Rising student loan debt has become an impediment to an entire generation’s dreams of success through a college education. If you’re mired in debt yourself, it may feel impossible to make any serious headway on the total amount owed without giving up other important expenses and even the smallest personal luxuries.
Like many Millennials and young people still stuck paying for the promise of “adulthood” and a better life down the road, the burden of student loan debt remains a source of deep concern and stress. If student loans are dragging you down both physically and mentally, it’s time to reevaluate your approach and take decisive actions that will lead to positive, lasting results.
Student Loans in the 2016 Election
With Millennials having finally overtaken the “Boomers” as America’s largest living generation according to The Pew Research Center, the student loan crisis sits front and center on both the Republican and Democratic parties’ platforms going into the November Presidential election.
Taking a leaf from Bernie Sander’s book, Hillary Clinton has now promised to eliminate 4-year college or university tuition for families earning less than $85,000, among other student loan debt relief tactics. While Donald Trump has stated that he’ll release his position on the student loan crisis by the beginning of September, the official 2016 GOP platform is calling for the Federal Government to stop originating student loans.
Discussing the Debt Crisis
It’s common knowledge today that young Americans are saddled with more debt than previous generations; between an anemic job market, higher housing costs, and rising tuition, it’s difficult to find secure economic footing and grow one’s wealth. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances, college students now face a whopping average of $30,156 in debt upon graduation, and a full 18 percent of graduates report being behind on one or more of their loans.
Why Debt Weighs Heavy
A recent study published in the Social Science & Medicine journal revealed that being in debt harms more than just the financial health of young Americans. Owing large sums also tends to negatively impact one’s physical and mental wellbeing, leading to a range of damaging physiological and psychological symptoms. While the study focused exclusively on families with young children, it seems fair to extend their findings to conclude that debt is stressful for all. Additional research also indicates a correlation between high debt and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. According to several other major research projects, debt-related depression and anxiety can lead to serious medical problems such as:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of strokes and heart attacks
- Sleeping abnormalities
- Panic disorders
- Weight gain, headaches, and digestive problems
- Alcohol or substance abuse
Finding Balance and Making Changes
It hard not to feel overwhelmed when you’re making consistent debt payments every month and seeing little change in your debt load. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. By acknowledging your debt, eliminating negative thoughts about money, and forgiving yourself, you can make positive changes that will help you manage – and reduce — your debt load with less stress. The following are some ways to resist the negative attitudes of others, eliminate poor spending habits, and create a bubble of positivity and support around yourself.
- Become aware of negative thoughts
- Make an effort to think and speak positively about your future
- Reiterate your goals first thing every day
- Surround yourself with inspiring affirmations
- Spend time with positive people
- Break goals into achievable milestones
Creative Student Debt Management
Repaying your student loans and personal debt is a long term process that requires determination and a certain amount of ingenuity. With a creative debt elimination plan you will be able to tackle and reduce your debt more quickly — without resorting to eating ramen noodles or mac-n-cheese at every meal. The following are a few “outside the box” strategies you can employ to conquer your student loans once and for all:
Choose public service. If you enjoy helping others, the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) can help you reduce your Federal Student Loan debt. Additionally, law enforcement, non-profit, military, public school administration, public health, and some government positions may lead to qualification for debt forgiveness.
Ask your employer to foot the bill. Many companies acknowledge the negative impact of their employees’ student debt and may offer benefits packages that include student loan reimbursement.
Don’t forget your deductions. A portion of your student loan payment goes toward interest. Deduct up to $4,000 in interest from your taxes for your qualifying student loans, and up to $2,500 in deductions in qualified higher education expenses through the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Avoid incurring more debt. When you are saddled with debt, it’s not wise to add to it with significant financial obligations such as buying a home, purchasing a vehicle, or getting married.
Use auto-debit payments. By enrolling in an automatic payment program you’ll avoid incurring fees by missing payments, and may be able to reduce your interest rate. For example, Sally Mae offers a .25 percent reduction in loan interest to qualifying applicants.
Negotiate with creditors. If your phone is ringing off the hook with calls from creditors and debt collectors, sitting down for a chat is probably the last thing you want to do. And while buying your own debt is, unfortunately, not possible, you can have a meaningful discussion with your creditor and ask questions that will (hopefully) lead to a payment arrangement, or a settlement agreement, that works better for you given your current financial situation. If possible, try to work out an agreement with creditors before a bill is sent to collection agencies.
By acknowledging your current debt, eliminating negative thoughts about money, and forgiving yourself, you can make positive strides that will help you manage – and reduce — your debt load with less stress. Facing your student loan debt obligation head-on with a positive attitude and a creative approach will can leave you happier, healthier, and debt-free sooner.
The tools are out there, we simply have to take action as we see changes in our overall society happen and hopefully one day see the removal of a debt based system.
Notable Scientist Publishes A Book About ‘Real Magic’ That Nobel Laureates Are Endorsing
- The Facts:
Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has published a book called "Real Magic." It has received praise from multiple scientists, including Nobel Laureates.
- Reflect On:
Despite the fact that controlled scientific experiments have produced significant results, this type of study is still labelled as pseudoscience by many academics, simply because it challenges what they've been trained to believe.
Is magic real? That depends on how you define it, but yes, I believe ‘magic’ is definitely real, and I’m clearly not the only one. Cases of ‘supernormal’ powers and ‘magic’ of all kinds have been reported throughout history and across almost all cultures–at least until religion was invented and these topics were ushered into the realm of the ‘demonic.’
Proponents of what we now call ‘magic’ include nearly all ancient literature from all parts of the world, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, all the way to Moses, Jesus, Milarepa and Mohammed. Donald Lopez Jr., a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and the University of Michigan provides a great example in describing the Buddha:
With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body…Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)
The crazy thing is there are also modern day examples, but they mostly come from the black budget government programs. In 2016, I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirms the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. You can access that here.
A book recently published by the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dean Radin, entitled “Real Magic” has received some great reviews. The main premise is the idea that a hidden power resides within every single human being, a power tied to our consciousness, a power that makes phenomena like psychokinesis, remote viewing, and precognition not only possible but something that will perhaps one day be a normal part of all our lives. The book offers a vision of a scientifically informed magic and explains why magic will play a key role in the frontiers of science.
This falls into the realm of a field of study called non-material science. Nikola Tesla was a huge proponent of this, as he had said that the day humanity begins to study this subject matter is the day that humanity will advance at an exponential rate.
Far From “Pseudoscience”
Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.
The amount of statistically significant results when it comes to this reality, usually dubbed as “parapsychology,” is very significant. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide for decades.
There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. —Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)
A lot of the statistical results for parapsychology are just as strong, if not in some cases more significant, than a lot of the results which emerge from hard sciences, like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defense has stated that results in this area are a clear sign that these phenomena are real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat unexplainable. As far back as 1999, a statistics professor even published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications. That study was done by Dr. Jessica Utts, as statistics professor in California who had this to say about Radin’s book:
“Real Magic illustrates the limitations of 20th century science and proposes a more comprehensive view that incorporates ideas that have been associated with magic throughout the ages. Blending history, humor, and plausible hypotheses, Dean Radin illustrates that there is a staggering amount of evidence for a broader view of science that offers hope for the future of humanity.”
“A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” —Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge
Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that matter is not the only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.
“Some scientists are confident that we already know what is and is not possible. But the truth is that science is very much in its infancy. To advance our understanding requires bold excursions into domains some might consider heretical, including esoteric legends about magic that have persisted for thousands of years. This is what Dean Radin sets out to do with Real Magic. In my judgment, it succeeds in blazing new trails. Well worth the read.” — Kary Mullis PhD, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry)
The Global Elite Use Magic
While talking about magic in this sense, it’s also important to mention the global elite, and the idea that they also use metaphysical/magical ‘knowing’ and concepts. Unfortunately, they do so not for the joy of discovery, or from a place of good intention, but from a selfish, egoic place, a place that is in service to self, and not in service to others. This is a big point to consider when discussing whether humanity needs to take down the global elite in order to evolve. You can read more about my thoughts regarding magic and the global elite in the article ‘How Some of The World’s Elite Use Black Magic Rituals To Conjure Up Entities For More Power.’
I believe that as human consciousness evolves and we become more aware of who we are, and our capabilities, we will also realize that love, compassion, and empathy are all needed for us to thrive. Once we completely grasp this, I believe, these ‘abilities’ that lay dormant within us will begin to show themselves more and more.
The takeaway here is to keep in open mind, and to recognize that what we think we know is always subject to change. Sometimes these things take a while, even if a sufficient amount of evidence has been provided. This type of study opens up new understandings about the nature of our reality, and would change ‘science’ and the current laws that govern it forever. Non-material science truly represents the next scientific revolution.
Note To Selfie: Drop The Mask
- The Facts:
On social media, it's common to see pictures that don't truly represent us or the situations we are capturing. In many cases, we photograph ourselves 10 - 15 times before selecting the 'accurate' photo we will use.
- Reflect On:
Why do we spend so much time creating an image of ourselves, even if it is not accurate?
What if we all put down our masks? What if we agreed, that there would be no more disguises? What if we allowed each other to be our authentic self? Imagine the effect on Instagram. It boggles the mind.
Too many people believe the content uploaded on social media is actually showing us truth. Far from it. The material chosen to be uploaded to Facebook, or liked on Instagram, bears little resemblance to true life. Each photo has been carefully chosen after taking a mind-numbing series of retakes.
Each photo must be meticulously studied to ensure the subject looks nothing like the real thing. After all, the real thing isn’t going to garner followers. No one uploads pictures of themselves returning bottles to the beer store in their slippers, or cleaning out the kitty litter. Followers equate to love. More follower = more love.
We are terrified that people will see our true self and our mundane lives won’t be nearly glamorous enough. So we take 12 pictures before deciding one is good enough.
Note to selfie: Make sure you extend your arms and snap the picture from above. You must be looking up. You will look younger. Social media doesn’t like wrinkles … bad skin … or skinny lips.
The harm that has been done to our psyche is profound. Apparently, the psyche is quite gullible. It does believe the stories shown on social media are true. So our psyche starts putting on some pretty outlandish masks to keep up with the Jones’ psyche. It is a constant challenge to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses can’t even keep up with Joneses. No one can. It’s a sucker’s game.
What is the result of wearing a mask? – depression, anxiety, frustration, shame. The “Mask-Wearer” knows it’s not true. And they are terrified of being found out. Imagine the fear of being outed as a fraud. And more unsettling is this; if someone falls for that mask you’ve been wearing, don’t believe they’ve fallen for you. They are enamoured with the mask: the image. And the image isn’t real.
Let’s bring a Revolution of Real. Put down the mask. And promise yourself that you will never be anything other than your most authentic self. Masks wear very thin, very fast. Authentic beauty lasts forever.
recommended Read: Instagram User Reveals The Truth Behind Those Fitness Photos
7 Thought-Provoking Short Films You Can Watch Now For Free Online
- The Facts:
Film has the ability to capture our emotions and move us in what are sometimes very productive ways. We'll show you 7 thought-provoking short films you might love watching.
- Reflect On:
How do these films make you feel from watching them? How do they relate to your own life? What action can you take after watching these?
The world of film has always captivated me. Whether it be its ability to present a supernatural reality I’ll never get to experience, or its ability to accurately depict an emotion I can relate to, there really is something surreal about going to or staying in to watch a movie.
And while the subscription numbers to popular film and television streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime certainly suggest that I likely don’t need to sell you on choosing to watch them, I do believe that a pitch needs to be made for the particular variety of them that I’m suggesting within this article.
That variety of course, is short films. The unofficial younger sibling to feature-length films that aside from those that happen to play before a popular Pixar film, or those that are nominated for an Academy Award, often go largely unnoticed by the masses. So I’d like to present a list of 7 thought-provoking independently made short films that you can watch for free online now as part of the Spirit Film Festival until the end of October.
How often do you consciously choose to sit in silence? And better yet, is it even readily available to you? The short film Uncaptured explores the emotional and physical impact that setting aside conscious time to be in silence can have on the thoughts, programs and belief systems we have stored within us.
Through a series of interviews we are given insight in alignment with the famous Thomas Carlyle quote the film presents just after its title card: “Silence is as deep as eternity; Speech is as shallow as time.” WATCH UNCAPTURED
2. The Nine Billion Names of God
Based on the book by Arthur C. Clarke -most infamously known as to co-writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick –The Nine Billion Names of God tells the story of a Tibetan monk who seeks to list all of the names of God with the help an automatic sequence computer.
Based in 1957, the short film is beautifully shot and is carried from start to finish by a beautiful score, perfectly setting the stage for a thought-provoking adventure. WATCH THE NINE BILLIONS NAMES OF GOD
3. Leave Of Presence
If you were asked to list what would make you happy in life, a well-paying job and vibrant social life would likely make the list. Yet the presence of both of those elements didn’t stop Sudha Suthanthiram from dropping everything to head to India in search of her true calling.
This short narrative film runs less than 5 minutes in length yet it offers great food for thought for all of us questioning our purpose in life. WATCH LEAVE OF PRESENCE
4. Nectar of Devotion
Nectar of Devotion shares the fascinating transition made by the one-time frontman for an acid rock band into GuruGanesha Singh Khalsa. While his former life offered much of the surface-level pleasures that so many of us fantasize about, GuruGanesha delves into how his new life has created a happiness unlike ever before.
The short film runs under 7 minutes in length and goes into detail on the difficulties associated with making the transition and how his new kirtan rock band is making the type of impact he always desired having on others. WATCH NECTAR OF DEVOTION
5. Graham: A Dog’s Story
Whether or not you consider yourself a dog lover, Graham: A Dog’s Story is a funny and touching short film told from the perspective of a dog. From being introduced into the family, to “letting go” we’re led through so many of the stages that owners and their favorite pets often go through in life without much attention.
While the short film is carried by a comedic voiceover, it delves into many unexpected stages of a dog’s life including the impact that they have on us even long after they are gone. WATCH GRAHAM: A DOG’S STORY
In just 6 minutes, Bekia powerfully shares the story of Hamdy, a seller of used goods doing everything he can to make a living on the streets of Cairo. Director Alia Adel effectively takes us into a world that most of us would never have otherwise known about.
The short is beautifully shot and well worth 6 minutes of your life. WATCH BEKIA
7. I Am Here
I Am Here is a unique short put together by the National Film Board of Canada that follows a mysterious animated travellers journey to discover the origin of life. Carried by a riveting score by composer duo Menalon, the film delves into themes and subject matter we would all benefit from pondering on.
Running just over 5 minutes in length, I Am Here manages to take a look at a lot of the questions so many of us have buried within us. WATCH I AM HERE
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