Monthly Archives: April 2012

How to Achieve Peace and Calm When You Are Stressed Out

Stress Relief Bang Head Here

Image Credit: eamoncurry123

Your head is pounding, your left eye has been intermittently twitching for three days, and your jaw hurts from clenching it; a subconscious reaction to all the stress you’re under. You know you need some relaxation, but with looming deadlines and important projects, you don’t have time to take a break.

Unfortunately not relieving stress now can a long term negative impact on your health, including high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, emotional disorders, and more.

Instead of putting off fun and relaxation until you have larger blocks

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of time, schedule it in small, manageable doses so that you can get the relief you need now, and minimize the potential for long term damage.

Here are a few tips that can help you relief stress now, even if you only have a few minutes available.


We all know that our body needs daily exercise, yet so many of us forgo its benefits, because we feel pressured to keep working on the project that needs to get done. But you’re not doing yourself any favors. So get up, and go outside, and take a walk. Even if you only have 5 minutes, and even if you can only walk around your office building or parking lot. Your body will thank you for it.

Go Outside

Human beings weren’t meant to sit all day, stare at a monitor for long periods of time, or exist solely in air conditioned spaces. Do yourself a favor and go outside. Go sit at a park, or go to a stream or lake, or go for a walk. Your brain and eyes could use a rest, and your body needs vitamins that it receives from sunlight, like vitamin D.

Meditation, Focused Breathing, & Visualization

Meditation can help calm stress by helping you to relax for a few minutes. Even if you’re not into meditation, a few minutes of focused breathing can calm you down. Take a minute to close your eyes, and focus on your breath as you deeply inhale, and then slowly exhale. Focus only on your breath. After a few minutes, open your eyes. You should feel calmer and more relaxed.

Another variation is to visualize your happy space. It could be an open meadow, or the ocean, or some other far off pretty place. Take a minute to close your eyes and really picture your happy place. What does it look like? What details stand out? Sit in this space for a minute and just enjoy the feeling. Again, after a few minutes of focused visualization, you should feel relaxed and calm.


Aromatherapy, or the use of scents and essential oils to illicit a response from the body, have proven to work wonders in certain individuals. Lavender and jasmine are both great oils for calming. Put some in a diffuser and enjoy the scent all day. Please be aware that some people could be sensitive to scents, so this may not be a viable stress relief solution for all offices.

As long as you have at least 15 minutes at your disposal, you have time for a little quick stress relief.

Is there something in particular you do to relieve stress when you’re short on time? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you bring peace and calm into your life. Email:

Google Announces Free Cloud Storage Service, Google Drive

Google Drive Coffee

Image Credit: yukop

Earlier this week, Google announced the rollout of its latest service, Google Drive. This virtual storage space allows you to create and store files in the cloud. Additionally, you can share and collaborate on files, keeping up with changes in real time.

Google Drive quickly differentiates itself from its competitors both by the amount of size they offer for free (a robust 5GB), as well as with a plethora of amazing features that users are sure to love.

One of the more beneficial features is the ability to view over 30 different files types in your browser, even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer. This means you can still view your friend’s shared Photoshop file using your web browser, even if you don’t have Photoshop on your computer.

Additionally, Google Drive allows you to track changes, and saves your revisions, keeping changes for up to 30 days, or choose to keep a particular revision permanently stored, depending on your needs.

You can also download and upload files with ease, regardless of platform. Want to save files from your IPad in your Google Drive and later move those same files to your PC? No problem, Google has you covered and allows you to easily move and save files, no matter what device or computer you are using.

If you want to use Google Drive there is currently a wait list (as Google always does with any new service), so if you want to be one of the first to use it, then go to the Google Drive Sign Up site and request some space. They’ll notify you when it’s ready.

Click here to read a comparison of different cloud storage services to see how they stack up.

Are you using Google Drive now? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you find cool new tools to make work and life easier. Email:

How to Accept Credit Card Payments on Location

Square Credit Card Reader

Image Credit: bfishadow

Have you ever been at an event or trade show where someone wanted to pay for your services by credit card, but had to decline because you had no way to accept payments?

This problem may soon be a thing of the past. There are now credit-card reading devices that physically plug into your smartphone, allowing you to swipe cards and accept payments on location.

Best of all, because the technology is still so new, most companies offer the devices and services at little to no cost to the business. It’s a win-win situation.

Here’s a rundown of a few of the companies offering card-readers for smartphones.


Like its name, the card-reader offered by Square is a small, white, square device that plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone. The device itself is free. Additionally, there are no monthly fees or merchant accounts required to use the service.

The Square service has slightly higher service fees than other companies, but because it’s essentially free otherwise, it’s great for businesses who accept payments sporadically.

PayPal Here

PayPal also offers a free thumb-sized card reader and free app that connects with your smartphone. Their fees are also similar to Square’s and they have no monthly commitment.

However, the service is on “exclusive release” now, meaning they won’t send the device to just anyone who asks. Instead, if you are interested in using PayPal’s Here service, you will need to sign up for their wait list, and they will contact you upon availability.


Intuit also offers a free mobile payment service, called GoPayment. Their free transaction rates are on par with the other two services. However, GoPayment also has a monthly plan option, where you can reduce your transaction fees by 1%, if you pay a monthly service fee of $12.95.

The monthly plan could be a great option for businesses processing a large volume of on-demand credit card payments.

As long as you have a smart phone, you have the ability to accept payments on demand, wherever you are in the world. Order one of these devices and you will never have to turn away a paying customer again.

Do you use a card-reader to accept credit cards on demand? How does it work for you? Leave us a comment telling us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you do business anywhere. Email: