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Last Updated on December 22, 2019

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

The best part about life is how unpredictable it can be. Unfortunately, that can also be what many consider to be the worst part of life too. The unpredictable roller-coaster of life offers many people the hope for a better tomorrow. It also creates the worry that others have that causes them to wait for “the other shoe to drop”.

This brings the question of how should you handle sad things. If sad things are a part of life, why does it seem some handle life a little better than others?

The key lies within the perspective you give the events in your life.

When sad things happen to you or someone you know, what do you tell yourself? If you speak negatively to yourself and internalize the event, then you are only going to make things worse. When you tell yourself “you always mess up“ or “you deserve this bad thing to happen in your life“, you turn yourself into the victim.

Do not allow sad things in your life become your life. Instead, assign the blame outside of yourself.[1]

Tell yourself things like, “this could have happened to anyone“ or “things could have been much worse.“ This subtle shift in mindset enables you to bounce back much quicker. This is because you are no longer assigning your self-value based on the events in your life.

It is never fun to blame yourself for things you could not control. That is why it is better to focus what you can control; things like your attitude, reaction, and mindset when you are sad.

Instead of focusing on what went wrong, try to focus on what went right. It is rare that everything goes wrong. Even though you may feel that way in the moment, if you take a moment to assess the situation, you will realize there is always something to be grateful about.

Here’s how to give these sad things meaning and learn to be grateful about them:

1. Death of a Parent

The death of a loved one is always difficult, especially your parent. They have mentored, cared and given you the best years of their life. They believed in you when others doubted you and they were always your biggest fan. It feels like there is a void that will never be filled.

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Keep in mind that the beauty of life is the fact that it ends. That is what make how we live each day so important. One of the cool things about a funeral is all the stories you get to hear about the person. It is a reminder that they were human just like you. They had dreams, aspirations, and fears. Funerals should be focused on celebrating the life more than mourning the death.

2. Being Diagnosed with a Disease

You are sitting in the doctor’s office. You have not been feeling well over the past couple weeks and assume it is nothing big. You probably went to the doctor just to be on the safe side. The doctor sends you home and says they will call in the week with the results. A few days later, you get the call from the doctor’s office and find out you have a serious disease.

This can feel like a punch to the gut. You went from feeling invincible to feeling like your life will never be the same. Whenever you have the ability to know what is going on inside of you, think of it as a blessing. Your body is designed to signal to you when things are not working at optimum levels.

Another way of thinking about this is if you could not feel the burning oven, you would not know to move your hand and could end up losing it. The same goes for when you are diagnosed with a disease. You now have the knowledge to make changes in your life.

3. Ending a Marriage

Change is one of the few guarantees you have in life. Overtime, partners can grow closer together or they can grow further apart. While divorce is not something to be taken lightly, neither is staying together. Marriage is where two people with different backgrounds, beliefs and feelings come together to create a new person. This person should be balanced, compassionate, and considerate of their spouse.

It is hard to end a relationship that was supposed to last forever. However, staying in an abusive or toxic relationship is not good for your health. In some situations, it would be better to live alone than it would be to stay with your spouse.

It is never a failure to make the best decision with the best information you have available. If the information that resulted in your marriage were to drastically change over time, then there is nothing wrong with admitting that divorce is a reasonable conclusion.

4. Losing Your Job

Losing your job is a tough one because of the amount of time you spend at work. Outside of sleeping, most people spend the majority of their life at work.

This causes the loss of job to feel like failure and a loss of identify. Not to mention a lack of income to cover your lifestyle.

While this may be the case for many, losing your job may be the opportunity you need to chase your dream life. Each of us have settled at some point in our life and we look for a sign that we should strive for something more.

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If you find yourself performing well at your work and you were fired for a reason you were not aware of, then it might be a sign you were not meant to be there.

5. Children Moving Away

As you age, the sad things in your life will transform as well. You have spent the better part of twenty years raising your kids to be upstanding adults. It never seemed as if they would ever grow up, but somehow they have. They not only want to move out of the house, but they want to move out of the state or country.

In this moment, you realize your relationship with your children is never going to be the same again. Much like losing your job, you have devoted so much time over the last few decades into raising your children. The idea that they “don’t need you” is a sad thing many parents have to endure.

While it may not feel this way all the time, it is actually a time to celebrate. For your children to have the option to move away from home, it means you have set them up for success. You have taught them how to be independent and courageous individuals.

The truth is, you do not really want them to live with you forever. You are nervous about the uncertainty and change in your life, but you are excited to see what your children make of their own.

Here’re some tips to help you cope with this: How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again

6. Failed Business Venture

You had a vision and took a leap of faith. You invested half of your retirement into starting a business. You feel the business will work as long as you do not give up. As a result, you continue to pour additional resources into your failing business.

When you are out of money and the bills are mounting, you are left with no other option than to close up the shop. This feeling can be one of the toughest times in your life. Not only do you find yourself with a failed company, but no money for your retirement.

It is unfortunate that so many people look at failure as a bad thing. Failure is actually a very good thing. Failure means you have taken a risk and learned something you can only learn by taking action.

This information could be the missing piece to your next successful business venture. If it is not, you at least get to live with the peace of mind that you went for it. Too often, people find themselves playing it safe and end up with a life filled with regret. By taking risks and allowing yourself to fail, it is less likely you will have a feeling of regret later in life.[2].

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7. Not Performing Your Best on the Big Stage

People tend to believe they only have one opportunity on the big stage and when it is gone, it is gone forever. While the circumstances may not be the exact same, you will always have another opportunity. Life provides you with the amazing ability to learn and grow from your experiences.

If you feel you were not well prepared for the event, this experience will ensure you that there will be the next time. This is often the case when people talk about sporting events. The team that has been the Super Bowl or the World Series before usually is given the edge when the talent of the two teams is similar. By having experienced the big game already, they know what the moment feels like and can prepare accordingly.

8. Investment Didn’t Work

You thought you found the next big thing and poured your entire fortune into this project only to find out the CEO was a crook and ran off with the money. Sounds crazy? Of course it does. However, things like this happen more often than we like to realize.

Whether you are talking about a Ponzi or pyramid scheme, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You need to do your research and make sure you are not looking for a get-rich quick scheme.

The good news is, money is something you can always replenish. Money is not as precious as time. Time is something you cannot get back.

9. Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

It is a sad thing when you love someone and they don’t love you back. The best thing you can do it is to admit your feelings and see how they feel. You may discover they feel the same way, but you may also discover they do not see you that way.

The best thing that can happen is for you to have the chance to know how they feel, so you can determine if you want to continue to pursue them. The worst thing that can happen is you never tell someone how you feel and they never tell you how they feel. Then you are living a life of stagnation. You do not have the closure needed to move on and you may find yourself alone and full of regret.

By telling someone you love them and finding out they are not interested in you, you are free (in-time) to move and find someone who completes you.

10. Ruined a Relationship

Similar to a marriage, if your relationship with a close friend or family member grows apart, you should take a moment to understand the cause. If you were in high school together and one of you moved away to attend college and the other stayed in town, then geography and interest have driven you apart.

If you are married with children and your friend is single and ready to mingle, then it stands to reason that your relationship may strain.

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The best thing you can do in any situation is be as authentic and honest as possible. You never want to maintain a relationship by forcing yourself to be something that you are not. By being your authentic self, you will always draw people with similar passions to you and repel those who have a lack of interest.

There’re also more lessons to learn from a failed relationship: 8 Important Lessons You Can Learn from a Failed Marriage

11. Abandoned as a Child

The feeling of rejection is one of the most difficult feelings to grapple. It is why people fear public speaking more than they fear death. The fear of rejection is also why people hate cold calling and dislike sales in general.

Everyone likes to feel wanted and accepted for who they are. When your parents abandoned you early in your life, it is something that many people cannot overcome.

While the result may not have been what you would have done, consider the possibility that you were raised in a better environment than your parents would have provided. If that was not the case, your children will benefit by your promise to never abandon them.

Sometimes sad things happened in our life and there is nothing we could have done about it. Yet, the experience enables you to understand the importance of shielding your children from the feeling of abandonment.

12. No Luck Having Kids

You grew up in a big family and your dream is to have a big family of your own. As you have noticed with the sad things we have discussed so far, life does not always go as we plan. Having difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full-term is tough on everyone.

The good news is there are a lot of kids in the world who need your love. Whether you travel down the road of adoption, or you choose to volunteer your time as a mentor. You still have the ability to significantly impact the life of a child and they will love you for it.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing anyone can do to avoid sad things occurring in their life. Sad things are going to happen whether you are chasing your dreams or playing it safe. The best thing you can do is to give yourself the opportunity to live your dream life by taking risks. These risks may not always work out as you intended, but they will always place you exactly where you need to be.

As I always say, be content in results, not complacent in effort. As long as you did your best, you can be grateful for the experiences, no matter where they take you.

More to Be Grateful For

Featured photo credit: Maria Oswalt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Shame and the Pendulum of Blame
[2] Pennsylvania State University: Regret in Decision Making

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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