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4 Awesome Advantages of Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

4 Awesome Advantages of Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN is known as the easiest and most convenient method to keep online privacy and security ensured. It is a common perception that because of internet users’ online security and the need of sending internet traffic via encrypted tunnel, VPN technology has been developed. But beside this role, a VPN has much more to offer. I would like to shed some light on a few incredible, yet not-so-known, advantages of a VPN service. So, let’s begin, shall we?

Ok, hold on for a moment! Before getting started with the advantages, let’s have a small introduction of what a VPN is.

In so many words, a virtual private network (VPN) is a safe, private Internet connection where your data and information are encrypted and routed via a private channel, reducing the chances of anyone affecting it.

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Some Really Cool Uses of A VPN

As mentioned earlier, the most commonly known advantages of a VPN are to improve online security, utmost privacy and total freedom. But there are plenty of other benefits of a VPN, which most of us don’t know. Let’s have a look on them:

1. Use A VPN to Book Flights and Hotel Rooms at a Cheap Price

Travelling abroad can be expensive, but research shows that by employing minor hacks such as using a VPN to change your location virtually, you can get cheaper rates. A recent research conducted by Northeastern University reported that airlines offer different rates based on your locations and browsing activities (not to mention, e-commerce stores do this as well)[1]

So how exactly do you find the best prices for your tickets? You got it right, you use a VPN and switch your location to check the fares of a flight from a different country’s IP address. For example, you are living in the US; you are going to travel to the UK, and from there, fly to Spain. Now, if you book your UK to Spain flight from the US, it might cost you more. But if you do so from the UK, you may be able to get a much better price. So, why wait to reach the UK? Use a VPN, connect to a UK server and book your flight to Spain. Tada! You must have saved quite a few bucks by now.

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Hey! The same theory applies to hotel rooms as well. Don’t forget to repeat the same process to save on hotel rooms as well.

(Please note that while this may not be illegal (yet), it does violate most companies’ policies.)

2. Use A VPN to Buy Books and Avoid VAT

If you are a Kindle user and you buy e-books from Amazon, a VPN is a must for you. First, you can buy e-books that are not available in your region with a VPN. Secondly, if you live in Europe and Australia, you can save money on the value-added tax (VAT). In Europe, you will be charged with VAT based on your location. For example, readers living in the UK may pay 20% VAT. If you are from Ireland, you may pay 23% VAT, German 19%, Estonia 21%, Italy 4% and Luxembourg 3%. On average every e-book reader will be paying 17% more for e-books. Fortunately, a VPN can help you save on VAT. You simply need to change your original IP address with one of the VPN server’s IP to avoid paying extra charges for VAT.

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(As noted, please research your country’s laws and regulations on this, in addition to Amazon’s policy, to see if this is illegal, as it’s not advisable to conduct any form of illegal activity.)

3. Use A VPN to Watch Sports Channels in Your Native Language

A large percentage of people are die-hard fans of one sport or another. Some love cricket; some can die for Football; and some have deep-feelings for tennis. But what if you are a German and you are living in the UAE—can you enjoy the FIFA world cup in Arabic? Probably not. A VPN can help you watch sports in your native language by simply taking you back to your home country virtually. Replace your UAE IP address with a German IP and enjoy FIFA in German.

4. Enjoy MMO Games with Your Friends Abroad

VPN can also help when it comes to massive multiplayer online (MMO) gaming. Most games like DOTA 2, World of War Craft, The League of Legends and Battle Field are not available in many regions. So, maybe your friend in China cannot be a part of the tournament. Well, here comes a VPN. A VPN can bypass the restrictions and make your friend a member of your team. It will also help reduce latency and ping. So, enjoy MMO games with your friends from around the globe.

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(Please research the specific gaming policy of whatever game that will be affected by the VPN change, as doing this may be in violation of that gaming policy.)

Final Thoughts

A VPN can be more than just a tool for online security, privacy and freedom. It has unlimited advantages. It also shows how important a VPN has become for every Internet user, with the increased censorships and geological restrictions.

That said, please research the company policies and your country’s laws concerning VPN changes before you decide to change your VPN, as doing this may be illegal federally or in violation with company policy in some cases. As mentioned before, it is never advisable to conduct any form of illegal activity.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

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George Olufemi O

Information Technologist

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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