Jigsaw Puzzles to Banish the Blues

When Wall Street Crashed in 1929, the Cheap Jigsaw Came Into Its Own

Are you considering what to buy for a gift? A jigsaw puzzle is economical and fun, and even a cheap jigsaw keeps the solver absorbed for hours. Or you can make your own jigsaw puzzle.

There’s a lot to be said for jigsaws, especially when finances are strained. They’re free on a computer, and even from a shop, many are available for under £5. You can buy even superior quality jigsaw puzzles for around £20. And for so little, you get so much.

Christmas and birthdays come but once a year – which is quite often enough when times are hard. But there are things on which people will spend money in a recession. In the 1930s, cinema enjoyed a boom, as did chocolate – and jigsaw puzzles became a mania.

Easily explained, of course. Unable to afford big purchases, people looked for inexpensive ways of taking their minds off their troubles. Now, in the COVID-19 recession, everyone seeks distraction once more, and no one wants to spend much. So why not turn again to the jigsaw? A jigsaw puzzle might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Wood Jigsaw Puzzle

The first jigsaw puzzles on record were the work of London mapmaker John Spilsbury. Around 1760, Spilsbury glued one of his maps to a wood sheet and cut around national borders with a marquetry saw. The end product he saw as essentially educational – a means of teaching geography.

The early puzzles were known as dissected maps, and it was with such a map of Europe that jigsaws made their literary debut. In Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, one of Fanny Price’s cousins is amused by her inability to “put the map of Europe together”. It wasn’t poor Fanny’s fault. Her own family was not well off, and the wooden jigsaw puzzle was expensive.

The Cheap Jigsaw: Make Your Own Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaws would remain expensive for most of the nineteenth century, but technological advances, in addition to improving their quality, gradually made them more affordable. Improvements in printing made the pictures better, cutting methods became more efficient, and, crucially, the wood jigsaw puzzle gave way to cardboard.

Towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, jigsaws became something of a craze on both sides of the Atlantic, but the Wall Street crash of 1929 gave them their biggest boost. Inexpensive entertainment was much in demand, and the cheap jigsaw, made of cardboard, was phenomenally successful.

Since the Second World War, the jigsaw has faced stiff competition from such creative hobbies as Airfix kits and Lego. But one advantage which it enjoys is that it is not difficult to make your own jigsaw puzzle.

All that is needed is to paste a picture to a sheet of cardboard and to cut it into suitable pieces with a Stanley knife (US utility knife). For a touch of class, it is even possible with care to make a wooden jigsaw. A home-made Christmas jigsaw puzzle might make a more interesting present than most.

Online Jigsaws

With the coming of the home computer, jigsaws can be enjoyed online, where the cheap jigsaw has become free. To the purist, online jigsaws are almost sacrilegious, but they do have their advantages: it isn’t possible to lose any of the pieces, and there’s no clearing up to do.

Because the pieces are all correctly oriented and cannot be rotated, the puzzles are somewhat easier than the real thing. The pictures on offer are not especially exciting, but by uploading a picture of choice, you can make your own jigsaw puzzle.

Wasgij Jigsaws

Another interesting recent development has been the invention of the Wasgij (no prizes for guessing the derivation of the name). With Wasgij jigsaws, the solver does not know how the completed puzzle will look because, while the picture on the box gives clues, it is not the one that you will piece together. Typically, the solver has to create the view seen by one of the characters in the box picture.

A Wasgij jigsaw might be a particularly good gift jigsaw puzzle, something to keep all the family guessing while they digest the turkey.

Thinking of Relocating To, or Visiting Spain? 

I work at javea.properties and have lived in Spain since relocating from the UK in 2006. Here is a selection of tips that I hope will be helpful if you are choosing to move to Spain or if you will be visiting Spain in 2021.

  1. Although a lot of people speak the English language in Spain nowadays, it is vital that you try and pick up some of the language so that you are more appreciated by those who live within the country, and will be able to integrate into your local community with less difficulty than those who do not make an effort to learn.
  2. It is advisable to accept that Spain has a slower way of life than in other countries. Be prepared to take your time over activities such as dinner and be patient when waiting in queues. You may be surprised that some small shops have seats – it is because you might be there a while waiting for your turn!
  3. Learn the laws in Spain so that you do not run into any problems. Ignorance of the law is not taken as an excuse if you offend in Spain.

A selection of tips for individuals who are travelling to Spain:

1.The sun is very bright in Spain, so it is a good idea to invest in a high-quality pair of sunglasses. If you do not do this, you will be squinting a lot of the time and may have sore eyes by the end of your trip.

2.Choose natural fibre clothes that are loose-fitting so that you do not become overheated. It can be an excellent idea to get glammed up in the evenings but remember that it is always sweltering in Spain during the summer months.

3.Choose a nice quality pair of sandals to wear throughout the day as your feet may become sore and swollen if you do not invest in a pair of open footwear that you find comfortable.

My top three cities to visit in Spain:

  1. Alicante is a beautiful location that is described as a city but feels more like a village. Many places of interest are within walking distance of each other, and the site has a wonderful waterfront.
  2. Barcelona is a bustling city that has a wide range of attractions. It is also filled with exciting places to go, and you will always find someone something new. There are tourist buses that offer a hop on and off service, or you can hire a bike at a low cost to tour the city.
  3. Cartagena is a location that dates to Roman times and has a lot of history relating to the Spanish Civil War. This city has a wide selection of museums and attractions to enjoy.


When to Exercise with Muscle Soreness

Working out while muscles are sore is not always detrimental. Depending on the degree of muscle soreness, a workout can help relieve sore muscles.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), the miserable tenderness that follows a challenging workout, typically indicates that damage has occurred to the muscles involved. Most experts agree that DOMS’s pain is related to microscopic tears in muscles, most of which occur because of impact and the negative, eccentric portions of exercises. These tiny muscle strains, along with the resulting inflammation, are likely the primary causes of muscle soreness.

The pain of DOMS is most common when beginning a new exercise program, a phenomenon that is poorly understood. Some experts suggest that the inefficiency of movement when learning and performing new exercises produces more muscular damage than when the nervous system is precisely tuned to a movement. For this reason alone, the muscle soreness a workout produces does not correlate with the productiveness of the activity, though the type of muscle damage that comes with DOMS is valuable in the pursuit of specific fitness goals.

When Exercising Helps Relieve Muscle Soreness

Although doing another workout may not come to mind immediately when managing muscle soreness, it can be extremely helpful in relieving the pain and expediting the recovery process. When muscles are only moderately sore, and exercises can be performed with proper form, a light workout serves to increase circulation to affected areas. The consequential cleansing of irritants and the influx of nutrients accelerate the processes that alleviate sore muscles, allowing for a quicker return to intense exercise.

When Workouts Might Harm Sore Muscles

When the gradually increasing discomfort of DOMS reaches unbearable levels, though, performing an additional exercise can be tremendously counterproductive. A level of pain that interferes with performing simple daily tasks, such as reaching up for a box of cereal or bending down to pick up a ball, usually means that the muscles need more recovery time. Going through another intense workout can cause further damage to the muscles, which in turn can stall recovery, minimize the gains made from the previous exercises, and lead in some cases to debilitating injuries. Moreover, these painful workouts are usually performed far below the levels of performance that stimulate improvements. In such situations, the risk of injury typically outweighs any possible rewards.

Depending on the degree of muscle soreness experienced following an intense bout of exercise, a lower intensity recovery workout can produce a wide range of results. When dealing with mild discomfort, a gentle workout can loosen muscles, alleviate pain, and significantly hasten recovery. In cases of debilitating soreness, though, additional stress may not be the best option. Under these unpleasant circumstances, ice, rest, massage, heat, and stretching are more sensible alternatives.

How To Get the Most From Your Wood-Burning Stove

There is nothing quite like a wood-burning stove. Whether used for primitive-style cooking or general warmth and ambiance, a wood-burning stove is one of the most enjoyable parts of those cold, cozy days. Here you can find wood-burning DEFRA approved stoves on sale No matter the age or type of stove you employ, there are a few key issues to remember in order to get the most out of your new-found love of the indoor fire.

Avoid Burning Water

As silly as that statement sounds, it makes perfect sense to veteran stove users, and will soon make sense to you. This concept is one of the most fundamental ideas when burning wood indoors. It’s important to note that green, or new wood, is up to 50% water which means that for every kilogram of green wood you add to your fire, you are, essentially, adding around 500 milliliters of water. Have you ever tried to burn water? Well, it doesn’t burn. So avoid burning green, water-intense wood, and go for a very dry log instead.

Dried Wood

The process of drying out greenwood is a simple one but should be carefully undertaken in order to properly assure a good burn. There are several ways to acquire properly dried wood:

* Dry it yourself. This method is quite easy and definitely the cheapest route, but will require at least one whole summer (two summers would be optimal) to accomplish. If you have space, simply acquire greenwood, stack it outdoors where it will be exposed to the elements, and wait. Over the course of time, the wood will dry out and be ready to burn.

* Contact a good supplier with a reputable background. One of the best, most confident ways of procuring a good supplier of dried wood is to contact an accreditation company such as Woodsure. Their job is to ensure the company from which you are buying has followed all the proper steps and that the wood you are buying is as dry as they claim it to be. This will give you ultimate peace of mind in knowing that the product you are buying is as dry as possible.

* Procure logs or briquettes that are kiln-dried. This method may be the simplest way to obtain sufficiently dried wood, but it is definitely the most expensive. In addition, these products could prove to have issues as the drying process includes the addition of energy before it reaches your stove. Some suppliers do use wood-fired kilns, but not all do, so make sure to check out the company’s procedures before making the purchase.

Properly Manage Airflow

There are two important types of airflow that feed the flame of your wood-burning stove. Primary air is responsible for effectively feeding the bed of the fire which includes the embers and base. Secondary air has the job of providing an adequate supply to the flames above the wood. The fact is, almost all energy from the wood comes from gases that are released when the wood is heated. This means that secondary air is crucial to the warmth of a fire, and takes precedence over primary air.

In order to properly manage airflow in your wood-burning stove, there are few tips to which you should adhere. The basic rules are:

* Never, and I mean never, close the secondary air vent completely. This will, ultimately, create an unnecessary amount of soot that will produce an unwanted coating of gunk on your stove’s glass. Definitely not a pretty sight.

* Unless lighting the fire, do not leave the stove door ajar. This will only serve to incapacitate the efficiency of your stove and allow the warm air to escape up the chimney.

* Remember, size matters. You, ultimately, want a burn that is hot and fast as this will produce the cleanest, most systematic method of using your wood-burning stove. It’s much more productive to use a hot fire that is reasonably sized than to have an out-of-control large flame that is slow to burn.

Work Abroad? Have a UK pension scheme? It may pay to Invest in a QROPS Scheme

If you have a UK pension fund and are planning to live permanently abroad during your retirement a QROPS scheme is (literally) made for you. QROPS are Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes. That is, they are overseas pension schemes that are considered legitimate enough in the eyes of HMRC to manage your pension pot. For those who want to retire abroad this means they have options – Options are always good, so long as you know what they are!

Who Qualifies?

Certain UK pension pots are not eligible for QROPS and cannot be transferred. This includes,

  • A pension that has been used to purchase lifetime annuity.
  • Pensions where payments have previously been made through a “Final Salary Scheme” (annuity).
  • UK State Pensions

SIPPs, SSAS and most defined UK benefit pension schemes can be transferred.

An important thing to note is that having a QROPS will not affect any entitlement you might have to a UK state pension.

QROPS Options

UK pensions can be restrictive. QROPS are more flexible and offer up more options. A QROPS allows you to withdraw money how and when you want it. For example, you can choose to receive a higher income during early retirement and less later on when you really start to slow down. It is also possible to take out a lump sum, as much as you need. You can find out more at the QROPS Help Centre.

Almost invariably QROPS can provide more options than UK pensions with regards to how your pension pot is invested. You will discover a flexible and extensive choice of funds available, able to suit different situations, goals and time-planning. Unlike guaranteed annuity there are some elements of risk with investment pensions. How much risk you are willing to take is also relative to the options available to you – Although of course, professional management will usually minimise risk.

What Countries & Pensions Qualify?

HMRC (who introduced this new scheme on April 6th 2006) has strict criteria that must be met for a foreign pension to qualify. Not all countries and all foreign pension schemes are eligible. In addition, transfer penalties as well as taxation depends on the country. However, it is not essential to transfer to a QROPS in the same country you retire.

The HMRC has a list of QROPS and the latest PDF can be downloaded HERE.

Get the Best QROPS for You

There is a myriad of options available using QROPS for UK pension holders who intend to retire abroad. Some countries do not recognise trusts (such as the USA and France), which can make taxation a difficult hurdle to manoeuvre. Without doubt, pensions and QROPS are a complex matter but many ex-pats have found them more than worthwhile. Even so, making the wrong move could cost you heftily. That is why it is absolutely essential to find out all the options and get the best advice by visiting a QROPS help centre and speaking with a professional pension advisor.]]>

To Botox or Not to Botox? That Is the Question!

Among the top cosmetic procedures that are performed safely and effectively are Botox injections. This popular procedure has been performed globally for more than 10 years for a wide variety of medical conditions, but most commonly Botox is employed for the treatment of wrinkles on the face.

There are common misconceptions about both where on the face Botox injections can be performed and that the procedure can smooth all wrinkles. To clarify this matter, we asked Diane from the beautyskinclinic.co.uk the most typical wrinkle areas that occur on the face. Crow’s feet, smile lines, and surprise lines are the most popular issues for which Botox is satisfactorily employed.

Surprise lines are creases that occur horizontally on the forehead and are typically prominent when the eyebrows are raised. Frown lines or “number 11 lines” are located between the eyebrows and form vertically and are most noticeable when one attempts to frown.

Crow’s feet are small lines that begin from an angle stemming from the outside of the eyes and continue toward the temples and are fan-like in appearance. The shape of these lines appears similar in shape to a bird’s feet. Why the crow was the term after which the bird foot shaped skin imperfection was coined, one can only guess. Crows feet are most prominent when the person who suffers from them is squinting.

Smile lines stem from the nose to the mouth’s angles. Most notable when smiling, smile lines can develop quite significantly in some sufferers. The medically correct term for smile lines are coined in medical literature are “nasolabial folds”, a term derived from the Latin term employed for folds from the nose to the lips.

Marionette lines stem from the mouth and appear vertically toward the chin, resembling the lines that appear on the faces of marionettes, which are crafted to permit the puppet to move it’s mouth both up and down.

Neither marionette or smile lines are not treatable with Botox injections, as these deep-set lines are always prominent even when these muscles aren’t being used. Attempting to paralyze the muscles that permit smiling or movement of the lips could cause serious issues, such as facial drooping, but more importantly it still won’t vanish these creases or lessen their prominence.

Fine vertical lines that appear around the lips are referred to as, “smoker’s lines”. These lines characteristically appear in smokers, as the act of smoking requires a puckering motion to occur, which brings those lines to prominence. Smoker’s lines may also be diminished by Botox injections, however, if a person is an active smoker, the effect could be very limited.

It’s vital to be mindful that the wrinkle smoothing effect that Botox brings due to its muscle relaxing properties is that the treatment doesn’t have a direct effect to the skin, as it only acts on the skin’s underlying muscles. When the facial muscles are active, they continually pull the skin into a variety of directions, which creates wrinkles.

As Botox performs it’s relaxing magic on the facial muscles, portions of the face where significant muscle activity is employed will benefit from the treatment the most. However, the affected muscles shouldn’t be muscles that are integral to producing facial expressions or other vital functions, as this may lead to undesirable treatment effects that make the face appear to be unnaturally paralyzed.]]>

Create a Luxury Guest Bedroom Retreat

How to show create a relaxing haven for your overnight guests

Create the perfect guest bedroom retreat for your overnight guests. Include baskets of toiletries, personal items, and luxury linens.

Entertaining is not just about hosting parties and serving dinner at your home. Another part of sharing your hospitality is the manner in which you welcome guests into your home. Overnight guests should be made to feel welcome and you can accomplish that by creating a guest bedroom retreat. Imagine your favourite hotel and recall what accoutrements were placed in your guestroom. You can recreate that same luxury on a smaller scale in your own home, making your own guest bedroom retreat.


If you can spare a room to be dedicated for a guest room – great! Otherwise, consider creating a double-duty room (i.e. guest room/home office or guest room/craft room or guest room/library). Remember that a comfortable bed is your first priority. See this site for some bargains. Do not skimp on linens or pillows. It is also a nice idea to include a small TV in the room, so that your guests can catch up on the news or their favourite late-night talk show without taking over the family TV.

Also, include a small side table with a lamp and an alarm clock. Even though your guest is sure to have an alarm on his phone, a clock is a thoughtful touch.

Luxury Items

Put together a small basket of luxury bath items and toiletries. You can include travel sizes of hairspray, soap, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, talc, Q-tips, and even a new toothbrush. Make sure to refresh this basket for each new guest (I pick up travel sized items when they go on sale at my discount store or use high quality skin care samples which are often offered for free in beauty product shops).

You can also put together a basket to keep in the bedroom, which will include the following items: some interesting and current magazines, a spiritual book, a fiction novel, several bottles of water, a pencil or pen, a notepad, and tourist information and a map about your general area.


The toiletries basket mentioned above could be placed in the bathroom if this room will be solely for your guest’s use. Otherwise, place the basket in the bedroom. Regarding the rest of the bathroom: one complete set of bath linens per guest (bath towel, hand towel and washcloth) should be provided. I purchased a set of simple yet fluffy bath linens that I only use for our guests. That way, I know that the linens will always look their best for our guests.

If your guests will be staying for more than a few days, you can also place a small wicker laundry basket in the bathroom or bedroom. This feature is very convenient for longer-term guests, who may need to wash their clothes during their visit.

Follow these suggestions, and your guests will think that they are staying at a high-end resort!

How to Buy the Right Bed for You

Tips on Selecting a Mattress, Bed Frame and Box Springs

Use these tips to help you select the right mattress, bed frame and box springs so you get a comfortable bed that is suited to you and your interior decorating style.

Most people keep their mattresses for a period of 8 to 10 years although some mattresses break down before then and you suffer from lack of sleep or aches and pains that come from uncomfortable sleeping positions. It may be hard but if your mattress is uncomfortable you may need to get a new one before its official lifespan is up.

Buying a Bed Frame

A common idea when buying a bed frame is getting one that is bigger than the current one. The best way to figure if a new bed will fit into your existing bedroom is to measure and then add on about three to six inches on either side and the ends for your headboard and footboard and then add about three inches to either side for the bedding. This should give you a rough estimate of how much room you have available and how much bed your room can hold. Make sure you are not just considering the fit, but also how well you will be able to move around it. Plan on having between two to three feet of clearance on all “exposed” sides of the new bed frame.

One thing you will want to keep in mind when selecting your frame is the quality of construction. Look for slats that are close together for better and even support.

Selecting a Mattress

When it comes time to select a mattress you have got to be ready to try a lot of them out. If you sleep with a partner, bring that person along so you can both try the bed to see how it feels. Wear comfortable clothing and even shoes you can slip out of so you can sit on, lie on, recline on, bounce on (no jumping though) and move around on the bed to simulate sleeping as best you can. There is no real way of knowing how it will feel throughout the whole night, you can at least get a sense of the comfort level. Check the warranty, some manufacturers offer a comfort warranty and you can return the mattress within a specified period if it proves uncomfortable in real life.

Inspect the Springs

Most mattresses have inner springs, check these by looking at the cross sections and then examining the information. Typically, the coiled springs are covered or wrapped in padding. Look to see how many coils there are, the more the better. Then review the amount and type of padding used and how much quilted upholstery there is before the mattress cover. But do not assume that today’s new extra thick mattresses are better.

When buying a new bed, you will want to make sure that you get the most comfortable bed possible. Be sure to put your modesty aside and give each bed a try. Measure to make sure you purchase a bed that fits nicely into your bedroom, leaving enough for traveling and other pieces of furniture. If possible, look for a mattress with a comfort warranty so you are sure you like the way your bed feels when you sleep.

5 Steps To Reduce Risks of Covid 19 In Residential Care Homes

Covid 19 has taken the world by storm affecting some more than others. For the elderly it holds that little bit more fear as demographically they are more at risk.

Considerate employers, especially in residential care homes, are keenly aware of this heightened sense of fear amongst their clients and take all the necessary safety measures and precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.

Various governmental and health care bodies have provided ample information to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. Like the Department of Health and Social Care backed Social Care Institute for Excellence which provides advice and best practice information.

Due to the ongoing nature of the virus and the scientific information that comes to light this information is updated regularly.

By utilising information provided by the government we can look at 5 steps we can take to reduce the risk of Covid 19 in residential care homes.

Increase Virus Awareness

You might think that people are all too keenly aware of the virus. But being aware of something is not the same as being knowledgeable about it. Both staff and residents need to know how the virus spreads and what to do or not to do to help limit its spread.

Due to the nature of personal care, and how the virus spreads, the close contact with people during washing, personal hygiene tasks, and the like means that both the career and the person being cared for need to know how to limit any possible spread.


The SCIE advises that ‘frequent handwashing and good hand hygiene is an essential method to control infection’. Its importance in helping minimise spread cannot be understated.

Residents and staff alike should be aware of the correct method of washing your hands thoroughly and ample provision should be made of suitable hand-washing materials like soap and towels.

Where contamination is suspected or confirmed it is advised that ‘all people and staff should decontaminate their hands with alcohol-based rub when moving in and out’ of such areas.

Respiratory and Cough Hygiene

Covid-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets. These droplets are released when someone sneezes, coughs, or even exhales. Coming into contact with these droplets, either directly by being sneezed on, or indirectly by touching a surface that has droplets on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth, will make you infected.

Because of this it is important that staff and residents try and minimise transmission by adopting good respiratory and cough hygiene. Simple things like using disposable tissues and using and disposing of them properly or even coughing into your elbow instead of your hand in emergency situations.

The provision of tissues and waste bins should be ample and available to everyone.

Personal Protective Equipment

Known as PPE this covers the range of protective items and clothing that can be worn. The most noticeable of which is a face mask.

The correct use of PPE is required in the care home setting and while this used to involve staff in protective equipment almost all the time the current guidance recommended by Public Health England is that ‘when staff and the person receiving care are not showing symptoms or suspected of suffering from Covid-19, the use of PPE is not required beyond normal good hygiene practices’.

Track and Trace

At the end of May 2020 the NHS test and trace service was launched. The aim of this service is to provide quick testing for people with symptoms and ‘asymptomatic testing for health and care staff and care home residents’ to trace recent contacts of a positive result to notify that they must self-isolate.

By taking part in this service the care home will be able to get an idea of the level of risk for the residents and act accordingly.

You can never be too safe when it comes to reducing the risk of Covid-19 in a care home and thankfully with the extensive amount of information available it is easier done than ever.

Probe Core Beliefs in Self Improvement Programs

Core beliefs may be limiting your personal growth. Learn why and how to incorporate challenging your core beliefs in your self-improvement program.

An effective self-improvement program requires close examination of one’s core beliefs as these play a dominant role in a person’s behaviours and growth. Honestly evaluating cultural and racial stereotyping and the urban myths and legends held deeply in the subconscious may be difficult but will provide personal growth.

What Are Core Beliefs?

Beliefs are simply thoughts that people have about something. Core beliefs imply thoughts about some topic vital or fundamental to one’s life. All beliefs are simply thoughts that are held to be true which are stored deep in the subconscious where they are available to support rapid and easy decisions. You can find out more about core beliefs at charlotteferrier.com.

Core beliefs — like all beliefs — are not ultimate truths but are simply the truths a person holds dear. Since they are dearly held to be true, differing core beliefs can result in serious disagreements between individuals, groups, and even countries.

Cultural and Racial Stereotyping

Cultural and racial stereotyping are two forms of beliefs held about other people who are of different racial or cultural background. Stereotyping assumes that some readily differentiable characteristic, such as race, age, or gender, will suffice to describe or predict a person’s behaviour or beliefs.

Stereotyping is a mental shortcut, allowing a person to reach conclusions about another without expending the time or effort to know the person as an individual.

Urban Myths and Legends, Adages, Proverbs, and Old Wives Tales

Popularly held core beliefs are also known as urban myths and legends, adages, proverbs, and old wives tales. All of these are simply beliefs – stories, or condensed sayings held to be true.

The following are some popularly held beliefs which appear to have no scientific basis in fact, yet they are held as true by many people.

Failing to wait one hour after eating before swimming will result in cramps which could cause drowning.

Gangs attack drivers who flash their headlights as warning to turn on lights.

The gender of an unborn child can be determined by observing the mother’s profile – carrying high means a girl, carrying low, a boy.

Shaving hair on legs or upper lip will cause it to grow back darker and thicker.

Though these myths are relatively harmless in terms of someone’s personal growth, they are examples of core beliefs that are widely held to be true and therefore result in automatic behaviours by those holding them.

People seeking strong personal growth will benefit by examining and reflecting on the subconscious core beliefs they hold to be true. Until one is aware of subconsciously held beliefs, behaviours and thoughts will continue to be automatic and may be limiting desirable personal growth.

Personal Growth by Challenging Core Beliefs

Include the conscious effort to challenge your core beliefs as an important component of your self-improvement program. There could be some discomfort associated with this self-reflection, but personal growth often involves overcoming the discomfort resulting from serious self-examination.

The following exercises will help structure self-examination of deeply held core beliefs:

Write a two-hundred-word essay titled “This I Believe.”

Finish the sentence beginning with “Life is…”

Examine each belief stated in the above exercises and ask why you believe it and how you know it to be true.

Watch for strong reactions you have to topics in the news or discussions you have with others. When you have a strong reaction, whether in support or opposition to something, it may indicate a core belief is at issue.

Spend time getting to know other people with whom you have never associated. Getting to know people of a different race, culture, gender, religion, or political affiliation will expose you to beliefs held to be true by others which may be in direct conflict to your beliefs. Examine the reasons behind conflicting beliefs.

Personal Growth in a Self-Improvement Program

Include the self-improvement step of closely examining core beliefs about life, yourself, and other people. Become aware of your strong reactions and judgments of other people, especially those different in appearance and culture. Testing your beliefs and allowing yourself to see other viewpoints is an important component of self-improvement.

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