Monthly Archives

May 2017

Business

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in a Premium WordPress Theme

May 29, 2017

If you’re currently looking for an affordable solution when it comes to getting a site online, but you’re not looking to spend thousands on a custom-made product, it’s probably time you look towards a premium WordPress theme to give you a helping hand. WordPress makes it very easy for business owners to get a site online in a professional manner – have a look at the five reasons why your business will benefit from a WordPress solution.

  • Cost-Effective

If you look at the Theme Forest database, which is filled to the brim of premium WordPress themes, you’ll see that a theme can cost anywhere between $40-$60 – and that is the fraction of the cost of a custom-made solution, which could end up costing upwards of $2,000, or even more depending on your requirements.

  • Easy & Quick to Setup

The great benefit of looking at WordPress for your website is that it’s very easy to use and quick to setup. If you’re investing in a custom solution you can be sure that the design process alone can take weeks, let alone the development process that follows. By investing in a WordPress theme, you can be sure you’ll have a site up within just a few hours – or even less if you have web development experience. Most web hosting solutions such as bestwebhosting.co.uk offer tools so setting up WordPress can be done with just a few clicks.

  • Free Theme Support

Most premium themes come with 6-12 months of support so you can get help if you’re looking to customise the theme to suit your needs further. Most themes also come with free demo setups so you can have your site looking exactly like the live preview of the demo they were trying to sell you in the first place – so all you’ll have to worry about is editing content and pictures.

  • A Professional Website

All premium WordPress themes on the market look beautiful and professional and you’ll easily stand out from the rest of the competition. A lot of people are wary about buying a WordPress theme because it can be sold hundreds of times, but when you look at the fact there are billions of websites online currently, the chances of any of your clients ever noticing that you have invested in a WordPress theme is slim.

  • WordPress Themes are Easy to Customise

One of the best benefits of investing in a WordPress theme is that you’ll not have to buy another theme in the future because most of them come with easy to use control panels that allow easy customisation. These themes can be changed so much so that they can look like completely unique designs.

The benefits of investing in a premium WordPress theme are practically endless and it should always be an option worth considering if you’re looking to get a website online quickly and in the cheapest possible manner. WordPress offers thousands of plugins that can be used in conjunction with the premium themes available to purchase and that means you can change your website from something standard into a full-blown store that can accept payments within a matter of minutes.

Lifestyle

How Does Fear Work?

May 24, 2017

Fear and pain don’t have a great lot in life – they exist solely to be hated, for the betterment of everyone. The way both fear and pain function is by enforcing a highly negative feeling on you to keep you safe from something even far worse – it’s basically the body’s own biological form of tough love, a father who yells and screams at you for leaving your phone at home and acting like a careless child because he simply wants you to be safe.

The way the body basically functions – and this includes fear – is through motivation. Just like how we train animals and each other to perform certain functions through certain forms of motivation, thus does the body guide us in surviving and living. At least, it mostly does. We didn’t exactly live very long a few thousand years ago, so the idea is that we evolved to be careful just long enough to procreate and ensure our offspring’s survival, and that of the tribe’s offspring in general.

Our body does this by rewarding us for exercise, sex, food, etc. and it punishes us for getting hurt and putting our life in danger. When you’re near the summit of a mountain and you shoot a glance down a steep cliff, you’re not being a wimp for feeling an overwhelming urge to relieve yourself – it’s a natural human reaction to avoid steep cliffs. We’re not 100% sure how this works – genetics and epigenetics and evolutionary psychology all play a role here – but the general point is that fear, and consequently, pain, are extremely important and our best friends.

But then, you might ask, why do we work so hard to overcome them if they’re our best friends? And why is fear a natural part of the human psyche when we also subsequently chase thrills and love the rush of adrenaline? Why do dumb and risky things always end up being the most fun anyone could have in life? These are all extremely pertinent questions, so let’s take a good look at them.

How Fear Works

On a purely mechanical basis, fear starts on the outside – well, usually. It begins with a stimulus that kickstarts the chain reaction in your brain causing the actual fear itself to manifest – that stimulus could be a spider, a frightening sound, someone surprising you from behind, or the building anticipation of danger. Fear is unconsciously triggered – that means it just happens, and it’s rather hard to teach yourself not to fear.

It all begins within the brain – five distinct portions of the brain activate in diverse ways to create the natural fight or flight response that fear causes. The basic steps in which fear is generated are as follows:

  • A sensory organ in the body picks up a stimulus which triggers your sense of fear (like an unknown touch surprising you in the dark).
  • The brain interprets the stimuli and determines whether you’re dealing with a possible threat, and stores threatening experiences for future purposes.
  • Finally, your brain pumps the adrenaline into you sending you into a fight or flight response.

Not all fear is interpreted in quite the same fashion, though. For example, if you’re in an abandoned building and you hear a sound off in the distance, you might take a slow and careful approach to better assess the threat, if there even is one. Maybe it was just the wind knocking something over.

On the other hand, if you see someone running at you with a knife, you don’t assess any further. You turn around and bolt out of there as fast as possible – even if it turns out that that wasn’t a knife, and they were just running up to greet someone else.

We’re careful creatures all things considered, so our natural response isn’t to confirm beyond a doubt whether something is dangerous – it’s to assume that it is if it even just seems to be, and to subsequently get the hell out of dodge before doing anything else.

Getting the hell out of dodge involves the body’s natural fight or flight response. This is basically a reaction from the sympathetic nervous system as per the brain to activate a bunch of functions in your body to release certain chemicals into the bloodstream, particularly norepinephrine and epinephrine, otherwise known as noradrenaline and adrenaline.

Dubbed stress hormones, adrenaline and other chemicals like cortisol basically tell your body that it must work overtime to save your life – investing a little bit more into your body now so you can live through the danger tomorrow. Several things happen – quite often, if the danger is high enough, you relieve yourself by emptying your bladder and rectum to lighten the load and make it easier for you to get away. Your muscles tense and your heart rate pumps up to quickly increase the amount of circulation in your body and make you stronger, faster, more responsive.

Because of these reactions, some people actively seek out fear. They enjoy horror movies and horror games, much like spice lovers seek out hotter foods and thrill chasers seek out extreme activities. To most, fear is meant to be a deterrent – to some, the rush of getting scared and the feeling after the moment of fear itself arrives is worth pursuing.

All in all, it’s extremely fascinating. But, it’s not exactly a foolproof system.

Why We Overcome Fear

Our brains are incredibly complex, filled with over a hundred billion neurons, and designed to be flexible and plastic enough to learn languages, master mathematical concepts, figure out complex cultural phenomenon, pick up on humor and memorize countless bits of information while still retaining basic instincts and common human social cues.

However, as Zachary Ament from Westwind Recovery Residences said, “despite how complex we are at birth, our needs and priorities as individuals have changed massively over the different eras of human civilization. And that aside, fear is meant to be a failsafe – just because we’re scared of doing something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. It just means that there’s a good chance we’ll get hurt doing it, and we should take that into consideration before making a choice.

Look at it this way. A warning isn’t meant to make you stop doing something, it’s meant to help you understand the dangers of doing it. Fear is like pain, but it’s not quite always the same. Pain is a surefire deterrent except in cases of nerve damage and psychosomatic pain, whereas fear can be irrational, born or trained into you by an unfortunate event that doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect real risk. If you were bitten by one aggressive untrained dog as a child, then you might develop a fear of dogs, even though most dogs are docile and bred specifically to interact and help human beings.

You’ll never totally overcome fear, and that’s fine – you’re meant to be able to react to threats and dangers, and any dog lover can attest to the fact that if a stranger’s grown Pitbull dashes towards you, there always the chance it won’t be a friendly encounter. However, you can temper your reactions, and build better reflexes. Instead of fearing the edge of a cliff, you can learn to balance, climb and overcome your natural fear of heights. By interacting with spiders, you can learn to escort them outside without having to resort to killing them in your home.

There are plenty of advantages to tempering your fears if only to make you a more rational person. While fear is meant to make you consider the odds, it’s usually very instinctive – we tend to even become aggressive when confronted by what we fear, our mind reduced to a singular thought: eliminate or get away from the threat.

Fear Gone Wrong

A major aspect of fear is that it’s meant to protect us – but like an overprotective father, fear can sometimes just go a little bit too far and cause us to worry and fret over threats and problems that don’t even exist, to begin with. This is the case with anxiety, a large spectrum of mental disorders related to fear and worry. Usually, when we worry, it’s another function meant to help us avoid death and pain. We worry for our children because we’re meant to keep them safe. We worry about a plane crashing because we’ve heard a lot about that and know that it’s a danger we’re entirely powerless to stop, no matter how miniscule the chances.

But in cases of anxiety, the brain worries more than normal. Far more than normal. Whereas it’s normal to worry about a plane crashing when you’re in one and you run into some turbulence, an arachnophobia, for example, has you worried about spiders a random and brings you back to terrifying thoughts of spiders in the least opportune of times.

Another common example is a fear of heights. It’s normal to fear extreme heights, as I mentioned earlier, but there’s a large gap between that and basically fearing to stand on a step ladder. When a fear goes from practical threat assessment and common sense to crippling levels of terror over a non-existent threat, you know you’ve got trouble.

An anxiety disorder can only be diagnosed by a psychiatric professional, but anxiety is best described as a fear-based nervous emotion that interferes with your everyday life, at times causing panic attacks where your body goes into a severe fight or flight reaction without any actual stimuli to cause it.

Anxiety can be treated, but the length and type of treatment differ from individual to individual based on their circumstances and the factors that determine the anxiety. In other words, if it’s something like post-traumatic stress, then trauma therapy and certain techniques like brainspotting can help a patient relive repressed memories and find the psychological closure needed to end the anxiety. In some cases, like hereditary social anxiety, therapy and medication can help a person regain control over their emotions and stop feeling unnecessary fear – but the exact effectiveness is never guaranteed.

Anxiety is quite common, affecting over 40 million Americans. That’s 18 percent of the US population, nearly one fifth of the country. Those struggling with anxiety are at risk of developing other related mental disorders, and they’re at risk of maladaptive behavior – things like substance abuse, or reckless behavior.  

Fear and Obsession

Another form of anxiety is an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. Unlike what pop culture might have you believe, seeing a tile out of place isn’t exactly an OCD-trigger – at least not for most people. OCD is a disorder wherein you’re trapped in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. An obsession is an intrusive thought, just like anxiety – one that triggers an extreme feeling of discomfort, paranoia or even terror. Compulsions are behaviors used to soothe that feeling and combat or decrease the obsession – they’re a sort of reactive self-medication, a form of therapy many patients suffering from obsessive thoughts use to get away from them.

An OCD diagnosis is met when a person’s obsessions and compulsions become so extreme that they go from a harmless quirk to an obtrusive and difficult lifelong obstacle, taking precedence over work, friendships, and life in general.

OCD’s relation to fear and anxiety is the nature of the obsession, which is a triggering thought coming out of nowhere producing feelings of terror. Instead of running away from the threat, OCD patients deal with their obsession through their chosen compulsion, be it counting the number of times they brush their teeth, the number of times they close a door or some other ritual.

Fear is useful. Just like pain, wishing for all your fear to go away isn’t really in your best interest. Fear isn’t just fearing something – it’s basically reacting optimally to a danger you can’t totally identify. However, when fear becomes just a little too much – when you find yourself struggling in the face of anxiety – that’s when it’s important to know exactly how to overcome and fight back.

Lifestyle

Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home This Summer

May 22, 2017

As summer approaches, one of the things we start to think about is our home décor and any changes we want to make. After a long grey winter, it’s a great idea to refresh your home, making it somewhere you can relax, entertain, and get excited about again. Here are some great ideas on easy ways you can refresh your home ready for summertime.

Paint

Painting your walls is an easy way to brighten the room. Newly painted walls look clean and fresh but take minimum effort. Try to stick to light colours for maximum effect.

Let Some Air In

The easiest way to refresh your home for summer is to let summer in. Open your blinds and curtains as much as possible to make the most of the extra natural light. This not only makes your room brighter but it will also improve your mood and help wake you up in the morning. Then, open your windows as often as you can, or at least some part of every day. Opening your windows will instantly make your home smell and feel fresher. If you’ve got high up windows you struggle to open, installing actuators or openers from Teal Products could be a great help.

Accessories

Changing your home’s accessories or adding some extras can be an easy way to make your décor look totally different. Some cool ideas include cushions, throws, blankets, wall hangings, artwork, shelving, ornaments and photo frames. If you are on a budget check out some things you could create yourself.

Declutter

Decluttering your home can make it look better, decrease your stress levels, and make it safer. Work in one room at a time and have a big clear out. Throw away, sell, or donate anything you don’t need or want. You could even try the Marie Kondo method of getting rid of everything that doesn’t bring you joy. Then, make sure anything you’ve got left has a home and is kept neatly.

Spring Clean

Once you’ve decluttered and everything is tidy, get cleaning. Again, work room to room starting at the top and working down to the floors. Clean everything, especially those hard to reach or difficult jobs you rarely do. This will make your home look and smell better, improve the atmosphere, and make you feel great.

Don’t Forget the Garden

With summer approaching, you’re bound to be using your garden more so don’t forget about it. Again, start with a declutter and a clean. Then, make any repairs that need doing before planting, adding decorations, and buying any new furniture or accessories you need.

Even on a small budget, there are great ways to make some small changes to your home. Summer is the ideal time as you don’t have to worry about the weather and you may have some extra free time. A great way to start is to walk around your home making a list of everything you would like to get done this year. Then, set yourself a budget and prioritise before getting started.

 

Business

A Guide To Hosting a Corporate Event

May 1, 2017

As you can imagine, the world of business is fast-paced and unpredictable. In order for a business to be successful, its growth is absolutely necessary. Although this may require a lot of time, attention and effort – when done correctly, the business can face a significantly positive outcome. One of the key drives for a business and its success is its growth. But what factors encourage the growth of a business?

One of the best ways to increase a business’ growth is to hold corporate events. A corporate event is a private event held by a business, in which staff, clients and stakeholders all come together for a number of reasons. Such events are a focus on the means of evoking pride in employee’s, reinforcing the company message, helping productivity, sharing ideas, launching new products or rewarding staff. A corporate event not only pushes all entities within the business, but also increases the company’s exposure, which can create new lead generation avenues and branch out to newer audiences.

If you’ve never planned a corporate event before, it can seem pretty daunting. However, in order to make sure your event is smooth and successful, follow these tips from furniture and stacking chair experts, Race Furniture.

Determine a theme

First and foremost, you must come up with a theme for the event. Intertwined with this theme will be your goals and objectives that will be discussed throughout the event. You must attempt to excite the audience, making sure it appeals to them by taking their lifestyle, interests and daily challenges into account. If you don’t make the event interesting to the audience then you will give them no reason to invest any time into your business. As a result of this, they will not comply and you essentially render their time wasted. These are key factors in creating a successful marketing campaign for your business that will increase interest and growth.

Partner up with other business’

You should also consider partnering up with other business’. Partnering up with non-competing business’ who possess a similar clientele can benefit both companies. The act of marketing the event to a wider audience means both business’ are engaging with more people who show an interest and have the potential to be new clients.

Great customer service

Throughout the event, you want to portray a professional and high standard appearance. In order to achieve this, you must offer outstanding customer service throughout. Whilst avoiding a pressured atmosphere, you wish to give the attendees a true feel of what your business is about, what it has to offer and why it is worthy of their time. This is not a sales-pitch, so be careful how you approach your discussion.

It is also important to offer a de-brief at the end of the event. This is a chance for people to have a discussion, exchange business details and have a general chat about the interests of the event. Exchanging questions enables more room to be educated on the topic of the event and feedback can be issued to ensure further improvement for the future.

Logistics

One thing that may seem like a fairly small issue during the planning process is the venue location. With thought about the venue, comes a crucial think about logistics. It is important to ensure that the venue is suitably representative of the business. So whilst the need to find a venue that best suits the company is significant, you should recognise that there must be enough space to accommodate all of the attendees. As a result of small spaces and not enough chairs, there is the risk that guests, who are potential clients could walk out due to the unorganised and claustrophobic atmosphere. To avoid this, ensure that you have enough seating for the attendees. The use of stacking chairs is extremely handy in such an event as it enables one to maximise the space on offer, whilst having a sufficient amount of seating whenever necessary. The chairs are not only tasteful, but ensure you can provide and remove seating quickly and efficiently in a subtle, yet professional manner. These chairs offer an immediate response, which is ideal in the likes of a busy event such as this.

Indeed, planning a corporate event does not come easily, but is all the more worthwhile. Holding such events at intervals throughout the year will keep audiences interested and informed. It is a chance to express the future plans and changes in the business and to keep those who are interested at arms reach. The aim of such events is to inspire people of different entities. The chance to engage with attendees and please stakeholders is what contributes to the success and growth in the business. It is a means of getting the company’s name known and pushing their message out there. Educating others about why your business matters and how it could benefit them. It is that moment when attendees turn into clients that you realise your corporate event really contributed in the growth of your business.