November, 2008 Archive

Health benefits of Gratitude – not only to Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2008 by Christiane

Though most of us live better than our parents and grandparents, we often forget to appreciate the abundance we enjoy.

That’s a pity because learning to be grateful for even small joys could improve many areas in our life. As it turns out, people who are grateful – not only to Thanksgiving, rather on a daily basis- sleep better, feel less stress and depression, have more energy, feel more alert, alive and positive. People with high blood pressure could even lower their blood pressure.

Grateful people focus more on the positive things in life and are less focused on pain and problems.

A few strategies help learning to become more aware of one’s own blessings:

  1. Start a gratitude journal and list daily or weekly the positive things that happened; whether you met an old friend, you cooked a delicious meal or the bus was on time……There is something to be grateful for on even the worst days.
  2.  For the coming holidays: List all the people in your life who you take for granted. Then picture your life without these people. How would it be? What would you be missing? In your holiday cards to these people thank them for being in your life and for the difference they are making.
  3. Make a sign for your fridge or bathroom mirror: This week, I’m grateful for…..

I’m grateful for being healthy. I’m now cancer free for 10 years. In addition, I’m thankful for my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christiane is a professional Life & Career Coach ( In addition, she teaches Psychology at a Community College near Boston.

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Credit Card 101

November 11th, 2008 by Christiane

The other day, I heard in the news that the average American household owns 10 credit cards and owes more than $ 10 000 to credit card companies. Now, many lenders are pulling back by curtailing credit card offers and credit lines. At the same time, lenders are also increasing the APR of many credit cards. The APR of one of our cards for example was recently increased to 28 %! If we had debt on this card, it would be extremely tough to pay it off.

Lenders are pulling back because they fear that more people will default on their loans. In the first half of 2008, they had to write off about $ 21 billion in bad credit card loans.

For consumers, it’s therefore most important to increase their knowledge about credit card management and how to use them more wisely. Texas public accountants offer 5 tips for consumer squeezed by credit crunch:

Tip No. 1: Check your credit limit (because it may have been lowered recently).
Tip No. 2: Call your credit card issuer and negotiate for lower rates.
Tip No. 3: Read the fine print on future offers.
Tip No. 4: Consider using year-end bonuses and holiday gift money to pay down credit card balances.
Tip No. 5: Stick to your holiday shopping list and pay for gifts with cash.

Read more details
If you would like a crash course in Credit Card 101, read the Federal Reserve information on Credit Cards. There you will get excellent information about APRs, finance charges, or grace period, to name a few tems.

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