Chocolate doesn’t just make you feel better when you’re depressed (or happier when you’re not). Some evidence shows that it could actually be good for your health. According to a meta-analysis of medical data reported in the British Medical Journal, eating chocolate might decrease your risk of heart disease by 37% and your risk of stroke by 29%.

The darker the better - at least 70% cacao and up is where the good stuff is! It's best to stay away from traditional candy bars because they are highly processed, which can diminish the slim health benefits of chocolate.

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National Haiku Poetry Day, Dec. 2. A day to celebrate an ancient Japanese poetry form, the haiku.

Human Rights Day, Dec. 10. Honors the adoption of the Universal Declaration of  Human Rights (UDHR).

First night of Hanukkah, Dec. 18. The beginning of the 8-night Jewish holiday celebrating the dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem.

Christmas Day, Dec. 25. A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

First Day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 26. A 7-day celebration of African heritage and culture that continues until Jan. 1.

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Good health isn’t an accident of genetics. It’s a habit—or it can be, if you’re serious about practicing it. Here are a few tips for staying in shape and healthy under any circumstance:

Move around. Maybe you can’t devote a few hours to a full workout every day, but you can burn a few hundred calories by adding even a little physical activity to your routine. Get out of your chair and take a brisk walk around the office, use the stairs instead of the elevator, pick a parking spot that is far from the entrance and so forth.

Eat relaxing meals. Take your time when eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. People who race through their meals, or eat while they’re doing something else - such as working or watching TV - tend to eat more. Sit down, slow down and enjoy your food without distractions.

Stop when you’re full. Most of us were taught to eat everything on our plate, and the idea of “wasting” food seems downright wrong to many people. But you’ll add unwanted weight by forcing yourself to finish meals when you’re already full. Save your uneaten food and enjoy it the next day as a snack or as leftovers to avoid wasting it.

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Want to get fit? Try getting out of bed earlier. In a study conducted at Northwestern University, researchers gave 54 people wrist monitors that tracked their sleeping patterns and exposure to light for a week and told them to keep detailed records of what they ate.

The researchers also measured participants’ activity level and age, as well as the season they were being monitored.

The researchers found that exposure to early morning light, whether natural or artificial, was associated with a leaner body weight. The reason, they speculate, is that light might play a role in regulating the metabolism, similar to its effects on wakefulness and alertness. The connection isn’t conclusive, but getting up a little earlier might be worth a try... rise and shine!

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Planning a vacation sometime next year? Prevent a disaster before it starts. Here’s how to protect yourself against dishonest travel agents and their possible scams:

Shop around. Never rush into booking a vacation without getting offers from at least two agencies or tour providers.

Deal only with reputable travel agencies or tour companies. Ask for a referral or do your homework to learn if any complaints have been filed against the company.

Beware of any too-good-to-be-true offer. This can include ridiculously cheap prices or “free” trips that require you to attend a seminar. If anything is two-for-one or includes a free stay, then read the fine print before signing anything.

Ask for details. Find out about all the terms before agreeing to buy. Ask for specific names of airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour providers or any other vendor mentioned as a part of the package. Also ask if there’s a cancellation policy. 

Don’t pay all at once. If you’re told to pay in advance, then ask if you can pay only a deposit. Using a credit card is safest because you retain your right to dispute the charges if the services were misrepresented or never delivered.

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Canceling a credit card can seem like a fast and easy solution to your debt woes. In a Bankrate survey of 2,301 adults with credit cards, 61% reported that they’ve canceled at least one credit card, and 37% said they’ve canceled more.

The older you are, the more likely you’ve done it: 72% percent of Baby Boomers have canceled at least one card, more than 61% of Gen Xers and 50% of Millennials have done it.

Here are some reasons they gave for cutting ties:

  • 40% - No longer needed it after paying off debt

  • 36% - Didn’t use it enough to keep it

  • 36% - Interest rate too high

  • 18% - Worries about overspending and debt

  • 17% - Insufficient rewards

  • 12% - Improve credit score

  • 11% - Other reasons

However, canceling a credit card doesn’t automatically boost your credit score. Experts advise keeping an account open, even if you don’t use it, because longstanding accounts with available credit typically have a positive impact on your overall credit score.

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Sometime around 1703, in an opulent German Cathedral, an old man plays a massive organ for the last time. He is retiring and playing a melancholy piece of music.

Meanwhile, a young man—his replacement—approaches. Without a word, the old man finishes his work, stands, removes the organ key, pockets it and walks toward the door.

“Sir, the key, please,” the young man says.

The organist hands the would-be apprentice the key and then leaves. The young man sits at the organ and begins to play a never-before-heard harmony. The sound fills the Cathedral and spills into the town and through the countryside, inspiring awe within everyone listening.

The apprentice is a young Johann Sebastian Bach, before he became the court chamber musician for Duke Johann Ernst III.

Now, imagine within you is the key to special knowledge and wisdom that is unique only to you. Sometime today, ask yourself who needs your key to unlock his or her genius and share one of your unique resources that open doors for generations.  

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Strategic planning can be streamlined, as long as you’re focused on the right issues. Spending a few minutes each day on these questions will help you see where you have to go:

What are your goals?

What strategies are you using to pursue them?

What obstacles are preventing you from achieving them?

What could you do differently?

What resources do you have? What do you need?

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You can “empower” an employee to carry out a task, but whose fault is it if he or she fails? Managers and employees share equal responsibility for making empowerment successful. Here’s what each of you has to do:

Employees:

  • Show your interest. If you feel ready to take on more responsibility, discuss available opportunities with your boss. You’ll be able to clarify what kinds of decisions you can be empowered to make and when you should seek advice from your manager.
  • Suggest a trial. Convince your leader of your abilities by offering to handle one or two responsibilities on a trial basis. This will let the boss see what you’ve got and give you the freedom you crave.
  • Understand your leader’s needs. Remember that your boss may have to justify your decisions and actions to other people. A surprise could make your boss look bad.

Managers:

  • Analyze your attitude. How important is control to you? Pay attention to what you delegate and what you handle on your own. Are you allowing your workers to develop their skills, or preventing them from moving forward?
  • Explain your priorities. Explain to employees why you need to perform certain tasks by yourself. Be sure your reasons have a solid business foundation beneath them.
  • Practice. Look for opportunities to delegate tasks whenever you can. Make sure you’re empowering people to do meaningful work, not just unpleasant jobs you want to avoid. It will get easier the longer you do it.









For you like this kind of articles, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Despite your best and most creative efforts, your innovative project has failed. Don’t despair. The Jeffrey Baumgartner website recommends analyzing the failure by asking these questions:

What went right? It’s a rare failure that doesn’t have some redeeming qualities. Identify things that went well. It’ll cheer you up, and you may incorporate those small victories into your next project.

What went wrong? Now that you’re feeling a little better, look at where you tripped up. Make a list of the mistakes you made so you’re clear on the root causes of the failure.

Why did it go wrong? Maybe your process was flawed, or you had bad information, or you made incorrect assumptions. Ask the people around you for their perceptions. When you learn why things went awry, you’ll be better able to avoid future mistakes.

Are you repeating mistakes? Everyone makes the occasional mistake. You’ve got to be sure you’re not making the same mistakes over and over again. Look at past failures to determine whether your process is flawed in some way.

What can you salvage? Take a look at the end result and see if you can find something useful to recycle - data, equipment, product components, whatever. Your project won’t be a complete loss if you can repurpose at least some of its elements.

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