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5 Ways To Become More Empathetic



Empathy is a word that’s thrown out a lot. It’s a word that specifically means to feel something with someone (i.e. put yourself in the other person’s shoes). While pitying someone else’s struggles is easier, understanding their pain is a skill that’s needed in all aspects of life.

According to Psychology Today, empathy is a vital trait for maintaining all sorts of relationships, ranging from friendships to marriages. It’s a trait that takes time, practice and personal growth in order to flourish.

Here are five things you can do in order to become a more empathetic person:

Think of it as a skill

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While there are people who are better at empathy than others, everyone has it in them and it’s never too late to develop it. Make it a conscious decision to try to understand other people and to listen to them without interrupting, even if they’re completely wrong.

Don’t focus on the positive stuff

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If someone is coming towards you with a personal experience that has hurt them, avoid looking for the silver lining. While it might make you feel better to be positive, this habit erases people’s feelings and invalidates their struggles. While listening to someone discuss an awful situation is hard and uncomfortable, it might just be what that person needs.

Have contact with people that are different than you

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If you surround yourself with like minded people you’ll have a hard time exercising your empathy. Go out of your way to have conversations with people who think and act differently than you. Commit yourself to listening to others and to trying to understand their position. It’s also important to know that understanding someone and having empathy for them doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them or condone their actions.

Don’t try to one up people

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Human beings are self-centered by nature but it’s important to rein in this impulse when you’re trying to be empathetic. If someone is telling you something sad that happened to them don’t pitch in with a darker story of your own. When people open up and are vulnerable, they’re expecting you to listen. There’s no need for you to become the protagonist of this conversation.

Be kind to yourself

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Forgive yourself when you can’t understand some people’s thoughts or when you’re unable to suffer through their losses. Mashable reports that people who punish themselves over feelings of guilt can diminish their desire for helping and listening to others in the long run. In order to sustain high levels of empathy, it’s important to ground yourself in your reality and to manage your emotions.

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What You Need To Know About Drug Tests




Roughly 1.47% of US job postings mention required pre-employment drug tests and only 0.66% mention regular drug testing.

The good news is only about 1.47% of US job postings mention required pre-employment drug tests and only 0.66% mention regular drug testing. Yet, a majority of large companies, airlines, and some state and the federal governments still require testing.  Here is what you need to know about drug tests.

A urine test is the prevalent form of pre-employment drug testing. Hair testing has a longer detection window for drug use spanning up to 90 days. Oral fluid testing is 100% observed, making it difficult for employees to cheat, dilute, or adulterate the test. This test can also be collected on-site, reducing costs and time.

The most common is a a urine drug test which looks for any traces of substance abuse. The procedure is quick and painless, as simply requires you to provide your urine as a sample for the test. Using this sample, your urine can be tested for alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, opioids (narcotics), PCP, and benzodiazepines.

However, it’s not all about that because there are also certain policies which protect the privacy of the tested person. Nevertheless, if you are required to take a drug test by a potential employer or for any other reason, it’s important you know what to expect from the procedure.

Types Of Urine Drug Tests

Today, there are two different types of urine drug tests. Immunoassay is the first test type which is a cost-effective drug test yielding quick results. There are, however, drawbacks to using this kind of urine test. The test sometimes gives out a false positive result, wherein the test brings a positive result for drugs even if the person is not taking any drugs. This is due to medicinal residue left in the system that can trigger drug tests in numerous ways. When this happens, you’ll have to retake the test.

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If the drug test comes out positive and you deny using any drugs, you’ll be required to take the second urine drug test type known as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The second test uses the same urine specimen as the first test. These tests are usually more expensive and could take longer to produce test results. On the plus side they rarely give out any false positives.

Taking The Urine Test

No matter what drug you’re testing for, the process in urine test is as the same as taking it through drug testing kits. Since these test kits may be used at home, you can take the test anywhere you’re comfortable or most convenient in, such as a doctor’s clinic, hospital, workplace, or even your own home.

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The following tests are to be followed:

  • You will receive a specimen cup from the person administering the test
  • You will have to leave behind your belongings in another room as you take the test. There are some instances wherein you may be required to change into a hospital gown so you can easily take the test.
  • To make sure that you don’t try to skew the test results, a nurse or a technician may accompany you into the bathroom.
  • Before starting, make sure to clean your genital area with the provided moist cloth.
  • Start urinating into the toilet, as you would normally do.
  • While you are urinating, make sure to catch sample into the cup midstream. Don’t let the cup touch your genital area.
  • When done, put a lid on the cup. Bring it to the technician so it can be processed.

Test Results

Once you have supplied your specimen sample, the technician or nurse will inform you of when your test results will be available. With the use of an Immunoassay test, you should be able to get your results right away. In the event that your test results to positive for illegal drugs you haven’t taken make sure you request for a GC/MS test right away.

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Tips To Help Stop Overreacting To Everything




Everyone overreacts at times. You get caught up in an immediate, instinctual emotional response, and do or say things which we later regret.   Every person is different, but if your freak outs are frequent, it might be time to do something about it. While it’s always a good idea to talk to an expert, there’s no need to feel crazy or unhealthy. Feeling and honoring your emotions is a good thing, just as long as you’re not impaired by them and you’re not hurting other people.

What matters most in freak outs and overreactions is understanding the catalyst; it’s perfectly reasonable to freak out if you unexpectedly get fired from your job and don’t have enough money to pay rent. Now, screaming and crying because of a jammed door? That’s overreacting.

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Here are five things you can do to avoid overreactions and manage your emotions during stressful times.

Understand what bugs you

We all have triggers, even if we don’t know what they are. Try to think about what bugs you, and moments when people have really annoyed you. Keep these mind, write them down, and try to think about your feelings in the particular moment. Were you hungry, sleepy or had had a stressful day? All of this contributes to overreactions. The next time one of your trigger pops up, you might still feel peeved, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with it in a healthier way.

Implement a 10 second rule

If you can, try to step away from the situation and take a breather. Count to 10 and think before you act. “By allowing yourself some time to reassess before reacting, you will increase the ability to prevent yourself from overreacting and doing something you’ll regret,” psychologist L.A. Barlow tells Bustle.

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Deep breaths are a cliche but they work

Before you do anything which might make you feel stressed out or emotional, take a deep breath and be mindful of your situation. Once you’re actually facing something stressful and triggering, take another deep breath. This will slow you down and oxygenate your brain, giving you a few seconds to think of something more thoughtful and positive than to walk away or start screaming.


Try to separate yourself from the issue and look at things through a more objective lens. “Find a way to be compassionate and avoid personalizing what happened to you,” explains Psychology Today.

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Talk it out

A lot of the times we overreact because we’ve been bottling up feelings for a long time, using the first chance we get to open the flood gates and take down everything in our paths. To prevent this try to address issues the minute they bother you, talking about them to a loved one who can provide some perspective or feedback. If you prefer a more private route, you can also write down your feelings in a journal or a piece of paper.

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Hacks To Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh




Christmas trees are a cherished symbol of the holiday season, and the displaying of the real deal instead of a plastic tree is on the rise in North America. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 over 1,800 farms produced trees for the $77 million dollar market, exporting the evergreens across the world.

The American Christmas Tree Association reports that in 2018 over 95 million homes displayed a tree, with 17.9% of households displaying a real tree. The industry advocacy group has a few pointers on how to keep your Christmas tree fresh and thriving throughout the holiday season. 

Water is crucial to keeping a tree green and fresh while displaying it in the home. The NCTA recommends fitting the tree in a traditional stand with a water reservoir that holds at least a quart of water for every inch in tree diameter.

Other tips include making a fresh, half inch cut perpendicular to the axis before setting it in the stand. A fancy V-cut is unnecessary, can make the tree unstable, and actually reduces the tree’s ability to absorb water. Keeping the outer layer of bark intact will also help the tree absorb and retain more water.

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Keeping the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters, HVAC vents, and direct sunlight is also a good idea, as is using low heat Christmas lights, and monitoring the water level in the stand, ensuring that the water does not go below the base of the tree.

Other safety tips include never leaving decorative lights turned on when away from home, always inspect light sets before using, do not overload electrical circuits, and promptly remove dry trees from the house.

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Lastly, never dispose of a Christmas tree by burning it in a fireplace. The small, dry needles can ignite and burn uncontrollably fast, and send sparks all over the house, quickly setting everything in the domicile on fire. The high sap content can burn hot and long enough to set chimney deposits aflame, starting a flue blaze that can spread rapidly. It’s also unnecessary, as many communities have recycling programs available to households.

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