London: Public Transportation…

The main source of public transport in London revolves around the Underground (or the Tube as it is known to Londoners). This extensive network of 12 lines can get you to most places in the centre of the city quickly. Delays on the Tube are not uncommon, so look out for service updates immediately beyond the ticket barriers at most stations or listen for announcements on the platforms. However, even with a delay here or there, the Tube is often the fastest way to cover a large amount of ground.

Trains and platforms are described as Eastbound, Westbound, Northbound or Southbound depending on the direction of the line and the station.  However, be sure to confirm that the direction of the train more or less coincides with your destination. The front of the train, and the platform indicator, will show the ultimate destination of the train which is usually (though not always) the last station on the line. It can still be confusing until you get the hang of it all, but don’t despair, help is at hand: Tube staff are knowledgeable about the system and can always be found at station ticket barriers and also on most platforms.  Also, most platforms have white circular Help Points from which you can contact a central information point. Press the green button to report an emergency and the blue button for general queries. At some stations the Help Point also has a red fire alarm that you should use if you spot a fire.  It’s also very helpful to pick up one of the free maps available at all train station ticket offices. Each line has its own unique colour so its easy to identify each line on maps and signs throughout the system. Similar maps in a variety of languages can also be found online.

The Tube maps on the station walls are diagrammatic representations of the routes and are drawn so that they are easy to read:   they do not provide an accurate depiction of the physical location of the stations. Thus, even though you would not be able to determine it from the official Undergound map, some tube stations are within easy walking distance of each other . Knowing this can be useful if you know that where you are going is near a particular tube station: it could save you an unnecessary change onto another line with the attendant waste of time.  Here’s a list of stations within walking distance of each other:

  • Paddington (B, Ci, Di, H) – Lancaster Gate (Ce)
  • Great Portland Street (H, Ci, M) – Regent’s Park (B)
  • Great Portland Street (H, Ci, M) – Warren Street (N, V)
  • Great Portland Street (H, Ci, M) – Goodge Street (N)
  • Warren Street (N, V) – Euston Square (H, Ci, M)
  • Euston (N, V) – Euston Square (H, Ci, M)
  • Bayswater (Ci, D) – Queensway (Ce)
  • Tottenham Court Road (Ce) – Covent Garden (P)
  • Farringon (H, Ci, M) – Chancery Lane (Ce)
  • Cannon Street (Ci, Di) – Bank (Ce, N, W, DLR)
  • Cannon Street (Ci, Di) – St Paul’s (Ce)
  • Mansion House (Ci, Di) – St Paul’s (Ce)
  • Blackfriars (Ci, Di) – St Paul’s (Ce)

The letters in parentheses are the lines: B – Bakerloo, Ce – Central, Ci – Circle, Di – District, DLR – Docklands Light Railway, H – Hammersmith & City, M – Metropolitan, N – Northern, P – Piccadilly, V – Victoria, W – Waterloo & City.

And two particular pairs of stations to note: Holborn (Ce, P) and Covent Garden (P) and Leicester Square (N, P) and Covent Garden (P) are so close together that if you are travelling to Covent Garden and pass through Holborn on the Central line, or Leicester Square on the Northern line it’s quicker to walk from either station than it is to change to the Piccadilly line for Covent Garden. While you are in Covent Garden you might want to visit London’s Transport Museum .

Getting yourself a street map that has Tube lines and stations marked will help overcome these problems. Alternatively, you can download the geographically accurate tube map to a device.

It is always cheaper to use an Oyster Card (or contactless Bank card) than buy single tickets.  Single tickets are priced at a deliberately high level, two or three times the equivanet cost of using oyster.  The point is, they don’t want you to pay cash. Using an Oyster card, a single fare is £2.30 if you are travelling within the central Zone 1. So the most affordable way to ride the Tube all day to your heart’s content is to buy an Oyster Card (£10 including £5 credit) or a Travelcard, both discussed below. Note that the Visitor Oyster Card offers no benefit (in fact – less functionality than a regular oyster card) other than home delivery.

It’s best to avoid the peak hours of travel on the Tube, both to save money and to avoid thinking you’ve just boarded the last train out of Calcutta as everyone squishes their way into the overcrowded car. And don’t forget to heed the “Mind the Gap”  announcements that will continuously remind you at many stops.

On hot days it is also advisable to take a bottle of water with you as some Underground trains are not air-condtioned (those on the subsurface lines are, generally, and by end-2016 all will be, but those on the deep tubes cannot be). During particularly hot spells of weather water is sometimes handed out on the Underground. Delays seem to also happen more often during the summer and can make this situation worse if you haven’t brought some water to help keep you cool and hydrated.

First and last trains: Last trains leave central London at around 00:30 weekdays, 23:30 sundays.  First trains leave the suburbs around 05:00. Check the TfL Journey Planner to establish if you can make the trip by Tube when travelling early or late. Finally, if you are travelling with a group of up to five and it’s not rush hour, you might find that a taxi doesn’t cost much more than the Tube would cost for the lot of you, and it can be much quicker, for short trips.

Visitor Oyster Card

If you are not in London yet, access the Visitor Shop and buy a Visitor Oyster Card. It will be delivered to your door and you will not need to queue to buy a ticket once you get here. You will also have access to exclusive discounts in some of London’s top attractions.

Travelcards

You can buy a Travelcard for 1 day – or as a period travelcard covering any variation of 7 to 365 consecutive days.  The travelcard can be issued for any combination of travel zones. For travel within Central London, a Zone 1 & 2 pass is fine.

There was a major revision to price structures in 2015.  For those only travelling in central London, a period travelcard only saves money for stays over five days.  For stays of five days or less, using Oyster “pay as you go” or contactless bank card (which is capped at £6.40 per day in zones 1 / 2) will be cheaper.  A paper travelcard may still be a good option if intending to use the 2-4-1 offers, see separate article.

There’s no need for an All-Zone pass unless you plan on heading out to the more suburban areas of London. Fees for Travelcards start at £12 for a one day Z1-4 pass and are valid on  the Underground, Docklands Light Railway. Bus system and National Rail (but not the Heathrow Express) for the entire day, depending on whether you bought a Peak or Off-Peak pass. They also give you a one-third discount off river services. Off-Peak passes start after 9:30 am – though in central London there is no difference in cost for a Peak or OffPeak Travelcard.  A Travelcard for 7-days covering Zones 1-6 will cost an adult £50.40 but can be worth purchasing if you will be using the transport system across a variety of Zones, hopping on and off a lot of trains each day that the Travelcard will be valid.

If you are an older traveller resident in England, you can have a Senior Railcard registered onto an Oyster, which reduces the cost of off-peak Tube fares by a third.

Engineering work and planning your journey

The Underground is experiencing a phenomenal programme of repair, refurbishment and modernisation work. This is the oldest and one of the most extensive subway systems in the world, and following some years of under investment by governments of all political persuasions it has finally been recognised that things wear out and need fixing!  Unfortunately, for long-term gain this means short-term pain and some stations, station facilities (escalators/lifts etc) and sections of line may be out of service at various times, especially weekends and/or late evenings/early mornings.

All these planned closures are well publicised, look for posters and leaflets at stations and listen for announcements over the PA systems on trains and stations. Better still, check whether the route you want to take is affected before you travel by visiting  the deidcated section of their website: Check before you travel by using the TfL Journey Planner (which also works for bus, tram, DLR, river and some suburban rail routes). There is also a 24 hour, 7 day per week telephone number +44 (0) 343 222 1234  you can call to speak to a real life travel advisor who will help you plan a journey. Unusually for the UK these people are actually based in London and not in some random call centre miles, or even continents away, now there’s a novelty! Finally if you really need to speak to someone face to face, or find yourself hankering after a bus tour while in London, visit one of the TfL Travel Information Centres.

The Bus System

Outside of the centre of London, Tube stations are farther apart, so buses help fill the gaps.  Also, the budget-conscious will find that the bus offers a cheaper alternative, even if it is a slower journey.

Cash fares for London buses have been abolished – you cannot pay cash. To travel by bus you need either an Oystercard, a contactless Bank card or a paper BusPass or Travelcard. A bus fare costs £1.50 if using an Oyster Card or contactless card.  If you use only buses, the fare is capped at £4.40 (£4.50 from 2.1.16) per day for Oyster or contactless users. You can top-up your Oyster from tube stations and newsagents. The One Day Travelcard is valid until 4:30 the following morning, so you don’t need to worry about getting home after a late evening out. The bus is a nice alternative to the Tube as well because it offers more chances for sightseeing. Plus, it gets you out of the stuffy, un-air conditioned Underground stations, which is definitely a good thing to keep in mind during the hot summer months.

The bus stops are well signposted and each stop gives information about all the bus destinations, alternative stops nearby for other buses, frequency, etc. On most routes buses are frequent during normal Monday-Friday daytime hours, with them becoming less frequent early morning, late evening and weekends.

Do note that in very busy areas serviced by many buses – like Oxford Street – not all buses stop at the same places. Each stop will have a large sign showing on a map where all the various buses stop. While the tourist mantra that “all buses eventually go to Trafalgar Square” is not quite true, the entire city is well covered by bus routes and most trips can be completed with no more than one change.

A Travelcard purchased for the Tube is also good on the buses, but bus passes are not good for the tube.

If using the buses the spider maps are especially useful as they give complete details for each major bus stop. It is helpful to find the closest stop to your hotel and to print out that spider map before you begin your trip. The only tricky bit is that the overview map is very short of detail and the novice traveller will need to click on several options before finding which bit of London matches their location. If your hotel is a bit away from a Tube station, be sure to find the information on a bus route that takes you to the Tube.

But other than that, you’re not likely to be able to have information on all the bus routes in advance.  You can always try finding a stop near wherever you happen to be, and reading the information there.

On regular buses, only board via the front door and either show your ticket or pass to the driver, touch your Oyster or Contactless card on the reader. On “new routemaster” buses you may board any of the three doors if using Oyster or Contactless.  If using a paper travelcard you must board at the front and show your ticket to the driver. There are Oyster readers at each door.  If you are using an ENCTS pass, just show it to the driver – do not offer it up to the Oyster reader.

Routemaster red bus heritage routes

To experience the “heritage routes”, ride on an old Routemaster red london bus, a design icon synonymous with London, use the 15 from Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill. Standard fares apply on the historic route. Bus Passes, Travelcards, Freedom Passes, ENCTS free passes, and Oyster cards are accepted – show the conductor your pass- but contactless bank cards are not.  Traditional Routemaster buses have taken out of public service from all other routes, though the “New Routemaster” now operates on many routes in central London. Traditional Routemasters are used by several private companies for London tours and entertainment – at a price!

Bus Stops

There are two types of bus stops; compulsory and request.  Compulsory stops are white with a red roundel; request stops are red with a white roundel.   The principle is that buses will always call at compulsory stops unless they are full but only at request stops if a passenger on board rings the bell once to signal that he/she wishes to get off or if an intending passenger at the bus stop hails the bus by holding his/her arm out parallell to the ground.   In recent years, Londoners have taken to signalling their desire to get on or off a bus by ringing the bell/holding their arm out irrespective of whether the stop in question is compulsory or request.   Visitors are advised to do likewise: there is now a risk that even at compulsory stops drivers will carry on regardless if no-one has indicated that they wish to get onor off.   Two tips about ringing the bell: (i) if someone has already rung it there will be a STOPPING sign illuminated at the front, so there’s no need to repeat the operation: and (ii) remember to signal in plenty of time – the driver won’t brake hard if you suddenly signal as he/she passes the stop.

Night Buses and 24-hour Buses

Night buses cover the whole of the London and generally run all through the night at frequencies ranging from hourly to 4 an hour, seven nights a week.   The most densely trafficked routes are the radial ones from the centre out into the suburbs and vice versa.   Those that follow exactly the same route as their daytime equivalents carry the same route numbers.   However, some differ from the daytime routes: these can be recognised by the prefix ‘ N’ in front of the route number.    Check the times and the route detail on notices at the bus stops.   Also, remember that, as at night all stops are officially treated as request stops, you should always signal to the driver that you want to get on or off.

The Overground, TfL Rail, Light Rail and Trams

The Overground (orange roundels) is an extensive network of trains (a few of which are actually underground!) run by Transport for London. Only one station is in Zone 1. Use it just as the Tube.TfL Rail is what will become Crossrail, and runs from Shenfield in Essex to Liverpool St. Fares on these services are similar to those on the Tube.

You can think of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the Tramlink as extensions of the Underground. Travelcards purchased at Tube Stations will be valid on the DLR and Tramlink.

The DLR is the easiest way to reach a number of attractions in East London.  The DLR connects with a number of the other train services (including connections at Tower Hill or Bank Stations) and can be used to reach Greenwich, Canary Wharf, and Stratford.

The TramLink runs across South London with three routes. The first takes you across South London starting at Wimbledon with many connections to the National Rail System. The ride from Wimbledon to Croydon takes approximately 25 minutes, then carries on to New Addington arriving about 15 minutes later. The second route goes from Croydon to Beckenham Junction taking about 22 minutes. The third routes runs from Croydon to Elmers End and takes about 15 minutes. TramLink is considered part of the bus network so a Travelcard or bus pass is valid regardless of zones..

River Services

There are a number of different routes along the River Thames. The faster commuter services operate all day from Greenwich Pier to Embankment and from Putney and Chelsea Harbour to Blackfriars during Peak Hours only. These routes will pass a number of places of interest including the Houses of Parliament and London Bridge. A return fare from Putney to Blackfriars will cost approximately 12 pounds.

There are also a number of leisure cruises available. The length of time it takes on a number of routes means that you should consider them an attraction in their own right rather than as just a means to get from one place to another. The journey along the River Thames, once out of the City, gives you the chance to view a number of the Riverside towns and a chance to see a large variety of birds and other wildlife that live on the banks of the River Thames. Most leisure services will also have toilet facilities (important on a two hour plus trip) and light snacks and drink available (although these can be expensive so plan ahead and bring your own). A number of routes will only make a couple of round trips each day so it important to get hold of the timetable and plan your trip in advance. The timetable will also vary depending on tides, weather conditions, and season which is another good reason to plan ahead as much as possible.

Fares for River Services vary a great deal between routes (and provider). Travelcards will get you a discount off the price of the Riverboat services if you show your Travelcard at the time of purchasing your ticket (this discount is currently 1/3 off the price). You can also purchase DLR Rail and River Rover tickets (around £9) which combine travel on the DLR with hop-on, hop-off travel on City Cruises riverboats between Westminster, Waterloo, Tower and Greenwich Piers. You should try to purchase your ticket from the ticket office prior to boarding the boat at the pier where you are stating your journey. However on some services you will need to buy your ticket on the boat so don’t worry if you can’t find a ticket office or if its closed.

National Rail

Once you leave Central London or if you are travelling South of the River Thames, the best public transport option will often be National Rail. There are numerous connections to the Rail System from the Tube. Travelcards can be used for travel on the National Rail (but not the Heathrow Express). Single and Return Fares are also available. Oyster cards can be used up to Zone 6 except certain services including Heathrow Express,  Heathrow Connect and HS1.

There are a number of attractions within Central London that also require you to transfer to a National Rail Train as no underground station is available. Attractions within London that have an “national rail” station only a short walk away include Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, The Tower of London, and the London Aquarium. The easiest way to access Hampton Court Palace will be the South West Trains which runs directly from London Waterloo to Hampton Court (although the journey by Riverboat can also be a good option if you have the time).

Complete information on the London transport system can be found on the Transport for London webssite. This site also provides a Journey Planner which can be useful, although it might not always bring up the best route.

Public Transport Etiquette

Here are a few rules that will help the users of public transport in London get on amicably with their fellow passengers:

Allow passengers to exit before boarding. Move to the centre of a crowded train if possible. Give up your seat to those who might really need it.  Avoid loud conversation. Avoiding eye contact with other passengers may seem odd but is a solid British tradition. You will note the number of passengers engaged in heads down focus on the latest issue of Metro. Some, though not those who have to clear up the mess, consider it OK to leave your newspaper on the train and it is fine to pick up an abandoned one that has been left behind. If you are wearing a backpack or carrying parcels, take care that they do not interfere with the space of others. It is generally best to hold your backpack in front of you while travelling on public transport, especially during times when services are particularly crowded. Have your ticket ready on entrance and exit. Move down the platform as best you can during peak travel times. Check the indicator for the next train time before crushing into a crowded train. Sometimes an extra minute on the platform brings along a much emptier car.

Please be aware that during the peak hours most people are only interested in getting from A to B and usually travel at great speed with their heads down. Don’t take it too personally if someone is rude after they have just run in to you, just accept that their pace of life isn’t as peaceful as yours 🙂

Please stand to the right and walk on the left when riding the escalator. Don’t be the one who holds everyone up because they are standing on the left of the escalator.   Don’t stop and stand at the bottom of the escalator to check your map or look for the correct platform.  Remember hundreds of people are being propelled towards you and they can not stop.

Quotation:https://www.tripadvisor.com

Advertisements

Visitor Oyster card in London…

 

A Visitor Oyster card is a smartcard. It’s a quick and easy way to pay for journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.

Put money on your Visitor Oyster card and use it to pay as you go.

Visitor Oyster card cut-out image

Why buy a Visitor Oyster card?

Save time

  • Buy a Visitor Oyster card before you leave home and have it delivered to you.
  • Your card is ready to go as soon as you arrive in London, so no queuing at stations.

Great value

  • Pay as you go fares are cheaper than buying a paper single ticket.
  • Your Visitor Oyster card offers daily capping. This means you can travel as much as you like in a single day and the amount you pay for your travel is limited (or capped). For example, you can travel as many times as you like in a day in Zones 1 and 2 (from 04:30 to 04:29 the next day) and you won’t be charged more than £6.50.
  • By comparison, a Day Travelcard is more expensive and will cost you £12.10.
  • Use your card and save money with special offer and discounts at restaurants, shops, galleries and entertainment venues.

How to use a Visitor Oyster card?

On Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London

  • Touch your Visitor Oyster card flat on a yellow card reader when you enter a station to start a journey.
  • At the end of your journey, touch your card flat on the yellow card reader as you leave the station; this means you’ll be charged the correct fare for the journey you’ve taken.

If you don’t touch in and out on a yellow card reader,  you might be charged a maximum fare, charged a penalty fare or prosecuted. Find out more about touching in and out.

On bus and tram services

Only touch your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey. Don’t touch out when you get off a bus or tram, or you will be issued with a penalty fare.

On the Thames Clippers River Bus services

Touch in your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader when asked to do so by a member of the staff and to touch out again at the end of your journey.

Make sure you have enough credit on your card before you go to the pier, as you won’t be able to top up your card there.

How much does a Visitor Oyster card cost?

A Visitor Oyster card costs £3 (plus postage) and is pre-loaded with pay as you go credit for you to spend on travel. You can choose how much credit to add to your card: £10, £15, £20, £25, £30, £35, £40 or £50.

The credit on your card never expires – it stays there until you use it. If you run out of credit on your card, it’s easy to top it up and use it again.

How much pay as you go credit to add?

  • If you’re visiting London for two days, start with £15 credit.
  • If you’re visiting London for four days, start with £30 credit.

Pay as you go fares

Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services

  • Check the single fare finder to find the cost of a journey between two stations (e.g. from Heathrow Airport to Piccadilly Circus)
  • For pay as you go caps and Travelcard prices, check the fares table

Bus and tram services

On buses and trams an adult single pay as you go fare is £1.50 and the daily fare cap is £4.50. You can’t use cash to pay for your bus fare.

Trains to/from Gatwick Airport

You can use pay as you go using your Visitor Oyster card on National Rail services between Gatwick Airport and central London, including Gatwick Express services:

  • A single journey on Gatwick Express costs £19.80 at all times
  • A single journey on Southern or Thameslink train services to/from central London costs £14 at peak times and £8 at off-peak times

Thames Clippers river bus services/Emirates Air Line cable car

River buses and the Emirates Air Line cable car are great ways to explore London.

Your can pay as you go using your Visitor Oyster card on Thames Clippers river bus services. Find out more.

Your Visitor Oyster card is accepted on the Emirates Air Line cable car. Pay as you go fares are up to 26% cheaper than buying a paper single ticket. Find out more about Emirates Air Line cable car.

Top up – add more credit to your card

If you run out of credit on your Visitor Oyster card, it’s easy to top it up at:

Unused credit on your Visitor Oyster card

The pay as you go credit on your Visitor Oyster card never expires so you can keep your card until your next visit to London, or lend it to family and friends. Please note that the £3 cost of the card is not refundable.

For a refund of any unused credit, you can:

  • Use a Tube station ticket machine for balances of up to £10 (after 48 hours of using the card for the first time)
  • Take your card to a Visitor Centre
  • Post your card to us

If you take your card to a Visitor Centre (except Gatwick), your refund will be paid in cash or by debit/credit card. Your Visitor Oyster card will be returned to you for future use.

If you get a refund of up to £10 at Tube station ticket machines, your refund will be paid back in cash dispensed from the ticket machine. Your Visitor Oyster card will be cancelled, so you won’t be able to use it again. However, you can keep your card as a souvenir and still use it to take advantage of all the special offers and discounts available with a Visitor Oyster card.

If you post your card to us with a note asking for a refund, we’ll refund any credit by cheque in GBP, although we cannot return your card.

Send your card to:

TfL Customer Services
14 Pier Walk
4th Floor
London SE10 0ES

Travelling with children

Children under 11 travel free on buses and trams. Children under 11 also travel free on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and some National Rail services when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (up to four children per adult).

If you’re travelling with children aged 11-15, buy a Visitor Oyster card before you leave home and, when you arrive in London, you can ask a member of our staff to add a Young Visitor discount to a Visitor Oyster card at:

  • most Tube stations
  • our 8 Visitor Centres
  • Victoria National Rail station ticket office

The Young Visitor discount gives your child half adult rate pay as you go discount for up to 14 days.

You can also buy child Travelcards online for children aged 11-15.

Find out more about travelling with children.

Special offers and discounts

With your Visitor Oyster card you can enjoy special offers and discounts and save money in leading London restaurants, shops and entertainment venues – plus discounts on the Emirates Air Line cable car.

Find out more about Visitor Oyster card special offers.

Where to buy a Visitor Oyster card

You can’t buy a Visitor Oyster card in London.

Go to visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk to buy your card before you leave home and it will be delivered to your home address.

No time to buy online?

If you don’t have time to buy your card online, you can also buy a Visitor Oyster card before arriving in London from different locations in the UK and overseas.

Quotation:https://tfl.gov.uk

5 Ways To Relax More At Work…

When work gets stressful, you need all the time you can get to unwind and get back in the swing of it. Studies have shown that self-guided relaxation and imagery is useful for improving people’s sense of well-being even during periods of extreme stress. A 15-minute break or a half-hour lunch can seem like too little time to unwind. These five tips will help you make the most of your short break times and get your game face on feeling as relaxed as possible.

 Take A Walk Around The Building

If your office has a garden or park area, spending your break time sitting or walking through it can greatly increase your relaxation and your satisfaction with your work environment. Employees with access to a garden have reported higher employer retention rates and were even able to higher better quality personnel. If your office has the space or is thinking about relocating, share this article with your boss to encourage them to consider the benefits having a garden or park can provide.

Change Your Desktop Background

If an outdoor space is not available to you at your office, you can still receive some of the positive benefits of nature simply by changing your background image to a nature scene. Scientists have demonstrated that clearing your brain by focusing on nature can help you relax and re-focus in less than five minutes. Find a great nature picture that you love, and when you need help relaxing and focusing, simply clear your screen and focus on the nature image for a few minutes.  Here’s one to get you started.

aspen-1363775_1920

See, you feel better already!

Try using nature images as your screensaver so that you automatically experience the boost every time you unlock your computer.

Tense Your Muscles

This sounds counter-intuitive. “Tense my muscles? I thought I was supposed to be relaxing?” It’s true however. Tensing and releasing individual muscle groups is a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training and it has been demonstrated to provide aid in relaxation. In a nutshell, all you need to do is close your eyes, focus on individual muscle groups, and take turns tensing, then relaxing the muscle groups.

Use of a guided audio or video can increase the effectiveness of this technique according to the study.

Want to take this a little further? If you’re not worried about co-workers asking you what you are doing, incorporating pushing against during the tightening phase changes this from Progressive Muscle Relaxation to Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PMF). You can read more on how to incorporate PMF into neck and shoulder relaxation at Yoga International.

Meditate

Meditation has been shown by scientists to aid in relaxation and stress relief as well as a slew of other benefits. You can start to gain the benefit of meditation with as little as five to ten minutes – perfect for those short breaks and lunches with time left over. A simple meditation method taught by Bhante Sujatha, a monk from Sri Lanka, is to close your eyes, and repeat this phrase to yourself: “I am well, I am happy, I am peaceful.”

Depending on how much time you have to meditate, he further advises to spend more time, meditating each section of the phrase and what it means to you. You can substitute this phrase for any quote, word, thought, or verse that is meaningful and uplifting to you.

Sell Your Boss On The Benefits Of A Relaxing Work Environment

Studies have shown improvements in employee work behavior and even a decrease in absenteeism when employers provide training and means for employees to be able to relax. Share this article, bring in a book about the benefits of relaxation such as “The Happiness Track” and recommend simple things like adding a comfortable chair conducive for relaxing or meditating in the break room. Bigger office? Think big! Some airports have dedicated relaxation or meditation rooms. Have some outdoor space? A sand pit for drawing in the sand can be both stylish and relaxing.

Remember, our bodies are designed for periods of rest between periods of stress. These five tips will help you take a moment from the stress of work to help your mind unwind, enabling you to power through your day with even greater productivity.

Need more? Check out these 20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless and are all great candidates for your new desktop background or screensaver.

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

Top Cancer-Fighting Foods…

For people who are interested in promoting their health, cancer can be a big worry. It is a leading cause of death in countries all over the world and the emotional, physical, and economic cost is high. And despite many important advances in recent decades, most cancer treatment still centers around some combination of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy — and all of these treatments can carry risks.

However, the good news is that there are simple lifestyle choices that everyone can make that can reduce the cancer risk. One of these choices is a diet that contains the following anti-cancer foods.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Crucifers are cancer-fighting foods

Cruciferous vegetables are a family of nutritional powerhouses and include such foods as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. These are one of the best groups of cancer-fighting foods to eat if you are interested in following an anti-cancer diet.

Why? They have sulfur-containing compounds called sulforaphanes that, in multiple laboratory studies, have been found to boost the body’s ability to fight off cancer as well as removing cancer-causing substances and specifically targeting cancer cells. Crucifers have been studied for several different types of cancer, including cancers of the liver, skin, stomach, andbladder.

Berries

barries are cancer-fighting foods

Berries are another group of foods with proven anti-cancer properties and are frankly one of the most delicious ways to enjoy an anti-cancer diet. Members of this illustrious group — including strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and acai berries — are some of the richest sources of antioxidant compounds like anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are the chemicals that give berries their color, but they are also well-known for their ability to fight cancer by reducing blood flow to malignant tumors and encouraging cancer cell death. They have been tested and found effective against cancers of the esophagus, colon, and skin.

Alliums

alliums are cancer-fighting foods

The allium family includes foods like onions, garlic, chives, and leeks and not only do they add great flavor to foods from all over the world, they also contain a compound called allicin, which also has strong anti-oxidant properties and in various clinical studies, allicin has been shown to fight cancer by preventing carcinogenic substances from harming the body and by preventing cancer cells from multiplying. Members of the allium family have been studied for their beneficial effects on cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and colon.

Tomatoes

tomatoes are cancer-fighting foods

Tomatoes were brought to Europe from North America during colonization and are now found in a variety of New World and Old World cuisines. They are not only easy to add to a variety of dishes, but because of their high levels of an antioxidant compound called lycopene, they are also an important part of an anti-cancer diet. Lycopene is able to reduce oxidative stress in the cells throughout the body and prevent the cellular changes that can lead to cancer. It has shown to be beneficial with both prostate andendometrial cancer.

Leafy Green Vegetables

leafy greens are cancer-fighting foods

Be like Popeye and love your spinach — as well as kale, Swiss chard, and other leafy green vegetables. These leafy greens are incredibly versatile, working well in salads, soups, pasta dishes and casseroles, they also will provide you with anti-cancer benefits. This is because of their unique blend of antioxidant compounds like lutein, vitamins like folate and plenty of dietary fiber. Studies have shown that diets that are rich in lycopene are related to a reduced risk of mouth and throat cancers.

Obviously, there is no silver bullet when it comes to cancer. But studies on the cancer-fighting foods listed above are part of an increasing body of evidence that the foods you choose to eat can help to lower your risks of developing this serious disease. Their combinations of fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidant compounds appears to have real benefits that can be harnessed easily every time you walk into the produce aisle.

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

Intelligent Ways To Increase Productivity…

As an entrepreneur, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs. I’ve struggled with motivation, procrastination, and especially with being productive. Through my work, I’ve found there’s more to being productive than downloading timers, apps, or blocking social media sites. Being productive is actually a very personal and in-depth process that will vary for every person reading this.

This article could be ten pages long, but I’ve decided to focus on the three most critical factors when it comes to productivity. The aim of these factors is to show you productivity is both conscious and unconscious. Through taking actions on things that have an indirect effect on your business and life, you’ll find you’re able to be more efficient. We’ll take a look at how you eat, why you should plan, and your habits when you get stuck.

51-down-to-earth-productivity-quotes-4-638

Fuel your body properly.

How can you expect yourself to operate at your best if you don’t feed yourself the best? The foods and drinks we consume have substantial effects on our mood, ability to focus, and how much energy we have. You can’t grab an egg McMuffin every day and expect to feel good. You need to eat foods that have the necessary nutrients for your body to operate at its peak performance.

Coffee is a big myth that needs to be addressed when it comes to fueling your body. Entrepreneurs have a special relationship with coffee, often drinking it before putting anything else in their body. Ideally, you should only have coffee after you eat a solid breakfast and get moving a bit. When I tried this, I found the energizing effects of the coffee to be more effective. Because I’m full, my stomach doesn’t feel queasy from the coffee, and because I get moving, my heart and blood are better able to pump the caffeine through my body. This is much better way to use coffee compared to downing it on an empty stomach when you first wake up.

562e61fc1400001b013c9204

Another important part of fueling your part is variety. Eating healthy is important, but it’s easy to get tired of smoothies or toast every morning. Switch it up! Don’t be afraid to have lunch or dinner items for your breakfast. It may seem inconsequential, but our breakfast sets the tone for the day. I know I feel pretty terrible and unmotivated when I eat eggs and toast for the third or fourth day in a row. Entrepreneurs are busy, and it’s important to eat healthy foods, but it’s also important to enjoy what we’re eating.

Another thing you should consider is including supplements in your diet. Simple supplements such as Vitamin C, D, B12, or iron and zinc (only if recommended by your doctor) can help your body better absorb nutrients and prompt you to have more energy. Discuss with your doctor which supplements you can add to your diet!

success-quote

Avoid reacting – start planning.

Planning helps you in so many different ways. Instead of reacting to situations, you’ll find yourself responding, and there’s huge difference. Reacting causes stress. A decision based on a reaction is based on impulsive reasons or doing whatever it takes to control an emergency situation.

Responding means your answer is based on your plan, if it helps to advance you, and if it fits within the stage of your plan that you’re in right now. By responding to situations, you’ll make better decisions for your business and avoid wasting time on things that have nothing to do with your plan.

Planning will also make you more efficient because it will help you focus on your strengths. Making long- and short-term plans will make it evident where you are capable and where you need help. This is perfect for finding potential areas of your business that need to be outsourced. This type of planning will improve your productivity by focusing on your strengths and enabling you to find people whose strengths can fill gaps in your business.

GPS2

If you notice you procrastinate on certain tasks because you dread doing them, this can be a sign of a lack of planning. All top business people are results oriented, which is a quality that comes from years of developing planning skills. You’ll find it infinitely easier to tackle a task you hate if you truly understand why you need to do it and where it fits into your plan. You won’t get where you want to go without some hard, gritty work along the way. A solid plan makes it easy to work at a steady place while producing productive results.

Don’t freak out when you get stuck — it happens.

Feeling useless is a bad feeling for anyone, but it’s particularly disheartening for entrepreneurs. Getting stuck can cause us to doubt our abilities and ourselves, and leave us grasping at straws for a solution. The most important thing I’ve observed about getting stuck is that it all depends on how you handle it. The more you stress yourself with negative thoughts and depressing dialogue, the harder you’ll find it to break out of a crisis.

The next time you get stuck, take a step back and re-frame the situation in your mind. Realize that you’re not stuck, but you’re now faced with a task that will benefit your business and increase your skills when you accomplish it. Find a way to put a positive spin on the situation that has you feeling stuck. This is a good time to think about your long-term goals and what you hope to accomplish through your business. Surely the task that has you stuck will take you one step closer to achieving one of your goals once you complete it. If not, maybe you’re working on the wrong things.

060412_1252_ChangeYourP2

Taking breaks is an excellent way to get out of being stuck and avoid being stuck in the first place. I noticed that once I committed to taking breaks in between tasks, I felt more relaxed and better able to handle my work. This ties in with the last point of reacting versus responding. When I take a break, I’m able to relax and change my perspective and approach to my work. Watch how much better you feel taking breaks in between tasks instead of plowing away for hours at a time. Exercising and mediation are my two favorite activities to do in my short breaks in-between tasks. Breaking up your work into chunks will help you avoid getting stuck in the first place.

875cbf89f3c467e7884bdf4d8b63e268

All in all, it’s not deleting your social media accounts or waking up at 4 AM that makes you become productive. The good and bad news is that your own productivity is entirely up to you. You can choose to be productive by changing the way you approach things. It won’t be easy, but it is effective. If you’re feeling unproductive, the first step is to stop and reevaluate. Look at what you’re doing and search for areas to improve. Make sure your lifestyle (eating properly, exercising, sleeping) supports you getting all your work done. Make a plan that you can follow that can be your guiding light for your daily tasks. Finally, remember not to freak out about getting stuck. Simply take a step back and reevaluate.

Your approach to productivity has to be 100% personal, especially as an entrepreneur. You need to decide that you will be productive and commit to finding techniques that work for you. I hope you can use this article as a reference point to help you understand how to intelligently increase your productivity, not through gimmicks, but through effort and a refreshed perspective.

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

6 Tips for Taking Your Dream Honeymoon on a Budget…

1. Travel during “shoulder season.” Avoid going to popular destinations (such as the Caribbean) in December, January and February, when hotel rates and airfares are at their peak. Instead, go in April or May—before the rainy season—when the rates have likely dropped.

2. Strategize with your points and miles. Take advantage of any rewards you might have, and trade them in for a five-star hotel or business-class airfare. “If you’re sitting on a ton of credit card points or United miles, they’re not gaining any value,” Gifford says. “This is the time to cash them in.”

3. Consider a mini-moon. If you don’t have the funds to venture far from home, consider taking a long weekend. Because you have less time, be sure to maximize every minute, Gifford says. “When you do these mini-moons, the key is to disconnect totally.”

4. …Or even a later-moon. If you’ve just spent a chunk of change on the wedding itself, you may not have the flexibility of taking a long trip right away—and it can be difficult to get enough vacation time. Save up and take a bigger trip in a year or two.

5. Talk openly about your priorities as a couple. Be honest with each other when deciding what type of trip you want to take. After the stress of planning a wedding, a relaxing beach trip may sound appealing—but this could also be the time to tackle something more adventurous. If you can’t agree with your spouse, try combining both ideas.

6. Use a travel agent: A travel agent can help ensure that everything will go smoothly—and take some of the pressure off during an already busy time.

Quotation:http://www.realsimple.com/

10 Ways to Be Happier…

1. Don’t start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.

2. Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.

3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.

5. Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.” Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.

6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.

7. Don’t insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.

9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?

10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that. Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won’t take you a whole year.

Quotation:http://www.realsimple.com/