Money en-us catherined at cosmopolitan dot co dot za Copyright 2009 20 Mantras That Will Help You Get More From Yourself
Sometimes the person you most need to hear praise from is YOU! Tell yourself these powerful messages every morning – you’ll be the most confident girl in the room in no time.

1. I am loved by all the people I love.

2. I am beautiful and smart, and that’s how everyone sees me.

3. I am kind and people like me for it.

4. I am surrounded by amazing people, and I’m so lucky to have them in my life.

Related: Shortcuts to a Happy Life

5. I have the power to make whatever I want happen for me.

6. I trust myself and my decisions – I know what’s best for me.

7. I am changing somebody’s life for the better, even if I don’t know it.

8. I forgive myself for my past mistakes, and I’m ready for the ones I’ll make in the future.

9. I refuse to give up on anything because I haven’t tried all possible ways to fix my problems.

10. Today will go by whether I participate in it or not, so I choose to participate.

11. My fears are melting away because I’m the bravest person I know.

Related: Learn to Love Yourself More

12. I trust in myself to provide enough for myself in the future.

13. I am really happy in my own skin and circumstances – my life is kinda fabulous!

14. I love who I am – I know I’m a good person.

15. I am talented, and I use my talents wisely.

16. I possess all the qualities needed to be extremely successful, so I will be successful.

17. My potential to succeed is infinite.

18. My obstacles are moving out of my way because they know nothing can keep me down.

19. I’m strong enough to handle anything life throws at me with a smile.

20. I’m my greatest company, because I’m one awesome woman.

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Ways to Help a Friend in Trouble One or more of these situations is likely to crop up in your friendships. Here’s how you can help a friend when they need your support more than ever. 

Related: The Power of Female Friendships

1. Your Friend Goes Through a Tragedy

Your once-perky bestie has become a shell of her old self. You can’t bear to see her so sad. Your friend probably feels isolated and alone in her grief, but she’ll need you to lean on during her grieving process. The best thing that you can do for her is be there – there’s no ‘right’ thing to say or do, except to comfort her and let her know that you’re there for her whenever she needs you. Give your friend time to be sad – she’ll get back to her bubbly self eventually, and she’ll appreciate your friendship more than ever.

2. You Suspect Your Friend Has an Eating Disorder

It started as a zealous diet, but now you’re pretty sure your friend’s eating plan is verging on dangerous. You can’t just sit by and watch your friend damage her health. Eating disorders are barely ever about weight – usually somebody with an eating disorder is battling deeper emotional or stress-related issues. Let your friend know what a fabulous human being she is, and tell her you’re worried about her. Don’t try to give a simple solution – offer support and encourage treatment.

3. Your Friend is in an Abusive Relationship but Won’t Acknowledge It

Abuse isn’t always physical – perhaps your friend’s new boyfriend talks down to her, calls her names or openly flirts with other girls in front of her. She has convinced herself that she deserves to be treated this way, but you know better. Never tell your friend to ‘just leave’ – nothing could be more unhelpful. Abusers tend to cut their partners off from loved ones, so keep reminding your friend that she is not alone. Tell her that you’re available at any time to help her out of the relationship.

4. Your Friend is Suffering from Depression

Depression is a frighteningly isolating disorder that can destroy relationships – don’t let it destroy your friendship. It will be difficult for you. You might feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your friend, or like she’s ignoring your advice. Even if you don’t understand her pain, don’t minimise it. Try not to offer advice, because this can push a depressed person further away. Educate yourself about depression, and above all be patient – letting her know that you’ll be by her side no matter how long it takes will ease the guilt she is might be feeling about neglecting her friendships and help her feel safe.

Related: Spot the Signs of Depression

5. Your Friend is Struggling to Cope

Stress can eat you alive and spit you out, and a friend who’s struggling to cope with the demands of a busy life can seem like a totally different person. Remind your friend that she is totally capable of dealing with everything in her life, and that all she can do is take things one step at a time. Force your friend into having a good time with you. Take her out for a drink; remind her how much fun it is to let her hair down. Laughter is one of the ultimate relievers of stress, so just be the best friend she needs you to be.

Read more about friendship
Read more about eating disorders
Read more about depression

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
De-Stress Sex (or, Chill The Eff Out – Literally!) 'Take a few deep breaths,' they say; 'meditate'; 'invest in a stress-relief ball'; 'visualise yourself on a deserted beach'. What they don't say is, 'Get down and dirty, pronto!' And they should, because a sex session isn't just far more appealing – it's also far more effective.

During sex your body produces dopamine, a substance that fights stress hormones, endorphins, aka 'happiness hormones' and oxytocin, a desire-enhancing hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. You don't even have to do the full deed for these benefits: any sexual activity does the trick.

Kiss Stress Good-bye
A Northwestern University study found that couples who kissed only while having sex were eight times more likely to report feeling chronically stressed than those who kissed outside the bedroom. Snogging is stress-busting, so pucker up more and let the good vibes wash over you!

Short-term Serenity
Orgasm brings immediate stress-relief: it's an instant calming tool that affects your body (muscles relax) and mind (all those endorphins are work like a charm: suddenly, that presentation or deadline seems manageable).

Long-term Stress-Relief
That yoga class may take the edge off your day, but a full-on romp helps the body cope with stress for up to a week, according to a study by Paisley University psychologist Professor Stuart Brody. After full intercourse, your blood pressure rises by only half the amount of people who have other kinds of sex or none at all, and it also returns to normal more quickly … for seven days.

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
9 Things People Need to Stop Competing At Okay, your boss is more annoying than mine. But I’m waaaay fatter. Can we call it even?

How tired you all are.
Every adult on the planet would trade their left baby finger for a nap right now.

How much you all drank last night.
We were all irresponsible. We’re all hungover. Now stop talking and pass me the crème soda.

How broke you all are at the end of the month.
I am too, but I suck that shit up and swipe my credit card.

How long it’s been since you ate carbs/red meat/fast food.
Yes yes, your will power is a marvel of science and nature.

How poor you are (when you aren’t really poor).

Oh I’m so sorry that your BMW payments are more than my Kia payments and that you simply can’t live without your organic cranberry extract powder.

How ‘fat’ you all are.

Firstly, you aren’t. Secondly, stop fat shaming.

How annoying your significant other is.

You really DON’T want me to give my honest opinion on your husband’s flaws…

How busy you all are.

Your job is so crazy and important AND you fit in spinning, yoga, freelance work and cook carb-free meals from scratch. My job is just as crazy and I manage to fit in at least half a season of Orange is the New Black AND wash my silk shirt by hand. Let’s go halvies on a personal assistant… or just find something new to talk about.

RELATED: Busy Is Better

How quickly you can get ready in the morning.
I’m already jealous of your flawless skin and ability to wear all black without feeling like you’re going to a funeral – don’t rub your naturally-straight hair in my face too. I need my ghd time, mmmkay?

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Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
Wake Up And Own Up
RELATED:  3 Things You Don’t Have To Nail In Your 20s… And 2 You Do

1. Be responsible
Take care of yourself – don’t leave it to fate, your long suffering parents or the knight in shining Holmes Bros you’re hoping will ride by. Be accountable and proactive in everything, from your health to your finances.

2. Do the right thing
With any decision, ask yourself: what do your heart and conscience say? Could it hurt anyone? Is it fair? And what would people you respect say about it?

3. Respect yourself

Respecting yourself means setting goals and working to achieve them, standing firm against negative pressure and learning how to say no. Self-respect also means asking clearly for what you do want, not expecting others to read your mind.

4. Control and navigate emotions

Your emotions are part of you but it’s important to learn to channel them constructively. Even in the face of an unreasonable foe, smiling and waving can be the best revenge, showing you’ve moved on and let go.

5. Handle criticism
Step back from the situation to understand what’s behind a person’s criticism of you. Honest criticism can be one of the greatest gifts if you take it graciously and constructively, and use it to learn and grow.

6. Forget entitlement

Believing your way is the only way is another unhelpful hangover from teendom. You are so past the ‘You must agree with me and do things my way or I’m entitled to get angry’ school of thought. Cultivate empathy – the capacity to see things from the perspective of others ¬– and compassion.

7. Let go of that grudge!

Holding grudges is destructive – yes, for others, but actually mostly for you! People who nurse their grudges are attempting to control negaive situations by retaining angry feelings. It always festers. Let it go. You are so much bigger than someone else’s slight.

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Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:00 +0200
Own The Room! Step 1: Decide to change
Take a moment to think about what confidence means to you. How do you feel when you are confident and when you lose faith in yourself? How do you feel when you are criticised? Formulate a picture of the type of changes you need to make to increase your levels on inner security.

Step 2: Know your self-worth

What others think about you should have no effect on your own self-image. If you wallow in the admiration of others on a good day, then you will feel bereft without it on a bad day. Never let your intrinsic sense of self-worth be affected by opinions of others.

Step 3: Believe in yourself

Determination, focus and commitment are talents that you need when facing adversity. They also build self-confidence that is not just internal: it shows in your smile, your posture, your words, your actions. When you have high self-belief, you carry high, charismatic energy with you, drawing positive interest from others and keeping you in a cycle of success.

Step 4: Get going
When you set yourself a goal and positively affirm that you will achieve it and that you care more about the outcome than the possibility of failure, you are certain to be successful.

Step 5: Self-belief
Self-belief shows itself in confident, enthusiastic and motivated behaviour. When you choose to love your life rather than just live it, your heart and mind are open and you can feel compassion for yourself and others.

Step 6: Be a winner

Scientific theory now endorses the ancient belief that you really can change your circumstances by altering your inner awareness. Winners say to themselves, ‘I am great’, painting a mental picture of personal success. This creates matching emotions, which have a direct effect on their behaviour – they become more assertive and decisive and are more likely to achieve their goals

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Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:00 +0200
X Out The “I Can't” STUCK MUCH?
If almost everything in your life, makes you whimper ‘I can’t”, then you need a dose of self-confidence – stat! Outside of things like morphing into a space ship, there is very little you can’t do. Believe in your abilities more and do what is necessary to replace the ‘can’t’ with ‘can’.

RELATED: How To Bounce Back After A Break-Up

Are you that who is screaming “I can’t” at every turn? Why you so mad girl? Waking around with pent up frustrations won’t make thing better, in fact it will just attract more situations that will make you scream.


When everything is boring you to the point of ‘I can’t’, maybe its time to step away from it all. Whether all is your job, your boyfriend, your group of friends or your cellphone, taking some time to take a short walk will clear your mind and calm you down. Do that!

RELATED: How To Get Over Him

The next time you feel bored, angry, annoyed or any other feeling that brings up that dreaded “I can’t” phrase, throw yourself on the floor like a toddler and repeat the phrase while screaming. See how ridiculous that is? See how no one is impressed by it? Put on your big girl pants and handle your problems, your pet peeves and everything else with a bit more slickness than the whiny “I can’t”

Read more articles on how to Say I Can 
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Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:00 +0200
3 Things You Don’t Have To Nail In Your 20s… And 2 You Do
By now you’ve got the idea that your twenties are pretty awesome – scary, but exciting too. With so much going on, thinking of all the choices you have to make can be daunting, but chill! You don’t actually have to get everything sorted out right this minute. We sort the ‘do right now’ from the ‘let it wait’.

Let it wait
Finding the right job Remember Baz Luhrmann’s song, Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen? In it, he points out that not everyone knows what they want to do with their lives, even by the time they’re in their 40s. So if you’re not sure you want to be balancing liabilities and assets ten years from now, relax. Use this time to see if you do like your job or if you want to explore another area – but, don’t rush into making any choices. If you really hate what you do, consider if a simple change – like trying the same position at a different company – might be what you need.

Finding the right partner A life partner is, duh, for life. So make sure you choose carefully. If that means you have to go on a many, many, many dates (and even maybe do a Katy Perry and kiss a girl), then go for it. There’s no need to settle right now, so figure out what kind of person you want to be with.

Never straying from your bestie’s side You and Phumi have been best mates since forever; you celebrated getting your driver’s together and you’re planning to move into a flat soon. But all of a sudden she’s hanging with a new crowd and dating a guy you just can’t see eye to eye with. Here’s the thing: people change – and just because you’ve been close since, like, forever, doesn’t mean your friendship’s going to stay the same. In fact, it’s a good thing if it doesn’t – it means you’re maturing and developing new interests. And because you probably are meeting a lot more people now than you did at school or varsity, you have a great chance to widen your social circle.

Do it right now
Look after your body Ok, so you can eat a cheeseburger a day with no visible consequences, and your hangovers are generally through with you by 9am. But one day this won’t be the case, so start looking after yourself right now, whether that means taking off your makeup at night, having your annual health checks or getting into a fitness regime.

Find out what makes you tick You’ll face down a lot of crossroads in the next couple of years, but if you have a strong sense of what’s important to you, you’ll find it easier to make those hard choices.


Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Reasons To Make Mount Grace Your Next Weekend Getaway
It’s close For the Joburg and Pretoria girls, at least. It’s in Magaliesberg, so you can leave work after lunch and still get there in time for sundowners.

The spa We don’t really have much to say about this. Because we’re still drowsy from the massage.

The food Ok, so stuffing your face is not your first priority on a dirty weekend (in case your man is a feeder – hey, whatever gets you going) – but you owe it to yourself to have an elegantly indulgent feast at The Rambling Vine, Mount Grace’s fine dining restaurant.

You can do so much…There are loads of antique shops, dairy farms and hikes in the area, if you’re keen to try something a bit different.

…or nothing at all The hotel’s pool area has amazing views, so you might be happy to chill with your Kindle and a cocktail and just enjoy taking a break from the city.

For more info, visit

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
Clear Head ‘time out’ tricks

‘I go for a long drive on my own with the music turned up full-blast and I sing along at the top of my lungs.’ Carla, 31

‘I take a day off work and have a movie date with myself at a 10am show when I’m almost bound to be all alone in the cinema. I do the popcorn and the works, and never tell a soul where I am going or where I have been.’ Tumi, 26

‘Nothing works for me like a long massage: back and especially, feet. It has to last a full hour and I need to go to sleep straight away afterwards, even if just for 20 minutes. It makes me feel as refreshed as a week off work.’ Sam, 28

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
15-Minute Life Makeovers
1 Tackle and tidy that drawer…. You know the one: it’s jammed up with unopened mail for people who no longer live in your house.

2 Spend time outdoors: even just stepping out of your office building and looking up at the sky for 15 minutes will totally change your day.

3. Take a walk: it might not seem like you can get fit or lose weight with a 15-minuter, but it works out to be 60 hours more exercise a year, and that’s got to count for something.

4 Schedule dedicated 15-minute email checks at various times through the day and be disciplined enough not to look at your mailbox outside of those set times. You will be amazed at how much more effectively you work without the constant email distraction.

5 Do something that’s just for you: read a magazine, take a long, hot shower, or sing at the top of your lungs along to your most played tunes. You’ll feel that much more positive about all the other things you have to do for others and for work.

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
Ditch the Guilt Trip
Even low-level feelings of guilt can take a toll on your health, says psychotherapist Sophie Boss, co-author of Beyond Temptation. ‘It’s a stress-inducing emotion, and ongoing stress depletes physical and emotional energy,’ she says. In fact, left unchecked, ongoing guilt can lead to depression, according to a University of Manchester study. Here’s how to get a grip on today’s common guilt traps.

Here are six simple tricks to becoming a glass-is-overflowing kinda girl, stat!

Guilt trap 1: ‘I’m a bad friend’

There’s a whole lot of friendship guilt that applies only to women, says counsellor Susan Carrell. ‘Women feel bad about forgetting birthdays, texting rather than calling, and cancelling nights out.’ But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to take responsibility for the other person’s happiness.

Work out how you really feel. Sometimes guilt can mask other feelings – underneath your guilt about not picking up a call from your friends, you could be feeling exasperated about how often she leans on you. This will help you tune into your real feelings so you can deal with them.

Do the time warp. Say you’ve just cancelled a night out because you’re knackered, first, ask yourself how bad you consider your behaviour to be right now. Now imagine yourself looking back at your decision five years from now – how bad does it look now? Hello, perspective!

Be kind to yourself ‘If you’ve forgotten a birthday stop to think why you forgot,’ says psychologist Emma Kenny. ‘Often the real issue is you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed. Apologise, then take time out for yourself and look at how you can ease the burden.’

Guilt trap 2: ‘I’m not super-fit’

‘It’s great that looking strong and fit is considered sexier than the waif look, but it takes more work,’ says trainer Lucy Hoffman-Whiley. So it’s not surprising you beat yourself up if you miss one spin class.

Flip your focus. ‘Don’t skip a workout because you’ve only got 10 minutes – work out because you have 10 minutes,’ says psychologist Cecilia d’Felice. ‘Walk around the block or roll out your yoga mat. You kill guilt, plus get into a habit.’

Start over. ‘If you don’t make it to your gym class, don’t write off the rest of the week,’ says d’Felice. ‘Accept that life sometimes gets in the way, and start again tomorrow.’

Think 2:1:1 Mix up high-intensity workouts with holistic ones and you won’t feel guilty on low-energy days.
Yep, science has found legit strategies that make you feel damn good...

Guilt trap 3: ‘My food choices are all wrong’

Whether you’re stressing about overdoing the ice-cream or fretting over food miles, we’ve never had more pressure to eat right.

Enjoy every mouthful. ‘Eating guilt-free is about knowing you’re eating right 80 percent of the time so treats are just that – treats,’ says d’Felice. ‘Savouring every mouthful will eliminate guilt because you’re not bingeing then feeling bad.’

Spot your red flags. Write down everything you eat and how you felt afterwards. ‘Be curious not critical,’ says Boss. ‘Ask, ‘What’s going on? Why does this happen?’’

Set realistic ethical goals. ‘We can cut food waste,’ says dietitian Hala El-Shafie. ‘Taking leftovers to work for lunch, making unused veg into soup and thinking before you bulk-buy can ease our conscience.’

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
What To Do When Your Mondays Really Suck
So if you are pressing the snooze button a little more than you should, spilling coffee on your favourite white shirt or stuck in bad traffic, it’s okay; pull up a chair and lets chat. There are ways to conquer a really bad Monday, and even though we can’t tell you that today has been cancelled, you can try one of these tips to make your Monday bearable.

Make a Monday playlist
Music is the answer to everything. There is a song to cure you from just about anything, hello Taylor Swift's We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Monday is no exception, just create a playlist of your favourite songs, and jam! Stuck on what the perfect Monday playlist is? Any Beyonce song will do! 

Satisfy That Sweet Tooth
Nothing is worse than having a bad Monday and being on a diet. We are pretty sure there is an antidote for bad days somewhere in sugar. But don't cheat on your diet, instead of a celery stick, grab a nectarine (fine put some extra sugar in your tea, we won't judge) There is no reason that some parts of your day can't be sweet! 

Happy Meals
If you think there is nothing to look forward to on a Monday except 5 o'clock, you are wrong. Spur has got you covered. On Mondays you can buy a single Original Spur Beef, Chicken, Rib, Soya or Texan-fried Chicken Burger and  get another one free! So there is no need for your weekend to end on a Sunday, grab some friends, have some wine and enjoy the end of your Monday! 

Take a Walk
It's summer, there is absolutely every reason to take advantage of the sun outside. Take a walk during your lunch break or meet up with a friend outside the office. Being outside in the warm sun may make you appreciate what a beautiful day it actually might be. 

Have a great Monday!
Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Get Over Yourself!
You don’t even have to open your mouth for them to sense your negativity. Durban leadership coach Cathy Yuill says, ‘People give off a “vibe” that’s linked to how you’re feeling. If you’re constantly negative, it influences every space and others pick it up.’ Negative people tend to slouch, sigh, snap and scowl. They came across as unfriendly, supercritical or defeatist – ‘not possible’ is the phrase they love says Yuill.
Makheni Motana, a Joburg coach and motivational speaker, says that negative people are ‘little thunderclouds’ who not only complain a lot but are full of excuses and quick to lay blame – not the sort of person you’d be keen to befriend, spend time with or promote at work.

‘If you’re often negative, you stand to lose a lot in life and love, and at work,’ says Motana.
Your health is likely to suffer too. Negative feelings have been shown to result in ulcers, a lowered immune system, high blood pressure and, in time, depression, warns Yuill.

Time to lighten up?

Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Stop Negativity in its Tracks  Say no to negativity – or you’ll become a real drag queen.

Negativity is self-perpetuating – the more hard-done-by you seem to feel, the more other negative people will be drawn to commiserate with you and the more positive people will draw away from you.

You don’t even have to open your mouth for them to sense your negativity. Durban leadership coach Cathy Yuill says, ‘People give off a “vibe” that’s linked to how you’re feeling. If you’re constantly negative, it influences every space and others pick it up.’ Negative people tend to slouch, sigh, snap and scowl. They came across as unfriendly, supercritical or defeatist – ‘not possible’ is the phrase they love says Yuill.

Makheni Motana, a Joburg coach and motivational speaker, says that negative people are ‘little thunderclouds’ who not only complain a lot but are full of excuses and quick to lay blame – not the sort of person you’d be keen to befriend, spend time with or promote at work.

‘If you’re often negative, you stand to lose a lot in life and love, and at work,’ says Motana.
Your health is likely to suffer too. Negative feelings have been shown to result in ulcers, a lowered immune system, high blood pressure and, in time, depression, warns Yuill.

Time to lighten up?

Don't forget to have a look at our other Mind Health articles. 

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Reasons Why You NEED To Take Your Lunch Break


1 Plan For It
You have an hour to spend any way you please. Unless you know exactly what you want to do with it, that hour is going to fly by, leaving you no better off than if you’d plugged away at your laptop. Make a plan. Arrange to meet for lunch or bring your running shoes so you can squeeze in a gym session.

2 Make It A REAL Break
Sitting at your desk and scrolling through Facebook does NOT qualify as a break. You need a real change of scenery. That means ditching the desk completely and thinking about something entirely unrelated to work. Consider it a mini holiday for your mind.

3 Don’t Overdo It

Your lunch break is a great time to tackle those horrible tasks – we’re talking renewing your car license or passport – stuff you don’t want to do on the weekend. But if you try to get too much done, you’ll end up feeling MORE stressed.

4 Switch Off
You’re not going to be able to escape work mode if you’re listening out for a call from your client or stressing over an email from your boss. Leave your phone at your desk.

5 Get Moving
Nothing revs up your brain like a bit of exercise. Maybe you’re lucky enough to work at a company with an onsite gym. If not, bring comfy shoes so you can walk around the block. This midday boost will keep you going until home time.

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
How To Deal With Negative People • Be careful not to get sucked into their pessimism. The moment they start making you feel low, move away.
• Treat them in the friendly manner you treat everyone else. If their reaction is a downer, walk away and try again later.
• Don’t echo negativity – it will just encourage them.
• Don’t spend a long time listening to their grumbles, especially not at work – your superiors may see you as guilty of the same attitude.

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Which New Year Resolutions Are Worth Keeping
We’ve figured out which ones you should make the effort to stick to and which ones you can happily abandon.

THIS Is The Year You're Giving Up Smoking


Yes, this is one you should definitely stick to. You probably make this resolution every year and then you go to a party and your friend lights up and next thing you know are too.
The benefits will always outweigh the positives making it a no brainer to stick to this resolution.

You're Never Drinking Again


Probably uttered from a darkened room sometime on new year’s day. Let’s be honest with ourselves. If your social life involves any form of drinking with friends then you’re setting yourself up to fail. There's no reason to feel bad if you broke this resolution in the first week back at work when someone organised after work drinks and you popped in for a glass of wine and caught up with everyone did over the holidays.

You're Joining The Gym


Another one that can only have positives attached to it. Don’t aim to go every day (you’ll soon be bored and miss the social life you once had). Start with a manageable goal, like three times a week. 

You're Cycling The Argus This Year


Or running the Comrades/ Two Oceans etc. You get the idea. Unless you’re already a cyclist/ runner and have previously thought about doing this, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Like the gym thing, start slowly and make realistic goals and give yourself enough time to get ready for a big race.

You're Giving Up Carbs


No carbs. Ever again? We agree that cutting out bad carbs is good (doughnuts, cakes, white bread etc) but we don’t think you need to never eat good carbs again. Rather work out a balanced diet that reduces the amount of sugar and bad carbs you eat but still includes healthy carbs like wholewheat pasta. This way you won’t constantly feel deprived. Plus it gets horribly boring ordering a salad every time you go out for dinner.

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Overcoming Fear Of Failure
Feel the fear
Like the saying goes, bravery isn’t a lack of fear, it’s feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway. So, don’t shy away from the feeling of fear – it's a normal response to doing something new and scary. Pushing the fear away can make it worse. Rather acknowledge it; even talk to it: ‘hello, Fear. I feel you. You are scary, but I know what you are.’ Giving things a name is empowering, and can help make you feel more in control.

Play the ‘what is the worst thing’ game

This is a trick used to persuade anxious children that everything’s going to be alright, but it works pretty well on grown-ups as well. It’s about focusing on the absolute worst scenario possible, and realising that even if the scariest thing in the world were to happen you would still be okay. Here’s an example: you’re going for a job interview that you’re really nervous about. What is the worst thing that can happen? You mess up and can’t answer a question. Then, you ask again: What is the worst thing that can happen? You feel humiliated and don’t get the job. What is the worst thing that can happen? You look for another job, etc. All it's a clever way of reminding yourself that your worst fears are largely in your head.

Accept failure as an inevitable part of life
There’s no way you’re always going to get everything right, so instead of fearing failure, try to embrace it for the learning opportunities it presents. Instead of hoping it won’t happen, expect it to happen. Think like this: I’m taking a risk right now. It could go well or it could go not so well – my chances of winning are about 50/50. That way, while you might be disappointed, you’ll be better able to see your loss in perspective. 

Failure is temporary
Just because you failed this time does not mean you’ll fail next time. Rather than seeing it as the end of the world, understand it as a temporary setback; a slight deviation in your course which necessitates a change of plan. Remember the dismayed look on how little Beyonce's face when she lost a star search competition? She got back on horse, and kept coming second until her moment came.

Fail more, achieve more
Each time you fail you gain a little more experience, and learn a little more about what it takes to succeed. With each failure you catapult yourself ahead of others who will fail for the first time. You failed? Lucky you! You’re closer to achieving your goals.

Failing doesn’t make you a failure
It means what you were attempting didn’t work out quite as you’d anticipated. Maybe because what you were going for wasn’t the right  experience for you, or it wasn’t the right time to make that particular move. Sometimes in life not getting what you want turns out to be the biggest gift because other, better doors open. More than anything, failing means you were brave enough to try something different, and that, in itself, deserves applause.

So be proud of yourself, learn from what happened and try again. Fear is temporary; regret is permanent. 

Read page 40 of COSMO to find out why you are part of 'The Best Generation Yet.' 

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
End Emotional Eating
Emotional eating and the weight gain that comes with it affects a lot of women. As Dr Luc Evenepoel, author of Dr Luc’s Promise: Lose the Weight and Keep it Off (available on Amazon and Kalahari), explains, ‘When you eat out of hunger you satisfy the brain's “hunger center”, but when eating happens for emotional reasons you are satisfying the brain's “emotion-and-reward center”.'  In other words, he adds, 'Since you are not eating to sustain life you'll overeat and store these excess calories in fat tissue.’ And this is the reason why most people go for the sweet stuff – the brain experiences that as the most rewarding. And while the act of eating can be experienced as an emotional stabilser, nobody reaches for broccoli when they’re having a bout of emotional bingeing.

Identify your food issues
While emotional eating provides quick relief for feelings of rejection, humiliation, loneliness and sadness, the resulting weight gain and feeling of being out of control quickly overrides the temporary comfort of the food, leaving emotional eaters feeling even worse about themselves. And this can become a vicious cycle: feel bad - eat - gain weight - feel worse - eat more. This is why it's important to be aware of whether you’re an emotional eater or not, says Evenepoel. And if you are, he asserts that the solution is not to go on a diet or consult a dietitian. He says you shoudl rather see a psychologist to address the reasons why you are using food in this way. 'Far too many people try to treat poor eating habits on their own, but there are specialists for that. If you had appendicitis, you wouldn’t try to cut out your own appendix, would you?’.

Put those red flags up!
Also, try to recognise when and why you opt for emotional eating. When such a situation arises, and you head in the direction of the biscuit jar, don’t judge yourself, but simply pause for a few moments. Ask yourself something like: 'Am I actually hungry, or am I going to empty that jar because I am upset/sad/whatever?' Resist going any closer to the jar. The first time, you'll probably manage to resist for only a few minutes. The next time will be a few more minutes, and - practice makes perfect - you'll soon get to a stage where you can resist for hours. And after hours, your moments of upset should be over. This is called mindfulness, and has been used with great success not only in emotional eating, but also for addiction and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).

Lose the mood food
As Dr Evenepoel advises, ‘Instead of eating the biscuits, do something else that will give you a sense of reward: emptying your inbox, writing that letter that you’ve been postponing for so long, call up the friend you've been thinking about for months. Make a list of rewarding actions, and go to that list instead of to the fridge. Magazines always tell you to go “do something” instead of eating mood-food, but what it’s important is that that something needs to be rewarding. If not, your limbic system will steer you back to the junk food.’ Also, make it easier for yourself by simply not keeping ‘mood food’ in the house. You’re much less likely to drive to the 7-11 than open the fridge/freezer.

Get moving
Physical exercise decreases the symptoms of a depressed mood and of anxiety by 40-50%. This does not mean you have to go to the gym, but it does mean you have to get off the couch. For at least 20 minutes every day, get some movement into your body: walk, dance, cycle, skip, take the stairs instead of the lift, whatever, as long as you move. The benefit has been proven over and over again, and cannot be stressed enough. And, what's more, it's free. Says Dr Evenepoel, ‘It's not about burning calories, it's about making you feel emotionally better and stopping a destructive pattern.’

Read the latest COSMO for one woman's 'Letter to Anorexia' on page 50, and 'The Skinny On Food And Drink' on page 106.

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
6 Hot Sundowner Spots

1 The Sands

It’s glam all the way at this Sandton hangout. There’s no better place to enjoy a glass of bubbly than on the pool deck. And later you can show off your moves when DJs like Shaun Duvet heat up the dance floor.

2 The San Deck
The Sandton Sun Hotel proves that you don’t need the sea to have an amazing view. Chill out to the laidback sounds, take in the stunning sunset and, when the evening starts to get a bit chilly, make your way to the fire pits. We love.

3 The Oyster Box
There’s nothing humble about this Umhlanga institution. We adore its plush décor, which instantly makes you feel like a movie star. The sweeping views of the Atlantic are an added plus – as is the fact that there are three bars from which to enjoy them. Our choice? Head to the Lighthouse Bar for yum cocktails enjoyed to an awesome soundtrack.

4 The Moyo uShaka Pier Bar

With its 360 degree harbour views, this is definitely the best place to take out of town guests. Once you’ve toasted the sunset, check out the African inspired dishes inside Moyo uShaka Restaurant.

5 Anywhere along the Camps Bay strip
We just love this part of Cape Town, because it’s impossible to feel like you’re living an ordinary life when you’re watching the schmodels zip by – and, of course, there’s that so-beautiful-is-it-real backdrop of the Twelve Apostles and the beach. Anyone visiting here can be forgiven for imagining they’re on a movie set. The hottest spots? Clifton’s The Bungalow Restaurant and that old favourite, Caprice.

6 Cape to Cuba
The Cuban party vibe is irresistible. Get your groove on at the Che bar, order a Cuba Libre, and watch the sea crash on Kalk Bay’s rocks.

Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
8 Inspiring Websites


1) Daily Good (
This is the perfect antidote to all the bad news out there. It’s an instant pickmeup: think of it as your good mood toolbox. You’ll find practical guides on how to banish pessimism, wise words from the world’s greatest leaders (yes, Madiba’s on here too) and speeches that moved the world – and are bound to move you, too.

2) Cute Roulette (
If you’re a sucker for sleeping puppy gifs, this one’s for you. And really, let’s be honest: who doesn’t go mushy at the sight of a baby animal.

3)’s Inspiration Station
If this site doesn’t fire you up, nothing will. Visit it for advice from the likes of Richard Branson, awesome quotes and motivational videos.

4) Gives me Hope (
Need proof that there are amazing people in this world, and that awesome things happen all the time? Look no further.

You’ll find pretty much anything you ever wanted to know about anything here, from which productivity apps are the best to how to kickstart your creativity and even household tips.

This website will make you smarter in seconds. It’s crammed with random bits of trivia on all sorts of subjects, from celeb news to science.

7) TED (
Still our favourite for finding videos, speeches and tutorials by experts, business leaders and just ordinary folk who have interesting ideas.

8) Forbes’ Top 100 Inspirational Quotes
Reading this list is like receiving life coaching by the world’s icons.

Thu, 30 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Ways To Get Over The Midweek Slump

1) Clean up your desk
Chances are that, by the middle of the week, your desk looks like a battle zone cluttered with the documents and memos you've needed to meet your deadlines. But a messy desk doesn't exactly invite clear thinking. Give it a quick tidy, and see how quickly you get back into the work zone.


2) Plan something fun
If the thought of going in to the office makes you want to call in sick, give yourself something to look forward to. Schedule lunch with a colleague (make sure you go somewhere more exciting than the downstairs canteen), or plan a shopping trip for your lunch break. Knowing that you're just a few hours away from something more enjoyable can make the time fly.


3) Break up your routine
Mix things up a little: if you usually spend your afternoons with your head down and fingers tapping away at the laptop, try other tasks. Networking, scheduling interviews or making phone calls might give you the chance to do something a little more social, while still meeting your career goals.


4) Dress for success
Cheesy but true: if you put on a pair of killer heels and bright red lipstick, you'll feel great - as if you can tackle anything, including Wednesday.


5) Make Wednesday night memorable
Reward yourself for making it to the end of Wednesday. Indulge in your favourite treats, whether it’s a date with your man, a pedi or a night on the couch with Don Draper.


Go to our careers page for more advice that works for you!

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
This Hottie Refuses To Keep His Clothes On
First, the swim...

Hear what Lewis has to say about his mission to make us focus our attention on the melting ice caps, which means the North Pole as it now exist faces extinction if all we do is shrug (or drool at him)

Because there's no such thing as too much of a good thing...

We know you have many questions to ask him so here goes a Q and A...

Change your life with amazing online talks. Visit the mind health section of COSMOPOLITAN.CO.ZA.
Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Ways to Keep That Holiday Feeling Alive
1) Take a walk
Whether you spent December hiking in the Drakensberg or strolling along the beach, the time you spent outside, with the sun on your face, undoubtedly contributed to your good vibes (science also tells us sea air is charged with negative ions, which help you absorb more oxygen and put you in an alert, happy state.) You might not be able to replicate the scenery, but taking a walk during your lunch break will help to invigorate you.

2) Keep in touch
Remember how you spent every day of your holiday sipping mojitos with your mates, feasting with your family or cuddling up to your man? Keep that feeling of closeness by staying connected. And no, we don’t mean via Facebook or Twitter – pick up that phone and make a plan to get together!

3) Christmas in January
Whatever your religion, one of the reasons December is so special is because of the festive season. It’s a time when you think about all the things you have to be grateful for and maybe even splurge on others to show how much you care. And it makes you feel good, doesn’t it? Keep that festive season spirit alive by focusing on all the good things in your life – and repay karma by being good to those around you.

4) Indulge, indulge, indulge
Another December highlight: Taking the time to do the things you love. That shouldn’t stop because you’re at work. Reward yourself for your hard work with a mani, or take half an hour to read in luxurious solitude.

5) Keep the balance
It’s so easy to get lost in deadlines – but you’ll actually be more productive if you take time out to relax.


Fri, 17 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Ways To Kick Anxiety

1. What’s worrying you?
Sounds obvious, but sometimes you feel anxious because something in your life is out of kilter and you can’t quite put your finger on what it is. To stop your mind ticking, try this: go through everything that’s happening in your life, from work to relationships, and see what’s stressing you. Maybe you are concerned that you haven’t adequately prepared for tomorrow’s meeting, or perhaps something your man said hit a nerve.


2. Step up. Now that you know what the problem is, you can solve it or at least determine if it’s something that can be solved. If it isn’t, then decide not to worry about it; there’s nothing you can do anyway. But if it is, start taking steps to address it immediately – you’ll probably start to feel better at once because you’re being proactive. If you still believe that nothing you do will make the situation any better, try this: ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? Unless your actions are going to cause someone’s death (unlikely), the worst case scenario probably isn’t that bad – or at least, not so bad it can’t be rectified.


3. Keep perspective. When we worry, we tend to take an ‘all or nothing’ approach, and build catastrophes in our heads. In other words, you convince yourself that unless you make a presentation that would make Sheryl Sandberg proud, you will get fired. The reality is, perfection is impossible, and as long as you try your best, you’ll be ok.


4. Breathe deeply. This is the simplest trick of all: just a few belly breaths will increase the oxygen flowing to your brain and help you think more clearly. You can also burn off that nervous energy with an hour’s exercise.


5. Eat properly. A well nourished body is the key to good health, and that includes mental health. For even more ammunition, take a magnesium supplement. This supplement is known to help your body address the effects of anxiety.


Tue, 21 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
Make the Right Choice – Every Time Is decision-making a chore? Time to take control!

In the past few months I’ve wasted loads of time on decisions. There was the five hours shopping for a kettle; the half-day on TripAdvisor researching hotel rooms; and the meals eaten on my lap while meals eaten on my lap while I pondered which dining table to buy for my new apartment.

Indecision is my middle name, and yes, it can be embarrassing. But according to clinical psychologist Louise Adams, I’m not the only woman driving her friends and family crazy canvassing opinions. ‘Women worry more and have more anxiety,’ Adams explains. ‘We’re always thinking in a multitasking way – and sometimes we see too much and just get stuck.’ And it’s not something to simply dismiss as a personality quirk: Adams warns that chronic indecision can be damaging. ‘People are either worrying about making the wrong decisions, or regretting the decisions they’ve already made,’ she says. ‘That’s called ruminating, and it’s quite unhealthy because it’s related to depression and anxiety. It really just undermines your confidence in making your own decisions.’ And that, in turn, only makes it harder. Time to end all the umming and ahhing! Here’s how to make the best choices for you – every time.

1. Keep calm

When we get stressed about making a decision, our bodies will switch into fight-or-flight mode because our brains can’t distinguish between the fear we’d feel if we were facing a lion and the freak-out we have when trying to decide between peanut butter and Marmite on toast.
‘The fight-or-flight response is the physiological side of anxiety,’ Adams says. ‘Symptoms involve a pounding heart, sweating, muscle tension and your head racing.’

The first thing sufferers should do is breathe deeply. ‘The whole fight-or-flight response runs on excessive amounts of oxygen in the system – so tune in to slow breathing,’ Adams says. ‘It’s like the “off” switch. Once they have physically relaxed, people usually find their thinking slows, and the decision becomes less threat-related.’

2. Put it on paper
After you’ve calmed down, write down the pros and cons of your decision – thinking through both the short- and long-term effects. ‘It’s really helpful to get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper,’ says life coach Lisa Phillips. ‘Start by writing out the consequences if you do “this”, and then the consequences if you do “that”. Then ask yourself, “What can I cope with? What’s the worst that can happen?”’

3. Start small
Emma*, 25, was so tired of being indecisive that she made the year all about taking a decision and sticking to her guns. ‘I started out small, with food choices. I would walk into a restaurant, look at the menu, force myself to choose something and then close the menu,’ she says. ‘But now I do it with everything. I even split up with a guy who wasn’t on the same page as me relationship- wise, and I haven’t looked back.’

If you want to reach this level of decision-making proficiency, start by giving yourself a deadline for day-to-day decisions. ‘Put a two- minute timer on your phone, and the last decision you come up with before it beeps, that’s your choice,’ Adams suggests. ‘That way you make yourself act, and once you get better at acting on decisions, you become more confident.’

Phillips says it’s important that we don’t get too caught up worrying about the possible consequences of our decisions. ‘The people who find it easy to make decisions think, “What’s the worst that can happen?” They know that if things don’t work out, they can just make another decision.’

4. Think for yourself
Decision stress and a habit of people- pleasing tend to go hand in hand. ‘Many people find it quite difficult because they’re torn between what they want to do and what they feel other people want them to do,’ Phillips says.

So if your friends are pressuring you to go for Friday-night drinks but you’ve had a shocker of a week, Phillips says you shouldn’t fret about declining. ‘Ask yourself, “Is this an empowering thing for me to do for myself or am I doing this to keep my friends happy?”’ In general, it’s wise to make your choice the one that’s best for you.

5. Trust your gut
After qualifying as a beauty therapist, Sharni*, 28, realised it wasn’t the career for her, and spent months agonising about what to do. ‘I had thousands of ideas on any given day,’ she says. ‘I wanted to jump at all of them, and got very confused about which direction I should take.’

Then, when she heard about an opportunity to volunteer in a rural primary school, Sharni had a strong feeling it was just what she needed. ‘That experience gave me perspective. I went back to university and pursued a career in community development. Now when I’m faced with a big decision, I wait for some kind of sign, and then follow my gut instinct. It’s actually made me enjoy the dreaming and the planning – I’ve realised anything is possible.’ Adams says we could all benefit from choosing to see decisions as opportunities, not threats. ‘We can’t get through life without making decisions,’ she says. ‘Stop waiting to make the right one, and start enjoying the process of decision- making. And remember that we learn from our mistakes.’


Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
10 Steps to Finding the Values you Want to Live By
 Courtesy of Durban psychologist Claire Newton

1 Read slowly through these and print them out or writ them on a piece of paper: cooperation, diligence, justice, freedom, gratitude, honesty, integrity, power, moderation, rationality, respect, sincerity, love, status, tolerance, wealth.

2 Cross off those you immediately know are
 not important to you

3 Circle those you know are important to you.

4 Write each of the circled values on a separate piece of paper.

5 Rank them in order of importance.

6 For a week, note 
every time you have any intense emotional reaction to something – it’s likely to be ‘touching’ your values.

7 Think about the value that was ‘touched’. Some questions to ask yourself:

Were you hurt because you boyfriend went out with his buddies instead 
of coming to dinner with your family? (Respect)

Were you shocked because a colleague who agrees with you in public was heard putting you down behind your back? (Sincerity)

Were you irritated by a friend’s emotional outburst while trying to make a decision? (Rationality)

8 These values are important to you in some way, so circle them on the values list
as well and write each on
a separate piece of paper.

9 Rank them with the others. Keep moving them around until you feel sure you have the three core values by which you want to live your life. The top value should be the one thing that, no matter what, you will not compromise.

10 Repeat this exercise periodically. Values aren’t static and your current circumstances will influence your priorities. Go with the process – don’t try to judge it or make it ‘right’. You’ll probably find that some values are consistently at the top and others shift in priority based on life events. For more information visit

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
How to be Brave Fearless female Redi Tlhabi on how to be brave

Way more than a media personality, Redi Tlhabi is an opinionated stirrer of democratic debate in South Africa: in short, a national treasure. She tells us how to be brave.

I love watching lions on TV. I’m struck by their grace and beauty. I’m fascinated by their deliberate movements when they’re relaxing, replete from a successful hunt and feast. They seem strong and unshakeable – until they spot their prey. I note how the males don’t charge to the front but stand back during a hunt or remain on the sidelines. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that it’s the lionesses that are in charge and set the tone for some fierce and bitter battles.


And victory isn’t always guaranteed. There are many fights that end with the lions being on the back foot and retreating because the battle was too arduous or the horns of the would-be prey too formidable.

But the lionesses don’t just walk away at the first sign of danger – they persevere and fortify their armoury until they realise the costs of combat are too high. They seem fearless as they confront and chase their enemy. But are they?
If you look deep into their eyes as they tread gently at first – but always strategically – towards their prey, you can see the initial hesitation.

As they gain momentum and launch their bodies onto their prey, you can see their thirst for survival and victory. They overcome the initial uncertainty and often prevail. And the prey never just rolls over and dies. Bleeding and struggling to draw breath, it fights on, hoping its futile kicks fend off the predators. And that’s the definition of bravery to me – it’s not the absence of fear but action in spite of it. In this battle, fear is felt and demonstrated by both the hunter and the hunted.


As I navigate my challenging but fulfilling life, I often think about the men and women who demonstrate the bravery of lionesses every day.
Those who, in spite of the difficult circumstances that shape their lives, wake up every morning determined to live. And not just to live, but to make that life meaningful.

In my career, I’ve come across very powerful people. And powerful people aren’t just the ones who achieve fame and fortune. Yes, many achieve those things because they’re powerful and determined, but others never taste fame nor fortune. They are powerful and brave because they choose not to be defined by their circumstances. They choose to soldier on despite the limitations life has visited upon them.
Take my 24-year-old protégée, Sisanda. She’s from the Eastern Cape and came into my life by chance. She’s a friend of a friend’s daughter but has become a very important person to me. I don’t know much about her life, really – the wounds inflicted by her background are too deep for her to open up completely. But that’s okay. It’s her strength and bravery that draw me to her.

She’s orphaned and blind. She was not born blind; she lost her sight in her matric year. And just when she thought life couldn’t get any harder, her only sibling died at the age of 30 last December. What a raw deal.

I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself or think about what I don’t have. I have everything I need to face this life But that isn’t the full script of Sisanda’s life. In March this year she graduated from Wits University and is now studying for an honours degree in psychology. I remember the Monday morning when Sisanda graduated. Because she had no family members present, she’d asked me to be there. I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

Here was a young woman who became blind in what is generally the most difficult year of school, matric. She could have just quit and found something else to do. But instead, she found a way of adjusting and learning. The transition wasn’t easy but she did it. Passing her matric would have made her a heroine in many people’s eyes but it wasn’t enough for her. She was determined to go further – and she did.

There have been a lot of tears and many moments of uncertainty in Sisanda’s quest for education. I watched her battle with the fact that she had no close family, and that her aunt couldn’t travel from the Eastern Cape for the graduation. Eventually she lifted her shoulders and played the cards life had dealt her. And she played them expertly. Graduation day dawned bright, warm and sunny – and I’ve never seen Sisanda look more radiant. We were kindred spirits. I felt a connection to her born out of respect and admiration.

I watched her walk onto the stage with her guide dog, Romy, always present and reliable as she guided her to the vice chancellor for the capping. I thought my heart would explode with pride. I lost my bearings and forgot that I was at a formal function as I got to my feet and shouted, ‘Sisanda! Go, Sisanda!’ I wasn’t the only one: those in attendance, including the academic staff, her fellow graduates, their friends and family got to their feet as they applauded her. She
got the loudest cheer and applause as the entire hall erupted. She was the only student to get a standing ovation. This was her moment. Her bravery was on full display and the world was there to bear witness.


Sisanda is not perfect. Like many people, she often doubts herself, is fearful sometimes and gets sad. But as I said, bravery is not the absence of these emotions. It is action in spite of them.

I have met many people like Sisanda. These are the role models society should uplift and exalt. In my line of work, I get a lot of e-mails from young people who want to be mentored. There’s nothing wrong with mentorship but I can’t help feeling that many are seeking famous or well-known mentors.

I tell them about Sisanda and how she inspires me. I tell them to tap into their inner strength and find the magic that will help them face the world.

I tell them about a young woman I once interviewed who made the miraculous transition from sleeping on the streets to becoming a graduate. I tell them about a young man who made it from living in a shack and driving a taxi to becoming a lawyer with a successful stint in New York.

These are the brave heroes who must shape our lives, not some celebrities who are famous for being famous.

When life is turbulent, I think about these people, smile and march resolutely forward. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself or think about what I don’t have. I have everything I need to face this life. I have me.

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
7 Questions to Reboot Your Life  A better, more fulfilling life could be just seven searching
questions away.

It can be tempting to settle for the life you’re living, the career
you’re carving, the relationship you’re caught up in. But do they
truly tap into your talents and teach you to be your best self? ‘In
your 20s, it’s important to pause periodically and reassess your life
to make sure you’re living it to its full potential,’ says Durban
psychologist and life coach Claire Newton. COSMO asked her and
other experts to compile questions to help you do just that – and to
reboot and realign your life.

1) ‘Who am I?’
In your 20s, the growth of emotional independence is crucial, says
Jo’burg psychologist, coach and consultant Dr Caren Scheepers.
‘This is when essential decisions have to be taken about
relationships and career, so you need to know who you are – what’s
important to you, rather than what your parents or society dictate.’

Spend time with yourself, she says. ‘Ask yourself what key
things happened in your childhood. What was the setup into which
you were born?’ For example, you may have had to grow up quickly
to take care of young siblings because of absent parents.
This could create abilities to care for others and take responsibility,
which, in turn, could create a role that the adult you feels
comfortable playing, says Scheepers. ‘Understanding early events
and their impact can help you decide whether this predetermined
role is one you want to play for the rest of your life. It’s vital to
realise why you make certain choices or would be drawn to certain
or roles in relationships, and decide whether they still work for you.’

2 ‘What values drive me?’

Your values are a part of who you are. You can’t be ‘authentic,
genuine and totally true to you’ unless you know what these are,
says Newton. ‘Values are a compass – you need to know where your
true north is to stay true to your best path in life.’

Ask yourself which three values you want to live by and be
known for, Newton says. (See ‘Step- by-step values guide’.) Limit
yourself to three to focus your thinking. ‘Don’t just accept someone
else’s values: even those you were told to have as a child may no
longer be yours. Perhaps they never really were!’

3 ‘Why am I here?’

We’re meant to live lives that are more than just existing, and about
more than seeking pleasure or power, Newton says. Bling gear and
a corner office may bring satisfaction but they don’t bring
self-actualisation. For that you need selfless goals. ‘Your purpose
must be greater than personal gain – it’s about making a difference
in other people’s lives,’ she says.

See what you can do to make a difference – what gifts and
talents you have that you can use for the benefit of others. If your
job fulfils your idea of purpose – whether you’re a nurse healing
people, a teacher educating them or a performer entertaining them
– you’re in the best place possible, Newton
says. If it doesn’t, volunteer for an organisation where you can use
your skills to help others. ‘When you are “on purpose”, the
satisfaction and joy you get are immeasurable!’

4) ‘What do I really want?’
There’s a ‘cultural pandemic’ of blaming other people for not giving
us what we want in life, says Jo’burg psychologist Maropeng
‘Your boyfriend buys you bad gifts, your boss sets impossible
deadlines... But there’s little asking for what you want,’ she says.
‘More energy is invested in complaining than in sharing what your
needs are. If you don’t know what makes you happy or ask for it,
how can they give it to you?’

‘Get to know yourself,’ she says. Create daily quiet time:
set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier, turn off the radio when you
drive or unplug your iPod when you run. Let your thoughts run in
your head or write them in a journal. Ask yourself what you need for
your relationship, job or social life to be more satisfying. If you still
don’t know, ask a life coach or psychologist to help. ‘Once you know
what you want, be honest with yourself and others, and ask for it
respectfully,’ says Ralenala. ‘You have no control over the response
but learning to ask is the first step.’

5 ‘What grudges do I hold?’
You can’t control other people – and some can do you wrong,
intentionally or not, says Ralenala.
‘But harbouring resentment will not teach your transgressor the
lesson you’d like them to learn – their genuine remorse can come
only through their own internal processing. Holding a grudge doesn’t
punish them – it punishes you.’


Consciously decide to forgive them. Tell yourself how they
made you feel, even though it may be best not to tell them. Write a
letter to get it off your chest, print it out, then tear it up along with
your anger and hurt. ‘Remind yourself that forgiving doesn’t mean
forgetting – it means allowing yourself to move forward,’ says

6) ‘Is this love or the idea of love?’

‘The pressure to find ‘the one’ leads many women in their 20s into
relationships that are dysfunctional or insincere. ‘Receiving
invitation after invitation to friends’ weddings can push your
insecurities to desperation to find love and your own “plus one”,’
Ralenala says. ‘But any decision made out of fear or desperation is
not love – and not good for you.’


Do a motive check on your relationships, Ralenala
suggests. Is the idea of being with someone more thrilling than
actually being with them? ‘When you’re more interested
in him standing next to you in photos than in real life, be honest
enough to walk away.’

7) ‘What are my regrets?’

Genuine regret is a healthy reaction to doing anything that harms or
hinders others or yourself. It’s a sign of taking responsibility. But if
regret persists, holding you back and keeping you stuck in the past,
you need to rewire y
our thoughts, says Durban psychologist Dr
Akashni Maharaj.
Ask yourself whether you’ve done what you can to repair
what you did, accepting that some things can’t be repaired. Also ask
yourself what you’ve learnt and resolve to use this positively. Then
forgive yourself and move on – with professional help if necessary.
‘Accept that no-one is perfect,’ Maharaj says. ‘And get over it!’

Tue, 07 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
The Happiness Advantage Happiness is the source from which everything we want, especially success, comes from. This is according to authors and behavioural experts who believe in the ‘Happiness Advantage. They are on to something! Listen to their perspective shifting talks below; and read about the Happiness Advantage on page 36 of the February COSMO.

1. Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

The Harvard psychologist says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong.

2. Nancy Etcoff: Happiness and its Surprises
Cognitive researcher Nancy looks at the ways we try to achieve and increase happiness, the way it's untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.

3. Martin Seligman: Authentic Happiness
The pioneer of Positive Psychology believes that you can make your self happy by identifying and enhancing your signature strengths.

4. Shawn Achor: The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance
Author and teacher at Harvard, Shawn is one of the world's leading experts on the connection between happiness and success.

5. Eve Ensler: Finding Happiness in Body and Soul
The creator of the Vagina Monologues talks about finding her happiness.

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
When You Throw The First Punch If agression raises it’s ugly head on a regular basis in your behaviour towards others, it’s time to change it.


Rather than rage more or end up with an addiction. ‘If you’re losing it often, see a psychiatrist or anger management specialist to help you get to the root of it,’ suggests Shelton Kartun of the Anger & Stress Management.

How much of your provocation is real and how much is fantasy? What upests you and makes you anxious? ‘Ask yourself whether you really want this volatile friendship/relationship or whether it’s fear that keeps you trapped,’ says Psychologist Lesley Rosenthal.


You can also take a break from it. Better still, sleep on it, and never fire of an e-mail in a fit of rage. ‘Often it’s only later or the next day that we get prosper pespective on a situation that provoked anger,’ says Kartun.

For more information on Mind Health click here.

Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
14 Ways to Get Things Done Being unable to stay focused on what you’re doing can drive you to distraction – in both senses!

Being unable to stay focused on what you’re doing can drive you to distraction – in both senses! Here are 14 ways to beat that wandering mind.

1) Confront intimidating tasks by imagining that they are watermelons and chopping them into manageable chunks

2) Plan your approach to a task. Commit to a start time for each phase. Tick off each one as you complete it.


3) Prioritise tasks. Resist the temptation to ignore high-priority tasks in favour of easy or fun ones.

4) Set specific, achievable, challenging goals every day. For example, write a prioritised to-do list for the following day before you leave work each evening.



5) Set deadlines for goals in order to prevent procrastination.

6) Manage interruptions by turning off your phone, closing your office door, or being assertive with people who interrupt you.
7) Work towards your goals with enthusiasm. You can choose to look at things in a positive way. Instead of resenting a task, look forward to the cup of coffee you can enjoy when it’s done.

8) Keep motivated by visualising your expected outcome.


9) Try interval working – focus on something for five minutes, then pause for a minute and work for another five minutes.

10) Make sure you’re properly nourished and hydrated.

11) Reward yourself for achieving a goal. The reward could be anything from having a snack to meeting a friend. High five yourself when nobody’s looking.


12) Match tasks to your energy levels throughout the day.

13) Burn off excess energy and anxiety at the gym or by walking or jogging during lunchtime.
14) If you’ve tried everything to focus and still aren’t getting anywhere, it may be worth looking into therapy.

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Disarm Them With Charm goal in mind in order to make an impact. ‘It’s the law of intentions,’ says Nicolas Boothman, author of ‘How To Make People Like You In 90 Seconds Or Less’ (Workman).

‘When you know what you want, chances are you’ll get it,’ he says. So whether your heart’s set on a new job or connecting with someone you’ve been admiring from a distance, form a mission statement in your mind before you ‘pounce’. For instance, ‘I will convince my boss I deserve a shot at that promotion.’ Going in with a will-do attitude sets your mind and body in forward motion, so your chances of success are infinitely better.

For more information on Mind Health click here.

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
6 Ways to Cure Adultitis
1) HIDE A NOTE in your guy’s pocket or lunch box to make him grin.

2) DIG OUT A CHILDHOOD TOY and display it in your office or home to make you grin.

3) SPEND 15 MINUTES DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE BUT SELDOM DO – browse in a book shop, lie on your back and spot cloud creatures or count stars.

4) DO SOMETHING YOUR PARENTS DIDN’T ALLOW – have ice cream for supper (once won’t hurt) or get a pet goldfish (and commit to caring for it!).

5)  BE SPONTANEOUSLY KIND – pay for the groceries of a needy person behind you in the queue, or ring a lonely relative or troubled colleague and simply listen.

6) LEARN SOMETHING NEW IN 30 MINUTES – Google-search ‘learn to’ and try whatever turns you on: draw, fly, type, dance, surf…

For more information on Mind Health click here.

Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
WATCH: Lily Myers Helps Women Feel Good About Their Bodies  

Women need more media that celebrates them the way this poem does

For more mind health stories, click here

Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Times You Must Always Say No!
Midnight Stalkers
It's 1am and you are walking back to your car after a good night of bar-hoping, out of the corner of your eye you see a rather strange man walking up to you. He offers to walk you safely to your car. Follow your gut feeling in this situation and say no. Rather turn around and go back to the pub and get a friend to walk you to the car.

Boozed Up
You are in the club and drinks are flowing almost as fast as your heart is beating. It's about 3am and a stranger offers to buy you a drink, but you have haven't seen the drink being pored. As much as you are craving  another vodka, say no! You have no idea what he might have put in your drink, and you don’t want to wake up the next morning in a strangers bed!

Money Mover
Does this ring a bell, 'Mandy, please may I borrow another R100? I know I still owe you money from last month, but I need booze money for tonight babe.' It’s very difficult to say no to close friends, but we all have expenses to pay. So if there is a certain friend who keeps on asking for money and never pays you back then sit her down and tell her nicely that until she pays you back, you can’t lend her more money.

Driving Drunk
'Janine, just get into the car, I will get you home safe! I have only had about 5 beers.' If this sounds like a situation you have been in, remember to always say no. Driving drunk or being a passenger of a drunk driver is extremely dangerous. Don’t get in the car, rather call a taxi and make sure that the taxi driver takes both you and the drunk friend home safely. It's a drag dealing with logistics like calling a cab when you're drunk but trust us when we say investing a few minutes in calling a taxi, and waiting for one, will save you from the worst that can happen should you drive drunk. 

Ex Territory
It can be tempting to take back an apologetic ex-boyfriend who promises to change. Especially if he was the one who dumped you, or if you've been lonely and doubting your decision. You need to think clearly and unemotionally about the situation. If he truly regrets the breakup, and you believe him, agree to try again on condition the two of you go for couples counselling. But if he wasn't treating you right, has different values or a life plan that doesn't gel with yours, chances are those things won't change this time around. Even if he was great in bed, and you're sure you'll never find abs that beautiful again, it's not worth it. Your answer should be no.

Turn to page 40 of COSMO to read about two of the most important words you'll ever say.

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
When December's love and light dims... December's got to be the funnest month, right? Holidays, parties, presents, bikinis, short dresses, shorter shorts, fab friends toasting summer, toasting sunsets, toasting sun rises, toasting great food, toasting the year that was...

But the unwanted guest at every joyful holiday feast is tension. And year after year it comes, uninvited. You'd think it would take the hint!!

If you're in the middle of a bit of end-of-year toxic shock, take a deeeeep breath. Stop reacting. Withdraw to a peaceful space and make a little time for reflection. December might be party month but it's also the perfect time for taking stock. 

Here are some thoughts from our December issue to start the process.

If family tensions are rising, here's the way forward.

And finally, if something's been holding you back this year, clip Kamini's Pather's quote and make it your screensaver. Remember...

Yea, it's a sad fact that this time of the year is not always love and light, but you've had a good think. You know who your wingmen are and what you want to do with the year to come. Enjoy the last days of 2013. Ring every drop of pleasure from them. Then leave this year with your head high, the sun in your hair, sand between your toes, and a glass of bubbly held aloft.

We'll be toasting you, COSMO girl!!


Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Break Free From ‘Should’ emotional development, relationships and career unless you take steps to stop saying the word. Whenever you catch yourself saying ‘I should’, examine the expectations behind it. Whose are they? As Kyana Mtima, author of Growing Into Ourselves (Trade Paperback), says, ‘If you cannot replace your “I shoulds” with “I’d really enjoy” or “I’d love to”, consider eliminating the activity,’

This doesn’t mean you never need do things you find uncomfortable or challenging – without them you cannot grow. Just be sure they are things that will advance you on the path you have chosen. Also remind yourself that self-acceptance is the ultimate key to contentment. In Radical Acceptance (Bantam), Tara Branch tells of a Zen teacher who is a great cook, but on a mountain retreat finds himself unable to get his biscuits to turn out right. Suddenly it strikes him that he has been trying to re-create the tinned biscuits of his childhood.
There follows ‘an exquisite moment’ of truly tasting his biscuits without comparing them with others. ‘They were wheaty, flaky, buttery… incomparably alive, present, vibrant.’
It’s a release to realise ‘your life is just fine as it is, thank you,’ he concludes.
‘There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to your entire imperfect life. With even a glimmer of that possibility, joy rushes in.’

For more on Body&Soul click here

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Are your Favourite Films Sexist?
The Bechdel test, as it is known, is based on the following criteria: the film must contain at least two named women who engage in conversation about something – anything really – other than a man. Simple, right? However, surprisingly many of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters fail to pass the Bechdel test. Movies such as Avatar, The Social Network, the original Star Wars trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, all fail the benchmark test, even though each picture contains its fair share of female characters. It appears Hollywood is still a boy’s club.

While seemingly flawed, the Bechdel test does spark conversation surrounding the clear gender bias in film and other art forms including books. in their December issue, Marie Claire, took a closer look at female archetypes that have emerged on the big and small screen in recent years. While TV shows such as Lena Dunham’s Girls might pass the Bechdel test, gender stereotypes are bound to persist if this bias is not addressed. And, since the media is one of the primary channels through which people are socialized, this does not bode well for the battle against gender inequality.

What do you think about Sweden’s move to implement the Bechdel test? Let us know in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Steps to a 5-Star Life Change
1: Keep Your Word
Ask yourself, how organised am I?
Conscientiousness may sound goody-goody, but therapists rate it as one of the most important attributes for leading a long, happy life and having great relationships. If you’re unreliable, you’ll let people down so often your social world will dwindle to a small circle populated by similarly ostracised friends. This will only get worse the older you get. Friends may be forgiving when they’re students leading laid-back lives but 10 years on – when they’ve set aside time for you in their busy schedules – a last-minute cancellation will be a different story. You won’t get rich, either. Disorganised company directors and easily distracted millionairesses don’t exist; people like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and JK Rowling are self-disciplined. ‘Lack of conscientiousness holds people back in their professional lives because colleagues see them as unreliable and untrustworthy,’ says life coach Fiona Harrold. ‘Keep your word,’ says Harrold, ‘whether you’ve agreed to go running with a friend or promised yourself you’ll watch less TV; stick to it.’ You’ll grow to love the confidence that comes from feeling more in control of your life.

2: Bite Your Tongue
Ask yourself, do my opinions annoy others?
Being assertive is a good thing – but, like all things in life, it’s best in moderation. Too much attitude just makes you tiresome to be around. ‘There’s a degree of emotional tyranny with lippy people – they’re basically bullies,’ says motivation coach Mike Myerscough. ‘Not surprisingly, lippy people eventually become alienated from their social groups.’ They also battle to keep relationships going. ‘It’s difficult to have a relationship for any length of time unless you cooperate and compromise,’ says self-help expert Gael Lindenfield. Put yourself in other people’s shoes – it’s a lot harder to be critical or callous when you know what makes them tick. Mysercough also suggests using a ‘filtering’ system on your remarks. ‘I ask myself “is it nice?”, “is it true?”, “is it necessary?” If it doesn’t fit any of these criteria, I won’t open my mouth.’

3: Cheer Up
Ask yourself, am I a drama queen?
Worrying makes you depressed – and when you’re depressed life seems more worrying, says Lindenfield. All this gloom increases levels of stress hormones in your body. ‘On the other hand, people who think and talk positively,’ she says, ‘are awash with endorphins which make them perceive things as positive.’ Neurotic people tend to alienate would-be friends. ‘Worriers are difficult to be around,’ says Harrold. ‘Tension is infectious. No-one wants to hang out with people who are uptight.’ Burn off those stress hormones. Physical activity is good for this. Do whatever feels good. Put things in prespective. ‘It’s worth remembering that there are people everywhere who would far rather be in your shoes and have your worries.’ says Lindenfield. Think positively. ‘Instead of saying, “I have so much to do before I can go on holiday,” learn to say, “It won’t be long until I can relax”. Your whole physiology changes when you’re positive,’ says Lindenfield.

4: Try Some Sushi
Ask yourself, how open am I?
The more interested you are, the more interesting you are. And that builds strong relationships. Also, curious people are never bored. ‘The average person gets into a rut and leads a small life,’ says Harrold. Being open to new experiences also develops your inner strength, so if something does go wrong in your life, you’ll have the skills to bounce back rather than retreat in defeat. Constantly challenge yourself to try something new. Start by wearing a miniskirt, for example, or by eating at a sushi bar. In time, you can move onto bigger things – such as changing jobs. Every week learn something new about other people’s lives by listening to radio shows on unfamiliar topics, or by reading sections of the newspaper you’d normally skip.

5: Be More (or Less) Sociable
Ask yourself, how outgoing am I?
‘If you’re happy with your own company, no problem. If you want to socialise and you’re holding yourself back, it matters,’ says Harrold. Remember, though, that if you have a frenetic social life, you could be dodging important personal issues. If you want to become more outgoing, try faking friendliness, says Harold. ‘Look at someone with a cheerful disposition and try be more like them. When you put on a smiley face, other people tend to respond positively – which will make you genuinely smiley!’ she says. If you’re not happy with your party-animal persona, develop some introvert traits. Ask people questions so they’ll do the talking. And don’t jump into the limelight the minute there’s a pause – trust someone else to take the lead. Find your own balance. We all need a mix of living it up with friends and having quiet time alone. Don’t be afraid to refuse friends who are asking you out for the fifth night in a row, or to tell your man you’re getting cabin fever from all those (yawn!) nights in. Balance in our lives rounds off our personalities and lets our five-start selves shine through.

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
The Ups and Downs of Ambition
‘I still can’t believe I put up with second-class treatment for so long before rocking the boat,’ says Dana. Although she’d been unstoppable in her job, pursuing projects and making client pitches, it had seemed beyond her to ask for something for herself. ‘I was terrified I’d be rejected and have any inadequacies paraded in public.’ To ask what we feel we’re worth always carries risks, including the possibility of rejection and humiliation, but we greatly exaggerate them. ‘Fear often makes us underestimate our own abilities and exaggerate the consequences of “straight talk”,’ says Durban industrial psychologist Robyn Sandy. They’re rarely as bad as we anticipate, she says – but of course we can’t know that if we keep backing down.

Basic Instinct
Worrying what others think of us is an ingrained response to social interactions – one that served our ancestors well. But times have changed and our responses need to do so as well! Being in step with the family or tribe made sense for our forebears. They were probably exposed to no more than a couple of hundred people over their lifetime and the opinions and responses of those people mattered on a life-and-death level. Timidity didn’t necessarily make our ancestors happy but it helped them avoid murderous conflict. That same survival mechanism is at play when we worry ourselves sick about risking the boss’s wrath in requesting a promotion, arguing with colleagues by expressing opposing views at work or defying our families by dating guys they don’t like.

But this highly developed concern about how we’re perceived by others – especially people we regard as important – is relatively pointless today in a world with written laws and police, not to mention the option to move and find another job or relationship (speaking of which, check out our interview tips on how to land the perfect job)!

Conflict Revolution
Today, we have a luxury most people did not previously have – we can pursue more than just survival and reproduction. We don’t just want to survive, we want to thrive. We now search for meaning, contentment and fulfilment. In theory, we know we can do just that – we’re free agents. But when we tie ourselves in knots about how to tell our folks we’ll be spending Christmas with our new man’s family or agonise about requesting an increase, we’re actually still in the grip of ‘Neanderthink’. If we have low self-esteem, this has an even tighter grip on us, making us go overboard trying to please – even if it means being untrue to ourselves – and freak out if we make so much as an inappropriate remark.
But even the most forward among us err on the side of submission: it’s often our default position. Implicit self-instructions such as ‘when in doubt, shut up and put up’ may sometimes keep us out of trouble but they far more often keep us from getting the most out of life. And for what? To avoid the disapproval of others – which, more often than not, is only imagined disapproval anyway. ‘The assumptions we tend to make about other people’s opinions can cause us unnecessary anxiety and worry,’ says Cape Town executive life coach Shirleen Titus or Heartlinc. ‘We should get the facts first!’

Speak Up
Every social encounter is a subtle dance of dominance and submission. Asking someone to clarify a remark, taking our time to answer a question, suggesting a date or saying no to one all require an intuitive understanding of the dance steps. ‘Assertiveness is an important element of emotional intelligence and can help us take the lead, even though it doesn’t equal leadership,’ says Sandy. Being assertive doesn’t mean you must always get your way or proudly flout social norms. The golden mean of assertiveness lies between the extremes of passivity and aggression. Straightforward communication is always preferable to being either cowering or domineering. ‘Assertiveness is midway on the continuum of behaviour. It means you respect others’ rights and protect your own,’ says Sandy. Different individuals often attach different meanings to the same words, says Titus. ‘Make sure the language you’re speaking matches that of the person you’re talking to.’ Try monitoring the social risks you tend to avoid, and note the times when you act either passively or angrily. ‘Bottling up your frustrations makes aggressive outbursts more likely and positive, assertive responses less likely,’ says Sandy. Look for the assertive alternative. Push yourself to act assertively even if it feels alien and uncomfortable at first. For our ancestors, conditions were such that they often had to choose to be either ‘safe or sorry’. Today, you could be sorry if you’re too safe.

For more Mind Health articles, click here

Mon, 25 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Do You Have Obsessive-Hoarding Syndrome?
Take Heart
Pat yourself on the back for the courage it takes to confront this problem. Stop berating yourself for mast mistakes-you’ll need that energy for more productive purposes!

Get Help
Change cannot come through willpower alone – you’ll probably need professional help to understand your behaviour. Treatment for symptoms of Messie can be discussed in self-help groups. Self-help groups have proved to be more effective in some ways than individual therapy, but members can become rivalrous about who is the worst Messie, rather than who is getting better!

Expect to Resist

Ask yourself: ‘What is the worst that can happen if I throw this away? Will it matter in a year’s time?’ A wrong decision is probably better than no decision at all. Life is always changing, when something new comes along into your life ,tell yourself to enjoy it or learn from it, and when it’s time to let go, let it go!

Set  Goals and Start Sorting
Set a date and start arranging your life according to that date. Get a box and start piling all the items that you no longer truly love or need into it. Arrange for a charity to collect your unwanted items on that date and don’t look back. This process is freeing and fun and will help declutter your life.

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Face Your Fear
1) Stop Ignoring It
Don’t shut your eyes to fear: name it! (Maybe you have a terror of failing or being laughed at). Once you’ve isolated what it is you’re scared of, you can assess the perceived threat and possible consequences with a cooler head and less emotion.

2) Act

Know that fear is a natural companion and doesn’t control you. Once you’ve decided that the outcome you want is more important than your fear, go for it – with determination and energy.

3) Choose to Walk Away
If the consequences are potentially life-threatening/involve jail time/not something you can see yourself being able to deal with, make a new plan to reach your goal in a way that avoids them. Don’t lose direction, change direction!

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Wave Goodbye to Awkward Silences Nearly everyone has experienced awkward silences and laden pauses. But you can keep the discussion going long after saying, ‘Hi, my name is…’ Just follow these easy conversational tips.

The Situation: The Business Event

The best way to keep a conversation going at a business event is to bring up questions that you genuinely want answers to. If you have been having trouble finding new clients in the lousy economy, ask your new friend whether they have any tips or startegies for you that you could use to get more clients.

The Situation: The Office Party

This is the best opportunity you will have to shmooze people in other departments, such as the boss who looks to promote young talent.
Remember to ask for the other person’s opinion but also supply a little information and keep  a sharp eye out for anything worth commenting on – from someone’s cool new smartphone to the party décor: If you can make the party fun and relaxing for your co-worker, you’ll have a great ally once everyone is back at their desks. Just be careful to keep your topics appropriate – particularly when booze is involved.

The Situation: The Ladies Lunch

When sitting around a table surrounded by other women, it can sometimes by intimidating to spark up a conversation. Instead of asking, ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘How’s work?’, which usually prompt dull answers such as, ‘Pretty good’, or ‘Not bad’, rather ask questions such as, ‘So what’s been keeping you busy since I saw you last?’ This gives her the opportunity to tell you more about than just a simple
two word answer.

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Five Steps to Rock-Solid Self-Esteem

Make a list of all your strengths and positive attributes. This should include your skills you may have (your flair for cooking elaborate meals), the qualities you like about yourself (your kindness, your sense of humour), plus the positive things people say about you – even if you don’t agree with them.

Pay attention to how you speak to yourself and about yourself. Is your internal dialogue peppered with statements like ‘I can’t’, ‘I’m no good at…’ or ‘I always make mistakes’? To boost your self-esteem you need to recognise and understand the damage these internal messages can cause. Ask friends and family to point out when you refer to yourself negatively and correct yourself immediately. Turn ‘I can’t’ into ‘It’s difficult but I’ll try’.

Setting boundaries doesn’t mean people will perceive you as selfish or uncaring. Instead, they will begin to appreciate the fact that you value yourself and your promises. It’s important to realise that putting your foot down does not mean others will hate you, instead it will be unbelievably liberating.


Live your life the way you want to, not the way others think you ‘should’. ‘Shoulds’ simply distract us from identifying and fulfilling our own needs, abilities and personal goals. Free yourself from the word ‘should’, and instead be happy with your choices in life.


Dithering about decisions and labouring over problems does no-one any good. Facing up to issues and identifying ways to cope with them may be uncomfortable at first, but you won’t wind up hating yourself for not having the strengths to confront sticky situations. Establishing realistic goals is also key when it comes to building self-esteem. This doesn’t mean being happy with ‘just good enough’; it means being happy in the knowledge that that you don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be the best at everything you do.
Striving for – and achieving – feasible goals boosts your self-confidence and places you in a better position to put your next exciting plan into action.

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Have a Pleasant Monday! Clean Your Clutter
On Friday, before leaving, tidy your desk and organise everything. Not only are you wasting that last half an hour you would be sitting there doing nothing, but also it ensures your work space is peaceful on the Monday morning.

Do not overwhelm yourself when you get to work by having one crazy to do list. Do the urgent and more difficult work first then you can relax and do the rest later on.

Start With the Good
If you start your day with a task that you enjoy doing, it will motivate you to carry on working for the rest of the day.

Make some plans
Instead of going home after working and passing out on the couch, make some plans with a few friends. You can get away from the Monday blues by having a relaxing evening with them.

Mon, 18 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
How to Make the Right Decision (And Stop Stressing About it)
Today we have so many choices that we are often overwhelmed by too much of a good thing.
The solution to this problem: try limit your options to two or three brands available and then try get a friend's opinion on the final decision.


Your car is giving you problems, so you talk it to the local mechanic and they quote you R10000 to fix the car. You get it fixed, and then a few weeks later the gearbox gives in and is going to cost you another R6000 to repair. Do you fix the gearbox or sell the car and buy a new one with less problems? We often use past experiences to stop us from making future decisions. But the best way to handle this problem is ask yourself the following question: if I had to make that earlier decision again, would I make the same one? If you knew the car would cost you R16000 to repair would you make that decision again (probably not) or should you rather consider parting ways with the car.

According to University of Chicago’s economist Richard Thaler, people make or put off certain choices because they fear being rejected. The solution to this is easy, write down all the things that you regret doing in life and then look at the reasons why you did not accomplish that goal/finish the task. Usually the answer will be fear of rejection. Keep in mind that you are more likely to regret the opportunities you missed and the decisions you turned down than things you actually did.

We all know exactly what we want but with so many options out there, it is sometimes difficult to convince ourselves. The solution? Go with your gut feeling. Caution and research are useful tools in decision-making. But remember to make a good decision rather than a smart one. Good decisions make you feel good, partly because once the issue is settled you’re free from waves of second guessing.

Sometimes even the most decisive people can’t figure out their true preferences. The solution? Old school coin flipping! Here’s how it works: when you are facing a decision with two distinct possibilities, assign option A to heads and option B to tails, then flip the coin. If the coin lands and you are happy, fine. If you feel regretful or if you find yourself hoping it lands one way or the other while its in the air, you know you weren’t really facing two equal options. This method is useful in helping you make decisions and find out what your gut feeling truly is.

Mon, 18 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
How to Win Over Anyone Act your shoe size
You need to have the innocence and genuine niceness of a child. Say hi to a colleague first when passing them. Compliment a friend or family member on something they are wearing. Make sure you are truly meant it. Most people can detect false flattery. Be pleasant to others. Being pleasant towards others can also make you a lot more likeable. A simple “how are you?” to the receptionist at the hairdresser could help you get that appointment you really wanted.

Studies have shown that humans possess an instinctive urge to mirror on another. So when you smile at someone, they tend to smile back. Smiling shows a positive outlook without saying a single word.

Listen to others
If someone pays attention to you and seems genuinely interested in what you have to say, their company is intoxicating. You need to dial into other people’s passions and feelings in order to make a good connection with them. Ask questions and make comments to show that you are listening to them.

Sat, 16 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Stop Negative Thoughts From Consuming You
Change things up with these few steps.

Become aware of your negative thoughts, analyse it and find a more positive way to say it. For example: “My colleagues sideline me” could easily be “I wasn’t as vocal as I could have been in that meeting this morning”.

Think about it
Once you have established where your negativity is coming from, try and see if it could help you. Maybe things need to change and your negative thoughts are trying to make you aware of that.

Stop generalising

If you make one small mistake, do not tell yourself it will always happen. If you have forgotten to top up the electricity, it doesn’t mean you have to think, “I will always mess up”.

Set goals

Instead of giving up on something you want, set small goals that you can achieve over time. Ensure that your goals are manageable and measurable.

Sat, 16 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Stop Negative Thoughts From Consuming You
Change things up with these few steps.

Become aware of your negative thoughts, analyse it and find a more positive way to say it. For example: “My colleagues sideline me” could easily be “I wasn’t as vocal as I could have been in that meeting this morning”.

Think about it
Once you have established where your negativity is coming from, try and see if it could help you. Maybe things need to change and your negative thoughts are trying to make you aware of that.

Stop generalising

If you make one small mistake, do not tell yourself it will always happen. If you have forgotten to top up the electricity, it doesn’t mean you have to think, “I will always mess up”.

Set goals

Instead of giving up on something you want, set small goals that you can achieve over time. Ensure that your goals are manageable and measurable.

Sat, 16 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Hidden Power: it’s in the Eyes
Show a guy that you’re into him
The look: Gaze directly at him and smile for a few seconds with your head cocked to one side, then briefly look down and away.
Why it works: ‘This is called the copulatory gaze,’ says Helen Fisher, anthropology professor at Rutgers University in the US. ‘A female baboon will repeat this pattern to prompt an attractive male to approach her.’ Use this strategy to appeal to a guy’s primitive instincts. ‘Men are wired to respond to this move because interpreting signs of sexual attraction was key to reproduction and survival thousands of years ago,’ says Fisher. The ‘hard to get’ message of looking at him then averting your eyes will subconsciously prompt him to pursue you. By cocking your head you indicate interest and a subtle submissiveness, letting him know that he won’t be rejected when he approaches you.

Intimidate a bitchy colleague
The look: Stare at her forehead, then turn your face away to prevent her from making eye contact.
Why it works: ‘Looking at her forehead – right in the middle, just above the brow – communicates aloofness and superiority because you’re looking over her and not at her,’ says Fisher. ‘It’s called “the cutoff” in biology,’ says Givens. ‘Chimpanzees use it to express dominance and demonstrate that they have the upper hand over another member of the group.’ By looking away you’re basically saying, ‘I’m done with you and this conversation, so back off.’

Win an argument
The look: While you’re explaining your reasoning, make direct eye contact with your eyebrows raised.
Why it works: ‘When a baboon wants to assert dominance, he’ll stare and lift his eyebrows,’ explains Givens. ‘Raising the eyebrows exaggerates eye contact, making a gaze more persuasive than usual.’ Humans have the same inclination. ‘Pay attention and you’ll see that politicians and televangelists, who make a living from their powers of persuasion, do this all the time,’ says Givens.

Make anyone forgive you
The look: Drop your eyes and tilt your head forward as though you are praying
Why it works: In this position you literally lose face – dropping your gaze and your head in a submissive posture makes the other person feel as though you’re acknowledging that you’re in the wrong. ‘Animals don’t attack if they’re shown a sign of deference,’ says Givens. It’s seen in a wide variety of species – from primates to reptiles – all of which communicate in this way using their eyes.’ Try it out next time you screw up with your boyfriend or your best friend. It might keep him or her from going on the offensive – and save you both from having an unnecessary fight.
Sun, 17 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Find out what people are really thinking! Being tight lipped
If someone keeps their lips closed when they talk, they definitely don’t want to reveal too much about themselves. It makes you wonder what they are really hiding.

Keeping a stiff upper lip
People who do this often are trying to appear organised and want it to look like they have everything under control.

Lip pursing usually means someone is showing distaste towards something.

Pouty lips exude confidence and are a symbol of sexuality. According to Juliette Jenner, a voice and body language expert, our lips get thinner as we get older and society has learned to exaggerate the body parts that we perceive to be attractive.


Showing your top and bottom teeth signifies confidence and dominance. Revealing only your top teeth is a sign of submission (and not always in a negative way).

Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
10 Life Changing Online Talks

1. Psychologist Meg Jay on ‘Why 30 is not the new 20’ is a great wake-up call to use your 20s wisely.

2. ‘Looks aren’t everything’ by model Cameron Russell will boast your self-esteem.

3. Stressed? Psychologist Kelly McGonigal tells you how to deal with being under pressure. 

4. Psychotherapist and marriage coach Esther Perel keeps coupling real with her wisdom on having an intense sex life without compromising day-to-day domestic comforts.

5. The key to success? Grit: passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Angela Lee Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology, studies how human attributes may be predictors of academic and professional success.

6. Learn the art of choosing with professor of business Sheena Iyengar.

7.  Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, on the power of body language.

8. Get a deeper understanding of our very real and physical need to romantic love as explored by anthropologist and author Helen Fisher.

9. Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard shares tools you can use to achieve greater happiness.


10. Hollywood star Thandie Newton talking about the power of self-acceptance.

Thu, 14 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Are You TOO Good At Getting What You Want?
As a beautiful, glossy, successful woman confessed recently, after two glasses of bubbly at a friend’s party: ‘I’m too good at manifesting things; that’s my problem.’ She married a guy who was no good for her – and why? Because she’d written a lengthy Perfect Man wishlist, put her order out to the universe, and, ta-daa!, he showed up.

‘I was so amazed that this guy appeared, like magic, with all the items on my checklist, that I thought “This is fate. This is destiny. He must be The One. There were problems, but I ignored them. Looking back, I didn’t know what I wanted. I thought I did, but I had no clue what made a life good partner.’ They married, had kids, divorced.

In our twenties, we ambitious Type-A girls might write on our ‘Perfect Man’ wishlists attributes such as ‘extroverted’, ‘loves parties’, ‘is really hot’, ‘has flashy car and mega penis’. But what if your list isn’t a sensible one in the first place? What if you should wait until you have a solid idea of what’s needed for a long-term relationship (hint: a stable, kind, communicative partner).

The woman now has a new man in her life – a guy who chose her. Who made contact with her. Who wasn’t her type at first, but grew on her. They’re really happy.
Sometimes it pays to treat love (and other important matters) in a more easy-going, Type-B personality way. Try it.

Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Watch This Guy Get Totally Deep About Love and Life

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Self-Help Books That Could Transform Your Life 1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Overtaking Your Life by Richard Carlson.
Stop stressing about trivialities with the help of his 100 mini-essays. For example, ask, ‘Will this matter a year from now?’; surrender to the fact that life isn’t fair; listen to your feelings (they are trying to tell you something); and remember that when you die, your inbox won’t be empty.

2. Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain.
Start using the art of mental imagery and affirmation to achieve your goals and attract what you want. It’s fun and it works!

3. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.
First, be impeccable with your word (say only what you mean; speak well of yourself and others); second, don’t take anything personally (‘nothing others do is because of you’); third, don’t make assumptions (communicate clearly; say what you want); fourth: always do your best.

4. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie.
Use her brilliant ‘Inquiry’ process to get perspective in difficult situations: 1) Is it true? 2) Can I absolutely know that it’s true? 3) How do I react when I think that thought? 4) Who would I be without that thought? Plus 5) a clever ‘turnaround’ that flips your attitude to the positive.

5. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.
‘If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed,’ writes Hay. She explains how limiting beliefs are often the cause of illness, and how changing your thinking and appreciating yourself can improve the quality of your life.

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
TED talk by Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy on healing from sexual violence beaten, sexually assaulted and arrested by Egyptian police in 2011 Mona Eltahawy retold her story through various tweets. In this TED talk she talks about how she’s dealt with the experiences by explaining the meaning behind her tattoos.

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Pull Yourself Together
Accept Yourself
If you are confident about yourself, you will be tougher when things go wrong in life. In order to accept yourself, you need to know yourself. A good way to start is to make a few notes. Keep a journal or make use of that Notes app on your iPhone. Jot down what has made you happy today or your five strongest points. It will remind yourself of who you are. Remember to also surround yourself with positive people. Cut out any toxic or negative influences. They will only bring you down.

Think Positively
Thinking the worst in every situation is just going to put you in a horrible mood and it will bring you down. Don't jump to conclusions. Think things over and give it time. If you genuinely have messed up, welcome to reality! It’s going to happen. All you can do is pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. Don't let it get to you.

Resolve Conflict
The worst thing you could possibly do is leave issues unresolved. Stop thinking that you need to make others believe that they are wrong. Understand that you do not see things the same way. Agree to differ rather. Then, have some fun with it! Make a peace offering or negotiate. A peace offering is always a fun idea because it could result in a fun night out or a relaxing day at the spa.

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Are You a Quiet Person…Trying To Live In a Loud World?
Since the early 1900s, when the USA started becoming a consumer nation and salesmanship was needed, we’ve been biased in favour of extroverts, Cain explains. We’ve shifted from the old Culture of Character (being an ethical, responsible citizen) to a Culture of Personality (being gregarious so people like us).

A hundred years later, the quiet types among us tend to be under-appreciated, especially in competitive workplaces. Extroverts, who speak up most in meetings, are more likely to be perceived as intelligent and popular - although everyone has the same number of good ideas. Scarily, important ideas can get lost in teamwork when extroverts hog the limelight.

Introverts like to spend time alone, which is the best way of coming up with creative, innovative ideas, as studies show again and again. So it’s a pity most companies insist on open-plan offices, where the camaraderie might be cool, but noise and distraction squash the buds of great ideas. (Microsoft, bucking the trend, has rejigged office space to give many employees as much private space and time alone as they need).

Without quiet people, we wouldn’t have the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, the American Civil Rights movement, Google, Harry Potter… So don’t feel guilty if you’re someone who’d rather spend a Friday night at home with a good book than go clubbing. We all have something to offer – and a quiet space for contemplation is where the best ideas brew.

Watch Susan's TED talk below

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Why Do So Many Women Love Cats So Much, When Cats Seriously Don't Care?
But why do so many women love cats so much, when cats seriously don't care? Why do we want to be near creatures that are so lovable, but ultimately do not and will never return that kind of love? Is it because there is something incredibly satisfying about working insanely hard for affection? Despite what our minds tell us about the relationships we have with our kitties, a cat’s hierarchy of needs goes: food, sleep, food, sunshine, food, sleep, more sleep and then, maybe, when love is something they want to spread around like happiness, on a Friday, us. Most of the time a cat wants to get away, wants to go outside, be very very far away from you, and only return for food.


Here’s a little quiz. What other species can be aloof, will let you cuddle it only when there’s something in it for the animal itself, can best be reached through its stomach and sometimes gives the distinct impression it would like you to give it more space? Here’s a clue: some particularly sleek individuals, while utterly gorgeous on the outside, can be cold and disdainful inside. This does not stop you from adoring them. And while they’ll take advantage of your love when it suits them, you know deep down that most nights, when you’d like to be cuddling with them in bed or on the couch, they’d prefer to be in the company of their own kind. One day they are happy to spend time with you but the next, they’ll be emotionally unavailable. They will make a mess of your room and act as if they didn’t do anything, and they ignore you when we call them. Despite everything you do for them, you have a sneaking suspicion that they may be fooling around with the fast and loose pussy who lives next door, and, despite the occasional affection they give you, that the only one they truly love is themselves.

The idea that some men are dogs needs some reworking. They are cats, and we really, really love cats. There’s something about their aloofness that gets us where it counts. Just stick to real felines if you’re predisposed to falling for disdainful, self-loving animals.

Fri, 08 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Therapy Thursdays with COSMO and SADAG Thu, 07 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200 Being A Personal Space Invader Is So Not Cute
Another tricky factor is that, in the arena of personal space, you’ll meet two types of people: those who don’t want to touch as much as you want to, and those who want to touch much more than you want to! Here’s how to handle both types:

How to know when to back off:
• Look at the person’s facial expression when you touch him or her, says Johannesburg clinical psychologist Thuraisha Moodley. ‘An irritated expression, frowning, pursed lips or a piercing glance all indicate that they’re uncomfortable with the contact.’
• Notice their eyes. ‘We avert our gaze if we feel someone is standing too close to us,’ says Cape Town clinical psychologist Bernice Castle.
• Check what they’re doing with their hands. ‘If their hands are in their pockets or clasped behind their back, they’re closing themselves off from you. The same goes for arms crossed in front of them. They’re limiting your access to them,’ says Moodley.
• Another clear sign is when you lean in for a hug and the other person partially pulls away, or even steps back, says Moodley.

How to tell someone else (nicely) to back off:
If you use one of the above signals to show you don’t want to be hugged or touched, make up for it by smiling warmly and being friendly through your tone of voice, says Moodley. ‘If your expression and body language shut others out, you could come across as aloof and stuck-up.’

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Shallow Things You Think Will Make You Happy…. And They Actually Do!
1. New shoes

We see a pair of shoes on sale and we fall in love a little. It’s the way the straps snugly encase the ankle, the sudden elevation in height, the flash of inspiration that in these heels you’d surely collect an Oscar - or at the very least halt all conversation on entering Friday’s party. New shoes = possibilities.

2. Cute Guys
That mouth-watering waiter; the muscly dude in overalls at the autobank; the model-looks random whose photo album you trawled through on Facebook just for kicks: looking at something pretty makes you feel better. Fact.

3. Chocolate
A food-form happy drug that releases stress-relieving endorphins and anti-depressant neurotransmitter serotonin? Chocolate should be stocked in the health food aisle, obviously. Plus, unlike the perfect man/job/body, you can get it right now.

4. Money
Nobler types like Gandhi may have spurned material wealth, but admit it, you feel sparklier when your bank account is brimming (or in the positive digits at least). An unexpected bonus? A friend sponsors your pricey dinner? Just say ‘thanks’ and enjoy it.

5. Compliments

Or a slew of Facebook ‘likes’, or, er, two new followers on your blog. Fame is fab. It’s good to be appreciated. Bask in the attention.

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Seven People You Shouldn't be Allowing to Screw You Over
The co-worker who takes credit for your work
Situation After Sarah*, 32, pulled a string of all-nighters to finish writing a newspaper article, a fellow reporter praised her piece. But the next day, she overheard her editor mistakenly congratulate that other reporter on the story. ‘My credit-stealing co-worker didn’t correct our editor, she recalls. ‘I was pissed off, but I wasn’t sure what to say, so I let it go.’
Strategy Every office has one: a glory hog who tries to take credit for someone else’s achievements. But because this insecure, sneaky type is banking on the fact that you won’t confront her and demand the credit you deserve, you have to confront her as soon as possible. ‘When you’re alone, approach her politely yet firmly and say “I’m not sure how it happened, but I found out that the boss thinks you did X, when I did it,”’ suggests Barbara Pachter, author of The Power of Positive Confrontation (Da Capo Press). ‘This puts the ball in her court without making her defensive.’ If she responds with a feeble excuse or claims that sharing credit is all part of the office culture, tell her she has to set the record straight with your manager or you will. ‘She knows it’s in her best interest to go to the boss herself rather than have you do it,’ says Patcher. Urge her on by setting a deadline; say she has two days at most or you’re taking matters into your own hands.

The friend who keeps trying to set you up
Whether she’s orchestrating unwanted blind dates or secretly putting lonely hearts ads in the classifieds on your behalf, her well-meaning meddling is difficult to tolerate. ‘I have a good friend from university days who is now married. Whenever I see her she makes comments such as, “Why don’t you give speed dating a chance?”’ explains Lisa*, 28. ‘I’ve tried putting her off with sarcastic replies, but she won’t give it a rest.’
Strategy As irritating as this busybody is, she probably thinks that playing matchmaker is part of being a good friend. To get her to stop, explain that her actions are threatening your friendship. ‘Next time she hints about some cute new guy in her office, cut in with “Listen, when you offer to set me up like that, I wonder if you feel sorry for me for not having a man in my life, which causes me to think twice about spending time with you,”’ says Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations (Berkley Trade). ‘Then add, “I know you’re just trying to help, but I’m fine, so stop worrying about my single status.”’ She might feel slighted, and your friendship could take a knock, but at least you’ll have dealt with her condescension.

A loud neighbour who cranks up the volume
Nobody wants to be that party pooper who’s always nagging the neighbours to keep the sound down. But your home is your sanctuary, and if the guy upstairs cranks up his surround sound while you’re trying to relax, you can’t just bite your tongue, plug up your ears and pray he moves.
Strategy The cardinal rule of neighbour confrontations is to talk soon and keep it pleasant. ‘Once you’re sure his noisemaking isn’t a one-time thing, stop by his place and say something non-accusatory yet direct, such as “The walls here are so thin, I can hear your music. Would you mind turning it down?”’ advise Tim Ursiny, author of The Coward’s Guide To Conflict (Sourcebooks). ‘You’re not screaming at him for keeping you awake, but you’re making the point that it’s his responsibility to do something about it.’ If that doesn’t convince him to reduce the racket, go to plan B: invite him to your place (make sure you have a friend there for backup) so he can hear the noise for himself. ‘When he realises you aren’t overreacting, he’ll have to acknowledge the problem,’ says Ursiny. If that doesn’t work, say ‘I’d like to work this out without getting the landlord/body corporate involved.’ He will too, and the decibel level should drop.

That guy you’re not interested in who keeps calling
If men could pick up on get-lost vibes, losing a persistent suitor would never be an issue. But unless you’re dealing with a psychic, you’ll probably have to spell things out – bluntly. ‘If you passively ignore him or aren’t firm when you say no to his offer to go out, he’ll likely hear maybe and keep bugging you,’ says Bradley Fenton, author of Stumbling Naked In The Dark: Overcoming Mistakes Men Make With Women (Simon & Brown). ‘Women feel guilty about being blunt, but it’s the tone men understand the best. It’s how most guys deal with everything in their lives,’ says Fenton.
Strategy Brutal honesty is surprisingly easy to pull off. Next time he calls to ask you out, say no, adding that you want him to stop calling you. This is how Lerato*, 25, handled a determined Mr Wrong she’d been out with once. ‘After two weeks of seeing his name popping up on my cell, I took a deep breath and answered with, “No, I don’t want to go out again. You’re a great guy, but things didn’t click for me,”’ she recalls. ‘I hated being so blunt, but you know what? It worked.’

Your friend who’s chronically late
There you are, sitting alone at a bar again, fending off seedy guys and pitiful stares while vowing this is the last time you’ll ever put up with your friend’s slack timekeeping. But when she finally arrives, apologising and blaming bad traffic, you excuse her with a weak, ‘It’s no big deal’, and simmer through dinner.
Strategy A friend who is constantly late is selfish and rude. And her inconsiderate butt needs a kick. Next time she saunters into the restaurant half an hour late and offers her usual half-hearted apology, don’t accept it. ‘Calmly respond with “When you’re not on time, I ask myself whether it’s because you don’t value our friendship enough to be prompt,”’ explains Scott. But rather than lecturing her for the next 20 minutes or forcing her to account for her lateness, propose a solution: ‘If you are running late, just call me on my cell to let me know, so I can do errands or stay later at work instead of hanging around waiting.’ She might be shocked by your take-no-prisoners tone. But if your friendship means anything to her, she’ll keep a closer eye on the clock.

Your man who skimps on pleasing you in bed
You and he have an awesome connection and you love lavishing him with erotic attention. But when it comes to your satisfaction, you feel as if you’re being short-changed. ‘He’s not necessarily a selfish lover – he probably just doesn’t know that you need more of a certain stroke or that it takes longer for you to be satisfied,’ says psychologist Pam Spurr, author of Make Love All Night And Talk To Him In The Morning (Amorata Press).
Strategy Dealing with this situation can be tricky. Say too much or make a big deal out of it and you risk sounding hypercritical, especially if you haven’t been together very long. But if you hold back, you won’t get the pleasure you deserve. It’s best to speak up in the moment. ‘As you’re both getting warmed up during foreplay, whisper something sexy and positive like, “Right there, perfect, do more of that,”’ says Spurr. ‘This is the kind of real-time direction guys do respond to.’ Plus, he’ll instantly see how aroused his extra attention makes you, giving him more incentive to please you in future. Yet you aren’t barking orders or instructing him like he’s an incompetent lover.

One of the girls in your circle who trashes a mutual friend
You’re tough enough to negotiate a higher salary for yourself. But when faced with a buddy who is bad-mouthing another friend, you probably avoid confronting her. This is probably because either you convince yourself the back-stabber is right (Well, Nonsi* does date some real losers’) or you rationalise that the nasty comments will never get back to their target anyway. ‘But if the put-downs pinch your conscience, you owe it to the slighted friend and yourself to say something,’ explains Judith Selee McClure, author of Civilized Assertiveness For Women (Albion Street Press).
Strategy So next time the bad-mouther knocks a friend, make it clear that you don’t support her. ‘Try not to smile or stay silent. She’ll interpret these signals to mean you’re on her side, and that just eggs her on,’ says McClure. Instead, come back with something like, ‘I’m surprised to hear you say that… I thought you two were close’ or ‘That’s weird, that hasn’t been my experience with her.’ You’re not being sanctimonious or taking sides; you’re just letting her know you don’t approve of her derision. ‘When people hear dissent, it throws them off-balance and makes them less willing to keep ranting,’ says McClure. ‘So then they back-pedal and soften their statements. They’re afraid of coming off as the bad guy.’

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
Get Lucky Every Time The Luck Factor – Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles by Richard Wiseman, your luck can b e turned about by four simple principles.

Be Open To Chance
If you’re walking around focused only on your to-do list, chances are you’ll miss out. ‘There are opportunities everywhere you go,’ says Klipin. ‘If you’re open to that, things will happen. The more you speak to people about your plans, needs and wants, the higher the chances that someone will be able to help you. Some call it luck, but it’s essentially about opening yourself up to luck (and opportunities).’ Part of being open to opportunities is actively doing things that take you closer to your dream life, says Jo’burg life coach Nolitha Nkosi. ‘It’s essential to have things that you’re working towards,’ she says. ‘If you do them but remain open to seeing how life can assist you, then chances are you’ll come across luck.’ ‘If you’re open to being flexible, then you’ll come across opportunities, and your plans will adapt and grow accordingly,’ adds Kiplin. ‘You never know which stranger or acquaintance could have what you’re looking for.’

Go With Your Hunch
If you’re always ignoring your hunches or gut feelings, you’re blocking your own luck. People often over think things, says Nkosi, but allowing your gut feeling to lead you will often help you make better decisions and grab opportunities. You gut feeling is not usually wrong, says Klipin. ‘People who are less anxious can heed their instincts better, and it will normally lead them towards good things. Allow yourself to feel and to see where things take you. Life isn’t supposed to be rigid.’

Expect Good Fortune
Do you often worry that things won’t go your way? That’s not how lucky people think. Consider your past: you are very likely to see evidence of luck at play, says Klipin. Remembering the good things that have happened will make you even luckier because what you appreciate, appreciates. ‘People who expect good things see good things, and therefore view themselves as lucky. If you’re a negative thinker, you’ll be too anxious to expect good things and you’ll actively attract unlucky events,’ she says. Attitude is the biggest factor in luck, says Klipin. ‘If you’re starting from a position of defeat, then you’re setting yourself up for defeat,’ she says. ‘As people get older, some get more fearful because they expect to be disappointed. Get over your fear of disappointment and allow yourself to get excited and positive. Your life will reflect that.’

Turn Bad Into Good
Bad things happen to everyone; that’s life. If you remember this, you’ll be able to turn even the hardest knocks into lucky situations. Think of an area in your life where you consider yourself lucky. ‘Chances are you’ve done something to be lucky in that department,’ Klipin says. Things very rarely just happen – you are responsible for a lot of them. So if you think you’re not lucky in love, sitting at home every night isn’t likely to change that. Make an effort to go out more and meet people. If you view every incidence of bad luck in your life as a lesson, then it’s never really that bad, says Nkosi. ‘You can change things by knowing that you’ll be better prepared the next time something happens.

Tue, 15 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
Be a Goal-Getter: Part 1
Where would you like to be in five years? Here’s how to find out – and turn the information into the to-do list of all to-do lists!

Before you start planning your future, you need to think seriously about what makes you happy. However, it’s not as obvious as it may seem, because what you believe you want and what you actually want may be poles apart.

Research by Professor Daniel Gilbert confirms that we’re not very good at predicting what will make us happy. He asked a group of people how they’d feel if they got what was on their wish lists. Later, when they had the car, house, holiday or whatever they’d wanted, he asked them to rate their happiness. None of his subjects were as content as they’d expected to be.

The problem, says Dr Carol Craig of the Centre For Confidence and Wellbeing in the UK, is that ‘we assume we will become happier by getting things’. This, she adds, could stem from living in a world that focuses ‘an awful lot’ on ‘what you don’t have’. But research such as Gilbert’s shows that material possessions are not as important as people may think, says Craig. Much of happiness is about relationships, meaning and purpose.

What you should be doing is seeking out ‘authentic’ happiness, says UK psychologist Dr Alex Linley. ‘Authenticity is about being self-directed and doing things for your own reasons,’ he says. Everyone has an inner voice. It can be very difficult to hear but it’s always there.

This voice, he believes, will help you with important choices – those involving your job, relationships and lifestyle. These are the areas where true happiness lies.

Linley suggests keeping a mood diary for two weeks. Write down how you are feeling at different times and you’ll start to see a pattern emerging. It’s a guide to what makes you feel happy and fulfilled and what makes you feel stressed and miserable. After that, it’s plan-making time.

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
How to Improve Your Memory
Eat Healthily
Choose foods that are rich in fibre and antioxidants, such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and spansek. These help to fight diseases that affect the memory, and improve the flow of blood to the brain by combating free radicals. Many red foods help to ease depression – resulting in a more positive attitude, which may boost memory. Eat watermelon, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, red cabbage and radishes.

Take Your Vitamins
Up your intake of iron (found in red meat, chicken, dried fruit, and green vegetables), zinc, (oysters, red meat and peanuts) and vitamin B12 (liver, vegetables, dairy products and whole grains)

Get Moving
According to a study by the Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, USA, 30 minutes of exercise three times a week should bring about a marked improvement in brainpower. As you work out, the hearts ability to pump blood improves and the areas of the brain responsible for planning, organising and doing intellectual tasks are stimulated.

Use Your Head
The more you engage your brain, the better your memory will become. Read the newspaper every morning. Do crosswords, and sudoku puzzles, and play cards or scrabble. Learn to play a musical instrument, do a pottery course or take up drawing. These creative activities improve your concentration and help develop your information-retention and reasoning skills.

For more mind health articles, click here

Thu, 12 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
Medical Myths Debunked
Eating late makes you fat
A lot of research has shown that this isn’t true. ‘The key to weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight is very simple: eat fewer kilojoules than your body burns. Trust us. As long as you do that, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, you’ll still lose weight,’ say Carroll and Vreeman.

Men think of sex every seven seconds
Men do think about sex more than women do but definitely not every seven seconds. Research by The Social Organisation of Sexuality in the US found that 54% of men reported thinking about sex every day or several times a day, 42% a few times a week or a few times a month, and four percent less than once a month. When it comes to women, 19% reported thinking about sex every day or several times a day, 67% a few times a week or a few times a month, and 14% less than once a month (find out here what sex myths have been debunked)

For more mind-health articles, click here

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
What Kind of Angry Are You? The smiling pretender
We have been told that good girls don’t get angry. So many of us simply suck it up and pretend to be okay, and that is not good enough.
Fix it The next time you find yourself smiling awkwardly when you are angry, stop. Be honest about how you feel; even the tiniest moment of honesty may help you break the habit.

The dumper
You keep track of all the times someone has disappointed you and dump it all back on them at the slightest provocation.
Fix it You can either stick to the issue at hand or add a host of old resentments to the current qualm – which will just make the argument last 20 minutes longer and offer no solutions.

The one-sided blamer
Your invisible halo flashes every time you’re angry, making you believe that the other person is completely to blame and you’re the innocent victim.
Fix it Recognise that the situation is complex – think back to the cause of the argument and try to identify your part in it.

The ‘if you hurt me I’ll hurt you’ fighter
A civil disagreement turns explosive when you think that, because your feelings are being hurt, you have the right to say hurtful things back.
Fix It Pause. Take a deep breath or count to 10. Calmly admit this reaction to your fighting partner and suggest taking time out or going for a walk, so you can both get a clear perspective.

For more Mind Health stories, click here

Mon, 09 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Get Out of Awkard Social Situations
… Walk Out of a Pricey or Unappealing Restaurant
As you scan the menu, you realise that a meal here would set you back a day’s pay and it’s just not worth it. Don’t panic. You have the right to leave – you didn’t sign a contract with the maitre d’ when you sat down at the table. No matter how embarrassed you might feel, don’t sneak out – it’s just rude. ‘You need to excuse yourself and leave with dignity,’ says etiquette consultant Melissa Leonard. Simply say, ‘I’m sorry but we have to go’, and thank your waiter or the maitre d’. Fibbing usually results in more embarrassment, especially if the waiter offers to put in your starter order while you step outside to ‘find the nearest ATM’. If he or she’s been particularly accommodating – or if you’ve already nibbled on the bread – leave a small tip. And don’t forget to use the most helpful tool of all in exiting from any awkward situation: a gracious smile.

…Cut Short A Conversation On The Phone
Your head is spinning as your motor-mouthed friend goes on and on about problems with her boss or her boyfriend. Yes, you care but you have a life to get back to. Wanting to wrap up the call doesn’t make you a bad friend, says Cheryl Richardson, author of Stand Up For Your Life. ‘Staying on the phone out of guilt doesn’t put you in a frame of mind to offer truly helpful advice anyway,’ she says. A better idea is to wait for a pause in the conversation, and then say, ‘OMG!’ Explain that you’ve just glanced at your watch and realised you need to get to the shops before they close, or get back to your desk. To break away with compassion, say, ‘I can tell this is really important to you but right now I can’t focus the way I’d like to. Can we make another time to talk?’ Once she’s had some solo time to mull over her problem, chances are she’ll be ready to have a conversation about it – instead of a monologue.

…Slip Out of a Meeting at Work
You’re in a meeting that’s run way over its scheduled time and you have another appointment. How to slip out without offending your boss? The best course would have been to warn your boss before the meeting started (and the earlier the better) that you have an appointment. ‘At the very least, say you need to leave at 4pm, or whenever, as you enter the conference room,’ says Leonard. Then just get up quietly, nod to your boss, and leave. There’s no need to stand up and announce where you’re going. But if you forgot to give advance notice, exit quietly and leave a brief explanatory and apologetic note with the boss’s assistant. Follow up with your boss when you return, even if it’s the next day, to see what you missed. You’ll earn brownie points for your conscientiousness – and your vanishing act will become ancient history.

For more Mind Health, click here
Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
Spot The Signs Of Depression
- You’re constantly on a short fuse, with bursts of irrational anger, usually expressed only against those closest to you.
- Little things get you down.
- You neglect your appearance or your work although you were previously meticulous, or become a driven perfectionist when you were usually laid back.
- You’re smoking drinking and taking more drugs
- You’re accident-prone and ding the car, for example. (Neglecting safety can signal distress.)
- You struggle to let go of things and keep worrying about a problem, even when you can do nothing about it.
- You feel constantly anxious or breathless or need to escape from situations even when it’s not convenient.
- You have trouble sleeping or sleep all the time
- You’ve no appetite or eat too much and too often.
- You cry without provocation.

Source: Susan Quillian, author of The Samaritans’ Book Of What To Do When You Really Want To Help But Don’t Know How

For more Mind Health stories, click here

Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
The Self-Esteem Makeover
Rubbish Reflex NO. 1
You can’t express your own opinion
What happens: Your music-obsessed boyfriend says a new band is great but you think it’s awful, but you end up keeping quiet in case you say something unpopular or stupid.
Self-esteem booster: When people around you have a lot to say, it can be intimidating to speak up about what you think. You do not need to give your opinions all the time, but sometimes you need to be heard. UK life coach Maja Pawinska Sims says, ‘when you want somebody to know what you think, try saying “I get what you are saying but my feeling is more this…”’ Be brave enough to say what you think and don’t make it an emotional issue by accusing the other person of talking nonsense or by dismissing them.

Rubbish Reflex NO. 2
You say sorry all the time
What happens: You need to discuss an issue with a colleague at work and the first word you say is ‘sorry’. Someone bumps into you in the street and you apologise. Sometimes it feels as though you’re sorry for existing!
Self-esteem booster: ‘The problem is that if you open a sentence with the word “sorry”, it automatically devalues what you say next’ says Pawinska Sims. If you have a tendency to say ‘sorry to bother you’ when speaking to someone at work, it’s time to think before you speak. Gladeana McMahon, author of No More Anxiety: Be Your Own Anxiety Coach suggests you say ‘Hi. How are you? Have you got a spare 5 minutes?’ Confident body language will also indicate that you have something valid to say.

Rubbish Reflex NO. 3
You can’t accept a compliment
What happens: A friend says your hair looks great and your immediate response is ‘Really? I have no idea why – I haven’t washed it for three days’
Self-esteem booster: We all carry an image of ourselves in our head, and for most people that includes negative thoughts. If somebody says something to you that doesn’t match that image, your automatic response is to reject it. Pawinska Sims suggests thinking of a compliment as a beautifully wrapped up present. ‘You wouldn’t dream of throwing that present away and mumbling, “thanks but I don’t want it”. Accepting a compliment isn’t being conceited, self-obsessed or needing others to give you positive reinforcement, and it is important to believe that when someone says something nice to you, it’s meant in a genuine, good-spirited way.

Rubbish Reflex NO. 4
A friends success makes you feel bad about yourself
What happens: Your friend shares her good news – a new job or a new man – and while you are happy for her, you can’t help but feel like a failure. This reflex is about envy, you see what other people have, perceive it to be superior and then want it for yourself. If you find yourself going beyond a couple minutes of jealousy and starting to berate yourself constantly, McMahon suggests you do a self-audit. Writing down things is a powerful way to clarify your thoughts. Read the list every time you need a confidence boost.

Rubbish Reflex NO. 5
This old thing? But it was only a few bucks at a flea market!
What happens: someone compliments you on what you wearing but you get embarrassed and tell them it was just a cheap buy.
Self-esteem booster: Rather than shrug off a compliment, allow others to express their opinion. If someone says your top looks nice and you brush it off as a cheap buy, what you’re actually saying is that his or her opinion isn’t valid. Pawinska says ‘dismissing a compliment is like shouting “I’m not worth bothering with!”’ When someone gives you a compliment saying you look lovely all you need to say is than you.

For more Mind Health stories, click here

Fri, 30 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Kick The Binge-Thinking Habit here is how you can turn them into happy ones). Sufferers spend most of their time trying to outrun these pressing worries or pretending they don’t exist, but eventually they always catch up and lead to an emotional meltdown. Faced with every single worry magnified ten fold during a binge-thinking flood, there’s little hope of ever dealing with these issues constructively. Of course, post melt-down, binge thinkers vow never to avoid and compartmentalise their worries again – but they can’t help getting caught up in the incessant cycle of binge thinking again. Learn to control your binge thinking now, before it becomes a destructive disorder.

Binge, Purge, Fast
There appears to be a biological basis for worry and anxiety in women: research has shown that women of all ages tend to worry more than men, and they experience more intense worries than men do. Research also shows that most women tend to focus on what might happen rather than what will happen. It’s no wonder some women just try to outrun their worries. But then they lose control over the constructive processing of those worries, which is when they often get caught up in the vicious cycle of binge thinking.

Essentially, binge thinking is internalising experienced problems and negative thoughts, says Thuraisha Moodley, a clinical psychologist in Johannesburg. ‘This internalising could be a defence mechanism where the issue is too traumatic or anxiety provoking to acknowledge to ourselves. Also, we fear the consequences – that is, the negative impact on others or on ourselves if we acknowledge these issues and attempt to deal with them,’ she says. ‘Further, it becomes a given that once we “see” the problem we then have to do something about it, which is why we usually choose not to see its existence.’ Binge thinkers may trivialise their problems – they don’t see it as a ‘big deal’ so that they don’t have to deal with it. ‘But what you need to realise is that whether you see the problem as big, small or no problem at all, it still has the same emotional effect. This suppressed emotionality builds up and eventually explodes, leading to emotional breakdowns and even psychotic ones,’ says Moodley. Binge thinkers distract themselves from what is concerning them the most so they can avoid doing the necessary work. Some of the cognitive tools they use include procrastination, compartmentalisation, ignoring and avoiding, says Dr Sherona Rawat, a Durban psychologist.

Ironically, the concerns and worries that get set aside in our fast paced lives generally tend to be the most important ones with the most significant impact. Most women’s overriding concerns are about their relationships with their partners, family, friends and co-workers, their body image and finances,’ says Rawat. Serious psychological complications can also arise from employing binge thinking consistently. These could include serious relationship problems, social phobias, stress disorders, anxiety disorders and mood disorders. ‘Excessive worry and anxiety result in distress in the body, so you can develop joint pains, headaches, inflammation and so on,’ says Rawat. ‘Stress hormones could also be released, and over time these can cause serious damage to your major organs. In addition, a hyperactive stress response over time can result in a feedback loop that encourages habitual behaviour rather than goal-orientated or solution-focused behaviour.’

Switch-Off Secrets
You need to be proactive when it comes to changing your destructive and self-defeating thinking patterns. To start with, it’s important to acknowledge that you possess the ability to ‘control’ the quality of your thinking, says Moodley. ‘Doing this contributes more to how you feel than any other factor.’ There are also switch-off mechanisms that you can use to control your anxiety when you’re in the middle of a binge-thinking meltdown. ‘Rein in your anxiety and panic by orientating yourself to time, place and self,’ says Rawat. Make yourself comfortable on your couch or bed. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out a few times. Imagine the air going in and out. Now say something positive to yourself, such as “I am strong” or “I am able to handle anything that comes my way, so all will be well”. Once you’ve calmed down, it’s time to write a list of everything that is concerning you. It may take time to get it all down, so be patient with yourself. Look at your list and reorganise it by removing duplicates or putting it into categories. Then prioritise from the most important to the least important. By doing this you make your worries manageable; now start working to resolve the concern with the highest priority, no matter how difficult it appears to you at first,’ says Rawat. It takes 21 days of repeated action for behaviour to become a habit so keep an ongoing list of priorities so that you’re always up to date with your responsbilities. Ensure that you don’t fall back into your old pattern of binge thinking, instead face your fears and work hard at resolving your concerns. Decide on an action and put it into action. ‘It also helps to talk to a friend you trust because sometimes things sound different when said out loud. And if you really feel that you’re not coping, seek professional assistance – to be psychologically healthy, you need to realise when you’re in need of help. Keep on reassessing your list and begin the loop again. Remember this is your life and you must work with what you have,’ says Rawat.

For more Mind Health articles, click here

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Declutter Your Life
Discarding clutter can be liberating. You decide what stays and what does not, so you are more in control of your environment. And throwing out things associated with old pain can help you let go of the past.

Start rejecting useless, unwanted items as soon as they enter your zone – junk mail, magazines and paperbacks you’ll never reread. Donate what you can to schools and charities, recycle whatever possible and bin the rest.

Compile an annual list of 100 things to be thrown away. This ritual of documenting discarded items adds immeasurably to the feeling of achievement.

Divide your space into manageable areas, approaching it one room – or part of one room – at a time.

It’s worth investing in anything that will help you make the most of your space – baskets for storing things under beds, hanging racks for shoes or stackable plastic containers for odds and ends.

Beware! A COSMO girl’s wardrobe is fertile clutter ground. At the end of each season, spend an evening weeding the unworn and unwearable from your wardrobe. Give away your dodgy sale purchases and once-trendy-but-now-scary garments, and maintain the slim, new look by giving away something every time you buy a new item.

Holding onto things you don’t want saps emotional energy, especially when underpinned by negative emotions. Don’t feel obliged to keep anything, no matter who gave it to you or what it cost.

Can’t bear to throw away your egg boxes? To reclaim space from useless clutter, ask, ‘Does this add to my quality of life? Does it contribute to my happiness and wellbeing? If not, let it go. Console yourself with the thought that should you ever need 100 egg boxes, someone else will have them…

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Dumped By A Girlfriend career crises and dieting disasters… and then without warning she steps out of your life. You’ve no idea why. Have you said something wrong? Has she (gulp) stopped liking you?

Losing the Thelma to your Louise can be as painful as the death of a loved one and a confusing sudden break up with a significant other, says Liz Pryor, author of What Did I Do Wrong? When Women Don’t Tell Each Other The Friendship Is Over. These exits can happen quickly or gradually but they often come without explanation, leaving you with questions, anxiety and sorrow. Having gathered hundreds of stories, Pryor says, ‘Every woman has experienced a failed friendship – but when it happens we rarely talk about it.’

Although everyone’s reaction is unique, you’ll probably feel betrayed, rejected and hurt. The uncertainty of not knowing what has happened is extremely stressful.

What Now?
Talk To Her. Be honest and clear, say ‘I feel hurt by this’ or ‘what’s going on?’ advises Cape Town counselling psychologist Margaret Barrie. You want closure and communication is the most effective way of getting it.’ Confrontation won’t necessarily lead to reconciliation but you’ve made the effort.
If She Doesn’t Respond Accept that she might be going through a crisis you’re unaware of – a death in the family or a sudden illness. Barrie says when we are under stress, we may lack the energy to give an explanation to each friend and choose simply to withdraw.

Be Prepared To Acknowledge some responsibility if she accuses you of, for example, being neglectful, clingy or controlling, says Barrie. This can lead to the possible negotiation of the friendship.
Speak To Mutual Friends. If you have done something unintentionally, they might know about it. Consulting mutual friends may help you work on your part in what happened.
Write To Her. Gathering your thoughts and feelings and letting your friend know you’re aware of what she’s doing can help you regain a sense of control, says Pryor. However avoid being accusatory, critical or defensive.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to find out what went wrong, some women who initiate endings are not going to explain themselves. If you can see past the present pain the break-up could ultimately be an opportunity for growth for you both.

For more mind health stories, click here.

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Clean Up Your Act
Jeff Campbell, author of Clutter Control: Putting Your Home On A Diet (Dell), says the modern attitude is, ‘See this collection of stuff? This is me,’ when instead you need to exist fully as you are. He tells of a monk who burnt down his house every few years to ensure he didn’t stay attached to material things, but solutions needn’t be quite so drastic.

Take Heart
“Quit hitting yourself over the head” is the first thing we’d like to say to newcomers to the site,’ says Celeste, self-styled ‘wise woman and recovered Messie’ on the Squalor Survivors website (www. ‘Pat yourself on the back for the courage it takes to confront this problem.’ Stop berating yourself for past mistakes – you’ll need that energy for more productive purposes!

Get Help
‘Change cannot come through willpower alone – you’ll probably need professional help to understand your behaviour,’ says Cassidy. Paradoxically, treatment supports the symptoms of Messies syndrome, ‘by emphasising that getting rid of old things allows more selective hoarding of new things – things to be bought for pleasure to replace pointless objects.’ Self-help groups have proved to be more effective in some ways than individual therapy, he says, ‘but members can become rivalrous about who is the worst Messie, rather than who is getting better!’

Expect To Resist
Ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst that can happen if I throw this away? Will it matter in a year’s team?’ A wrong decision is probably better than no decision at all. ‘Life is always changing,’ says Foulkes. ‘When something new comes into your life, tell yourself to enjoy it and learn from it, and when it’s time, let it go.’

Set Goals And Start Sorting
‘Ask yourself what you need to achieve and what’s getting in your way,’ says Vanessa Bluen, MD of The Consultant Powerhouse in Johannesburg. Set a date to start; arrange for a charity to collect what you don’t need; get boxes and label them ‘Discard,’ ‘Rethink’ and ‘Charity’. Look at each item and ask whether it’s something you truly love and use. If not, box or bag it. Reward yourself afterwards. You don’t need to be ruthless, says Bluen. ‘I have a big treasure kist. Instead of keeping everything, I select a few samples of special things – old love letters, school reports, drawings – to keep in an organised way and pass on one day. Freeing, and fun!’

Mon, 19 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Your Creative Side Most of us have had the envy-inducing experience of working with someone who effortlessly comes up with original ideas and whose work has such flair that it seems impossible for us to emulate. But far from it being the preserve of the brilliant, creativity is something we can develop. By this we don’t mean learning how to paint a better landscape but rather how to free up our imagination and learn how to think ‘out of the box’.

It’s not just your work that will benefit. Research from the University of Texas at Austin in the US shows the being creative on a daily basis has so many health advantages that those who fine-tune their creative skills can expect to live an extra six to seven years. And UK studies show that ‘creatives’ are more alluring sexually – researchers from Newcastle University and The Open University believe that creativity makes us seem more charismatic to the opposite sex.

In the last few years, brain scans have shown that new ideas are generated in the frontal lobes of the brain and then modified by centres in the temporal lobes that control imaginative solutions and making new connections, these areas ‘light up’. But although all f us are born with this circuitry, our schooling may discourage it. ‘Spend time with children up to the age of about eight and you can see how spontaneous and playful their natural state can be,’ says Colin Salter, who has always worked in creative professions an is the author of Crafting Creativity : 52 Brilliant Ideas for Awakening The Artistic Genius Within (Infinite Ideas). ‘But when we focus on the ‘right’ answer so we can pass an exam or earn a living, that diminishes. Being creative means looking for lots of ‘right’ answers – but thinking there’s only one way, which is often what we learn in formal education, can squash that creative spirit.’ Luckily there is no convincing evidence that creativity disappears as we get older – we can always get back in touch with our creative soul. ‘Creativity is seen as being somehow magical,’ says UK life coach, author and psychologist Ros Taylor. ‘But creative thinking is simply the ability to reinvent what you know and to turn a problem on its head to get a new perspective. That can be achieved at any age.’ Follow these five steps to a more creative you.

Make Failure Your Friend
Even geniuses don’t always get it right first time. For example, Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, showing an air raid during the Spanish Civil War, was created only after numerous attempts using different approaches. ‘In my life-coaching work I’ve noticed that the biggest difference between the successful and the not-so-successful is that the successful people aren’t scared to fail,’ says Taylor. ‘Instead of waiting for what you believe to be the perfect idea to emerge, allow yourself to explore lots of imperfect ones.’

Try This: Each morning, spend five minutes doing ‘the breakfast brainstorm’. Think of what you most desire today and frame it as a question. For example: ‘How do I find a job I love?’ or ‘How can I get the cash to go swimming with dolphins in Mozambique?’ Start scribbling down ideas – the more off-the-wall the better because that will free your mind to think in different ways. Keep going until at least one feasible idea evolves. PS: don’t try this at teatime, though. Apparently brainwaves are least likely to strike during the average working afternoon. According to a poll by the Crowne Plaza hotel chain last year, the least creative time is 4.33pm (and 10.04 pm is the time most of us are likely to get a brilliant idea).

Cherish Your Individuality
Most of us are conformers at heart but something as simple as wearing what you consider to be weekend clothes to work could boost your creative thinking. ‘I used to dress conservatively because I wanted to impress my corporate clients with my professionalism,’ says UK creative coach Emily Stokes Hotchkiss. ‘But when I started to let my personality show in my clothes, I found that I became more successful.’ Stokes Hotchkiss’s hunch that what makes us individual makes us more creative is correct: research into jazz musicians shows that when we are expressing our individuality (in their case through improvisation), the area of the brain that normally inhibits creativity closes down. This encourages a random pattern of activity and it appears that creativity is more likely in a brain that can allow itself to get a bit disorganised.

Try This: If you have to conform, for instance by wearing a uniform to work every day, one way of encouraging this random pattern of activity in your brain is to pick a common object and think of as many original uses for it as possible. Take, for example, a cardboard box. You use it to keep things in, but what else could it be used for? A weapon, a step, a piece of art, a seat… Keep going until you’ve thought of atleast 20 uses. Do this every day with a different object and you’ll stretch your imagination.

Get Out Of The Rut
‘Anything that gets us out of our rut – staying up late, taking a new route to work, having lunch in an art gallery – give an altered perspective that encourages lateral thinking,’ says Taylor. ‘Lateral thinking is tackling old problems in new ways.’

Try This: You can use the technique known as ‘random entry’ as an easy way of encouraging lateral thinking. Pick an object at random and use it to inspire you. Suppose you want to liven up your daily run: a dog may encourage you to play more (you could throw a ball and chase it); a puddle may inspire you to run alongside a canal; a dark-brown van could encourage you to buy your favourite chocolate as a reward if you can improve your time in two weeks.

Change Your View
When Salter is looking for inspiration he takes random walks with no clear idea of where he’s going. (As did Charles Dickens, who roamed around London all night to give himself ideas.) The power of novelty to inspire comes from ‘latent inhibition’ – the human brain’s capacity to ignore things that we don’t think are necessary to our immediate needs. Most of us use it a lot, for example to ignore the background noise. Creative people are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition. They don’t ignore the new stuff but actively seek it. A way of finding it is to encourage the non-dominant part of your brain. Most people tend to be dominated by the left (logical) brain. Studies show that creative people use the right-hand (creative) part of their brain more than the rest of us. Encouraging the connection between two hemispheres of your brain will boost right-brain thinking.

Try This: Use your non-dominant hand to complete simple tasks you do every day, such as brushing your teeth, loading the dishwasher or writing a shopping list – it builds those right – left brain connections. By making your brain undertake the familiar in an unfamiliar way, you will be lowering your latent-inhibition levels and encouraging creativity.

Restrain Yourself
Sometimes the most creative thoughts occur when we are boxed into a corner and quickly have to think our way out. Setting yourself tasks with seemingly impossible constraints can help you unlock your ability to think on your feet. ‘Working with limits can push you to achieve your best work,’ says Salter. ‘One of the presents that inspired me most was a set of pastels that had shades of only brown and yellow. How do you represent a sky, with no blue?’

Try This: Get a feeling for how having less choice can force you to think creatively by letting it inspire an adventure. This weekend pick a book at random from your shelf, choose a page number and promise to let your day be dictated by some activity or place inspired by the words you read there.

For more mind health articles, click here 

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
How to Increase Your Social Circle Pretend you know perfect strangers
When you walk into a room full of strangers, act as if you’re already on matey terms with the people in front of you. Instantly, your expression will change from fearful to friendly, your body language will make you more approachable and you’ll feel more able to be yourself.

Notice her belt buckle
Use those awkward moments in the queue for the bathroom at a party to admire someone’s pendant or unusual shoes. Choose something obscure, but exotic – there’s probably a good story behind it.

Give a forgotten friend a call
Don’t feel guilty (like these guys here do) for telling a white lie. Phone an old pal and tell her how crazy your life has been lately but that you’d really love to do catch-up drinks. Connecting with one friend gives you access to a whole new crowd.

Scope out a new scene
Scan your local listings and pick out an event – a wine tasting, say – that you don’t know the first thing about. When you’re joining a crowd that’s sick of seeing the same people week after week, you’ll be irresistible new blood.

Spill a secret
If you’re stuck at a table of strangers at a friend’s wedding, lean towards the couple next to you and confess to something – perhaps the time you and a former guy gate-crashed an elegant wedding at a big hotel. Sharing a juicy, personal titbit will quickly help you bond, speeding up the getting-to-know-you process.

For more mind health, click here

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Should I Post This Online? A Handy, Eight-Step Guide
Will your words enhance someone else’s life other than your own?
Obviously, you’re free to blog whatever you’d like, but if you’re responding to someone else’s article or comment, it should not be simply for your own sense of superiority. Will the other person’s day be better if you correct their grammar? No? Then keep it to yourself. No one cares about your mastery of homophones. Contradict someone only if disagreeing will provide information that will help them or others. There’s no Being Right On The Internet merit badge for adults.

Could you be overreacting?
Most people are not walking wraiths who have emerged straight from your nightmares to terrorise your waking hours. If someone seems to be expressing an opinion too ghastly to be true, read it again before responding. If it still seems like irredeemable nonsense, address it. Perhaps inquire as to what the writer intended, rather than reflexively eviscerating him or her.

Do you mean the thing you are saying?
If you are writing a YouTube comment telling someone to go off and expire, and their performance/makeup technique/personal philosophy is not something that actually warrants a death sentence (and what does?), then maybe rethink your word choice. It feels great to be hyperbolic. It also feels amazing to do heroin. Neither one is a terrific long-term decision. Just say the things you literally mean, just as you would in any other discussion. You will find yourself having to defend way fewer statements that on inspection don’t actually reflect your honest opinion.

Would you say this out loud to a person’s face?
It is easy to trash someone from miles away, especially anonymously. Ask yourself whether you would express the same ideas in the same tone if you were arguing face-to-face with a reasonable person. Would that person want to slap you? That’s not how to argue. In fact, if you are about to post something that would make people want to slap you, delete it and slap yourself.

Should you compare someone who is responsible for the death of less than one person to Hitler?
That person is not like Hitler. Try thinking of a historical figure of equal magnitude to whoever you’re talking about. Also, not to sound like an ethnic-cleansing hipster, but your reference is hackneyed.

Is everyone who has previously expressed the point you’re making a horrible monster?
Has the person or group you are agreeing with ever done anything positive for society? Would you let that person or group babysit your infant daughter? Or are they terrible cretins with garbage for brains? If the opinion you agree with has been previously stated only by horrible monsters, you are probably expressing a horrible, monstrous opinion. It’s likely you need to rethink your stance.

Do you use the phrase “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, but…?”
If yes, you are about to say something racist/sexist/homophobic. Of course you are. That’s what that phrase means, whether you realize it or not. People who are racist/sexist/homophobic don’t say they’re racist/sexist/homophobic. They say they’re “telling it like it is” or “saying what everyone else is afraid to”. You can’t say you love someone if you are afraid to hug them. You can’t make jokes about rape. If you’re generalising across an entire people/gender, you are being racist. Yes, even if you’re talking about Australians. Stop it.

Have you, at any point, used the word “sheeple” unironically?
If you have, shut it down! Grow up and use real words.

And, that’s it. Enjoy the Internet. Remember, it’s just like real life, only smaller.

Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Plan B to Z Thinking
Inflexible people struggle when required to change, says Durban industrial psychologist and corporate-change specialist Robyn Sandy, MD of Interchange International SA. Their battle is caused more by ignorance than inability, she says. ‘Everyone is capable of being flexible to some degree. Typically, one of three things holds you back: you don’t recognise that you are prepared to make the effort required to be flexible. It’s like Tom Sawyer says: “Sometimes I just have to take out my brain and jump on it ‘cos it gets all caked up.”’

Most people don’t choose to be inflexible, says Sandy. ‘It happens at a subconscious level in the brain. The phrase “neurons that fire together wire together” says it all. The more time you spend thinking about a certain idea or course of action, the more time the brain has to lay down pathways to process information on it. Your brain simply gets “wired” to work with an idea, and then it’s much easier to stick with that idea or follow the same course of action again and again.’

Being flexible and entertaining new ideas means having to create new pathways or neuronetworks in the brain. This takes time and effort, and the pathways are not always effective at first, says Sandy – they develop and lead to complex thinking over time.

‘People don’t understand this brain activity – all they know is that it feels much better to stick with what they know, which robs them of the chance to explore new ideas and ways of doing things. They don’t even think about it consciously – they respond subconsciously and sometimes miss out on the very best alternatives in life.’

Flexible people become more flexible over time, because they know how to change gears mentally. And the more they do it the easier it becomes, she says. Similarly, inflexible people become more rigid over time. ‘They never learn to make that mind shift, so they get left behind more and more as the world changes around them.’

It’s essential to strive for greater levels of flexibility, she says, because changes will get faster, bigger and less predictable. Our survival will depend on our ability to be flexible. As Charles Darwin said, ‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’

Get Flexible
Develop your ‘Plan B to Z’ thinking with 12 steps:

Make Mini Changes.
Start by doing things differently in small ways, advises Krummeck. Try getting up 10 minutes earlier and reading something inspirational (see ‘7 books to boost “Plan B to Z” thinking’), take a new route to work or order a different sandwich. When you meet obstacles, rather than resisting them rigidly like a rock, try working with and around them, like water. As Wayne Dyer, author of Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life (Hay House), says, nothing is softer or more flexible than water but nothing can resist it – it can carve a way through the hardest rock. Think Blyde River Canyon!

Say Yes.
You don’t have to go as far as Yes Man Jim Carrey, but if you always say no to things you haven’t tried you could be robbing yourself of a great experience or opportunity to grow. When tycoon Donald Trump was asked to sing on stage dressed in overalls and a straw hat, holding a pitchfork, it was out of his realm but he agreed. ‘I was flexible enough to accept a singing assignment even though singing is not my forte,’ he writes on ‘I ended up winning the talent category and everyone had a good time. Don’t let opportunities pass you by because of your inflexibility.’

Let Go.
When something stop working for you, whether it’s a relationship, (how to tell, here) a job (how to make sure this doesn't happen here) or a gym routine, it’s easy to keep on with it out of habit, laziness or the fear of exploring other options. But as William Dettmer, author of Strategic Navigation (ADQ), says, that’s like trying to keep riding a dead horse.

Take Time Out.
Depending on the size of crisis or change you encounter, a brief break at the water cooler, a cathartic cry in the loo, a good night’s sleep or a weekend retreat can help you calm your nerves, and find energy and a new perspective for a fresh approach. Don’t be rushed by panic into something you regret, says Krummeck. ‘Take the opportunity to reappraise your life, goals and values, and perhaps take a new direction!’

Ask Empowering Questions.
Ask yourself what you want most in life, advises Krummeck. How best can you get it? What transferable skills do you have that can help you? How can you polish them – with studying, reading, mentoring? What’s realistic? What can you now put in your Plan B as firm goals going forwards: take a second job to support a study year, perhaps? Or do charity work to give your life meaning while you look for something more fulfilling?

Practise Problem-Solving.
To problem-solve effectively you need to brainstorm different solutions, polish your communication skills, practise assertiveness (take a course if necessary) and establish where to get help. ‘When faced with change or a crisis, the easiest way to tackle it is to list all possible alternatives, then jot down the pros and cons each, and weight them rationally,’ says Krummeck. Depending on the extent of the problem, do this with trusted and well-informed friends or a professional life coach.

What you resist persists, so instead of resisting what doesn’t work for you, compromise. Compromise is about sacrificing something to gain something else, says Krummeck. ‘You often need to take a step back and compromise for a time in order to take a big step forward. You may need to take a pay cut or downsize the car while you study or do a fill-in job while you find what you really want. But set boundaries – give yourself a time limit and keep reminding yourself of your core values and goals.’

Reach For Resilience
Change can feel frightening, causing you to freeze or be swept passively along by forces you feel powerless to fight. But as the T-shirt says, ‘Only dead fish go with the flow’. Use your strength that is always there if you dig (it’s part of your survival mechanism), and unburden yourself to supportive friends. Resilience is about shifting your focus from what happened and your immediate fears to what to do next, says US life coach Susan Fee, author of My Roommate’s Driving Me Crazy! (Adams Media). It’s also about having confidence and a sense of preparedness, says Cape Town executive coach Shirleen Titus. Tell yourself, ‘Come hell or high water, I’m going to make it!’

Look Outside The Box.
When you come across an obstacle in life, look over or around it and ask yourself, ‘How can I make it work for me?’ says Krummeck. ‘Think laterally, be creative. Let go of preconceptions, relax into the moment and let your thoughts run free – you’ll be amazed what opportunities will reveal themselves when you open yourself.’ He suggests writing questions for the challenge you face. ‘Then wait for the answers to come later, when you may be driving, walking the dogs or lying in the bath,’ he says.
• Use Common Sense.
This is simply sound judgement that can stop you acting rashly and fuelling a crisis rather than taking an alternative path past it. Exercise your common sense by challenging limiting ideas (‘I can’t handle this; this is too much for me!’), says Krummeck, and get balanced information to help you make informed decisions on the available alternatives. Then use common sense again to negotiate the most appropriate one, calmly and carefully.

Keep Upbeat.
Monitor your self-talk so it becomes positive, says Krummeck. ‘Scientists say we have 60 000 thoughts a day, many of them habitual, and for the average person 80% are negative. Negative self-talk can keep you stuck in what’s become a dysfunctional relationship or unsatisfying job because simply don’t believe you deserve better.’ Cultivate optimism, which is liberating and energising. ‘It’s a powerful driver in moving you forward,’ he says,’ and, because it draws other people to you, it eases your way.’

Be Cunning.

Finally, don’t underestimate that native intelligence you’re wired with. Use your smarts to rattle networks, jam your foot in potentially useful doors, grip promising straws, and climb or charm your way upwards, even if it’s only a centimetre at a time. Cunning is an underestimated life skill. It’s part of the survival instinct that powered mankind to the top of the food chain – at least for now.

For more on mind health, click here

Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Happy Thoughts
Happy people tend to indulge themselves when they believe their happiness might pass unless they do something to prolong the good feeling. Those who are depressed believe they’ll be stuck with the blues unless they do something to improve their mood. ‘If people believe they need to take action to regulate their feelings in the here and now, they tend to indulge in immediate pleasure. In contrast, if they believe such actions are not required, they act in their long-term interest,’ say the authors.

So next time your misery makes you reach for that chocolate cupcake, take a moment to think and you’ll realise that the feelings of gloom will pass. ‘Simply thinking life is not so bad might actually make your life a little better by helping you to make healthier choices,’ the researchers conclude.
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Boost Your Body Esteem Take Long Strides
Sex kittens don’t scamper around – they glide. ‘To master a smooth saunter, scan the surroundings for someone you know so you have someone to walk towards and aren’t just wandering around aimlessly,’ says Eve Marx, author of Read My Hips: The Sexy Art of Flirtation (Polka Dot Press). ‘As you make your way, focus on stepping in big paces, which helps your presence resonate and elongates your body.’

Give Him A Squeeze
‘When shaking hands with a hot guy, make eye contact subtly, briefly squeezing his hand at the same time,’ says Marx. This move conveys that you’re a bold woman who isn’t afraid to use a little force.

Laugh As Though You Mean It
When you throw your head back and let rip with a laugh, it shows confidence and a sense of fun. ‘Laughter not only grabs attention, it also showcases that you’re happy, vibrant and having fun, which are all sexy qualities to have,’ says Tricia Yeomans, a researcher at San Diego State University in the US who studies flirting behaviour.

Stretch Out
Nothing says ‘sex goddess’ quite like extending across the mattress before sex. ‘Lie flat with your arms up over your head,’ say Yeomans. ‘Not only will the stretch put you in a lust frame of mind but your stomach will look flatter and your boobs will be lifted.’
Tue, 16 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Help For Party Phobes - Part One
Ask the host/hostess whether you can bring a friend. Unless it’s a catered affair, most people won’t mind. But if it is, don’t even ask – you’re on your own. Don’t panic – COSMO is at your side. Read on.

If you’re not sure of the dress code, check. It helps to know you’re not going to stand out in a sea of chic cocktail-wear like Bridget Jones in her bunny costume. If you’re still uncertain, you can’t go wrong with something well-cut, simple and dark. Get your hair done (or if you're short on time, use these tricks) and put on a fresh face of makeup. Heels make us feel more confident – don’t ask us why.

Be half an hour late. No more. Half an hour allows enough time for the room to fill up and warm up, and for the party to get going. Later than that is impolite.

Before you enter the fray, stand back and check out the room. See any friendly, familiar faces? If so, save them for later. Everyone needs a social security blanket for awkward moments – they can be yours.

Ignore the roaming waitrons with drinks on trays and head for the bar. Having a destination gives you time to do a sweep of the room without looking lost.

One glass of wine should take the edge off your anxiety. Resist the urge to down three mojitos for Dutch courage.

Put your shoulders back and smile. You might believe you look like a spare part but to someone else you might look frosty and unapproachable.
Tue, 09 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Be a Day-Dream Believer
Head in the clouds
Psychologists and neuroscientists estimate that we spend between 15% and 50% of our waking hours daydreaming. And although wool-gathering has always been given a bad rap, research conducted by the University of British Columbia in Canada and published in Proceeds Of The National Academy Of Sciences shows that our brains are much more active when we’re daydreaming.

Devoted To Distracted

Daydreams can be described as waking fantasies and are most often unrelated to the individual’s immediate environment or situation, says Durban counselling psychologist Rakhi Beekrum. “Daydreams are usually pleasant and often focus on wishes and desires,” she says. According to Beekrum, the study conducted by the University of British Columbia is very valuable in dispelling the myth that daydreaming is unproductive. “This study shows that, although daydreaming takes our focus off tasks at hand, it is useful in helping us work through problems in our lives”.

Daydream achievers

To make the most of sour daydreams and use them positively in our daily existence we need to start becoming more aware of them. Daydreaming is something that comes naturally to us – the skill comes in becoming conscious of these daydreams and capitalizing on the creative insights and ideas they may contain, says Beekrum. So pay attention the next time you’ve got your head stuck in a big fluffy cloud – it may get you in trouble or it may just be the most productive and creative thing you do today.

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Stay Happy & Healthy This Winter
Relax with a remedial massage
Massages can help your immune system defend against illness, stress, depression, PMS and insomnia, and they feel damn good, too! Make them part of your regular routine.

Try something new
Rock climbing, ice-skating, roller-skating, squash and ten-pin bowling are excellent cardio workouts. They’re also fun indoor social activities, so gather your girlfriends together and get silly while you’re at it.

Have that check-up
Get on top of those check-ups you’ve been putting off all summer, such as wisdom teeth, eyesight or back pain.

Have a movie night
Check your local cinemas for their marathon movie session times (long weekends are usually a good bet) or head to your video store and stock up on some new titles.

Go natural
Acupuncture and herbal medicine can boost your immunity. Give it a go.

Visit your family
Hanging out with your besties is one of the best ways to spend a weekend because it makes you – and them – very happy!
Wed, 19 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Be Luckier In Life The Luck Factor (Miramax). ‘In fact, the latest studies show that a majority of events in our lives are actually completely under our control.’ In other words, you really can make yourself lucky. Here, the key traits that can determine whether or not someone has good or bad fortune, and you can work at acquiring these for your own use.

Say you’re single and on your way to a party where there’s a guy you like. If you head into it thinking about how you really hope something happens with him tonight, chances are, you’ll be disappointed. You might even tell yourself it’s proof that luck (or karma) just isn’t on your side. But if you embark on the evening by telling yourself you love having a full social life, you’re going to have fun with friends, and anything that happens with that guy would just be an added perk, you’ll actually be more likely to have a good time and attract him to you. The reason: luck and optimism go hand in hand. So, if you approach a situation thinking you’ll have fun no matter what, then chances are you probably will. When you hinge your ability to enjoy yourself on meeting someone, you’ll send out vibes that you’re slightly miserable and even a little desperate.

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Make Choices You’ll Never Regret
1. Go with your gut instinct
A study has found that when making simple choices (like what cereal to buy), it pays to be rational. However, when it comes to bigger decisions (like which job to take), you’re better off following your instincts. That’s not to say you should move cities on a whim, but if you’ve weighed up the pros and cons, and still can’t decide, use your snap judgement to go with what feels right.

2. Put down the vino
As the term ‘beer goggles’ suggests, alcohol can make it easier for you to take action. Although one drink can relax you while you’re agonising over a choice, more than that can cloud your mind.

3. Sleep on it for a night
Researchers say unconscious deliberation can help you analyse your options and come to a conclusion, which is why people will often tell you to ‘sleep’ on it. However, labouring over a decision for too long means you aren’t comfortable with any of the choices you have before you, and therefore need to consider alternatives.

4. Reduce your stress
Get a haircut right after you’ve been dumped and you could wind up looking like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. Why? Because we tend to act rashly when upset. Research suggests anxiety not only makes it harder to make a decision, but also to make the right one. So, if you’re fighting with your partner while choosing between places to rent, resolve the issues so you can make a clear-headed choice.

5. Talk it over with a select few
Discuss your predicament with someone whose opinions you trust. Hashing out your options allows you to process the decision, and hearing others’ perspectives (whether you agree with them or not) can help you arrive at a more informed conclusion.

6. But avoid discussing it with everyone
Running your decision past a few key people is smart, but it’s best to keep your hairstylist, trainer and barista out of it. Soliciting too may opinions – especially from people who don’t know you well – can leave you with conflicting advice.

7. Consider the consequences
Some decisions make short-term sense but can be disastrous in the long run – like telling your partner you cheated on him once three years ago, which may relieve your guilt but will probably make him break up with you. Similarly, doing things like sitting in the sun or having unprotected sex can often feel right at the time, but will have serious health ramifications. A good rule of thumb is to play out each possible scenario in your mind and consider the outcome (on your health, on a boyfriend’s feelings, on your credit-card bill – whatever) before making a controversial move.

8. Don’t leave it up to chance
It can be dangerous to make a major, life-changing choice based on your horoscope. While it’s fun to let these things influence small decisions (like which dress to wear, or if you should ask a guy out), the bigger stuff (like leaving your job or ending your relationship) shouldn’t be left to the stars.

9. Ignore the pressure
When grappling with a decision, it’s easy to be swayed in one direction by someone with self-serving motives, whether it’s your parents pressuring you into a particular career or a salesperson talking you into a pair of shoes you can’t afford. Distance yourself so you can sort out your thoughts, and if that’s not possible, pretend you’re advising a friend, which will help you act more logically.

10. Remember you can’t always use the past to predict the future.
When it comes to choices that will seriously affect your bank account or lifestyle, it’s important not to rely simply on experience, but assess each opportunity with a fresh mind-set. What might have been a shrewd move a few years ago – like leaving your nine-to-five job to start up a business – could wreak havoc on your life today.
Thu, 06 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
3 Ways to Quiet Your Mind
There is something very meditative about the act of walking, hence the advent of ‘walking meditations.’ If you’re feeling overwhelmed about what life is throwing at you, grab your tackies and hit the promenade/ park/ somewhere calming and safe. While you’re walking, let your thoughts come and go. Observe and accept them, but don’t give them your attention. By the time you get back home you’ll probably feel clearer and more in control.
Tue, 14 May 2013 12:00 +0200
Learning to Forgive
Vent To A Neutral Party.
Let it all out to a sympathetic listener who doesn’t know the culprit. ‘Once you’ve aired your grievances, see if you can come up with one or two rational explanations for the person’s bad behaviour,’ suggests Luskin.

Stop Obsessing About It.
‘Dwelling on the situation gives it – and the person who wounded you – too much power,’ says Luskin. It also leaves you emotionally exhausted. Luskin’s advice? ‘If you catch yourself mulling over the offense, consciously turn your attention to something – anything – else that is positive in your life.’

Change The Script.
‘When you’re ready to move on, mentally rewrite the story of what happened,’ says Luskin. ‘Instead of seeing yourself as a victim, cast yourself as a strong person who’s triumphed over a painful experience. Picturing yourself in a place of victory gives you increased confidence to deal with future disappointments.’

Thu, 09 May 2013 12:00 +0200
Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic

Preferably a silly one. How can you take a voice called 'Butthead' seriously? This helps remind you that the voice is not reality-based, but just the way you put yourself down. Next time a thought like 'I'll never succeed because I'm so crap' enters your head, follow it immediately with 'Oh, there's Butthead again. Why don't you eff off and mind your own business?'

Thu, 02 May 2013 12:00 +0200
Three Ways To Max Out Every Day Time Alive (William Morrow).

Ho-hum chores may not seem like sources of solace, but the routine can be relaxing. Get lost in the rhythm of washing dishes and feeling warm water on your skin. While folding laundry, smooth your hands over toasty, just-out-of-the-dryer towels and sheets.

Fri, 26 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
The Simple Secret To Happiness
Proof: Even though people are wealthier and have more choices than ever before, studies find they're also more unsatisfied and depressed. The remedy? Realising that, when it comes to what brings happiness, less is more. We're not just talking about purging material things (though that's one part), but about letting go of excess worry, obligations and relationships that drain you. Here's how to unburden to find bliss.

Don't think: Name the happiest you've been in the last year. You probably didn't say 'Looking at my great shoes,' even if they're your most prized possession. 'Research has found that once people's basic needs are met, having more stuff doesn't increase happiness,' says psychologist Dr Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness (Vintage). Cut down on clutter and you'll have more room to enjoy yourself. Try this:
Buy memories instead of things: When deciding whether to spend your cash on an item or an experience - say, a new designer dress versus a weekend trip with friends - go with the experience, says Gilbert. Most people think the outfit is the better choice because a getaway ends. But the trip will always stay perfect in your mind, while the item (suit, shoes, whatever) will eventually lose its lustre and be taken for granted.
Live fast: Spend less time getting ready for your life and more time living it by using 'item rotation,' says psychologist Dr Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less (Harper Perennial). If you have 10 work skirts, hide five of them so you have fewer choices to stress about each day. Once a month, swap them, and get rid of any you didn't miss while they were hidden.
Do a digital detox: Being hooked to your BB, iPad and computer means constant pressure to stay in contact… without any face-to-face time. So, go on an occasional tech fast. Don't message people, turn off your cell when you're with someone, and only reply to urgent e-mails. 'You'll connect more with the people around you and feel more a part of your life,' says life coach, Dr Timothy J Moore.

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
Five People Every Woman Needs In Her Life

He's a great listener, understands the male psyche and isn't bored by endless relationship talk. Plus, he has a great sense of style and is the one person who'll tell you the truth about those pants. Usually high in the fabulous stakes, your GBF will buy you tickets to the ballet, help you redecorate your flat and be your number one support system when things go pear-shaped. And - unlike other guy friends - you can rest assured this one has no ulterior motives.

Tue, 26 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
Easy Ways To Totally Let Go

On the weekend, snooze until you wake up naturally. 'Our brains crave a combination of familiarity and novelty, so if you're used to getting up early, it can be enjoyable to sleep late,' says Dr Stella Resnick, author of Pleasure Zone (MJF Books).

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
Want To Be Happy?
Most of us live a life of 'layers' where we deny our deepest feelings and only show certain aspects of ourselves for fear of being judged and ridiculed. Think of the following scenario: your friend buys a car from a guy she thought she could trust, but it turns out to be a wreck. She phones you and rants, 'That guy was such an a-hole! Why didn't I trust my instincts? I'm furious!' Admitting and feeling emotions, such as anger, is a step away from judgement towards truth. While expressing judgement is easy ('He is a crook!'), owning our anger is less easy.

Says Kåre, 'There are actually four steps: seeing that I am judging and that it is not helping me or anybody else; feeling the anger; feeling the vulnerability under the anger (i.e. need), and relaxing into the clarity and power that come with allowing, accepting and feeling.' To help us sift through the layers and get in touch with who we really are, and what we need to make us happy, Zen Coaching recommends asking some simple, but important questions. In the context of the workshop, the exercises are done with a stranger, but you can do them with a friend, your partner or even alone - though the last three are best done in pairs.

The most important part of self-knowledge, explains Kåre, is being present, so ask yourself what is happening right now, both physically and psychologically. Take a moment to be still and feel your body. Do you have an ache or a pain somewhere? Where? How does it feel? What is happening in your head - are you annoyed, energised, tired? How do you feel right now?

If you're interested in finding out more (the workshops are awesome, and so worthwhile) check out or contact Kåre directly at

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
Zen Your Space

Constantly scrounging around for your keys? A row of mounted hooks hung close to the front door is the way to go. Whenever you get home, make it a habit to hang your keys on the hook as you pass by.

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 12:00 +0200
Get What You Want In Social Settings

What You Want: To impress your guy's parents the first time you meet.

How To Get It: Casually praise someone whom you're certain his mom or dad holds in high esteem, such as a political figure, author or celebrity.

Why It Works: Experts say that as you talk about their hero in a positive light, your targets start to think about all the qualities they admire in that person. And because they're looking at you, they'll subconsciously link you with that person's positive traits.

Mon, 11 Feb 2013 12:00 +0200
How To Get a Good Night's Sleep

The amount of sleep you require is personally and genetically determined, and everyone is different. For some people, five hours is enough; others have to get at least eight. Go to bed at the same time every night for a week and see what time you wake up. If it's super-early, you can afford to go to bed a bit later. If you wake up at the normal time, this is how much your body wants.

Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Sneaky Shortcuts That Simplify Your Life

Shortcut: The circumference of your neck is generally half the width of your waist. So hold up a pair of pants or a skirt, hook your fingers into the waistband and pull taut, then wrap around your neck. How tight or loose it is indicates how it will fit around your midsection.

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:00 +0200
Non-Bitchy Ways To Say No
Sound familiar? Many women get bogged down doing things for others because it's so tough to say 'no'. Before you utter a reluctant 'yes' to yet another request, find out why the 'sure, no problem' habit is so powerful - and how to break it (and not feel guilty).

When a guy is asked to take on an unwanted task, he generally doesn't hesitate to nip the request in the bud. No, he can't lend his buddy R200. Sorry, he has no time to dog-sit for his neighbour.

The reasons guys and girls don't react the same way to requests are both socially sanctioned and biologically driven. 'Men are expected to assert themselves and speak their minds; that's what gives them status in our society,' says social psychologist Dr Susan Newman, author of The Book of No (McGraw-Hill). 'They learn to say no early on because if they don't, they're labelled wimps.'

On the other hand, women earn praise for playing nicely and cooperating. 'As girls, we're singled out for being helpful,' says Newman. 'This manifests in adulthood as an eagerness to please and gain others' approval, typically by agreeing to assist anyone who asks.' In fact, the female need to please is so ingrained that many women equate saying 'no' with saying 'I don't care about you,' adds Newman.

Answering yes also appears to be hardwired. Research shows that when women are cooperative, neural activity in the brain's reward region dramatically increases, bathing our bodies in feel-good hormones. The result: girls get an actual physical high from people pleasing.

First, consider the resentment you invariably feel when you accept a task you don't want to take on. Add to that the time required to do what you were asked, resulting in less time for the stuff that really matters to you, says assistant professor of psychiatry and author of Unleash Your Dreams (Wiley), Dr Michael E. Silverman.

Also, giving in to the 'yes' habit can backfire: Instead of coming off as helpful, you earn a reputation as a doormat, says Silverman. Not setting boundaries earns you little respect among friends and acquaintances, so they keep asking you for help because they know you're likely to accept.

Finally, you don't do people any favours by coming to their rescue constantly. 'Turning someone down forces them to rely on themselves, which can be a good thing,' says Jana Kemp, author of No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life (AMACOM). For instance, say you refuse to lend a slacker friend money to cover her bills for the umpteenth time. Without the safety net of your regular bailout, she'll have no choice but to confront her financial woes.

Tue, 29 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
The Best Way To Feel Happier
Of course, the question is, how do you stay mindful like that? Well, it takes some effort, honestly. There are distractions in every modern woman's life that make just being in the present difficult. But once you see what the snags are, you can navigate around them to a more pleasurable existence. 'And when you're not distracted by all the things you're juggling mentally, you see things with more clarity,' says psychologist Dr Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job (Ballantine Books). 'That helps you make better decisions and be more resilient when you hit hard times.' So start here to free yourself from the stuff that holds you back from being happy right about now.

Part of what makes your 20s and 30s so awesome are celebrations that spotlight how far you've come as an adult. But those graduations, engagements, and promotions aren't finish lines. They're just markers along the path. 'Investing too much emotion in thinking about exactly how you'll feel when something big happens - like, 'I will be so happy when I'm finally walking down the aisle' - may prevent you from enjoying what actually happens,' says Dr Daniel Siegel, associate clinical professor of psychiatry and author of The Developing Mind (The Guilford Press). 'The end result may not look quite the way you thought it would… or even appear at all.'

How To Pull It Off: Make a conscious effort to notice how ordinary events can swell into extraordinary pleasure. 'Focus on the sensory power in your routines, like how great your guy smells when you cuddle or the first delicious bite of your lunch,' says Burton. Also, treat yourself to three little things each day that make you happy, whether it's meeting a friend for a mani or walking by your cute co-worker's office just to get a glimpse.

Tue, 15 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Give Yourself a Big Tick! he Life Audit (Broadway). 'So if you're in the doldrums, deploy the three Ds: Deflection, Distraction and Determination - and say goodbye to the slumps forever.'

Remember, there are some eventualities you can prepare for, so do! 'Find a product or accessory that will solve bad-hair days and invest in a standby "fat-day outfit" that conceals your lumpy bits and makes you look fabulous,' says Righton. Having a reliable fix on hand will stop you blowing problems out of proportion when they occur.

Tue, 08 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Is Envy Getting The Best Of You?
Trouble is, this oversharing has given rise to a new level of envy. 'Status is much more important than it used to be, and we're way more competitive,' says Dr Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me (Free Press). 'People want others to know they're living well. And since there's more pressure than ever to keep up, hearing intimate details of someone's life can make you feel envious.'

Adding to the problem is our heightened level of brand awareness. When people wear their financial prosperity on their sleeve (sometimes literally), you know how much their wardrobe cost without their telling you. And since no COSMO girl should ever feel inferior, we've asked experts to explain why this new breed of envy is so toxic - and how you can cope.

Not everybody has the ability to conjure up covetous feelings. 'It may not bother you that an acquaintance or someone older has something you don't,' says psychologist, Dr Linda Centeno. But when it's a friend or a person on your level, it can be harder to take, because you feel you deserve the same things. Kerri*, 25, can relate. 'My boss has lots of designer bags, and it does bug me because she's reached a place where she should have them,' she says. 'But when my friend got a raise and bought a Louis Vuitton bag, I was jealous because I can't afford one.'

More often than not, envy stems from insecurity. And everyone has an Achilles' heel - whether it relates to the size of their bank account or the size of their butt. So when another woman offers up that she inherited money from her great-aunt or that she dropped two pants sizes, it can magnify feelings of inadequacy. 'Women tend to compare themselves to others,' says Dr Polly Young-Eisendrath, author of The Self-Esteem Trap (Little, Brown and Company). 'And how they stack up can affect their self-esteem.'

*Names have been changed

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 12:00 +0200
Is Stress Making You Bitchy?
'Stressful situations increase cortisol levels and cause a dip in feel-good hormones,' explains Dr Claire Wheeler, author of 10 Simple Solutions to Stress (New Harbinger Publications). 'And since women are conditioned not to express their anger in an aggressive and direct way they deal with those hormonal changes in what seems like a more subtle manner: by getting in a bad mood.' Meaning, we get bitchy. In the interest of not totally losing your cool, we suggest you read our 10 strategies for keeping cool.

Schedule tasks that are making you anxious - like buying a dress for a party or finishing a tough work assignment - for early in the day. If you leave them for later, you'll spend more time worrying and end up snapping at people.

Take a coffee break with friends or co-workers rather than going solo. A study found that getting a caffeine fix in a group lowered stress levels. But sipping coffee alone left people feeling more stressed.

Watch a funny YouTube clip. One study said that anticipating watching a funny video can reduce stress hormones by up to 70%.

Practice saying the word 'No'. Women, being social creatures, tend to feel obligated to show up for everything they're invited to. But saying yes to something when you don't really want to go leaves you bitter and annoyed. Tell people you're prepping for a presentation, then enjoy the free time.

Make a budget for gifts, going out and travel. It's a drag to do and you may not stick to it, but feeling in control of your finances helps squash anxiety.

Lock lips with your guy. Psychologists found that even just a little bit of psychological contact is enough to lower your blood pressure and make you feel calmer.

Do short, high-intensity workouts. Research found they have a greater effect on stress than slower-paced exercise does. So instead of an hour of yoga, hit the treadmill on high for 20 minutes.

Or, if you're feeling too whacked to work out, skip the treadmill and relax in the sauna at your gym (or take a steamy shower). A study found that pampering yourself - even for a few minutes - calms you down.

If you feel ready to snap - at the rude cashier or call centre agent - talk slower. When you're tense, you speak more rapidly, which changes your body's chemistry and turns you into an F-bomb-dropping machine. Talking at a calmer pace will chill you out, and you'll be more likely to get what you want.

Skip the New Year's resolutions. While you might think that giving yourself goals is a positive thing, they'll make you feel inadequate and pressured rather than hopeful and happy. Instead, make some great plans for January.

Tue, 04 Dec 2012 12:00 +0200
(Much) More Than a Massage
We all understand the benefits of yoga and the benefits of massage, but how about a treatment that combines the two - and all you have to do is lie back and enjoy it? Cape Town massage therapist, Hakim La Rocca's, particular brand of Thai Sport Yoga massage has been blogged as 'part yoga workout, part love affair', and if you're stressed, physically worn out or emotionally fraught, it's just the kind of TLC a tired girl (or boy) needs.

Instead of stripping off and lying on a bench, for this type of (oil-free) massage you show up in comfortable clothing (what you'd wear to the gym), and lie down on a wide mattress in a comfortably darkened room. Then, for the next hour or so Hakim uses his body weight to lift, stretch and caress you, making you feel loose, limber and unbelievably relaxed.

As Hakim explains, 'I combine four different techniques - Thai massage, acro yoga, sports massage and relaxation massage. My aim is to promote healing by getting the mind, body and spirit to reach a level of homeostasis. I have found that these treatments, when used together, become an amazing journey into health and well-being.'

While regular massage may sometimes focus more on the physical, Thai Sport Yoga massage has a big emotional/psychological component, which makes it a great option for anyone who is suffering from stress, angst or is in the throes of emotional distress, and the 'holding' element, where your body weight is supported, has significant health benefits. As Hakim explains, 'Studies have shown that holding and hugging lower blood pressure reduces the risk of heart disease. Hugging also relieves stress and makes you feel calmer through increasing oxytocin, a hormone responsible for making us feel calmer and less anxious.'

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Get What You Want
Here's an example: Imagine you tell a friend that you want to train to be a long-distance runner. Your buddy has a, 'Oh, wow, that's great!' reaction, and you get a jolt of satisfaction and pride. You feel so satisfied, in fact, that you lose motivation to get up early and jog. Why should you, when you're already reaping the benefits of being known as a runner? The smarter strategy: Don't tell a soul. Of course, that's easier said than done. Keep reading for more reasons to stay mum - plus tips for achieving your dream on the down-low.

Okay, so you can at least tell your BFF right? Nope. By not telling anyone, you're making sure your goal is something you're really doing for yourself. That's opposed to, say, just wanting to have something impressive to talk about at parties. Plus, you won't run the risk of letting anyone else's opinions get in your way. 'What stops a lot of people from doing the things they dream of is other people,' says life coach, Susan B Wilson. 'If you tell someone you want to apply for a post-graduate degree, they may go on about how terrible the campus is… and you may start to believe them when you really should be trusting your own gut.'

Beyond that, loved ones may have ulterior motives for being naysayers. If you announce that you're going to be devoting tons of time to a big goal, a good friend or your significant other may worry that he or she will see less of you and subconsciously distract you from the finish line. Two more reasons why keeping your dream a secret will help your cause: You'll be so antsy to finally be able to share it with everyone that you'll put your nose to the grindstone and get it done as fast as possible. And doing something just for you feels selfish in a really good way. 'Women tend to overextend themselves for loved ones,' says psychologist Dr Lucy Jo Palladino, author of Find Your Focus Zone (Free Press). 'So if they can have something that is solely theirs, it can feel really special.'

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Get Over Your FOMO! Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life, says ,'As we know more now than ever about the kinds of lives it is possible to live (…) we are always haunted by the myth of our potential. Our lives have become an elegy to roads not taken.' Here, how to keep it real.

You know that party where everyone is beautiful, the champagne flows, the music is perfect and people dance till sunrise? No? Neither does anyone else. You get good parties, and you get lame parties, and the difference is largely about chemistry and luck. Put the right people together who are in the right mood, and it doesn't matter if you only have plonk and the Best of the Eighties – it will be the most fun anyone's had in ages. Likewise, your venue, food and DJ can be awesome, but for some reason the party never quite 'takes off.' If you find yourself at an event that's not great, you chances of finding a better one around the corner are pretty slim. A much better option is to make the most of the place you're at – find somebody interesting to talk to, enjoy the snacks on offer - and then call it a night.

*Name has been changed

Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Be Twitter Savvy

1. Learn the rules: Get to grips with the ins and outs of Twitter before you dive in. Educate yourself on retweeting, hash tags, following, direct messages, character limits, and any other concepts that may sound foreign. You'll get the hang of it as you tweet more and more, but it's a good idea to go in there at least semi-fluent in RT, PRT, DM, #FF, and all the rest.

2. Don't link your networks: Facebook and Twitter are two very different platforms with different audiences and mechanisms. On Twitter, it's okay (if not encouraged) to do very frequent updates, but this kind of self-indulgence will drive your Facebook friends mad. Moreover, things like hash tags do not work on Facebook, so you will just look silly.

3. Watch your mouth! Twitter is a great platform for discussing topical issues, but resist the urge to swear, use hate speech or be offensive in any way. You never know if a potential employer is going through your updates to get an idea of your character (never mind the fact that it's not very nice).

4. Be careful. Don't give your information to people you don't know, and do not list it in your bio or a tweet, like whether you are home alone, where exactly you are (be wary of Foursquare!), and other details that could help strangers find you. At the same time, be careful of posting activities for which you could get into trouble.

5. Do not feed the trolls: Social media is like road rage because the lack of face-to-face interaction means there is less accountability. For this reason, many people will attack you, take things out of context, and behave in downright infuriating ways. Do not take the bait. Know when to walk away and laugh it off, not for your social media status, but for your own sanity.

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
How To Keep Friends Forever

Life is never static, especially when you are young. And with so much happening and changing, expecting your friendship to remain constant is unrealistic. Sometimes you'll be super-tight; other times less so. The most important thing is to keep some kind of communication going – even if it's just the odd SMS or message on Facebook – to let her know she's in your thoughts. And don't panic or read too much into it if time passes with no contact; she's not going anywhere, and neither are you.

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
The Fierce Secret To Success

The first step is to figure out where you stand on the spectrum of risk taking, or fearlessness. Psychologist, Dr Frank Farley devised a T scale (the T stands for 'thrill') to describe the distinction: At one end is the Type T, and at the other is Type t. 'Type T's are natural-born thrill seekers who live for excitement and uncertainty,' Farley says. 'These people often do their finest work in periods of flux. They view chaos as an opportunity for change. While other people get nervous and avoid trying anything different, they take action.'

Clearly, this is a good moment to be Type T. What's really key about T's is that they believe they control their own fate rather than being the victim of it. Type t's, on the other hand, are risk-averse and most comfortable when they're sticking to the rules.

So, naturally, you'll want to harness some of that Type T action… and you can. A person's fearless inclinations, says Farley, are about 40% to 60% inheritable, which leaves a lot of room for adjustment.

Fri, 12 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
Don't Be a Facebook Fiend seriously irritates your FB friends.

Ja, your macaroni cheese with bacon might be amazeballs, but if your name is not Heston Blumenthal, posting a pic of your every meal makes you look like a sad loser. Yes, you eat – we know. But unless there is something super-special about the plate of food in front of you, don't photograph it – and don't post it.

Wed, 05 Sep 2012 12:00 +0200
Five Ways To Chill
A deadline is looming, your car's making a weird sound and you get home to find a pipe has burst and your kitchen is under water. I mean, seriously?! Some days your stress levels reach such crazy proportions, one more thing and something bad's going to happen. But before you run down the road naked and screaming, here are some simple, clever ways to take a metaphorical chill pill.

Yesterday's paper lying around? Instead of shoving it in the bin, tear it into shreds. Researchers have proven that the rhythmic motion of ripping up paper can dramatically reduce your stress levels. This applies to all repetitive activity that requires eye-hand coordination, eg doodling, knitting, scrap-booking, gardening, polishing and even washing the dishes. Giving your brain a rest from the chaos by focusing your attention on a relaxing physical activity will significantly slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
How To Ace Almost Anything really need to know, like how to pull off a poker face, or simply summon some creative genius when you really need it. Well that's about to change. Here, a slew of experts spill some pro secrets. Consider this an instant course in Life 101.

Invest in a standard lamp timer that you can rig to any table lamp, and set it for half an hour before you need to get up. The light activates the natural chemicals that regulate waking up. Just keep a regular alarm set to prevent oversleeping until you're accustomed to your new routine.
- Barbara Flanagan, author of Flanagan's Smart Home: The 98 Essentials For Starting Out, Starting Over, Scaling Back (Workman Publishing Company)

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
Why You May Be Feeling Frantic

'This is the multitasking generation' says psychologist Dr Dale Atkins - author of Sanity Savers (Avon A), 'and many people feel they're being more productive when they do several things at once.' But in fact, the opposite is true: Research has shown that a 50-minute task takes four times as long to accomplish if you're juggling too many things simultaneously. You also can't think creatively when you're multitasking, says Atkins, because 'the process gets interrupted. Creativity comes in bursts and in silence. If you don't have any downtime, you can't think outside the box.' Here are some ways to calm the chaos:

Clear your desk of everything except the one project you're focusing on, says Atkins. If you can't work on only one project at a time, says Nolen-Hoeksema, at least compartmentalise your day - break it into morning and afternoon or into two-hour chunks.
Ask your boss to help you prioritise, if necessary: 'I can have this done by 5, but it means I won't have that other project done until tomorrow. Which do you prefer I focus on?'
Force yourself to schedule tasks by deadline, and then do them in order (e.g. don't let yourself obsess about next week's task when your mind is still on this week's assignment).

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Make a Choice You'll Never Regret  

A study found that when making simple choices (like what cereal to buy), it pays to be rational. But when it comes to bigger ones (like which job to take), you're better off listening to your instincts. That's not to say you should buy a car on a whim, but if you have weighed the pros and cons and still can't reach a conclusion, let your snap judgment be the tie-breaker and go with what just feels right.

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Learn To Love Yourself More and a killer rack (what's with that?), whose life is probably one long episode of fabulousness. It's enough to make you want to strangle yourself with your shoelace.

But, before you do, hear this: Ms Fabulosity probably has more issues than you could ever imagine. Yes, even more than you. And whatever her life might look like (not nearly as perfect as you imagine, by the way) it's highly unlikely she's happier. Why? Because, contrary to what you see and hear pretty much all the time, being skinny, gorgeous and loaded doesn't cut it in the happiness stakes (read any celeb gossip lately?). Why? Because none of this means anything if you don't like yourself. And losing five kilos, earning a bigger salary and driving a schmancy car won't up the self-love stakes, either. But, here's what might:

Like, gym girl. Sure, you might not see her when she stands sideways, but you have no idea what's going on in her life. Maybe her mom is ill; maybe her fiancee is a serial cheater; maybe she has no idea what she wants to do with her life and cries herself to sleep at night. Don't compare your 'inside' with other peoples' 'outside' - everyone has problems, frustrations, and stuff they're dealing with. Maybe she looks at you and thinks, 'I bet she has a great job. Why am I so pathetic?' Remember that thing about books and covers? It's true. Be the best you can be, and forget about everyone else.

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
How To Say No

Yes, it's a lie - you wouldn't love to dog-sit your cousin's demented Weimarana while she takes a road trip to Nieu Bethesda, but saying this softens the blow. Then, (quickly) think up a viable reason why it won't work, sticking as close to the truth as possible. If you're caught off-guard and can't think of anything, don't deliver a knee-jerk 'Erm... okay' which will be hard to go back on later. Rather, tell her you'll think about it and get back to her ASAP. This gives you time to find a way of saying 'No way, José! - gently.

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
20 Ways To Feel Happier
1. Love sleeping in on Saturdays? Make your bed even more of a haven by buying the cosiest sheets. Invest in some that have a high thread-count - the higher the number, the softer the feel.

2. On Monday morning, upgrade your usual coffee to a latte. If you like throwing dinner parties, buy a round dining-room table - it will promote conversation because everyone will be able to see each other.

3. Post-holiday, keep your high going by researching where you want to go on your next trip.

4. Stock your bathroom with candles in relaxing scents like lavender and sandalwood, so every time you take a bath you can easily turn it into a mini-spa.

5. Sunday night is a quiet, stay-at-home kind of evening, so make it a ritual with your guy or a group of friends to cook a meal that's a little more gourmet and delicious than your usual fare.

6. During the winter, get a year-round flowering plant for your pad - you'll feel springy and fresh even when it's freezing out.

7. Magnify the sexiness of date night by turning it into a whole weekend. Plan romantic dinners, a fun movie to see, and some daytime activities. Then tell him to pack a bag on Friday and head to your place until Sunday.

8. Put together an energising and inspiring playlist just for your commute to work… and a more calm and relaxing one for your trip home.

9. Create a reading area to make settling in with a load of magazines or a good book even more enjoyable. Pick a nicely lit corner of your couch, a soft blanket and a small table for you to put a drink on.

10. Never go on a date without
wearing sexy undies and a matching bra, even if you know he won't see them. It's for you, honey.

11. Having cute and flattering gym clothes to slip into means you'll actually look forward to sweating.

12. Ask your favourite shops if they have mailing lists you can be added to. Once you're signed up, they'll send you discounts and special offers.

13. There's nothing like a glass of wine
at the end of a long day. Splurge on a couple of snazzy, high-end glasses that are designed to optimise the aroma and flavour of your vino. They honestly make all the difference.

14. Make Saturday afternoons
even brighter by scheduling phone or Skype sessions with long-distance buddies.

15. Celebrate the fact that you've made it to midweek by treating yourself to a small dessert at lunch - like a cupcake or your favourite kind of biscuit.

16. You probably spend loads of time in your living room, so make it inviting by using warm colours. Try aubergine-coloured pillows or an amber rug.

17. If you have huge plans for a Friday night, think ahead and take the day off work. You can devote those hours to primping so you'll feel extra-hot when you meet up with friends later.

18. Right before you fall asleep, send your guy a loving SMS. He'll get it the next day, and you'll get a sweet response to start off your morning routine.

19. Mmmm… spaghetti. Up the yum factor by adding big, juicy black olives and shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese to your noodles and basic marinara sauce.

20. Get up twenty minutes earlier than usual and blow-dry your hair - you'll feel groomed and gorgeous all day.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
Help! The World's Gone Mad

Some things are guaranteed to start a chain reaction, and meeting someone special always registers high on the Richter scale. But whether love's long-term effect is good or bad depends a little on luck, and a lot on you. You know the upside: by date two, you're walking taller, you sparkle with new energy, you bag a promotion and two months later he moves in. Happily ever after has begun. 'So how come, soon after we met, I lost my job'?' asks Anne*, a woman in her twenties. 'Then I could no longer afford my new flat. Then I got food poisoning. And then he turned out to be married!' It may sound harsh but, out of all this, only the food poisoning was a total accident. Maybe it was love that distracted Anne at work? And who's to say she would have rented such an expensive flat if she didn't hope he might move in with her? Looking back a year later, with a new job and a shared flat, Anne can see the signs she missed: broken dates; his avoidance of public places. If she'd been less hasty, maybe she could have avoided the series of mini-shocks that went on to rock her world.

How To Stay Upright: Slowing down love's first, fabulous impetus does not spoil it; it can make love's tremors more positive in the long run. Hang on to old friends and original aims, and you'll channel love's power into happy happenings for a lifetime.

*Names have been changed

Wed, 30 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Create a Sensual Morning

The blaring beep of an alarm is jarring and makes you tense up - not the best way to start off. Instead, find a clock that gently rouses you with a soft tune. Studies have found that peaceful music (think classical or mellow indie tunes) can actually lower your heart rate and help soothe you. Just change what plays every few weeks so your brain doesn't get numb and allow you to snooze right through it.

Thu, 24 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Five Friendship Myths

In an ideal world and in the movies, when a crisis arises and help is needed, friends put everything aside and rally. But in real life, people have complicated lives and problems of their own, and sometimes they're simply not able to be there for you when you need them. You have a huge fight with your mom on the evening your oldest friend is preparing for an important presentation and she doesn't have time to listen to you rant for an hour? As long as she's there for the biggies, let it slide. It's not always about you.

Thu, 17 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Reboot Your Body (Part One)
1. Wake Up And Smell The Essential Oil: Dab a few drops of rosemary, peppermint or eucalyptus on a tissue to clear your mind, recommends Carole Preen of the Aromatherapy Council. Put the tissue on your desk or a radiator to diffuse oils throughout the room. Or tuck it under your bra strap to help keep you alert all day.

2. Release Your Inner Artist: Customise your clothes, sketch a still life or snap stunning views with your camera. You'll get an energising buzz as you're using the artistic right-hand side of your brain. 'Research shows that when people learn something new, they get into what we call the "flow",' Gladeana explains. 'They lose themselves in the activity, and because they're stimulating the brain in a different way, they feel a sense of achievement and their mental state perks up.'

3. Siesta Lite: A quick power nap during your working day will help you perform better. Experts suggest taking a 20-minute nap in the early afternoon, which provides more rest and stamina than an extra 20 minutes in bed in the morning. It's vital to keep to the time limit, as any longer may disrupt your regular sleep patterns. Not sure how you'll explain this to your boss, though…

4. Laugh Out Loud: A good giggle with your girlfriends will stimulate the movement of blood to the heart and lungs, making your body work at peak efficiency. Laughter is also thought to increase levels of the body's feel-good chemical, serotonin, while studies show that it decreases production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which affects mood.

5. Spring-Clean Your Mind: Divide your life into components - health and diet, relationships, social life, finances and career. List both what you like and what you dislike, or want to change, in order to clarify your mind and provide focus on what needs to be done. 'We carry so much around in our heads that it can be draining,' says Gladeana. 'Taking stock of what works and why can be extremely illuminating, and research tells us that people are more likely to carry out plans if they're written down.'

6. Snack Like a Hiker: For a quick fix, grab a handful (about 150 calories) of trail mix. The phosphorus in the fruit provides healthy sugars for a rapid boost, while seeds and nuts prevent your insulin levels from dropping. Make your own using two cups each of unsalted peanuts, cashews, almonds, chopped dried apricots, bananas or raisins, and half a cup of sunflower seeds. Makes 10 servings.

7. Drink Up: Have a large glass or cup of liquid at least every two hours. 'Dehydration makes us feel exhausted as it reduces the levels of fluids reaching the brain,' explains dietician Catherine Collins. 'Go for a variety of drinks - it doesn't have to be plain water. Fruit juice and tea will hydrate you just as well.'

8. See The Light: A 20-minute blast of sunlight every day is enough to pep up energy levels. Going outside is best, even if it's overcast, but standing inside in front of a window for just a few minutes several times a day will also help. Research has shown that St John's Wort helps combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) too, but it should be avoided if you're on the Pill or pregnant.

9. Shaking Your Booty: Head out for a 20-minute walk at lunchtime, take the stairs instead of the lift, walk faster than normal into work or move around the office three times an hour. You'll get a physical and mental boost an hour after exercising due to extra oxygen and nutrients being pumped around the body.

10. Eat Less, More Often: Re-fuel regularly to combat tiredness by eating five or six small meals a day, rather than three large ones. It helps keep blood-sugar levels stable and staves off energy lulls. Fill up on wholegrain foods that are digested slowly and cut down on starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweetcorn.

>>> Go To Part Two

Mon, 07 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Fill Your Confidence Gap

You’re perfectly comfortable with friends and colleagues alike. But, when faced with a room full of new people, your confidence heads for the door.

Fill It: Be Ordinary
When you’re out with friends, you don’t spend the whole night trying to be ‘interesting’, do you? Apply the same relaxed confidence to dealing with strangers and you’ll shine without trying. ‘The first step is to seek out someone who’s also shy and work the room together,’ advises Sarah. Keep the conversation simple. ‘Stick to ice breakers that require more than a yes/no answer, but the more ordinary, the better, like 'How's your day been so far?' Your laid-back approach will quickly put you all at ease.

Mon, 30 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Organise Your Life, explains, a lot of our day-to-day stress can be reduced by making simple changes in the way we do things. Use these easy tips to turn yourself into the super-organised woman you've always wanted to be.

Launch Pad
Create a space next to your main point of entry/exit for things that are traveling in and out of the house with you. When you come in, dump keys, cell phone and handbag in that area, ready for you to pick up again as you race out.

Follow what comes naturally
Don’t complicate things. If you always drop your towel on the floor in the passage, that’s where you need a hook or a rail. If you leave your shoes next to your bed, put a shoe rack against the nearest wall so that putting them away becomes easy.

Zone it
Just like a pre-school classroom has different areas for fancy dress, reading and playing house, you need to designate zones within your rooms. Have a special chair where you play on your iPad? Keep it (and its charger) on the little table next-door. Keeping items where you use them saves time and makes putting things back in their place simple.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Signs You Need To Dump a Friend
1. Looking back a few months, you realise you've let all her calls go to voicemail, even if you were in a chatty mood, because you couldn't muster the energy for small talk.

2. Your boyfriend labels you a 'hazardous area' after seeing her because you're such a moody misery.

3. Upon noticing her new bag, you obsess over the fact that she blew the R1 500 you lent her years ago.

4. After a long talk with her, you eat a litre of ice-cream to take your mind off her neuroses.

5. If you have a differing opinion, you reply, 'You're probably right. It's easier just to get her off the topic since she hates losing a debate.'

6. She acts accessible but always says 'Super busy… but totes wanna hang out soon!'

7. She tweaks her success into digs, like 'It's funny - you were the one guys used to hit on, but since I lost 5kgs, they love me!'

8. After you tell her about a life change (e.g., a new job or flat), you notice her 'support' is tethered to concern or doubt ('It's just that I'm so worried about you').

9. When she's single, you detect she seems a bit pleased when you tell her about a bad date.

10. You sometimes walk away from a conversation with her feeling like a stripped car.

11. When you see her, you never quite get around to talking about you. But you could write a novel about the crappy boss and hellish landlord she blabbed about for 90 minutes straight.

12. Her e-mail that asks 'Wanna meet up?' means one thing: She must've split with her latest guy.

13. A friend in common mentions something personal you had told your friend in confidence - the third time this year.

14. You avoid talking about a life crisis because her reply is inevitably, 'You think that's bad…'

15. She rattles off a long list of former bosom buddies who are 'dead to her' for some betrayal and adds, 'But you'd never do that to me.'

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Reclaim Your Happiness
I'd been whining about having nothing to wear, missing yoga because I got stuck in a meeting - the usual - when he snapped: 'Babe, your life is 100 times better than a lot of other people's; you should be happy - and grateful for what you've got.' I was suddenly, deeply embarrassed. He was right. Bombarded by economic woe in the media and constantly drawn into credit crunch conversations with friends and colleagues, I'd given myself licence to join in on the doom and gloom. I can see how it happened - 'recession' has become the new 'weather' of small talk. It's not that we want to see the glass half empty (we want it to be full because we can't afford the refill), it's a psychological fact that tough economic times make us feel down in the dumps.

'Financial stress, along with relationship stress, are the top two (worries) in our lives,' says Timothy Sharp, founder of The Happiness Institute. 'There are two groups of people who have been affected by the economic situation - those who have actually been affected and those who are anxious they might be.'

I fall into the latter group, those of us who still have our homes, jobs and know where our next meal is coming from. A little perspective goes a long way… but it's natural that we'll still feel occasionally down in these uncertain times. Here, more tips for beating recession depression and appreciating how rich your life really is.

The Demise Of 'Pick-Me-Up' Purchases It's easy to feel miserable when financial circumstances put a dampener on the material mood-boosters you once enjoyed. When the anxiety of a tough day at work can no longer be eased by the acquisition of a grey cardigan, or your pain over that guy who didn't call temporarily anaesthetised by a shiny new clutch, you need to look beyond instant gratification to feel better. Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt really, truly happy? The memory bringing a smile to your face probably involves your partner, best friends or family - not your credit card. That's because, according to Sharp, the most significant contributor to our happiness is the quality of our relationships, and spending time with the ones we love doesn't have to cost a cent.

'The problem with [buying] stuff is that we get used to it; you'll probably feel good for a day, a week or a month, but after time, that new pair of shoes is just another pair of shoes. Calling, visiting or doing things with people who are important to you contributes to happiness in a more enduring way than a new purchase.'

Another budget mood-booster is exercise. 'The mood benefits are quite considerable. Exercise is an antidepressant; it enhances positive emotions and helps maintain an optimistic attitude,' says Sharp. You don't need a personal trainer or gym membership; running or walking outdoors has the added benefit of being close to nature. Perhaps one positive side-effect to take away from the credit crunch is that the best things in life are free…
Make Happiness Last

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Stop Whining, Woman! still single. We're all guilty of getting into a spiral of negativity where we start taking all the amazing things in our lives for granted. But, by making the choice to see things in a different light you can remind yourself that, actually, your life is pretty fab. Here's how.

Your BFF's Being a Boob She's dating another dud/she did the slut walk home (again)/she spilled her Cosmopolitan down your new white dress - there are times our friends are going to annoy us and make us tear out our weaves in frustration. But you know what? There are other times these same friends are going to make you laugh out loud in the middle of the worst day of your life; listen to you drone on for hours about why your ex sent you that SMS or lend you their favourite pair of shoes for your hot date. How awesome to have these quirky, fun (and human) people in your life - and imagine how bereft your days would be if they weren't around. No, you aren't going to agree with all their choices. So what? That's not what friendship is about. Instead of grumbling, feel the love.
Your Singledom Sucks
Your Boss is a Brat
Your Parents Are Poofy
Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Why Mess Is Stressful
Designate a Place For Everything By establishing a special spot for things that enter your space - such as photographs, bills, and other paperwork - you'll be able to put them away quickly and easily find them again later, Denton says. You'll avoid stuff piling up in limbo on counters and table tops.
Get Rid Of Anything That Isn't Useful, Beautiful, Or Loved
Make Stacks Easy To Deal With

Thu, 08 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Shortcuts To a Happy Life
Don't believe everything you think.
When your inner critical voice starts heckling you about how your abs are flabby or making you feel like crap because that guy so isn't interested, assume the voice is wrong.

Stop spying on yourself during sex. A lust-fuelled romp is the ultimate all-natural upper, but 'spectatoring' - detaching and analysing yourself during the act - kills the mood faster than Mom calling mid-session. 'For sex to be great, you have to be fully engaged, spontaneous, and open, which is impossible when you're disconnected,' says sex therapist, Dr Gloria G Brame.

Pad your time. Running late and rushing around like a total madwoman is like putting your nerves in a deep fryer. So instead of being terminally frazzled, give yourself a 10 minute buffer. Set your watch ahead, or allow yourself more prep time when you have somewhere you need to be.

Get engaged. Sorry, we're not talking about the kind that comes with a diamond ring. We mean those times when you're so totally absorbed in what you're doing that you forget about watching the clock. Whether you're thumbing through your latest issue of COSMO or even fine-tuning a work project, you're completely in the moment and experiencing what's called 'flow', says Dr David G Myers, author of The Pursuit Of Happiness (William Morrow Paperbacks). 'When you become so un-self-consciously immersed in an activity, you boost your sense of competence and well-being.'

Go out on a school night.
The blahs tend to multiply when you're holed up by yourself. A few hours of pure play and friend therapy - even if you do have a morning meeting -will get you into a sunnier state of mind.

Shorten your 'I wish I'd….' list. Look, you can't rewrite history, and harping on about the past only makes the present seem bleak, so don't dwell on what you could've or should've done differently ('I could've asked him for his number,' 'I should've bought that damn dress on sale'). Banish regret by refusing to second-guess yourself.

RSVP 'no' to invites that feel like obligations, like a co-worker's baby shower or a third cousin's birthday party.

Paint a wall, rearrange your furniture, or take the curtains off of your windows to let in more light. 'Exotic colours, a powerful piece of artwork, more sun… any of these positive changes in your personal scenery will elevate your mood because they arouse your senses,' says Walt Lockley, author of The Psychology of Residential Space.

Own your screw-ups. Say your car gets towed or you snap a heel while running to get to work on time. Instead of cursing the evil forces that are conspiring to mess with you, claim some responsibility: You should have read the street sign or left the house earlier. 'Feeling out of control - like the world is doing these things to you - is stressful and saps happiness,' says Reich. 'Acknowledge that you played a part and you'll feel more in charge. That's the healthiest way to deal with life's pitfalls.'

Dump your diet. Really, who's ever happy on an empty stomach?

Always have something to look forward to. Make dinner reservations three weeks in advance. Buy a pair of concert tickets for next month. When you pre-plan a fabulous future, you sweeten your outlook on life.

Blow off a grudge. A chip on your shoulder isn't worth the bad vibes.

Create a ritual. Start every morning with your signature skim no-foam latte or set up a weekly mani-pedi. Life is totally random and unpredictable, but having something constant that you enjoy keeps you grounded and gives you a sense of well-being.

Perform a bad-mood intervention on yourself.
One nasty moment can spiral into a full-on freak-out because of your body's involuntary response to the stress. Your computer crashes or you have a fight with your sister so your heart beats faster and your muscles tense up. But even after the moment has passed, your body keeps sending those bad mood signals, so your brain can't shake the rotten feeling. To short-circuit ongoing crankiness, distract your body by putting your palms over your eyes to block out light and letting out a few deep sighs. These two moves send instant chill signals to your brain.

Visit O-Town today. Whether you go it alone or get your guy to take you on the magical tour, have yourself one rocking orgasm. The big 'O' opens the floodgates on endorphins and oxytocin, those feel-fabulous chemicals that give you that post-sex satisfaction.

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Dump Your Baggage
Remember the time your Grade 2 teacher made you stand in front of the class and berated you for being 'stupid'? Or when the guy you were planning on marrying woke up one morning and told you he didn't love you anymore? Of course you do. Chances are, those memories are emblazoned in your mind and, whether you're aware of it or not, they probably impact you in more ways than you realise. While you know, rationally, that your teacher was a douche and that getting out of a relationship with that loser was a lucky escape, many of us live our lives stuck in an emotional time-warp where the humiliation and hurt affect us like they happened yesterday. Says Tracey Foulkes, owner of productivity training company, Get Organised, in the same way you de-clutter your wardrobe, sometimes you need to de-clutter your emotional life. 'When you push painful emotional experiences to the back of your mind, these become baggage and lead to a situation where we are controlled by our emotions,' explains Foulkes.

Say, for example, your boss criticises something you've done. Instead of using her opinion constructively and knowing that it isn't personal, you spiral into a state of fear and humiliation where you start questioning your abilities and self-worth. You're right back in Grade 2. Or, the guy you went on a date with takes two days to call you, making you question your desirability and attractiveness. Emotionally, you're five years back, sitting in your bedroom being dumped. Says Foulkes, emotional baggage can act like a 'fog' through which we view the world. In order to make sense of how painful emotional experiences affect the here and now, we need to learn to identify our emotional triggers and control inappropriate responses.

As Foulkes explains, as humans we are able to open our 'emotional cupboard' and sift through the items we like and need, and 'throw out' the things we don't. Essentially, emotional intelligence is concerned with having a developed sense of self-awareness, which entails understanding why we respond to things in certain ways and managing this response, particularly when it has negative consequences in our lives. For example, if you are able to give the guy a chance to explain his reasons for not contacting you sooner, he might have a very valid excuse. But if you feel upset and rejected to that the point that you're angry and accusatory towards him, you could sabotage your chances of a relationship upfront.

Unfortunately, identifying and dumping our 'baggage' is easier said than done, and not quite as simple as chucking out those hideous paisley pants. But being mindful of certain patterns and recognising that some of your responses to circumstances may not be appropriate is a good start. Think about the events that stand out in your mind as painful and humiliating, and see if you can make a connection between the way you felt back then and the way you respond to seemingly unrelated life events now. Through this self-awareness and insight it becomes easier to monitor ones reactions. If you find yourself overreacting to things but can't seem to get a handle on where these emotions come from, you might want to consider seeing a therapist, particularly if you feel your baggage holds you back considerably. A professional will help you go back in time and trace patterns you might not even be aware of. If you feel drained, frustrated, moody, overwhelmed and/or anxious, it might be time for a psychological spring-clean and to leave those heavy bags at the door.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
It's Time To Kick Butt
Clueless Person #1: The Nosy Friend Who Keeps Trying To Set You Up Whether she's orchestrating unwanted blind dates or secretly signing you up for, the well-meaning actions of this romantic meddler are tough to take. As irritating as this busybody is, she probably thinks that playing matchmaker is part of being a good friend. To get her to back away, explain that her actions are threatening your friendship. 'Next time she hints about some cute new bachelor in her office, cut in with, "Listen, when you offer to set me up like that, I wonder if you feel sorry for me not having a man in my life, which causes me to think twice about spending time with you,"' says Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations (Penguin Putnam Inc). 'Then add "I know you're just trying to help, but I'm fine, so stop worrying about my single status."' Yip, she might feel slighted and your friendship could take a hit. But at least you'll have nipped her condescension in the bud.
Clueless Person #2: That Guy You're Not Interested In Who Keeps Calling
Clueless Person #3: Your Friend Who Is Chronically Late For Everything
Clueless Person #4: Your New Man Who Skimps On Pleasing You In Bed
Clueless Person #5: The Person In Your Circle Who Trashes a Mutual Friend

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Make This Your Best Year Ever
1. Spend More Time With Friends You know you like hanging out with your friends, but you probably didn't know that buddy-time is really good for your health - so when, after a mad day at work, you swing by your bestie's place, you're actually self-medicating. Researchers have proven that friendship is even more important than we thought; when you spend time with someone you love and trust, a series of measurable, physiological things happen to your body - your muscles relax, you feel calmer and stress hormones stop pumping through your body, explains mind-body medicine specialist, Jane Ehrman. So, having at least one healthy relationship - but, preferably several - is just as important to your health as good nutrition and exercise.
2. Invite Someone Dangerous To Tea
3. Do a Friendship Spring-Clean
4. Do Something That Scares You
5. Love Your Living Space
6. Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One
7. Go With The Flow

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Stop Energy Vampires
The Sob Sister She's the one who's always complaining but isn't truly interested in solving her problems.

Coping Cues:
Stop lending a sympathetic ear and give her some tough love, says Dr Judith Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and author of Positive Energy (Harmony). Pointing out that she should take responsibility for her own unhappiness might help her change, and if not, she'll at least lay her misery on someone else.
The Drama Queen
The Chatterbox

Thu, 05 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Facebook Friend?
With Friends… Leaving comments on a friend's wall doesn't count as catching up, according to John Lenarcic, an expert on information technology and social issues. 'The whole notion of friendship rests on actually seeing the person,' he says. This is because you get things from coffee dates, like a hug when you're upset, that you don't get when you're online. And while confronting a problem with a friend over e-mail or SMS may seem less awkward, the tone of a message can be misinterpreted. 'The anonymous nature of online communication lets us say things and then hide behind a screen, which is not a constructive way to resolve conflicts,' explains Lenarcic.
At Work…
In Love…

Fri, 09 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
Kicked When You're Down The Resilience Factor (Three River Press). 'But you can stem the flood and gain control.' In fact, you may be more in charge of your bad luck than you think. The trick is knowing how to turn it around.

Disaster Domino Effects Experiencing multiple traumas seems unfair, but before you start the pity party ask yourself, 'Could I have caused any of those complications?' Sure, fate plays a hand in some raw deals (like cancer), but we often have a role in other things going wrong (bad relationships or debt, for example). Identifying your contribution keeps you from thinking the planets are aligned against you. You also may find that the initial problem influenced your subsequent setbacks. 'Stress can make you take your eye off the ball and become more vulnerable,' says a psychologist, Rob Smith. Maybe you were in such a daze after your boss yelled at you that you left work with your bag wide open, and that's why your wallet was stolen. Or you were so zonked from caring for your mom after her heart attack that you didn't pay the rent on time, so your landlord won't renew your lease. It's doubly true health-wise: Stress weakens your immune system, making you more likely to add a second woe by getting sick, depressed, or staying injured for longer.

Sometimes a bad break motivates you to make positive, though painful, changes. 'I call it "inspirational dissatisfaction",' says clinical psychologist Dr Maryann Troiani, co-author of Spontaneous Optimism. 'The sadness or anxiety from a crisis causes you to ask yourself what you really want in life.' That, plus the feeling that you have nothing to lose, spurs you to dump what's been bringing you down, whether it's a bad job or your crazy roommate.
Preventing Paranoia
Healing Your Wounds
Into The Future

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
Shit Girls Say @shitgirlssay. Here are a few pearls all of us can relate to.

'I need to have a good cry'
Your life is hell and your friends, agents of satan. Quick – rent Ghost, grab a box of tissues and sob away. You go, girl - crank it up.

'I am never drinking again'
Whether it's nursing a killer hangover at work or drunk dialling your ex (again), the remorse you feel is real. And lasting. Until, that is, next Friday rolls around and you find yourself faced with a chilled bottle of lusty white that appears to be whispering your name. What's a girl to do at the end of a biaatch of a week? Okay, just this one time...

'I can't believe I ate all that'
You'll believe it when you try and squeeze into your newly washed skinnies. If only you had stopped at three chocolate chip cookies, right? So you lost your mind for half an hour and finished everything in your fridge, including the mayonnaise. Luckily, one mad binge won't make an ounce of difference (really). Go lie down – you can barely stand anyway. Do a spinning class tomorrow.

'Are you ignoring me?'
No, he is not. He is working or in a meeting or on another call or busy doing things boys do to escape girls' silly badgering. If he doesn't answer your second SMS, do not send a third. Carry on with work - and then go and do that spinning class you conveniently forgot about (do samoosas with mayonnaise ring a bell?). When he's free, he'll answer you.

'I think his phone's off'
It might well be. And if you went ahead and sent that third sms, who can blame him?

'At least I'm pretty'
You are, you are! So, dry your eyes, have one glass of wine, forgive yourself for being human and... listen... is that the sound of your phone? It is! And it's him calling to invite you out somewhere fabulous. And guess what? If you lie down and wriggle, you can get those jeans on after all...

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
Reclaim Your Spunk
The whole point was to have fun, explore, and discover. Well, no one can be carefree forever, right? But girls may have to leave more of themselves behind than boys do as they move into adolescence and adulthood… and it just might be time to reclaim at least some of that lost girl (tempered with some hard-won big-girl wisdom, of course).

Where Did That Girl Go? There are many reasons why girls may lose so much of their inner selves as they mature. 'Certainly a primary one, says Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes (Three Rivers Press) is that during adolescence, girls start to believe they have to be effortlessly perfect. They feel pressured to fit in socially, be attractive, and do well in school.'

And while these things are a natural part of growing up, you sometimes sacrifice a bit of who you are to achieve these goals. For instance, you may have silenced a wacky part of your personality in order to be in with the popular crowd. 'Women are socialised to be people pleasers, so as girls move into their early teenage years, they start conforming to what they believe others want them to be,' says clinical psychologist Dr Roni Cohen-Sandler, author Stressed-Out Girls (Penguin). That urge to conform can extend to your looks. Maybe you started spending time worrying about your appearance instead of indulging in a hobby you loved. Or perhaps you were so focused on being well-liked that you became less willing to take risks that might make you stand out.

Finally, as you get older, the time element becomes crucial. 'As a child, you can devote hours to dreaming and doing things just for fun,' says clinical psychologist Dr Ruth Peters, author of Overcoming Underachieving (Wiley). But as life accelerates, you get busy, and it becomes easier to neglect things that really make you happy. The result: That quirky, devil-may-care girl you once were gets lost... which kind of sucks, because that deeper sense of yourself can really come in handy as a grown-up - from helping you get exactly what you want in life to simply heightening your joy. Now, just to be clear, we aren't suggesting you revert back to your childhood ways - at least not in the literal sense. It's more about realising what went missing, bringing back some of the facets of your personality, and using them to your advantage. Here's the low-down on how to rediscover certain parts of the old you.
Define What's Missing
Reclaim Your Old Self
Don't Worry About Other People's Expectations

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
Fun Ways To Unwind At Home
Sensualise Your Kitchen With the yummy fragrances and flavours, cooking can be really decadent. The only drawback? Switching on that glaring overhead light zaps the indulgent vibes. Instead, use unscented candles or plug in a lamp. The soft glow lets you surrender to the experience.
Lounge In The Living Room
Score Some Boudoir Bliss
Kick Back On The Balcony

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
The New Happy Hour
10 min: Lather up with an inexpensive scented body wash that reminds you of chocolate or piňa coladas.

4 min: Karaoke one of your favourite hits as you get ready for work.

5 min: At lunch, visit a dream-interpretation site and figure out what the symbols from last night's fantasy say about you.

10 min: Get a cheap, quick and invigorating massage at your local nail salon.

1 min: When you love a stranger's style, say so. You get a psychological payoff passing on goodwill - plus a new fashion source.

5 min: Look at food porn. Rifle through cooking mags or sites with mouth-watering recipes you want to try.

20 min: Do it... and often. Even if it's just a quickie, the hormones released during sex increase your mood in the short-term.

5 min: Get that fresh-sheets feeling by popping them in the dryer on high heat for a few
minutes along with a scented fabric softener.

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
Max Out Your Sex Appeal
When you get bored with your usual date-night jeans and sexy shirt, go all Ivanka Trump - a classic black suit with only a lace bra underneath and red heels. If you've got it flaunt it, baby.

While talking to a guy in a crowded room, lower your voice so he has to lean way in to hear you, then let your breath tickle his ear. (Forgive him if he has trouble concentrating).

Master a game - poker, tennis, darts, whatever - in which you can soundly kick a guy's butt... all while wearing short-shorts.

Treating your man like a piece of meat every now and then inspires pure lust on his part. So it's win-win to make a big show of taking a camera-phone pic of him sans shirt, then letting him 'catch' you admiring it.

One word: Commando

Who made the rule that you have to wear dowdy tees to the gym anyway? With your exercise endorphins rushing and hot workout clothes, it's only logical to pass the gym mirror and think, 'Nice curves, girl.'

Nothing's sexier than having the self-confidence to appreciate other women's bodies. Next time you see a particularly foxy woman while you're with your man, nod in her direction and say 'Daaamn. She's gorgeous!' He'll be blown away... by you.

Rock big hair, Brigitte Bardot-style: long and glam and full with soft waves falling down around your shoulders and totally ready to be touched... or, you know, pulled. Whatever the situation calls for, right?

Guys hate it when you jump out of bed, grab a sheet, and dart to the bathroom after sex. No problem, since next time, you'll languorously turn over, stretch, and strut your stuff out of the room - totally nude - with all the confidence of a Victoria's Secret fashion show catwalker.

Policy: Always order dessert on a first date. Consider sharing.

Sometimes it's more enticing when a guy feels naked skin instead of just seeing it. If you are going dancing or hugging your man, never underestimate the power of a backless dress.

At certain times, the only thing hotter than being yourself is making a friend feel that way, say, by marching up to her and the guy she's flirting with and saying to him, 'I see you've met our resident yogi. Oh, she didn't tell you? That's one flexible woman you're talking to. Watch out.'

You may not have a motorcycle, leather pants, or - gulp - babies with Brad Pitt, but what you should have in common with Angelina Jolie is her incredibly sexy yet intellectual self-possession. That confidence comes from having a smoking body and a smoking mind. If you're ever in doubt, ask yourself WWAJD?

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Happiness Myths The How Of Happiness: A Scientific Approach To Getting The Life You Want (Penguin). Here, the seven happy factors that bomb in bringing fulfillment and - most importantly - uncover new secrets to true pleasure.

1. A Ton Of Cash and Luxurious Buys Granted, you do need a base amount of money. Research shows that people are happier when they don't have to stress about how to afford basics like shelter, food and medicine. But beyond that, cash loses much of its happiness power. People with above-average incomes actually tend to be more tense and don't spend any more time doing enjoyable activities than those who make less do. The reality is, no matter how much you strive for, you'll never be satisfied - thanks to a phenomenon called the hedonic treadmill. Humans are wired to accumulate things, then outgrow them… originally so we could evolve into better people. But today, upgrading takes on a whole new meaning. Obviously, you'd ditch your bachelor flat for a three-bedroom with a view. But before long, you'll have to have a new kitchen to match the bathroom renovation. After that, why live in an apartment when a beach house like the one your lucky friend has is really where you should be? Either way, your 'What's next?' mindset never changes.

Researchers are discovering that what does make you happy is appreciating the stuff you already have, like noticing how great your place looks on a sunny day with the light streaming in. And using your cash for experiences - like a weekend trip or a painting class - versus stuff pays off two-fold because you gain happy memories. 'So don't deprive yourself, but recognise the limits on the happiness a pricey pair of shoes can bring,' advises psychologist Dr Dale Atkins, author of Sanity Savers: Tips For Women To Live a Balanced Life. (Avon). 'If you drain your account for it, you won't feel pleased or secure when you can't pay your bills.'
2. Being Upbeat 24/7
3. Having a Lot Of Free Time
4. Partying Like a Rock Star
5. The Perfect You

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Happiness Pay Rise
True, you can't buy happiness, although it might feel that way when you score that last pair of designer wedges at the sale. But credit card-induced euphoria can leave you with crushing debt and a fairly empty existence even if your wardrobe is pretty full. Real lasts-a-lifetime happiness may seem harder to attain - but it's not. Because, while your bank balance depends entirely on your salary, your happiness balance depends solely on you. 'It's easy to make small changes to improve different parts of your life - and if you make enough, you can really increase your general well-being,' says life coach Alison White. She explains that there are seven key areas we should all try to make positive changes in - work, friendships, body image, money, relationships, future goals and relaxation. Address one of these each day and see if, in just a week, you can bump up the bliss factor in your everyday life.

Monday: Work On Monday morning the week can seem interminable but, as Ayana Horton, a lecturer at Brunel University's School of Health Science and Social Care suggests, each day will seem better if you start it in the right way. 'Before you go to work, do something to claim the day for yourself - get some fresh air, have a bath or eat a nice breakfast.' Yes, it means getting up slightly earlier, but it's worth it. And if your work environment is making you miserable, do something about changing it, like buying yourself a bunch of flowers each week.
Tuesday: Body Image
Wednesday: Friendships
Thursday: Money
Friday: Relationships
Saturday: The Future
Sunday: Relaxation

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
'I Can't Believe I Sent That!'

Subject: FW: Kim's bridal shower
Andrea frustrates the hell out of me. She says the opposite of everything I say. She doesn't even know Kim at all. I don't think she really cares about Kim having a
good time anyway - it's more like she wants to make sure she has a good time. So annoying...
SENDER: Donna, a bridesmaid
INTENDED READER: All the other bridesmaids except one, Andrea.

Subject: Bun in the oven?
So, I've got a new guy - pretty exciting! I'm not sure if he's The One, but the sex is good enough for now. But must confess, I still can't stop thinking about the ex, especially the ex sex, which was HOT! At least he was good at one thing!
INTENDED READER: Robyn, Erin's best friend who's living abroad
ACTUAL READERS: Robyn's entire e-mail list including her parents, teachers - and Erin's ex.

Subject: RE: UPDATE
Ladies: I found a great 'Italian restaurant' in CT. Wonder if this is what we'll be having for dinner tomorrow night! LOL, Lisa
[NOTE: The attachment included pop-up centrefolds of naked men.]
INTENDED READERS: The bachelorette party list
ACTUAL READER: The bride's 95-year-old grandma, parents, and everyone else on the engagement party list.

Subject: RE: RE: My stupid boss
Dear Becky
...I have no idea how my boss lost that much weight. He used to be a real tub of lard! But the last four months, he's been on some crazy diet and started getting up at 4.30am for spin class. Anyway, the other theory is that he is just plain going mentally insane. (Which would explain why he has that AWFUL tic where his head moves all around!!!)
Talk to you soon!
:) Camille
SENDER: Camille
INTENDED READER: Camille's friend, Becky
ACTUAL READER: Camille's boss's assistant

Subject: Re: That nasty little dog
I hope that nasty little dog finally dies so we don't have to hear about it anymore!
INTENDED READER: Jane's co-worker, Selina
ACTUAL READER: Another co-worker, who is the dog's owner

Subject: RE: Party
Party was a hit! We should have more at our 'loft' (aka the office)!
Ciao, Lara
PS: Attached are cool party photos!
INTENDED READER: Lara's co-worker
ACTUAL READER: Lara's boss, Alan

Subject: Re: Check this out!
OH MY GOODNESS! Read this e-mail I just got. This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about with her! She has got to be the most dramatic and pathetic person I know! See
what I mean?!? You know, I'm getting so fed up, I can't even deal with the drama, the stinginess, the lies, the way she tries to make money off her friends, the way she snoops
into my room and pilfers things and snoops into anything and everything that is personal - PSYCHO!! AII I have to say is DISGUSTING!
SENDER: Keisha
INTENDED READER: Keisha's best friend
ACTUAL READER: Keisha's roommate, the subject of the e-mail

Subject: They are bizarre

Thank God the wedding is over – a bit much, don't you think? God forbid they just do anything like everybody else, without putting on a show. Oh, did you hear about the honeymoon? Morocco AND Greece? Who does that? They are bizarre!
SENDER: Ally, friend of the bride
INTENDED READER: Ally's boyfriend, Pete
ACTUAL READER: The bride you messed up royally and sent an accidental e-mail. Experts provide tips on dealing with your nightmare mistake.

Skip The Excuses

No matter how hard you try, you can't go back in time to that moment before you pressed send, so don't even try to cover your ass. Avoid excuses ('Just listen,' 'There's this big story,' 'I can explain...'). You have to be sincere. Maybe the truth is that you wrote a bitchy bridal e-mail because you secretly want to get married so badly. Suck it up and say so.

Don't E-mail 'I'm Sorry'
There's no accounting for tone and emotion in an e-mail, so forget about putting your apology in writing. Sorry can seem flippant in typewritten form or even angry if you use all caps to emphasise your words. So pick up the phone and call your pal or put your tail between your legs and fess up to your boss.

Be Patient

Your e-mail may cause your friend, boss, or roommate to write you off, but chances are, they'd like to forget the incident as much as you would. So give them time. Meanwhile, let yourself off the hook for your slip-up - eventually, the humiliating sting will wear off.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Stand Up! The Book of NO. (McGraw-Hill). But when you stifle an impulse to stand up for yourself, you go from being nice to being a doormat. Here are a few she-devil moves you're totally dead right to make.

Say No To a Really Annoying Favour Sure, you could drive your brother to the airport or let a flaky friend crash until she gets a job. There's just one thing: You don't want to. 'It's easy to say yes and figure the time will never really come,' says Newman. But it will, and you'll be all resentful. So when you know you'll dread a duty, avoid it. Use this answer: 'I'd like to help you out (sound of you flipping through daily planner), but unfortunately, it just won't work.' The less you explain, the less they'll argue or beg... and you'll be stunned at how quickly the person says okay and moves on to someone with a weaker backbone.
Get Retail Reparations
Press an Issue With Your Joker Boyfriend
Refuse To Be B-listed
Demand Your Credit
Undermine Mean Girls
Call Out a Borrower-and-Breaker

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Get What You Want Now
Step #1: Command Your Mind 'Your mind is a goal-driven engine that interprets your instructions and turns them into actions,' says Thomas. So give it clear commands and it'll hit your targets like a heat- seeking missile. 'Be very specific about what you're looking for. Say it's a new job, think about the qualities you're looking for (like more job satisfaction or to travel) and recall them throughout the day.' Dwelling on what you don't want is a waste of brain energy.
Step #2: Activate Its Anti-Virus Software
Step #3: Give It Specific Coordinates

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Treat Yourself Right
Massage Away Stress Try this tension-melter from spa owner, Glenn Dellimore: Place both thumbs at the base of your skull, where it meets your neck. Gently apply pressure as you rub in tiny circles for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat three times.
Sneak In a Mini Nap
Give Your Back Bliss
Try a Lime-Ginger Scrub

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Help Save The Planet
Can one person really even make a difference? Well, according to research and to Nigel Campbell, chief media officer for Greenpeace International, the answer (thank goodness) is a resounding yes! 'Most importantly, you can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you emit, which is the main greenhouse gas heating up the atmosphere,' says Campbell. 'By simply making some small adjustments in your day-to-day activities means doing your part to help repair and prevent further global warming.' Here, with help from Campbell and other experts in the field, we arm you with a slew of super-easy strategies.

Lightbulbs are a major waste of energy if they're the regular kind, called incandescent. But if you swap three of those out for compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL), you'll be using 60% less energy and sparing the planet a whopping 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Frozen foods use 10 times more energy to produce than fresh foods do, so go fresh whenever you can. Even better - seek out a fresh produce market near you. They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport food by one-fifth.

Switch to cloth napkins. You can use them again and again before washing them in a full load, which saves energy and is less damaging than the tree devastation that happens in order to make the paper kind. Remember, trees absorb carbon dioxide.

If you knew how many of your cleaning products contained toxic chemicals that get into the atmosphere you probably wouldn't use them. (Plus, something about using toxic stuff to clean just seems weird). Most supermarkets stock a 'green' version of your normal cleaning product.

You know all those electronics (like your cell phone, iPod, camera) that you can't live without? Keeping all their chargers plugged in wastes a ton of energy. A great idea: Plug all of your chargers into one central power strip that can be turned off while you're out and on just when you need them.

If you thought car-pooling was for soccer moms, think again. Sharing a ride with someone just two days a week reduces carbon-dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year. Use Facebook or Twitter to enquire about commuters in your hood, or link up with a co-worker who lives nearby.

Every year, thousands of acres of forests are completely destroyed just so you can wipe your tush. By switching over to such recycled paper products as toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels (which take 70 to 90% less energy to make), you can help prevent the loss of forests worldwide.

A big-screen TV used six hours a day can generate around half a ton of greenhouse gas each year. A good rule of thumb: Turn it off when you're not watching it.

Not only will keeping your car tuned up prevent it from breaking down, but it will also help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. If 1% (yes, that's it) of car owners maintained their cars, almost a billion pounds of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere.

Hot showers rock, but you may not realise how much energy it takes to heat up all that water. Replace your showerhead with a low-flow one (you can do it yourself). You'll be helping to save the planet from 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

On that note, you know that 'drip… drip… drip' sound that keeps you up all night long? Besides being really annoying, if the rate is 60 drops per minute, your leaky tap is wasting as much as 2 700 gallons per year. Luckily, all you'll most likely have to do to fix it is replace the washer.

Tue, 16 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Get a Great Night's Sleep
Symptom: You Have Nightmares Possible Cause: Nightmares may occur after drinking alcohol or eating heavy food before bed, when stressed or as a side-effect of medication, and common nightmare themes include being scared or attacked. Jay advises that regular nightmares may indicate a psychological issue often related to trauma.

Sleep Solution: Good 'sleep hygiene' equals healthy sleep. So, maintain regular bedtimes (even on the weekend) and buy comfortable bedding.
Symptom: You Lie Awake With Your Mind Racing
Symptom: You Wake Up Several Times During The Night

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Feel-Good Girlie Moves
Make a Bliss Buy Okay, you may not need a leopard-print cellphone cover, but it's gratifying to splurge on an accessory simply because it caught your eye. The same way receiving a present reminds you that you're loved, giving yourself a treat puts you in a cheerful state.
Dish The Dirt
Sensualise Your Primp Session
Watch a Fluffy Flick

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Be Lucky
'People have a tendency to credit the outcome of significant events to good or bad luck, but a lot more than luck goes into whether something good happens to you,' says Dr Richard Wiseman, a leading researcher on luck and author of The Luck Factor (Miramax). 'In fact, studies show that a majority of events in our lives are actually completely under our control.' In other words, you're lucky if you make yourself that way. There are key traits that can determine whether or not someone has good or bad fortune, and you can work at acquiring those for your own use. Since we think it's a COSMO girl's inherent right for kick-ass stuff to happen to her as often as possible, we have laid out exactly what you can do to make sure luck is always on your side.

Tweak How You Think Why It Works
Say you're single and on your way to a party where there's a guy you like. If you head into it thinking about how you really hope something happens with that guy tonight, chances are, you'll be disappointed. You might even tell yourself it's proof that luck (or karma, if you want to call it that) just isn't on your side. But if you embark on the evening by telling yourself that you love having a full social life, that you're going out to have fun with friends, and that getting asked out by the guy would just be an added perk, you'll actually be more likely to have a good time and attract him to you. The reason: Luck and optimism go hand-in-hand: If you approach a situation thinking you'll have fun no matter what, then you probably will. When you hinge your ability to enjoy yourself on meeting someone, you'll send out vibes that you're slightly miserable and maybe even a little desperate.

'Even after something has happened, you still have the choice to see it in a negative or positive light,' says clinical psychologist, Dr Joe Cilona. If you blame yourself or fate when something disappointing happens, you're sending negative messages that you have a permanent internal flaw and that you're helpless to change your situation. That, in turn, makes you feel down on yourself, worried, anxious - in a word, unlucky. For example, if you mope around and think of it as a failure that a guy didn't call you after you boldly gave him your number, you'll be a lot less likely to take that chance again. But turn it around and look at it as a practice run and it takes on a whole different aspect; just think, you got to experiment with how you approach men, you've learned something from your experience and you'll have more confidence the next time you see a hottie you'd like to give your number to.

How To Do It
'You should view even the worst experience as something to learn from,' says Dr Craig April, a psychologist who helps people make the most of social situations. 'Then, search for a fix by considering your options instead of just reacting.'
Picture Fab Things Happening
Learn To Chill
Change It Up

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Take a Refreshing Time-Out
You Call The Shots As the mistress of your domain, you can spend the whole day doing exactly as you please. Blow an afternoon lounging outdoors, hitting six shoe shops in a row, or devouring a massive dessert for dinner… no questions asked.
Your Creativity Kicks Into High Gear
You Recharge Your Batteries

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
ID Your Secret Stress Factors
Striking a Dodgy Pose 'A great deal of stress comes from poor posture,' reveals stress expert Dr David Lewis. 'Fix it by imagining two strings attached to each ear, pulling you up from your centre. When you're correctly aligned, it affects your solar plexus, which has a positive influence on your body and helps regulate stress.'
Having a To-Do List
Your Fitness Goal
Your 11am Snack Attack

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Goodbye To Guilt Turn On Your lnner Light (Busy Bee Group), says, 'Once you know your guilt triggers, you can change them.'

Office Guilt We were brought up not to boast, which means women don't find it easy to blow their own trumpets. We work late and don't draw attention to our achievements, while the guys are down at the bar bragging to the boss. 'Speak up when you've done something great and mention the other people who helped you. That way, you create a group triumph without boasting,' says Mandel. Ask for a promotion. Write a memo. Don't waste opportunities by feeling too guilty to shine.
Friendship Guilt
Old Guilt

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
What Your Mom's Comments Mean You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters In Conversation (Random House). Here, let Tannen translate common (and confounding) 'momspeak.'

'Where did you buy that shirt?' This most likely means: 'That top isn't flattering - I wish you'd wear something else.' 'She's softening a negative point with vague phrasing,' explains Tannen. But there's something deeper she probably won't own up to: When she hones in on your looks, your mom is also thinking about herself. 'She assumes your appearance is a reflection on her,' says Tannen, 'so she wants to help you become someone she's happy with.' Tell her you know she has great advice, but you have to express your own style.
'Are you really that hungry?'
'It's nothing. I don't want to bother you.'
'Miriams's daughter was accepted to do her honours.'
'He's fun, but do you ever to see him settling down?'

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Ballsy Moves You Have To Make
Throw a party in your honour, just to celebrate your fabulous life and friends. Expensive presents are optional.

Next time your (only marginally) more superior co-worker makes the fatal slip of taking credit for another one of your brilliant ideas in a meeting, flash her an appreciative smile and say, 'Thanks so much for raising my point. I'll take it from here.'

Question: 'Did you come?' Answer: 'No, I did not... yet.'

Don't just leave the lights on during sex. Position them by your bed so he can get a better look.

Get rid of the 'friend' who's always blabbing on about how you have everything and she has nothing and sucks you dry emotionally every time you meet: Au revoir. Ta-ta. Bye now.

Buy a drink for that sexy stranger at the bar and introduce yourself.

You know your girlfriend is pissed at you, and you acknowledge that it's completely your fault. The only way to mend the fence: Apologise.

Buy a vibrator. Show your new guy how to use it.

Cold-call someone who has your dream job and ask how she got there.

Demand your money back when a sassy hairstylist interprets your specific request for 'subtle layers' as carte blanche to experiment with 'a deconstructed modern take on the mullet.'

You know those pictures you have taped on the refrigerator to stop yourself from pigging out (a beached whale; you in bad light from the wrong angle, wearing satin)? Take them down. Your new strategy: Trust - and occasionally treat - yourself.

Look your sobbing, heartbroken girlfriend straight in the eye, pry the cell phone from her hands, and say, 'He cheated on you. He's never, ever going to change. It's time to let go.'

When you're home alone and feeling frisky, go with it and throw yourself a ménage-et-moi.

Keep a spare pair of panties in your clutch. You never, ever know where the night will lead.

Walking down the street, you notice that a hot guy is totally checking out your butt, so wiggle it… just a little.

When a disgruntled male colleague implies that you got promoted over him due to your admirable assets - rather than skill set - smile sweetly, hand him your new business card, and say, 'Why don't you put that in writing?'

It's the second date, and he still hasn't made a move. Grab him and place a little bliss on his lips.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Stop Worrying, Start Living
1. Accept Yourself It's like this: if you genuinely like yourself, you'll be able to bounce back more easily when things in your life go wrong, and you're able to tackle problems head-on instead of blaming people (including yourself).

How To Do It: First you need to know yourself. Life coach Cathy Yuill recommends you start keeping a journal. Write down what you value in life, list your five strongest points and jot down three good things that happen to you each day. Try to surround yourself with people who accept and respect you, and give you lots of support. 'If you're in a draining, toxic relationship, take steps to heal it, but remember that you can only change yourself, not others,' says family therapist Rod Smith. Put distance between you, even if it means quitting your job or ending your relationship. Show others the politeness, tolerance and respect you'd like, and with luck they'll follow your example.
2. Think Positive
3. Resolve Conflict
4. Create Change

Wed, 29 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
When Envy Eats At a Friendship
'It's no big deal to be envious of acquaintances, but when you feel it for someone you genuinely adore, you become ashamed and confused,' explains Dr Darlene Mininni, author of The Emotional Toolkit (St. Martin's Press). 'Moreover, if you're harbouring nasty thoughts about her, you may feel like a terrible person for doing it.' Frienvy also cuts the other way: Something awesome happens in your life, and a friend acts stand-offish or even antagonistic toward you instead of being psyched. When the tables are turned like this, it can be even more baffling and detrimental to your relationship because you're in the dark. But by understanding frienvy, you'll be much better equipped to deal with the situation, no matter which end you're on. Here's how:

When You Feel Frienvious Regular envy is pretty simple: Someone else has something you want. But frienvy is further fueled by a sense that you've been betrayed. The friend you always thought of as your equal now has a leg up on you - at least that's how you see it. And that launches a cascade of emotions, like anger and self-pity. Because you identify so closely with your friends, their successes can seem like real blows, and you may feel abandoned, explains Dr Susie Orbach, co-author of Between Women (Princeton University Press). You wonder, 'She and I are so similar; why wasn't it me who got a great new job or landed an awesome guy?' That leaves you second-guessing yourself and feeling threatened, which in turn triggers the guilt and ill will that can harm your relationship,' says Orbach.
Easing the Emotions
'Fessing Up About Your Frienvy
When You're The One Being Frienvied

Sometimes the only thing that can restore perspective between envy-wielding pals is time. If trying to be understanding doesn't make things any better, whichever side of the equation you're on, take a break and wait. For the green-eyed monster to retreat on its own. True friendships can withstand far worse things than a bit of envy, and hopefully soon you'll be able to feel happy for each other again.

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Don't Blab On and On...
1. How successful you've been at eating no carbs today. As in, 'So, like, for breakfast I had a boiled egg - no toast - and for lunch, I ate tuna salad wrapped in
lettuce leaves...'

2. How great you think (your first name here) goes with (his last name here)... of
a guy you've gone on one 45-minute drinks date with.

3. Liposuction: Where you're dying to get it. ('See this right here? Squeeze. Cottage cheese.')

4. Your weird sex dream about you, Martha Stewart, and a laundry bag.

5. A mass e-mail to all of your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances about your unique proposal. ('He took me down by the seashore and asked 'Pookie, will you make me the happiest man in the world?' And I screamed, 'Yes, Yes!' and dropped my two-carat, radiant-cut diamond in the sand, and we had to call the Coast Guard...')

6. The private details of your Brazilian bikini wax and how Svetlana had to break out the extra-long tweezers to get those wiry, stubborn strays.

7. Your agonising decision over whether to get bangs. Two words: Who. Cares.

8. Online profiles of your potential suitors, so we can scrutinise their facial expressions, food allergies, special hobbies, post-relationship baggage and kinky sexual preferences. Honey, we're not thinking of dating him... you are.

9. Anything involving discharge.

10. The new sex position or toy you tried last night with your long-term boyfriend/
fiancé/husband. This forces other people to picture him naked. This is not an appealing thing.

11. Your salary, the cost of your apartment or engagement ring or your credit-card balance. Money talks, but that doesn't mean you should.

12. Bowel movements, including iron supplement or risotto-induced constipation, lactose-intolerance gassiness, or that little Durban curry incident.

13. Play-by-plays of the petty 'grown-up' fights you have with your parents. We all have issues with our own set. Why bore others with yours?

14. New-guy behaviour. Specifically, inconsequential details you bait us to analyse, such as 'He said "I'd love to hear from you".' What do you think that means? Does he want me to call him? Or should I e-mail? Or is this just his cute way of saying he's really in love with me? Or maybe ....'

15. Blatant braggy-braggy details, like your fabulous promotion, the five-course dinner/shopping bonanza your guy treated you to, or how - wow! - you were nominated for the Most Improved Ass award in your Pilates fusion class.

16. Vacation monologues. We really are happy you flew somewhere, got a tan, and 'forgot about it all.' But reciting your daily tourist itinerary only makes people wish you'd hop on a plane back to wherever it was you came from.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Stop an Emotional Breakdown
When You're On The Brink Of Tears Make an excuse ('My bladder's going to burst!') to escape to a private place. Once you're alone, close your eyes and repeat a soothing mantra to yourself like 'I can handle this,' or 'This will seem like no big deal later.'
When You're Unable To Concentrate At All
When You're About To Explode With Anger

Thu, 09 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Give In To Your Urges
1. Taking Pleasure in a Friend's Let-Down Your perfect friend - the girl with the world's greatest boyfriend, the globe-trotting job, the Halle Berry butt - gets a taste of disappointment. Maybe she gets fired from her job or booted from her flat. And, for a split second, you love it. Psychologists call this schadenfreude, a German word for the secret, gleeful buzz you get when someone you've been envious of - such as a friend or even a seemingly flawless celebrity falls flat on her face. Of course, your schadenfreude is followed by waves of guilt ('Whoa, I'm so evil!'). But really, embrace that fleeting sense of superiority.

'The fact of the matter is, schadenfreude is a very human emotion, and there's no reason to beat yourself up for feeling it,' says Smith. 'It's in our nature to size others up, particularly friends because, like it or not, you're competing on some level. The trick is to use your schadenfreude to pinpoint what you envy about your friend and make it work for you, says Smith. Maybe you admire how disciplined she is about hitting the gym, or you wish you had her sexy, doting boyfriend because you've recently dated a string of jerks. Whatever the source of your resentment, don't look at it as something she doesn't deserve but rather as something you want. Then stew in your envy for a while. What is it you really covet? You may realise it's not exactly her body or man you want, but the notion of taking more pride in yourself and being surrounded by more people who value you.

Now, make a game plan to go for it on your own, unique terms. Once you get over the envy bump, reach out. When a friend's disastrous hair-do experiment puts a sly smile on your face, offer her the number of your top-notch salon. Or if her boyfriend gets caught cheating, volunteer to cut the crotch out of his pants and give her your psychologist's digits. Helping her out not only quells the guilt you may be feeling, but your benevolence will give you a boost, says Smith.
2. Getting Super-Chummy With People at Work
3. Snooping On Your Ex
4. Shameless Gossiping

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Yummy Ways To Be Naughty
If You Always... Get to work on time, rain or shine, in sickness and in health: Try a Little Naughtiness

Take a personal day off. Sleep until noon, have a leisurely lunch, watch movies all day, or go shopping. Think of it this way: You'll be refreshed and productive when you return.
If You Always... Dress in the same uniform of jeans, a tee, and black shoes:
If You Always... Date the nice guy with the steady job and super-clean apartment:
If You Always... Are the 'cruise director' friend who plans every outing:

Thu, 26 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Feel Sexier in Your Skin
We've dubbed it sex-kitten confidence because it goes beyond making eye contact and serving up a strong handshake; it requires harnessing the power of your sexuality. 'Certain movements, expressions, and gestures send signals that subconsciously pique men's interest,' says Dr Peter Andersen, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Body Language (Alpha). 'And when you sense that a guy is into you, it gives you a real boost.'

Which is certainly not to say that feeling great about yourself relies on gaining the approval of a man. Sex kittens have an inherently high level of self-validation. They refuse to fall prey to body fascism and know that transmitting an irresistible vibe to guys has more to do with how comfortable they are with themselves than it does with achieving physical perfection. The bottom line: Acting confident is a self-fulfilling prophecy. These tricks will make it happen for you.

AT A PARTY Work these moves the next time you're out and about – they'll instantly amp up your man-meeting mojo.

Take Long Strides
Sex kittens don't scamper around a room, they glide through it. This puts all eyes on you, which gives you a surge of self-possession. To master a smooth saunter, 'scan your surroundings for a familiar face so you have someone to walk toward and aren't wandering about aimlessly,' says Eve Marx, author of Read My Hips (Three Rivers Press). 'As you make your way toward your friend, focus on stepping in big paces, which both helps your presence resonate and elongates your body.'

Make Playful Eye Contact
A come-hither look is like catnip to a man, so try this coy technique: 'Lock eyes with someone you're interested in, then hold his gaze for three seconds - max - and then glance down and away,' suggests Andersen. 'Catch his eye once or twice more to reinforce that you want him. That should be enough to encourage him to come over.' The confidence-boosting effect: You're taking initiative without actually making the move.

Approach From The Side
Looking is one thing; approaching is a whole lot trickier. Rather than coming up to a guy head-on, slide in next to him. 'A full-frontal introduction might automatically put him on the defensive because it's an aggressive, adversarial approach,' explains Dr Audrey Nelson, author of You Don't Say (Prentice Hall Press). 'Arriving from the side is less intimidating and makes you seem mysterious, too, since he doesn't see you coming straight at him.' Plus, you'll feel more relaxed and sure of yourself if you're not making such a direct move.

Laugh Big
Okay, that Julia Roberts horse laugh might be a bit much, but when you throw your head back and just let a chuckle rip, it projects mucho confidence. 'Laughter not only grabs attention, but it also showcases that you're happy, vibrant and having fun, which are all inherently sexy, self-assured qualities,' says Tricia Yeomans, a researcher who studies flirting behaviour.

Squeeze His Hand
'When you're shaking hands with a cute guy, make quick eye contact while you subtly, briefly squeeze his hand at the same time,' suggests Marx. 'To men, the pressure subconsciously reads as a sexual move because it is an unexpected intimacy.' It conveys that you're a bold woman who isn't afraid to use a little force. And you'll get a thrill from your brazenness.

Thu, 19 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Up Your EQ
1. Let Go Of The Ego 'Don't go into a tailspin over criticism,' says life coach Joanne Mallon. 'If you've had a knock-back, don't cut the person off by telling them to "forget it"; listen to their explanation.' People are more likely to react negatively to you if you have a chip on your shoulder.
2. Listen To Your Elders
3. Do a Bridget
4. Tame The Tiger
5. Assertive Vs Aggressive
6. Boost Your Emotional Vocabulary

Wed, 04 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Signs You've Got It Together
You've remained friends with at least one of your exes. You really rock if you're also friends with his new girlfriend.

You run into the bitchiest alpha-girl from your high school and realise you didn't even have to lie about what you're up to these days. In fact, you're pretty sure your life is better than hers.

You own a set of tools. No curtain hanging, toilet plunging or DIY assembly is too much for you.

You don't live vicariously through your boyfriends. You used to date drummers; now you take drum lessons. You used to date artists; now you paint.

When you first meet your new man's parents and they tell you to call them by their first names, you realise you were planning to anyway.

You don't feel compelled to follow every fashion fad – only the ones that flatter you.

A dinner-party crisis - scorched Alfredo sauce or a sudden realisation that you don't own six wineglasses - doesn't throw you into a tailspin.

You know that even if your job, your home, and your love life are never all perfect at the same time, you'll still live.

You either like your job or have a plan to nab your dream one soon.

You don't RSVP 'yes!' to every invite.

When you like a guy, you ask him out (or at least ask for his e-mail address).

You have a close-knit circle of pals, plus a random collection other guy- and girlfriends you've met at work, out running, or in Italian class.

Instead of aggressive hinting to your parents to buy you a stunning set of earrings or an iPod, you save up, stroll in and slap down your own plastic.

That long-distance friend you felt guilty about not keeping up with for the past five years? Drop her.

A guy you met doesn't call. Instead of crying into your milkshake, you realise it's his mistake, not yours.

When a friend tells you she met a new man, your first question isn't 'Does he have any friends for me?'

Students from your high school or university call you to ask for career advice and you actually have stuff to tell them.

After a hell day at work or a night with five hours' sleep, you still hit the gym.

When you meet a hot but emotionally unavailable guy, the type you would once have jumped through hoops for, you think, 'I dated you already. I don't need to do that to myself again.'

When you hear a friend is pissed off with you, you address her directly instead of
dragging your gossipy posse into it.

You do discreetly let someone know when she has something in her teeth.

You realise that being in no relationship is better than being in a bad one. Okay, unless the sex is really good.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Ways To Say 'No Way'
STOP People-Pleasing At Work 'There's a big difference between being nice, and being smart and effective,' says Renshaw. Nice girls don't necessarily finish last, but they don't tend to make MD either. The irony is that when you have no boundaries people take advantage, but when you develop clear boundaries, you're respected. 'People-pleasers are rarely very successful, but that doesn't mean you have to be cold-blooded to get to the top,' says Renshaw. 'Look at Oprah. She's arguably one of the most powerful women in the US - and one of the most generous and best loved. But she's absolutely ruthless. She's learnt through her personal life that when you have no boundaries you're abused, so she sticks to hers and is rewarded.'
STOP People-Pleasing In Love
STOP The Social People-Pleasing

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Gut Feelings You Should Never Ignore
The Hunch: Your Date Is Sketchy Why You're Feeling It: You're probably picking up on negative communication style and body language. 'When a man's lying, he'll often invade your personal space,' says Roger Rhoades, a marriage and family therapist. 'In a way, he's pushing his story on you. If he gets too close, you may feel threatened, which can cause tension in your jaw and shoulders or pain in your abdomen. Take it from Pamela*, 26: 'I went on a date with a guy who leaned across the table so far that I felt every muscle in my body contract.' Close-talking isn't the only clue he's a creep. Liars will often ask a ton of personal questions while revealing little about themselves.

What To Do: Cut the date short.
The Hunch: Something's Up With a Friend
The Hunch: Your Guy Is Cheating
The Hunch: You Feel Sick Even Though The Doctor Says You're Fine
The Hunch: You're About To Be Fired

*Names have been changed

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Shiny Happy People
1. They Make Every Day a Holiday You get excited about every moment of your holiday - whether you're exploring a new place, doing something daring or just chilling out, right? 'Well, don't wait until your trip for that "I've worked hard, I deserve this" feeling,' says Geraldine Thalmessinger, life coach.

'Life can whizz by and leave you behind, so get out and enjoy it now! Even if it's just going out for coffee, treat it with the same level of relaxation as you would if you were on holiday.'
2. They Look Popular (and Curiously Young)
3. They Love Surprises
4. Sexually, They Snowball
5. They Always Love To Laugh
6. They Like Ticking Things Off (A Lot)
7. They Keep It Real
8. They Care About Happy People

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Get a Life You Really Love
'Finding out what makes you feel energised and passionate, whether it's in your professional or private life, is the first step toward a happier, more exciting existence,' she says.

So, drop that litre of mocha fudge and embark on our six rut-busting challenges.

Change-Your-Life Challenge 1: Decode Your Daydreams You know how your brain drifts into fantasyland during a tedious work meeting or in a queue from hell? Those fleeting thoughts can actually jump-start your drive. 'Daydreams reflect our sub-conscious desires,' explains psychologist Dr Rachna D. Jain. 'Tuning into yours will help pinpoint the changes you'd secretly like to make to your day-to-day routine.'

Denise*, 23, did just that. 'Whenever I was bored at my paralegal job, I found myself fantasising that I was a famous singer, performing in front of tons of fans,' she recalls. After several weeks, she finally deciphered her daydream. 'It dawned on me that I didn't secretly want to sing - I just craved a more visible role at work,' she says. Denise then sought out higher-profile projects and more responsibility.
Change-Your-Life Challenge 2: Channel Your Inner Child
Change-Your-Life Challenge 3: Learn From The Girl Whose Life You Want
Change-Your-Life Challenge 4: Pay Closer Attention To Compliments
Change-Your-Life Challenge 5: Pick Up a New Friend
Change-Your-Life Challenge 6: Seek Suggestions

*Names have been changed

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
The Blindside
Disaster #1: You Were Fired How To Bounce Back
'First of all, don't go around acting beaten down,' says Caitlyn Friedman, co-author of The Girl's Guide to Kicking Your Career Into Gear. 'Be honest but upbeat. Say, "It was disappointing, but here's what I'm going to do now." It's better to be the person who talks about it than to have it be the elephant in the room.'

Then, face the fact that rejection provides information – so use it. 'Think honestly about why you got fired,' advises psychology professor, Dr Bernardo J. Carducci. 'Perhaps there's a slow-down in your industry overall, but maybe it is something about you. Perhaps you were spending too much time cruising the Internet or your sales were going down.'

This is your chance to figure out whether you actually liked doing that job anyway. (Were your sales down because you were bored stiff selling radio time? Had you outgrown your position?) 'lf you can take some emotion out of the situation, you'll learn a lot,' says Friedman. 'For many people, being fired is the best thing that ever happened to them because they use it to think creatively about their career.'

Preventative Measures
'Firing rarely happens out of the blue,' says Friedman. In hindsight, the clues are everywhere. If your boss isn't quite meeting your eye, you feel suddenly left out of the loop on key projects, you got turned down for a promotion, or there is less pressure on you to achieve goals or score big coups, you'd better start staying late... and brushing up your CV.

And all along the way, adds Friedman, 'You should be managing your career - have a five-year plan for yourself.' Even if you're at a junior level, start meeting people in your industry, attending conferences and events, and building relationships with people in your company who might mentor you. 'The bigger your world is,' Friedman says, 'the better off you'll be if you're fired. A lot of people just figure that because they are working hard they will be rewarded, but it doesn't work that way.'
Disaster #2: You're Broke
Disaster #3: You Were Dumped By The One
Disaster #4: You Hate Your Career Choice
Disaster #5: Your Friend Betrayed You

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Just One Tweak
Everyone has had a 'My life sucks and I need to change it this minute!' epiphany at some point. Maybe yours came while you were stuck at work for the third late night in a row. Or perhaps it was when you realised that your hang-out time with friends had devolved into telling the same five stories over the same drinks week after week. However it happened, the feeling is the same: You didn't sign up for this kind of life, and you want out, pronto. So you resolve to revolutionise - 'I'm really moving to Paris to go to art school, damn it!' But despite the allure of a revamp, experts say that when it comes to change, bigger isn't necessarily better.

Why Going Big Can Sometimes Backfire Wanting to make sweeping changes is a natural urge, which is intensified by our all-or-nothing culture. 'Strangely enough, it feels easier to make a big shift than to buckle down and deal with day-to-day issues,' says life coach Amy Applebaum.

Another factor: Our brains are wired to romanticise significant transformations. In other words, when you daydream of moving to California and becoming an actress, your mind focuses on the sun, the beach, and your first onscreen kiss with Ryan Gosling. 'You don't think about the traffic, the high cost of living, and how much you'll miss your friends and family until you're there,' says Dr Dan Ariely, professor of behavioural economics at Duke University in the US and author of Predictably Irrational (HarperCollins).

Sure, life-altering moves like leaving an unhealthy long-term relationship or a dead-end job really are merited at times. But typically elaborate, large-scale plans require so much effort to pull off that you might get frustrated and fail to act altogether. And then you're right back where you started.
The Power Of The Small Shift
How To Take Baby Steps

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
The Emotional Energy Crisis The Emotional Energy Factor (Bantam Doubleday Dell), physical energy - the kind we get from sleep, exercise and eating well - can only make up 30% of our total energy requirements.

The remaining 70% we need to be able to pull off a morning run, a hectic day at work and still be (genuinely) smiling for dinner with friends must come from emotional energy - which life is designed to drain. So, what's bringing you down and how can you get back up? See below for Kirshenbaum's emotional energy secrets.

1. Do Something Different When we're busy, we create a 'good enough' routine, and the monotony drains our emotional energy. We need 'newness' every so often in our lives in order to be happy.

Fix It: lf your energy is low, bust out of your routine and do something new. Try a new gym class, a new café, or buy a lipstick in a new colour. Without change, life is boring… and draining.
2. Learn To Let Go Of Other People's Expectations
3. Look Forward To Something

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Decode Your Dreams
Unprepared For a Test You're back at school and about to take a really important exam – except that you haven't opened a book and you know you're in for a mammoth fail. Ask yourself who in your life is judging you – a parent? Your partner?

'This very common dream, and the anxiety and fear associated with it, are often linked to the stress of being evaluated and not meeting up to somebody's expectations,' explains Knight. 'It might be time to meditate on the fact that you no longer require their approval and that you are good enough just the way you are.'
Naked In Public
You're Being Chased
Lost In Transit
You're Having Sex
You're Flying

Tue, 08 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
Glass Half Empty? Positive Psychology In A Nutshell.

Optimiser #1: Float Your Worries If financial frets are taking over your thoughts, imagine putting your money worries in a box, tying it to a balloon and watching it fly away. 'It sounds simplistic,' says Boniwell, 'but evidence suggests that "creative visualisation" can change how we think and feel. Our mind absorbs visuals better than words or rationality.'
Optimiser #2: Panic Later
Optimiser #3: Tap Into The Good Stuff
Optimiser #4: Play To Your Strengths

Fri, 04 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
Beat Self-Doubt
'The biggest thing that makes you say "I can't" is fear,' explains Sharon Taylor, a life coach who specialises in anxiety management. 'It's natural to be scared of spending an evening with new people, or to be worried about the outcome of a date, so you protect yourself by believing something is socially or physically impossible. When this "I can't" attitude sabotages your career/social-life/relationship/everything, it's time to start taking control.'

'It's dangerously easy to get addicted to negative thinking,' adds counsellor Norah Harding. 'Like an addiction to drink or drugs, saying "I can't" is a way of escaping your real, underlying feelings. Anaesthetising your anxiety might seem like a good thing, but you could also be missing out on taking chances that could make your life infinitely better. So where do you start? Strangely enough, psychological experiments prove that the 'I can't' conundrum is best tackled in reverse: preparing yourself for the positive outcomes is the first step to getting over your initial 'I can't' catch. Here's how to do it in seven easy steps:

1. Retrain Your Brain Which starts with never saying 'can't'. Don't even think it: Stop. Right. Now. Admittedly, some things are truly impossible, but self-belief can get you virtually anywhere. 'Thinking we're not allowed to or aren't capable of starting a braai, owning a puppy, writing a novel or whatever, is enough to put us off,' Taylor says. 'You stop trying. When you've lost confidence, your automatic reaction is to protect yourself from failure by not even taking the first step towards getting what you want. But you can retrain your brain out of its routine.'

Adopt legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's trick of using all live senses to visualise winning a fight. He used to imagine feeling the punches, smelling his opponent's sweat, tasting the blood in his mouth, hearing the sound of the crowd and looking down at his enemy as he lay on the floor, defeated. Take out the blood and punches, and the technique of writing your own history before it happens, and it will leave you confident that you can achieve anything you want.
2. Stop Saying It's Too Hard – Do It
3. Try Not To 'Catastrophise'
4. Be Prepared To Be The Fool
5. Visualise The Worst-Case Scenario
6. Share Tough Times
7. Take Care Of Your Soul

Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
Your Year Ahead
Aries 2011 Forecast

Taurus 2011 Forecast

Gemini 2011 Forecast

Cancer 2011 Forecast

Leo 2011 Forecast

Virgo 2011 Forecast

Libra 2011 Forecast

Scorpio 2011 Forecast

Sagittarius 2011 Forecast

Capricorn 2011 Forecast

Aquarius 2011 Forecast

Pisces 2011 Forecast

Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
New Year's Ambitions
1. LOVE AMBITION DON'T SAY: 'I'll find The One'
DO SAY: 'I'll be open to everyone and everything'

Shoals of fish slip through the net while we're busy scanning the horizon for The One. 'Instead of fixating on fantasy, be open to the unexpected,' suggests Renshaw. Your requirements - and therefore your relationships - will be less rigid. And you're more likely to land a catch if you've practised your casting arm.

Mon, 03 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
Festive Stress SOS
X-Stress #1: Family Fallouts Chill Pill: Days cooped up with parents, siblings and in-laws can trigger rows. Palmer advises creating personal space by taking a walk or 'playing with kids' toys - it'll liberate you from the adult world and inject fun, not angst, into tense situations.'
X-Stress #2: Mental Burnout
X-Stress #3: Gut Reactions
X-Stress #4: Binge Spending
X-Stress #5: Lack of Sleep

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 12:00 +0200
Max Your Mistakes
Step #1: Don't Sweat It 'Confidence is like an internal muscle - you've got to use it to improve it,' says Renshaw. So next time you hit your panic button, remember: you don't get stronger by sitting on the sidelines. Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson know how to deal with risky moments through experience. Fighting a fluff-up is not negative, it's confidence-building.
Step #2: Own Your Blunder
Step #3: Fix It
Step #4: Play the Comedienne

Wed, 08 Dec 2010 12:00 +0200
How To Handle Scandal
But when a scandal rocks your world, should you pretend nothing's wrong, or publicly apologise 100 times?

'How you respond to a crisis can either land you in a bigger mess or save you from ruin,' says Max Clifford, the PR guru who's salvaged many celebrity reputations.

So next time the proverbial hits the fan, follow his advice and you'll come up smelling of roses.

SCANDAL #1: You Fire Off a Rude E-mail About Your Boss to a Friend - But Accidentally Send It to Your Boss Handle It: 'Go into your boss's office, hold your hands up, apologise and try to get them to make a joke out of your stupidity,' suggests Clifford.

It's risky but you're in trouble anyway, so what have you got to lose? It works for George Michael. 'He's been caught out in loads of compromising situations, but always makes light of it and his fans still love him,' says Clifford.
SCANDAL #2: You've Fallen Out With Your Best Friend and She's Bitching About You to Everyone
SCANDAL #3: You Hear Your Boyfriend Has Cheated On You
SCANDAL #4: You Slept With a Colleague - and Now You're The Talk of the Office

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Beautiful You Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance (Seal Press). As children, many of us felt comfortable in our skin and our bodies were treasured, she explains. However, somewhere on the path to adulthood, something changed, and body confidence took a big dip. Too often, we believe we will be content when our bodies change, but in actual fact, says Molinary, we'll only be truly happy when our minds change.

Here, let Molinary share her tips and help you on your way to accepting yourself for who you are.

Start keeping a journal. We're often too busy to listen to what is going on inside of us. To really know yourself, you have to have silence and an entry-way. Journaling provides that.

Realise that you are not your body. Our bodies are not who we are. We are a compilation of our heart, our soul and our mind. Our bodies are simply vehicles that take us through life, allowing us to experience the world, and each was chosen, through genetics, for our particular journey.

Treat your body well. Your body is your vehicle of expression. It is what allows us to experience, enjoy and grow from life. If we don't reasonably maintain our body, we diminish our capacity to experience, love and grow and that, too, is a form of paralysis. Do at least one thing today to more thoughtfully honour your physical body so that it continues to be capable of doing what you ask of it.

Consider the time you've lost. Consider the thing that you most obsess over with regard to your appearance, then add up the time you have spent obsessing over it in your life. Now ask yourself these questions: Is it worth it? Is your hair, your makeup or your outfit deserving of the time you have left in your life? Can you let a little of it go? Can you start today?

Break your self-deprecation habit. Too often, we normalise our body hatred by letting unkind words pass our lips about ourselves without a thought. We should catch and correct ourselves because our whole lives are affected by how we think and speak about our bodies. Find a bowl, vase, or piggy bank and deposit some change each time you knock yourself, and watch your self-awareness soar and your habits change. When you have collected enough, treat yourself to a gift from the money you have collected, or donate it. We can all change our language - and our minds.

Ditch the fat chat. Take breaking the self-deprecation habit a step further. When a woman criticises herself in front of you, don't join in. Instead, celebrate what you love about her and tell her just how wrong she is.

Have a comeback. Think of the jabs you sometimes hear from friends and family members. They might be about your appearance or your relationship status. Now, take some time to come up with the perfect comeback: what you can say the next time it happens to let that critical person know you would like to be treated differently, or that your body is off-limits for discussion. Periodically practice the comeback, in your mind and out loud, so you are ready when you need to use it.

Embrace your passion. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a passion; something that brings us so much joy and satisfaction that we can't help but feel successful when we are doing it. When we are doing something we are passionate about, we can't help but feel like we have something to offer.

Make eye contact. Much of our confidence is projected through our eyes. Avoiding eye contact is just one way of communicating to the world that you want to be invisible. It also communicates to the person whose eyes you are
avoiding that he or she isn't worthy of being seen, even if you don't mean to send that message.

Get political. Recognise that by being consumed by your appearance and the ways you do not measure up to someone else's beauty standards, you are holding yourself back from being consumed by the calling of your life. Imagine your life without the beauty obsession. Would you have time and energy for something else? If so, begin exploring that something else now.

Wed, 10 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Fulfilment Bombs
Recently, it seems happiness has become the new sex. You want it better, faster, more often. Paradoxically, the road to nirvana you've been pursuing could be the roadblock to a more satisfied life. Experts have discovered that the things everyone thinks are the keys to contentment don't really create a life you love. 'Most of us are pretty bad at predicting what will make us content,' says Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Here, we clarify the seven factors that bomb in bringing fulfilment and – most importantly – uncover new secrets to a happier you:

1. A Ton of Cash and Designer Stuff Granted, you do need a certain amount of money. Research shows people are happier when they don't have to stress about how to afford basics such as rent, food and bills. But beyond that, cash loses its happiness power. People with above-average incomes tend to be tenser and don't spend any more time doing enjoyable activities than those who make do with less. The reality is, no matter how much you strive for, you'll never be satisfied, thanks to a phenomenon known as the 'Hedonic Treadmill'. Humans are wired to first accumulate things then outgrow them, originally so we could evolve into better people. Today, upgrading takes on a whole new meaning. (Obviously, you'd swap your studio apartment for a nice two-bedroom with a garage.) But before long, you'll have to have a car to park in it. After that, why live in a unit when a house in a suburb like the one your friend has is really where you should be?

Either way, your 'What's next?' mind-set never changes. Researchers are discovering that what does make you happy is appreciating what you already have. And spending cash on experiences like weekend trips or a yoga course, instead of just 'stuff', pays off. 'Revisiting great events in your head makes you feel those happy sensations again,' says Lyubomirsky.

So don't deprive yourself, but 'recognise the limits on the happiness a pricey handbag can bring,' says Dale Atkins, author of Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. 'If you drain your account for it, you won't feel pleased or secure when you can't pay your bills.'
2. Massive Parties For Major Milestones
3. Being Upbeat 24/7
4. Having Loads of Free Time
5. Partying Like The A-List
6. Getting Even When You're Wrong
7. The Perfect You

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 12:00 +0200
Secrets To Being a BF
But there are five (sometimes surprising) rules that will ensure your friendship really lasts the course.

1. Live With Her Flaws Much as we love them, even our closest friends can drive us up the wall sometimes. ‘The No.1 rule of friendship is to accept her for who she is and treat her like an equal,’ says Dorothy Rowe, psychologist and author of Friends And Enemies. ‘That means not looking down or up at her. You should both be allowed to be yourselves, with no pretending, and stick together, no matter what.’ Sarah Giggle, 23, a dancer, agrees – ‘My best friend Claire always sticks up for me. I’m quite outspoken and love doing things like going out clubbing in fancy dress. Sometimes other people look down on me, but Claire takes me for who I am. She’ll let me know when I’ve gone too far, so I feel I can be completely myself when I’m around her and not be judged.’
2. Fake It
3. Be A Bitch (Sometimes)
4. Shut Up
5. Treat Her Like A Stranger

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
Supermarket Tricks
Outwit supermarket psychologists with these clever strategies.

Supermarket Secret #1
They Know Eye-Level Is Buy-Level
HOW IT SUPERSIZES YOU: Products at this level sell twice as well, so you’re more likely to put them in your basket. It’s a double whammy. ‘Companies pay to have products on those shelves, so they can only do it with high profit-margin products like sugary “juice” drinks,’ says nutritionist Anita Bean.
DON’T FALL FOR IT: For healthier yoghurts and juices, look down. Brown rice and porridge oats? By your feet!
Supermarket Secret #2
They Play Mind Games
Supermarket Secret #3
They Get Celebrities To Endorse Products
Supermarket Secret #4
They Pretend To Be Generous
Supermarket Secret #5
They Set Traps

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
The Modern Girl’s Guide To Sticky Situations (HarperCollins Publishers) by Jane Buckingham
‘This book tells it like it is!’ says features writer, Linda Mali. ‘Every cringe-worthy moment you can imagine is in this book – from how to handle bumping into your ex with his new girlfriend and how to handle feeling intimidated by colleagues at work to dealing with rude shop assistants. I found it extremely helpful. It’s like a pocket guide: every time I need to do something I’m not sure how to manage, I consult this book!’

Living Through the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Process (Simon & Schuster Ltd) by Iyanla Vanzant
‘This book was my greatest help when I needed to get myself out of a very gloomy, emotional place,’ says promotions coordinator, Abeda Adler. ‘It taught me that life is a journey, we all have a destiny and every step you take will lead you to the road you’re meant to be on. It taught me to love yourself first; that way, you will see what the universe will reveal to you.’

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (HarperCollins Publishers) by Robin S. Sharma
‘I liked this book because of the way the story is told (in a fable format) and because of the impact it has had on my life,’ says picture assistant, Lutho Vuso. ‘It helped me build courage and also understand the power of mind-controlling negative thoughts and how to visualise achievements. There is a lot of wisdom in this book.’

Why Him? Why Her? Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type (Oneworld Publications) by Helen Fisher
‘Quite a few months ago, I saw an interview with Dr. Helen Fisher, on Carte Blanche about her new book, says art director, Imogen Pretorius. ‘The interview was so interesting that I went online and did the quiz that is linked with the book. The quiz results gave a short summary of my primary and secondary personality types and which personality types I would be best suited to and vice versa. I proceeded to buy the book and get more detailed information on different personality types and combinations. I have subsequently managed to get friends and family to also do the quiz and in the process, we’ve learned a great deal about each other. Mostly, we’ve learned why our approaches sometimes differ so much and why they are sometimes so similar. Two of my best friends turned out to be exactly what the quiz said would be a good match for me, and vice versa. It was quite enlightening.’

The Heart Of The Five Love Languages (Northfield Publishing) by Gary Chapman
‘The Five Love Languages Chapman talks about are Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation,’ says COSMO intern, Tennille Coverly-Pons. ‘In this book, Chapman describes that every human has a different love language. In a relationship, after the “in love” stage when your relationship starts to become “comfortable”, this book can help. It suggests that you need to find out what your partner’s love language is and tells you how to feed your partner’s love tank in order to keep the relationship alive from both sides. Learning my partner’s love language allowed me to continue to have a healthy and happy relationship.’

Life! Reflections On Your Journey (Hay House Inc) by Louise L. Hay
‘I happened to be at a book sale when I picked up Life! Reflections On Your Journey, not knowing at the time that this book would completely change my way of thinking,’ says junior beauty editor, Deevya Vasson. ‘I was going through a breakup and this book gave me the skills I needed to heal body, mind and spirit. It introduced me to the concept of positive thinking, affirmations and living mindfully.’

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
Learn To Leap
‘Sometimes it’s worth abandoning the security your current situation gives you and taking a leap of faith, to create the life you really want,’ says Domonique Bertolucci, Sydney-based personal coach and author of Your Best We (Hodder Headline).

Like it or not, taking risks is an inevitable, inescapable part of life. Whether you’re wrestling with leaving a going-nowhere relationship, embarking on a new job or heading off for a year overseas, you’ll ultimately find yourself on the edge of that bungee platform. Often though, the real harm may lie in not leaping, and letting opportunity pass you by. Ask yourself what you really want from your partner, your job, your life. Take an honest look at yourself and listen to your intuitive voice – yes, your gut! Then pull out this practical guide and take the plunge.

LESSON 1: Break It Down Just because you’ve decided to do a major life overhaul, there’s no need to rush in and do it all at once. ‘It’s perfectly OK to start with smaller changes and move towards your dreams step-by-step,’ Bertolucci says. ‘Ask yourself, “What can I do to take me 10% closer to my ideal life/job/career?” When you’ve conquered that change, move forward another 10% and so on, until you’re living the life you want.’

So don’t dismiss that fantasy man or dream career as being beyond you. Start small – get some background info from people who know the guy, research that job on the Internet, find out exactly what’s required, do some appropriate training – and progress from there.
LESSON 2: Feel The Fear
LESSON 3: Pros and Cons
LESSON 4: Clear Your Head
LESSON 5: Celebrate!

Wed, 25 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
‘It doesn’t sound like rubbish at all,’ says Cape Town-based audio engineer, Matthew Catto. ‘Sound, or music in this case, is comprised of waves or vibrations travelling through the air, which your ears receive and your brain interprets as specific sounds and tones.’ The way your brain receives them depends on the lengths and combinations of the waves; the longer the wavelengths, the lower the frequencies, and vice versa.

‘iDosing has its origins in binaural beat therapy,’ says Edrich Smook, a counselling psychologist based in Johannesburg. ‘Binaural tones, or beats, create perceptually-generated experiences as interpreted in the brain – this is as a result of listening to different wave lengths as it relates to different stages of consciousness.’ The effects were first discovered in 1839, he says. ‘It has been used by neuropsychologists in their studies around the sense of hearing.’

Human thoughts and emotions use similar principles, says Catto. ‘Thought patterns can be measured in terms of wavelength and frequencies, just like sound.’ This means brain waves or thoughts can be altered or influenced by a specific combination of sound frequencies, he says.

‘There are many accounts of people who induce a trance-like state of mind by playing certain types of music designed for that purpose,’ says Catto. But what is worrying, as with any real or perceived high, is the reason behind using digital drugs in the first place, says Smook. If any drug, electronic or chemical, is being used as a means of escape from a world perceived as out-of-control and hostile, then it needs to be addressed.

‘After all, as with any high, the possibility of addiction is the major concern, and that addiction is often the result of using the high as a coping mechanism in seemingly unmanageable circumstances.’

As with real drugs, digital drugs are available readily. There are hundreds of iDosing websites selling ‘digital highs’. You can choose whether you want a marijuana-inspired high or a cocaine-fuelled experience. You name it, it’s available.

We decided to conduct our own experiment and listened to this common iDosing track. While it seems to affect many iDosers out there, we certainly didn’t feel anything.

Clearly, this guy felt something when listening to the ‘Gates of Hades’, a popular music choice when it comes to iDosing.

It is up to you to decide, but we’d rather party the night away on the dance floor with our girls than lie on our beds alone listening to weird trance-like music. Leave your comments below and let us know what you think of this new trend.

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
You Earned It - Own It!
Performance coaches Allan Kleynhans and Maxine Clancy, both of Visible Assets in Durban, confirm they too come across IP frequently in their personal-development seminars. ‘These people are driven to succeed because they believe their success will make them more likable to themselves and others,’ says Kleynhans. ‘The problem is they don’t focus on their achievements for long because of self-esteem issues rooted in the subconscious. Soon they’re questioning their success and self-worth. This triggers the drive to succeed at a new task to prove they’re good enough but the feeling of achievement never lasts.’

Chances are good that you yourself or some of the smartest people you know have IP. According to US psychologist and self-described ‘recovering impostor’ Dr Valerie Young, a world authority on IP and author of the dissertation A Model Of Internal Barriers To Women’s Occupational Achievement, it strikes mostly women. And while it can affect people from every walk of life and at any stage of their careers, it’s most common among high-achieving students or professionals – from medical practitioners to educators, and from lawyers and accountants to business executives and computer programers. It’s also common among creative people such as artists, actors and entertainers. The more competent, intelligent and successful you are, the more prone you are, say Young and Clancy.

Few studies have been conducted on the prevalence of IP but in the most recent, among family-medicine residents at a US university in Wisconsin in 2004, 41% of women and 24% of men tested scored as ‘impostors’. ‘About a third of family-medicine residents believe they are less intelligent and less competent than others perceive them to be,’ concluded the researchers. ‘They suffer psychological distress and do not believe they will be ready to practise family medicine after graduation.’

IP is emotionally debilitating, it undermines your self-image, leads to depression and holds you back in relationships and your career, says Clancy. It can prevent you from pursuing a promising relationship or asking questions in class as a student or offering contributions in social situations or the workplace as an adult. You’re too afraid of being shown up as less worthy or intelligent than you should be, or than you think people believe you to be.

You may also attempt to give answers you think others want or use charm to gain approval, thereby increasing your feeling of being a fake. Dreading evaluation, failure and exposure, you tend to play it safe, which prevents you from applying for new projects or jobs, seeking or accepting promotion, and reaching your full potential.

If you do manage to steel yourself and plough ahead, you find that the greater your success, the greater your stress – because the higher the expectations are, the more you fear you may not be able to meet them. You imagine your every decision must now be perfect, because there’s so much to lose – and this can paralyse you, or cause depression or angry outbursts, affecting your relationships and your health. It’s interesting to note psychologists report that real impostors don’t ever suffer from such feelings.

IP seems to go back to childhood, when you’re told how very bright and special you are. Then, as you grow up and inevitably encounter challenges with which you can’t easily cope, you discover you don't have all the answers and may not be exceptional after all. ‘No wonder you feel you don't deserve success,’ says Clancy.

The labels parents and others tend to give you from an early age may also play a part, especially if they compared you with your sisters or brothers. So if you were always the ‘sensitive’ child in your family – even if you scored higher marks than your siblings – and weren’t recognised for your intelligence, you will tend to doubt it later, whatever objective evidence you receive to the contrary. And if you were given the role of ‘the clever one’ you may struggle under the pressures of expectation and not wanting to let people down.

Not conforming to stereotypical expectations attached to gender or race may be a factor too, especially when you find yourself in a position of authority. ‘Some gifted women may feel pain at being different from “the way women are supposed to be” and have a need to hide their abilities to fit in more with “normal” society,’ says Douglas Eby, psychologist and author of the online article Gifted Women: Identity And Expression. Rapid promotion, especially if you belong to a previously disadvantaged minority, can compound the problem: ‘When people advance too quickly they can be lauded too extravagantly, creating a gap between how others see them and how they see themselves,’ say Joan Harvey and Cynthia Katz, authors of lf I’m So Successful Why Do l Feel Like A Fake? (St Martin’s Press).

1. First, identify the feeling of being an impostor. ‘Understand that you are not your behaviour,’ says Kleynhans.
2. Realise that you’re not alone.
3. Take a reality check. Separate your feelings from facts. Everyone has moments when they feel stupid but just because you feel stupid doesn’t mean you are stupid, says Young.
4. Change your response to mistakes. Remember what industrialist Henry Ford said: ‘Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.’
5. Let go of perfectionism. ‘Perfectionism can indicate a healthy drive to excel,’ says Young. ‘The trick is not to obsess over everything being “just so” and to forgive yourself when the inevitable mistakes occur.’
6. If you’re a ‘minority’ – working in a predominantly male field, for example, or among people of a different culture, or if you’re particularly gifted - know that it’s natural to feel at times that you don’t fit in. This has to do with being different – an ‘outsider’ – not with being inept, so don’t let it diminish your self-esteem.
7. Ask for help. Realise you’ve as much right as anyone to be wrong sometimes or to have a bad day and need assistance.
8. Change your automatic thoughts. When you start a new job, for example, instead of worrying that people will find out you don’t know what you’re doing, remind yourself that everyone starting out feels anxious and makes mistakes but that you’re bright enough to get on track.
9. Pat yourself on the back when you deserve it and accept compliments.
10. Remember the joke Indian columnist and IP sufferer Simran Bhargava tells on ‘What do you call an impostor 10 years from now? Boss.’ ]]>
Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
If Only We Had These Super Superpowers
Still, we can think of even more satisfying superpowers than those. If only a meteorite shower would come along and endow us with them, we could get down to using them – sometimes in wicked ways....

So you’re watching the latest music videos and you see a fabulous mini or a great pair of Blahniks. Want them? Simply point your finger at the TV and your Screen Grab Beam will suck the fabulous fashion goodies out of the box, depositing them in a pile on your lounge floor. Naturally, everything will be your size.
WICKED USE: If your housemate forgets it’s her night to do the dishes, you would be able to replace her entire wardrobe with Sally Spectra’s shoulder-padded designs from The Bold And The Beautiful.

Isn’t it irritating when you go to a concert only to spend the entire time gazing at a speaker stack or the back of some groupie’s head? Next time you need a clearer view of John Legend or Arno Carstens – or, more to the point, want him to get a clearer view of you – simply point your toes towards the ground and float up into the air. When you’re high enough, relax your toes again and you’ll hover at the optimal stage-viewing height.
WICKED USE: Rise up about 1,65m and you’re just about the right height to kick your mean boss in the teeth.

There’s never a big fan around when you need one – you know, the kind models stand in front of so their hair blows around in a sexy way. Well, you don’t need an industrial fan if you have Wind Power. With a single pout, your own gust of wind comes along, giving you big, beautiful supermodel hair that tosses and waves. Handy for making men fall for you and for making women (thinner ones, for example) jealous.
WICKED USE: Call up this power at a party and let your luscious mane flick people (thinner ones, for example) in the eyes. That’ll teach them to get in your way.


Imagine a plate of slap chips had no kilojoules whatsoever. Easy! Just open your eyes really wide – as superheroes do when they’re concentrating – and stare at the food. Zap! Every last kilojoule is instantly vaporised, leaving you to enjoy your fourth slice of cheesecake free of guilt.
WICKED USE: lf you squint slightly while doing the Zap Stare, you can have the kilojoules transferred instead of vaporised straight onto the thighs of your ex’s new girlfriend!

This is bad news for all those drunken students with beer breath and middle-aged men with comb-overs who hang around nightclubs thinking we want them to hit on us. Next time a creep approaches you, just activate your Creep Shield. The impenetrable 360° force field that forms around you will render him unable to feel you up accidentally-on-purpose. It will also deflect any ridiculous pick-up line he may be trying on you, amplifying it by a deafening 10 times and blaring it back into his ears.
WICKED USE: By touching a woman next to you, you can make the Creep Shield appear around her. lf you’d like that cute guy to hit on you instead of her, simply brush her with a fingertip, activate the shield and he’ll be bounced away from her - and straight towards you. Oops!

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
Wise Up, Brown Owl
There really is no need for a COSMO girl to know the difference between appliqué and macramé. Being handy should be about necessity, not some unnatural urge to create embroidered, country-style toilet-paper covers.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… demonstrating inventive use of double-sided tape to control wayward breasts or of a stapler to repair a hem in a hurry.


Yes, we like lions and giraffes too, but a seriously wild life has nothing to do with the bushveld. It can be way tougher on the club scene in the city than in the Kruger National Park.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… being the star of three different parties on a Friday night, then emerging calmly on Saturday for a heavy day’s shopping.

Brownies taught us to be caring and kind, and while those are good things to be, there’s also always a place for a well-timed tantrum. When being ignored by a bank manager or after being burnt by a stray cigarette at a bar, it helps to be able to lose it until the other person gets it. This is not a skill to be used lightly, though – otherwise you’re just a brat.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… successfully getting exactly what you want by two of the following means: shouting, glaring, stamping your feet, crying or threatening.

After learning to make yummy brownies at Brownies, some of us completed the optional (but not recommended) transitional badge test where we baked magical cookies that made us slow and hungry. Moving on, you can either go the scary Bree van de Kamp route, where every meal’s a masterpiece, or you can be a clever chef who knows life’s too short to soak chickpeas.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… making a yummy dinner for two using just the two-minute noodles and assorted canned goodies in your cupboard.

All that nonsense about pitching a tent and building a fire became useless the moment we realised we could delegate to men. (And when we realised hotels had hot water and hairdryers.)
EARN THIS BADGE BY… still looking superstylish in your ripped jeans, biker jacket and hat after a weekend at a rainy, muddy music festival.

In the COSMO Brownie-badge system, the emphasis is on the word ‘lover’. As in: if you’ve passed this badge test, you’re an animal in bed. Or on the kitchen table. Or anywhere else.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… trying all the positions in our Sex section in one weekend – or making up three of your own.


Leave cleaning up litter to primary schools – kids look cuter in the newspaper photos anyway. Drive a hybrid car, get solar power, recycle and don’t forget your main environmental responsibility: to make sure nobody sullies the landscape by looking unnecessarily ugly.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… making a citizen’s arrest of, and then rehabilitating, anyone who commits one of the following fashion offences: head-to-toe denim, platform shoes, a mullet, pleated jeans.

When last did you see a little old lady standing on a pavement looking like she wanted to cross the road? How often do you wash your parents’ cars these days? There are people in far more desperate need of your help.
EARN THIS BADGE BY… wrestling the cellphone away from a drunk friend who’s missing her ex, then force-feeding her a big glass of water and two Panados before putting her to bed.

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
Things To Always Keep Secret 1. You can’t bear to part with your love-worn copy of Backstreet Boys’ Greatest Hits.

2. You stuffed tissues down your bra until your were 17 years old.

3. You prefer Madonna’s cover of ‘American Pie’ to the original version by Don McLean.

4. Your first sexual experience was with your next-door neighbour, who is now a dancer on a cruise ship (Read: gay).

5. You’ve always liked your boyfriend’s best friend.

6. Until the World Cup, you’ve been singing bogus words to the national anthem.

7. You preset your PVR to record Strictly Come Dancing.

8. When you’re feeling down and need to lift your spirits, you coop yourself up at home with the Pretty Woman DVD, a large pizza and garlic bread.

9. When it came to 90210, you weren’t a Brandon or a Dylan girl – you fantasised about Steve.

10. No matter how big Friday night was, you always set your alarm and wake up to watch Video Hits on Saturday morning.

11. It doesn’t matter how desperate you get – you can only ever do a number two in your own bathroom.

12. You can’t remember how many guys you’ve been with, but you know it’s somewhere between five and 50.

13. You’re not really saving that necklace your boyfriend bought you for ‘a special occasion’. You lost it on a wild night out six months ago.

14. In 1996, you were the runner-up in the National Liturgical Dancing competition.

15. You secretly pray your kids turn out prettier than your nieces and nephews.

16. If you’re drunk, and someone says something really funny, you sometimes accidentally wet your pants.

17. You’ve hidden in pot plants, rubbish bins and supermarket freezers to avoid running into one-night stands.

18. You found your little brother’s stash of porn magazines – and stole them for yourself.

19. You actually spent money downloading the Vuvuzela ringtone, which you really love, but are just too embarrassed to use.

20. You forgot to feed your sister’s cat for a week when she was on holiday.

21. Before you discovered the many joys of waxing, you actually had more facial hair than your father.

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
Dam Good Tips Global Climate Change: Does the Hype Match the Science Behind The Truth. As a weather expert, we thought we’d get him to jot down a few important green facts (and tips) for you to think about… and act on.

‘There is an enormous amount of attention surrounding the idea of global climate change and going green. Inevitably, the issues are often reported in an unbelievable and chaotic mess of information. So who do we trust?

‘Climate change affects all of us. Simple things, like choosing eco-friendly products for cleaning your house, or even choosing green clothing and hair products can help make the difference between a healthy planet and a healthy you. Imagine a world running out of water, the essential source of life, or a world in which wars are fought over fresh water instead of petrol. It might not happen in our lifetime, but we have a duty to prevent the largest potential manmade disaster of all time. If we don’t take action against the misuse of our planet now, the effects will last for thousands of years to come.

‘So, what can we do as individuals to stop global warming? Currently, I’m involved in a campaign to encourage the installation of solar panels. It takes a lot of energy to heat water and home geysers are the worst offenders of energy wastage. A solar geyser can cut electricity costs by up to 80%. South Africa is such a wonderful, sunny country, it’s ludicrous not to harness the power of its constant and renewable solar energy.

‘But even if we don’t replace electric geysers with solar power, you, as a home owner could save up to 1 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by simply wrapping an insulation blanket around your geyser and turning the thermostat down a few degrees.

Here are a few tips for COSMO girls to consider:

Tip #1 Always consider the three Rs: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
Tip #2
Tip #3
Tip #4
Tip #5
Tip #6

‘We have a unique opportunity to work together in making a difference for the future of our planet, and we must recognise that the cost for remaining complacent far out-weighs the cost of being pro-active.’

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Cape Town life coach, Shelley Lewin, still watches teen dramas despite nearing the age of 40. ‘Escapism is the obvious answer to those who devour any and all TV dramas,’ she says ‘It makes me feel young again.’ We are reminded of another time that holds positive memories and a sense of nostalgia. ‘We hold these shows in high regard because the actors feel like they are a part of our family at some point. Because we feel we know the characters so well, they become predictable and their consistency throughout a series provides us with a level of safety and comfort, she adds.

Cape Town psychologist, Dr Tanya Robinson agrees, saying teenage dramas create a sense of fantasy for those older than 25 and offers something that our grown-up lives can’t give us. While these shows are marketed towards teenagers, she adds, they’re actually more adult-based than we think and a 25-year-old can easily identify with the content.

Gossip Girl Why We Love It: The fashion and the hotties.
There’s something alluring about watching wealthy, beautiful people waltzing around New York’s Upper East Side in Dolce & Gabbana. Besides the high-end fashion and fancy parties, watching the characters’ antics, whether it be Chuck and Blair’s latest scheme or Serena’s newest love interest, is incredibly entertaining.
The Vampire Diaries
One Tree Hill
Friday Night Lights
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Decisions, Decisions
‘You’d think having options would be a good thing, but having too many alternatives creates a lot of pressure to make that one perfect selection,’ explains Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox Of Choice: Why More is Less (HarperCollins Publishers). ‘All these choices diminish our confidence, so we end up regretting our decisions, or not making them at all.’

To put an end to all that, follow our five-point plan for choices you’ll be glad you made.

Dilemma Buster #1:
Go With Your Gut Instinct
Everyone has a sixth sense and it can be incredibly valuable. ‘Intuition is the internal compass that lets you know if you’re headed toward a smart decision… or a fall,’ says life coach Marcia Reynolds, author of How To Outsmart Your Brain! (Covisioning). But combining your inner feelings with factual information is the real way to bulletproof your choice.

‘Before acting on impulse, check the facts and make sure your instinct is leading you in the right direction,’ explains Reynolds. ‘Because emotion and logic live in different parts of the brain, acting on a strong feeling is not always the most reliable way to make a good decision.’ So, even though you’re sure that new job or amazing flat is right for you, backing it up with research will confirm if your instinct is right.

When Clarissa, 25, met Naomi, she thought her search for a housemate was over. ‘Naomi was perfect on paper,’ Clarissa says. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right, so she decided to do her homework first. ‘I called Naomi’s references, which were fine, but then I called her current address and talked to her flatmate, just to be safe. At first I felt a bit paranoid for prying into her life, but I’m glad I checked her out. She owed four months’ rent and had this unemployed boyfriend who pretty much lived there too,’ she recalls. ‘I’m sure she’s a nice person, but she would have been a terrible flatmate.’
Dilemma Buster #2:
Decide Like a Man
Dilemma Buster #3:
Ask The Right People For Advice
Dilemma Buster #4:
Dump Your Pro/Con List
Dilemma Buster #5:
Stop When You’re Happy

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Is Twitter Killing Conversation?
Once upon a time, in a land far less technologically advanced, people would call or catch up with each other face-to-face. Then along came Twitter. Suddenly, Facebook is so last year and we’re glued to Miranda’s morning bagel run… but is it a good thing?

Karen Brooks, associate professor of media studies at Southern Cross University, believes Twitter has a lot of positive implications for relationships. ‘In a time-poor society like ours, Twitter lets you quickly, briefly stay in touch with what’s going on in your friends’ lives. It closes geographical distance, and you can show you care by responding to tweets that interest you.’

For Alicia, a 28-year-old fashion stylist, Twitter has opened up new friendship avenues. ‘My best friend in Brisbane doesn’t Twitter, but her husband does – so now I end up talking to him more than l talk to her! We’re both keen cooks, so we chat about what we’re making for dinner.’ So is her best friend jealous of this burgeoning, food-based relationship? ‘No, not at all. Twitter’s made it more palatable to have conversations with your friend’s partners because it’s non-threatening, it’s open, it’s there for the whole world to see. While l wouldn’t SMS or e-mail a friend’s partner unless l had a specific reason, Twitter is different. It’s a way of connecting that wouldn’t have happened before.’

Beth, a 25-year-old retail worker, isn’t as much of a fan. ‘My boyfriend is constantly twittering on his iPhone. We’ll go out to dinner with friends, and he’ll sit down the end of the table and tweet whatever comes into his head. It’s really annoying.’ Brooks acknowledges this is a downside. ‘If Twitter is the only way you stay in touch, friendships can become superficial, because they’re formulated on sound bites rather than emotional depths.’

If we’re constantly connected and informed of the occurrences and musings of a person’s day via Twitter, what could we possibly have to talk about over dinner that isn’t already public knowledge? ‘I think we only reveal a couple of layers of ourselves on Twitter,’ says Brooks. ‘Plumbing the real emotional depths is something you do with your close friends over coffee, when you have that face-to-face, physical contact.’

There’s a lot of talk about Twitter enriching conversation. ‘Tweets are conversation starters in many ways,’ says Brooks. ‘What can you say in 140 characters, really? “I had a lousy day at work” or “Damien dumped me”. You’re not going to know the ins and outs.’

Sure, there are oversharers on Twitter whose posts would make awkward conversation, but Brooks thinks tweeting intimate details is tactical. ‘You can’t offer all of yourself online – people are more than words and pictures on a screen. And we’re out of context on Twitter, so we construct our identity: we write what we want people to know about us.’

There’s no doubt Twitter has reached a tipping point. The result is a change in the way we conduct our relationships, and a lot of extra fuel to the ‘too much information online’ debate. However, Alicia agrees with Brooks, that you can only ever reveal a few layers of yourself on Twitter. ‘I think Twitter is a more private way of putting yourself out there than Facebook – people can’t browse through your embarrassing photos!’ She smiles and adds, ‘Twitter is more like that line in Pretty Woman: “l say when, l say who, l say how much”.’

Follow us on Twitter @CosmopolitanSA.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
It Doesn't Matter
Stop feeling sorry for yourself and live your life, even if it means your career takes a backseat and man-hunting is put on hold for a little while. It’s time to concentrate on making the most of your life. It’s you time.

1. Hate not having a date for Saturday night? What’s Not To Love? You may not be going out with your future husband (or any man) this weekend but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. ‘If meeting a man is high on your agenda, change that to meeting good people,’ says couples therapist Marlene Wasserman of Cape Town Medi-Clinic’s Sexual Health Centre. Now is the time for exploring options and having fun, so go out with a girlfriend (or courageously alone) and see what happens. Otherwise stay home with a hot new novel, DVD or sex toy, says Wasserman. ‘Make Saturday a night when you can choose to do what pleases you.’
2. Hate still being single?
3. Hate not having a perfect, size-eight figure?
4. Hate not having a supercharged career?
5. Hate not having a home of your own?
6. Hate not yet having produced the novel/painting/hit song you know is in you?

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
Stress-Free Secrets
1. Grab Some Ginseng Panax (or Korean) ginseng has been used for centuries as a no-fret tonic. ‘It helps your adrenal glands work more efficiently, which improves your ability to deal with stress,’ reveals nutrition expert Maryon Stewart. Take one or two a day after meals.
2. Try Smile Therapy
3. Have Sex
4. Eat Happy Meals
5. Cuddle Up
6. Knit!

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
All In A Name Dave Farrow is a two-time Guinness World Book of Records holder for memory. Here, he shares his advice on how to memorise names.

Our biggest mistake, says Farrow, is that we don’t listen to the name. We are programmed to pay attention to the visual aspects of the person, he says, ‘so we think about what they are wearing and what we think about them as a person before we hear the name.’

As you’re about to meet someone ask yourself what you think his or her name is, suggests Farrow. ‘It sounds weird, but asking your brain something it does not know, makes it pay attention instantly. This trick will improve your name recall by about 30%.’

Even weirder, avoid your instincts. ‘If you want to master name recall, you need to avoid your natural tendency to look first and ask questions later.’ In other words, don’t look at someone’s clothes to guess what their name is and then say to yourself ‘She looks like a Kelly.’ This will immediately stop you from learning the person’s real name. Get into the habit of thinking about the name first and then thinking about whether or not they look like that name.

‘Familiarity causes the same problem,’ says Farrow. When you hear a name you’re familiar with, don’t associate the person you’ve just met with a person you know who has the same name, he explains. ‘You think you will remember the name, but you won’t.’ There is nothing that connects these two people, Farrow says, therefore familiarity won’t help your memory. However, there is a time when making a connection can work. When you hear a name, advises Farrow, think of an image that will remind you of that name. This technique, he says, can help you remember hundreds of names.

Memorising a name saves a lot of embarrassment and pain and can be great for your career, says Farrow. Below are tips to remembering someone’s name… so you don’t find yourself in a sticky ‘uh-this-is… Kate?’ situation.

Recall Tip #1 Always look at a person when you hear their name; it increases the connection and helps you trigger your visual memory.
Recall Tip #2
Recall Tip #3
Recall Tip #4
Recall Tip #5

Wed, 09 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
What's Your Size?
‘Almost everything we do, everything we buy and everything we eat has an emissions consequence,’ says Kerry Wright, director of Cleaner Climate South Africa. Whether you drive your car or switch on the television, you’re adding to the size of your carbon footprint. ‘Although we contribute to climate change predominantly through our use of electricity and transport,’ says Wright. While we’re not telling you to sit at home with the lights off, it’s time we all changed our unfriendly eco habits. ‘In South Africa, our electricity comes almost exclusively (95%) from the burning of coal,’ says Wright, ‘which releases huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.’ Therefore, she adds, every time you switch on a light or plug, you’re burning coal.

How do you measure up? Try these online calculators:
Cleaner Climate
Steadfast Greening
Carbon Footprint Calculator

Or give the Food & Trees For Africa calculator a try...

‘There are so many things you can do to offset your carbon footprint,’ says Jeunesse Park, director of Global Carbon Exchange and founder of Food & Trees For Africa. People need to start realising that it only takes one person to make a difference, she adds.
Below, Park gives you a few, simple tips on ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

• Open the windows and switch off air conditioners. ‘Only have the air conditioner on if you’re in the room and ensure windows are closed,’ says Wright.
• Switch off all appliances at the plug point. For example, adds Wright, ‘Leaving the TV on in standby mode uses up to 50% of the power the TV would use if it was actually on. The same goes for hi-fis.’
• Get flat-screen monitors, as LCDs use a third of the electricity of regular screens.
• Don’t decide what you want to eat in front of an open fridge. Close the door and make up your mind – even a few seconds wastes energy.
• Turn down the water-heating setting. Just two degrees less makes a significant saving. Wright suggests turning your geyser down to 60 degrees.
• Insulate the geyser. ‘A geyser blanket won’t allow heat to escape,’ adds Wright.
• Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly. The ice build-up causes your appliances to use more energy.
• Fill washing machines and dishwashers to capacity instead of cleaning three or four items at a time. Also use the lowest temperature possible.
• Hang out your washing to dry rather than tumble drying it. ‘The wind is a free and renewable energy source,’ adds Wright.
• Insulate your home and draught-proof windows and doors. Then you won’t be tempted to use electricity-sapping heaters.
• Reduce travel to meetings. Teleconference instead.
• Drive slower – not only is it safer, it uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions. ‘The extra time it would take to travel 50km at 90km/h compared to 100km/h is only about 3 minutes, but you will save up to 15% on fuel,’ explains Wright.
• Buy locally produced items and organic food, or grow your own. ‘These generally employ less intensive farming methods, reduced or no fertilizers and use less ‘food miles’ when transporting the food from the farm to the shop,’ says Wright.
• Avoid packaging where possible and say no to plastic bags.
• Avoid fast food – over-packaging equals mountains of rubbish.
• Request your bills electronically and pay online.

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
Guilt-Free Friendship Amnesty
If romantic love is a swing, thrilling and aiming for the sky, then friendships are see-saws, moored to earth and dependent on balance. But it seems more and more friendships are ending in tears. Why? Because these days women don't just leave school and home – they change lifestyles, ambitions, jobs and partners with an ease that would have horrified our grandmothers. In our 20s, especially, we're free to choose – and freedom comes at a price. Each situation we decide to change can leave friendships out of balance; equals become bosses, Miss becomes Mrs, trust becomes envy and once-brilliant friends can become enemies. Often you just discover that a shared love of A-ha at 14 doesn't cut it at 25.

Breaking a friendship is as painful whether you're the one breaking it or the jilted friend, but it can be equally painful to continue a bad friendship. If you wouldn't stay with a boyfriend who didn't understand or support you and your life choices, why would you stay with a friend who didn't?

Often, like it or not, there are pivotal times when we find ourselves considering ending a friendship. Will it be hideous? Probably. But armed with the right perspective you can establish if this is the step you really need to take, and do it with as little pain as possible.

'I took two years off to travel and then I got a job in television,' explains Jenny, 24. 'But now whenever I go home all my so-called friends who have local jobs and husbands seem to resent me. I feel hurt. It makes me want to tell them what I think of them...'

Jenny opted out when she chose to travel while her friends stayed at home – she changed, and they did too. Jenny needs to find friends on her new wavelength, but leave the door open for re-establishing former friendships on a fresh footing.

Friends from the past, like Jenny's, will be on the defensive. The important thing is to be curious about them, to ask about their lives, to reminisce but never to be superior about your own advances. Dress down, as they'll be looking for signs of showing off – not because they dislike or envy you, but because the choices you've made will make them defensive about their own.

'Since she started dating this guy who I really don't like, I never see her anymore!' Versions of this complaint are practically a daily event for women. With small, often-distant families and the persistent threat of loneliness, being 'dumped' for a man can hit hard.

But is it grounds for friendship divorce? No. Love is a dominant new part of her life, forcing her to reorganise her priorities – including her relationships with friends. Keep in touch with friendly texts and e-mails until the blaze of early love cools. Force yourself to see her boyfriend with a welcoming, uncritical eye. If, or when, you have a new man or a good male friend, suggest a friendly foursome. If everyone gets on, you'll have hours of quality time with your friend.

However, if your best friend can't abide your man and constantly questions your choice, tell her you value her friendship but if she can't accept your partner, that means she can no longer accept you, either. Just be sure she doesn't have good reason to dislike him. Speak honestly, without anger. Put the decision for the future of your friendship firmly in her court. If she makes an effort, encourage it and try to see her and your man with other friends so she becomes used to him as part of a group. If she continues to sulk or badmouth him, it could be time to stop calling her and let your friendship drift. Sad, yes, but it will be with the knowledge that you were honest and did your best.

'My mate Carla and I have been friends since we worked together in our first PR jobs, but last week I could have sworn she was coming on to my boyfriend, Matt,' says Steph, 28. 'When I mentioned my fears to another friend, she revealed Carla had also slept with my ex. I'm fuming!'

Sexual betrayal is another story; two women who fall for the same man can instantly turn from life-long mates to sworn enemies. One slip-up might be forgivable – that depends on you alone. But repeated attempted seductions of your lovers make her a traitor and traitors are nobody's friend. You're entitled to be angry, but if you bump into her, act cool. Try not to rant about what happened to mutual friends who are bound to confront her, as this will give her a chance to defend herself or lie. If you must talk about your grievance, tell one close friend (you can be sure she will report it to the others). Restraint and dignity under trying circumstances will win respect: their respect and your own self-respect, too.

Having friends in the office is great; people to pop out for lunch with and vent about your boss's crazy demands. But competition is keen; even gossip has a competitive edge because it makes a momentary star of the teller. Spilling confidential beans is very tempting and blabbing is a major cause of workplace bust-ups. That's why the best tactic for avoiding the disappointment of a bad friend at work is prevention: if you're the new girl, be cordial and friendly. But don't confide in anyone until you've sussed office politics. Watch the team closely; ask diplomatic questions of the longer-term team members, even when you think you know the answer. Only make intimate friends with those who share a pastime or a passion beyond office hours.

If a relationship deteriorates so much you have to distance yourself from a work friend, draw back without drama. If she has any sensitivity, she'll get the point. However, if you have to work closely, try to avoid one-on-one time together and if she expects to see you after work hours, drag others along. Passionate hatred is as unprofessional in the workplace as passionate love.

There's always need in friendship and in love, but sometimes it's insatiable. Phone calls at all hours, possibly drunk, cries for consolation or advice that she never takes. Constant borrowing – your clothes, your friends, your men... This is a friend who sets no limits. This is a friend to finish with for self-preservation's sake, if nothing else. If she has a specific problem, such as drink or depression, ease your feelings of guilt by providing her with contacts for support groups. Then simply burn that bridge. Stop answering when you see her number on your cellphone and stop calling her back when she leaves a flurry of voicemails. When you bump into her, be on your way to somewhere else. Be prepared for her to hate you when she catches on. But you'll have less reason to hate yourself than if you let her drain you and dominate your life.

Nine times out of 10, envy – yours or hers – is the source of a break-up. The rage you feel when she wins the man, the job or the admiration is completely illogical, based on the false, often subconscious, belief that she stole her triumph from you! And that vice, of course, is versa if she's the one who envies your achievement. Envy is self-defeating, because it provides an excuse for failure. Why bother trying? She has it all!

However, it's hard to admit envy and easier to disguise it behind false accusations and recriminations. First, recognise envy exists, whether it's hers or your own; only then can you free yourself. It isn't easy, but it's the only way to end the friendship peacefully. And it must end. Keeping an envious friendship going is like trying to ride a bull, not a see-saw. Some friendships can last forever but equally some have to end.

So it's over. But you know the same people and have the same hangouts – so you're bound to meet again. Here's how to handle those tricky moments...

Tip #1 Courtesy is a useful weapon. Greet her, smile and move on. It will make you feel better and, if the friendship ended in her treachery, seeing you rise above it will make her feel worse.
Tip #2
Tip #3
Tip #4
Tip #5

Mon, 24 May 2010 12:00 +0200
Max Your Intuition
Er, no. 'Intuition is the upgrade of instinct,' says intuitive teacher Colleen-Joy Page. 'We all have it. Some of us are simply more skilled at putting it to use. Intuition is about learning to access the centre of your mind.' Something like being a good judge of character has everything to do with intuition.

'Intuition is the ability to understand your feelings via mental frameworks. It's like an imaginary mental "hand" that helps you feel your way around life,' says Kendall Whalley, an intuitive trainer and personality expert.

We've all got 'inner chatter' going on in our heads, but when you assess the quality of the info, you'll realise it's mostly shallow and ego driven. 'Often our minds are so cluttered, we cannot hear the inner voice trying to give us messages about what we need to do,' says feng shui and numerology expert Chris Brazel. 'We're too busy, full of fear about the future, full of regrets about the past or just full of emotions about the present.'

Flashes of real intuition can take a number of forms and differs among people – but you'll know it when you experience it because it 'feels' different from the drivel; more authentic. It can be a picture, a word or a 'voice' that tells you what to do, or a feeling. Ask women if they've ever used 'women's intuition' and 90% will nod enthusiastically. The reason? Women find it easier to access intuition. Men, on the other hand, are conditioned to rely on logical, analytical, more linear ways of thinking.

'Logical thought will argue with you; intuitive thought won't,' Page says. 'A logical sequence is a series of steps to get to an answer (for example, one plus one equals two). With intuitive knowing, you'll glance at a list of numbers and the answer 'two' will pop into your head before you've even reached for the calculator. There's no step-by-step assessment.'

We've all heard the one about the fireman who makes it out of a building just before it collapses. Or the mum who suddenly gets the urge to look for her kid and finds he's fallen in the pool. That's classic intuition and, in worst-case scenarios, it can be a life-saver. But you don't have to be in a desperate situation for it to kick in.

'Intuition is a natural response, which we refer to as the fight-or-flight response,' says clinical psychologist Natasha Naggan. 'It ensures we survive a situation, no matter what it is – from one that's life-threatening to something more simple, like dealing with a moody boss.'

'People access their intuition at different times – whether they're under extreme pressure or chilled during a meditation session – it just depends on the person,' Whalley says. 'You can make your intuition work for you by learning to paralyse the part of the mind that makes you second-guess everything. To do this, some people need to be under extreme pressure, when the logical mind can't find answers.'

Page agrees: 'You don't need to do anything special for your intuition to kick in – no fancy rituals, sitting poses or incense. Some people can have their most powerful intuitive moments in the shower or when driving to work.' Accessing your intuition is easier when your brain is in 'neutral' or when its conscious side is concentrating on other things.

The line between being intuitive and just plain paranoid is thin. Intuition is a basic survival tactic that's programmed into everyone. But when any form of fear comes into the equation, your intuition is not as reliable as it should be.

'Paranoia is not intuition,' Whalley says. 'It comes about when people enslave their minds to flights of fancy. Intuition is an observer that is without feeling. The moment an emotion such as fear comes into it, the information you get back is not intuitive.'

But a number of people don't trust their instinct enough, and they mistakenly dismiss their intuitive thoughts as paranoia or wishful thinking. 'Intuition is different from wishful thinking, as it's not about hoping for something to happen,' Naggan says. 'Paranoia is linked to feelings and involves a state of permanent questioning, but intuition is there to help you with the answers, not the questions.'

Whalley agrees: 'Wishful thinking comes from a place of insecurity, which means you can kiss your intuition goodbye,' he says. 'You've got to bag up all the insecurity garbage to get to pure intuitive power.'

Spot-on intuition comes with practise, and you can apply simple intuitive questioning to any situation. It's like peeling off the layers of an onion – keep questioning until you reach the core.

1. Make snap judgments with your friends
The next time you're hanging out with a friend, test each other's intuition for fun. Ask her to give you the names and ages of three people she's met this week. Then you give her your impression of these people based on everything that comes to mind. She can tell you how right or wrong you are.

2. Jump to conclusions when meeting people
Whenever you greet people, instead of saying, 'How are you?' try telling them how you think they feel. By trusting your intuition and picking up on their subtle cues, you can look at the world from their perspective.

3. Get ahead of yourself with a new guy
When you first meet a guy, try to get a sense of who he is before you make an emotional connection. The initial feeling you get can become a blueprint for your future relationship. Ask your intuition how and when the first challenges will arise – for example, when you're likely to have your first fight. Then try to feel out how you will handle this together.

4. Put it to work
Write a logical, factual to-do list of goals you must accomplish at work. If you're in sales, for example, it can be a list of clients you need to see in order to reach your target. Then create another list – an 'intuition list' – where you write down which clients you feel will be more receptive to your ideas (the ones you have a good feeling about). That way you won't waste your time seeing people you intuitively know won't be keen. In time you'll find that your intuitive list works better than the logical one.

Wed, 12 May 2010 12:00 +0200
Do You Use The F-Word?
But I countered that the older feminists, the ones that now head up the committees and unions, who'd cut their political teeth in the '80s and '90s, were the ones who let us down. They got into power then stopped talking about feminism altogether, which leaves the rest of us wondering where to look for inspiration. But since then I've started to wonder whether that debate started in the wrong corner. Maybe nobody's let feminism down – maybe we're all still as feminist as ever and we've got more to be triumphant about than we realise.

Every decade or so there's a rumour about the death of the F or at least the beginning of the end. Here's the evidence: as young women, we don't describe ourselves as feminists anymore. To be honest, I'm a bit of an anomaly – I've always admitted to being one. But, at 32, I'm not all that young. And for most other women the opposite is true. The vast majority of you believe in equal pay, in women being able to choose motherhood as well as a career, in the right to choose to have an abortion, and that 'our votes, our opinions and our voices count as much as any man's'. This is all feminists have ever fought for.

It would be pushing it a bit to claim that these battles were over; conditions are still, or can be, pretty woeful for working mothers, and the pay gap persists. But that's beside the point. We probably should admit that these are feminist ideas and if we agree with them then we're feminists. The question is why don't we?

One reason is that we think 'feminist' has certain implications about attitudes towards sex, notions of masculinity and femininity, dress codes and style tips that we can't sign up to. There's something joyless about the idea of an old-school campaigner. We have a mental image of a hoard of fairly humourless women chanting slogans like, 'I won't shave my
armpits! Hairy pits are a sign of my eternal womanliness!' It makes them sound like a bunch of people who think of sex as an insult to their precious body hair.

One woman I interviewed was Debbie Stoller, the editor of Bust, an American 'third-wave feminist' magazine (trust the Americans to find a trendy way of saying 'we're still here and we're still cool!'). She said they would road test vibrators for their readers, but wouldn't fill the pages with sexy lingerie because that was more about the man's pleasure than the woman's. I agreed with her about almost everything but stalled here – those who sneer at women who 'dress for men' aren't feminists, they just lack generosity. You think the person you're sleeping with looks good so you want to look good back; it's no more enslaved than giving someone a Christmas present because they gave you one. I don't even think Birkenstocks are as feminist as a pair of heels. Before we can admit the achievements of the movement and take collective pride in them, we need to get rid of the idea that this kind of feminist is the only kind there is. I don't even think I've met a woman like this. I just have an idea of her lodged in my mind and, like dry rot, she takes some shifting.

Really, though, when a woman says she's not a feminist, it's because she's got slutty boots and pink stuff in her wardrobe, and thinks: 'This political movement wouldn't be interested in a person like me.' Whereas, honey, you are feminism. You're the confidence, the skittishness, the opportunity, the boundless sense of liberation, self-determination and fun that the movement created.

Does it even matter what word we use to call ourselves? If we just go about our business, fighting for our rights to equal pay, tackling injustice, isn't that enough? Not really, no. There are always people looking to roll back rights that women have won. None of the advances made by the movement would have stuck without people who believe implicitly in the equality of the sexes. For every crank who says work is boring, equality is a myth or a let-down and she'd rather be at home doing the washing, there need to be 10 women saying 'l can't believe how great this is!' We should call ourselves feminists not only because there's more to achieve, but because so much has already been achieved that it would be a crime not to brag about it. And, most of all, we should call ourselves feminists because that's exactly what we are – killer heels, lipstick, credit cards and all.

Wed, 05 May 2010 12:00 +0200
Outgrow Bad Parenting
They Were Overprotective

'My parents were so overprotective I couldn't do anything. I didn't go out with boys until I was in grade 12. Then I got serious with the first guy I met at university and stayed in a controlling, abusive relationship for three years,' says Kathy*, 26. Parents like Kathy's can raise kids who have no belief in their own ability to handle situations. 'This can leave a person feeling intimidated by the smallest incident,' says psychologist Jane Dannerup. It can also prevent you from accepting responsibility for your own life, which can leave you incapable of managing your money and choosing the right friends.

They Burdened You With Their Problems
'When l was growing up, my divorced mum used to make me help her pick sexy clothes for dates. She was always crying on my shoulder. Ever since, I've been so involved with other people's problems, I haven't a clue who I am,' says Tanya*, 29, who's realised her relationships tend to revolve around her friends' needs. Parents who share the burdens of adult life with their kids deny them space to discover the world at their own pace. 'You may have lost out on aspects of your childhood,' says clinical psychologist David Zlotnick. There's also a risk you'll grow up taking too much responsibility for others, read: easily taken advantage of.

They Had No Time For You
'My parents were so wrapped up in their own lives that we barely saw them. It was never a "good time" to talk to them,' says Linda*, 32. 'The children of self-obsessed parents often grow up feeling not only unloved but also unlovable,' Zlotnick says. This can lead you to stay detached in relationships and can cause you to become overinvested in, for instance, the acquisition of material possessions.

They Always Treated Your Differently From Your Brothers
Gender discrimination within families is still common and can have a lasting impact on a person. Dannerup says girls raised in families where their brothers were favoured are often ill-equipped for today's society – they tend to put their own needs last or are rebellious, defensive or easily offended.

They Were Always Arguing
'If you grew up in a home where there was a lot of fighting, you may often experience feelings of anxiety and helplessness,' Zlotnick says. You may also harbour a deep sense of guilt, believing you were to blame for some of the hostility.

1. Accept They Are Human 1. Accept They Are Human

We all have faults, and your parents probably did the best they could at the time. 'No one will ever do a perfect job of raising you,' says Karen Morris, head of counselling at a Sydney organisation specialising in relationship services. 'Raising kids is a huge job. Parents get tired and stressed, and have lots of other things going on. Blaming people keeps you stuck. Accepting that your parents loved you and raised you as best they could is the first step to taking responsibility for changing your life.'
2. Be Aware Of The Impact
3. See The Positives
4. Talk About It

*Names have been changed

Mon, 26 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Volunteering Demands
Nicole*, 23, wanted to help ease the burden of piles of paperwork at her local police station, but the extensive training procedures proved more than a little challenging.
'During my varsity break, I went to my nearest police department to apply to become a reservist. I didn't want to go out in the field; I just wanted to do the administrative work the officers didn't have enough time to complete. But in order to qualify as a Category B Reservist (Support Services), I was told I would have to study hundreds of pages before completing entrance exams as well as go through an extensive training course as if I were training to be an actual gun-wielding police officer myself. All I wanted was to help out with a little bit of admin!'

The Organisation Says: 'A Category B reservist is a support reservist that may not be utilised in an operational environment,' says SAPS representative, Brigadier Phuti Setati. He says Nicole was incorrectly informed that she would have to go out into the field. As a category B reservist, your duty is to perform support services, for example, processing leave, finalising injuries on duty, assisting with typing, or performing administration responsibilities for operational reservists, says Setati. You don't even wear a uniform, won't be issued with a firearm and won't attend any operational training, he says. 'You will only be trained for the tasks you are required to perform.' However, be aware that you will go through an indefinite orientation programme and your job-specific training will be a continuous process.

Tip: While you will only be trained for specific tasks, this process can take time. So sticking it out through the training will pay off in the end.

Jaime*, 21, wanted to volunteer at bird welfare organisation SANCCOB in between work and studying, but found working with injured birds more difficult than she imagined.
'When I started volunteering at the centre, I cleaned the penguins' pens and mats and helped get the centre ready for their rehabilitation. But seeing these birds in pain because people had burnt off their feet, or because they'd been caught in barbed wire or had plastic bags stuck in their throats was heartbreaking. I still wanted to help as much as I could, but I really couldn't bear to see animals suffer.'

The Organisation Says: SANCCOB chief executive Venessa Strauss says their organisation relies heavily on volunteers. What most people don't realise is that there are many other aspects involved when you work at the centre. 'Some people only clean pens, or defrost the fish – you can choose not to work with the birds. Either way, when you volunteer at centres like ours, you walk away feeling like you have made a huge difference.'

Tip: If you'd rather not work at the centre itself, there are other ways you can help. At SANCCOB you can adopt a penguin for R500. You'll receive a letter as to why your penguin needs treatment, an adoption certificate and a photograph of your penguin. Your donation will help rehabilitate at least one animal before it's released back into the wild.

Volunteering at a centre for orphaned or abandoned children isn't something you can do sporadically for a month here and there; you need to be fully committed. For example, at Cotlands (a non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town that cares for HIV/Aids orphans), you need to sign a one-year commitment agreement before you begin volunteering.

The Organisation Says: Commitment forms are there to limit the number of adults moving in and out of the children's lives, says Johannesburg-based social worker, Kathy Hawthorn. 'Abandoned or orphaned children already feel the loss of an adult, and if they continually form relationships with adults, only to have them leave every few months, this can impact on their ability to trust and bond with a new family when one is identified,' she explains. Ideally, she says, Cotlands would prefer an even longer commitment, but as people's life circumstances change, this becomes unrealistic.

Cotlands representative, Michelle Coetzee, agrees. 'Because the children placed in our care have experienced so much uncertainty and loss in their young lives, we try to keep Cotlands as consistent as possible... By committing to a year at the centre, the chances are great that if a volunteer bonds with a specific child, that that child will have been placed back in the community before the volunteer's 12-month period is over,' she says. There is a three-month 'probation' period at the start of the year, which allows volunteers to leave the programme if they don't feel they can make a proper commitment.

Tip: If you can't commit to a full year at a children's centre like Cotlands, consider the alternative. Cotlands allows you to buy books, cards and pins as well as donate money to the organisation via the website.

*Names have been changed ]]>
Fri, 23 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Confidence Guaranteed The 10-Minute Life Coach (Angus & Robertson). 'We get into the habit of talking ourselves down, but you can choose to talk yourself up instead. Taking control of those negative thoughts chattering away in our heads is the key to maximising our self-confidence.' To help you ditch the doubt, we've identified five confidence-shaking situations, and with our expert help, you can banish those insecurities for good.

The alarm went off 20 minutes ago, but you're still in bed. You're facing a very important day at work and your nerves are getting the better of you. Hmm, maybe you should call in sick. 'Everybody's fear, particularly at work, is that they're just not good enough,' Harrold says. 'We doubt our abilities and are afraid someone will realise we're frauds.'

Confidence Booster: Write down three successes you've had at work – however big or small – that made you feel good about your abilities. 'Say to yourself, "l know I can do this," and acknowledge these previous successes,' Harrold suggests. 'Boost your self-confidence by telling yourself you're good enough and that today is going to be successful.' Next, do something practical to tackle your anxiety.

'Taking 10 minutes to have a bath in the morning, rather than a shower, will relax your body and calm your mind,' says psychotherapist Gael Lindenfield, author of Self Esteem Bible (Dymocks). 'Close your eyes and visualise a tranquil scene.' Remind yourself of the rewards, too. 'Getting through this day could be the route to promotion, so keeping the bigger picture in mind can help motivate you.'

Stamp Out Self-Doubt:
When you have an important meeting or a presentation, imagine your shoes are glued to the floor. Sounds silly, but it will keep you focused and stop any nervous fidgeting.


You've hit the shops but nothing looks right. The more clothes you try on, the worse you feel, until finally your body confidence has evaporated. 'We're incredibly vulnerable in this situation, because our body image is something we feel sensitive about,' Lindenfield says. 'We're bombarded with so many messages about beauty that we feel we don't measure up.'

Confidence Booster: 'When you're having a body-confidence crisis, get out of the changing room fast,' advises Lindenfield. 'Think of compliments people have paid you in the past and use the positive feeling those memories evoke to start thinking about your best attributes, instead of fixating on the negative.'

Life coach Pam Richardson, author of The Life Coach (Angus & Robertson), adds, 'When we're critical of our own appearance, we focus on what we think are our flaws. But would you say the negative things you tell yourself to your best friend? Start being your own best friend and be kinder to yourself.'

Stamp Out Self-Doubt: Stand in front of the mirror and say, 'I like and accept myself exactly as I am.' Repeat this affirmation while looking yourself in the eye.

He's gorgeous, he's sexy and he's asked you out to dinner. You should be ecstatic, but you're so convinced he's out of your league that you're 10 seconds away from cancelling.

Confidence Booster: 'It helps if you nail what your fear is,' says Harrold. 'Are you worried he'll think you're not attractive or interesting enough? Remind yourself how fabulous you are and that he's lucky to be going on a date with you. Focusing on your special qualities raises your self-esteem and, if you're feeling good about yourself, that'll come across to him,' says Harrold.

Next, take him off that pedestal. 'Don't think he's Mr Perfect and that you have to impress him. He asked you out because he wants to get to know you, so have the courage to be yourself.' Deflect any self-conscious feelings you have by putting the spotlight on him.

'Ask him questions about what he enjoys doing,' says Lindenfield. 'The better you are at listening, the more attractive you're going to be to him.'

Stamp Out Self-Doubt: Smile. It's the last thing you want to do when you're tense, but if you try to appear like someone who's relaxed and confident, the way you're feeling on the inside will soon catch up.

When your new boyfriend said he wanted you to meet his parents, you were thrilled. But now the day's nearly here and you feel intimidated. Will they hate you? Love you? 'You're nervous because you want to make a good first impression and don't want to let your boyfriend down,' says Richardson. 'One day, these people could be your in-laws.' There's lots at stake here.

Confidence Booster: Write down three great relationships you have with older people, perhaps within your own family, or with a neighbour or a colleague. 'Allay your fears by recognising that you have the ability to get on with people of all generations,' Harrold says. Ask his parents questions to show you're genuinely interested in them.

'What most parents hope for is somebody who loves their child as much as they do,' Richardson says. 'So making it clear how much you think of their son will automatically make them warm to you.' This isn't about impressing them with how smart or accomplished you are; impress them with your genuine sincerity and warmth instead.

Stamp Out Self-Doubt: Giving his parents a gift – even just a bottle of wine – makes you look thoughtful and gives you something to discuss during those first awkward moments.

You've seen an ad for your dream job, but there's a voice in your head saying you haven't got a hope in hell of getting it. 'When you're scared, it can seem safer not to even try,' says Harrold.

Confidence Booster: Overcome your fear by confronting it head on. Ask yourself, 'What's the worst that can happen?' In this case, it would be not getting the job. Then ask yourself, 'What's the best thing that could happen?' You could surprise yourself by actually landing the job. And then there's so many positive things that come with a new job – you'll acquire a new set of skills, you'll meet new people, you'll have an updated resumé – and you may even learn more about yourself. You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

Stamp Out Self-Doubt: Visualise your best career achievement to date. Hold that moment in your mind to regain that incredible feeling of success. If you've done it before, you can do it again. ]]>
Mon, 29 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
Rock Your Rights
Educate yourself. Before you head off into the working world, take the opportunity to study as much as you can. Not only will it look good on your CV, you’ll have more knowledge to take with you when you enter the job market.

Travel the world. Take a tour through Europe, go festival hopping across the USA or find some hot Aussie’s down-under.

Feel jealous every once in a while. Just be careful not to let jealousy affect your friendships. Keep the lines of communication open instead of harbouring your envious feelings.

Stick to your values. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Choose the man you want to spend your life with. Never settle for second best.

Take a duvet-day. Go to the spa with your girlfriends, relax on the beach or simply stay in your pyjamas all day and watch your favourite series.

Party. But drinking (or drugging) and driving is not cool.

Not respond to criticism. If you feel someone is attacking you or unjustifiably criticising you, you can choose to walk away and avoid conflict. Just remember, even COSMO girls aren’t right all the time…

Be spoilt. If someone wants to buy you presents, take you out for dinners and whisk you away on a romantic holiday, enjoy it!

Be fashionably late. But not too late, that is. Unfortunately, arriving an hour after the party has started is still considered rude.

Cry during movies. It doesn’t matter if it’s an animated film or has a supposedly happy ending, your tissues won’t judge you.

Have safe sex with whoever you want. You can be fun and fearless, but don’t make a habit of one-night-stands. Not only is it dangerous in the STI department, but you’re undermining your self-worth. Always remember to use protection.

• Eat a treat. Just because you eat healthily, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed a slice of chocolate cake once in a while. Don’t overdo it though; otherwise it no longer counts as a treat.

Perve. If a hottie walks past, who says you can’t lower your sunglasses and sneak a peak?

Be independent.

Stand up for yourself. Don’t be anyone’s doormat and stay true to what you believe in.

Sing loudly while driving. Even if people stare as you belt out Kelly Clarkson, embrace your inner diva. It is your car after all.

Splurge on at least one luxury per month. Buy a new bag, a hot pair of heels or a must-have DVD box set. But one item per month doesn’t mean you can go on an expensive budget-breaking shopping spree.

Ask questions. Whether it is work-related or finding out where your boyfriend has been until 3am, you can raise your problems and ease your suspicions.

Skinny dip. Sometimes it’s good just to let loose, have fun and take off your clothes. ]]>
Fri, 19 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
Funk Up Your Flat
If you're not sure whether your newfound couch or bookcase will fit through the door, all of the websites we've found, where relevant, have size specifications.

You're guaranteed to find the trendiest chairs to fit your flat-style at Chair Crazy. Whether you're looking for a futuristic white vinyl bubble chair (R9 160), a violet polypropylene seat (R1 050) or cyan stool (R985), here you'll find colour, modern finishes and style. While the prices may be steep, all you really need is one classy item. Online shopping site, Liquorish has a few alternatives that cost between R600 and R1500 – no delivery charge.

These days tattooing your wall is probably the easiest way to make a big difference to your décor. My Wall Tattoos lets you shop online for designs of your choice. The contemporary artwork included chandeliers and baroque chairs, text, patterns and custom designs, and last for up to three years – but if you're easily bored, the tattoos can be removed and replaced anytime. Wallpapers range from R250 to R910 excluding shipping costs, which cost anything between R32 and R250 depending on the size of your tattoo and the speed of delivery you choose.

If you're a fan of contemporary art and need a new piece to add to your collection, check out the Spier Contemporary 2010 exhibition from Sunday 15 March at Cape Town City Hall. There will be loads of fantastic one-of-a-kind photographs, digital designs, sculptures and canvas paintings on sale by some of the country's most promising artists.

A dark wood or whitewashed bookshelf can re-define any living space or bedroom, but you don't have to fill it with dusty tomes and tatty novels. Whether you choose to house your favourite books, trendy ornaments, photographs, vintage vases, CDs or even use it as an open cupboard for your clothes or shoes, a bookcase is versatile and therefore, an integral step in changing up your flat. Coricraft has a wide range for you to choose from – and they'll deliver your purchase right to your door. Prices range between R2 995 for a small, five-shelf bookcase to R14 995 for a large old-fashioned bookshelf with a rolling ladder. Remember, to take delivery costs into account. For example, a standard five-shelf bookrack costs R400 to deliver to Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban.

Buying a new couch can completely change the feel of your living room. Exchange your drab, old sofa for something modern – but make sure not to go for anything too trendy, otherwise you'll find yourself stuck with a dated piece of furniture before you've even sat on it. Wetherlys has a wide range, including upholstered sofas and chaises lounges; but we recommend investing in a slip-covered sofa if you really want to funk up your flat. Why? If you spill red wine or pasta sauce on your brand new couch, you simply take off the cover and have it dry-cleaned and machine washed (depending on the fabric).

A sofa with a pre-selected fabric will set you back R3 999 and between R5 099 and R8 999 for one without the fabric. Wetherlys will cover it for you in whichever material you choose – a two-seater would need about 14m of fabric, which costs anything between R60/m and R600/m.

No one wants odd bits cluttering their place, especially if you have little room. Streamlining your space isn't as difficult as you might think. Woolworths' Online Shop offers old-school-style storage boxes in chic colours: red, black, white and natural, and are available in small (R55), medium (R65) and large (R75).

If you're happy with your current couch but want something smaller to add character to the room, Mr Price Home has launched a new furniture site where you can browse their pieces by room. Their wide range of linen weave ottomans come in fun, fearless colours at a reasonable price from R299 each.

While we've singled out specific pieces, all of the above websites offer a lot more. Take your time to browse them and compare prices before buying anything. With the help of these online catalogues, you can change your indoor style from the comfort of your soon-to-be-ex sofa. ]]>
Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
Drowning In The Noise got to reply to your fans on your MySpace page and there are so many messages you want to read by the 865 people you're following on Twitter! Stop. Take a breath. You're losing control. Before you resume your hyperventilating, you can regain control of your life. It's simply about taking a step back.

Bhamini Rugnathji, a Cape Town-based psychologist, believes it is important to acknowledge the world we're living in before we let it take control of our daily lives. 'We live in a digital world. Access to information is so much easier and acceptable now than ever before, and by the looks of things, it's set to evolve even further.'

What is most important, says Rugnathji, is being able to recognise the reason you are feeling so overloaded, overwhelmed and out of control. Not only are you accessing reams of information from the Internet; with the invention of social networking, you are also putting yourself out there where others can have constant access to your digital life. If you can admit, says Rugnathji, that the reason you're feeling like you're on a never-ending rollercoaster is because of your constant access or addiction to the digital realm, then you're on your way to taking that much-needed step back to reality.

Updating your Facebook status every 10 minutes and tweeting what you just ate for lunch, in between your regular web browsing, is enough to leave you feeling detached from your regular life. Sitting for hours dawdling in front of your computer often interferes with your daily functioning, and can easily create an unbalanced lifestyle where you choose technology over real-life interaction, says Johannesburg psychologist, Dr Tanya Robinson.

It's all too often you see a couple out for romantic meal and one of them is on their Blackberry quickly checking an e-mail or updating their Facebook status, says Robinson. 'This is devastating to social interaction,' she explains, and warning bells should go off if you're this addicted to your favourite websites.

'The key here is balance,' says Rugnathji. If you feel you are being sucked in by technology and its infinite information and feel this is negatively affecting your wellbeing, re-balance your life by setting boundaries, she advises. 'Make meaningful choices that are going to get your life feeling more balanced and healthy.'

Make changes to your daily habits. If you check Facebook more than 15 times a day, make a conscious decision to log on only five times a day. You don't need to completely change your routine, but adjust a few things so you feel less overwhelmed and out of control, says Rugnathji. 'Slow things down to a pace that suits you and try to keep yourself in mind.'

Allow for specific times when you can browse websites, check e-mails or visit Facebook, says Robinson. Be disciplined when it comes to technological interaction, she says, as it can easily lead to problems in other areas of your life. 'If you see you are not able to control yourself, don't go there,' says Robinson. 'Rather keep yourself busy with something more constructive.'

Rugnathji agrees. If letting go of technology is initially difficult, speak to friends, family or anyone you feel comfortable talking to about how you feel. 'Sometimes bouncing ideas off others clarifies things in your own mind.' ]]>
Wed, 24 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
App Yourself COSMOPOLITAN magazine - give these cool applications a spin on your iPhone or Blackberry.


How it works
: You’re driving to work and hear an awesome song on the radio. Instead of risking the DJ not telling you what it’s called, just hold your iPhone up to the radio and SoundHound will tell you what the song is called, who sings it, and what album it comes from.
Fun, fearless feature: If you can’t reach for your phone in time, simply hum the tune and this app will still be able to spit out all the necessary information you need.
Size: 2.0MB
Cost: $4.99

NDrive Navigation System
How it works
: Halfway to your destination, you realise you’re completely lost. The NDrive Navigation System is a bona fide GPS service that lets you search for street names, postal codes, coordinates, as well as places you’ve recently visited, but simply can’t remember how to find.
Fun, fearless feature: Looking for a restaurant? A hotel? Maybe you’re about to run out of petrol and need a petrol station. This system is preloaded with more than 150 000 points of interests to help you out in sticky situations.
Size: 170MB
Cost: $54.99

Photo Makeover
How it works
: Someone’s taken a photo of you on your iPhone, but you think it’s hideous. With Photo Makeover, you can edit the photo to fix your facial expression (even add in a smile!) or simply adjust your facial features before you upload it for everyone on Facebook. Features include the ability to slim down or plump up your face, open those closed eyes and adjust expression strength.
Fun, fearless feature: You can change your facial expression to anything from a confident or sexier look to making a kiss or adding a smile.
Size: 2MB
Cost: $0.99

Voice Text Pro
How it works
: Want to tell someone you’re stuck in traffic, but know you can’t SMS and drive? Instead of typing out a SMS, simply say your message out loud, and Voice Text Pro records it and types it out for you.
Fun, fearless feature: The fact that it’s hands-free is by far its best feature.
Size: 2MB
Cost: $4.99

Top 100 on iTunes
How it works
: This app tells you which songs are topping the charts on iTunes every day. You can listen to the latest, most popular tracks on iTunes, complete with lyrics, album art and the option to watch the music video too.
Fun, fearless feature: If you don’t like song number 38 for example, you can just skip to another one.
Size: 0.5MB
Cost: $2.99

Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals
How it works
: Your new man is coming over for dinner, you can’t think of anything to cook and you’re running out of time. Browse through this app and Jamie Oliver will lay out 55 recipes you can prepare in 20 minutes. The app lets you know all the essentials you’ll need in your kitchen before you start cooking, as well as 21 video clips to show you exactly what you need to do.
Fun, fearless feature: If you don’t feel like sifting through all 55 meals, simply shake your iPhone for a random recipe.
Size: 99.6MB
Cost: $7.99

All of the above applications are available through the iTunes South Africa store.


How it works
: Whether you’re planning a cocktail party or simply want to sip on a Cosmopolitan after a long day at the office, DrinkBook has more than 1 000 cocktail recipes for you to browse through.
Fun, fearless feature: There are more than 1 000 cocktail ideas… more than 1 000. Enough said!
Size: 2MB
Cost: $4.99

If I Were a Girl
How it works
: This entertaining app is for the man in your life. If he’s ever wondered what he would like or what he would do for a living, as a woman, If I Were a Girl will give him the ‘facts.’
Fun, fearless feature: There’s nothing special here, but it’ll definitely get you laughing with your guy.

How it works
: Sing along to your all-time favourites, such as Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ or The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ just as you would at any karaoke bar.
Fun, fearless feature: While Karaoke only comes with a few songs preloaded, you can download more songs.

How it works
: With SmartYoga you can browse through loads of yoga positions, each with step-by-step instructions, illustrations and explanations about the benefits of each position you try.
Fun, fearless feature: If you don’t have time for a yoga class, you still have the option of getting your daily exercise right at your fingertips.

Talk Like a Pirate
How it works
: Following on from the Facebook pirate trend, this fun-filled app translates whatever you type into pirate language. Why not?
Fun, fearless feature: You can send your pirate text via e-mail, SMS or Twitter… just for the hell of it.

How it works
: Tweeps, this is for you! Upload videos and photos, shrink your tweets for longer messages and shorten URLs all directly from your Blackberry.
Fun, fearless feature: With UberTwitter you no longer need to be in front of your laptop or computer to update your tweets. The apps’ boundaries are limitless.

Excluding DrinkBook, which is available at, all of the above Blackberry apps are available for free from ]]>
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
Feel Happier - 20 Little Ways Love sleeping in on Saturdays? Make your bed even more of a haven by buying the cosiest sheets. Invest in some that have at least a 250-thread count – the higher the number, the softer the feel.

2. On Monday morning, upgrade your usual coffee to a latte.

3. If you enjoy throwing dinner parties, buy a round dining room table – it will promote conversation, because everyone will be able to see each other.

4. Post-holiday, keep your high going by researching where you want to go on your next trip.

5. Stock your bathroom with candles in relaxing scents like lavender and sandalwood, so every time you take a bath, you can easily turn it into a mini spa.

6. Sunday night is a quiet, stay-at-home kind of evening. So make it a ritual with your guy or a group of friends to cook a meal that’s a little more gourmet and delicious than your usual.

7. During the winter, get a year-round flowering plant for your place so you’ll feel springy and fresh even when it’s cold outside.

8. Magnify the sexiness of date night by turning it into a whole weekend. Plan romantic dinners, a fun movie to see and some daytime activities. Then tell him to pack a bag on Friday and head to your place until Sunday.

9. Put together an energising and inspiring playlist just for your commute to work... and a more calm and relaxing one for your trip home.

10. Create a reading area to make settling in with a load of magazines or a good book even more enjoyable. Pick a cosy, nicely lit corner of your couch, and add a soft blanket and small table for you to rest a drink on.

11. Never go on a date without wearing sassy undies and a matching bra, even if you know he won’t see them. It’s for you, honey.

12. Having cute and flattering gym clothes to slip into means you’ll actually look forward to sweating.

13. Ask your favourite shops if they have mailing lists you can be added to. Once you’re signed up, they’ll send you discounts and special offers.

14. There’s nothing like a glass of wine at the end of a long day. Splurge on a couple snazzy, high-end glasses that are designed to optimise the aroma and flavour of your wine. They honestly make all the difference.

15. Make Saturday afternoons even brighter by scheduling phone sessions with long-distance pals.

16. Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it to midweek by treating yourself to a small dessert at lunch – like a cupcake or chocolate-chip cookie.

17. You likely spend loads of time in your living room, so make it inviting by using warm colours. Try eggplant throw pillows or a golden amber rug.

18. lf you have huge plans for a Friday night, think ahead and take the day off work. You can devote those hours to primping, so you’ll feel extra-hot when you meet up with friends later.

19. Right before you fall asleep, send your guy a loving text message. He’ll get it the next morning, and you’ll get a sweet response to start off your a.m. routine.

20. Mmm... spaghetti. Up the yum factor by adding big, juicy black olives and shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese to your noodles and basic marinara sauce.


Push the envelope this year, and make yourself take a few of our daring suggestions.
• Single? Every week, be ballsy and chat up a hottie in an unconventional place – like in line at the bookstore.
• Make a three-month promotion plan. Start logging all the accomplishments you’ve made in the past year, and bump up your enthusiasm and productivity from now until pay day. Then set up a time to talk to your boss.
• Create your own blog. Pick one of your favourite hobbies, and begin writing about it online. People with similar interests will find you and might even start commenting on your posts.
• Maybe you’d rather peruse the gossip rags, but one day a week, make yourself read an article you wouldn’t normally engage in. Some will be boring, but others will spark new areas of interest. You’ll be amazed by how much info you’ll pick up over a couple months.
• Learning new things will keep you sharp. Look into foreign-language or cooking classes in your area. ]]>
Thu, 11 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
We don’t mean to sound like your grandmother, but vinegar is an amazing non-toxic cleaning aid and a great alternative to many chemical agents. Ditch the bleach and other harsh chemicals and discover how to clean the toilet (and much more) at

Use a frontloading washing machine and you’ll save around 70 litres of water per wash compared to a top loader. Reduce costs by using the cold cycle instead of the hot. If you’re getting a new machine or are looking for more ways to conserve energy, check out Eskom’s website.


We don’t want to be morbid, but if the unthinkable were to happen and you’re on the Organ Donor Register, you could help up to 10 other people. Pick up a registration form at your local Organ Donor Foundation office, phone 0800 22 6611 or visit the ODF’s website.

For a holiday with a difference, why not apply for one of Mission Australia’s Big Six Challenges for 2010? Walk the Inca or the Kokoda Trail, explore the Himalayas or see the Great Wall of China. Visit Inspired Adventures.


Sign up for free up-to-the-minute bulletins at the Environmental News Network website. It’ll update you on everything from endangered tigers to climate change.

If you’re only having one cup of tea, just fill the kettle with as much water as you need. Also, leave your hair until it’s 90% dry before blasting it with the hair dryer.

Or other ‘high embodied energy’ foods – that is, those that involve a lot of energy and water to produce. Snacks with aluminium-lined packaging (peanuts, potato chips, garlic bread) and freeze-dried instant coffee are all culprits. ]]>
Mon, 01 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
Welcome To Charm School
There aren’t many situations more excruciating than those few seconds (which can feel like hours) spent in the lift with your boss. But even between a few short floors, you can make an impression. ‘Try something like, “Are you having a good day?” or even compliment them on their outfit,’ says Leil Lowndes, author of How To Talk To Anyone (Thorsons). ‘Maintain eye contact and when you reach your floor, say, “Oh, this is me.” as if you’re sad the chat has ended.’
Killer question: ‘That dress is lovely – where did you get it from?’
Conversation killer: ‘What’s that smell? Is it you?’

Have you ever spotted a vague acquaintance and found yourself hiding in a shop doorway? It may be tempting to avoid them, but don’t panic. ‘No matter how little you know someone, act like they’re an old friend,’ says Leil. ‘Let your voice lift and talk about what you have in common – for example, “Wasn’t it a lovely wedding last weekend?” Look for something different about them from the last time you met, such as a new haircut, and when you leave, rush away. It’ll make the person think that, although you’re really busy, you made the effort.’
Killer question: ‘Fancy seeing you here! What have you been up to?’
Conversation killer: ‘What’s your name again?’

You don’t know him, so how do you make him think you’re the most fascinating creature in the room? ‘Before you arrive, find out what most people there will have in common,’ says Leil. If your host is a graphic designer and has invited workmates, use that. ‘Most people like talking about themselves, so keep the focus of discussion on him and listen carefully to what he says. Watch his expression to see what he enjoys talking about the most.’
Killer question: ‘So how do you know [name of the host]?’
Conversation killer: ‘Funny – she’s never mentioned you to me before.’

Dinner at a friend’s house can be dire if you’re surrounded by tight-lipped strangers. ‘Before the night, think about hot topics that might come up, such as the latest celebrity gossip,’ advises Leil. ‘It sounds better if you can shoot back with a snappy opinion. Think of a few anecdotes to tell – the fresher, the better. Ask questions that can’t produce just “yes” or “no” answers.’
Killer question: ‘What do you think of Kylie’s new look?’
Conversation killer: ‘You mean you like this decor? Ha!’ ]]>
Fri, 22 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
Camera Phone Tricks
‘Women are realising how useful this technology can be,’ says Paul Levinson, PhD, author of Cellphone: The Story of the Worlds Most Mobile Medium and How It Has Transformed Everything! (Palgrave Macmillan). You’re about to discover how capturing an image can make your life easier and more fun and, in some cases, help protect you. To make the most of your mobile camera, store these ideas in your memory.

Send a Virtual Postcard
When you mail a postcard to a friend from an exotic locale, they usually receive it about a week after you’ve already returned home, which is kind of a buzz kill. Better idea: Skip the stamps altogether and instead send a ‘wish you were here’ shot of the scenery right from your cell phone. In an instant, they’ll get your miles-away message.

Play Interior Designer
Say you find a fabulous new couch for your flat but need your roommate’s approval first. Just snap and send. Or if you find a paint colour that will match perfectly with your duvet cover, take a picture of your bedding and bring it with you to the store. Another hint: Rather than guessing how to set up your furniture and configure the space, take pictures of various displays in the store, and use that as a blueprint for your own pad.

Capture Wedding Ideas
While you might use a regular digital camera to take shots of potential dresses or other big benchmarks, a camera phone becomes a great tool for those unexpected moments of inspiration. ‘I know someone who was walking her dog and saw a flower that she wanted in her bouquet… but she had no idea what type it was,’ recounts Gail Oliver, coauthor of Weddings With Style (Assoulin). ‘So she took a picture on her phone and showed it to her florist later.’ You also can use your phone to remember the name of a particularly good bottle of wine you’d like to serve at the reception if you take a photo of its label.

Use It As a Mirror
Put down that butter knife on your next date! The new (and much more discreet) way to check if you have food in your tooth is to whip out your camera phone and take a shot. To be more clandestine, bend your head down and smile into the camera or screen’s reflection. Should your date catch you baring your teeth, claim that you just got a funny text from a friend.

Help Your Doctor Help You
Hop on the ‘tele-medicine’ trend and get medical advice on the go. ‘Many of my patients requiring skin surgery are young and travel a lot for business,’ says dermatologist Ralph Braun. ‘It’s difficult for them to come in for their post-op checkups, so I ask them to take a picture of their wound and send it to me.’ So if you have a bump, weird mole, or rash, use your camera phone to track any changes until you can get in to see the doctor.

Give Him a Sexy Surprise
Whether he’s your long-term boyfriend or the delicious guy you recently started dating, he’ll love this super seductive surprise: Send him a photo of your bed with the following text message: ‘Meet me here in an hour...’

Make Meeting Up Easier
Can’t find your friend in a crowded place, whether it’s the mall or at a music festival? Save yourselves the headache by sending your friend a snap of a nearby intersection or landmark. Says Mandy, 23, ‘My friends and I used this trick in college when we’d go to parties. Now that we live in a big city, it’s been really helpful a number of times.

Document a New Do
It seems that no matter how hard you try, you can never get your hair to look quite as fabulous as it does after a trip to the salon. Well, try this idea: Take a pic while you’re still with your stylist so you’ll remember exactly how it’s supposed to look.

Break the News
Broadcast journalists use their camera phones to e-mail on-the-scene photos to the station when cameramen aren’t around. Now news outlets around the world, like CNN and News24, are asking their viewing audiences at home to send in their newsworthy camera phone pictures, encouraging ‘citizen journalism’.

Get an Instant Memory
Forget scrounging for a pad and pen when you want to remember something small, such as the style number of a shoe you think you can find online or even the hours of your dry cleaner. Just take a picture of it to refer to later.

Create a Diet Diary
Make a visual dieting diary by snapping pics throughout the day of everything you eat. Before bed, look over the photos to evaluate how healthy your choices were.

Upgrade Your Wardrobe
Shopping alone can be liberating. The only problem is that if you’re unsure about an outfit, you can’t just turn to your friend for an opinion. That’s why your camera phone comes in handy.

If You’re Lost
Sending a photo can give your rescuers clearer info on your whereabouts than a call can. The light or flash from your phone can help people track you in the darkness too.
*Source: Scott Willis, President of Security-Services Firm AIS Corporation

If You’re In a Hit-and-Run
Document the car or license-plate number. This helps police track down the person who hit you. Plus, courts, police officers, and investigators may need pics to press charges.
*Source: Scott Willis, President of Security-Services Firm AIS Corporation ]]>
Fri, 08 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
New Year Rut
You’re describing a feeling that a lot of people can relate to. The fact is, most of us see the New Year as a time for moving forward and taking control of our lives. But these things aren’t easy to accomplish and are certainly not achievable overnight. So when things don’t go as planned – which inevitably happens – we feel deflated and sink back into old patterns.

We are so bombarded with messages regarding the person we should be and the life we should have, it’s difficult to know whether we’re aspiring to our own dream or to someone else’s. And that’s why we often fail to achieve our ‘life revamp’. You see, unless we are clear about what we want and why, it’s hard to achieve it. We also find ourselves settling for second best. We convince ourselves that change requires too much effort, or that it’s unlikely to happen anyway, and so we stay where we are. I think this is where you need to begin working on your problem: you need to take responsibility for your happiness, for the life you want – and recognise that you are the only one who can make it happen. Here are some questions to think about...

1. Why do you feel you need to make these changes?
This may sound like a rather obvious question but it’s vital you spend some time thinking it through. It may be that wanting a life revamp is a way of you trying to avoid a more specific issue that you don‘t want to deal with.

2. Who defined the criteria for putting your life in order?
Was it your parents or maybe your friends? Teachers? The media? This is a key question – it may very well be that you’re not committed to revamping your life because the changes you describe aren’t ones you really want to make.

3. What are your biggest fears about changing?
Even if we’re uncomfortable in our current circumstances, many of us resist change because we’re afraid of the unknown. So we stay in situations that aren’t ideal just because they make us feel safe.

4. Start with the smallest change on your list
It’s easier to address a change if you start small, so decide what the least daunting item is on your to-do list and do it.

5. How good are you at making time for yourself?
Many of us have poor self-care skills because we simply don’t make time for ourselves. If you’re serious about making changes in your life, it’s vital you make time to seek these out. In short, you have to learn to look after yourself and put you first.’

Write a List of Goals

Make them clear and definable – instead of ‘l want a better career,’ write ‘I want to do that evening course to improve my prospects. I will get an application form by the end of next week.’ Make sure goals are broken up into achievable steps and reward yourself for accomplishing each one.
Plan Ahead
Whether it’s getting support from a friend or someone who knows more about a topic than you do, have a plan for how you’re going to cope if things don’t go your way.
Be Flexible
If you anticipate what might go wrong, it will be easier to deal with setbacks. Don’t give up, just try a different route there.
Be Strong
Face up to your fears about change – don’t let them hold you back.
Manage Your Time
Making changes in your life will take effort. Learn how to plan ahead and make the most of your time.
Look After Yourself
You’re in for an exciting, but tiring, time. People who deal well with challenges know how to take care of themselves (physically and emotionally) and do so. ]]>
Mon, 04 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
COSMO's 2010 Horoscope Forecast Click here to read

TAURUS (April 21 – May 21)
Click here to read

GEMINI (May 22 – June 21)
Click here to read

CANCER (June 22 – July 22)
Click here to read

LEO (July 23 – August 23)
Click here to read

VIRGO (August 24 – September 22)
Click here to read

LIBRA (September 23 – October 23)
Click here to read

SCORPIO (October 24 – November 22)
Click here to read

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 21)
Click here to read

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 20)
Click here to read

AQUARIUS (January 21 – February 18)
Click here to read

PISCES (February 19 – March 20)
Click here to read ]]>
Thu, 31 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Spare Parts
The toned arms of US First Lady, Michelle Obama, are developing quite a reputation. In fitness magazines whole features have been dedicated to exercises that will ‘guarantee’ women her toned, sexy but not overly muscular biceps and triceps. Obama’s personal trainer of 12 years, Cornell McClellan, says the first lady daily routine includes tricep pushdowns and hammer curls with dumbbells.

>> Next: Fergie ]]>
Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Cheer Each Other Up
Experimental studies have found a link between acts of kindness such as giving and raised levels of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin – which is linked to strengthened immunity, lowered stress and increased longevity.

Acts of kindness are most effective when used to build relationships with your friends, loved ones and colleagues, says Jonathan Haidt, psychologist and author of The Happiness Hypothesis (Basic Books). 'If you do a random act of kindness for a stranger and it's a one-shot deal, there's much less likelihood that you're going to see any benefit.'

The greatest gifts are those that show people we appreciate and value them. These gifts needn't cost much in money or time, just care and a little imagination, as they should be personalised, have an element of playfulness or surprise, and make people smile. The great thing is that if they smile, so will others around them, spreading the cheer, says Dr David Lewis, author of One Minute Stress Management (Heinemann). 'Seeing a smile creates a "halo" effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.'

Why not spread some cheer right now, in ways that won't strain your holiday budget?

• Send flowers for no special reason – they're just a mouse-click away at sites such as,, and Bouquets start from R150 and are delivered to the door. Most sites have 'customise' options, though these can cost more, and will also send balloons, gourmet baskets, cuddly toys and chocolates.

• Digital bouquets, cards, songs and poems cost nothing, are quick, and are as much fun to send as to receive. At sites such as you can choose a vase and drag your selection of blooms to create a unique bouquet. At you select a card, add your choice of background greeting and stamp, then include your own message and a song from a long playlist. Other sites specialise only in songs. COSMO's features editor sends a 'Friday work song' to the team each week 'to cheer them up and get them in the mood for the weekend!' Send-a-song at provides tracks from Queen's 'Play The Game' to the Smashing Pumpkins' 'Tonight, Tonight'. You choose a heading, compose a quick message and select a signature – anything from 'You are my hero' to 'We are the champions!' E-mail This Song at lets you check out the lyrics so you can choose something appropriate. And E-mail This Poem at invites you to mail a selection of classical and contemporary poems, stories, letters and quotations.

• Request a friend's favourite song on your local radio station, complete with an appreciative dedication. (Kitsch can be cute!) E-mail them in advance to tune in, or get a colleague to tip them off.

• Introduce 'End of Year Awards' at the office, with categories that make everyone smile – anything from 'Least Often Late' to 'Funkiest Footwear' or 'Cleanest Coffee Mug'.

• Leave Post-it notes for your man – on the bathroom mirror, fridge or in his lunchbox, each recording a different reason you fancy him. Just don't get too intimate in the work ones, or too stalker-like in your zeal!

• Draw or download a funny image related to something he's dreading doing. Sites such as,, and have endless options. He'll feel good and smile, cheering himself and others up in the process. And he'll be thinking of you... See, you're smiling already! ]]>
Mon, 07 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Reasons It's Great To Be a Woman
1. Fat days can be compensated for with a Wonderbra, a pair of magic underwear and a good blow-dry.

2. After a tough day at work, it's our prerogative to spend two hours in the bath, hidden in pomegranate-¬fragranced foam.

3. Our higher body-fat ratio means we get tipsy quicker and more cheaply – saving extra cash for Mr Price splurges.

4. We don't have to do the asking out (but we can if we want to).

5. We can indulge in marathon back-to¬-back sessions of Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty and The X Factor and not get laughed at by our friends.

6. We never have to worry about catching anything important in the zip of our jeans.

7. We're first off any sinking ship. (Could be very useful one day.)

8. Unlike men, who become aroused seven times a day, we don't get uncomfortable impromptu erections during sales meetings.

9. We can guilt-trip men into giving us their seats on public transport.

10. Half of us own more than 30 pairs of shoes – that's one gorgeously glamorous pair for every day of the month.

11. Our pride isn't damaged for life if we're unable to put up shelves or rewire a plug.

12. Multiple orgasms. (Need we say more?)

13. We're happy to ask for directions rather than drive five times around a one-way system muttering, 'I know exactly where we are...'

14. If we haven't shaved, we can wear trousers to cover the evidence.

15. We can happily scream all the way through horror films without being labelled a wimp.

16. Our hungover skin can be disguised with light-reflecting beauty products and a quick swipe of blusher.

17. When we wear our man's clothes, we look elfin and cool. If he wears our clothes, he looks like something out of Little Britain.

18. Two words: Johnny Depp.

19. Thank God for PMS. We can throw a fit about him watching too much rugby/soccer/cricket and then legitimately blame it on our fluctuating hormones.

20. We're far less likely to get excessive nostril hair...

21. ...or go bald... or have hair growing out of our ears!

22. Research proves we are happier, more cheerful and more satisfied than men at work – and it's not just down to a daily sighting of the ultra-cute DHL guy.

23. We're better drivers: fact. Women are far less likely to drive like maniacs, cause big crashes or soup-up their cars with ridiculous neon light strips. And we pay less for car insurance as a result.

24. We're better at communicating our feelings and so develop much deeper relationships with our friends. (We knew those revelatory chats over umpteen bottles of wine were doing us good!)

25. We're pickier about who we sleep with. Men have nearly 50% more sexual partners than us – giving them a 50% better chance of waking up with, 'Oh my God, who is that?' syndrome the following morning.

26. We can pee and actually get it in the toilet bowl (without anyone standing next to us making any genital¬-size comparisons).

27. Cottage pie, chocolate and a vat of Häagen-Dazs really can make our world look rosier. So simple, so effective.

28. We cry four times more than men and feel better for it. Who wants to keep all that stress and emotion pent up when you can blub it out at the plight of James McAvoy in Atonement?

29. The Rabbit vibrator – arguably, it's the greatest invention since the wheel. There's no male equivalent.

30. We're capable of doing two or more things at once – and doing them very well. Women's brains are better at handling information from both the left and right sides, while men can only concentrate on one thing at a time, the poor lambs.

31. We can go to the bathroom in groups without looking suspicious.

32. We're less likely to die of heart disease or cancer. And less likely to get athlete's foot, too.

33. We can order piña coladas with the full sparkler/paper umbrella shebang and not have Isaac Hayes tell us we can't drink pink drinks, Dave.

34. Men like to think they're hard, but we have a higher pain threshold (childbirth, anyone?). Try asking him to push a mango out of his nostril.

35. We're actually born to shop. Our evolutionary need to gather fruit and seeds for our families has left us with the exact skills to remember precisely where we saw that satin tulip skirt, how much it cost and how many were left on the rack.

36. Thanks to the magic of high heels, there's no such thing as short¬-woman complex.

37. We can talk to people of the opposite sex without imagining them stark naked.

38. We don't feel threatened if our other half gets a bigger salary than we do.

39. There's a seemingly endless supply of cute, new male actors and Calvin Klein models to lust over.

40. We manage to look more like Shakira than David Brent when we dance.

41. We're always right (even when we know we're not!).

42. Women are cleverer than men – and research shows we stay quicker and sharper into old age. That'll come in handy down the bingo hall.

43. We know with certainty whether size really does matter.
Wed, 14 Oct 2009 12:00 +0200
Single-Girl Diffusers
'No matter how much you think about it, when the question arrives, anything can happen depending on the day, month and of course the moment,' says Cera-Jane Catton, a consciousness couch from Cape Town. 'The first step is to know that where you are right now is actually where you are meant to be, and be proud of that. Humour always eases any situation, but know your audience, and answer truthfully.'

You're enjoying yourself at a family function when your happily-married-with-2.5-kids cookie-cutter cousin corners you and asks: 'Are you still single?'
How do you respond?
'If you have chosen to be single just say "yes" boldly,' says Catton. There's no need to get defensive and ask how often she has sex. Just nod and smile. On the other hand, if you're embarrassed to still be single Catton suggests you answer, 'Free as a bird' and gently laugh while adding, 'A bird scouting for a gem, and not willing to settle for any crow.'

You're having drinks with an old friend, one you haven't had contact with in months, and she asks, 'Where's Greg?' You and Greg broke up three weeks ago.
How do you respond?
'If you did the breaking up and are quite happy being single at the moment answer, "Not with me" and explain why you had to "let that one go". But if he broke up with you and you've only just crawled out of the house for the first time, say "We didn't see eye to eye and it ended", and then be honest about how you feel if you feel lost, lonely or broken. Old friends are the ones who understand and offer the best ear,' says Catton.

You're at your younger sibling's wedding and your aunt asks 'Is it awkward that your younger sister/brother is getting married before you? You need to hurry or else you'll be on the shelf forever.'
How do you respond?
'If you don't really like your aunt and you're happy with your choice to stay single reply by saying "Not at all, because I'm not for sale, I have a life",' says Catton. But if you're terribly jealous and wish it was you, simply say 'I'm so proud of my sister/brother, to be thinking about shopping now would be rude, beside I just don't have the time.'

At your weekly lunches with your mother she always asks: 'Why haven't you settled down yet?'
How do you respond?
'If you are single and settled in life and your career respond by saying "I am settled, just not sold".' On the other hand, if you do eventually want to get married respond by saying 'I haven't found anywhere to settle yet, and I won't settle for less than I'm worth,' suggests Catton.

You're chatting to your best friend and she says: 'I know this great guy I want you to meet! You two will definitely hit it off!'
How do you respond?
Catton says if you're single and are willing to take the chance ask her when's the first date. But if you're insulted that she's interfering in your love life, you could simply say 'You know I like meeting people, but I'd like to meet someone by trusting my own judgement, thank you for looking out for me though.'

If you're single by choice, 'always respond knowing that if you are single, you're at least whole, and be proud of everything about you,' says Catton. ]]>
Wed, 07 Oct 2009 12:00 +0200
Get Happy 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot (Macmillan), examined more than 26 000 participants carrying out exercises that were thought to boost happiness.

'Acts of kindness make us feel better because they make us feel worthwhile,' says Donna Page, a clinical psychologist. 'They give our life meaning. The same can be said of achieving the goals we set, however small they may seem. All these things help improve our self esteem.'

On the other hand, Sandy Hoffman, a counselling psychologist, says if you are constantly giving you may begin to resent having to perform yet another act of kindness. 'We all need some mutuality in our lives, give and take, when this is out of balance we are likely to feel less happiness rather than more.'

The results showed that people who performed acts of kindness had their happiness quotient increased by 9%, while those who thought about things in their lives that made them feel grateful boosted their mood by 9%. Participants who were asked to smile more often saw their happiness increase by 8% and the final group, who relived happy memories, saw their happiness increase by 15%.

To conclude, Page says all four of Wiseman's methods of boosting your happiness quotient can be effective. 'They are all about taking action, about taking that first step, the choice that no matter what, no matter how tough, no matter how challenging that today you will be happy!' ]]>
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
Get Sassy, Stay Sane The Enchanted Self: A Positive Therapy (Taylor & Francis).

Here's how to use your mischievous side to benefit yourself – and everyone around you:

After a long day at work, if your best friend calls for a chat and it's the last thing you feel like doing, 'Give in to the urge not to answer,' says Holstein. Let your phone go to voice mail and call her back tomorrow. 'Your mood will be much better – and so will the conversation,' she says.

Within reason, of course. Instead of munching the leftovers of last night's pasta at your desk, go out for lunch with a colleague or pop to the gym for a workout. 'Escaping your environment will give you the energy boost you need to get through the rest of the day,' says Holstein.

Bypass boring wardrobe basics and choose ones in bright colours – a lime-green bag or polka-dot shoes, for example – and wear them whenever you're feeling a little rebellious. 'Bright colours and patterns are fun,' says Holstein, 'and they give you the guts to break out your naughty side once in a while.'
Wed, 16 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
Breakup Sex Grace Gwendolyn, a relationship advice columnist at Johns Hopkins University. But as Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt say, it's called a breakup because it's broken. And no amount of good sex is going to change that. The bonding, the holding, the cuddling, the sweet nothings mean exactly that... sweet nothing.

'Even though one has ended the relationship, there is still a sense of loss, and people's natural reaction is to move away from this feeling, to fill the space, says Melissa Brokensha, a Pretoria-based psychologist. 'Physical connections remove the sense of loss for the moment.'

Sex with an ex may be comfortable and convenient for a while, but it also prevents you from forming a new relationship with someone who might be more compatible with you and your needs in a relationship. Bonita de Chasteauneuf, a clinical psychologist in Sandton, says having sex with an ex may complicate the emotional healing process after the breakup. Sex won't fix the fundamental issues plaguing the relationship, whether it was infidelity, mismatched interests, lying, secrecy, interference from third parties or poor or dysfunctional communication.

It's easy to read too much into breakup sex. You may leave feeling confident knowing that he's still attracted to you, but it may also generate false hope that the relationship will be rekindled. Don't mistake breakup sex for makeup sex.

According to Brokensha, breakup sex stalls the healing process that is needed. By intimately reconnecting with your ex, you're not allowing yourself to work through your emotions in a healthy way. Allow yourself the grieving period. Get angry, cry, watch soppy movies, but then get over it. If he SMS's in the middle of night wanting to come over to 'talk', don't respond. If you ended the relationship, you need to remind yourself of your reasons for doing so when that itch needs scratching.

See the breakup as a new beginning with new adventures. The future holds many new possibilities; you just need to allow yourself to experience them.
Fri, 04 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
Bad Morning
'So much of our morning experience is a consequence of the night before,' says Shelley Lewin, a Cape Town-based life coach. The more we mentally and emotionally prepare ourselves before we go to bed, the more likely we are to feel upbeat and ready to embrace the next day. Lewin suggests planning your day the night before and deciding rationally what you are going to do with your time. Five minutes before you go to bed, visualise how you would like to see your day unfold, and if you have a particular issue or concern, make a request to yourself to find a solution while you're sleeping. 'The unconscious will work on the issue through the night and come up with creative ideas and resources that may surprise you,' says Lewin.

'People often feel grumpy when they feel they have to wake up, rather than want to wake up,' says Dr. Janne Dannerup. She suggests preparing yourself for the following day to curb the morning blues, whether it be laying out your clothes beforehand or getting documents ready; planning ahead will set you up for a smooth start. Not only will it make you feel in charge of your life, says Dannerup, it will prevent you operating in crisis-management mode all day.

'Take some "me-time" to examine your daily existence and look at what you appreciate and what could do with some changes,' says Dannerup. 'Reward yourself by building in times of self-care and fun every day, to make doing your chores and tasks worthwhile; that way you'll have something nice to look forward to each day.' She suggests teaching yourself to see work and errands as a meaningful way to achieve the little pleasures in life, whether it's time with a good book, being out with friends or watching a movie.

Keeping a close eye on our health and watching what we eat can also assist in getting rid of the dreaded morning grumpiness. 'Waking up with low blood sugar can cause grumpiness,' says dietitian and health journalist, Ashleigh Caradas. Not eating enough carbohydrates during the day and drinking too much alcohol at night causes low blood sugar, says Caradas. She suggests eating smaller, regular meals and eating the right type of carbohydrates, such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta, as well as low GI foods like sweet potato, milk, yoghurt, lentils and barley the night before to help prevent morning blues. Caradas also suggests eating protein with every meal, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine as well as binge drinking.

According to nutritional therapist, Andrea Jenkins, drinking water when you wake up and continuing to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, is a good way to curb grumpiness. Caradas agrees: 'Grumpiness can be a result of dehydration, so if you're feeling grumpy when you wake up, drink 500ml of water.'

Slow rising in the morning is a common result of sluggish liver syndrome, a message that the body is in need of a good detox, says Jenkins. 'Go on a mini fast, cutting out animal products, wheat, sweeteners, convenience foods, preservatives, dairy, alcohol, smoking, fried foods, sugar, caffeine or processed foods,' suggests Jenkins. 'The liver has immense power to regenerate itself – with a cleaner diet and healthier lifestyle, the body will be feeling clean and energised and ready to start the day ahead.'
Fri, 28 Aug 2009 12:00 +0200
Pretty PC
Project Beauty and Vanity are just a few names of software that's ready to rate your attractiveness at the push of a button. And just recently, a Canadian graduate student developed another computer program with the sole purpose of scoring how pretty you are on a scale of 1 to 10. While this may be a technological stroke of genius, it's hardly a self-esteem booster. Waiting patiently for a computer to churn out your hot-or-not results, only to find it has given you a 3 out of 10 score, could leave you feeling low and, worst of all, unattractive.

'If you already know you have what it takes, you could risk [using the program],' says Pretoria-based life and relationship coach, Barry van Rensburg. 'But if you're unsure, and you have a touch of low self-esteem, rather switch your computer to something safer, like Spider Solitaire, Level One!'

Van Rensburg warns that while some people may not necessarily believe in a computer rating their hotness, it could influence others with low self-esteem into thinking that they're not sexy enough because a computer said so. And we all know computers never lie, right? Van Rensburg reminds us that we're all multifaceted and a computer will only see us as one-dimensional.

'Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, not in a folder,' he says. And who wants to date a computer anyway? You want to date a real guy, not bytes and a mouse!'

We hit the streets and spoke to COSMO girls (and guys) to find out what they think of a program that rates your looks:

'I think it's a really good idea. If you take care of yourself, there's nothing wrong with it. Sometimes you just need a compliment. What the computer says might be much better than what someone else will tell you about how you look. It's a brilliant idea.'
Michael Johannessen, 21, marketing administrator

'I would never use something like this. Everybody is unique; nobody else can look like you do. I think people who use a program like his are insecure. You shouldn't care what people think of you.'
Jackie Strydom, 26, Woolworths employee

'If the program was easily downloadable and was free, then I would consider using it. I would probably do it once, laugh about it, rate a friend and then never use it again. I would tell my hot friends about it and let them rate themselves!'
Pieter Retief, 21, barman

'This kind of program is superficial and degrading. I would never waste my time on something like this, and people who do, have too much time on their hands. I would find other ways of keeping myself busy.'
Nina Nelson, 21, advertising student

'I think it's an excellent idea. If you're not a talkative, outgoing type of person, it might [build your confidence and then] help you to express yourself more easily. I would definitely use this kind of program.'
Patiswa Nikelo, 30, student teacher

'I think a computer program that rates your looks is a stupid idea. Who would want to have a computer rate your looks? Beauty comes from within. I would never use it.'
Munibah Gonsalves, 25, retail assistant

'I would use a program that rates your looks, because your perception of yourself might be different to how other people see you. We rely on our friends as our mirrors, but I think it's good to have a different perception. Your friends might be lying to you just for the sake of your friendship. It's an amazing idea.'
Eva Gebhard, 23, student

'I think it's a stupid idea. Why would you trust a computer program with rating your looks? I would never go there, why would you?!'
Andrea Albertyn, 23, fashion intern

Thu, 13 Aug 2009 12:00 +0200
Be Your Own Best Friend
'Being your own best friend can be very difficult, because often we are our own worst enemy!' says Kurian. 'Don't be so harsh on yourself. Give yourself time to love who you are.'

Treasured time
Take a moment away from the madness to spend quality time with yourself – it's the only way to reflect, rest and relax, and help you on your way to happiness and contentment. Invest in self-care, says Kurian. 'What you choose to do in that time is up to you, but it must be something that you enjoy or that relaxes you.' She suggests an extra half-hour in the bath instead of a rushed shower, reading your favourite magazine or book in bed before falling asleep, or actually taking your lunch hour at work. Treat your self-care time like you would an appointment by diarising it, says Kurian, that way, it becomes a habit and not a task.

Self-esteem booster
Being kinder to yourself by ignoring your overly critical voice will help develop strong self-esteem. 'Become aware of your own negative, critical voice and replace it with a more realistic one,' says Kurian. Changing your perspective when faced with difficult situations is the first step to self-fulfilment. Kurian suggests changing from the negative, 'I'm not coping with this work, I'm useless and stupid' to 'I've come this far so I know I'm not stupid; there is just a lot to deal with and I need to put aside extra time to finish it, even if I need to ask for help.' It's a more realistic outlook to hold.

Exercise, exercise, exercise – diet, diet, diet
Through exercise and eating healthily, you're investing in yourself and your well-being, which can have a positive impact on your life, says Kurian. Not only will you immediately start feeling more energetic, seeing yourself getting in shape will boost your confidence. If you don't have time to get to the gym every day, buy dumbbells, do 100 sit ups a day and look at your fruit and vegetable intake, all from the comfort of your home.

Embrace emotions
Don't feel bad when you're not in your most fantastic mood. According to Kurian, you shouldn't deny your dark feelings when you're feeling sad or angry, as they are normal human emotions. 'Live your life mindfully; as it's okay to experience dark emotions, it's okay to feel angry, envious, or sad,' says Kurian. However, she advises that when these emotions start affecting your life in a dramatic or destructive way, that you consider asking for help.
Wed, 05 Aug 2009 12:00 +0200
Is It Really Your Problem? their green-eyed monsters.

You've been promoted at work and a close colleague begins to resent you.
A promotions call for a celebration, but it's important to also remain sensitive to your colleague's feelings of rejection. According to relationship coach, Shelley Lewin, if the friendship is important to both of you, you should have a supportive conversation about it.

'If you initiate the conversation with some empathy and encouragement, your friend might be open to sharing their feelings with you. Ask if there is anything you can do to take the sting away for her; if she is a true friend she will be happy for your success,' says Lewin.

Pretoria-based relationship coach, Fanie Pretorius, agrees and believes if you remain genuine, friendly and spontaneous with your colleague, they will find it hard to keep resenting you. If this doesn't work, 'realise your friend's resentment is essentially their problem and not yours', says Pretorius. 'You shouldn't hold yourself responsible for how someone else responds emotionally to your career developments.'

You've got a new boyfriend, but your best friend's continued singledom has left her feeling a little green-eyed.
Try to keep your friend's feelings in mind when you're gushing about how wonderful he is and how excited you are for your next rendezvous.

'If you were both enjoying being single together and now your friend is alone in her singledom, it might take her some time to adjust to the new arrangements,' says Lewin. 'Show some patience for her jealousy and don't abandon her completely. Often we become entirely absorbed in our new found love; talking about him and the relationship incessantly. Remind yourself if you were the one left out how would you like to be treated.'

According to Johannesburg-based psychologist, Dr. Janne Dannerup, let your friend know that all friendships go through times when there's an imbalance and that you have felt jealous of her before as well.

Pretorius adds: 'Try and spend the same amount of quality time with your best friend as before.' He advises you juggle your time to accommodate both your new boyfriend and your best friend, while ensuring you don't feel guilty about your best friend's jealousy. 'Friends tend to have a much longer shelf life than boyfriends and spending all your free time with a new boyfriend may lead to overexposure and an early end.'

 Your boyfriend gets angry after another one of your girls' nights and thinks you don't spend enough time with him.
According to Dannerup, if your boyfriend also likes going out with his friends, ask him calmly if he thinks it is okay for you to be angry with him when he's been out on the town. 'Tell him he must treat you the way he wishes to be treated,' says Dannerup. However, if your boyfriend doesn't party with his friends that often, she suggests telling him that while you want to be with him, time alone with the girls is a must.

Pretorius agrees and suggests having a chat (not a fight) about the need for free and separate time in your relationship. 'Your needs don't have to be the same, but you need to respect each other's wishes and reach some kind of compromise,' says Pretorius.

According to Lewin, it's important to be empathetic and understanding with your man whether or not you believe the accusations to be true. 'Acknowledge that he is upset and this should help calm him down, says Lewin. 'Complaints are secret requests. He is ineffectively communicating to you that he wants to spend more time with you. How much time you both believe is appropriate will have to be negotiated.'

It's your mom's birthday and your brother/sister is jealous because your mom seemed to have liked your gift more than his/hers.

'It's not a bad thing to be good at picking suitable presents or being able to afford better ones,' says Dannerup. 'Help your sibling to remember how wonderful they are at other things.'

If the harmony between you and your sibling is important to you, agree that they can buy the better gift next time, says Pretorius. 'But if your sibling is at such an age that their immature jealousy should not be pampered, then just ignore their jealousy.'

Lewin believes it depends on how your sibling shows their jealousy. 'Be careful of assumptions. If the relationship is important and being friends with your sibling is a high priority for you, find an appropriate time and place to have a conversation about it. Otherwise, don't sweat the small stuff.' ]]>
Wed, 22 Jul 2009 12:00 +0200
Stressorexia forgot to have lunch? You might think you're saving yourself a few calories, but if you keep skipping meals because you're too busy or too stressed to eat, you may be suffering from stressorexia.

In the high-demand workplace of the 21st century it's easy to forget to eat healthy, regular meals. Snacking on chips and chocolates may seem like a quick fix, but inevitably it will have long-lasting, detrimental effects.

According to counselling psychologist, Bhamini Rugnathji, 'Stressorexia, although not yet diagnosed as an eating disorder, could be seen as disordered eating, where meals are missed during the day as a result of a lack of time'. Time isn't the only factor that can lead to an onset of stressorexia; as the name suggests, stress and anxiety also reduce your appetite.

'When you feel anxious, your brain discharges corticotropin-releasing hormones to regulate the nervous system's response to stress,' says Stafford Lightman, Professor of Medicine at Bristol University. 'One of the effects is loss of appetite. It also releases adrenaline – the reason you often feel shaky and hyper – which causes your metabolism to burn more calories.'

'High stress levels can find you not eating regular meals,' says registered nutrition and dietetics consultant, Megan Pentz-Kluyts, 'which in turn can lead to a pattern of disordered eating, irregular meals and an unbalanced diet.'

Anyone who is constantly stressed and works under high pressure conditions is susceptible. The danger with stressorexia is when we see ourselves losing weight we're not exactly worried about how it happened. We juggle our careers with life at home, personal relationships and everything else in between, and if we can skip a gym session or a meal or two all the better. 'With so much emphasis placed on body image these days, there is a risk that you will actually like the fact that you've lost weight and the pattern may become more entrenched, despite the fact that it's unhealthy,' says Rugnathji. Finding time to eat amongst the hourly madness can sometimes slip our minds, and you resort to foods with a high sugar or caffeine content to keep going.

Pentz-Kluyts says you should eat small, regular meals every two to four hours to sustain blood sugar levels. 'Even blood sugar levels keep hunger and craving levels at bay. Thus by never tipping into the low blood sugar zone, you are more in control of choosing healthy food options, instead of opting for quick-releasing high-energy foods such as chocolates, cakes or cool drinks.'

As with other eating-related disorders, stressorexia is extremely damaging to your health and wellbeing. 'Be aware of your stress levels and find ways to lower them. A healthy self-care approach is always useful,' says Rugnathji. 'Be aware of the choices you make. Take the time to plan your meals and snacks for the day and try and fit them into your schedule. It might take some getting used to, but once you are in a routine it will become much easier.'

Pentz-Kluyts agrees, 'Carry a snack in your handbag or make a snack drawer in your office desk.' She suggests raw nuts, low GI muesli, fresh fruit, breakfast bars or even peanut butter as healthier alternatives to simply reaching for a packet of oily chips or a sugar-packed chocolate bar.

Making a concerted effort to eat regular meals throughout the day can really make a difference to your overall wellbeing. Find the time for a bite and don't let a heavy workload get the better of your health.
Tue, 30 Jun 2009 12:00 +0200
Just A Pinch
In the June 2009 issue of COSMOPOLITAN magazine (now on sale), we investigate an injectable tanning drug, Melanotan, and why women around the world are turning to it instead of tanning beds. For the full story, read the Body Talk feature on p.74 of the magazine.

The COSMO Online team took to the streets to get your opinion on the drug. Watch the Fool's Gold video here.

Wed, 20 May 2009 12:00 +0200
The Green Grass Of Home
The credit crunch is here, and that means change. To cope with job cuts, job losses and job hunting, you may be altering your lifestyle, your budget and even your domestic setting.

Moving back home to your parents might seem like a great idea at first and an awful one afterwards. Or vice versa. It offers financial respite, but it can also mean family fights (again). We've sketched a few scenarios you could expect with the appropriate actions and attitudes that can save you from spiralling down into outdated issues.

Scenario 1: You've move back home to save money but now your parents want a breakdown of how you spend your salary. You're starting to feel as if they're trying to control you with their rules.
Attitude & Action: Melody Pick-Cornelius, a Cape Town clinical psychologist, suggests you keep your temper. Your parents are probably concerned and this is their way of trying to help you. Thank them for their concern, but make it clear that you prefer to work the budgeting out for yourself. Suggest other ways they can help you and give reasons, says Pick-Cornelius. Remember, no parent wants to see their child in trouble and they're probably as distressed as you.

Scenario 2: Your mom cooked lamb stew for dinner. It was your favourite meal as a child and she reminisced nostalgically about how much you used to love it. But you missed dinner because you've since become a Vegan.
Attitude & Action: Boundaries and structure is very important, but there are possibilities for adaptation in such situations. Change is difficult for everyone so try to understand that your mother has lost an experience that used to give her joy and validated her role, says Pick-Cornelius. Be honest with your family about lifestyle changes you've made but try not to be defensive when they question them. Be firm. If they find your lifestyle changes strange it doesn't mean you have to change your personal preferences.
Wendy Hay, a Johannesburg clinical psychologist with many years experience in family conflict, cautions, 'It is important in this case to step back and examine the guilt [you may feel for missing dinner] and recognize when it is irrational and misplaced.'

Scenario 3: You sneak a one-night stand into the house, but your parents get upset when they see him leave the next morning.
Attitude & Action: Prevention is better than cure. Discuss the ground rules with your parents before you invite someone over, says Pick-Cornelius. Sex is a sensitive subject as well as a moral issue – most parents are uncomfortable with the thought of their daughter as a sexual being. Make sure they are comfortable with your arrangement, but they also need to respect you as an adult woman.

'One of the hardest developmental challenges for children to overcome is the realisation that their parents were people before they came along,' says Pick-Cornelius. Your move home can be seen both as a loss of freedom and a chance at strengthening bonds and relationships.

Pick-Cornelius cautions us to remember that parents 'no longer have access to all the intimacies and challenges that occur in the lives of their adult children who live independent lives away from them.' Your parents may have relaxed or become more particular about their domestic preferences since you left, and you might not really notice it until you share a space with them.

Before you pack your bags and book in to Hotel Homecoming, consider Pick-Cornelius's advice that 'in order to minimise the risk for family tension and future misunderstanding it is important to have an honest discussion about boundaries and expectations prior to the move'. This sets boundaries that helps protect and serve the needs of both sides. She elaborates:

Set a departure date: Set a time limit – three weeks, three months, a year – and define mutual expectations for house rules and responsibilities.
Set goals: Why are you returning home? To pay off credit card debt? To look for a new job? It's important to talk frankly about the reasons (financial or otherwise) behind this new living arrangement and lay plans for the transition back to independence.
Discuss finances: As a returning adult child it helps to pay rent or contribute to the household in a substantial way. It is important that both you and your parents are honest about how much everyone can afford.
Share domestic responsibilities: Whether it's instead of paying rent, include household chores like making dinner twice a week, buying groceries or doing everyone's laundry.
Set house rules: Curfews may be unrealistic for fully-grown, independent adults, but it's important to discuss and agree on a set of household rules, particularly when it comes to issues such as late night or overnight guests, relationships and alcohol or other substance issues.
With the right attitude and actions you might even find healthy, happy new ways to enjoy your parents and the home you create with them temporarily.
Fri, 08 May 2009 12:00 +0200
Your Inner Child
In the May 2009 issue of COSMOPOLITAN magazine we offer you advice on what to do when your boyfriend, best friend or even boss 'trips into child mode'. But what if it's your turn?

Here's how to remedy your own childish behaviour...

WHAT YOU DO: Someone’s always sabotaging your day. Whether it’s your colleague jamming the copy machine again, or your boyfriend leaving the toilet seat up again, or your best friend not returning your favourite clutch again, nothing anyone does or says is ever quite right – there’s always something to bitch about.
WHAT IT MEANS: You will lose the people around you because no one wants the company of a constant whinger. You bring them down, and create a negative atmosphere at home and at work that can become destructive.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: ‘Ask someone who cares about you what they think are your best and worst characteristics,’ says Durban psychologist Alison Rielly. ‘Ask them to be honest yet gentle. Be aware that you may feel like defending or explaining yourself to them. Take time to digest what you’ve heard before you justify your behaviour (to yourself or to them). If you think there may be some truth to what you’ve been told, do something about it – such as seeking professional help if you can’t do this on your own.

WHAT YOU DO: You have to be better dressed, better read, better paid, better everything than your friends. And you have to have a better boyfriend, even if you don’t really like him – or have to steal him from one of them.
WHAT IT MEANS: Some people may be impressed with you, but many more will be dying for you to take a fall. No one likes a know-it-all or a have-it-all, and those who put up with you are not worth knowing. The rest will avoid you, or watch their back when near you.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: ‘Ask yourself why it’s so important what others think of you,’ says Rielly. ‘Is it that you feel better about yourself if they think you’re amazing? The stress of maintaining this facade can be crippling, financially and emotionally. Your sense of self-worth needs to come from within – you need to know that you are valuable, no matter what your external appearance. Affirmation and acknowledgement are a basic human need, and when you are able to affirm and acknowledge yourself you will be less invested in what others think of you.’

WHAT YOU DO: You love to feel in the know, and a sure fire way is to field a little gossip. It gives you a sense of superiority and good standing with the water-fountain set. If it’s at the expense of a friend or fellow worker, that’s too bad. Besides, they probably had it coming. You know what’s best for other people, your company, the country. And when you spot someone doing something you know they shouldn’t, like take a long lunch break, you like to do your duty: you tell on them.
WHAT IT MEANS: The water-fountain set may be entertained by you, but others will see you as a gossip or worse. The colleague taking a long lunch may also work late, and the time-waster may be you, clocking their movements. You may also be seen as undermining company team spirit and morale. Most managers will get your measure and attribute your disclosures not to concern for the company or a deep sense of fairness, but to a mean-spirited desire to make the other person look bad, or a desperate attempt to make yourself look good.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: ‘What people say about others tells us more about the person doing the talking,’ says Rielly. ‘If you are “picky” about other people’s behaviour, it indicates a strong judgemental streak. Are you highly critical of yourself, and therefore critical of others? Try to be more nurturing of yourself, and balance criticism of self and others with praise and appreciation.’

WHAT YOU DO: You flaunt your achievements, sometimes exaggerating them for greater affect.
WHAT IT MEANS: Instead of admiring you, others will see you as an attention junky and be irritated and even embarrassed by you, and want to ignore and avoid you – depriving you of the very thing you want most.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: ‘When you hog the limelight and top friends’ stories and achievements with bigger and better ones of your own, realise you’re making them feel belittled and risking rejection,’ says Rielly. ‘Share your successes by all means. Do it with warmth and delight, and it will create a feeling of genuine pleasure in others. Then step back and reciprocate: listen to their stories and give them praise and applause. That way you become part of a support group where everyone feels good about themselves!’

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
Site Inspection
Are you a social butterfly or a fly on the wall? Let your social network tell you. It’s telling everyone else, after all!

Social networking is more than vanity or virtual distraction – user-based web2.0 is revolutionising the way we socialise, work and play. Interacting online is a great way to find out what’s happening in the real world and how it sees you. But are you using the right site? Our breakdown suggests what your social-networking site says about you.

YOU ARE integrated, individual, enthusiastic and trendy, with diverse tastes.
Facebook is the largest global social-networking site, with an application for every aspect of your personality. It’s perfect for those who mix work and play every day.

YOU ARE busy, fast-thinking, quick-witted and connected.
Twitter is a data diet for online users where you have 140 characters to say your say (or ‘tweet’).

YOU ARE fun, creative, global-minded and loyal.
MySpace is a music mecca where you can find underground and global greats.

YOU ARE an exhibitionist and/or voyeur. If you’re into watching video, TV or film you’re in the right place.
YouTube is the world’s number-one video site.

HI5 (
YOU ARE globally connected and open-minded.
Hi5 is popular in Portugal, Cyprus, Romania and Latin America. It’s a great way to explore new cultures and geographies.

YOU ARE a busy, tech-savvy socialite.
Blueworld is MySpace-cum-Facebook for South Africans. It boasts 40 000 local users aged 18 to 28 from the nightlife scene and is fully cellphone-integrated.

YOU ARE organised, career-minded and committed.
LinkedIn is a professional network linking people with similar business interests. It’s also known as ‘MySpace for grownups’.

YOU ARE dominantly visual and into beauty, and you like sharing.
Flickr is all about image. It has photos by a wide range of photographers – from amateur butterfly enthusiasts to professional fashion photographers.

YOU ARE into exploring alternative realities and are curious about behaviour patterns.
Second Life is a moving, 3D virtual-reality pastime with 8,9-million registered users.

YOU ARE a music enthusiast and enjoy learning from other people’s tastes.
Last fm is a music-sharing platform that monitors your tastes and makes suggestions, as well as providing tailored radio playlists.

NOT ENOUGH? WANT MORE? This is more than a pixel version of the pop-culture print mag. It’s a fully integrated (but better-looking) Facebook version of local art, design, music and fashion, with high-quality blogs giving intelligent insight into local and global creativity. Stay in touch with the world while you explore it and boost your gypsy CV. This site tells you how many of its users are in any country at any time. Swap notes, get advice and meet friends in foreign places. Create an anime identity and have a little fun!

Sat, 11 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
What Would You Pack?
After helping friends evacuate their houses, which were threatened by the blaze on Table Mountain in Cape Town, we all settled closer to the water and started comparing our last-minute survival bags.

One friend took her cats and six pairs of panties. I took my camera and my diaries.

A rock star I know took two keyboards, his trumpet and a laptop.

My wannabe-comedian friend had a very different survival checklist: passport, ID, wine collection, bags of 'illegal substances', his sister. His sister took her photographs and notebooks and remembered to wake up the neighbours.

And on a serious note, another friend packed the usual: ID and passport, two bags of clothes, photo albums, laptop, two cats and his mothers' ashes.

If you had to be evacuated from your home at 2am, what would you pack?
Mon, 06 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
Fool Speed Ahead
To celebrate the month of the fool and guide you towards losing your inhibitions and becoming more spontaneous, we've compiled a list of ways for you to let go while making sure you don’t end up having any Bridget Jones-sliding-down-fire-poles-with-knickers-showing moments.

Nowadays you don’t need to be a bearded lady to join the circus, although flying through the air will put I-can-do-it hairs on your chest. The Zip Zap Circus School ( offers trapeze lessons. Or why not take your circus tricks further and try some juggling? Visit for details.

A loofah on a stick is no substitute for a real microphone. Ditch singing 'Poker Face' in the shower and scout around for a bar that holds karaoke evenings. Not only will it hone your vocal skills, it’ll also give you the boost you need to lead a bolder life. Just avoid singing anything in a high key – you’ll end up sounding like the chipmunk in 'Lonely'.

Elvis sang that only fools rush in, but sometimes a bit of rushing is the only way to shoot that love arrow. Put aside your pride and call him – or, better still, get him invited to a party you’re going to and finish an evening of witty conversation with a casual, 'Wanna have dinner?'

If you haven’t been on stage since playing the angel Gabriel in the school Nativity play, now’s the time to get up there and release your inner Charlize. Join an amateur-theatre group or volunteer to be a guinea pig (possibly literally) when a hypnotist show hits town. After you’ve performed on stage, any shyness lurking around your psyche will start to vanish.

Move out of your comfort zone and try a new sport. Take kite surfing lessons, learn Falun Gong or toss yourself around in the park while practising Capoeira. Before you know it, you’ll stop worrying about jiggling breasts and jelly thighs – they’ll firm up anyway – and step into your role as the superwoman you are.

It may be a 1970s phenomenon but the soufflé remains one of the kitchen’s biggest challenges. Knock out your new man with a light-as-the-Olsen-twins soufflé and conquer your culinary fears. Check out for recipes for a Blue Cheese Soufflé, Crab Soufflé and Banana Daiquiri Soufflé, among others. If it flops, serve it with a few bottles of wine.

Secretly dream of being a writer or have kinky thoughts you want to share with the world? Nowadays no-one has a diary. Instead, everyone’s spilling the beans to millions of people on the Internet in blogs. Create your own free blog through and unleash your poetic drama queen. Who knows, you may net yourself a quirky Serbian who can’t resist your similes.

... or a stamp collector. Or a nocturnal brace-wearer. Or a teetotaller. Or a David Hasselhoff fan. With increasing pressure to fit in, many talents and desires are being hidden away under layers of uniformity, leaving individuals dissatisfied and society robbed of diversity. Confide in your friends and introduce them to your secret hobby. Who knows, The Hoff might become cool and braces could become the next hip accessory. ]]>
Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
An Hour in the Dark Earth Hour – a global call to action that asks everyone on the planet to turn their lights off for one hour and create a conversation about global warming and the future of the planet.

Have fun while you're doing your bit for the planet; there's no need for Earth Hour to be boring hour.

1. Pull out those glow-in-the-dark toys you've saved for a special occasion and get to know your body in a whole new light.

2. Practice naked yoga with a partner. Free yourself from the restrictions of latex while acquainting yourself more intimately with your man's body. The Butterfly Forward Bend could wrap up your session in an interesting way.

3. Play hide and go seek that ends in the bedroom. Just make sure you cover sharp edges and put away dangerous objects.

4. Go skinny dipping. Summer hasn't completely faded away, so there's still time to enjoy an aquatic romp. Give the Submarine sex position a try too.

5. For the romantics, a picnic under the stars or bath by candlelight is the perfect way to disconnect from the world and focus your full attention on your partner or just yourself.

6. Organise a wine tasting competition with a few friends. If you can't see the label, you can't cheat. And the winner gets to donate R100 to the WWF.

7. If you're brave, get a few girlfriends together and hold a séance. Who knows, you might connect with Heath Ledger on the 'other' side.

Switch off your lights for 60 minutes on Saturday 29 March, and have fun in the dark. ]]>
Fri, 27 Mar 2009 12:00 +0200
The Invisible Stressors
Daily life has its pressures, but you're on top of your game. You work hard, play hard and you're in control. But are you really? Stress is not just the pressure you feel with a looming deadline. It can be insidious or embedded. The stress you can't see can compromise your performance and enjoyment of daily life.


Invisible stressors are tricky. They are present in every aspect of your life – your home environment, your workplace, your relationship, your memory/history, your hopes and dreams. However, psychologists have pointed out that they are not what we'd assume them to be. Turns out it's not about stress factors themselves, but about the relationship between them and you. It's less your messy housemate than it is your communication with each other, less a negligent boyfriend than your demand for respect, less a demanding boss than your ability to enforce mutually respectful boundaries.

'I think it's safer to regard all stress as being essentially invisible and rather to regard the stressor, that is, the activating event or even life situation, as occurring along a continuum of anxiety where trauma would obviously be the most intense experience thereof,' says Alexis Andraos, of Dr. Mark Tunbridge, Mia Boon & Associates. 'The "invisibility" of experienced stress is more related to the individual's conscious or subconscious awareness of where the so-called stressful feelings are coming from.'

Hidden or not, stress reveals itself eventually. 'Any stressful event or situation that is persistently ignored certainly has the potential to become clinically debilitating,' continues Andraos. 'Prolonged stress challenges an individual's ability to be resilient, opening the way for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, adjustment difficulties and destructive behaviour patterns like increased eating, alcohol misuse and aggression.'

To Andraos, stress undermines your 'ability to constructively, if not, optimistically cope within or respond to the given situation'. As a gauge, ask yourself if you are making similar decisions to the ones you make when you're completely happy and at peace.

Then look more closely. Psychologist, parent coach and motivational speaker Megan de Beyer points out that 'invisible stressors are worse than external tangible events that you can point to'.

Her top four stressors include:
1.) The judgments we make about ourselves – the voice in our heads that tells us we are not good enough, lovely enough, kind enough or creative enough.

2.) The standards we create for ourselves – the standard we set higher and higher. We believe we are motivating ourselves, but what we really are doing is comparing ourselves to everyone else's performance. And when we fail, we then judge ourselves, leaving us feeling unsettled and unsatisfied.

3.) Our need for external approval – the things we do to be liked and accepted. We only think we have done something great when someone else says so.

4.) Our regrets, harboured grudges and guilt – the anger we feel at relationships and circumstances that didn't meet our ideals and expectations. The place we hide our unmet dreams and desires festers within us, eating away at our self esteem. We continually say 'if only' and this dissatisfaction makes us restless, irritable and even depressed.

'I don't think that stress is ever avoidable; we are constantly ebbing and flowing within the flux of life,' says Andraos. 'The question rather is how do we go about avoiding feeling disempowered and helpless in relation to the omnipresence of stress?'

She advises us to tune in to the inner voice that expresses that internal discomfort. Don't dismiss it as over-reactive, silly, irrational or nonsense. 'Honour' the stress by becoming consciously aware of it. Identify what it is within our interpersonal relationships, work space and life space that seems to be causing a prolonged sense of irritation or discomfort.

De Beyer's main advice is: 'Be honest, feel it, face it, speak it. Then forgive and let it all go. Everyday that is allotted to us is perfectly fashioned to help us move towards wholeness. If only we could see.' ]]>
Mon, 16 Mar 2009 12:00 +0200
The Single Girls' Valentine's Day
You don't have to fork out for the gift, cutesy card, cocktails, leg and bikini wax, wash and blow-dry... the list goes on. This means you can either save all that money or spend it on spoiling yourself. We think you should do the latter. Go on, buy yourself that want-it-don't-need-it item you've been eyeing for weeks now.

You will be spared red roses, fluffy bears, heart-shaped chocolates, soppy cards, etc – all the commercial trappings of Valentine's Day that are actually one big yawn. Unlike millions of women in relationships, you won't have to feign surprise and delight on the 14th when a man gives you a tacky, fake-gold bracelet (or the equivalent), which you hate. You also don't have all that anxiety of wondering whether he'll remember the day at all, and what you'll tell your friends if he doesn't.

This is the perfect time to declare your intentions if you are interested in someone. It's the one time being 'forward' isn't frowned on by anyone. And even if he rejects your come-on, you can blame it on the day and let him think he isn't the only man on your be-my-Valentine list. On Saturday you can – and should – man-hop. 'Love is in the air' and cupids are working overtime. So who could blame you for chatting up the cute guy at the bar, while making eyes at the barman behind him?

Think about it: all the taken men are having dinner somewhere or watching the sun set at a make-out point, which means that on Saturday night bars and clubs will be filled with available men – and they're on the lookout for single girls like you. Everyone is a potential squeeze, so check your gloss and get hunting. And of course, if you go home alone, you've lost nothing if you've had fun and met new people.

This is unlikely to be a momentous day for anyone in a couple (unless, of course, the romance onslaught brings him down on one knee). But as a singleton, you can hope this will be The Day you meet your ideal man. Valentine's Day makes some people (especially singles) reflect on what they want as far as a relationship goes, which can make them more open to finding someone special rather than having just another fling.

If you're single, Valentine's Day is all about you and no-one else. You don't need to be considerate of a partner's plans, spend time agonising over how you can make the day special for him and pour all your energy into making him happy. There's no pressure to be romantic, original, sexy and lovable. You can simply please yourself.

What a perfect day for you and your girlfriends to flaunt your singledom. You don't need a guy to have fun and you certainly don't need one to feel loved. Get a group of single girls together and plan a man-free day. Hit the beach, enjoy the afternoon giving one another manicures and facials, and then spend the night dancing away to Single by Natasha Bedingfield. Happy Valentine's Day!
Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:00 +0200
Relax In Rush-Hour Traffic
1. 'Drive steadily and accelerate or brake smoothly,' says Pamela Allardice, a US Naturopath and author of Slow Up: 199 Ways to Calm Your Mind, Relax Your Body and Inspire Your Spirit (Allen & Unwin Academic). 'Don't stamp on the pedals or lane-hop, it only stresses you more.' Murphy's Law dictates that you and the person you overtook will probably end up at the next set of traffic lights at exactly the same time.

2. In Stealth Health: How to Sneak Age-Defying, Disease-Fighting Habits Into Your Life Without Really Trying (Reader's Digest), it is suggested you leave a bit early so you don't have the added pressure and stress of being late hanging over your head.

3. Make sure you get enough sleep before taking to a busy road. Not getting the recommended eight hours per night means you are more prone to becoming annoyed and irritable – not the best of moods for driving on busy roads.

4. Stealth Health suggests you lose the 'race' mentality when driving during rush-hour. Constantly and aggressively changing lanes will only reduce your journey by a few minutes, and will send your stress levels soaring.

5. Don't retaliate, even if others on the road may be driving badly or behaving aggressively, say It isn't worth getting yourself into trouble by reacting to something that may have been a mistake.

6. Stay calm and take a deep breath if you feel yourself becoming agitated. Try to regulate your breathing; this will bring down your heart rate and leave you feeling more relaxed.

7. Make the most of your time alone in the car. Allardice suggests you see being stuck in traffic as the perfect opportunity for some 'me' time, contemplation and privacy. Rush hour is the busiest time of the day for everyone collectively, but the most solitary for you individually.

8. Listen to your favourite radio station or CD. It's a great way to calm your nerves (as is singing along) because it will draw your attention away from the unpleasant bumper-to-bumper. But make sure that you're always aware of what is going on around you.

9. Think of a game to play like 'car cricket'. It will keep you entertained as well as taking your mind off the slow-moving traffic.

10. Try to de-stress by thinking about what you're going to do when you get home. Will you unwind by taking a relaxing bath, having a cup of tea or glass of wine, or simply reading the latest issue of COSMOPOLITAN?
Tue, 03 Feb 2009 12:00 +0200
What Kind of Bad Girl are You? Take this quiz to find out.
Fri, 23 Jan 2009 12:00 +0200
COSMO's 2009 Horoscope Forecast Click here to read

TAURUS (April 21 – May 21)
Click here to read

GEMINI (May 22 – June 21)
Click here to read

CANCER (June 22 – July 22)
Click here to read

LEO (July 23 – August 23)
Click here to read

VIRGO (August 24 – September 22)
Click here to read

LIBRA (September 23 – October 23)
Click here to read

SCORPIO (October 24 – November 22)
Click here to read

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 21)
Click here to read

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 20)
Click here to read

AQUARIUS (January 21 – February 18)
Click here to read

PISCES (February 19 – March 20)
Click here to read
Fri, 02 Jan 2009 12:00 +0200
What can you do to cheer up your rather dull sex life? Think! You might have money, career and health. But you may be a bit predictable and dull. Friendship on the other hand is flourishing, especially with people who share your interests. As the sun rules your love life, and there are two solar eclipses and four lunar eclipses this year, you might find your current love affair going through some rough patches. Talk everything through, Saturn will help you get it all sorted. By October though, Saturn moves on, Mars moves in and your libido picks up. Love will be exciting once more.

(Please remember, that the health section is a general astrological prediction for all the signs – not a medical one for an individual. Consult a medical practitioner for medical advice.)
The moody moon is your 'health' planet so your moods are probably often up and down. Do everything you can to avoid stress and depression, especially this year as there are two solar eclipses and four lunar eclipses, which are always upsetting. Although nothing looks really serious, women's problems are also exaggerated. Keep your breasts and stomach healthy, exercise, get them checked when you see your doctor. Jupiter is in your own sign encouraging you to eat too much. Find a healthy diet that suits your lifestyle so that you stick to it.

With Jupiter moving into your own sign, it seems that you just can't take a wrong step. Neptune is also in your own sign; talk about unexpected financial miracles happening. Of course, you'll put it all down to your financial acumen. Career wise, it's not that you don't want and need the money, you just want to do something with more meaning. Or perhaps you'll get involved with charity work or a good cause in your spare time. Make the most of this year, it seems to be bucking the worldwide trend.
Tue, 30 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Which Beach Type are You?
Take our quiz to find out which beach type you are – according to the guys.
Wed, 17 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Busting Breast Cancer Myths
'Only women get breast cancer'
Because breast cancer develops in breast tissue, and because all humans have breast tissue, men are also at risk of getting it. But according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), this is extremely rare because the risk for men is 100 times less than for women.

'Breast cancer always comes in the form of a lump'
'Breast cancer today should be diagnosed before a lump can be detected clinically,' says Pretoria oncologist M A Cocchia-Portugal. An early sign of the disease inside the milk duct is known as Ductal Carcinoma in situ or DCIS - signs of cancer cells inside of the milk ducts (not yet breast cancer) can most of the times be easly detected in a mammogram. Coccia-Portugal says other warning signs without a lump include inflammation of the breast, eczema of the nipple (Paget's Disease), nipple discharged, an inverted nipple and a skin dimple.

'Underwire bras cause breast cancer'
'The idea that wearing an under-wire bra, or a bra in general, might increase risk for breast cancer, is not supported by scientific evidence,' says the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation on their website. 'There is no biological reason the two would be directly linked, and any observed association is likely due to other factors associated with wearing a bra.'

'Small-breasted women have less chance of getting breast cancer'
There is no scientific evidence to support this claim either. 'The density of breast tissue increases the risk of breast cancer rather than the size of the breasts,' says Alice Victor from CANSA. Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer because they have more glandular and less fatty tissue. But, unfortunately, dense breast tissue also makes spotting problems on mammograms more difficult.

'Hair relaxers cause breast cancer'
A study by researchers from Boston University and Howard University in 2007 showed that using hair relaxer does not increase your risk of breast cancer. 'Relaxer ingredients can enter the body through scalp lesions and burns. Because manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients, these products may contain unknown harmful substances,' the report theorised. But, in the study of more than 48 000 African American women, researchers found there was no link between an increased risk and frequency of use, age of first use, types of relaxers or the number of burns experienced when using relaxers.

'I'm too young for breast cancer'

While your risk of developing breast cancer increases the older you get, all woman are at risk. And although there are few cases of breast cancer being discovered in women younger than 35, a more aggressive cancer is often detected.
'Diagnosing breast cancer in young women can be more difficult because their breast tissue is often denser than the breast tissue of older women,' says the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. 'By the time a lump can be felt in a young woman, it is often large enough and advanced enough to lower her chances of survival.'

'Using antiperspirants increases your risk of breast cancer'
According to the American Breast Cancer association, a large study of breast cancer causes found there was no link between antiperspirants or shaving your armpits and breast cancer. Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a UK breast cancer research and education foundation, agrees.
'A large number of scientific studies have investigated breast cancer risk factors, however there is no reliable evidence to suggest that the use of deodorants or antiperspirants are two of them,' the foundation says on its website. 'Current scientific evidence suggests that deodorant or antiperspirant use does not increase the risk of or cause breast cancer.'

'If you're at risk of getting breast cancer, you can't do much but watch for the signs'
Victor says even though you may be at risk, CANSA recommends active ways to reduce that risk by:
* Eating a diet low in animal fat and animal protein;
* eating a diet high in fibre and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables;
* exercising regularly;
* avoiding being overweight;
* limiting your alcohol to one drink a day, if at all; and
* avoiding hormone therapy.
Tue, 16 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Work On Your Flaws
'Women tend to take offense easily when they cannot distinguish who they are from what they do,' says clinical psychologist Justin Coetzee. 'They cannot separate themselves from their work or their role of being a mom, girlfriend or friend. Therefore, when their work or actions are criticised, the person tends to take it as a personal attack. This often stems from low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy.'

Coetzee suggests the best way to overcome this is to ask, 'Does this comment relate to me as a person, or to what I have done?' If it relates to what you have done, remove emotion from the feedback and learn from it. 'Criticism, like failure or success, is only feedback after all,' says Coetzee.

Marlene Wells, a clinical psychologist practising in Durban, says women who pity themselves generally look to external factors and people for the source of their problems. 'Women take on the victim role because they fear that others won't care for them or may even reject them,' she says. 'Women are more sensitive and invested in emotional payback than men are. In addition, they are traditionally the nurturers and often feel neglected themselves. Unfortunately self-pity can become a habit and a way of getting attention.'

Wells' suggestion to escape this 'negative frame of reference' is to increase your self esteem by looking at your achievements, abilities and potential. Start respecting and believing in yourself and take responsibility for your life and happiness. 'Redirect all the negative "pity" energy into positive action aimed at believing in yourself and then act like you do,' Wells advises. 'Ask yourself is your cup half empty or half full? Perception alteration can change your world.'

Being ungrateful stems from not succeeding at something, says Bloemfontein clinical psychologist Jo-Marie Bothma. For example, if your dream was to become a doctor but you failed at varsity or the man of your dreams married someone else. 'Ungratefulness mostly happens when you are unhappy with yourself or your life,' says Bothma. 'Usually people then end up being ungrateful about not only everything around them, but also every attempt of those around them to make them feel better.'

To address the general sense of ungratefulness, Bothma says you need to first discover what you are feeling ungrateful about and then set goals in order to achieve your dreams. This is not easy, and according to Bothma you might need professional help.

'People have difficulty facing reality when they feel threatened by it. They fear facing it because they may have to admit they are not "good enough", which is usually an unrealistic standard unconsciously perceived by them in terms of some significant other,' says Wells.

Wells says you need to accept who you really are and how you want to be in your world. 'Do this by your standards and no one else's. If your reality of self and situation is not what you like or want, it is up to you to change it. Although this can be difficult, it is very rewarding and you will certainly be less stressed and more able to interact in your world in a meaningful and truthful way.'

'Perfectionism stems from insecurity and feelings of inferiority,' says Coetzee. 'Women feel that if they say no, or ask for help, that they are announcing they are weak. The problem with perfectionism is that it irritates others, and renders you inefficient. There are situations that call for absolute professionalism, but other times merely doing what is required is enough.'

If you stop trying to impress others or by taking on more than you can handle, the overall quality of your work will improve, as will the quality of your life in general, says Coetzee.

Wells says always thinking you are right is usually an unconscious defence mechanism against failure because you may have received the message as a child that to be wrong is to fail. 'This attitude blocks you from growing and connecting in a meaningful way with people. It is impossible to always be right. Always thinking you are right means you are failing – failing to be open to other options.'

Wells say you should explore the other options, and admit when you may have been wrong. 'You will find people enjoy your company more and may even ask your opinion without it being forced on them.'


'It is easier to blame others than realise we have choices and we are responsible for the consequences,' says Bothma. 'You might delay taking responsibility because you do not want to work on a solution and expect others to do that for you.' But if you keep shifting the blame you may end up feeling powerless over your life.

Even if we choose to not make a decision, we still choose, says Bothma. She suggests instead of blaming, change your sentences to: 'I choose to blame so and so for this and that.

'What would happen if you change your words from, "I'm so tired because my boss gives me too much work" to "I'm so tired, because I choose to never say 'no' or choose to never delegate or choose to work for such a boss". See how quickly this puts things into perspective for you.'
Sun, 14 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Are You Spontaneous Enough? Take this quiz to find out just how spontaneous you are. ]]> Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200 I'll Do it Tomorrow YOU'RE FEELING overwhelmed
TRY breaking the task into smaller steps. 'Procrastination is often a form of fear,' says Johannesburg life-skills trainer Jillian Pearson. 'It's far easier to tackle a series of small jobs than one large project.' Write down what needs to be done or pin up a picture that represents the task and look at it from afar.

YOU'RE FEELING tired and drained
TRY getting more oxygen. 'It's natural to experience a mid-afternoon slump,' says Pearson. The brain is only capable of concentrating for six minutes at a time, so it's easy to understand why you may be yawning come 3pm. 'Give your brain a rest by doing something completely different: spend time outside, take an inter-office stroll or escape to the loo for 10 minutes of meditation.'

YOU'RE FEELING that reward isn't worth the effort
TRY rewarding yourself. Pearson says, 'Make the task fun. Plan little celebrations along the way and give yourself a reward once the task is finished.'
Wed, 10 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Your Leaked Sex Tape
But when you're sent a link of you and an ex in the throes of passion, it's definitely different. Your ex (or his housemate) has posted that long-forgotten video you made in what you thought was the safety and security of your bedroom. Your most intimate moments are now exposed for the world to see and you need to get it down. NOW. But what can you do?

YouTube and MySpace explicitly prohibit porn or sexual content (as well as gratuitous violence and hate speech) on their sites, but if you flag a video as inappropriate, it won't be removed immediately because it will need to be assessed by their team first.

Local video host, MyVideo, has the same policy, but assesses and deletes inappropriate content immediately.

Of course, there are many more video sites that will willingly host your home video without your permission. And that's not the only way it can be distributed. The video or even the images taken from it can be sent around the world via email. The best thing now is for you to know your rights and use them.

You now need to look at your situation from a legal perspective, specifically focusing on intellectual property rights, violation of privacy and exploitation.

Christopher Harper of Masimanyane Women's Support Centre in East London spoke to the international organisation's advisors who had the following advice:
• A tape intended solely for private viewing that is put into the public domain is regarded as defamatory and an invasion of privacy.
• Publication to third parties is seen as an attempt to smear your reputation and good name.
• A court order may be taken out against the person who leaked the tape (this is sometimes difficult to prove, considering the relative anonymity of Internet use).
• A court order may be taken out against the website hosting the tape. In this instance, you need an attorney specialising in IT law.
• As a victim, you can sue for injury to feelings and the harm done to the person.

But remember, legal action can cost a small fortune even if you aren't looking for monetary compensation, and you aren't guaranteed a successful outcome. In terms of affordability and access, consider a subsidiary body, such as LegalWise, for referral before you lay charges.

One thing that can't be quantified is the emotional impact a leaked sex tape can have on you. After all, you're not a celebrity looking for notoriety. You may experience a combination of shame, embarrassment, guilt, rage, helplessness, injustice, horror and vulnerability. Having one's intimate moments exposed in public brings up all sorts of personal issues relating to privacy, sexuality and emotional well being. Even if you're one of the few who is relatively nonplussed, you'll need some advice as to how best to deal with others' reactions to you (which can range from empathy to pity to contempt and perhaps even total social rejection, depending on the values and morals of your social circles). You deserve support in a situation like this. If you can afford it, see a qualified therapist for a few sessions, or contact a woman's counselling centre like Masimanyane.

Take a moment to think, take action and take heart. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian both lived it down. This too shall pass.
Tue, 09 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
10 Minutes To Health FIVE-MINUTE FLU-FIGHTER: Go online.
Check out websites that feature laugh-out-loud video clips (such as You Tube). Laughter boosts the immune system and lowers your risk of getting a cold.

According to a study published in the Journal Of The American Dietetic Association, having one salad a day doubles your chances of getting the recommended daily dose of health-and immune-boosting folic acid, and vitamins A and C

Research shows that just seven minutes of stair climbing a day ccuts your chances of dying from coronary heart disease by 62% and halves your risk of heart attack. It also tones your thighs!

Experts say gossiping is one of the quickest ways to cement friendships and protect ourselves from work stress. “You don’t need to disparage someone you know personally – dishing the dirt on celebrities is just as effective,” says Dr Jennifer Bosson of the University of Oklahoma in the US.

NINE-MINUTE PAINKILLER: Soak in the bath – or boil the kettle.
When period pains hits, fill the bath. “A hot soak puts an end to discomfort in much the same way as painkilling medication,” says Jo’burg gynaecologist Dr Heidra Dahms. At work, stash a hot –water bottle in your desk drawer for when cramps strike. Place it on your abdomen or behind your back to help ease the flow of blood, which is the cause of pain.

Get juicing.
Make a special detox smoothie: juice two heads of celery, three cucumbers, four bunches of parsley and two bags of spinach, adding two carrots and one apple or lemon to taste. Drink with one meal every day for a week.
Wed, 03 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Single In December

Has a man in an open-top sports car ever passed you his business card at the traffic lights on a hot summer night when your boyfriend's been sitting in your passenger seat? I thought not. Okay, it's a cheap move favoured by company directors with cars instead of personalities, but piquant little incidents like these are what a woman misses when December swings around and she's attached. In winter, the benefits of someone large and hairy to keep you warm at night might just outweigh the attractions of shivering in queues outside clubs in skimpy, backless outfits. But in summer, when that particular holiday mood spices the air and everyone's dancing under the stars in sarongs you owe it to yourself to be out there in your hot pants, buying drinks for strangers and flirting yourself silly.

In the absence of a partner whose needs must be considered and ego bolstered, we women naturally become more adventurous, more true to ourselves and less concerned with what others think. Free from the shackles of male ownership, there's nothing stopping you from re-launching yourself as a beach babe and chatting up club owners to obtain a years' free entry.

'I drink more and meet 10 times more people in summer when I don't have a boyfriend,' says Chantel*, a 31-year-old computer programmer who went out dancing every weekend last December after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend. 'When you're involved with someone you tend to stay at home and watch videos, and when you do leave the house you gravitate towards restaurants rather than bars or clubs – places where you don't meet people. You're not open to new experiences; for example, I'd never strike up a conversation with the people at the next table if I was sitting with my boyfriend.'

Enough said.

Exotic, surreal things, often laced with a thrilling sense of danger, happen when you're single in holiday season. You meet tourists with money to burn on schnapps and champagne, visiting paragliders who invite you up mountains, foreign businessmen offering free weekends in Paris. You accept rides on the backs of motorbikes and find yourself watching the sunrise in a party dress with an Adonis who speaks no English. During this beautiful, crazy time of abandon, you're licensed to do things you wouldn't normally, like going to tacky promotional parties with your body plastered in liquor-brand temporary tattoos in the hope of being spotted by the DJ and winning a bottle of tequila. Also, you can live on pizza and chocolate and still lose weight from all the dancing.

A week in Mauritius can revolutionise your concept of fun in the sun when you're single and Jean-Paul, the dishy pool-boy, gives you the eye. And no one at home ever has to know (unless you tell them).

On holiday, a quiet Sunday morning breakfast at a pavement cafe with a friend can turn into a cultural exchange with the friendly young men at the next table. First you're lending them your salt and pepper, then you're arranging to meet them at Bar Schmooze for sun downers.

Linda*, 22, an accounting student, finds the pressure of trying to fit in with a boyfriend's buddies can ruin a holiday. 'I often went along on camping trips with my ex-boyfriend Anton* and his friends. I was always concerned about fitting in – I wanted his mates to accept me and felt I couldn't be myself,' she says. 'We were invited to the Drakensberg for New Year by Anton's sister. When we arrived at the camp site, her boyfriend, Leon*; who's never been very fond of me, walked up to us and said, "What are you doing here? I didn't invite you." Leon continued to be extremely rude to us, and no one had a great New Year. I felt it was my fault. Naturally, there was a lot of tension between Anton and me and we spent much of the time hardly speaking to each other. Luckily, I'd asked my housemate Carla* to come along, so at least I had someone to talk to!'

When Theresa*, 26, a management consultant, and her boyfriend, Paul*, were on holiday together in Zimbabwe, Theresa felt stifled by Paul's lack of enthusiasm for adventure. 'I'd always wanted to go black-water rafting and Paul kept finding excuses not to,' she says. 'Eventually, after much screaming and shouting, I decided to go on my own. It was a stunning day and I'm glad I had the balls to go off and do it.'

According to Cynthia*, 27, an interior decorator, boyfriends are the ultimate millstones in summer. 'You go to the beach and he's too stingy to pay for a lounger. When you're on your own you can spend six hours on a lounger if you like, eyeing the talent and pretending to read a magazine, without some guy whingeing that he's bored.'


Cynthia has a tried-and-tested modus operandi for picking up men in summer. She lunches at the outdoor counter of a small deli near the beachfront. Here, in skimpy attire, she toys with a chicken salad while ensuring there's one free seat (not two – very important) beside her. Inevitably, a single man falls for her lure and sits down with his rocket and pecorino salad. She gives him a sidelong glance, looks him up and down, and looks away. Then, with perfect timing, she turns to him and says, 'Oooh that looks tasty.'

As Cynthia explains, it's the thought of having a different man every night of the week – an Italian on Friday, a German on Saturday... with Monday set aside as a day of rest to do a manicure or read a good book – that encapsulates the allure of the single's summer, not actually doing it.

'If you're single, there's no one holding you back,' says Linda. 'A friend phones you up on the spur of the moment to invite you on a weekend away, and you can accept immediately without having to ask your boyfriend or worry about whether he's invited or not.'

Most of us see far less of our girlfriends when we're heavily involved in a relationship. A summer of single girls' nights out is a great opportunity to rekindle those friendships and expand your social circle.

Anna*, 28, an occupational therapist, says, 'Until I met Steven* and decided he was The One, I used to dump whoever I was going out with at the beginning of December, head off to our family holiday house in Plettenberg at the best time of year to meet people, and spend a few weeks flirting outrageously and churning through men. It's something you should do at some stage of your life.'

Wed, 03 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Make the Most of Summer
• Challenge a group of good-looking dudes to a beach volleyball game against you and your girls. Win or lose, you'll have met a bevy of prospects.

• Spring for the outdoor massage.

• Avoid that impossible end-of-summer photo-sharing task by uploading your shots after every wild weekend.

• Don't go on holiday with a co-worker whom you only sort of like.

• Get pedicures in colours you have at home so you can always do touch-ups on the cheap yourself.

• Go ahead and download that cheesy, inescapable dance-pop hit you secretly love. Anytime it plays in shuffle, you'll have great flashbacks.

• Play at least one game of Marco Polo.

• Take a daytrip... by yourself. Enjoy the company.

• Make a little extra time for your friend with the convertible, nudge nudge.

• You know that really great bud who you talk to less because she moved away? Reconnect with her.

• Take a random midweek day off work. You'll stress less about weekend trips because you'll have that time to catch up on stuff at home.

• Reality check: You can dump a bad-news guy, even if you have travel plans together. Yeah, when you've been focused on the trip it seems jarring to consider, but it's so worth it compared to feeling free.

• Pick a great position from COSMO Diary's daily sex tips. Try it outside.

• Institute a summertime ritual with your friends, like Tuesday braai nights. It'll give you a place to make new memories.

• Leave your cell phone off for an entire day. What's the worst that can happen? Guess you'll find out.
Mon, 01 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Do You Have Rubber Morals?
Test your moral strength by answering the following questions – if you answer 'yes' to more than five, maybe your morals are a little more elastic than you'd like them to be. You're not a criminal but perhaps you'd like to think about firming up your actions to match your beliefs. Knowing what you believe in and setting your own moral limits is one of the best ways to project unshakable confidence in yourself – a very attractive asset.

1. You inherit a TV set from your former housemate. Do you congratulate yourself because you'll be able to avoid paying your TV licence?

2. You buy two designer dresses on sale and the sales assistant only charges you for one. Do you walk away feeling rather pleased with yourself because you scored a freebie?

3. Someone is selling DVD players for a fraction of their retail cost. A reliable source tells you they are stolen. Do you buy one anyway?

After you've paid your hotel bill, do you stuff the towelling robe or the contents of the mini-bar into your bag?

5. Do you throw away traffic fines without even considering paying them?

You're in a nature reserve and a poacher offers you a pair of fresh but clearly undersized crayfish for R20. Do you buy them for supper?

While using a friend's bathroom you notice her range of new Christian Dior cosmetics. Do you quickly try a little bit of everything?

8. You've been at a pub all night and you know you've drunk too much. Do you drive home anyway?

9. You're visiting your relatively new boyfriend and he has to go out. Do you quickly go through his diary, address book and emails, and then listen to the messages on his answering machine?

10. Your car is stolen and the insurance company asks whether anything valuable was inside. Nothing was, but you've always wanted a pair of Gucci sunglasses and a DKNY jacket. Do you claim for these items?

You go to look at show houses. While the estate agent is in another room, do you sneak a look into the absent owners' wardrobes, drawers and medicine chests?

12. When filling in your tax return, do you omit to declare cash payments you've received and inflate your entertainment bills using restaurant receipts gathered from friends?

You've found the perfect dress for a formal function but you can't afford it. Do you buy it on credit, wear it, and then take it back to the shop and ask for a refund?

You're hungry and someone has left an appetising salad in the office fridge. Do you eat it and feign ignorance when the owner asks what happened to it?

15. You come back from Dubai with a suitcase full of clothing, perfume and electronic goods that you intend selling to friends. Do you sail innocently through the 'nothing to declare' exit at customs?

. You've agreed to go out with a friend's ex-boyfriend. When the friend in question asks what you're doing that night, do you lie to her?

You give a trainee supermarket cashier R10 for a chocolate. She mistakenly puts it with the pile of R100 notes and gives you more than R90 change. Do you say nothing and leave with the extra money?

18. On holiday, your friends suggest you all pretend to be hotel guests in order to use the pool, then order drinks and charge them to a fictitious room number. Do you go along with it?

You have to find a new tenant for your flat. A young woman comes to look at it and asks if you've had any I burglaries. You've had three in the last few months but you don't want to put her off. Do you lie?

20. You're reversing out of a parking space when you bash into the car parked next to you, damaging the paint work. Do you just drive off?
Mon, 24 Nov 2008 12:00 +0200
From The Mouths Of...
Celebrities like Courtney Love, Tara Reid and Katie Price (aka Jordan) have gone under the knife again to salvage their former selves. And it seems every celebrity in Hollywood has something to say about plastic surgery.

'They are awful. So many of my friends have had them, and they've gone wrong,' Kate Moss told Interview Magazine. 'One of my friends' tits started growling like the giant peach, and blood started coming out the nipple. Then another friend of mine had one that sort of moved up to her shoulder. One tit was normal, and the other was up by her collarbone. I know only one girl who has good ones. And most of them are so hard you can knock on them like a door.'

Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria seems petrified of any surgical procedures. 'It's not that I'm against people who do it, but I'm terrified of needles,' she told Maxim magazine. 'I've seen those Discovery Channel shows with the operations. The sound of the chisel! Aaahh! I almost passed out. No thank you. Egg white omelets, some exercise, and some eye cream is fine for now.'


Not all celebrities are media shy about their surgeries. Sharon Osbourne, rock legend Ozzy Osbourne's 55-year-old wife, has forked over £120 000 to her surgeon and has had a tummy tuck, face lift and breast enhancement surgery. 'It hurt like a mother,' she said when she discussed her procedures with PEOPLE magazine. 'If anybody says their facelift doesn't hurt, they're lying. It was like I'd spent the night with an axe murderer.'

A few years after a breast reduction Queen Latifah also spoke to PEOPLE magazine: 'There are people who love plastic surgery and want to cut and chop anything. I'm like, "Y'all are crazy!"'

But PEOPLE isn't the only magazine questioning celebrities on their surgical habits.

Sarah Jessica Parker told Allure magazine: 'I'd like to think I would never do it. I'm not deluded about what I look like. I know I have laugh lines, and I kinda dig that I'm so flawed. But never say never. Maybe in four years you'll open up a magazine and I'll be pulled tighter than a walnut.'

Liv Tyler also told Allure: 'I'm definitely going to have some [plastic surgery], I'm sure. Especially when you see what happens to your body after you have a baby.'


And then there are some media who completely misquote young starlets. Scarlett Johansson was quoted by US Weekly as saying: 'I definitely believe in plastic surgery. I don't want to be an old hag. There's no fun in that.' Soon afterward the actress threatened to sue the magazine.

While it is easy to blame the media for quoting celebrities out of context, they can't always be the ones at fault. Sometimes we wish celebrities would think before they speak and make odd statements.

'I love being all-natural. A lot of girls who are 21, they have a lot of work done and they look 40. It ages you. And you're going to have to maintain it,' Paris Hilton told World Entertainment News Network, vowing never to have plastic surgery. 'By the time you're 30, you're going to look like you're 50. By the time you're 50, your face is going to fall off.'

In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, Jessica Simpson said: 'I've had none. But maybe after having kids, if my boobs dropped down to my belly button, I would get them lifted... Maintenance. But you know, my boobs are real.'

And speaking of drooping boobs: 'A lot of people think I have breast implants because I have the biggest boobs in the business. But I was a 34C when I was 17,' Tyra Banks famously said in an interview with The Sun. 'They stay up when I wear a push-up bra. But if people could see me when I come home and take off my bra, how could they think these are fake?'

For many, plastic surgery is like a drug. Once they have something nipped or tucked they can't stop themselves and keep going back for more. Fortunately, there are some who have seen the errors in their ways. Lisa Rinna, more famously known as Billie from soapie Days of Our Lives is one such celebrity. 'I saw a picture of myself and thought, "Uh-oh". You have to be careful,' she confessed to In Touch magazine. 'I'm a perfect example of that! At my age, you have to look good if you want to continue working. Sometimes we do things to help, and I did. I had tried Botox, and then fillers came into the plastic surgery world, and you think, "That's not a bad idea." (At first) I thought I looked great. It was a little bit more than normal, but you think it'll go down, so I wasn't scared. But two days ago, I saw a photo of myself at a party and went, "Oh, jeez. I have too much filler".'
Tue, 11 Nov 2008 12:00 +0200
Tit For Tat, Too!
• To make a statement. It's great to show solidarity for something you truly believe in, just make sure you'll believe in it in 10 years time. And if it's an icon or not in English, make sure you know what it really stands for.
• To remind yourself of something. A Latin motto, for instance, can remind you that life is short. We all lead busy lives and we often forget to seize the day when it's drowned in a to-do list.
• To show allegiance or loyalty. It's a display of pride and honour.
• To symbolise something permanent. A certain design can represent a specific milestone in your life.


You saw someone else's tattoo and liked the idea. A moment's fancy doesn't mean a lifetime of love.
You change your mind often. Getting a tattoo is not something you can just Ctrl-Z. Why not get some highlights or learn to tango, instead?
You're trend conscious. Tattoos can be cool, but they're not trendy.
It's about a guy. You might think he's The One you can't be sure that it's forever. Wait for the ring and then think about it.

COSMO girls who dared

Mary J. Blige
Christina Aguilera
Charlize Theron
Angelina Joli

COSMO guys who dared
Lil Wayne
Justin Timberlake
Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Adam Levine (Maroon 5)

If you fantasize about inking your skin, you might want to stick to letting your man use chocolate body paint before you carve his name permanently onto your shoulder. At least chocolate can be licked off if you change your mind. Yum.
Fri, 24 Oct 2008 12:00 +0200
Get Over Yourself
Bad company
Negativity is self-perpetuating – the more hard done by you seem to feel, the more other negative people will be drawn to commiserate with you and the more positive people will draw away from you.
You don’t even have to open your mouth for them to sense your negativity. Durban leadership coach Cathy Yuill says, ‘People give off a “vibe” that’s linked to how they’re feeling. If you’re constantly negative, it influences every space you’re in and others will pick it up.’ Negative people tend to slouch, sigh, snap and scowl. They come across as unfriendly, supercritical or defeatest – ‘not possible’ is a phrase they love, says Yuill.
Makheni Motana, a Johannesburg motivational speaker and coach, adds that negative people are ‘little thunderclouds’ who not only complain a lot but are full of excuses and quick to lay blame.
Not the sort of person you’d be keen to befriend, spend time with or promote at work.
‘If you’re often negative, you stand to lose a lot in life and love, and at work,’ says Motana.
Your health is likely to suffer too. Negative feelings have been shown to result in ulcers, a lowered immune system, high blood pressure and, in time, depression, says Yuill.

Cheer up!
On a more positive note, experts say you can train yourself to be less negative. Although we can’t control what life brings our way, we can control how we react to it. ‘The outside world doesn’t give you a negative attitude – you choose it,’ says Yuill.
Negative people are often pessimists and worriers, says Motana. They focus on problems – the bad salary, the horrible boss, the dull boyfriend. ‘The brain can only focus on one thing at a time, and too much energy spent concentrating on negative things will shut off creative, solution-seeking behaviour.’
Yuill says if you’re feeling excluded by those around you, you should look at your own behaviour rather than theirs. ‘Ask yourself what you’re doing to make people react to you in that way. If you’re unsure, ask someone. Then give some thought to why you’re behaving the way you are and what your options are.’
She recommends compiling a list of things you’d like to change and working on them daily. If you are prone to bitchiness, resolve to bite your tongue more often. Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on the weak points of the ‘idiots’ you work with, notice their good qualities. Watch the language you use: for every negative comment you make, say something positive straight afterwards – ‘until you get used to how optimism sounds’.
Motana suggests trying to think in terms of solutions. When a problem arises, instead of blaming it on bad luck or someone else, see it as an opportunity to come up with remedies.
It’ll take practice, she adds. ‘Attitudes are a kind of habit. The only way to change a bad one is to choose a new, more positive behaviour every day for 21 days. On day 22, the mood you’ve chosen will become your “default” mode.’
That’s only three weeks to a you who’ll be nicer to know!

• Point out, without being aggressive, when they’re being negative – they often don’t realise they’re doing it.
• Be careful not to get sucked into their pessimism. The moment they start making you feel low, move on.
• Treat them in the friendly manner you’d treat everyone else. If their reaction is a downer, walk away and try again later.
• Don’t echo their negativity – it will just encourage them.
• Don’t spend a long time listening to their grumbles, especially not at work – your superiors may see you as guilty of the same attitude.
Wed, 30 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Once Upon a Time
'They called it "time porn": for half an hour once a week, busy 20-somethings could sit in front of the television and watch fake 20-somethings sitting around in a coffee shop doing very little. Problems were opportunities for jokes and the hair was awesome. You can say what you like about American sitcoms, but Friends was a very funny show.'
- Kerry Rogers, assistant editor/managing editor

'I miss Lip Therapy. I remember it used to come in the blue and orange packaging. Glided on easily, kept lips moisturised. Haven't quite been able to find anything like it since.'
- Cathy Lund, assistant editor/features editor

'There are two things I miss: Woolworths' chocolate cornflake wheel and chappies bubblegum that used to cost 1 cent.'
- Abi Volks, art director

'Very Valentino perfume. I had just discovered it and was in love, and shortly thereafter it was taken off the market. To my knowledge it's just been discontinued in South Africa but it is available overseas.'
- Imogen Pretorius, art editor

'In the 80s and 90s my favourite perfume was Joie de Vivre by Lenthéric and I was devastated when it was discontinued. I still have an old Joie de Vivre body spray and every now and then I use it and feel nostalgic – it brings back wonderful memories!'
- Paula McAravey, senior editor

'When I came to South Africa in 1991, there was a flavour of Nik Naks called Fried Chicken. It was my favourite chips of all time and cannot express the depression I felt when they went off the market 15 years ago.'
- Ania Rokita, chief copy editor

'Good old fashioned tanga panties, with the thin elastic on the sides. All you get now are G-strings or boy panties – both of which creep and are uncomfortable!'
- Leigh Cann, senior designer

'I miss the Kellogg's Rice Krispies that used to come with those mini marshmallows. I used to pick them out and eat them first and when they were discontinued my mom used to cut up real marshmallows to make up for it. But it was never the same.'
- Deevya Vasson, junior beauty editor

What do you miss? Tell us on the forums.
Tue, 29 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Respect Yourself What exactly is self-respect? Self-respect is based on acceptance of who you are. If you have self-respect, you take stock of yourself in a ‘protective way’. ‘A person with self-respect simply likes herself,’ wrote US psychology professor Ellen Langer in Psychology Today. ‘Self-respect doesn’t depend on success, because there are always failures to contend with. It’s also not a result of comparing ourselves with others, because there is always someone better in some way than us. With self-respect, we like ourselves because of who we are, not because of what we can or cannot do.’

Here's how to rediscover self-respect

1 Examine your core values.
Whether they come from your parents, mentors, movies or books, what do you consider to be key moral qualities today? What might you need to do or change to be truer to them? Writing these down can help clarify them, says Durban life coach Cathy Yuill. Self-examination may be painful but if you can manage it, and find the courage to change even a little, you’ll grow and reach a new level of self-respect.

2 Reassess your relationships.
Ask yourself, are you in this relationship to find yourself? If so, you still need to clarify your own values and needs. Are you in it to lose yourself? Then you have a problem understanding your needs. Either way, you don’t have enough self-respect. Return to step 1 above. But start with self-acceptance. ‘Acceptance does not imply approval; it is simply owning and being responsible for your whole being, the bad as well as the good,’ says Dr Elizabeth Gong-Guy, director of UCLA Student Psychological Services. If you have self-respect and know what you want, says Nelspruit psychologist Tembeni Mhlongo, you won’t expect others to provide it, or open yourself to dependency and abuse. ‘You need to say: this is me, and those are other people. And I may love them but they are not me. That is having healthy respect for them and self-respect.’

3 Guard your self-respect. Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.’ Choose actions based on an ethical centre, and you won’t allow anyone to compromise your dignity and self-respect, says Chris Karcher, author of Relationships Of Grace (Adams King). ‘Choice is key.’

4 Act in line with your values. Integrity and self-respect involve choosing ethics without personal benefit, even though everyone may be doing something else or no-one else will know, says Karcher. This applies to everything – from having an extra drink you know you can’t handle or sleeping with someone when you don’t really want to, to inflating your sales figures, siphoning off company cash or pulling a Lindsay by flashing your crotch to amuse your pals or cause a sensation in public.

5 Tune in to your inner voice. When you’re struggling with an issue, take a few quiet minutes to pause, reflect and listen for inner guidance, says Karcher. Regularly setting aside 10 to 20 minutes a day to meditate, do deep breathing or read an inspirational book can put you in touch with that voice, she says.

6 Respect your boundaries. This is integral to self-respect, says Yuill. ‘Self-respect is about where you position yourself as a human being, and includes honouring and caring for yourself.’ If you’re interrupted, sidelined, overburdened or abused, learn to assert yourself calmly but firmly or get out, she says. Always treat yourself well, whether with a regular day off or a periodic massage. As Clint Eastwood said: ‘Respect your efforts, respect yourself. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.’
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
How To Be Happy Now The solution is to change our thinking. Happiness, it seems, is not a destination – rather, it’s a manner of travelling. And if we can’t feel it today, we won’t find it tomorrow. So how can we feel it now?

1 Take responsibility for your happiness. Stop assuming that other people, fate, money, new shoes or the government will make you happy. Give some thought to what really does it for you and work out a plan to incorporate more of it in your life – whether it’s dancing or doing creative writing, or leaving a dead-end job or relationship. ‘The people who become the happiest and grow the most are those who also make truth and their own personal growth primary values,’ says Stevens. They choose to be happy.

2 Live to your fullest potential. Our highest level of happiness comes from self-actualisation, says US psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience (Rider & Co). This means doing what you love and what you feel born to do, and getting paid fairly for it.

3 Be happy anyway.
‘We all face problems in life; it’s how we view them that counts,’ says Nelspruit psychologist Tembeni Mhlongo. If you take setbacks in your stride and learn from them, they can help you grow in strength and serenity. If you compare yourself with people better off than you – and you’ll always find them – you will never be happy. Studies show the happiest people aren’t those leading perfect lives but those who have learnt to appreciate less-than-perfect things.

4 Keep a gratitude journal.
Durban life coach Cathy Yuill says: ‘List your five strongest points and three good things that happened to you today.’ Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How Of Happiness (Penguin), confirms that consciously counting your blessings and jotting down things you’re grateful for once a week will ‘significantly increase’ your satisfaction with life.

5 Do kind deeds.
Five kind acts a week considerably boosted the happiness of Lyubomirsky’s study subjects. These can be anything from feeding a neighbour’s dog to calling an elderly relative or visiting someone you feel you owe a debt of gratitude.

6 Cultivate curiosity and a love of learning.
Exposing yourself to new activities and learning new skills can increase your happiness, although Seligman says ‘cerebral virtues’ are less effective than ‘interpersonal virtues’ such as kindness, gratitude and capacity for love.

7 Build your inner power.
Keep reaching for higher levels of development, urges Stevens. ‘Each new stressful event can be seen as an opportunity for growth instead of a disaster.’ You can fail to reach a goal but you can never fail to learn, he says.

8 Give! Research shows that giving – things, services or time – to others or to a higher cause makes us happy. It distracts us from our own existence and gives our lives a sense or purpose and meaning. Yet, as Rob van Alkemade points out in What Would Jesus Buy?, his satirical documentary on today’s unchecked consumerism, we spend less than an hour a week on spiritual matters and more than five hours shopping. And young people spend more than 40 hours a week engaged in media (online, cellphones) and less than 40 minutes engaged in meaningful conversations with people close to them.

9 Cultivate friends and a social network. We almost all feel happier when we’re with others, says Csikszentmihalyi. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard lecturer in positive psychology and author of Happier (McGraw-Hill), describes relationships, whether with friends or family, as ‘the number-one predictor of wellbeing’.

10 Cultivate a healthy life. Doing regular exercise, even just a brisk 30-minute walk each day, releases feel-good hormones and revs up your system for an ongoing feeling of wellbeing, says Durban fitness and lifestyle trainer Noeleen Bridle. ‘Looking better will also feed your confidence and happiness. And the structure that exercise gives your day, and the satisfaction of “sticking with the plan,” can all add to it.’ Eating healthily has a similar effect, and can allow you to enjoy the odd glass of wine or piece of chocolate without succumbing to guilt, bingeing or depression. But how do you stick to it? Asked how she runs 7km a day, Oprah once said, ‘I recommit to it every day of my life.’ With time, strategies can turn into habits – and become easier.

11 Savour the moment.
To find happiness in the now – in each step of your life journey – you need to practise being in the present. Meditation can help, says Yuill. So can jotting down a half-dozen ‘if onlys’ that may be keeping you from feeling happiness now. Don’t expect them to disappear instantly but when you spot them, understand they’re stealing your present happiness and bring yourself back to the moment.

12 Start NOW: ‘Don’t postpone your happiness to later, because tomorrow you might not be living in this dimension any more,’ says Arne Klingenberg in Yes I Am Happy Now! (Beam). ‘Make your happiness your very first priority in life! Nobody else can or will do that for you…. And nobody will ever come to you and say “Thank you” for leading an unfulfilled and unhappy life in sacrifice for this or that.’ Chances are you’re already happy, if you’ll just pause long enough to see it – and give yourself over to experiencing it. Right here. Right now.
Tue, 01 Jul 2008 12:00 +0200
Live On Purpose
and block out everyone else’s, even that of your best friend at times. Give you inner voice power and have faith in your instinct.


This is a reminder of your authentic self. Acknowledge any lack of fulfilment in your life and pluck up the courage to find your passion.

Learn the difference between them – explore your curiosity and live your passion.

Let who you are (or who you want to be), rather than what you do, guide your choices and decisions.

It uproots you from your comfort zone and makes you take the first step towards your destiny. Embrace change and let it guide you.

Discovering your life’s purpose won’t be easy. The journey will be long and often hard but even the smallest steps will take you closer to it.
Fri, 27 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Tame Your Green-Eyed Monster When does jealousy become a problem? ‘When you act it out in a destructive or violent way,’ answers Barnett. ‘In an extreme form, jealousy may lead to constant blaming and criticism of a partner, restricting their interaction with others and trying to control their movements. If it leads to stalking or violence, professional help is needed.’
Barnett stresses that the main issue is not the feelings of jealousy; it’s how you behave when you experience them. Before your green-eyed monster takes control, be aware of what situations cause these feelings and ask yourself whether the threat is real or perceived. For example, you may believe your boyfriend’s decision to watch the soccer on Sunday rather than enjoying a romantic picnic with you is an indication that he prefers spending time with his friends to spending time with you. That’s not necessarily the case.
‘Talking about your feelings can be helpful, particularly if you express them without blaming or criticising. But if the intensity of the feeling is excessive and you cannot change your responses, seek help to learn to manage your emotions appropriately.’
Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
The Path To Burnout Christina Maslach, coauthor of Banishing Burnout, identifies six factors that could lead to exhaustion at work. You may need some battery recharging if a few of these sound familiar.

•You often spout things like “Work is so demanding, I never get a break.”
•Your boss regularly questions your judgement.
•You feel taken for granted – both financially and otherwise – and you complain that you don’t enjoy work.
•You feel isolated by bickering coworkers, resentful subordinates, or difficult clients.
•You believe that, above all else, favouritism rules.
•You think that work is meaningless, dishonest, or unethical.
Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Rise and Shine - Setting your alarm for five minutes earlier. When it shrieks, lie in bed and focus on how you felt at those three times. Stretch out, let those feelings get stronger and stronger and imagine them flooding every part of your body. Then leap out of bed!
- Giving yourself a grin. It’s a serious downer to see a scowling face in the mirror so open wide and say ‘Hi, gorgeous!’. Be as happy to see yourself as you would your best friend.
- Compiling a mental gratitude list from the smallest smile to the biggest experience.
- Asking yourself: ‘What can I do with my skills and talents today?’ and do at least one of those things. This will help you realise you can consciously make a difference.
- Visualising, as you step out the front door, that you are taking a step into the good life. Take in all the details - the smells, tastes and feelings - that make up that good life.
Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Just Say Yes! Why should you choose to be approving? Because it increases your personal power. ‘Getting worked up over things you cannot control can undermine your ease and cloud your mind in an instant,’ Rando notes. ‘Over time, it drains you of your energy.’
So next time you find yourself giving something the thumbs down, follow Rando’s advice: ‘Filter your negative responses so that only the ones that indicate an appropriate action are allowed through.’ Imagine you’ve chosen to go to a friend’s party because you’ve promised to help her prepare snacks. When the night arrives, you may be in the mood to settle down with the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy and a box of Pringles. But that’s not an option – so instead of dwelling on what you’d rather be doing, approve of your decision to go to the party and make a concerted effort to get to know people, dance and have fun.
Rando continues, ‘Where no action is possible, learn the power of acceptance. Approve of what you cannot change and find greater peace of mind.’
Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
How To Save a Life

The young man whose heart 23-year-old Melanie Gird received saved her life along with those of four others. Gird, a graphic-design student at North-West University in Potchefstroom, doesn’t know her donor’s name but she’s forever indebted to the 19-year-old from the Western Cape who died in a car accident.
‘His organs changed 20 people’s lives and saved five, and we’ll all remember him as the man who gave us the greatest gift of all – the gift of life,’ says Gird. ‘His selfless act has also helped his parents, who are finding a greater sense of acceptance of his death knowing he helped so many people.’
Both Gird and her 17-year-old brother, Trevor, suffered from a rare heart disease. ‘I was only 13 when I was diagnosed and I thought my life was over,’ Gird says. ‘I just wanted a normal life but doubt clouded every day because I was never sure whether I would wake up the next day.’
On 5 January last year she received her new heart during a nine-hour operation, and this year Trevor also got a new heart.
‘I have a new life and it’s all thanks to my donor and his family,’ she says. ‘People must donate their organs because it’s the right thing to do and it’s the easiest way to be a real hero!’

‘Anyone who is under 70 years old with no sign of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/Aids or any infectious disease may be an organ donor,’ says Philippa Douglas, executive director of the Organ Donor Foundation. ‘Other medical conditions don’t necessarily prevent you from becoming an organ donor. Extensive medical tests are carried out at the time of your death and the decision about what organs will be transplanted will be established then.’
And there’s no need for you to have nightmares about having your organs harvested while you’re still alive – you have to be certified braindead before any harvesting takes place. ‘All potential donors must first be certified braindead by tests and then permission will need to be obtained from family members before harvesting,’ says Douglas. You also don’t have to worry that your body will be left disfigured. ‘The utmost respect and dignity is given to the donor at all times,’ she says. ‘The recovery of organs and tissue is carried out with great care by surgeons and trained staff, and the process doesn’t change the way the body looks.’

‘There are currently more than 3 500 people awaiting an organ or tissue transplant in South Africa,’ says Philippa Douglas, executive director of the Organ Donor Foundation (ODF). The sooner you register to become a donor the better, because there’s no knowing when your time will be up.
Here’s how it works:
1 Phone the ODF’s toll-free line on 0800 226 611 or register online at
2 You’ll be sent an organ-donor card to carry in your purse, and organ-donor stickers for your ID book and driver’s licence.
3 Inform your family of your wish, because your organs can’t be procured for transplantation without consent from your next of kin.
If you change your mind, all you need to do is call the ODF, tear up your donor card, remove the stickers from your ID book and driver’s licence and, most importantly, tell your family of your decision not to be an organ donor any longer.

Register to become an organ donor now.
Sun, 01 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
De-Mythifying HIV
Why we may believe it: Those of us who aren’t poor like to think we’re safe.
Why we shouldn’t: Studies show South Africa’s lowest-income groups have 10 to 20 times higher incidence of HIV than higher-income groups, says Dr Clive Evian, director of Aids Management and Support. But educated and affluent people are at risk too, says Harrison. ‘A national survey in 2002 found a prevalence rate of 6,5% among adults with tertiary education. If you have more than one partner or don’t use a condom, there’s a good chance HIV will get you – regardless of your social status.’

Why we may believe it: Love Life lists the incidence rate among African adults as 20%, Coloureds 3,2%, Indians one percent and whites less than one percent.
Why we shouldn’t: HIV thrives in marginalised communities and in families disrupted by poverty, says Harrison, which explains the perceived racial differences. In a risky sexual encounter, your chances of contracting HIV are the same whether you’re black, white or any other colour. Also, HIV is transmitted with needles and drug-use spreads across all racial groups, says Nokhwezi Hoboyi, editor of the Treatment Action Campaign newsletter Equal Treatment.

Why we believe it: Wishful thinking!
Why we shouldn’t: It takes only one sexual encounter to get HIV, says Evian. ‘And while the virus may not spread from your partner every time, it’s foolish to take any risk. If you have a genital disease or STD, the risk of infection is even higher.’

Why we may believe it:
Condoms seem hardy and it’s easy to think that, with a quick wipe, they’re ready for the next round.
Why we shouldn’t: HIV and other viruses such as genital herpes are found in all seminal fluid, including the clear fluid produced before and after ejaculation, says Harrison. ‘It’s not easy to clean a condom properly to remove all viruses, and reusing it puts you at risk.’

Why we may believe it:
We imagine HIV is only found in semen and that if he withdraws his penis before ejaculation we’re safe.
Why we shouldn’t: ‘HIV can pass through the mucous membranes lining the inside of the vagina or rectum, or through cuts in the mouth or other areas coming into contact with blood or semen,’ says Harrison. You also run a small risk if he ejaculates outside you and semen spreads around the entrance to your vagina, says Evian.

Why we may believe it: We imagine vaginal douching washes out the virus.
Why we shouldn’t: Vaginal washing with water is unlikely to prevent HIV infection, says Harrison, but ‘douching with anything other than water (chemicals or disinfectants) may damage your vaginal lining and could increase the risk of transmission.’

Why we may believe it:
We know you can test for HIV antibodies in saliva, so we imagine HIV can be transmitted in saliva.
Why we shouldn’t: Although HIV is found in saliva, it’s usually in quantities too small to infect anyone, says Harrison. ‘There’s only been one recorded case of transmission via kissing, and that was when both partners had badly bleeding gums.’ Don’t kiss if either of you has open mouth sores or oral thrush.

Why we may believe it:
Because we’re in love.
Why we shouldn’t: A quarter of South African men say they’ve had more than one sexual partner in the past year, compared with six percent of women, says Harrison. ‘Even if he’s faithful to you, everyone he’s slept with is sleeping with you.’

Why we may believe it:
It’s easier to deny than to face reality.
Why we shouldn’t: Denial only makes matters worse, even if you’re HIV positive already. A survey of nearly 12 000 15- to 24-year-olds in 2003 found two-thirds of those who proved HIV positive didn’t think they were at risk at all. Getting tested gives you more control, and it’s been shown you’re more likely to adopt safer behaviour, says Harrison.

Why we may believe it:
We think if we have HIV, we can’t get it again.
Why we shouldn’t: ‘Once you’ve been infected, your body mounts an immune response that keeps the levels of virus low – until your immune system burns out and the virus regains the upper hand,’ says Harrison. ‘Repeated infection makes your immune system work harder and can speed up progression to Aids.’

Why we may believe it:
Jacob Zuma said so.
Why we shouldn’t: ‘Showering leaves you cleaner, but just as infected,’ says Harrison. ‘HIV transmission happens quickly during sexual intercourse – the virus moves swiftly into the vaginal or urethral lining or through skin abrasions.’

Why we may believe it:
We’re hopeful that if ART prolongs and improves the quality of life, it may be a cure.
Why we shouldn’t: Although ART can keep people healthy for years, there’s no cure for Aids, says Harrison. ‘Antiretrovirals are the only scientific treatment available to manage HIV,’ says Hoboyi. ‘And I’m living proof that they work. In 2005, my CD4 count was 11, and after taking my treatment correctly, it’s gone up to 195 – just five points below normal.’
Sat, 31 May 2008 12:00 +0200
When Your Mother Needs Mothering Growing up with a psychologically ill mother can leave emotional scars and lead to patterns of behaviour in childhood that are often carried into adulthood. Learning what you can do to avoid repeating this behaviour in relationships with others further down the line can go a long way towards helping you to lead a healthy life.

1 Accept feelings such as shame, anger, fear or even hatred as normal.
2 Establish a support network with family and friends to share the load of caring for or simply living with your mother.
3 Write down your feelings in a journal, or write letters to your mother that you don’t send.
4 Go for individual and/or group therapy.
5 Let go of guilt.
6 Choose not to do the self-destructive things your mother may have done.
7 If someone is destroying you, get away, whether it’s your mother or ill-picked partners.
8 Forgive, pamper and indulge yourself.
9 Eat well, exercise regularly, meditate or pray.
10 Educate yourself – read about your mother’s condition and contact support groups for information:

Mental illness The Mental Health Information Centre (021) 938-9229; The SA Depression and Anxiety Group (011) 262 6396, 0800 567 567 (toll-free).
Alcohol and drug abuse South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) (011) 482-1070, (021) 945-4080, (031) 202-2241, e-mail, visit; the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre (021) 447-8026, visit; Narcotics Anonymous SA: Gauteng (011) 485-5248, Western Cape 088 130 0327, KZN 088 127 8832, visit

* Name has been changed
Fri, 30 May 2008 12:00 +0200
The Menstrual Anti-Misery Kit
A few days before your flow starts, take an anti-inflammatory over-the-counter painkiller such as Nurofen. This will help halt the production of the cramp-causing hormones prostaglandins.

Menstruation moodiness can make even the nicest girl a raging bitch. The solution? Sleep. Go to bed an hour earlier or treat yourself to a catnap after work. This decreases stress levels, making you feel more restful and boosting your mood.

Although no formal studies have shown that sex prevents cramps and bloating, it has been reported to lessen discomfort and boost your mood. This is because intercourse releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which override menstrual side effects.
Fri, 30 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Beat Stress in 30 Seconds 1. INHALE through your nostrils and feel the air flow down your chest, pushing your belly out. As you exhale, imagine a dragon-smoke-like mist coming out. ‘That symbolises your stress evaporating,’ says Black. Repeat for five breaths.

lying outdoors in a hammock, with a cold glass of your favourite drink. Envisage every single detail: the smell of the ocean or the feel of freshly cut grass under your bare feet. Tune out with soothing music from the likes of Jack Johnson or Sade.

of all the good things in your life, such as compliments from friends or resisting the urge to smoke. ‘Celebrating small achievements will balance out even the biggest baddies,’ says Black.

4. RESOLVE TO TAKE UP AN AGGRESSION-RELEASING SPORT such as boxing. If you’re not that fit (or coordinated), buy an inflatable toy hammer and thwack it against your sofa every time you feel angry.
Wed, 28 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Before a night out or a date, or any time you’re feeling low, write out a simple, positive affirmation and proclaim what you want, such as: ‘I am going to look hot tonight’ or ‘My body/nose/potbelly is beautiful.’ The key is to make your wish a reality.

Prepare to drum this thought into your head. Get comfortable and close your eyes. Begin to count slowly from one to 10 until you’re fully relaxed.

Repeat your affirmation out loud or under your breath, until you start to buy into it or at least until you feel better.

Do this exercise twice a day until the way you view your body starts to change. Remember that loving your body isn’t just about telling yourself that over and over again. As YFM DJ Unathi Nkayi puts it: ‘To feel good, you need to be good to yourself.’ Here, here!
Wed, 28 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Someone To Lean On -Always start on time. This sets the tone for future meetings and shows commitment.
-Discuss a confidentiality clause. What’s said in the meeting, stays in the meeting. Period.
-Even though you might all know each other, allow each person to introduce themselves and share why they’re there.
-Establish guidelines on how the support group will be run. For example, sharing your experiences as opposed to giving advice should be encouraged and leadership should rotate every time you meet – the leader is also responsible for picking a time and venue for the meeting, as well as the topic to be discussed. Meetings should only last for a specific length of time.
Even though there will probably not be a professional counsellor attending, simply having the opportunity to use your friends as a sounding board for problems, or for getting something off your chest, can ease your mind.
Tue, 27 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Not Worth The Stress
‘Prolonged exposure to work stress may affect the autonomous nervous system and neuroendocrine activity [the cells that regulate functions such as stress and sleep], therefore contributing to the development of metabolic syndrome,’ reported Tarani Chandola of the University College London in the online version of the BMJ (formerly the British Medical journal).

The study also concluded that women are five times more likely than men to have metabolic syndrome as a result of work stress.


* Reduce work-related stress by setting boundaries between you personal and professional life.
* Don’t answer business calls outside work hours, unless it’s an emergency
* Set daily goals to handle your workload so you don’t have to take work home.
* If employees or colleagues are the cause of stress, try to resolve issues by talking to then or devising conflict-resolution plans with the HR department.
* When you get home, put your feet up and spend some time between the pages of the latest COSMO.
Sat, 24 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Mental Meltdown

Not everyone who is depressed or anxious will have a breakdown. Some people are genetically predisposed that way but what pushes most sufferers over the edge is a moment of extreme stress.
According to Johannesburg psychiatrist Dora Wynchank, most meltdown moments are characterised by ‘a sudden episode of psychological or emotional distress that may have been brought on by a traumatic external event, which lasts for a couple of weeks and affects the person’s ability to function normally from day to day’.
For example, a woman may become depressed after a traumatic break-up, but seeing her ex out with his new girlfriend may be enough of a stressor to overload her coping circuits and cause a mental meltdown. Or, after feeling burnt out at work for a long time, a person can be tipped into breakdown when a big project that she’s spent a lot of time and energy on is suddenly shelved. ‘Both these stressful scenarios force the person out of normal functioning and into intense emotional chaos that is often debilitating,’ says Wynchank.

Experts say the signs of a meltdown episode include: loss of pleasure in all things, uncontrollable crying, dramatic weight loss or gain, sleep disruption or extreme tiredness, feelings of worthlessness and, in extreme cases, a complete inability to function.
In some cases, the person will become delusional, seeing and feeling things that aren’t there. She may become obsessive, prone to self-harm or even suicidal, and her speech patterns may become disjointed. (In 2000, Men In Trees star Anne Heche was found wandering in the desert in the US, claiming to be God and promising to take everyone to heaven in a spaceship.) A person on the verge of ‘cracking up’ can also become manic, evidencing extreme mood highs and odd behaviour, including excessive spending and spur-of-the-moment, socially inappropriate actions – such as Britney Spears’s recent run-in with hair clippers and her assault on a paparazzo.

So how do you prevent yourself from having a nervous breakdown? Says De Roover: ‘Knowing yourself is the best defence: acknowledge that you have a problem, learn what triggers an extra-emotional response from you, seek out ways to protect yourself from those triggers and ask for help. It’s also important that you communicate with the people around you: family, friends and colleagues who know you have a problem can give support when you feel yourself beginning to stress. They need to know what’s going on in order to assist you constructively, whether it’s helping to prioritise work or delegating it to someone else if you’re under too much pressure.’ But, says De Roover, if you still feel you can’t cope, seek professional help.
‘Therapy and counselling can help you identify the root cause of your breakdown and provide you with the tools you need to work through it,’ says Wynchank, adding, ‘Rehab is really only an option if drug or alcohol addiction is involved.’ The most common treatment is a combination of therapy and medication.

Call the Mental Health Information Centre on 021 938 9229 or visit for advice on finding a therapist or support group in your area.
Thu, 01 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Gynae Masterclass
Arrange an appointment any time after 10 days from the start of your last period. There’s no point having a Pap smear done when you’re menstruating, as certain cells in the flow can make the results inaccurate, and you’ll most likely have to have it done again.

In the two to three hours before your appointment, don’t have a bath specifically to clean your genitals. The reason? Your gynae will need to see if you have any type of discharge, and then determine whether it’s a problem. Also, having sex on the night before or morning of your smear won’t affect the results, so don’t feel you have to abstain on purpose.

Knowing the start and end date of your most recent period will help your doctor evaluate your reproductive health. Make a note of which contraceptive you are on.


The gynae may be running late, so call ahead to save yourself the irritation of rushing to your appointment only to sit in the waiting room for half an hour.

Many doctors won’t allow you to book your appointment a year in advance. Instead, make a note to see your gynae at the same time every year, for example, in the month of your birthday. Then call eight weeks beforehand to make the appointment.
Mon, 19 May 2008 12:00 +0200