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5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

Choosing a place to live can be incredibly stressful and mentally taxing. Finding the perfect blend of comfort, price, and location can take weeks if not months. Even when you find the right home the work has only just begun. Upkeep can be expensive though necessary to keep your home in it’s top condition.

How your neighbors take care of their property can also directly impact your property value. We’ve all heard of curb appeal and how important it is for everyone to keep their areas in tip top shape. But what happens when several of your neighbors start to care less and less about their homes appearance? The sad truth is that neighborhoods occasionally fall into decay.

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The good news is if you stay alert and look for the signs, you may be able to tell before anyone else that you’re living on a block that’s headed in the wrong direction. Even if you think you’ve found your forever home, surrounding circumstances may lead you to think twice. If this happens to you, have no fear, moving is always an option. There will always be more fish in the sea, or in this case, houses.

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So if you think your neighborhood may be going bad here are some troubling indicators to note:

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  • Increased police presence: This is an obvious one, but its significance can elude you if you’re shrugging off frequent police visits as isolated incidents. Added police patrols and elevated law enforcement responses likely indicate a problem—or several—on your block. Police typically step up patrols to deter potential problems, and this is a bad sign if they’re doing it near you.
  • Broken windows staying broken: If graffiti or other petty crime goes unchecked, it could mean that property owners have given up on the neighborhood. In their classic study on crime prevention, Fixing Broken Windows, George Kelling and Catherine Coles argue that controlling disorderly behavior prevents neighborhood decline. Unchecked vandalism is a sure sign of neighborhood decay. If you begin to see broken windows or have heard of an increase in petty crime it’s most likely time to start banding together as a neighborhood and keep things in check.
  • Homes in disrepair: If homeowners regularly ignore decorating, basic maintenance, and/or upkeep of their homes—like planting spring flowers, painting or replacing deteriorating fixtures—it could be a sign that property owners either no longer care about the neighborhood or are looking to get out.
  • Drop in homeownership and a corresponding rise in rentals and foreclosures: Neighborhoods dominated by rental properties and foreclosures tend to be headed toward decline. Foreclosures take a significant social and economic toll on a community, while renters don’t always view their residences the same way that homeowners do. Too often foreclosed homes are sold to investors who transform the homes into multi-unit apartments or transitional housing, and this can be a sign that things are getting worse, not better.
  • Long-term vacancies: If properties remain vacant, go unsold, or remain boarded up, these homes can become havens for mischief and crime. Likewise, their value will decrease and depress the property values of every home on the block. More than one vacant property is bad news. The longer these homes remain vacant, the more deleterious the effect.

With a little effort and some organizing, neighbors can work together to keep their blocks and neighborhoods moving in the right direction. However, if these signs sound too familiar, it may be time to call it a day and move on to a new home. By ignoring these signs, you put yourself at risk for damage to your new home as well as the future sale price if you ever do move.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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