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7 Things You Should Know About Your Smartphone

7 Things You Should Know About Your Smartphone

If you have your smartphone within arm’s reach most of the day, then it’s officially time for the two of you to get to know each other better. There are options – not-so-hidden options – that you probably don’t know about your smart little gadget, which is quite unfortunate, because it means that you aren’t using its full potential. Read on to find out what you may be missing out on!

Control Other Devices

This one is quite practical because it helps you get a lot of things done faster. Using various apps, the built-in infrared, or Bluetooth – all depending on your smartphone – you can control lighting in your home with ease, feed your pet, control your TV, check your motion security system, and even make yourself a cup of coffee.

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Block Contacts

Block

    This one’s an oldie but a goldie, and I was quite surprised to know how many people are not familiar with this convenient option. In most smartphone software, this option is placed in “Call Settings”, and you’ll probably be able to find it in the “Reject Calls” section. So, if you have any annoying contacts bothering you, this option will make your life a lot easier.

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    Identify Songs

    Have you ever heard a song and you were so confident that you would remember the lyrics or the melody at least, and then you forgot all about it it in a matter of minutes? Well, I believe we’re all happy that this annoying problem can now go away. No matter which smartphone OS you prefer – Android, iOS, or Windows – there are Shazam, Siri, and Cortana to assist you when figuring out the name of your potential new favorite song.

    Monitor Heart Health

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    Heart

      Most people expect to get certain popular features with their new smartphone. Unfortunately, not a lot of smartphone users out there have their health in mind. However, you should know that you can monitor your heart rate with ease using a built-in option or a smartphone app, depending on the platform and model you’re using.

      Translate Easily

      Other than the obvious way – using dictionary apps – there are two new and quite interesting ways to translate foreign languages with no trouble whatsoever. Google Translate can now translate signs via camera thanks to the World Lens’ technology. On the other hand, there are apps that can translate entire sentences into another language – all you need to do is make a voice recording. After that, kick back, and let them do all the work.

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      Turn Your Phone Into A Console

      Gaming

        Unfortunately, Windows Phone users are currently excluded from this trend, but Android and iOS enthusiast have a lot to look forward to. Thanks to PhoneJoy technology, you can now turn your smartphone into a gaming console and enjoy over 400 games. I bet gamers worldwide are really psyched about this option.

        Digitalize Documents

        Having some sort of text on a piece of paper that you needed transferred into digital form used to be a real drag because of the time necessary to retype and format the whole thing, but that’s all a thing of the past now. Each of the most popular smartphone platforms has their own app for this. By using Genius Scan or CamScanner, you can transfer any type of document into a digital format in a matter of seconds.

        These aren’t all of the hidden conveniences you’ll find within your device – they’re just some of the many smartphone options I found interesting and very handy. If you take your time and do some research about your own smartphone, I’m sure you’ll be surprised by just what it can do for you.

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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