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Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Once upon a time, a reader stumbled upon beautiful pictures of faraway lands. There were ornate castles on hilltops with towers and spires that touched the sky. There were fortresses surrounded by moats and drawbridges to keep the residents safe. There was a castle built over a river and another perched like a bird, high above the sea. They saw a photograph of one of the seven wonders of the world and read how it was a romantic tribute to lost love. The reader longed to visit these magnificent sites, but for now, they would have to use their imagination to travel to these enticing destinations.

If you long to see magical castles that look like they were pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, we have hand-picked 15 for you. Because, once in awhile, in the middle of an ordinary day, fairy tales do come true. Happily ever after is out there — where will you find yours?

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

    Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s called the “Fairy Tale” castle because it is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

    2. Chateau de Chenonceau, France

    Chenonceau France

      Chenonceau boasts five arches spanning over the Cher river in France. Called the “Ladies Castle” because it was built and later improved upon by queens of France.

      3. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

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      Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

        One of thirteen small monasteries or “tiger’s lairs” where the Guru Rinpoche, also known as the “Second Buddha” of Bhutan, is said to have meditated.

        4. Notre Dame Cathedral, France

        Notre Dame France

          The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is the setting for the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

          5. Blarney Castle, Ireland

          Blarney Castle Ireland

            This historic castle is most famous for its stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it.

            6. Chateau de Chambord, France

            Chateau de Chambord, France

              Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley and was never completed.

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              7. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

              Dunrobin Castle Scotland

                The Castle of the Earldom of Sutherland — one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland.

                8. The Swallow’s Nest Castle, Ukraine

                Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine

                  The neo-Gothic Swallow’s Nest castle was built by a German noble in 1912 and perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine.

                  9. Bodiam Castle, England

                  Bodiam Castle, England

                    Bodiam Castle was built from 1385 and is surrounded on all sides by a moat.

                    10. Eltz Castle, Germany

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                    Eltz Castle, Germany

                      The Eltz Castle is surrounded on three sides by a river and is still owned by the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago.

                      11. Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                      Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                        The Alcazar of Segovia is built upon a large rock promontory, which is shaped like the bow of a ship. This castle is also said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle.

                        12. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                        Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                          One of the most recognized castles in Scotland and most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.

                          13. Corvin Castle, Romania

                          Corvin Castle, Romania

                            The castle has a well 30 meters deep. Legend says that the fountain was dug by 12 Turkish prisoners, promised liberty if they reached water. However, when they did just that 15 years later, their captors did not keep their promise.

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                            14. Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                            Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                              According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

                              15. Taj Mahal, India

                              Taj Mahal, India

                                One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.

                                These are just a few of the fairytale destinations the world has to offer. If you could leave today, where would you go first?

                                Featured photo credit: Phil Dolby via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                1. Breathe

                                The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                2. Loosen up

                                After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                3. Chew slowly

                                Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                4. Let go

                                Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                It’s not. Promise.

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                                Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                5. Enjoy the journey

                                Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                6. Look at the big picture

                                The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                Will this matter to me…

                                • Next week?
                                • Next month?
                                • Next year?
                                • In 10 years?

                                Hint: No, it won’t.

                                I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                8. Practice patience every day

                                Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                Final thoughts

                                Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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