Be a Better Person -- Starting Today

If you’ve been feeling a little crabby lately -- maybe you feel more stressed or extra burdened than ever -- it is possible to give yourself a personal reboot and be the kind of person others admire.

Our experts offer seven ways to increase your generosity, patience and tolerance -- starting today.

Tip No. 1: Fill Your Personal “Pitcher”

Before you can be bighearted towards others, you have to do what certified health and wellness coach and registered dietician Adrienne Raimo calls “filling your pitcher” first. “This means taking care of yourself and your body,” says Raimo. “To be the best you can be, do your best to eat well, exercise and reduce stress. Otherwise, you’ll feel depleted.”

Tip No. 2: Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions

“The first step to becoming your best self requires brutal honesty,” says Kerry Connelly, a certified life coach. “Ask yourself what you’re good at, what your faults are and what are the things that repeatedly come up that hold you back. By becoming aware of your constant frustrations and the ways in which you’re responsible for them, you’ll experience a greater sense of peace and well-being.”

Tip No. 3: Find a Way to Be Compassionate

So much of our negative actions are based in fear, says Jen Hancock, author of several books, including The Humanist Approach to Happiness. Ironically, the antidote to that fear is compassion. “When we view negative people and situations through a compassionate lens, we no longer view people who scare us as giant ogres. They’re frail humans, just like us.” Next time someone cuts you off in traffic or posts something on your Facebook feed that gets under your skin, think a kind thought: “Maybe he was in a rush because of a family emergency,” or “I may not agree with her, but I admire her passion for her cause.”

Tip No. 4: Own Your Own Stuff

That means taking responsibility for both your successes and failures without beating yourself up for it, says life coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus. “Decide that you’re going to stop making excuses to anyone, especially yourself. No more: ‘Sorry I’m late, there was a slow truck and I hit every light.’ Try, instead: ‘Sorry I’m late. I just didn’t allow myself quite enough time to get here.’”

Tip No. 5: Be Thankful for the Good -- and Bad

It’s not always easy to be thankful for rough times, but they help you to become a better person, suggests Colene Elridge, a life coach in Lexington, Ky. “When you’re experiencing something unfavorable in your life, stop and say, ‘What am I learning from this that I didn't know before?’ Use every experience as an opportunity to learn.”

Tip No. 6: Avoid Gossip and Drama

Resist the temptation to join in the fray when your friends dish about work or the Kardashians. “When we gossip, it’s hard to feel good about ourselves,” says Alanna Zabel, a certified yoga instructor whose company, AZIAM Yoga, created a 30-Day Non-Judgment Challenge this spring. “Judging others will only drag you down.”

Tip No. 7: Always Apologize

If you’ve made a mistake, ‘fess up. “Tempting as it can be to pretend to be perfect, we all fail from time to time,” says Lauren M. Bloom, author of The Art of the Apology: How, When and Why to Give and Accept Apologies. “An effective apology can not only restore trust and heal relationships, it can also help the person making the apology cultivate honesty, humility and empathy -- all wonderful qualities.”

Cancer-Preventing Moves to Make Right Now

Preventing cancer often seems like a long, dreary list of don’ts: don’t smoke, don’t go out without sunscreen, etc. But along with the no-nos are lots of positive dos -- easy steps that could reduce your cancer risks. “The best defense is enjoying a colorful, plant-rich diet and an active lifestyle,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietician based in New York and author of Younger Next Week, who notes that such smart choices can also benefit your heart and your brain.

Here are a few ways you can boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

Take the Weight Off

Obesity and excess weight are “clearly associated” with postmenopausal breast cancer, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and are implicated in others, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS also says that excess weight accounts for 14 to 20 percent of all cancer deaths. Trimming down to a healthy weight with a waistline of less than 32 inches (a measurement which is an important indicator of dangerous belly fat) can cut your risk.  

Shake a Leg

The National Cancer Institute notes that there is “strong evidence” that physical activity reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer, while other studies suggest links to lower lung, endometrial and prostate cancer.

How much exercise is enough? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week for adults and an hour a day for kids -- with at least three of those hours being “vigorous” activity (hiking, running over 6 mph, soccer, etc.). And you don’t have to spend all that time in the gym. Romp on the beach with your kids, go dancing with your spouse or play a fun game of volleyball.

Got young daughters? Vigorous exercise is especially important for pre-pubescent girls, says epidemiologist Ruby Senie, PhD, of Columbia University, because it could postpone the start of menstruation, limiting their lifetime exposure to estrogen and later risk of breast cancer.  

Go Big on GBGG

That stands for Greens/Beans/Grains/Garlic, a cancer-fighting combo that health experts recommend for your daily diet. Many -- though not all -- published studies link cruciferous veggies such as arugula, watercress and broccoli to lower risk of lung, colon, stomach and other cancers. Beans and grains pack plenty of fiber, shown by numerous studies to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. And research cited by the National Cancer Institute suggests that regular garlic consumption can decrease the risk of stomach, colon and pancreatic cancer.

Feast on Fruits, Nom on Nuts

Blackberries and raspberries are not only delicious; they also deliver more fiber than broccoli, not to mention bolstering your defenses against colon and breast cancer. Enjoying a peach a couple of times a week could lower your risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to one large study. And while nuts are higher in calories than berries, nibbling an ounce of them twice a week might also protect against pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Indulge in Moderation

Enjoying a little Chardonnay once in a while is fine -- just don’t overdo it. The ACS emphasizes that drinking alcohol in any form raises the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, colon and breast. Stick to recommended consumption levels to moderate the damage: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

Studies also link high intake of red meats with higher rates of colorectal cancer, so limit your consumption to 6 ounces twice a week, says Zied. And when you’re going to grill your rib-eye, marinate it first: Grilling produces carcinogens called HCAs, but researchers from Kansas State University found that marinating meat for half an hour cuts the HCA level by up to 88 percent.

Keep Cool! Stopping Sweat in Its Tracks

While many of us have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of summer with open arms, we may be less than thrilled about the effect that wonderfully steamy weather has on the underside of those arms … not to mention the scalp, chest and forehead.

Although you can’t stop sweating altogether -- this essential function helps regulate our internal temperature and cools the body year-round -- there are ways to keep those sweat-prone areas dry when the temperature soars. As you embrace your favorite summer activities, from outdoor workouts to backyard cookouts, keep these perspiration-stopping tips in mind:

Skip the Silk

A variety of factors can impact how much you perspire -- including the clothes you wear. Wearing fabrics like silk or polyester can increase your body temperature and bring on the dampness. Wear light, breathable clothing with loosely woven fabrics and natural fibers like cotton or linen to help prevent sweat stains and decrease perspiration. If you’re in an air-conditioned environment, such as an office or movie theater, dress in layers that you can easily take off to avoid overheating.

Go Bland

Spicy foods can up your body temperature as well, so if you’re prone to perspiration, avoid the hot sauce when you barbecue. Switching to iced coffee and tea can also help you keep your cool.

Pick the Right Product

Contrary to popular belief, deodorants and antiperspirants are two different products. Deodorants help cover up the odors associated with perspiration, but to curb the wetness itself, you need an antiperspirant. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum, which soaks into the skin, blocking sweat.

Head for Your Pantry

Antiperspirants can be applied anywhere on the body, but may cause irritation to sensitive areas of your skin. To keep your chest dry and cool, dust some baking soda under and around your breasts. If your scalp tends to sweat, apply dry shampoo or baby powder before you go out.  

Keep Clean

To keep sweat at bay, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, stresses frequent showers with antibacterial soap to clear away the perspiration and fight the bacteria that cause body odor.

Change Your Routine

If you typically shower in the morning, try switching to bedtime, and apply your antiperspirant after toweling off. This gives it more time to work because your skin is dry and your body temperature is naturally lower at night. If you apply it in the morning, increased temperature and sweat volume may cause the antiperspirant to wash away too soon.

Get a Checkup

Sometimes, excess perspiration can be a sign that something else is wrong. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity or an overactive thyroid, can increase sweating, says Jaliman. If you’ve been perspiring more than usual for no apparent reason, consult your doctor.

Call a Professional

If sweating is really affecting your lifestyle, there are additional options to consider. Prescription or clinical strength over-the-counter antiperspirants can reduce excessive sweating by blocking the sweat glands more effectively. And in extreme cases, Botox injections have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help combat underarm sweat and can decrease perspiration for about seven months, says Jaliman.

To learn more about excessive sweating, visit the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website.

7 Tips to Being a Successful Work-at-Home Mom

Generations ago, staying home with the kids meant a life of housework and homework. Today, it’s likely to include conference calls, invoicing and paychecks, as more women discover the perks of being a work-at-home mom. If you’ve been considering starting your own home-based business, here are seven important tips to keep in mind.

1. Find the right job. If you already have a career in mind, or your current boss has agreed to a telecommuting arrangement, then lucky you! But if you’re not sure what sort of at-home job to pursue, do some research to find a good match for your interests and skills. Websites such as WAHM.com, HBWM.com and RatRaceRebellion.com are excellent resources for “mompreneurs.”

Among the many home-based business options available today are virtual call center and office assistant jobs, social media management, catalog sales, blogging and data entry. Or consider turning a hobby you love, such as photography or jewelry making, into a career.

2. Beware of scams. Steer clear of any company that asks for an up-front fee (although virtual call centers do require a small payment for background checks). Work-at-home expert Christine Durst, co-founder of RatRaceRebellion.com, also warns against clicking links on Facebook threads from people promising business opportunities (“Earn $7,000 a month!”). These are usually recruiters from shady pyramid scheme companies.

3. Know the costs. Depending on your line of work, you’ll probably need to invest in supplies such as shipping materials or software upgrades. Do your homework before you begin to make sure your new job won’t break your budget. If your start-up costs are high, look into options such as small business loans or even a crowdfunding campaign.

And it may take a while before you see a profit, so set aside enough savings to see you through the lean times. “There’s a real misconception out there that you can slap up a blog or start doing direct sales and money will pour in,” says Kelly Land, founder of MoneyMakingMommy.com. “Ask yourself: Can I do this around my current job so I’ll still have an income, or is there another source of income to keep us going while I do this?”

4. Take your job seriously. Just because you’re not putting on high heels in the morning doesn’t mean you’re not working. Set regular hours and stick to them, even if it means letting the housework slide or putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your home office door.

5. Have a child care plan. While the point of being a WAHM is being there for your kids, it still pays to have a good support system just in case. A trusted sitter, loving grandparents or a reliable friend can be a lifesaver when you’re dealing with deadlines and a restless toddler all at once.

6. Be prepared to lose sleep. Between work responsibilities and kids’ activity schedules, many work-at-home moms find that their work day is a lot longer than the eight-hour norm. “Getting up before everyone and staying up later was the only way I could stay on track and get things accomplished,” says Land. “A lot of times, I’d just nap when the kids did.”

7. Find time to unwind. Running a business and a family can be stressful, so don’t forget to put some me time in your day. “For me, gaming is how I relieve stress,” says Land. “I have one friend who goes out and weeds when things get crazy, and another who can’t live without her weekly facial. The key is to find a healthy

Give Your Scalp the Royal Treatment

If you want to show off your crowning glory this summer, you’d better be good to what lies beneath. Sun, salt water and chlorine can all punish your scalp, leaving it dry and itchy and draining the luster from your locks. Here’s how to keep your scalp healthy and your hair looking its best while you savor the season.

Practice Sun Smarts

With skin cancer rates “significantly” on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control, most of us have gotten the message to slather our faces and bodies with sunscreen. (The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30, reapplied every two hours.)

But we may be skipping our scalps, says Dr. Rebecca Kazin, a board-certified dermatologist in Washington, D.C. “Women don’t realize that even if they have a full head of hair, their part is prone to sunburn and potential skin cancer,” says Kazin. Ditto for spots where your hair may be thinning or your hairline is newly exposed by a summer ponytail or short haircut.

Her suggestions:

· To avoid a greasy head, soak a cotton-tipped swab in sunscreen and run it along vulnerable areas.

· Wear a broad-brimmed hat (not a paparazzi-tempting V. Stiviano visor!). Many versions now have built in SPF.

· Get a skin checkup from your dermatologist at least once a year, and watch any moles for changes that could indicate deadly melanoma. (The American Cancer Society predicts that 32,000 melanomas will be diagnosed in women this year.)

· Make your hairdresser or colorist a scalp scout. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a free “Heads Up” training program to help stylists recognize troublesome symptoms.

Feed Your Head

Your hair and scalp need plenty of lean protein and a variety of nutrients to stay supple and strong, says New York nutritionist Marjorie Nolan Cohn, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Throw some salmon, skinless chicken, lean beef or veggie burgers on the grill for some perfect summer protein. Other nutritional headliners for warm-weather appetites:

· Seafood: Smoked salmon, sardines, and shellfish such as oysters, clams, mussels and crabs can deliver zinc and essential vitamins, as well as lean protein.

· Low-fat dairy: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are loaded with follicle-friendly protein and vitamins.

· Salad-worthy fruits and veggies: Try vitamin-rich cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, fresh carrots, tomatoes and baby spinach, as well as that year-round favorite, sweet potatoes.

· Olive and flaxseed oil, walnuts, almonds and avocados: Use these in dressings, marinades and salads. All pack lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which help our bodies produce the natural oils that condition the scalp.

Soothe Thyself

Flaky, dry scalps can have numerous causes, ranging from year-round conditions like dandruff -- an inflammatory reaction to yeast -- to seasonal hazards such as poison ivy, bug bites or over-exposure to pool chemicals and salt water. In response, Kazin suggests:

· Don’t scratch; it might worsen the condition and invite infection. Slap an ice cube on the afflicted spot to fool the nerve endings and block the itch.

· Pick the right shampoo. If you’ve got showers of white flakes, use an over-the-counter dandruff product. If you’ve been swimming in the ocean or pool, choose a salt- and sulfate-free shampoo -- and next time, wet your hair before hitting the beach to limit absorption of salt and chlorine.

· Try scalp massage, which can increase blood flow, says Kazin. Do your own -- or enlist a significant other. If your scalp seems dry, use a dab of anti-inflammatory tea tree oil.

Condition. Apply a treatment under your bathing cap while you swim. Or slick your hair back with conditioner and let the summer