Can the power of positive thinking change your life?

Can the power of positive thinking change your life?(BPT) – A positive attitude is one of the most powerful assets you can have. Positive people find success, good health, happiness, wealth and rewarding relationships throughout their lives. This is not because they are already successful, or because they are more confident, it is simply the attitude. The law of attraction is that positive thoughts lead to positive results. Your thoughts are much more powerful than just electric signals between synapses. They have the ability to define you and affect those around you. However, it’s not easy to summon this way of thinking on command. It may take years of patience and practice to change your overall mentality.

Learn from the example of others. “Early leaders in the United States understood the true meaning of positive thinking,” says Stanley Murphy, department chair for the Graduate School of Business and Management at Argosy University, Nashville. “It is one aspect of the root of their success. Philip D. Armour, F.W. Woolworth, Thomas A. Edison, Marshall Field, Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and a host of other movers and shakers who participated in shaping our country in the early 20th century all understood these two powerful words: positive thinking.”

It is true that the most successful people throughout history have all recognized the power of positive thinking. Even Gandhi was a strong advocate of positive thinking. He is reported to have said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

So what are some proven methods to developing mastery in positive thinking? Well for starters, believe that you can become a positive thinker. “Invest and commit yourself to your own personal development,” suggests Murphy. “You must first believe in yourself. When you do, you will notice that others believe in you too. Examine how you are investing in yourself. Make note in your observation of yourself. See if your personal investments are constructive or destructive. If they are destructive, then try to eliminate them. If constructive, then perfect them.”

R. Brian Salinas, professor at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area recommends interacting with people who are on the same journey, whether they are ahead or behind.

“People project who they are and you will too. You’ll start to pick up their traits and ways of approaching things,” says Salinas. “Read books that talk about handling the lessons and challenges that come up in life and that mirror those you want to overcome in yours. In a few years, you’ll find that your story of triumph over adversity mirrors those you read about.”

Consider the physical aspects as well. Try to incorporate the practice of daily meditation (a minimum of 20 minutes a day) suggests Murphy. “Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Moderate exercise, balanced diet and adequate rest will keep you physically fit for your daily task.”

Also, try to be realistic. Everyone has down moments, and that’s alright. “Positive attitude is more than the sum of your feelings at any particular moment. If a loved one passes away or you are facing a challenge that feels overwhelming at the moment, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a positive person,” adds Salinas. “Positive people have every right to feel sad. It’s even healthy to express those feelings from time-to-time. Just remember that those moments don’t define us.”

Researchers Aim to Prevent Hospital Superbug Infections

(BPT) – Multidrug-resistant organisms, such as MRSA – also known as “superbugs” – are on the rise, and now, another superbug, which is typically picked up at hospitals and nursing homes, is posing new challenges for public-health officials. Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. diff, is a potentially life-threatening bacterium responsible for at least 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.1

“A C. diff infection takes away your ability to work, travel and participate in daily activities, essentially robbing you of your dignity,” said Nancy Caralla. After having C. diff herself and watching her father pass away following a C. diff infection, Nancy founded the C Diff Foundation, which aims to educate and advocate for C. diff prevention, treatments and environmental safety globally. The C Diff Foundation hosts several programs, including a 24-hour hotline to help healthcare providers and patients manage the difficulties of a C. diff infection.

While most healthcare-associated infections are on the decline, the number of C. diff cases continues to grow. In addition to its devastating impact on patients’ lives, C. diff is putting a strain on the healthcare industry, resulting in lengthy hospital stays and billions of dollars in costs. The risk of contracting a C. diff infection increases with age, antibiotic treatment and time spent in hospitals or nursing homes, where outbreaks can lead to multiple cases.2

Christian John Lillis, co-founder and executive director of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, named his organization for his mother, a 56-year-old kindergarten teacher whose life was claimed by a C. diff infection. “I had never even heard of C. diff at the time my mother was diagnosed, and by then, it was too late,” Christian said. “She was ill for only six days with what appeared to be a stomach virus before my brother and I took her to the hospital. Within 36 hours of her admission, she died.”

The CDC recently classified C. diff as one of three most urgent antibiotic-resistant threats facing the nation and requiring aggressive action.1 In addition, the Obama administration is calling for a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of overall C. diff infection by 2020 as a part of the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.3

There currently are no approved vaccines indicated for the prevention of a C. diff infection, however, Sanofi Pasteur is studying an investigational vaccine in volunteers who have been in the hospital at least twice in the past 12 months and have received antibiotics or volunteers who are anticipating hospitalization for upcoming procedures.

“Under normal circumstances, there is a wide variety of bacteria in the intestines of a healthy person,” explains William Randall, M.D., one of the lead investigators for the investigational vaccine trial. “Patients who become ill with infections are often treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics get rid of the good bacteria, making patients more vulnerable to infection and allowing for harmful bacteria, like C. diff, to thrive.”

“It makes more sense for all involved to try to prevent the illness in the first place, rather than treat it after it develops,” said Dr. Randall, who is a practicing physician at PriMed Patterson Woods Family Practice in Dayton, Ohio. “Our research depends on getting volunteers into the study and collecting the required data.”

“A C. diff infection can be devastating,” said Nancy. “We at the Foundation applaud the efforts of researchers to help develop a C. diff vaccine.”

To learn more and find out if you or a loved one is eligible to participate in this preventative vaccine trial, please visit

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Threat Report 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated September 16, 2013. Accessed October 17, 2014.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Questions about Clostridium difficile for Healthcare Providers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated March 6, 2012. Accessed October 17, 2014.

3. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The White House. Last Updated September 2014. Accessed October 17, 2014.

Personalize your health and wellness to help meet your goals

Personalize your health and wellness to help meet your goals

(BPT) – When it comes to heath and wellness, nearly 73 percent of Americans are trying to take better care of their health today than just a few years ago, yet 49 percent find that other things take priority, according to The Futures Company. However, experts say the more you customize your wellness plan for your personal needs and style, the more likely you’ll support your fitness and health goals.

Here are some tips for creating a custom plan to get fit and feel fabulous.

Stay hydrated. One of the most important aspects of healthy physical activity is proper hydration. Drinking fluids before, during and after physical activity is vital to provide your body the fluids it needs to perform properly, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Instead of bringing money for the soda machine or coffee shop, bring fresh, ice cold water or caffeine-free liquids with you in an insulated, reusable container. Need help tracking your water intake? There are water bottles and apps that can calculate and track your personal hydration needs.

Opt for healthier, whole, portable foods. Do your body a favor and hit the farmers market or head to your grocer’s produce section to stock up on apples, bananas and berries, as well as veggies like carrots and broccoli to cut up and take with you. When purchasing other snack products, look for foods made with no artificial colors, flavors, colors, sweeteners or GMO-added ingredients, and opt instead for items made with whole grains, fiber and protein.

Get proper sports nutrition. While eating healthfully is key, 90 percent of Americans don’t meet the recommended daily intake for vitamins and minerals from food consumption alone, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, so sports nutrition supplements can help fill the gaps and help your body perform at its best. For example, the whole foods-based GNC PUREDGE line of products includes a protein formula for muscle health and antioxidant protection; a daily energy formula to invigorate and boost workouts; an amino acid formula to protect and fuel your body from the everyday stressors of an active lifestyle; and even a delicious protein bar for on-the-go needs – all with no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Available at GNC stores and, several of the products come in powder form that can easily be added to cold water or your favorite beverage to enjoy either daily or pre-workout in a variety of delicious flavors such as chocolate, tropical punch and cherry limeade.

Personalize your physical fitness. Functional training and small group fitness are on-trend right now. This more personalized style of training helps you customize workouts based on your current level of strength and endurance and help prevent injury versus big group, one-size-fits-all training.

Technology can help. If scheduling fitness into your day sounds impossible, try letting your phone or computer remind you to stretch or get up from your desk. Create a custom playlist to help motivate you and vary your exercises to avoid becoming bored with your workout. Or use wearable fitness technology to track your wellness goals.

Get plenty of sleep. Your body needs sufficient rest to recuperate from your day and refresh its energy for the next. So go ahead and enjoy gazing at the stars – but be sure to get to bed on time, so you’re in tip-top shape for tomorrow.

Turn over a new leaf with your diet this fall to achieve healthy, glowing skin

Turn over a new leaf with your diet this fall to achieve healthy, glowing skin

(BPT) – As schedules pick up and temperatures drop, fall is a natural time for women to rethink their skincare routine. Yet the right products are just one piece of the puzzle in being kind to skin. A healthy diet, rich in leafy greens, and a holistic approach to skincare can also have complexion-beautifying benefits. You can turn over a new leaf this fall by incorporating more skin-loving “power greens” (full of vitamins and minerals) like kale, spinach and bok choy into meal time.

Registered dietician nutritionist Ellie Krieger, a New York Times bestselling author and host of the Food Network and Cooking Channel’s hit show, “Healthy Appetite,” is a member of the Simple Advisory Board – a panel of lifestyle experts that educate others on the benefits of adopting a holistic approach to skincare. As kitchens across the country prepare for a healthy reset to mark the start of fall, Krieger offers these easy ways to sneak more leafy greens into your daily dishes.

Start the day with a smoothie

Breakfast smoothies and pressed juices are an increasingly popular choice for on-the-go types. These liquid meals deliver an assortment of health benefits since they’re chock-full of fruits and vegetables. Add kale to a breakfast smoothie or juice (without even knowing it’s there) to experience the superfood’s nutrients – such as antioxidants, calcium and potassium – and beauty benefits like healthy skin and hair. “If you’re looking for an energizing way to start the day, try my superfood smoothie recipe,” says Krieger. “Blend 1/2 frozen ripe banana, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/3 cup chopped fresh kale leaves, 1/4 cup sliced almonds , 1 cup nonfat milk, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.”

Elevate the lunch salad

The lunch hour offers a great opportunity to pack a meal that includes several distinct leafy greens – iceberg, be gone.

Arugula, which belongs to the mustard family of plants, is a salad staple that adds a lovely peppery flavor and plenty of vitamin C. Up the ante with nutrient-dense spinach, which contains lots of beta carotene shown to promote healthy, glowing skin. Top off the health benefits with radicchio which is rich in lutein and antioxidants known to help preserve vision and protect skin from sun damage. Make a savvy salad by combining these three leaves (arugula, spinach and radicchio) and tossing with a can of light tuna in olive oil (drizzling in some oil from the can). Add the juice from half a lemon and some salt and pepper for flavor.

End the day with a skin-benefitting routine

A healthy spinach dinner dish doesn’t need to take a million years to prep. Buy prewashed baby spinach, toss into store-bought pasta sauce after it’s heated and serve over whole grain pasta for a dish that’s quick, delicious and good-for-skin. Spinach contains vitamin C, which is important for collagen production. The result is skin that’s smooth, supple and elastic. Post-dinner, it can be tempting to hit the sheets immediately, but supplement the overnight benefits of a healthy diet by taking a moment to remove makeup with kind-to-skin cleansers and facial wipes from Simple Skincare before heading to bed (so skin starts with a glowing base in the morning). Try Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash – it contains vitamins B and E (the same skin-loving ingredients found in leafy greens). It cleanses gently, removing dirt and oil without drying skin and contains no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals that can upset skin.

For more recipes from Krieger and information on how to be kind to skin, visit

Brown bagging potentially leads to $1 million retirement nest egg

Brown bagging potentially leads to $1 million retirement nest egg

(BPT) – Here’s a $1 million idea: making breakfast and lunch at home every day instead of dining out can potentially yield seven figures in retirement savings.

A 25-year-old who eats breakfast at home and bags her lunch can save an extra $10 a day. Invested in a retirement account earning an 8 percent average annual rate of return, those savings could generate more than $1 million by age 67.

This hypothetical example shows how making small changes in behavior may ultimately yield big results, according to Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual Retirement Services. It’s especially instructive when it comes to retirement savings, she says, as many Americans maintain they don’t have the money to contribute to their employer’s retirement plan such as a 401(k), 403(b) or 457.

“Many of us never think twice about how much we really spend on expenses such as dining out, the interest we pay on credit cards, or even cable channels that we no longer watch,” Sarsynski says. “If you track your expenses and think about what you really need, many of us can find money to save and invest.”

Farnoosh Torabi, best-selling author and financial planning coach, agrees with Sarsynski’s assessment and recommends several personal and household expenses to examine for potential savings:

* Reign in big expenses. If your monthly rent or mortgage is eating up more than 25 percent of your take-home pay, look at ways to reduce this big expense. If you have a mortgage, refinancing might be an option. Renters can sometimes renegotiate a lower rent as good tenants are hard to find.

* Trim smaller costs. Brown bagging is one way to save. Track all your expenses to determine where else you might cut back. It’s amazing how extra expenses such as $3 lattes and $10 iTunes down-loads can add up.

* Stick to cash. Using cash instead of credit can save you up to 20 percent. Not only do you incur fewer interest charges, you may ultimately defer some expenses until you have the cash.

* Attack high-interest debt. Credit cards typically represent the most expensive debt so pay off this debt as soon as possible. When you’re debt free, continue paying the same monthly amount to your retirement plan instead.

* Get professional tax help. If you’re middle-aged or older, rely on a certified public accountant to make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the various tax credits and deductions that come from having children, owning a home or contributing to IRA. Put your tax savings or rebate in your retirement account.

* Dump unnecessary baggage. As we get older, we tend to accumulate more things than we need or can reasonably use. Consider saving by downsizing to a smaller home, selling an extra car you no longer use, and clearing out your basement, garage or attic by selling unneeded household items in a tag sale.

* Cut the cable. Re-examine your roster of cable TV channels; you may find you are paying premium prices for channels you rarely watch.

* Spend time rather than money. It’s always tempting to spoil grandkids, nieces and nephews with gifts. You can save money by cutting back on the presents and giving the kids what they really want: your time and attention.

“We all spend more money than we realize on things that don’t necessarily contribute to our happiness or quality of life,” Torabi says. “By taking a hard look at our spending, most of us can find money to contribute to our retirement plan and, ultimately, improve our quality of life when we are no longer working.”

For more information about planning your retirement, go to

6 simple ways to make your bank account work for you

6 simple ways to make your bank account work for you

(BPT) – Are you making your bank account work for you? These days, checking accounts come with a variety of features, such as mobile alerts, that can help you take control of your finances and better manage your spending and saving. Are you taking advantage of them?

The recent Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found that while consumers are widely adopting online and mobile banking, less than one-third are using the mobile alerts feature for their finances.

Follow these tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your banking relationship:

* Stay in-the-know with mobile alerts. Many banks offer banking alerts via email or text that notify you when your balance is low, if a bill is due, when your paycheck is deposited and more. Alerts are a great way to keep track of the funds in your account and help avoid overdrafts and late payments.

* Set up direct deposit. One of the easiest ways to get the most out of your checking account is by setting up direct deposit. With direct deposit your money is quickly and securely deposited into your account, and banks often use this feature as a qualifier to avoid monthly maintenance fees.

* Track your spending using online and mobile banking. Online and mobile banking are simple and easy ways to keep an eye on your account balance and spending. With your computer or smartphone, you can securely bank almost anytime, virtually anywhere. Many online and mobile banking services also enable you to transfer funds from your savings account to your checking to ensure purchases are covered.

* Use a debit card. Debit cards allow you to access your checking account conveniently and securely, without having to carry a lot of cash. You can use a debit card at a variety of locations worldwide or at ATMs for deposits, withdrawals or transfers between accounts. What’s more, debit cards offer security if your card is lost or stolen or if fraudulent transactions occur.

* Pay your bills online, write fewer checks. Online bill pay provides an easy and convenient alternative to writing checks. Whether you’re paying the phone bill or paying back a friend for dinner, doing so with online banking keeps an electronic record of your balance, and eliminates the uncertainty of writing checks and waiting for them to be cashed.

* Learn how to help avoid overdrafts. It can be easy to lose track of your money when you’re busy balancing everyday life. You can help avoid overdrafts and the fees that come with them by keeping a close eye on both your account balance and the money you plan to spend. Some banks are directly addressing this challenge by offering new accounts that specifically help protect customers from overdrafts, such as SafeBalance Banking from Bank of America.

“Some customers are seeking more predictability in the way they bank, and that includes preventing overdraft fees,” says Titi Cole, retail products and underwriting executive for Bank of America. “It is important for customers to know that there are accounts available to help you spend only what you have.”

Using these convenient account features can make your life and your relationship with your money much simpler and more productive. To learn more, visit, Member FDIC.

5 job interview questions you must be prepared to answer

5 job interview questions you must be prepared to answer

(BPT) – It’s a competitive market for all types of jobs, from entry level on up. If you have an interview scheduled, make certain you’re prepared for the questions you’ll be asked.

The first step is to do your homework, which includes researching the company, the industry and the job position you’re applying for, says Jodi Berkshire, assistant director of Career Services at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. No one can be prepared for every question an employer might ask, but you should be prepared with ways to gracefully answer categories of questions. Here are Berkshire’s top five job interview questions to anticipate:

1. “Tell me about yourself.” Don’t mistake this one for an easy question. If you don’t carefully prepare your answer prior to the interview, it will show. Craft a short response that gives a thumbnail sketch of you professionally. This is a great place to insert some of your sterling qualities and accomplishments, and you should make sure that they dovetail with the requirements of the position for which you are interviewing. Be positive and enthusiastic, and whatever you do, don’t ramble.

2. “What are your strengths?” “Why should we hire you?” Here’s a simple way to prepare. Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half vertically. On one side list all the specific technical qualities that you possess. Look at the job description and consider each skill that is mentioned. For example, if the job description mentions software skills that are required and you have those skills, go ahead and list them. In the other column, list the personal qualities that you bring to the job. These could be things like punctuality, reliability, enthusiasm, work ethic, professionalism, etc. Again, take another look at the job description and anticipate what qualities that hiring manager would be looking for. Here is your chance to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to let them know what a great addition you’ll be to their company.

3. “What is your greatest weakness?” “How have you overcome it?” You have two good choices here. You can either choose a weakness that is really a strength to an employer (you become so engrossed in your work that you find it hard to take a break until the project is completed), or choose something that you had to master at the beginning of your career that would be an expected learning curve for any entry-level recent college grad (you didn’t really grasp project management in your first job and you had to make a deliberate effort to learn about time lines and time management). If you choose the second example, make sure that you stress how your performance increased once you mastered the missing skill.

4. “What do you know about our company?” “How did you hear about us?” Or, “Why do you want to work for us?” These are all variations on the same theme. The real question is: Did you do your homework? Any interviewer will expect that you have researched the company. That means that you should know their website inside and out. Have you Googled the company? Have you read any recent articles about them? If the only information you have to offer is what any person off the street who isn’t applying for the position knows, it shows that you don’t care enough and you’re not very thorough.

5. “What would your past employer tell me about you?” Again, tread carefully. Do not under any circumstances say anything negative about any past employer. Settle on a few of your strongest qualities and concentrate on those that reflect your strong work ethic and professionalism. Here is another perfect opportunity to sell yourself, but once again, be careful not to ramble.

Once you’ve done your research, practiced answers to commonly asked questions and become comfortable with the idea of selling yourself, remember to smile. In most interview situations, the candidate who appears to be relaxed, confident (not arrogant) and enthusiastic usually has the best chance of being hired.

For more information about The Art Institutes, visit

The secret to achieving better work-life balance

The secret to achieving better work-life balance

(BPT) – If you’re feeling overworked and finding it a challenge to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, then you’re not alone. Achieving the elusive work-life balance may be getting harder with today’s connected lifestyle, but it is still possible.

A better work-life balance doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires a lot of patience, careful thinking and attention toward understanding what is most important to you and your family. First you must focus on prioritizing your personal and professional life. Consider all the things that compete for your time. Then decide what to keep and what to discard. Think of it as streamlining your priorities, sorted by the activities that are the most important.

“No matter how hard you try, you can’t squeeze more hours into your day,” says Dr. Nancy Aragon, professor of industrial organizational psychology at Argosy University, Online Programs. “What you can do though is make more efficient use of your time. It takes persistent planning to get a management system started, but keeping a time diary helps you to become more aware of where your time is being spent.”

Aragon recommends a weekly block schedule coupled with a daily to-do list. The block schedule should be a fairly permanent, regular weekly plan that allows adequate time for necessary, recurring activities such as cooking, exercising, homework, grocery shopping, work, etc. A critical element to include in the block schedule is “flexible time” or free time that is purposely built into your schedule. Scheduling flexible time is a way to account for unexpected, but inevitable events to be worked into your life with minimal disruption to your regular routine. In effect, you plan for the unexpected.

And although technology has the potential to improve the quality and efficiency of your daily life, it also has the potential to encroach on your work-life balance. “Set boundaries when it comes to technology,” says Aragon. “Schedule time for you and your family when it comes to accepting calls, texts, or emails. Make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what acceptable technology use is, and what crosses the line into technology abuse.” In other words, technology doesn’t have to be eliminated, but its use does need to be purposefully managed and monitored.

Also keep in mind the power of attitude. Learn to monitor your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships and everyone around you. A positive attitude can make a big difference in your energy, your focus and your pace toward achieving balance. You can’t always change your circumstances, but you certainly can change how you react to them.

In addition, do not try to live up to other’s expectations. “Work-life balance is a very personal matter. If you seek to find your own balance by emulating the ideals, priorities and expectations of others, you are doomed to miss the mark,” adds Aragon. “It can require some courage to live by your own values and ideals rather than what seems to be the prevailing social norm, but the payoff is worth taking that venture out of your normative comfort zone.” This is an important truth to keep in mind for not only improving your work-life balance, but also finding success.

In the end, you need to find the right balance that works for you. Celebrate your successes and don’t dwell on your failures. Life is a process, and so is striving for balance in your life.

3 empowering reasons why women can be better investors

(BPT) – Despite the earning power of today’s women, many still shy away from investing and long-term planning. One of the reasons may be a lack of confidence. A 2014 report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that half of women say they are not confident about the ability to retire comfortably.

“There’s no reason a woman should shy away from investing in her future,” says Nicole Sherrod, managing director for TD Ameritrade’s Active Trader group.

Sherrod points to several factors that should encourage women when they think about their finances and investing for retirement, including:

* As of 2009, women controlled as much as 70 percent of household purchases and $20 trillion in consumer spending worldwide. “In a market dictated by supply and demand, women are the demand,” Sherrod says.

* Women may be less likely than men to be overconfident investors. They may also be naturally more risk averse and more likely to hold investments for the long haul, which many financial professionals and academics see as incredibly valuable when investing for long-term goals like retirement.

“Sherrod adds, “Pair that with the fact that working women are estimated to drive an increase in earned income globally from $12.5 trillion in 2013 to $18.5 trillion by 2018, and it appears that a shift may be taking place.”

Whether married or single, women can and should view retirement planning and investing as well within their abilities. Sherrod offers some advice to help women who still may not feel quite confident:

If you’re planning as a couple, your investing personalities will almost certainly be different. You can, however, try to complement each other. Both spouses should attend meetings with a financial planner or registered investment advisor and allow an approach to evolve from both of your differences. One spouse may pick up on a nuance the other misses. One may be the voice of reason when the other is tempted to rush into a decision without fully researching it.

Or if you’re taking a do-it-yourself approach, take advantage of free tools and information to help you make informed financial decisions. TD Ameritrade offers a variety of free investor education and third-party research reports that cover a wide range of topics from retirement to analyst rankings of individual stocks. Used with other tools, these reports can help you learn terminology, plan for retirement, examine the fundamentals of a company’s stock, or dig into an array of other investing ideas.

Use technology you’ve already embraced. Mobile apps and push notifications can help you keep a close eye on your career, your family and your calendar, so use them to keep a close eye on your investments as well. Your time is valuable. Make technology work for you and create easy routines that help you stay on top of the market.

Finally, Sherrod points out that women can lean on their strengths and shift their lenses.

“Women are often able to look at the landscape of products they need for themselves, their families or their homes, and then search for the best possible product for the best value. So they shouldn’t find it a stretch to apply those same principles to investing decisions. Shifting your lens to look not only at the products you buy, but also at the companies that produce them can help open your eyes to potential investing opportunities. Of course, just because you’ve found a brand or product you like is no guarantee that you have found a winning stock.”

For more resources on investing, visit

Provided by: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC

Nomophobia: When a modern smartphone affliction leads to addiction

people on cell phone
Nomophobia: When a modern smartphone affliction leads to addiction

(BPT) – Everyday technology consumes everyone’s lives as the phone, computer, tablet and other high tech devices have become not just an object, but also a close companion. And for those who are extremely connected to their devices, going without them, even for only a few minutes, can be an anxiety-filled experience.

A majority of American adults (56 percent) own smartphones, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Having the ability to check your mail, play games and browse the Internet right in your pocket is a leap forward for technology and staying connected to the workplace, but it may come at a cost.

Nomophobia, or the pathological fear of remaining out of touch with technology, is a relatively modern affliction. It’s basically a side effect from changes the mobile phone has made to human habits, behaviors and even the way we perceive reality. Entire relationships are becoming defined through mobile texting and colorful little emoticons, from saying “I love you” to “I think we should move on.”

So how did it come to this? Have smart­phones become an exten­sion of Americans or is everyone simply becoming victims of a fast-paced, always connected society? Chances are it’s a little bit of both.

Dr. Chuck Howard, licensed psychologist and chair of the psychology programs at Argosy University, Denver, believes it can be more complex than simply stamping a label on the problem.

“Nomophobia is a result of people becoming more and more electronically connected to the point that their technology-based network and relationships become their home community,” says Howard. “Losing that connection is essentially a form of electronic banishment. They fear being tossed out of, or losing their ‘social village.’”

The term was originally coined from a 2010 study by YouGov, a UK-based research organization that wanted to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that men and women often felt stressed when their mobile phones were turned off.

“Nomophobia can be a symptom of a potential addiction,” says Howard. “Users who are happy and having a good time when on their device, then face great stress and anxiety without it. They may obsess about it. They can’t put it down. This is when actual addiction becomes a threat.”

When you see a behavior becoming destructive, and admit to having a problem, you can handle it in the same way as other types of addiction. “Develop strategies for meeting your social needs in other ways … without depending on an electronic platform,” suggests Howard.

Start by resisting the urge to constantly check your phone. Try limiting your number of mobile social media networks and consider joining more in-person professional networking groups or sports clubs. Set aside some time to leave your phone alone, such as at dinner, with friends or going to sleep.

If it becomes an addiction and begins to strain your relationships, consider asking others around you what they think. Be open to a sort of intervention where friends and family may candidly tell you their thoughts. No need to go cold-turkey, just take some small steps at a time to disconnect and enjoy the world around you, without looking through a smartphone screen. And lastly if you can’t do it alone, then seek professional help.