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Why It Can Be Good to Talk to Strangers

Most of our childhood, we’ve been told to never talk to people we don’t know, and surely for good reason. But as we grow older, all the “security” from that sentence will slowly not matter anymore. As we grow older, talking to strangers is more of a pro than a con. Here’s why:

You will improve your confidence
First of all, most of us have a general fear of talking to others we barely know. Whether this is an effect of that “don’t talk to strangers” line we always hear from our parents or just a result of anxiety, we rarely talk to strangers without hesitating. Talking to stranger, though, can actually be good practice for learning to be more confident. Even just getting rid of your initial anxiety to talk to them is a start!

You’ll have better social skills
As a result of being more confident, you will also improve your social skills. When you start talking to strangers, you will learn which lines can make the conversation going and which ones make it awkward. So, you will learn what to say and what not to say even with people you already know. Whether the conversations go deep or you’re just doing small talk, you’ll be able to avoid those awkward silences.

You will learn new things
Considering that the stranger you approached is a good sport and begins to have a good conversation with you, rest assured you’ll have new things to learn. Everyone knows a little bit that you don’t. It can be hard to know if they’re saying the truth, but if it is, consider it a great blessing. They might give valuable advice that can take you places you would not have imagined going.

You might be able to help someone
This is what’s amazing about striking up a conversation. In Singapore and all around the world, depression is becoming more and more apparent. There are people who are desperate to tell others about their suffering. You might be able to talk to a stranger and he/she will eventually open up to you. You don’t have to give advice, you just have to listen. They might be thankful to you for that.

You make new friends
Ultimately, talking to strangers can help you make new friends. You might find that this person has the same interests or hobbies as you. Then, you’ll get to know his/her friends and vice versa. You’ll have different connections with people you previously never knew. Of course, you obviously won’t get a new friend all the time, but still, you get all of the benefits listed above!

Although this highlights the benefits of talking to strangers, always remember not to compromise your safety. Don’t go to dangerous and shady places just to talk to a stranger! Additionally, if the person doesn’t want to talk, just don’t push it, that will do more harm than good.

Best Agatha Christie Books to Inspire the Detectiv...

Although the crime rate in Singapore is really low, you may be itching to read about crime and detective fiction just to feed that imaginary detective in you. And, there are no better works to read than those of the queen of mystery herself, Agatha Christie.

For the Newbie: Who is Agatha Christie?
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie is an English writer famously known for her detective fiction novels, short stories and the world’s longest running play entitled “The Mouse Trap”. Next only to the Bible and Shakespeare, she is the bestselling novelist of all time having sold 2 billion copies of her works.

She wrote from the 1920s to the 1970s with works mainly on crime fiction. Most of her novels and short stories revolve around two fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Although Christie is not known for having diverse characters in every story, she is acknowledged for writing masterful plots and dialogues.

Some of her Best Books:

And Then There Were None
Ten people are invited to an island and are killed off one by one. The story and dialogue are masterfully written to induce panic, leaving you to feel just as confused as the characters in the story! Neither Poirot nor Miss Marple is in the story, but it is still one of Christie’s best-known works.

Murder on the Orient Express
Poirot is traveling back to London by train and, “by fate” gets involved in a murder mystery. The Orient Express, the luxury train Poirot has boarded, is stuck on the track due to heavy snow. Sure enough, a man has been murdered in the first-class car. This novel has a good twist in the end, although there may be some who might get it before it is explained.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
This is another novel that features Poirot and his skill in finding the right clues. You, as the reader, will speculate many characters as suspects, but the ending will leave you amazed and awe-struck. That is why you should read this one spoiler-free. This book has also been ranked by the British Crime Writer’s Association as one of the best.

A Murder is Announced
In most Miss Marple novels, she remains a secondary character, here she is the focus. This has quite the distinct set-up from most of Christie’s novels because there are so many people involved. Just like Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, Miss Marple becomes involved in this story by a stroke of luck.

Sleeping Murder
You could say that Sleeping Murder is fitting as Miss Marple’s last case. A chilling story of how she investigates, along with a couple, a murder that happens many years ago. What’s really interesting is that this revolves around a cold case, basically showing Miss Marple at her best.

4 Things You Can Do to Add More Breathing Room for...

Your HDB flat in Singapore may be a little too cozy for your taste, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take the right steps to make it just a little bit bigger – or make it look that way. Here’s what you can do to make your HDB unit’s cramped kitchen look more spacious:

1. Replace solid cabinet doors with glass ones
You need enough light to make up for the lack of space in your flat, so to make the illusion of space, your best option is to switch out your solid cabinet doors with ones that have glass panes.

Glass fronts allow for light to filter through, which in turn makes your cabinets appear lighter than they really are.

If you really want to allow for a more spacious appearance in your kitchen, ditch the cabinets entirely and go for floating shelves and mounted racks instead. These are the most streamlined and give you the easiest access to your kitchenware while still appearing spacious.

2. Use a single color scheme
Pale colors tend to reflect light and makes any space feel bigger, but even though you don’t like using white as your color scheme, what’s important is that you stick to one definite color scheme and apply it consistently throughout your whole kitchen.

This is because having multiple colors will only take up more space or compete for your attention, which can only make your space feel more cramped.

A few examples of colors that also work great on a small kitchen space include deep tones, such as chocolate, charcoal, and navy, which not only recede visually, but also make the walls appear much farther back, giving the illusion of room.

3. Choose smaller furniture
Space is a premium in a home that doesn’t have a lot of it, but when you choose your furniture pieces right, you make your cozy kitchen space feel as wide as possible.

Think of small-footprint-furniture pieces like slim chairs, streamlined stools, and narrow tables, and avoid getting furniture with thick bases or chunky legs, as these tend to add visual bulk.

4. Use clean lines for your design
If you have to make a design for your kitchen, keep its visual elements streamlined as much as possible. Having ornate cabinets and details in your kitchen pieces may work for large spaces, but not for a small kitchen space.
Your best option is to keep your different elements smooth and tailored, going for neat, simple lines that allow for a roomier feel by minimizing visual clutter.

Ideally, your kitchen should have a lot of vertical lines, and your kitchen’s design should allow the eye to move up and down.

4 Cooldown Rituals to Start Doing After a Long Run

As much as running can be an enjoyable way to stay in shape, you can tire yourself out and even cause potential injuries if you’re not careful – and to prevent that, you need to make sure that your body is able to recover from this kind of strenuous activity.

Start doing these cooldown rituals right now to cool down and catch your breath more quickly after a long run:

1. Stretch
A long run should be ended by a few minutes of easy walking to allow your body to cool down.

Doing a brief stretching exercise post-run will not only keep your muscles from cramping up after a long run, but it also helps you lower your temperature and catch your breath more quickly.

When stretching, pay attention to your whole body rather than just your legs as you’re using every muscle when you run, and you want to make sure that you didn’t leave anything out.

2. Rehydrate
Long-distance running can make the body lose a lot of water through sweat, so it’s important to stay hydrated.

It’s also not just enough to drink water after a long run – it’s important to refuel afterwards, which is why you need to be extra careful about what you eat in order to replace the glycogen stores in your muscles.

3. Take a shower
Taking a shower is not only a great way to relax and feel more refreshed after a long run, but it also gets keeps the dirt and dust from sticking too long to your skin.

However, be sure to take a shower only about thirty minutes after running to ensure that your body’s temperature stabilizes gradually, since not doing this can easily mess with your internal body heat and make you feel under the weather.

4. Make rest a priority
Don’t try to over-exert yourself – listen to your body! Prolonged strain can result in injuries that will leave you out of the action for longer than what you would expect.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not adding more days of exercise that are better, but having days of exercise that are planned and following through them consistently. By alternating between rest and exercise, you allow your body to recover steadily while increasing your endurance and metabolism.

Running can be exhausting as an intense physical activity, so make sure to keep these following steps in mind while gradually setting up new goals and achievements for continued improvement.

One last thing you need to keep in mind when committing to your running routine is to keep track of it. When you think you’ve made a significant amount of progress, celebrate your progress with friends or other fellow running enthusiasts over a meal or two.

Reasons Why You Should Learn to Meditate

A lot of people say that it’s hard for them to meditate. This is quite reasonable because of how fast-paced we live our lives now. Some say they rather continue working rather than waste time. But you actually do have time, you just don’t know how to make it. People should really consider incorporating meditation in their daily lives. It helps you slow down and refresh your mind from all the work. Just try meditation now, you might just grow to be the best version of yourself!

To relieve stress
Many people already consider meditation as a great way to relieve stress. This is all due to the relaxing and calming nature of meditation. It has also been observed that meditation balances the levels of cortisol in the body. Meditating for at least 10 minutes a day will allow you to relax and reduce your stress and anxiety.

Helps protect the heart
As mentioned earlier, meditation promotes relaxation. This, then, can cause our blood vessels to ease up hence improving blood circulation all over the body. Plus, the breathing exercises involved in meditation can improve your oxygen consumption. This also allows oxygenated blood to travel more efficiently to organs and other tissues. Of course, this good for our overall health, but it benefits our cardiovascular health all the more.

To help improve your focus
We all know that Singaporeans are among the hardest-working in the world. But surely there are times when we lose focus at work. One type of meditation called focused-attention meditation can boost focus and concentration. This works by simply focusing on an object or thought that comes through your mind. This can help with concentration because you are focusing on one thing while trying to not be distracted by your other thoughts. Improved focus also comes as a result of being calmer when you meditate making you more productive and more focused than ever.

To improve self-awareness.
Another type of meditation, called mindful meditation involves being aware of who you are, where you are, or even how your thoughts flow through your mind. It helps you develop a better understanding of yourself. You will have a better understanding of your thoughts and having done that you’ll be able to think more positively. You’ll be able to steer your thoughts away from negative and harmful thoughts no matter what situation you are in.

It also helps boost creativity.
Meditation also helps you pay attention to certain details that you otherwise would not be able to notice. The ability to do this can greatly enhance creativity because you will be able to use your mind clearly in different situations. This also means that your senses can be more acute, which can help improve your overall creativity.

Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism or having a fear of failure can have negative effects on your life without you even noticing it. Some would like to think that perfectionism is a key part of their success and it is true to some extent. Even so, it also comes with a cost. You may sacrifice your happiness, relationships, self-confidence, and a lot more. Here, then, are some ways for you to overcome perfectionism before it takes over your life.

Know the difference between good and bad perfectionism
First and foremost, you’ll have to recognize the difference between healthy perfectionism and toxic perfectionism. Perfectionism has been seen in quite a bad light and for many reasons, but there’s actually still a good side to it. The bad side of perfectionism revolves around setting your standards too high that even you find it almost impossible to achieve. Healthy perfectionism, on the other hand, is to insist on giving it your all without having impossibly high standards.

Remember that everybody makes mistakes
One illusion that perfectionism pushes on a person is that people really should not make mistakes. “He never does this the right way so I won’t give him this task.” Perfectionism forces you to think that you ought to do everything yourself because you can’t rely on anybody making mistakes. But that’s the thing really, you yourself make a lot of mistakes and sometimes don’t recognize it. Once you remember this, you’ll be a step closer to freeing yourself from perfectionism.

Forgive yourself
Forgiveness is just about the best thing you can do, not just for others but definitely for yourself also. Negative self-talk comes often, especially when things don’t go according to your plans. This can affect your self-esteem and increase your stress and anxiety. When you learn to forgive yourself, it’s already a big step towards eliminating perfectionism in your life.

Get out there
Go cycling around Singapore or take a hike at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Having a date with nature or getting some exercise can help you relax and can even give you a boost in creativity. Both activities, even if you don’t immediately notice, can actually improve your energy and overall well-being. Plus, surrounding yourself with nature for a change will surely take your mind off worries and help you destress even just for a while.

Try something new
There are always new things to try all around Singapore. Go to an escape room, try martial arts, explore a museum, and so much more. Trying something new makes you more confident in facing the fear of making mistakes. This also helps you realize that there are many things you still don’t know. Learning something new helps you see that you’re far from perfect. You will, therefore have an easier time accepting mistakes in the future.

Different Healthy Alternatives to Your Favorite Ju...

It’s easy to get sucked into junk foods. You can get them anywhere, they’re cheap, they’re delicious, and the sugar can give you the boost of energy you need to coast through a rough day. But they’re called that way for a reason.
They’re high in sodium (which can raise your blood pressure), way more sugar and carbohydrates than what you need every day, and are an abundant source of bad cholesterol (which can put you at a higher risk of heart disease).

It can also be hard to make the switch to healthier whole foods, especially if vegetables make you feel like you’re eating leaves compared to junk food.

But there is good news – there are healthier alternatives to the unhealthy foods you’re used to eating:
• Chips – Instead of your go-to potato crisps that are high in sodium and vegetable oils (which, surprisingly, can be quite uhealthy), try swapping out the potatoes for sweet potato wedges or fried kale chips.

Potato Fries – Potato is a versatile food ingredient, which means it can be cooked in many different ways. Instead of frying potatoes, baking them is a healthier alternative that results in fries that are just as yummy – but without the unhealthy fats that come with frying.

• Cake – Try banana cake instead! While most cakes aren’t really all that healthy, whole wheat banana bread has a lot of fiber and contains important nutrients such as potassium and zinc.
Banana cake is also made with bananas, and is just as delicious while still being a healthy option.

• Ice Cream – There’s nothing quite like this special treat that’s essentially frozen fat and sugar churned a certain way, but frozen yogurt (packed with probiotics that help your digestive system) paired with fresh fruits also works as a sweet, healthier option for beating the summer heat.

• Candy – Swapping out the refined sugar with fresh fruit doesn’t have to feel like a downgrade when you there’s kinds of fruits to choose from. You can even bring them together, add cream, and chill for a few minutes to make a fruit salad.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to feel at all like a culinary downgrade once you know there are a lot of ways you can prepare and season them to your liking. And since the same can be said for fruits (you can preserve them, make them into fruit shakes, etc.), it’s really all about finding the right foods that work for you.

So the next time you get your cravings for some of your favorite foods, keep these healthy alternatives in mind and indulge yourself guilt-free

5 Tips to Appreciate Wine Better (and look like a ...

The best way to sound like a wine expert and impress people (even though you’re new to the wonderful world of wines) is to start working on your finesse.

There are a few simple tips and tricks you can learn to start looking like a pro at dinner parties and other kinds of fancy social gatherings before you know it.

Here’s how you can get started:

1. Know where wine comes from
Most wine is made from grapes, but unlike the ones you usually see in the fruits section of the supermarket, wine grapes much smaller, have seeds, and are mostly darker in color.

Aside from the grape variety, there are also other factors that could determine the type of wine in your glass, such as climate, rainfall, and even soil texture.

“Old world” wines, those from France, Italy, and Spain, tend to focus on environmental factors, while “New World” wines from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States tend to focus more on the grape variety.

2. Think ANP: appearance, nose, palate
If there’s one thing you absolutely need to know, it’s these three that serves as the basic steps you need to savor a glass. Once you’ve poured your wine, place it against a clean, white surface to get a better idea on its color and appearance.

To get a better grasp on the wine’s aroma, give it a good swirl before sniffing, and start with a small sip to take the time to determine its flavor profile. Naturally, the taste will match the smell.

3. Don’t force yourself to speak the language
Even though knowing a little bit about the basics helps a lot, there’s no need to know all the notes and terminology. When you’re just a beginner, as long as wine smells like wine, you can start there.

It’s usually best to start with simpler terms, such as “fruity” or “spicy” when it comes to the taste, or “rich” and “light” when it comes to texture.

4. Right food, right wine
Wine preferences can be subjective since people have different tastes, but it’s still important to know the basic pairings, since having the right wine to go along with your meal can enhance your dining experience greatly.

This simple rule of thumb goes as follows: white wine goes best with light meats, like fish and chicken, while red wine goes best with red meats, such as pork and beef.

5. Check in on your friends’ preferences
And because wine tastes are subjective, it’s all the more important that you check in on what your friends prefer if you do decide to host a wine tasting or offer them any.

The best way you can go about doing this is by paying attention to their preferences the first time, but if you didn’t, you can always make an estimate based on the occasion.