Category: Interesting Stuff

How Exercising Boosts Our Mood

Ride a bike for excercise

Being stuck at home for weeks in a time when everything feels uncertain and out of control can be mood-dipping experience. We all want to feel safe and hopeful for tomorrow, Fortunately, there are practical things we can all do to maintain a positive attitude.

Anxiety doesn’t have to be your friend, just as you don’t have to let loneliness move in to be your roommate or neighbor. With a focus on mood-boosting activities we will be able to keep our sanity through long periods of time at home.

Psychologists say that it may be possible to beat depression, anxiety, and loneliness through physical exercise. According to a study that was published by JAMA Psychiatry in January 2020, regular physical activity can independently alleviate depression disorder and boost a person’s overall mood.

For students in school, there is the added benefits that exercise brings to the brain.  More oxygen, more blood flow, and the simple fact that a break from braining draining studies is healthy to avoid burnout.

But how exactly does exercising boost our mood, especially while home-isolated? Here is how:

1.  It is a Good Excuse to get Natural Light Exposure

Increased exposure to natural light will boost your energy and mood levels, and consequently, improve your sleep and overall quality of life. That is why people who stay indoors for too long suffer irritability, distraction, and depression. Unfortunately, we aren’t getting enough natural light these day, especially for those living in harsh winter climates.

Outdoor exercising is one of the few valid reasons for anyone to get out these days. So, if you have space on your balcony, backyard, or if you live in a scarcely-populated neighborhood, go out there and run. Do all forms of cardio and get your heart racing. If you can’t go to far from home, ride a bicycle around your garden for an hour daily. It is a great way not just to burn fat and lose weight but to boost your spirits as well.

Riding a bike is something then entire family can enjoy, even kids who are just learning.

2.  Helps You Beat Insomnia

Being stuck indoors means that everyone is now getting the time to sleep during the day. The disadvantage of that: Severe insomnia for people who struggle to catch sleep at night. One of the effects of insufficient sleep at night is lowered spirits during the day. The good thing is that studies point to the possibilities of regular exercise being a remedy for severe insomnia. Here are 2 arguments in support of this claim:

  • Intense physical activity has undisputed body-heating effects. When you increase your body temperature by exercising a few hours to bedtime, your body reacts by lowering its temperature back to normal. That post-exercise temperature dip may make you fall asleep faster.
  • Most people with severe insomnia suffer from anxiety and depression. Exercising is a proven way of alleviating these symptoms so you sleep better.

3.  It makes you drink more water

Research has shown that people who drink at least 8 glasses of water per day are calmer, more content, and have way lesser physical and mental fatigue compared to people who intake less than 6 glasses per day. That is reliable evidence that drinking more water might result in a better mood.

But then, drinking water regularly might seem like extra work for people who aren’t keen on their hydration needs. That is where physical exercise comes in. When you work out, you will always feel the urge to drink more water and, knowingly or not, you will fundamentally be boosting your mood.

4.  Helps you cultivate healthy relationships

Many couples are fighting all the time because for the first time since they have known each other, they are now spending 24 hours together, up from 3-5 hours tops on normal days. When you fight, your mood deteriorates. When you work out together as a couple or as a family, your mood improves.

5.  It is a good way of alleviating emotional exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion results from prolonged stress. Most people are feeling emotionally worn-out and drained due to the uncertainties shared by people worldwide. People are feeling trapped; it seems like no one is in control of their lives or careers anymore.

Increased physical activity raises endorphins and serotonin levels in your body, which in turn can boost your emotional state. It helps take your mind off the news and the constant feeling of hopelessness.

Conclusion

Physical inactivity during this time can have detrimental impacts on both your mental and physical health. Make a point of exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, especially given that there are plenty of at-home workout ideas online. What’s more, even after the quarantine season is over, you will have developed a healthy fitness routine for the rest of your life.

Encouraging Your Kids Through Seasonal Affective Disorder

Anger Management for Kids (When You Get Mad!)

Anger Management for Kids

Whether you are on the school playground or spending time with friends in your neighborhood on the weekend, not everything always goes as planned. You could skin your knees, bump your head going up the monkey bars and get splashed in the pool. Accidents happen. People get mad.

In that finger-snap moment, many say or do things that hurt friendships, feelings and even get them into trouble.  That doesn’t have to happen to you. You just need a few tools.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling mad. Everyone feels mad from time to time. The problem is when the anger makes you do things that hurt you or other people. That’s why the most important thing to think when you get mad is this: TAKE CONTROL.

TAKE CONTROL. You are stronger than you think. You have the power to get control of your anger. Here are some ways:

  • When you open your mouth to yell at someone who hit you or splashed you, take a breath. Hold that breath. Let it out slowly. Take another breath. Those few seconds will save you from saying something mean or making someone else mad.
  • Make fists and throw them away. That is, curl your hands into fists then quickly fling your hands open. Do that over and over until you feel your burning anger fade.
  • Walk away. Walk to the side. Pace back and forth. This is a good way to help when you stub your toe or hurt your arm. It helps ease the pain while you let the anger out.
  • Close your eyes and grit your teeth. Then let yourself relax. This helps you calm down and think.

These actions may seem easy, but they are not. You may need to practice them with friends or your parents. But they are important because they give you control. Once you have control, you can think about what made you mad. When you can think with a calm head, you can take care of what the problem is.

Did you bump your head? Then call an adult to make sure that you are not badly hurt.

Did another kid yell a mean comment to you? When you have control you can walk away or just roll your eyes or go tell your parents. If the comment was truly hurtful, you can talk about it with friends or family or a special adult—yelling back makes you just as hurtful as the person who hurt you.

Many adults go through life struggling with their anger. They get in trouble. This can often be made worse when they express their anger on social media. Some people go to jail. Many never learn to be the boss of their anger. They pay a big price for that. You are better than that—or you can be—when you learn what to do when you get mad.

When You Are Get Upset with Friends

Jill knows that Ringo — her fluffy spotted puppy — can understand her. Whenever she’s on her phone, Ringo sits politely at her feet and stares at her with round, brown eyes. Today, Jill read her social media posts to him. “Look,” she said, “Zazza is mad at Sam because he got into the school band and she didn’t”.

Jill continued. “Zazza said Sam got in because he gave the teacher a flower before auditions. They’re both my friends and I don’t know what to say.”

Ringo cocked his head and sniffed at the phone.

Jill sighed. “I know what you mean, Ringo. They’re both my friends. If I post something that makes Zazza feel good, it will make Sam mad. If I post something that makes Sam happy, Zazza will be upset. What should I do?”

Ringo flattened on the floor and covered his ears with his fuzzy white paws.

Jill crossed her arms.  “You really think I should just stay out of it?”

Ringo sat up and panted.

“You’re right. Zazza is hurt right now, but she does so much, she’ll forget about it in a few days. Maybe I should wait ‘til I see her in person and tell her I’m sorry she didn’t get on the band.”

Ringo’s tail started sweeping the floor.

“You like that idea? That way, Zazza will l know I care and I won’t make Sam mad. After all, he’s my friend, too.”

Ringo let his long tongue flop out of the side of his mouth. Then he gave a deep, strong, “Woof.”

Jill nodded. “You’re smart. If I post something online, it will look like I’m taking sides between two people I like. If I talk to them in person, I’ll be a real friend instead of just someone who on comments online.”

Ringo panted happily. He liked people when they talked to each other in person. Being a dog, he knew that real friends share real time in the real world.

Online friends can’t throw sticks for you. They can’t sneak you a pizza crust when parents aren’t looking. Online friends can’t scratch your ears or take you for a walk. They can’t hug you or fill your water bowl. That’s why Ringo knows that what happens online is only part of being a friend. Being a real friend means being supportive in the real world and being kind in the real world.

Jill got off social media and phoned Sam. She congratulated him for getting on the band. Then she called Zazza and invited her over for pizza night.

That’s when Jill’s phone beeped. She looked at the message. “This is your Mom. Didn’t you forget something else in the real world?”

Jill smiled and tossed down her phone. “Hey, Mom,” she yelled into the kitchen. “Is it okay if Zazza comes over for pizza?”

How to Argue without Being Mean

What is he thinking? What’s wrong with her? How could they say those things? You want to talk back and let those friends know that you are right and they are wrong wrong wrong! How do you do that? You argue back—with Arguing Skill.  But you do it without being mean or spiteful.

  • NEVER ARGUE WHEN YOU ARE MAD OR SAD.

This is a hard one. When you feel like arguing about something, it is because the conflict makes you feel mad or sad.  But when you are mad or sad, you lose control. You just weep or stomp around. You won’t win an argument, and you might make people think you are silly. Also, when you are mad or sad, you are likely to call people names, which is a bad way to argue.

  • REALLY LISTEN AND HAVE RESPECT.

Part of being a ninja arguer is really hearing what the other person is saying. When you really understand what the other person thinks, you will be better at making that person understand you. if you really want someone to listen to you, you must listen to him or her.

  • BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY.

“Just ‘cause” is not a reason. You need to be able to say clearly and nicely what your goal is and give reasons why your opinion should win.

  • BE OPEN TO COMPROMISE.

COMPROMISE is when two people each give in a little to make a deal work. By compromising, both of you win.

Now, let’s see how these four points work in real life. Let’s start in the playground.

You’ve been playing basketball with your friends. After about an hour, Sandy grabs the ball and won’t give it back. She wants to go home and play video games. You want to keep playing, as do the other friends. You want to call her mean for taking the ball.

Instead, think. At that moment you don’t want to be nice.  Put your hands on your hips and take a few steps, counting to ten. This gives you time to cool off (point 1).

Now, go back to Sandy and ask her why she wants to play video games rather than basketball (point 2).

Sandy says, “We’ve been playing all afternoon. It’s getting boring.” Being smart, you also listen with your eyes. You see that she’s sweaty and tired. Maybe she doesn’t want to sound weak.

As her friend, you respect what she says. But there are still five of you that want to keep playing (point 3).“We’d like to keep playing,” you say. Then you reach point 4.

Compromise. So you say, “How about we use your ball and play a bit longer. I’ll drop it off at your house when it’s done.” Sandy could reply: “Mom told me not to lend the ball out.” What do you do? Here’s an idea: “How about we play for another fifteen minutes then we can all go play video games?”

Each argument is different, because the people arguing are different. The goal is to come to an agreement. The better you can argue, the better you can get along.

Saying No Doesn’t Mean You Are Angry

For to many people, being kind means smiling all the time, being quiet and polite. You may think saying no to friends is a sign of aggression, just like when you get angry.   Yet, anger management doesn’t mean you are never angry.  Nor doesn’t mean showing anger is bad.  It’s about controlling your angry so you don’t hurt yourself or others.

Likewise, saying no is sometimes necessary to maintain safe boundaries.  Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.  You don’t always have to be sweet and agreeable.   Many times, to be a “better person” you need to say: NO.

Life can be so easy if you always say yes. Yes, you’ll skip out of gym class. Yes, you’ll try to hit passing cars with rocks. Yes, you’ll see if you can take that flash drive without paying for it. By saying yes, you go with the flow. You follow the lead of someone else. You know what you are doing is wrong, but when a group of friends is staring at you, waiting for your answer, being “good” can be hard.

Saying NO can sound mean. Saying NO can make your friends angry. They might not even want to be friends anymore. That can make YOU angry or sad. Being a good person sometimes means standing up for what is right, even when everyone else seems against you. Being good means saying NO.

Saying no can be hard. As your friends are looking at you, saying no can be the hardest thing you will ever do. The problem is that saying yes can be even harder—but not at the time. After all, when you say yes, everyone laughs, nods and slaps you on the back.

But by saying yes to your friends, you could put yourself in danger. You could end up in trouble with your parents, your school or even the police. Saying yes to a cigarette or pot joint might not seem like a big deal, but yes could lead to an addiction that takes years to beat and costs thousands of dollars. Saying yes can hurt your health and cost you years of life.

Saying no can sting. It can make people yell at you. It can make you seem like a chicken when in fact saying no can take all the strength in your bones. People talk about being better people—and saying NO can feel like the wrong way to do it. That’s a mistake.

Saying NO tells the world that you are you are able to think for yourself. It tells the world that you are working hard to be a good person, even when being a good person can hurt.

Talk to your parents about saying NO. Talk to your friends about how hard it can be to stand up to bullies by saying NO. By learning early on when to say that little word, you are on your way to being a better person.

Around the World Online With Kids

The world is a big and exciting place, filled with adventure and ideas. The world is also more and more online. Even though you explore Earth with your fingertips, the reality of kids in other lands and their online experiences may surprise you.

CHINA

The largest country on Earth has the most people online. 800 million people in China use the Internet, but that makes sense because it has the most people living there. The Chinese also see a different online world than other people, because the government controls Internet searches and there are some websites that the Chinese government keeps from coming up when people do a Google search. This is a problem that companies still fight about.

Kids in China mostly use QQ or WeChat to connect with their friends. Unlike kids in the US, Canada or most countries in Europe, kids tend to use the internet for school or to chat with small groups of friends. Kids in China also know that too much Internet can hurt their school marks and keep them from being who they want to be when they grow up.

NIGERIA

People in this West African country are quickly becoming huge Internet users. The biggest problem is that electricity isn’t always available. The power can go out a dozen times a day. Children lucky enough to have Internet service tend to concentrate on education, because for many, becoming educated will help them escape poverty. Unfortunately, many who are educated grow up to use the Internet for crime. Pretty much everyone online has come across a Nigerian scam. Hopefully, as more children get a good education, fewer will turn to scamming.

INDIA

If you are between the ages of 8 and 13 and live in India, you are probably using Snapchat to connect with your friends. Parents of those kids don’t like Snapchat because they can’t see what their children are sharing. Most parents think that they know what their kids do online, but about half of those kids disagree—those are kids who spend time online with activities their parents don’t know about.

To help protect kids, India has passed laws that make going online illegal for children under the age of 18. That has not stopped kids from signing up for Facebook and Google accounts. India is working hard as a country to better watch their children as they enter the online world.

JAPAN

Japan has kids that spend so much time online, they are suffering from physical and mental problems. Many can’t sleep or concentrate, have problems eating and are becoming physically unfit, to name only a few of the symptoms. Doctor’s call this either Internet Use Disorder or Problematic Internet Use. Boys are more likely to have problems due to playing games online. Girls are more likely to have problems with messaging and social platforms.

Parents, doctors and school officials are looking for ways to help bring children back to the real world. Many Japanese parents are turning to camps where kids are put on an Internet “fast.” Instead of going online, children go outside and play, talk with each other and even go into counseling.

YOU

You are very lucky. You are reading this, so, obviously, you have a computer or a smart phone. You also have an internet connection. You can learn about our planet and can read different points of view. That isn’t the case for all kids in the world.

Remember, life is much bigger than your social platform and friends. We can all learn from each other to better explore the Internet while living fun, happy lives in the real world.

The Best Place in the World to Live

The world is filled with many strange and interesting things.  One of those things is the weather.  People are always grumbling about it. Many think that life would be so much better to live if only they moved to a better place. The fact is, every place is both the best place to live and the worst place to be, depending on the time of year. Let’s take a little trip. Grab your globe or a map of the world and buckle up.

Many people in northern climates dream of living on the equator. After all, they say, life would be so much better without cold and snow. Rainy season in Mexico can last from May to November. That’s seven months where outdoor activity is sloppy and wet. When the rain stops, the world blooms in green and flowers that would shame a rainbow. The lush growth makes places like this a wonderful place to live—after rain season, that is.

All up and down the southern Atlantic coast (check your map) is where you find hurricanes. They are the wicked monsters of weather, blowing cars and homes and even chunks of bridges up in the air. Millions of people have to live with damage caused by hurricanes each year. Most of the damage is in places known for hot, pleasant weather, like Florida, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Central America and the east coast of Africa.

Maybe you’ve longed to live in someplace known for easy, comfortable climate, like, say, California or Switzerland. Okay. But be warned that these are places known for mudslides. Mudslides occur when large amounts of water flow down steep slopes. The mud can be so thick, it can wash away whole towns.

Mudslides and landslides happen all over the world, from Nepal to Peru to Southeast Asia and back to Venezuela. There are gorgeous mountains and lush vegetation—but a good rain can send a mountain sliding down.

Some of the most sunniest places in North America are in winter climates. The temperature is cold and well below freezing, but seeing the bright sun every day can be uplifting. People who live along the Pacific coast enjoy warmer winters, but during the winter the it’s mostly cloudy. In certain areas it can rain continuously for 3 or 4 months straight. In those cases, the sky can be very dark on a daily basis.

Many hot countries are too hot to go out and play during the middle of the day. Lovely island countries like Japan can face tsunamis, which are huge, powerful waves. The wide prairies have to deal with tornadoes. No matter where you live in the world, the weather can be wonderful or it can unpleasant.

The planet is a dynamic place with changing seasons and weather conditions. Luckily, human beings are smart. We are adaptable. We can live happily almost anywhere. The trick is to understand that no place is perfect and every place has its magic and beauty.

True, there may be reasons why your parents decide to move your family because of a job or finding a neighborhood with a good school for you. But wherever you are, when bad weather comes, you have the power to get through it. You don’t have to move to enjoy the world. Just listen to your parents and put on that scarf!

5 Little Things That Make the World Better

Every morning you wake up to a new day. You have a fresh day to have fun, get into trouble, be lazy, eat something tasty—and make the world better. Here are 5 LITTLE THINGS that take only seconds, and you can do them! When you do one every day, you make the world a better place.

1. Pick up a piece of garbage.

That’s all. You see a gum wrapper in a parking lot—pick it up and put it in the trash bin. It may seem small, but this one little act makes your world a little better every time you do it! And if you pick up a piece of garbage every day of your life, imagine the pile. That is the difference you can make.

2. Give someone a compliment.

“Hey, good job on that paint job.” “I like how you got that program to work.” “Cool moves!” No matter who you hang with, no matter what you are doing, you will have a chance to say something positive to someone in your life. That kind act can make a huge difference to the person you compliment. That person will feel better and think better about the world—and you. And it’s so easy. Practice on your parents.

3. Learn one thing every day.

We’re not talking about the learning you do at school or that stuff your parents keep reminding you about. You have eyes and ears and a brain that takes in the world. Ask yourself one thing about what you see or hear and find the answer.  There is a lot you can learn online, just Google it!

You only need to do this once a day to get into the habit of thinking. You could be riding your bike and think: When did humans first discover the wheel? You could see a weird looking bird and wonder what kind of bird it is. Why do you have those two sharper teeth on the sides of your mouth?

Learn about interesting days in history.   By asking questions and looking for answers, you will make the world a better place, because the world needs more people who think and look for knowledge.

4. Say thank you.

Like giving people compliments, when you thank someone, you are connecting with that person. The more people connect—even when it’s just thanking a clerk who hands you a napkin—the world become a little better.

5. Smile! 🙂

The Story of Wally and Wuzzy

Social media can be fun, but can feel strangely cold. Time spent in the real world with friends can make you stronger and happier. See how a furry friend made a difference in a boy’s life even after the puppy was gone.

Wally was tiny,
born quiet and calm.
People made him feel funny,
Made him run to his mom.

Strange kids made him cry
And new places were scary
And any adventures
Made poor wee Willy wary.

His mom and dad wanted to find him a friend,
A buddy to help him grow up.
They went to the pound, took a good look around—
and brought Wally a fuzzy, cute pup.

He called the pup Wuzzy and loved him a lot.
With Wuzzy, wee Wally felt strong.
Other kids came a running,
They asked Wally questions,
And Wally could hang all day long.

Wally and Wuzzy grew up as a team.
Wuzzy helped Wally make pals.
After years little Wally got older and cooler,
He made good friends with guys and—GASP—gals!

But his best bud of all was his fuzzy old friend
Who stood by his side those hard years.
But Wuzzy got older and soon life made him tired.
Wuzzy had spent his dog years.

And one hard, dark day, the vet checked Wuzzy’s heart,
And said Wuzzy’s last day had arrived.
With tears and with anger, with a huge aching soul,
Wally kissed his dear friend good-bye.

For the first time in years Wally’s felt all alone.
He tapped out his grief in a post.
“My best friend is gone and has left me so empty,
I feel like a sad, living ghost.”

Replies started coming.
Some typed “Buck up, pal.”
Others said, “Chill.”
Others just wrote, “Feel so bad.”
But the words were just letters
Typed out on a screen.
And they left teenage Wally still sad.

The postings, he thought, were meant to be kind,
But something about them felt cold.
His missed his warm Wuzzy, his muzzle and tongue
And how his dear friend had made him bold.

He logged off his computer and braved the outdoors.
He went to where Wuzzy had played.
A friend ran to him, heard his sad story
And shared his dog—Flip–for the day.

Wally liked his computer and going on-line,
But knew that when life felt this low,
Postings and likes were okay for a while,
But really didn’t ease his deep woe.

Going out to the park, watching other dogs play
Seeing people who loved Wuzzy, too,
Made Wally feel like he belonged in the world.
Their memories, pictures and stories so true
Filled Wally with strength and made him feel bold.
The real world that he shared with his pal
Touched him from his bones to his heart.
Time spent together remembered and shared
Meant that the two would never be apart.

Life on-line was fun, that was true,
But dog breath and tongue licks and
Catching thrown balls
Were better than posting and likes for his wall.

Wuzzy was never on-line in his life.
He never once posted or hit the button to “like.”

But Wally will spend the rest of his days
Remembering the buddy who made him feel brave.

Wally and Wuzzy
By T.S. Paulgaard

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, secure browsing, apps for parental controls, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.

Search public records to find people, connect with long lost friends, family, or conduct background checks to learn about strangers or acquaintances that have contact with your children on the people search engine.