, save time by keeping a partially packed suitcase, suggests Gillian Tans, president of Booking.com. "Replenish toiletries and essentials as soon as you return," she says. "Then, next time you have to pack, you’ve only got to add some business clothes and you’re ready to go."

5. Think about all of the little details

Call your credit or debit card company before heading abroad. This will make sure you’re authorized to spend abroad or even in another city within the country. The last thing you want is to be reported for suspicious activity and not have access to your money.

Also, make sure to have all of your travel documents on email. Scan your passport, ID, and itinerary and email it to yourself so you have a digital copy in the event of loss or theft.

Make sure you charge up all your devices. Having full power will stop panic at the gates when you need to scan your boarding pass. Remember if you forget to bring a suitable plug adapter, you can always charge your devices through the USB slot on a TV in your hotel room, suite, or apartment.

Finally, delays are bound to happen so do take time out to check before you leave. "There’s no point being at the airport longer than needed," says Tans. "But, remember things change so don’t cut it too fine!" 

6. Find time to enjoy yourself

Once the work that originally brought you to the destination is over, extend your stay by a day or two and switch it over to a trip of leisure. In 2016, 49% of business travelers already extend their business trips to further enjoy the destination, while three-quarters (75%) intend to do so the same or more in 2017. (Booking.com collected data from 12,781 respondents aged 18+ across 13 markets in September 2016). If you can’t extend your trip, fit a little leisure into your business trip by sampling some of the local cuisine at area restaurants. Most major cities offer free walking tours, which is another great way to see the city from beyond the windows of an office or convention center and learn about the history and culture of the area.

When next traveling for business or leisure, access more than one million diverse properties at Booking.com.

This post is sponsored by Booking.com for Business

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I've taken AncestryDNA and 23andMe genetics tests — here's what I tell people when they ask me which one is best


spit 23andMe test

I've sent my spit off for more genetics tests than I can count.

Each one I've tried so far has offered a different experience, a different approach to how they present the data, or what information they provide — whether it's my great-grand relative or how much Neanderthal DNA I have. 

Every so often someone asks me which test I would recommend.

Genetic testing companies have proprietary sets of data and different ways they analyze the data, which can also play a role in decision-making, but to me it all boils down to one question: What do you want to get out of the test? 

Let's take the two direct-to-consumer ones I've tried out: AncestryDNA and 23andMe. 


23andMe kit

23andMe currently offers two versions of its tests:

  • The $199 version, which comes with both the health and ancestry components.
  • The $99 version, which will just have the ancestry test.

Its health reports can tell you information about traits, (such as if you're likely to have dimples or curly hair), wellness (how well you metabolize caffeine and if you're a sprinter), as well reports on carrier status. These reports can tell you if you carry a mutation for certain conditions that you could pass down to your children. Currently, 23andMe has 41 of these tests, up from the 36 tests it had when it launched in October 2015

With 23andMe's ancestry reports, users have access to reports that break down the Ancestry Composition (which regions your genes most closely align with), haplogroups (a genetic population that shares a common ancestor), and a person's Neanderthal ancestry. They also get access to something called a DNA Relatives tool, which 23andMe users can opt into to connect them with other users. It also shows if they have close or distant relatives in the system. 23andMe is big on research and getting users to engage in its research. 

Screen Shot 2015 12 17 at 5.54.33 PM

Verdict: If you're looking at this as more of a science experiment, or a way to get involved in research (most recently I got asked to participate in asthma research), and you aren't as interested in retracing your ancestry, this is the test for you. Or, if all you really want to know is your ancestry percentages and how much Neanderthal variants you have, the $99 version is also a good bet.  

AncestryDNAAncestryDNA test box

Ancestry's test, as the name suggests, is all about family histories and geneaology. You won't find health and wellness reports in its $99 test. 

What you will find is information about where your family comes from, and how that connects you to other potential ancestors. Ancestry also helps you link up the DNA test to your self-reported family tree. 

There's a lot to discover within that ancestry data — for example, I was matched up with ancestors dating back to the 18th century, and could explore just how I connected with that ancestor. 

Screen Shot 2016 03 30 at 4.41.49 PM

Ancestry's site is situated in such a way that if all you want are the percentage estimates, it's easy to focus on those, too.

But if you want to dig deep into your family tree, you can. I would definitely consider purchasing this test for a relative who enjoys researching our family tree.

Verdict: If the idea of tracing back your family tree for generations and connecting with distant relatives gets you incredibly excited — and less interested in getting health information back — this is the test for you. 

Other ancestry tests:

Although these are the only two I've tried out so far, there are, of course, other tests out there.

  • National Geographic has an ancestry test called Geno 2.0 through Helix an Illumina spin-off that's kind of like the "app store for genetics." The test — which is currently $149.99 but originally $199.95 — is different from the others in that it's using next-generation sequencing, instead of the genotyping technology that AncestryDNA and 23andMe use. The test gives a report on ancestry and telling ancestral stories. 
  • MyHeritage, for example just launched a DNA test that's currently going for $79 (originally $99). Its tests, like Ancestry's, are focused on building out family connections and trees. 
  • Others, like FamilyTree DNA (which offers tests from $59) are geared toward those wanting to find genetic links to others and find family members.

Conclusion: All the genetics tests on the market today come in at around the same price point. And, as I found after taking both tests, the reports can slightly differ a bit, since each company has slightly different methods, algorithms, and data that they're using. So go with the test that will answer the questions you have. Have fun!

SEE ALSO: I shipped my spit to AncestryDNA to see how much I could learn from my genes — and found out my family history is more complex than I thought

DON'T MISS: I tried 23andMe's new genetics test — and now I know why the company caused such a stir

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5 mindful eating tips to help you make the most out of your Thanksgiving feast


This week, you may have trouble passing up seconds of yummy Thanksgiving foods and desserts. 

But making sure you get the most out of the savory and sweet tastes of turkey and apple pie requires some awareness of what you're eating. 

To guide you through mindful eating so you can get the most out of your holiday eating, Happify, a website and app that uses science-based interactive activities aimed at increasing your happiness, made this graphic.

Happify mindfuleating

SEE ALSO: 14 science-backed answers to your biggest questions about wine

NEXT: We asked a nutritionist how to enjoy Thanksgiving without worrying about weight gain, and she gave us these 11 tips

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5 tricks to avoid uncomfortable conversations this Thanksgiving


thanksgiving dinner eating talking

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, especially when it means getting together with family and friends you haven't seen in a while.

Of course, despite even the best intentions, catching up on the latest goings on in people's lives can take a turn for the worse when awkward topics come up.

From "When are you going to have kids?" and "Are you in a relationship yet?" to what will surely become classics this year, "Who did you vote for?" and "This country's going to hell in a handbasket!", certain topics should really remain off the table during this time together. But you try telling that to your 95-year-old grandma who says whatever she damn-well pleases.

If you're looking to keep things civil this holiday season, try these tips for navigating potentially awkward conversations:

1. Set some ground rules

"You can set expectations before the meal even begins by saying something like, 'It has been a really interesting year for everyone, and I would like to ask that we not talk politics. We all have a lot to catch up on and connect over,'" suggests Lizzie Post, co-author of several Emily Post etiquette books and founding partner of the Bob Evans Holiday Helpline.

2. Try starting with popular topics

If you know that a healthy dialogue about controversial topics is not possible at your holiday celebration, avoid the hot-button issues and stick to more popular and socially acceptable topics like sports. You could try throwing out something general like, "How about them Cubs?" and see who bites.

"Do not invest your time in a discussion where there is no chance of being heard," Dr. Michael McNulty, a master trainer from The Gottman Institute and founder of the Chicago Relationship Center, tells Business Insider. "People have to be able to listen to and respect one another before a healthy dialogue can occur."

3. Redirect the conversation to something personal and positive

"If there are still contentious conversations happening, it's important to redirect, not correct, so everyone feels comfortable," Post says.

She recommends saying something like, "Sam, I'd love to get away from politics (or finances, religion, romantic drama, etc.) and hear about your vacation to Florida."

"By turning the conversation to more personal topics and encouraging discussion, you can be sure not to offend any of the guests while also maintaining a positive atmosphere at the table," Post says.

4. Be firm but polite

If you try to redirect the conversation a few times and it's not working, Post says it's completely appropriate for you to say with a smile and a friendly, firm tone, "We are finished talking about this at the table." And then once again, begin a new, positive conversation.

5. If debate is unavoidable, make it a dialogue

It's expected that families have diverse opinions, but if you have to keep talking about politics or other potentially contentious topics, it's best to change the debate into a dialogue in which everyone feels respected and understood, McNulty says.

"Dialogues are a way to understand and support one another, even when people have significantly different points of view," he explains.

To have a dialogue, McNulty suggests talking about your positions one at a time, telling the stories behind them that explain why they are important to you, and as you listen to others, summarizing and reflecting back what you are hearing.

"Do not attempt to changes people's minds. Show respect for each person. This is healthy for all involved," he says. "In fact, people who are able to dialogue feel more connected to the ones they love, even with their differences. Model this for younger generations."

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The best noodle for every kind of pasta sauce


Pasta Noodles

The INSIDER Summary:

• The pasta noodle you use should depend on what kind of sauce you're making.
• Heartier sauces call for chunkier noodles, while lighter sauces call for more delicate noodles.

There are so many different kinds of pasta noodles out there; it can be hard to keep them all straight.

But there is a reason for all those different shapes: certain sauces pair better with certain noodles.

We chatted with Michael Easton, chef and owner of Il Corvo Pasta in Seattle, to figure out the best combinations.

Keep scrolling to see which noodle is best for the most popular pasta sauces.

The best noodle for every kind of pasta sauce graphic

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28 changes to make in your 20s to set yourself up for lifelong success



Your 20s are, at least according to one psychologist, the "defining decade," because they play a huge role in who you'll become personally and professionally.

So don't screw them up!

We're only kidding — you'll definitely screw them up in some capacity, and that's okay.

If you can make at least some of the changes we've listed below — like practicing mindfulness and not sticking around in bad relationships — you'll be in good shape.

These ideas are drawn from multipleQuorathreads, where users of all ages shared their insights into how to make the most of your 20s.

Read on, and find out what you should start (and stop) doing in your 20s to lay the foundation for lifelong success.

1. Start writing down your goals

Toward the end of his 20s, Quora user Dirk Hooper started envisioning his ideal lifestyle five, 10, and 20 years down the road.

To ensure that he wasn't just fantasizing, he wrote down what he hoped to achieve and how he might get there.

"The act of writing your goals and dreams do[es] a couple of things for you," Hooper writes. "It forces you to nail down what's really in your mind, and it gives you a tangible record that you can refer to over time."

There's research to back up Hooper's theory. In one study, college students were instructed to write down a path toward achieving their future goals. Unsurprisingly, many of those goals involved finishing their education. Results showed that students who completed the writing exercise were more likely to stay in school than those who didn't do the exercise.

2. Start letting go of your ego

A number of Quora users mentioned some variation on the idea that you shouldn't let pride or vanity get in your way, and you should stay open to alternate viewpoints.

Michael Elijah writes: "Learn how to kill your ego. It blinds and fetters us from possibility and progress. Learn how to burst your bubble with simple questions [such] as, 'What if things aren't what they seem to be?' and vitally, 'What if I am wrong?'"

3. Start reading a lot

After college, Hooper realized there was still a lot he didn’t know.

"So, I became a voracious reader," he said. "I engaged in a campaign to educate myself on any subject that inspired me. One book led to another. Over the years I've learned 10 times more than I ever learned in high school or college."

We're not advocating autodidactism over formal education, but reading is a great way to learn more about topics that aren't necessarily covered in class. Get started with this list of 30 books to read before turning 30.

4. Stop trying to live someone else's life

It's tempting to use other people's expectations and values as the yardsticks by which you measure your own accomplishments. But doing so can prevent you from ever feeling truly fulfilled.

Here's Franklin Veaux:

If there's one thing you can do that will help more than anything else, it's this: Live life on your own terms. Don't do things because you think you 'should.' Don't do what other people tell you to do. Don't do what society expects you to do. Don't sit around waiting to start living your life. This life belongs to you and to nobody else. You will not get a chance to do it again. Live it on your terms.

5. Stop feeling bad about the past

In response to the question, "What should one do in their 20s to avoid regrets in their 30s and 40s?" several Quora users suggested that regret isn't a particularly healthy mindset.

Writes Jayesh Lalwani:

There are two kinds of people in the world: People who live their lives looking back, and people who live their lives looking forward.

You can recognize people who live their lives looking back by their heavy use of shoulda-woulda-coulda. I should have taken that job. I could have gone to that college. I would have married the girl. I could have been a contender. These people are constantly looking for things to regret. To them, life is a series of failures, and every future opportunity is a chance to [mess] up.

6. Start showing loved ones you care

"If you really care about a certain someone, make it a habit to show it," says Christian Svanes Kolding.

"Little gestures, kind words. It's not about constant contact, but more about finding mutual ways to share your life with the people you care most about. … And if you have a partner, show your love. Take nothing for granted. Life happens."

7. Start taking care of your health

"The simplest and most important action you can take is to protect your health," writes Andrew Solmssen. "Once it's gone, it's really hard to bring back. Most people in their 40s and beyond would trade money for health."

Exercising is especially crucial at this juncture in your life. If you start early, you'll establish the habit for decades to come, which will be especially beneficial in your late 30s when you start losing muscle mass. Just remember to choose physical activities you really love, since you're less likely to continue exercising if you dislike your workouts.  

piggy banks

8. Start saving for retirement

"Spend less than you earn and put money in an IRA," says Paul Richard. "Compounding does amazing things and you will be able to retire when you want, instead of working forever."

Richard is right: The earlier you start saving for your golden years, the more time your money has to accrue interest.

9. Start asking questions

"By asking questions, you're getting different perspectives from different people," writes Brian Austin. "To a greater or lesser extent, all of our lives are enriched by sharing the thoughts and ideas of others."

Scientists say this kind of curiosity and knowledge-seeking can strengthen your personal relationships because you spend time listening, and it boosts your performance at work because you always want to learn and improve.

10. Start flossing

It's "disheartening how many sit in dental chairs for hours later in life forking over thousands," writes Madeleine Gallay.

Recently there’s been some controversy in the medical community over whether flossing has benefits. Apparently, as Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin reported, the effectiveness of flossing has never been studied.

Still, many experts say that not flossing lets plaque build up between teeth and become tartar, a hard deposit that can irritate gums, and can potentially lead to infection and gum disease. Gum disease is also linked to other problems, including diabetes and heart disease — but there’s no evidence that one directly causes the other.

11. Start practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness is about becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Experts say it can help you perform better at work because it allows you to deal with stress in a more healthy way.

Lauren Ramesbottom recommends cultivating mindfulness by setting aside a certain period of time every day or week for quiet meditation or reflection:

"This could be anything from writing in a journal, to listening to quiet music in the dark in your room, focused deep breathing or doing yoga. Anything that allows you to separate yourself from the daily trials of life … and have an open conversation with yourself in regards to how you're feeling."

12. Start learning how to read a scientific paper

"Learn a bit about medicine, including how to read a scientific paper," says Austin Schopper. "This will not only help you learn to take care of yourself better, but will also insulate you from con artists and frauds trying to sell you 'detox' remedies and miracle cures."

Over at The Huffington Post, Jennifer Raff, Ph.D., a professor of physical anthropology, offers nonscientists a (nonscary) guide for reading and understanding a scientific paper.

13. Start learning how to cook

"Learn how to prepare a meal for more than just you," Schopper says.

You might live alone now, but chances are at some point, you'll be cohabiting with a significant other and/or kids — and this skill will come in handy. Plus, cooking most of your meals at home saves money and tends to be healthier than dining out.

14. Start getting involved in meaningful causes

Consider joining a Meetup or another group of people who are interested in similar political and cultural issues.

"You will never have this much energy, health this great, or this much disposable time again in your life," writes Heidi McDonald. "Make the most of it. This is your best chance to make a difference in the world."

15. Start following current events

"Chances are," McDonald writes, if you keep up with the latest news, "you'll find your passion, whether that's a cause you're interested in or a niche you believe you can fill."

Moreover, you'll be better able to make small talk if you've got a few hot topics on hand.

16. Start traveling

"Don't be a tourist but a traveler," says Shrey Garg. "This will help increase your vision and make you realize how big and small the world is at the same time."

Over at US News, Claire Volkman advises going beyond the landmarks and discovering the cafes, stores, and parks that exist off the beaten path. You may also want to consider renting a home instead of a hotel in a neighborhood far from tourist attractions.

woman walking road

17. Start taking alone time

Garv Suri recommends spending half an hour every day in solitude.

Make sure you don't have your phone with you: Researchers say humans need true solitude, away from texts and Twitter, in order to understand their own behavior and experiences.

18. Start conducting weekly reviews

"One great habit is a weekly review to look back at the past week and lay out the one coming up," says Curt Beavers. "Use these three questions:

"1. What went well last week? (Celebrate and continue these.)

"2. What didn't go well? (Stop, overcome, or remove these from your plate.)

"3. Based on the answers above, what changes do I need to make to make this week better?"

19. Start appreciating failure

Here's Arpit Sethi's advice to a 22-year-old who wants to know the best way to invest time: "Fail. Merely out of our teens this is the best thing that can contribute in the making of an adult. The more we fail, the more we learn."

Sarah Rapp of 99U interviewed Tim Harford, author of "Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure," and learned that failing productively involves trying lots of new things, failing in a safe space, and being prepared to ditch your plan if it's just not working out.

20. Start expressing gratitude

"Start each day with a thankful heart," says Alex Chuang. "Gratitude can turn ordinary things into blessings and is the easiest path to happiness. Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have."

In fact, successful people from John Paul DeJoria to Oprah Winfrey have a daily gratitude practice. DeJoria, for example, sometimes uses the first five minutes of the day to "reflect on what I have in life and for what I am grateful."

Meanwhile, research suggests that taking the time to express gratitude for and appreciate your partner is a key predictor of relationship satisfaction.

21. Start saying 'no'

"Focus intensely on the actions that bring happiness into your life," writes Nelson Wang, and try to cut out the rest.

Of course, telling a coworker that you can't proofread her project report or a friend that you can't make his birthday party is easier said than done. Try offering an alternative when you say "no" — for example, "I can't read the document today, but here are my two biggest tips for writing a project report."

And don't feel the need to apologize — you aren't doing anything wrong by saying "no."

22. Start coming up with lots of ideas

Ayodeji Awosika cites author James Altucher, who recommends writing down at least 10 ideas every day in order to strengthen your "idea muscle."

Awosika writes: "How many good ideas do you need to have to become successful? One. If you write down 10 ideas per day that's 3,650 ideas per year. Using simple math and the law of averages, you're bound to hit on something worthwhile."

His advice makes sense in light of something psychologist Adam Grant discovered when he researched creativity and success. The most successful people don't necessarily have better ideas than everyone else — but they're persistent, so they come up with more ideas, one of which is bound to work out.

couple fighting annoyed complain

23. Stop sticking around in a bad relationship

Alden Tan recommends giving love a chance — but also having the courage to admit when it's just not working out:

If a relationship is totally loveless and totally going nowhere, just end it.

Don't stick around just because of comfort or fear. You deserve the best kind of love. You don't [want] to grow up being 30 or 40 and with somebody you're not in love with. That's just burdensome.

24. Start learning how to manage your time

Syed Jack Rizvi advises 20-somethings to figure out exactly where they're wasting time and then cut all relatively useless activities from their daily routine.

Meanwhile, Etienne Garbugli, a product and marketing consultant, shared some time-management lessons he wished he'd known when he was starting out in his career. Two key ones: Don't multitask, and write down everything that's distracting you at the moment.

25. Start holding yourself accountable for your actions

That's a tip from SaiPriya Subramanian.

It's easy — and maybe somewhat justified — to blame your parents for all your dysfunctional behaviors at work and in relationships. But it's probably easier to beat those behaviors one you take responsibility for them.

26. Stop making excuses

Writes Michael Merrill:

"We say we have no time and then spend it on the internet or watching TV. We say we have no money and do nothing to get it. We say we don't know the right people yet someone out there is meeting them right now."

In other words, stop letting yourself off the hook for not being the person you want to be.

In his book "The Achievement Habit," Stanford engineering professor Bernard Roth says we hold ourselves back when we try to justify our negative behavior. We'd be happier and more successful, he says, if we stopped giving "reasons"— or excuses — for everything.

27. Stop putting off all your life plans

Hemant Pandey advises against sacrificing happiness today for the prospect of success down the road. As an example of this behavior in action, Pandey says you might be so focused on getting ahead at work that you don't make one hour for the person you love.

In fact, when you ask people about their biggest regrets in life, many of those regrets center on family and romance, like not spending time with kids when they were young.

28. Stop being satisfied with yourself

That doesn't mean you should hate yourself or play down your accomplishments. Instead, it means you should constantly be looking to learn and grow.

Writes Shubham Sawoo:

If a feeling of satisfaction comes within us from the early 20s, then this means that we do not have any dream, or perhaps we have given up on it. This is the point from when we'll not be able to make any more improvement. Our dreams should be big, bigger than the remarks of the entire world, bigger than all our fears. And once we have this dream, we should keep on trying until that dream becomes our reality.

SEE ALSO: 10 changes to make in your 30s that will set you up for lifelong success

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The 17 best icebreakers to use at a holiday party where you don't know anyone


Party networking talking

Parties where you know virtually no one can be awkward, especially if you're not sure how to start a conversation.

You could rely on the classic "So what do you do for a living?" But then you run the risk of coming off as the least interesting or original person at the party.

Maybe you're interested in making a new professional contact, or perhaps you simply want to make a good impression on a friend of a friend.

Whatever the reason, busting out the clichés upon the first introduction is never a good idea.

To mix the conversation up a bit, try using one of these 17 icebreakers. They should help ease you into an engaging conversation with people you've never met before.


A smile, a name, and a confident handshake can sometimes go a long way, writes Ariella Coombs, a content manager for Careerealism.com.

"Sometimes the easiest way to meet someone is to offer a handshake and say 'hi,'" she writes.

'What do you do for fun when you're not working?'

Asking personal questions about people's activities outside of work can help solidify a connection, Shan White, owner of Women's Peak Performance Coaching, tells Refinery29.

Asking about someone's after-work hobbies is "semi-personal, yet still professionally acceptable to ask," White says. "This can bring some levity and humor into the conversation while also letting you see what lights them up — what brings them real joy."

'Hey guys, do you mind if I join you just to eavesdrop?'

As Tim Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," previously told Business Insider, his policy is: If two people are conversing at a networking event, then it's rude to interrupt them — but if it's a group of three or more, then you can politely ask to join the conversation using this approach.

Once you've been granted permission to listen in, standby until someone says something you don't understand. At that point, Ferris says you should ask: "Could you clarify that for me?" Someone will hopefully ask who you are, giving you a window to make your introduction, he explains.

'I'll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him two minutes ago. Mind if I introduce myself?'

Humor is a good method to put another attendee at ease and jump-start a lighthearted conversation.

'Hmmm, I'm not quite sure what that dish is. Do you know?'

Rather than silently stand in line for food, take the opportunity to start a conversation about the topic on everyone's mind: food.

Ask about the dish they think looks good, or the mystery dish, Coombs writes. "Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact."

'Hey, aren't you friends with ...?'

Even if you don't really think you know this person, you can walk up to anyone and ask if they are friends with someone else who is at the event, writes Jessica Gordon of The Daily Muse.

If they say no, feign a mild surprised reaction and conversation will commence.

'Have any fun trips planned?'

The holidays are a popular time for people to travel, and talking about plans is almost guaranteed to get the conversation going because most people have some idea of where they'd like to go, even if it's in the distant future, and love to talk about it. And if the details haven't been hashed out yet, it's easy for your conversation partner to say "No, but I'd love to go to ..."

'Are you from around here?'

Asking a location-based question will help you jump-start an engaging conversation with ease because "it doesn't feel like you are asking for a stiff elevator speech," Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, tells US News and World Report.

The conversation will allow both parties to talk about themselves, which is the ultimate goal when starting a conversation.

'Did you hear about ...?'

Be sure to scan the headlines the day of the party so you can ask for opinions about it, especially if it affects someone's line of work, writes Levo League's Meredith Lepore. This topic will get a discussion going, and it will show that you keep up with current events. That's a win-win, she says.

Of course, while misery may love company, there's nothing worse for a first impression than a negative attitude.

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of "Don't Burp in the Boardroom,"advises against controversial topics like politics or religion.

'Have you started watching ...?'

If it's the hottest new show on Netflix, odds are people have heard of it at the very least, and they may even be able to talk in detail with you about if they're also avid fans.

If they haven't watched yet, you could follow up by asking what shows they've been into lately. You'll probably stumble upon something you have in common at some point.

'Great shoes!'

If you genuinely like something someone is wearing, compliment them, Michelle Tillis Lederman, CEO of the professional-development firm Executive Essentials, tells US News and World Report.

Not only will they be flattered, but you can also ask a follow-up question about where they got the item, which could lead to a fun conversation. One caveat: Don't fake it, Lederman warns. People can easily sniff out disingenuousness.

'Man, this party's getting crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it's a little quieter?'

Find someone on the outskirts of the ongoing conversations and introduce yourself, says Coombs.

Since they are alone and possibly looking miserable, they are probably uncomfortable with the social situation, Coombs says. By initiating the interaction, you can help to put them at ease and get them into the flow of a conversation.

'What did you think of this ...?'

Conversations flow around common experiences, so Lederman says to bring up the one thing you know you both have in common: What's going on around you.

Asking about the party, the group discussion, or even the restaurants around the area will give you both a chance to contribute to the conversation.

'Would you have any insight or advice on ...?'

Letting people use their expertise to help you will make them feel good and be more open to connecting with you, Lederman tells CareerBliss.

You can ask about anything, from a work project to their opinion on which new car you should buy. Just be sure to genuinely listen and reflect on their advice, Lederman says. As the old saying goes we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

'What's your reality-TV guilty pleasure?'

Almost everyone watches at least one show that they're at least a little embarrassed about, ZinePak cofounder Brittany Hodak tells Inc., and she says that sharing those guilty pleasures with a stranger is fun.

"It's funny how quickly you can bond with someone who admits to sharing your secret obsession," Hodak says.

'What's your favorite part about what you do?'

If you still really want to find out what the person you're talking to does for a living, you could try spinning the question by asking what your conversation partner loves about their job or what's the most memorable thing that happened at their job.

This also has the added benefit of keeping the conversation positive, which will leave people with a more positive impression of you.

"Well, you guys are certainly having more fun than the last group I was talking to."

If all else fails, try something totally random that just might work, write the editors at The Daily Muse, like inserting yourself into an engaging conversation by commenting on how fun their group looks from the outside.

Natalie Walters contributed to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: 21 common networking mistakes to avoid at all costs

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10 sad, sad facts about your Thanksgiving turkey


Top image

Each Thanksgiving, we cut, tear, and rip apart roasted, glistening turkeys like it will be our last meal on Earth. And we love doing it.

For those of you eating turkey this Thanksgiving, there are some facts you should know, first. Facts about flying turkeys, frozen turkeys, and the sad secret of the lucky pardoned turkey that might not be so lucky.

SEE ALSO: The most Googled Thanksgiving recipe in every state

DON'T MISS: The turkey you're about to eat weighs twice as much as it did a few decades ago




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The average Thanksgiving dinner is around 2,500 calories


Whether it's mashed potatoes or turkey, there are certain classic Thanksgiving foods that Americans look forward to eating every year.

So we calculated how many calories you'll be consuming for dinner, whether it's dark meat, white meat, or green bean casserole. In total, if you eat everything on our plate below, you'll easily consume over 2,500 calories.

Keep reading to see the calorie counts of these classic Thanksgiving foods.

Thanksgiving Calories

SEE ALSO: 10 sad, sad facts about your Thanksgiving turkey

SEE ALSO: The most Googled Thanksgiving recipe in every state

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