3 Lessons Every Athlete Should Learn From John Madden

A Super-Bowl-winning coach, a “Boom!”-yelling sportscaster, a name behind the bestselling NFL video game franchise, a fixture in Miller Lite commercials — one way or another, John Madden will be remembered by us all, and his name immortalized.

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And even if football isn’t really your thing, there’s so much to learn from the man. Because motivation, discipline, and inspiration are universal — be it on the field, in the gym, or even at the office. These days, you can get date coaching, financial coaching, and all sorts of other kinds of coaching. But it seems like underlying all of them are some basic, yet incredibly important ideas and insights. 

A good coach doesn’t just teach or train, but instead provides a set of tools you can use to develop, improve, and inspire yourself.

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Madden is without a doubt one of the most creative leaders in the history of modern sports. Behind his grand, larger-than-life, “rumblin’ stumblin’” persona, there’s a genius — an innovative mind responsible for a paradigm shift from the buttoned-down conservative coaching style of the 1960s. 

Madden didn’t scream at his players, nor make demands. Instead, he treated them as human beings, with genuine care and attention to their needs, emotions, and life outside the field. He had only three rules for his players: 

  • Be on time
  • Pay attention
  • Play like hell

The Fewer Rules A Coach Has, The Fewer Rules There Are For Players To Break.

He didn’t care if the players sat on their helmets on the sidelines, fooled and joked around, and cared a little too much about their haircuts and eye black war paint. These three simple rules allowed him and his players to focus on what’s important, and adopting this mindset will help you do the same.

Lesson #1: Be on time

Literally and figuratively. It’s hard to overestimate how important punctuality is in our daily lives. And it’s not just about not being late; you have to be in the right place at the right time. If “showing up is 80% of life,” then showing up on time is awfully close to 100%.

Did you show up at the gym today? Then you’re 80% of the way to a good workout. Did you show up at 5am, after a big hearty meal with lots of protein, and with a determined go-getter mentality? Then you’re virtually already there.

Lesson #2: Pay attention

Pay attention to what the other team is doing, to what your team is doing, and to what your body is doing. Mindfully watching and listening won’t just help you get all the information you need, but also ignore what you don’t need.

Ever wonder why mindfulness meditation is such a great tool for personal growth? It teaches you to sit there, breathe, watch sounds, watch emotions, and watch your thoughts come and go. If you watch long enough, you’ll see through the noise, see what’s important, and see what’s worth your time and effort. 

Then you can apply the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 rule, whereby 20% of your effort bring in 80% of the results. As long as you can identify that 20% and focus on them, you can get rid of the rest and make your life 80% better.

Lesson #3: Play like hell

Once you’re there on time and focused on what’s important, there’s only one thing left to do: Go and get it. And there’s no reason not to give it your 100%. So either stay still, observe, conserve energy, and wait for your moment to strike — or run, fight, and play like hell, like there’s no tomorrow…

Sort of like a lizard. Ever see how they move? They sit there motionless, like little statues, until it’s time to snatch a bug or evade a bird. When they move, they’re lightning-fast, and then still and peaceful again.

So breathe in, breathe out, and remember: “Be on time, pay attention, play like hell”.

3 Ways To Quickly Turn Anger Into Calmness And Positivity

I was six years old when I first called my teacher a stupid cow, the most insulting words my first-grade brain could cook up in a fit of rage. Seven years when I started punching a sofa in the middle of class. Eight years when I was excluded from a field trip for being too rowdy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

One of my distinct childhood memories is ripping a notebook to shreds and kicking dents in a steel door when my mum locked me in the basement. Ah, good old times!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all these incidents, it’s this:

Being angry sucks.

It makes you miserable. It makes everyone around you miserable, too. When you’re angry, you struggle to find a solution to the problem and make bad decisions, like fighting with people you love and calling them names. There’s really not much good about it.

Yet, it’s easy to give in. One small thing can make you angry and ruin your day, like when someone who’s won his driving license in the local lottery cuts you off on the highway. Anger provides quick relief, an outlet for pent-up pressure. But the negative emotions corrupt you, make you irritated, and turn your good mood sour.

How Much More Harmful Are The Consequences Of Anger And Grief Than The Circumstances That Aroused Them In Us!

Wouldn’t it be better if you could turn the anger into positivity instead?

Over the years, I became much calmer. Tranquility has turned into one of my biggest strengths because it allows me to achieve what I want without being distracted by rage. Anger is weakness, calmness is strength.

I’ve found three ways to cultivate peace of mind. Even if you don’t struggle with regular rage, these techniques will help you keep your calm even in the biggest storm.

Don’t React — Respond Instead
Anger isn’t the same as being angry.

There’s a subtle, but important difference — one is an emotion, the other one a state of being. You can’t control your emotions. You can of course go Kim Jong Un and suppress them into non-existence, but that doesn’t do you any good. Practice acceptance instead.

Emotions are your brain’s feedback mechanism. They tell you to feel angry when you hit your foot on your desk. But you decide if you react and trash it, or if you acknowledge the feeling and respond with calmness. From my personal experience, working on a three-legged desk isn’t a lot of fun, so keep that in mind.

Anger is telling you to pull the trigger on a gun — but no matter how much it screams at you, you can decide if you move your finger or not.

If you react instead of respond, you’re a slave to your emotions.

You lose power over yourself. Others can make you angry and watch you dance like a wind-up monkey. Back in the day, my classmates sure had fun with it.

How can you turn your blind reaction into a rational response?

Emotions are a funny thing. The more you resist, the stronger they come back, and the more pain and suffering they cause.

Instead, experience them without reacting to them. That’s the real superpower.

The next time someone sends you an upsetting mail, cuts you off in traffic, or starts their life story to the cashier when all you want to do is pay for a coffee to go and two bananas, feel into the emotion.

Where does the anger sit? Your chest? Your arms? Your jaw? Don’t resist — but don’t react either. Then, when the wave has washed over you, let it go and choose to stay calm.
Respond instead of react.

Leave Your Mind Behind

If you asked me about the worst thing in the world, I’d have an answer faster than a vegan telling you how nutritional yeast tastes just like cheese.

People walking slowly in front of me.

Ironically, it’s often the people who should hurry the most because they have the least time left (read: seniors). Maybe I’ll understand it when I’m old, but it drives me nuts to have to trudge along a supermarket aisle with the speed of a slug because I can’t overtake and Mr.I shouldn’t even buy green bananas because who knows if I still get to eat them has forgotten his hearing aid at home. However, I’ve turned these gruesome experiences into a humbling practice.

While responding and reacting both happen on the level of the mind, I take it one step further and completely detach myself from it. Sounds weird? Let me explain.

You are not your mind. You are the consciousness behind it.

Like your mouth speaks and your ears hear, your mind thinks and you, the consciousness, listen to the thoughts — and this is where the trouble begins.

Your mind loves to solve problems, which is both its best and worst feature. Like a dog biting a bone, it attaches itself to a problem with no sign of letting go. Your thoughts always come back to the situation causing anger. That’s why you have to stop thinking altogether.

When you interrupt your stream of thoughts, you’re left with a state of bliss and peace and pure Being. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. There are no problems, no time, and no judgments about others’ walking speeds. Everything just is.

This state is what most major spiritual movements strive for — nirvana, enlightenment, or non-duality. When you are 100% present, you detach yourself from your mind and with it, all the anger and problems. This is hard to grasp with your thoughts because it goes beyond them, but here’s how you can experience this state.

  • Observation without judgment. We are quick to form opinions on everything we see. The dress is a beautiful red. This food tastes bland. The price is too high. He walks too slow. Let go and observe instead, without any judgment.
  • Feel into your body. Your awareness rests mostly on your thoughts. Your mind ruminates, decides, worries, and like a TV, creates a lot of captivating, colorful images and noise. It’s hard to pull your consciousness from it, but it gets a lot easier when you give it another program to pay attention to. Focus on your body. Your breath. How your fingers feel. The little veins running over your hands. When your awareness rests on these feelings, it isn’t on your mind. And when you leave your mind, you mute the TV and turn around, leaving all the anger behind you.

Getting into a state of Being instead of thinking completely pulls you out of your anger and any other problems. It isn’t easy to do, but over time and step-by-step, you’ll catch glimpses of it. Every time you interrupt the constant stream of thoughts your mind generates, you step into a state of peace and bliss.

Don’t think. Just be.

Use Your Energy in the Right Way

Anger isn’t all bad — there are two sides to every coin.

It can be a great motivator and drive you to new heights. The liberated energy itself is neither good nor bad — it depends on what you do with it.

Like a pent-up river, it can wreak havoc and destruction if you let the dam break, but it can also bring benefit and prosperity if you use the water to generate electricity or grow crops.

A few weeks ago, I hit my toe on our bathtub. After a few hearty f-words, I tried to flip the script and channel the energy into finding something to be grateful for instead — like not breaking my toe. This reduced the heat and saved my mental pot from overcooking immediately.
Cut off in traffic? Be grateful there wasn’t an accident.

Missed your train? Be grateful there is another one.

Someone says something rude? Be grateful your mouth and ears work and you can communicate in the first place.

When you focus on your blessings, it’s hard to get lost in your curses.
Being grateful forces you to look at what you have instead of what you have not. It’s a much better use of your time and energy and brings your mind peace instead of war.

If you want to change your life for the better, be grateful.

Every Time You Get Angry, You Lose

With all this talk about detaching yourself from your mind and being grateful, you can think I’m a saint. I’m not.

I’m just a dude who has spent a lot of his life being angry and realized that apart from short-term relief, there’s nothing to gain, but all the more to lose.

You make yourself miserable. You destroy your relationships. And you kill your chances of living a happy and fulfilled life, so do yourself a favor, and stop getting angry.

This doesn’t mean you should take shit from people. Stand up for yourself and set clear boundaries. But do so without being angry.

Respond instead of react. Detach yourself from your problem-seeking mind. Turn your energy into gratitude.

Life is better that way.

For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds Of Happiness.

These Gadgets Will Revolutionize Your Sleep Overnight

These days, a good night’s sleep feels like such a rare luxury we all dream of. In fact, more than a third of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, and that number is on the rise. It’s a dire statistic, because lack of sleep is linked to several chronic ailments, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and obesity. 

Fortunately, technology offers some pretty helpful solutions. Although phones and laptops (in a perfect world) have no place in the bedroom, there are still numerous high-tech gadgets you can try to improve sleep quality. To save you from decision paralysis, we did the legwork and selected our five favorites that work sleep miracles without breaking the bank!

#1. Fitbit Activity Tracker

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A fitness tracker is a great tool not just for the gym, but also for the bedroom! It’s a perfect device to track both the patterns and the quality of your sleep. 

As soon as you go to bed and your body stops moving for at least an hour, the device will assume you’re asleep. Then, based on your heart rate and sleep behavior (like rolling over), the tracker records your progression through the various sleep stages. When you wake in the morning, you can see detailed information about your sleep quality; time spent in deep, light, and REM sleep; as well as sleep patterns and potential issues like sleep apnea.

#2. Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs

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Smart lights are a great investment, and not just because they’re perfect for setting the mood during a party or a romantic dinner. They can also illuminate your room in many shades of white with varying color temperatures.
So, as it gets close to bedtime, you can decrease the color temperature in your room from bright daylight, to calm and cozy warm light. Your body will thank you for the gentle transition, because toward the end of the day, cold blue light can negatively impact your sleeping patterns, while warm light can support melatonin production to promote sleep.

#3. Awair Air Quality Monitor

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Another important factor to optimize the sleep environment is air quality. Research has shown that people living in regions with higher levels of air pollution are more likely to have sleep problems. And other research has shown that better air quality at night has a positive effect on next-day performance

So, for a good night’s rest, it’s paramount that you make sure your bedroom is well-ventilated and clean. A great way to track this is with an air quality monitor, such as Awair. This device measures fine dust and invisible chemicals in the air, as well as carbon dioxide and humidity levels. And the best part is that you’ll get personalized recommendations to improve sleep.

#4. Nest Thermostat

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Speaking of bedroom air, the proper nighttime temperature is crucial for restful sleep. Between 60°F and 67°F is ideal, and above 71°F will likely cause restlessness. To measure the temperature, don’t rely solely on an ordinary thermometer — get a smart thermostat! It’ll cool your room enough to smoothly transition you into sleep at night, and then gradually warm up the room to comfortably ease you out of sleep in the morning.

Nest Learning Thermostat by Google is a perfect tool to automate this process. It studies your habits and manages the temperature in each room accordingly. Oh, and it’s also great for the environment, allowing you to save energy when heating isn’t needed.

#5. Philips Wake-up Light

All good things come to an end, and deep sleep is no exception. On the bright side, a wake-up light can make waking up actually pleasant, even for heavy sleepers. Also known as a sunrise alarm clock, this gadget is, in our opinion, indispensable in the bedroom. It starts to emit a gentle glow around half-an-hour before you have to wake up.

So, say goodbye to jarring alarm clocks that trigger your body to release cortisol (the stress hormone) and put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Being woken up by a gentle light — not a startling sound — feels so good and natural that you’ll never want to rely on your phone as an alarm again!

3 Natural Pre-Workout Foods to Eat Before the Gym

Pre-workout is what athletes use in order to get a boost in energy, endurance and/or adrenaline to get them through training or a game. There is food that can be used and some bodybuilders and gym freaks use pre workout supplements.

I have used pre-workout before and have gotten the itch and rush that comes with it. I don’t enjoy using it myself and never recommend it, because there are natural ones that you can use in getting the same rush that you need before an intense activity.

1. Coffee as a Pre-Workout

Coffee being a caffeine drink that is low in calories and in volume is a great natural pre workout coming from brewed coffee beans. It works by putting caffeine into your bloodstream to provide you with an energy boost. According to ScienceDaily, the maximum concentration of caffeine comes into effect 30–45 minutes after consumption.

This boost in energy will ensure that you can be better with your performance in the gym. Be aware that coffee is a diuretic which leads to water loss, but to combat this, have a bottle of water that you sip on throughout your workout.

Make it black or with milk and sugar, just also be aware that milk can sometimes have uncomfortable effects on your stomach.

2. Bananas as Pre-Workout

Bananas are fruits that are high in carbohydrates providing 27 grams for a medium-sized banana. They are broken down in glucose, which is main source of energy for the body.

Bananas also provide fiber, which helps slow absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Other than make you feel fuller for longer, your body will get a gradual supply of energy, which can improve your performance in the gym.

Bananas are know for their high concentration of potassium, which is an electrolyte, which helps with fluid imbalances in your body. People like to say that the sugar in ripe bananas (most fruits have sugar) can make you fat. You can only get fat if you eat more calories than you burn. No one food makes you fat.

3. Peanut Butter as a Pre-Workout

I know the image doesn’t only show peanut butter, but this looked delicious.

Peanut butter is rich in nutrients and higher in calories than coffee. It is high in unsaturated fat, which is the good plant fats that you should consume. It takes a long time to digest so it’s recommended that you eat it in no less than 60 minutes before you work out.

Peanuts are a food allergy, so be careful and it’s not for everyone. It can leave you feeling heavy at training, but this is why it is important not eat it in less than an hour before your workout.

These are the go-to pre-workout foods because they are natural and quick to get a hold of. They can be bought in bulk at a cost that is less than all pre-workout supplements.

So if at some point during your fitness journey you decide you want something to boost your energy and performance in the gym, try this:

  • 1. A driven mindset (you’re gonna smash the session) before you head to the gym.
  • 2. A banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter for increased energy stores to use throughout the workout 30–60 minutes before your workout.
  • 3. Black or milk coffee for that spur of caffeine that gets your mind and body physically ready to start the workout and focus throughout.
  • 4. #1 one is needed, #2 and #3 can be either or depending on what works for you. All the best and make it through your workout as I hope that these tips help.



I Dove Into An Ice Cold Pool Every Day Last Winter — Here’s What I Learned

Before I dive too deep, let me preface this story with this: I am the personality type which tends to get very engrossed in new activities to almost an extreme degree. So, when I started listening to a variety of podcasters who were big on the newly popularized ‘biohacking’ lifestyle, it was a recipe for a very interesting year.

Some of my readers may not be familiar with the term ‘biohacking’. Healthline defines biohacking as ‘do-it-yourself biology. For many “biohackers,” this consists of making small, incremental diet or lifestyle changes to make small improvements in your health and well-being.’ — Healthline. Seems simple enough, right? This definition falls in line with what I perceive to be a sustainable approach to making long lasting lifestyle changes over time. One problem: a key to this definition that I seem to have missed when I started down this path last year was the part where it says ‘making small, incremental’ changes. Woops… I kind of dove in headfirst (so to speak).

This brings me back to the main subject of this piece… diving into a cold pool all winter long. When I started learning more about these so called ‘biohacks’ one hack that continually arose in the discussion was the various health benefits of ice bathing (also known as cold plunging, cryotherapy, ice-bathing, polar bear plunging). The podcasters, online gurus, and athletic performance coaches all seemed to tout similar benefits such as but not limited to:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune support
  • Parasympathetic stimulating (improves your mood)
  • Promotes quality sleep
  • Improves circulation
  • Fat mobilization (non-metabolically active brown fat to metabolically active white fat)

Wow! That’s a lot of very good potential results for the small price of sitting in a freezing cold pool for 5 minutes a day. I’m never one to read or listen to something and blindly trust it, I’m more of the trial by fire (or ice) kind of thinker. And this laundry list of potential benefits piqued my interest enough that I needed to put cold plunging to the test. So, I dove in my 40-degree pool every day in the 2019–2020 winter and here’s what I learned.

Start Small

Remember above when I said I tend to dive headfirst into new things? Well I learned that cold plunging is one of those things you should ease into. You don’t need a 40-degree swimming pool, or a chest freezer filled with water to cold plunge successfully. A simple cold shower while you’re working up to colder temperatures will suffice to get you acclimated. As you develop your tolerance you can add more time in the cold shower or turn the water temperature slightly cooler with each plunge. Once you are comfortable, then work your way up to an ice-cold pool and follow the same principles… stay in for short times initially and work your way up to longer plunges. This will help to make the experience tolerable and one you care to repeat day in and day out… read on to see why repetition matters.

Breathwork is Key

If you think that you are going to dive headfirst into ice cold water with zero preparation and NOT hyperventilate, then you need to rethink your plan. The first time I dove in, I thought I was going to die. My breath went out, I started hyperventilating and I lasted about 30 seconds before I climbed out.

This was a huge lesson for me on day one of this experiment. I had to control my breath. I am a competitive athlete, so I am not unfamiliar with breathwork, but this was a new level for me. For my next attempt at cold plunging, I brought my attention firmly to my breath and focused simply on two phrases the entire time I was in the water: “breathe in” and “breathe out”. This was game changing and made the subsequent cold plunges far more manageable experiences.

Here’s the neat thing that I didn’t even realize was happening as a result. This experience was teaching me to use breathwork in a highly sympathetic (fight or flight) situation in order to stay calm and collected so that I could manage that stress adequately to survive the moment. This has proven to be a highly transferrable skill to many other aspects of my life including work stress, physical stress during athletic competition, family stress, and even random stressors like traffic on the freeway. This experience helped me to simply say and do the following when I need to take a step forward but don’t want to: “breathe in” and “breathe out”.

Mental Toughness

This has become a buzzword in the health and wellness industry, but I think it does hold some weight. Without a good amount of mental toughness, it can be difficult to persevere through challenging situations (like standing in ice cold water for 5 minutes at a time). Cold plunging definitively helped me to develop my ‘mental-toughness’. My initial cold plunge lasted all of 30 seconds (and that was in 50+ degree water in September). By the end of winter, I was consistently staying immersed in 40-degree water for 4–5 minutes at a time.

Like anything, mental toughness, is not something that we just inherently have. It is something that takes practice and commitment to develop. With each passing cold plunge, I would force myself to stay in for just a few seconds longer than the last time. Considering that the water temperature was getting colder as the winter progressed, this was no easy task. It paid off though. The next point will explain why.

Consistency Matters

No one ever got obese by eating one pizza and no one ever got lean by eating one salad. On either side of that scale, the result generally comes from consistent behaviors over time that yield an outcome. Much the same with cold plunging… one ice bath is not going to solve all of your health issues. One must cold plunge consistently over time in order to get long term results.

The first few cold plunges did yield some quick and noticeable results like cooling my core temperature and helping me relax. But the true benefits weren’t really notable until a couple of months into this personal experiment. While subtle, I gradually started to notice:

  • performance improvements in my athletics (I tie this back to the breathwork, and mental toughness mentioned above)
  • better sleep quality (over time consistent cold plunging helped to regulate my parasympathetic nervous system which helps to control sleep cycles)
  • increased fat mobilization (this was actually measured as my body fat reduced from 15% down to 11% during this experiment and the only aspect of my routine changed was the addition of consistent cold plunging)

This is all to say that these changes did not arise overnight from one cold plunge. It took months of building the consistent behavior of diving in that water every evening for me to truly start to see the benefits. I will say that as these benefits became noticeable my desire to dive in that water increased in direct proportion.

You can search ‘cold therapy’ online and find a wide variety of articles that list the benefits of cold plunging. I didn’t want to write just another article listing health benefits. Rather I wanted to offer some actionable advice if cold plunging is something you are considering. That being said, these experiences are anecdotal and not meant to be interpreted as medical advice on any level. If cold plunging is on your list of health hacks to attempt, I hope the advice above helps you get started.



5 Ways to Keep Your Testosterone in Check

According to the latest research, for the past four decades, testosterone levels in men worldwide have been declining. Rapidly. What’s worrisome is that this trend can’t be explained by general health and lifestyle changes alone. Even after accounting for obvious factors such as obesity, smoking, and low physical activity levels — all of which are known to decrease testosterone levels in men, there’s still a substantial age-independent population-level decrease in mean testosterone concentrations.

The good news is that you can prevent this by making some simple adjustments to your routine. You may know the gist of it already: lift weights, sleep more, eat better, cut down on booze, and quit smoking. This alone is generally enough to ensure healthy testosterone levels in most men. 
But there are other external factors that can decrease your testosterone levels. Lately, there’s been a growing amount of evidence that certain chemical compounds — that were considered safe just a few decades ago — can disrupt your hormonal balance. Here’s what you want to do to keep your testosterone at healthy levels:

#1. Stay away from plastics (and not just BPA)

The latest research shows that most kinds of plastics can leach xenoestrogens, a group of compounds that your body reacts to in the same way it reacts to estrogen, a female sex hormone. Water bottles, food containers, and cling wrap are the most serious offenders since they come in direct contact with your food. 

There’s also compelling evidence of widespread contamination of mineral water from compounds leaching from the plastic packaging material. So get a hydro flask, swap your Tupperware for silicone or metal food containers, and try to avoid food and produce that came in contact with any kind of plastic.

Now don’t get too anxious. Completely avoiding plastic in this day and age is practically impossible, unless you live in a cabin in the woods or something. Luckily, it’s the chronic exposure that you should worry about. Nothing bad will happen if you drink from a plastic water bottle a few times here and there. Just do your best.

#2. Wash your hands, wash your produce

In case this isn’t yet already a habit for you, definitely wash your produce before eating it (even if the produce came in a brown paper bag), and wash your hands before meals. This will help rinse out most of the harmful chemical residues that could disrupt your hormonal balance. Just try avoiding fragranced soaps, which could also harbor chemicals you want to avoid.

#3. Read the labels on beauty products

Shampoos, perfumes, lotions, deodorants, and many other products found probably in every bathroom in the world can be a source of parabens, various chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors in humans. Look for simple, organic, hippy-friendly cosmetics and rethink the beauty products you use daily. For example, organic soap is a great alternative for body wash.

#4. Say no to canned foods

Aside from plastic, metal is another substance you don’t want touching your food. Those cans your favorite beans come in don’t just have tin — their insides are lined with BPA or similar compounds as well. Even the cans labeled “BPA-free” aren’t completely safe. These compounds might help prevent the can from corroding, but they can also harm your testosterone levels.

Again, coming in contact with those once in a while is no big deal, but a lifetime of exposure can cause problems. Go for fresh, frozen, or dried foods. But if you have a huge craving for some Skyline chili, don’t feel guilty. Go for it! Just be sure not to heat the food in the can hobo-style.

#5. Avoid phytoestrogens

There’s solid evidence that certain foods naturally contain compounds that affect your body the same way female sex hormones do. These are called phytoestrogens, and there’s scientific evidence that they can decrease testosterone levels. So, it might be a good idea to avoid excessive consumption of phytoestrogen-rich foods, such as soy and soy products, flaxseed, alfalfa, and licorice.

5 Things Men Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About in Marriage

Guilt is what we feel when we look back on our decisions that fell short. Often, guilt realigns us to our priorities when we have gone astray. We feel guilty for watching that football game while our spouse cooks and cleans, we feel guilty for losing our temper when we are impatient, and we feel guilty when we forget to do something our wife asks or if we do it incorrectly.

While guilt can be a tool to dial into self-awareness, there are things you shouldn’t feel guilty about — especially within marriage. Here are 5 of those things.

Keep in mind that an excess of any of these will lead to conflict, so balance these things out and you can embrace them guilt-free.

#1. Hobbies

Hobbies keep us alive by helping us cope with loss, stress, and anxiety. Men need time to be alone with their passions. You don’t have to feel guilty about having hobbies because they support your family by strengthening you. I enjoy playing guitar or shooting hoops from time to time to relieve stress and spark joy. As long as you are not obsessing over your hobbies, you don’t need to feel guilty for having them. You just need to prioritize keeping your marriage alive. If you need to play sports, build model airplanes, or continue your nature photography, keep it going.

#2. Sleep

Lebron James uses 12 hours of his day for rest and I bet he does not feel guilty about that. That is what is required for him to perform. Never feel guilty about your sleep because it increases your energy and productivity. As a husband and a dad, there will be times when you have to sacrifice sleep. Communicate with your wife about how long you can make that sacrifice before you start getting moody. Your wife needs as much sleep as you do, so work together on this, but never feel guilty about desiring sleep.

#3. Exercise

We need daily exercise. You don’t need to feel guilty for getting active because our hearts need to beat for ourselves before they can beat for our loved ones. Exercise is never a time waster. It needs to be embedded into your routine, possibly in a way that doesn’t disturb your family. But if that’s impossible, you should make sure you communicate that to your spouse. Schedule time for a run, hitting up the gym, or soccer with friends on the weekend. Do something positive that gets your heart rate up and don’t feel guilty about it.

#4. Other Friendships

Comedian Seth Meyers jokes that his dad has no friends — only the friends that his mom makes. I have always said that your spouse should be your best friend. But that does not mean you cannot have other friendships. It is healthy to have friends outside of your marriage. You don’t have to feel guilty for pursuing them because friendships allow you to learn from other people, to enhance your communication skills, and to be there for others when they need you. Don’t feel guilty about spending a night out with the guys for poker, a baseball game, or a movie.

#5. Serving the Community

Volunteering in your community is vital because men are much-needed role models for others. Communities are larger versions of families and men must be present in service to show support for others. Service should not get in the way of your relationship but enhance it. Volunteer together. We do not exist as silos in the world. You don’t have to feel guilty for this because we have friends, family, and strangers who rely on us. Serve your church in a local food pantry, volunteer for a ministry, or organize a community event for the whole neighborhood to bond (even if in a socially distanced way). Don’t let volunteering replace your relationship, but never feel guilty about serving.

The Most Important Vitamin That You Have Never Heard Of

We know about the immune-support properties of vitamin D, currently the subject of many studies examining its ability to help our immune system resist Covid19.

We know about the antioxidant effects of vitamin C, and vitamin E, both of which limit the impact of free radicals and reduce chronic inflammation.

(Antioxidants neutralise free radicals which are molecules that cause cellular damage when their levels become too high. Damage caused by free radicals is associated with numerous chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.)

Asparagus ranks as an excellent source of both vitamin E and vitamin C. It is also a good source of a vitamin which you have probably never heard of before — vitamin P.

In fact, vitamin C and vitamin E work synergistically to enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin P.

What the heck is vitamin P?

Vitamin P is also known as rutin.

It has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to enhance the action of vitamin C, to support blood circulation, as an antioxidant, and to treat allergies, viruses, or arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

What is vitamin P good for?

It is good for a lot of beneficial health outcomes, as it turns out.

​Here is a list of some of its pharmacological properties:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antiprotozoal, i.e. dysentery or malaria
  • Antitumor
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Antiallergic
  • Antiviral
  • Cytoprotective, i.e. protective against ulcers
  • Vasoactive, i.e. affecting the vascular system
  • Hypolipidemic, i.e. lowering fat levels in the blood
  • Antiplatelet, i.e. preventing blood clots
  • Antispasmodic, i.e. reducing muscle spasms
  • Antihypertensive

But that’s not all, this study found that vitamin P enhanced skin elasticity and reduced the length, as well as the area and number of wrinkles (and this one found it reversed baldness). In simple terms, it reduces skin aging.

While vitamin P supplements are available, it is readily available in many everyday foods.

8 foods and drinks rich in vitamin P

Here are some excellent dietary sources of vitamin P (rutin).

  • Buckwheat is the best-known food source of rutin. The rutin content of tea made from buckwheat flowers contains even more rutin than then grain.
  • Amaranth is best known for its edible seeds which are usually eaten much in the same way as rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. As Asian cooks know very well, the leaves make delicious dishes. And, the leaves contain far more vitamin p than the seeds.
  • The white blossoms of the Elder tree can be dried and infused in hot water to make a rutin-rich hot drink.
  • Apples are loaded with flavonoids such as rutin. To reap the maximum benefits, eat your apples with the peel on — most of the flavonoids are in the peel. Apple extract has a high content of rutin (as well as the most significant antioxidant capacity in comparison with other extracts).
  • Unfermented rooibos tea contains high amounts of rutin. However, suppose you’re looking to boost your overall antioxidants. In that case, a cup of regular green or black tea may be a better choice. The total antioxidant activity of unfermented rooibos tea is about 50% lower than that of green or black tea.
  • Figs also contain significant amounts of rutin, comparable to apples according to some research.
  • Asparagus is a good source of rutin and readily accessible.
  • Finally, rutin is found in significant quantities in oranges and other citrus fruits, especially in the skin. The latter is yet another reason to eat the skin of your oranges.​

Vitamin P has neuroprotective properties

The ability of rutin to protect the brain has been the subject of several experiments.

For example, studies report that when rutin is administered to aged rats, they exhibit improved spatial memory and reduced neuron damage in the hippocampus (CA3b region).
The hippocampal CA3b region is very dense in neural connections and is critical for our associative memory and pattern completion tasks. As we age the hippocampus loses some of its acuity, so anything to help is a blessing.

To add to your daily menu

Of course, soba noodles are made from buckwheat (authentic soba noodles are made from 100 percent buckwheat flour). Many brands of organic soba are easily obtainable. If you like noodles, then add more soba in your diet to up your vitamin P consumption.

I add cracked buckwheat into my morning oats mixture, add hot water and let them all soak overnight. In the morning, I add a good quantity of full-cream milk and reheat to near-boiling point in the microwave and let them cool again (this cooling makes the oats prebiotic).

Asparagus is one of my fav vegetables, so adding more is fine by me. I also drink a big glass of green tea and ginger tea first thing every morning, so this is helping my vitamin P intake.

For me, eating oranges and apples daily is routine — both with the skin. I wash them thoroughly first as I don’t trust the pesticides.

It is common to find in many fruits and vegetables that there is a higher concentration of nutrients closer to the skin, or in the skin, then elsewhere. Vitamin P is just another example. Half of the beneficial antioxidants and protective compounds of an orange are in its skin.

But don’t let eating the skin put you off. Just eat the orange flesh to give your vitamin P a boost.

Good luck.

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

3 Uncommon Tips for Much Better Sleep

Sleep is finally starting to get the respect it deserves.

Being that it is one of the three main pillars of health (exercise, nutrition, and sleep), it is about time we start to take it more seriously. Especially when more than a third of American adults do not get sufficient sleep on a regular basis. This is a major issue.

Luckily, we have experts like Nick Littlehales who have worked with some of the premier athletes and organizations across the globe and can tell us what really works.
What I love about Littlehales is that he provides simple and straightforward answers about what needs to be done.

I also love that his work is almost entirely based on our primal biology, the evolutionary reasons that make us the way we are today. I find this to consistently be the best way to solve our modern health concerns.

His work has been so influential on me that I’ve actually already written another post inspired by him, called Forget Sleeping 8 Hours a Night.

Here are 3 tips, inspired by Nick Littlehales, that can be quite impactful on sleep quality:

Understand Your Chronotype and Work with It, Not Against It

Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

Do you prefer the mornings or the nights?

When are you the most interested in eating a large meal?

These are all important things to know when building your sleep strategy. For me, these are glaringly obvious answers. For some of my peers, I’ve heard them be much more indecisive.
I am a night owl, no doubt about it. I like to go to bed late and wake up late. I am very slow to get up and get moving in any meaningful way. I am not hungry in the slightest during the mornings. I actually don’t even eat a “breakfast” at all, with my first meal being small and coming sometime after 12pm. I don’t like to talk or interact with anyone in the morning either.

When I try to fight this routine by waking up early in the morning and eating early, I will feel physically uncomfortable and sometimes even a bit sick from it.

In the nighttime, however, I am the exact opposite. I’m very much awake and cognizant, getting some of my best physical and mental work done during that time. I eat my biggest meal at night and I’d say more than half the food I consume daily is very late at night. This is what’s comfortable for me.

Understanding whether you are a morning or night person will allow you to plan your day in a much more effective way.

For example, with my nocturnal tendencies, I’m not going to plan anything strenuous in the morning for myself. I can do quiet activities like writing, planning, and working on my website early on.

During the afternoon and night is when I will plan all physical activity, social interactions, errands I have to run, and so on. When I reverse this schedule I sleep poorly and perform like garbage.
Over this past year, I’ve started building my life to suit this lifestyle. I work on blogging in the mornings, exercise in the afternoon or night, and work a job at night so I don’t have to wake up early for anything.

This is why you want to establish this: optimizing for your sleep period will allow you to have peak performance during the day because it’s cyclical and they feed into each other. You can schedule your most important tasks for when you are most alert.

Stop Sleeping-In on Off-Days

As great as it can feel, this is repeatedly throwing off your body clock.

For most people, they work hard to establish a constant time they wake up for work during the week. But if you let it all go on the weekends, you’re essentially throwing away that progress.
Your body wants a constant wake time because it functions best that way. This is because the body thrives off of established routines.

When you give it a consistent routine, it starts to do a lot of the work for you, like waking you up at your chosen time without you having to hear an alarm clock blaring beside you.
The routine should also allow you to sleep easier and wake up feeling more rested as your body becomes more accustomed to that block of time you’ve chosen.
Of course, it’s natural to have the odd day that you needed some extra sleep or you had to get up earlier than usual. This should not be the norm though.

Schedule sleep like you would schedule your day. Your best off establishing a non-negotiable wake time which will by default, set a sleep time for you too.

Embrace the Power of Napping

Napping is unfortunately viewed as something you do when you’re “behind” on sleep as a means to “catch up.”

This is the wrong attitude. Naps are optimal recovery periods. They are excellent breaks from a busy day as a way to recover your body and mind.

This is especially true for people who regularly have their nightly sleep interrupted.

People who live on noisy streets, parents with small children, or workers with irregular hours would all benefit greatly from a period in the day where they completely detached and got a 30-minute to 1-hour nap in. Even people who struggle to stay asleep through the entire night or who have a hard time achieving deep sleep would benefit from this.

Nick Littlehales, encourages everyone to consider adopting a “sleep cycle” approach rather than an “hours slept” approach. The reason why is because so many of us have trouble getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night.

So if you only average about 6 hours of sleep at night, try carving out a 90-minute period to recover yourself fully.

With many people’s working schedules, this can be hard to do. Multiple naps could be the answer to this.

A 30-minute nap at your lunch break and a 30-minute nap upon getting home from work could be the difference between feeling exhausted and feeling alert throughout your day.
This is very much the approach Littlehales uses with his professional athlete clients. He wants them to be recovering from their activities as often as possible. To do this, he adapts their sleep schedules for cycles instead of hours.

Some people may sleep for four 90-minute cycles at night with one more 90-minute during the day (total of 7.5 hours) while others may opt for three 90-minute cycles at night with one more in the early afternoon and another in the early evening (7.5 hours again). It doesn’t really matter as long as you achieve your needed amount of rest.

Nick Littlehales talks much more in depth about how these strategies and more can be applied to your life in his book, Sleep. I found this book to be an incredible perspective-enhancer on the subjects of not only sleep, but also performance and recovery.

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22 of the Best Self-Help Books for Mental Health and Wellbeing

When it comes to self-help for mental health or wellbeing, much of it is about as useful as a porn site asking a teenage boy if he’s over 18. Translated: It’s worse than useless.

That said, when devising this list, I tried to take into account the author’s character — and whether I believe them to be full of shit or not — as much as I did the quality of their book.

Furthermore, one of the biggest problems I find with mental health — especially anxiety which is currently rampant — is that we give the symptom far more weight and power than it deserves. Not only hindering recovery but often making the situation significantly worse.

We don’t place nearly enough emphasis on the actual problem and the many solutions it presents.

Problems vary greatly, ranging from unhealthy relationships, abuse, bullying, narcissistic prick bosses, and everything in between. And so to the solutions. By challenging your current thinking and worldly views as well as tweaking behaviors and habits, you can radically improve your quality of life. And that’s coming from someone who despises the word “radical”.

Despair can turn to hope; anger can turn to love, anxiety to peace, depression to cheerfulness, so on and so forth. But you have to do the work. And, of course, accept that life will still suck from time to time.

To honor this topic’s complexity, I have strived to compel a varied list with something for everyone. A daunting task that actually left me with 24, not 22. If I’ve recommended a book, it’s for no other reason that I found it to be excellent and extremely worthy of a read. That’s pretty much the criteria.

Should you decide to pick one up, I hope it will both move, inspire, and thrust you into action for lasting change to ensure better days lay ahead. And with that said, I’ll shut the hell up.

Here are 22 of the Best Self-Help Books for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristen Neff Ph.D.

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Kristen Neff is to self-compassion as to what Brene Brown is to shame and vulnerability: A Godsend.

I would go so far as to call this a bible book for your mental health.
Studies show self-compassion is a significant predictor of long term mental wellbeing. And it probably comes as no surprise to learn most struggling excel at being a dick towards themselves, making this book an absolute must to help foster what could eventually be a life-saving skill.

File it under: Your Mental Health Bible.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

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All of Holliday’s books are great. This one just happens to be my favorite.
Easily digestible and packed with ancient wisdom, the stoic master seamlessly encapsulates a significant problem — our inability to be still — that makes us ineffective while offering many remedies drawing from Stoic and Buddhist philosophies.

File it under: Ancient Philosophical Wisdom.

Owning it: Your Bullsh*t-Free Guide to Living with Anxiety by Caroline Foran

The first of four Irish authors to make this prestigious list. Who knew I was so patriotic?

As with all story-based books found here, you get genuine raw authenticity without the bullshit and a very welcome splash of humor — all of which Foran provides in spades as she outlines her battle with acute anxiety.

This book is a perfect mesh of storytelling and an extremely well put together practical guide to help you both understand and manage your anxiety.

File it under: Your No Bullshit Anxiety Companion.

Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition by Dave Trott

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Dave Trott is a hard-nosed heavyweight genius in the advertising industry. So what the hell is he doing in this lineup, you ask?

Simple: The best advertisers know how to solve problems and find solutions through creative thinking. And your mental health and wellbeing is likely crying out for better solutions. Unless, of course, you want to be told for the zillionth time to take a breath or step out in nature?

Assuming the answer to that question is “screw you, Nicky,” then you might just benefit from a masterclass in creative thinking. Which is exactly what this book is: A masterclass.

In this instance, you are your own competition. And this book is packed with life lessons you can benefit from today.

File it under: Creative Thinking.

Everything is Fucked: A Book about Hope by Mark Manson

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In a year where everything is fucked, and hope is all but lost, how could this not feature? Manson is extraordinarily gifted at taking complicated or boring topics and making them fun, digestible, easy to understand, and entertaining.

Not one to fuck around, you won’t find a sprinkle of fairy dust here. Drawing on a pool of psychological research and philosophy, you’ll be taken on a wild journey in search of hope that will help you understand why, when everything is technically better than it has been in our history, it all seems, well, fucked.

If you want to face the truth head-on while understanding your mind better to build resilience and greater self-acceptance, this book is an absolute must.

File it under: Retro Philosophy and Psychology.*

*I’m seriously struggling to come up with good themes for the filing cabinet.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown Ph.D.

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It seems everything Brown touches turns to gold. And this book is no different.

Time and again, our shame or reluctance to vulnerability wreaks havoc on our mental health. In Daring Greatly, Brown packs years of research on both shame and vulnerability — what it is, what it isn’t — to help inspire the reader to find the courage to be vulnerable for a happier, lighter, and freer existence.

File it under: Inspirational Feel-good Research.

The Anxiety Epidemic: The Causes of our Modern-Day Anxieties by Graham Davy

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Having had the pleasure of interviewing him twice, I’m a big fan of Davey, who is the Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex. Much of his research extends across mental health problems, specifically anxiety and worry.

What I love about this book is that it doesn’t tiptoe around the topic. It’s hard-hitting research at times and incredibly informative and educational as to what anxiety is, its many disorders, and their symptoms, etc.

If you are looking to understand anxiety better, this book is for you.

File it under: Easy-Reading Academic Research

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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If we are honest, most of us want to be liked more, to connect more, to succeed more, to do and be better in all aspects of life.

Unfortunately, when life is kicking the shit out of us, we inevitably become preoccupied with ourselves and forget how important it is to form connections with others. We also become lonely which has severe consequences in itself.

This timeless classic is here to help in all facets of life.

File it under: Psychological Life Skills

Bonus Time: A True Story of Surviving the Worst and Discovering the Magic of Every Moment by Brian Pennie

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What can I say? This is an absolute belter of a book.

Unable to escape the pain of anxiety and desperate for relief, Brian turned to heroin, which saw him fall into a 15-year addiction that nearly — and probably should have — took his life. Until one fateful day, he managed to break free from it all.

Bonus Time is his extraordinary account of a life consumed by addiction — a life he managed to break free from to the point he is now a Ph.D. candidate studying the neuroscience of mindfulness.

File it under: Inspirational Storytelling

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson Ph.D.

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Brian Pennie credits this book in Bonus Time for playing an intricate role in his recovery. And for a good reason.

Rick Hanson does a spectacular job presenting cutting-edge neuropsychology and ancient Buddhist wisdom with steps you can take to help rewire your brain for greater levels of happiness and resilience.

All of which will make you bulletproof like the Buddha himself.

File it under: Easy-reading Brain Science

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

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In a nutshell, this is an account of Frankyl’s time in a Nazi death camp. Not necessarily focussed on the horror experienced daily, the emphasis is more on the psychological journey and how he found meaning in his suffering, which ultimately gave him the strength to persevere.

A key takeaway is there will always be suffering, but you get to choose what meaning you assign to it, which is critical when pursuing freedom.

To say he delivers a profoundly powerful message is an understatement. This book is a classic for a very good reason.

File it under: The Classic.

Jump: One Girl’s Search For Meaning by Daniella Moyles

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One word: Exceptional. I just finished it and think it is my favourite read of the year, reaffirming my belief the best books are all story-based accounts, as told by the author.

I saw a quote once that read, “anything but raw authenticity is a fucking waste of time,” and my God, does this book stay true to that. Not only is it exceptionally well written, but it’s also a masterclass in authenticity, which — let’s be honest — is very refreshing with so much fake authenticity out there today.

The first chapter is a good introduction. The second chapter blows the roof off. Moyles then continues this trajectory while documenting her personal account of panic and anxiety and everything that goes along with as she strives to find meaning from it all.

File it under: Inspirational Storytelling.

Healing Your Attachment Wounds: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships by Dianne Pool Heller Ph.D

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Ah, attachment theory. I suspect I’m not the only one who hates it? This shit goes right to the core of you.

If you haven’t heard of attachment theory, you’re probably best remaining blissfully ignorant. But as we are suckers for punishment, it was hypothesized by British psychologist John Bowlby in 1950, and concerns itself with emotional attachment between humans, formed from our early relationship with our parents.

There are four main types of attachment. The only desirable one is secure attachment, and if you are reading this, the likelihood of you being secure, I’m sorry to say, is pretty slim. That means you are either anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, or fearful-avoidant.

As we grow into adults and end up in relationships that don’t seem to pan out as Hollywood predicted, attachment theory will certainly help you understand why.

Trust me, when you find out, you’re going to want to fix it. And praise the lord because all hope is not lost, you can take steps to move towards secure attachment. That’s why you should read this book. Enjoy.

File it under: I Did Not Sign Up For This Shit.

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

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Originally published in 1903, this bad boy is the OG of self-help. Based on the principle you are what you think, Allen explains how our character, identity, ability, and success are all determined by the thoughts in our minds.

It’s not The Secret or some new-age spiritual bullshit where if you want a Ferrari, all you have to do is ask the universe for it, and — abracadabra — there it is in all is glory with a big red bow on it.

The ethos is very much around our ability to shape our thoughts to improve our lives. And it shows you how in a very inspiring way.

This book packs a punch. What I love most is it’s only 61 pages and simple to read. So you can go back and read it often to help keep you on course. Take it with a pinch of salt, and it has the potential to be very powerful, indeed.

File it under: The OG.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

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What a legend Bessel Van Der Kolk is. He comes across as so genuine and sincere. And my God, is he accomplished. This book is incredible. It is also, without a doubt, the toughest read on the list. The subject is trauma, after all.

A must for anyone looking to better understand trauma or for anyone who has experienced trauma and doesn’t fully understand its impact.
Personally, I would be selective in the chapters I read. You do not need to approach it chronologically. Cherry-pick the chapters you believe are going to impact you the most, and take it from there.

File it under: Essential Trauma Reading

Love In, Love Out: A Compassionate Approach to Parenting Your Anxious Child by Dr Malie Coyne

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I must admit, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading this one yet. But I did have the pleasure of interviewing Dr Coyne, and she is amazing. Not to mention the work she does is incredible.
More importantly, the message, wisdom, and tips offered in this book can be a complete gamechanger for so many underserved parents out there who might be struggling with their own anxiety or have an anxious child whom they have no clue how to help.

File it under: Essential Reading for Parents.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg

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As stated on the cover, much of how we communicate could be considered violent. Obviously, this isn’t great, especially in our relationships, when communicating with those that matter most.
NVC is an extremely practical book that is easy to navigate with lots of strategies to improve your communication for better relationships.

File it under: Your Communication Bible

The Inflamed Mind: A Radical New Approach to Depression by Edward Bullmore

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For such a dense and — you know — depressing subject, this book is a bit of a page-turner. It provides lots of interesting anecdotal stories throughout, all the while examining the link between inflammation and depression and the potential for a new exciting treatment, which is something we haven’t seen since the birth of Prozac.

File it under: Hope for a Brighter Future

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

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No other book on the subject comes close to this bad boy. James Clear is quite simply, the master of habit.

So many of us struggle to break bad habits and routines that are negatively impacting our health. In this book, Clear breaks down all the science in a practical and easy-to-understand manner, ensuring you know exactly what to do to adopt new habits into your life for a healthier, happier future.

File it under: Essential Reading

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

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The consequences of breathing incorrectly, as it turns out, can be pretty catastrophic. And while there is nothing more essential to our health than air, it seems we’ve lost our ability to breathe correctly somehow somewhere along the way.

Nestor brings you along on a fascinating journey unraveling the science of breath, and ultimately, guiding you to a place where you will be breathing better for a longer, happier, healthier, and more prosperous life.

File it under: The Power of Breath

Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World by Meredith Arthur

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Currently being translated into many different languages, if you are an overthinker who appreciates the arts, then this little gem of a book is for you.

Packed with beautiful illustrations, Arthur provides you lots of guidance and inspiration, as well as soothing techniques to help you move through the traps of overthinking, all the while maintaining a light and upbeat tone throughout.

File it under: Your Pocket-Sized Buddy

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

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I found this book to be excellent. It’s almost too positive for me, but it’s not. If you know what I mean? Of course, you don’t. I don’t know what I mean.

The science behind it is fascinating. And the delivery is uplifting and pleasant. It also inspires you to play with your fears and take action, which can only be a good thing.

I’ll put it this way: I doubt many struggling with anxiety won’t be inspired to take action for having read this. And really, everything we need to do for change is found in action.

File it under: Feelgood Inspiration

Oh my God, I forgot David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

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To be filed under unbelievable inspirational storytelling. It’s so so good.

Crap, I cannot forget my buddy, Melissa Drake’s heartwarming tale of how she found reprieve from the grips of depression through dance.

File it under: Inspirational Storytelling.

And that’s all he wrote.

How to Implement Daily Cold Showers to Boost Your Immune System and Fight Colds

The Cold Is An Absolute Doorway To The Soul

It all began January 17th 2016 when I first consciously chose to have a cold shower due to the overwhelming information and health benefits I had come across in my continual learning and optimisation for human performance. The simple fact that it is something everyone does everyday and wouldn’t cost me anything extra in time or money in return for massive health benefits that I now reap.

Minimal effort with maximum returns!

My grandma has always preached to my brothers and I how she takes a cold shower everyday for the last 10 or so years, with us laughing it off as crazy nan. My grandpa use to take her to doctors appointments and brag about how she hadn’t caught a cold in years. I never really took much notice of the potential health benefits until I stumbled across Wim Hof aka The Iceman. My curiosity and interest peaked significantly after watching the VICE documentary about him on youtube. I was so motivated by him and his story that I immediately downloaded the Wim Hof Innerfire app and began implementing his practices daily.

Start out small

The key to making this or any habit lasting, is to start out small and consistent. If you go straight to cold too hard and fast without the right mental preparation, you will simply throw in the towel. Begin with having your normal warm shower as usual, at the end slowly turn the hot half off, step out of the water and begin the Wim style breathing before immersing yourself back in. Gradually over months you can build up to where I am (14 months) where I do not need any mental prep or breathing exercises. I can comfortably immerse my entire body and head for a couple of minutes with ease. Again this took me months to build up to!

Track your progress

I started out the first few months tracking my progress using the Wim Hof app, which adopts the simple calendar “don’t break the chain” concept of marking the days you completed, allowing you to see the progress and encouraging you to stay on track. Tracking your habits is absolutely vital in getting them to truly stick. After a few months the habit had successfully formed and I no longer needed to track it.

On average a habit takes around 66 days to form, varying of course on the habit and person. So make sure you stick with it long enough.

Breathing & Incantations

Part of the Wim Hof method is his unique style of breathing used to saturate the body and lungs with oxygen. Using this technique initially, paired with incantations (empowering phrases to engage your physiology and emotions) like “Shit a brick” or “I.. am.. SPARTA!!” can help immensely with getting into the right mindset and eventually tricking the brain that this isn’t danger.

What’s the benefits of cold showers you ask?

  • 1. The immune strengthening effects alone is enough for me to continue and promote cold showers. Since beginning my cold shower habit I have gone an entire year without getting sick let alone a single cold. In the past I would routinely get one or two throughout the year. Correlation or coincidence? I understand it is very difficult to claim cold showers alone was the causation of my strengthening immune system, as throughout the year I have been optimising my health in numerous other ways.
  • 2. Helps with converting white fat into brown fat. When you take a cold shower, brown fat is activated, resulting in an increase in energy and calories burned to keep your body warm.
  • 3. Shifts you into a Parasympathetic state. Very helpful with having showers in the evening to calm and relax the nervous system before sleep.
  • 4. Morning cold showers increases alertness.
  • 5. Builds massive willpower. Especially when you go through those winter months when all you want to do is stay in the warm forever.
  • 6.Improves skin & hair health.
  • 7. Natural and free testosterone booster.
  • 8. Improved circulation.
  • 9. Forces you into present moment awareness. Even if it is just for a minute or two, building toward a mindfulness state.
  • 10. Increased HRV

…The list really goes on!

Having a strong WHY to why you are doing cold showers helps with those difficult days in the beginning. Make sure you keep it consistent and continue to challenge yourself. It is very much a test of mental strength and willpower.

Many of us have become soft. Going from a temperature controlled house, to a temperature controlled car, to a temperature controlled office and back again. We have not evolved to live like that. Reconnecting to the outside environment is imperative for optimal health and if you continue to disregard that on a daily basis, mother nature has something in store for you.

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Is Nirvana Real?

Meditation certainly isn’t new, but this millennia-old practice is definitely becoming trendier in the Western world. And though some of its benefits are hard or even impossible to measure, researchers keep studying what exactly happens to the brain during meditation. Thanks to these pioneers, today we have a much better understanding of what meditation does, at least on a neurological level.

With the help of modern neuroimaging technologies like fMRI, EEG, and spectral analysis, researchers have been able to study changes in the brain morphologies of meditation practitioners as they meditate.

The main insight? A significant decrease in beta wave activity. This means that the brain calms down a bit and stops processing information as actively as it normally does. That probably comes as no surprise, but if you’re curious about the science and what it could mean for you on a practical level, read on…

What Brain Regions Does Meditation Rewire?

Okay, so what exactly happens to your brain? A meta-analysis of 21 neuroimaging studies has found that at least eight different brain regions are consistently altered by meditation:

  • Frontal lobe. The part of the brain that controls most important cognitive skills, including speaking, problem-solving, and judgment.
  • Temporal lobe. Most of the changes in this region happen to the hippocampus, a structure involved in emotional responses and memory formation.
  • Parietal lobe. This part of the brain slows down significantly during meditation, thereby affecting how sensory information is processed.
  • Thalamus. The thalamus, responsible for selective focus and attention, plays a significant role in sensory perception.
  • Reticular formation. Located in the very center of the brain stem, this structure receives incoming stimuli and plays a central role in a state of alertness and arousal.
  • Sensory cortex and insular cortex. Two areas responsible for processing tactile information and general body awareness.
  • Cingulate cortex. An integral part of the limbic system, involved in emotion-related activity, learning, and memory.

A bit of a mouthful, right? Ultimately, the brain exhibits observed improvements in thickness and cortical surface area fiber density. But what exactly do these changes to the brain and its activity mean? Well, this is the part that can’t really be studied using neuroimaging, but the beneficial effects on day-to-day performance is noticeable…

How Can Meditation Benefit You?

Based on what’s known about the role of affected brain regions, and on various tests performed on meditation practitioners and their experiences, here’s a pretty compelling list of why you might consider taking up your own meditation practice:

#1. Less anxiety

During meditation, certain neural connections are weakened, meaning you won’t react as strongly to certain emotional stimuli. Furthermore, the parts of the brain responsible for reasoning arent influenced as strongly by the fear centers. This makes it easier to respond rationally instead of react explosively to circumstances that would normally trigger an emotional outburst.

#2. Faster learning and better memory

Meditation will help you better filter out distractions. Certain brain wave changes will help you think and learn faster, remember better, and be more productive.

#3. Increased creativity

Human creativity isn’t always easy to study objectively, but meditation is assuredly known to improve this as well. There’s evidence that open-monitoring meditation leads to improvement in creativity as measured by tests that involve innovating with unorthodox ideas.

#4. Improved focus

It’s said that focused attention is akin to a muscle that can be trained and strengthened through exercise. Consciously trying to prevent your focus and attention from drifting away is an important part of meditation. There’s evidence that practicing focused-attention meditation helps improve overall focus, extending the benefits of this practice to our daily lives.

Want to Approach Nirvana? Give Meditation a Try!

Just 20 minutes of meditation can lead to observable changes in how your brain works. And there’s evidence that in long-term meditators, the changes in brain wave patterns might be permanent!

So give it a go — there’s no harm in trying! Numerous meditation techniques exist, such as mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, movement meditation, and much more. Just do some research, try out a few, and see what works for you.

Make This 1 Change To Your Goals — And You’ll 10X Your Results

Success Demands Singleness Of Purpose. You Need To Be Doing Fewer Things For More Effect Instead Of Doing More Things With Side Effects. It Is Those Who Concentrate On But One Thing At A Time Who Advance In This World.

If you want extreme levels of motivation and flow, you need a few key ingredients:

A Clear And Compelling Future

Your Vision Of Where Or Who You Want To Be Is The Greatest Asset You Have. Without Having A Goal It’s Difficult To Score.

Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor summed-it up best: Without having a future to look forward and stretch to, the present becomes meaningless and unbearable.

Your view of your own future directly impacts your physical and emotional health here-and-now. If you have a positive view of your future, then your emotions and behavior will be positive here.
If the future looks uncertain or bleak, then you’ll fall apart emotionally and behaviorally.

Your view of your own future is the single greatest factor in what you do here-and-now.
If you’re distracted or depressed right now, then what that means is that you’ve either lost hope in the future, or you don’t believe in your future.

This is why Dr. Angela Duckworth has found that “cultivating hope” is one of the most important aspects of being “gritty” or resilient.

So what does your future look like?

Many psychologists now believe that “consciousness” is really about imagining different future scenarios. That’s what makes us “human” and not “animal.” We can project the future. We can imagine something totally different. We can commit to something that we have no evidence of.
Dr. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, has found that very few people spend time imagining their FUTURE SELF. We spend much more time remembering the past. As a result, we fail to predict where our lives will go. This isn’t because we can’t predict where our lives will go, but that we don’t.

Imagination is a skill to be developed. It’s something you can get incredibly good at. It’s something you must get good at if you want to control the direction of your life.

Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

You can imagine whatever future you want. You also can imagine who you want to be in the future. If you do not do this, then you can’t possibly make conscious decisions in the present.
You must imagine where you want to be so that here-and-now, you can make conscious decisions that will take you there.

How much time do you spend imagining your future self?

What is the future you want?

How much of your present here-and-now experience is driven by your chosen future?

One Very Specific Outcome You’re Seeking

What Man Actually Needs Is Not A Tensionless State But Rather The Striving And Struggling For A Worthwhile Goal, A Freely Chosen Task.

Having a “bigger future” is essential to mental and physical well-being in the present. But in order for your future to be effective, you need to quantify it. You need a specific goal to direct your focus and behavior at.

Viktor Frankl explained that “purpose” is essential. But “purpose,” as his quote above states, is really just a “freely chosen task.” This clarifies what most people have wrong about “purpose.” Most people think you must “discover” your purpose, and that your “purpose” is some big broad thing.

It’s not.

Your purpose is a freely chosen task. You CHOOSE your purpose, and your purpose must be a task you accomplish. For example, if you’re in college, then your purpose is to finish your degree. If you’re writing a book, then your purpose is to finish the book.

Your purpose is an outcome. It’s tangible. It’s something you can measure and accomplish. It’s time-bound.

Your “purpose” right now is different from what your purpose may have been last year. Next year, when your purpose may shift as well.

It’s crucial that your purpose centers around ONE SPECIFIC OUTCOME. The more singular your focus, the more inspired and clear will be your path to achieving it.

This is where it gets tricky for a lot of people. You need to choose ONE GOAL. ONE OUTCOME.

Right now, you’re probably trying to accomplish too many things. You have competing goals that are stretching you thin, stunting your flow and progress.

If you want more flow states and motivation, you need to simplify your future. You need to clarify one single outcome that is “YOUR PURPOSE.”

Making Trade-Offs

Essentialism Is Doing The Right Thing At The Right Time In The Right Way.

Choosing ONE OUTCOME is essential to having clarity and focus. Therefore, you must look at all of the “potential futures” you have in your mind and start making some decisions.
Look at all of your goals.

Which ONE is clearly the most important?

Put another way, which one, if you accomplished it, would change your life the most?

Which one, if you truly focused on it and succeeded, would make the biggest impact on your future?

Robert Brault has said, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to lesser goals.”

All of your goals are important or interesting to you. But some of them are “lesser goals,” even if you really want them. An “essentialist,” someone who focuses on the purely essential is willing to make trade-offs. They’re willing to forego certain things in order to have better ones.

The truth is, you can’t have it “all.” Decisions require removing alternative options. Making a true decision is how you change your life. But it also means you must say no to other things — even great things.

What is the most important OUTCOME you could turn into your purpose?

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your other goals. But maybe, you need to wait on some of the other ones? The order of how you do things matters. If you crush your ESSENTIAL GOAL — the most important one — you’ll probably have 10X more freedom and opportunity than you have now. If you achieve your ESSENTIAL and SINGLE GOAL — then the other things you want right now may become irrelevant.

Your one goal needs to be time-bound. Without a deadline, you have a “dream” not a “goal.” Once you’ve made the bold move and chosen the single goal that will become your current purpose, give yourself a deadline.

Creating A “Process” Of Sub-Goals

Assume The Feeling Of Your Wish Fulfilled.

Once you’ve clarified and committed to your single goal, you need to change your daily schedule. You need to target more and more of your time and attention toward your purpose — the “one goal.”

How much of your day is currently designed around creating this one outcome?

Committing to this purpose takes guts. It will challenge you to the core. Life will start to question your resolve. You’ll need to get help and support from the right people. In the book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho talks about the “omens” that God leaves on your path, to not only confirm to you that you’re on the path, but to encourage you.

Once you’re truly committed, you’ll start seeing “omens” or having amazing experiences that will build your confidence and resolve. These “omens” are really just peak experiences that solidify to you that you’re serious about this, and that you’re going to achieve this.

The more committed you become, the more clarified will become your process. Yes, you have one single goal. But you need “sub-goals” or “means” to achieve that goal. Sometimes, the “sub-goals” or “process” will be non-linear. Sometimes, you must zig while everyone else is zagging.
The main point here is: You need a “process” to achieve your goals. When the “why” is strong enough, you’ll figure out the “how.” Overtime, the “hows” may change. For example, just yesterday, I recommitted fully to my single goal of selling millions of copies of Personality Isn’t Permanentmy new book. This led me to conversations and experiences that opened me up to an inspired path to making this goal real.

In order to have true hope and motivation — you need a clear outcome that you want, you need the sense of agency or confidence that you can do it, and you need a pathway to getting there. The pathways are your subgoals. And yesterday, I discovered a much better pathway to achieving my single goal than I previously had. This, of course, boosted my motivation and hope.
I would not have discovered or thought of this pathway, though, had I not been committed. It was through seeking help and guidance that I was able to find this new path.

You need a path to achieve your goals.

That path — your “sub-goals” — also needs to be quantified. You need specific milestones or outcomes along the way.

Your sub-goals need to clearly lead to your ONE MAJOR goal.

This is how you create insane motivation. This is how you live your life in a flow state. This is how you live your life “on purpose” and “with purpose” and “through purpose.”

How to Pick Your Next Book

Books are like breakfast cereal. The more choices you have, the harder it is to pick one.

Why do some books go in one ear and out the other? Why is it so hard to make a choice when the choices are endless? What defines “good”?

After 10 years and reading over 700 books, I have an answer (not the answer). My system made me much more comfortable choosing new books to read and understanding the context of each of those books. Books need to be read in a rough order so they can be fully understood and integrated into your personality.

My order isn’t what you’d expect. It’s certainly not what you learned in school, and it contains a lot of “low” art. I’ll explain why that’s bullshit. This is the truest order of reading books to create a good life that I can currently muster. Obviously, it’s incomplete, but it’s the best I can do.
It’s also not a reading list. I will make a lot of specific recommendations, but I believe that the category works. You may read Campbell — I may read Jung — but I think we will mostly come to the same conclusions.

The deep, unconscious motivation for reading needs to be straightened out. When you sit down to read, you need to know the force keeping your eyes on the page. If it is to “seem” well-read, it won’t last. It took most of my 20s to start getting my relationship to reading sorted out. Hopefully, you can skip some of that. At the core, it’s about habits, and plenty of people have written about forming good habits. Get the motivations and the queues right; the rest is automatic.

Let’s dive into the proper order, and I will explain my theories as we go. Depending on where you are on your reading journey, this can be started at the beginning or the middle. It also can, and will, repeat many times over a lifetime.

OK, so you’re completely at a loss as to what to read first out of the endless array of books. Here’s a good place to start:

#1. Fiction (Beginning with True Interest)

Forget what you’re supposed to read. Seriously, just drop it and pick stories that you are drawn to. Movies, short stories, TV, and graphic novels are all valid forms of fiction. All that matters is that you pay attention to how it makes you feel.

In school, we are forced to take tests on books we didn’t read to pass a test and prove that we’re “educated.” It’s entirely backward. I promise that if you allow yourself to follow your Harry Potter obsession to its very core, you will eventually find yourself reading Dostoyevsky (just don’t count on it).

Or, you’ll read trash for the rest of your life — more power to you. Maybe you’re a busy-as-hell CEO doing a lot of good. Don’t let anyone shame you for your choice in literature. I have to say, though — if you truly indulge in the books you really like — and they happen to be shallow, you will eventually get bored with them and ready to move on. Let it happen naturally.

Lots of books that people think are “shallow” only seem shallow on the surface. Look into the archetypes of Harry Potter, for example. J.K. Rowling got it exactly right. Why would we assume it’s an accident that she can fill a stadium to listen to her read a children’s book?

And that brings us to the importance of true interest. Your interest knows a lot more than you in a lot of ways. For example: Have you ever watched children play? They play house, or they play explorers. They give each person roles: “You be the daddy,” or “You be the bad guy.” What are they doing? They are acting out how to behave in the world long before they could explain it out loud.

That doesn’t stop when you get to be an adult. You only lose the will to play if you fear that you’ll do something wrong and embarrass yourself. Still, your interest is to teach you things about yourself that you can’t explain with words.

That’s why fiction is so important. It’s the adult playground. It’s the place where you can explore what sort of person you want to be long before you could articulate it. If you shame yourself out of the fiction you are truly interested in; you miss the only opportunity to grow.

So, if you truly have no idea what you want to read next — pick up a story, no matter how “childish” that calls to you. Don’t read books that you think you should. Find the place in your heart that yearns for an adventure with Dragons or a steamy romance, and follow that to the very bottom.

If you can’t think of a book like this, go to the bookstore. When you walk the aisles, watch for a book to “shine forth” (This actually works). Pick that one. Don’t binge it shamefully; That prevents you from growing. Read it mindfully and proudly.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Harry Potter series (obviously)
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Island by Aldous Huxley
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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#2. Self-Help (Get Your Life in Order First)

Why do people shit on self-help? Because they are afraid to admit that they might not already be perfect.

I love people who love self-help. It says that they don’t care if people see them reading books about getting better. They aren’t afraid to admit that they could improve themselves.

Does some self-help seem obvious and trite to you? Don’t read those books. But don’t forget — that book might save someone else’s life (maybe even you in the future). Besides, it’s nice that self-help is unpretentious and easy to read. I see that as a bonus.

No matter where you are in your life, there is a self-help book that can help you. They usually aren’t great literature, but that’s not what they are trying to be. They are brass tacks. They want to tell you how to do the exact, practical thing you are trying to do.

The reason they come after fiction is that it’s the order people learn naturally. As I said, humans act out what they believe long before they can articulate it. Reading fiction is about acting out values. Self-help is about articulating them.

I read Harry Potter as a boy. At that age, I just loved it — I had no idea why. Later in life, I read a bunch of philosophy, mythology, and self-help. With the new context, Harry Potter suddenly took on a whole new meaning. While other fiction books I loved as a kid fell away, Harry Potter stayed because it got all the deeper elements exactly right.

Right, so, self-help can enrich fiction and vice versa — but that’s not the only reason self-help is high on this list. If you are struggling to pay your bills and maintain professional and personal relationships, you won’t have the luxury of reading. You’ll be too busy trying to survive.

If you get caught in that trap, it’s hard to get out. Reading is essential to life-long success. If you’re too busy to read, you’re never going to learn new ways to exit the struggle. Chaos piles up, and life gets out of hand. It happens to a lot of people.

If you feel the chaos of life piling up on you, the last thing you need is some snob telling you to read Neitzche. You need to read Tony Robbins. You need to get out of the hole so that you have the damn luxury of reading Neitzche someday.

Here are three vital things to read about if you haven’t already mastered them:

  • Money
  • Relationships
  • Health

Here are some of the most life-changing books I’ve come across:

  • 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
  • Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
  • 7 Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

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#3. Mythology (Learn to See What Matters)

About a year ago, Carl Jung turned my world inside out. He helped me see that the world is not only composed of matter but also what matters. In case you didn’t know, this is the primary struggle of modern people. What is the meaning if everything is measured?

Modern thinking has tricked us into thinking that life is subject and object, and they are perfectly separable. Think again, Jung says! You don’t see a chair; you see a sitting-down place. The chair doesn’t exist without your butt to sit in it!

I could go on and on about this topic (my friends will tell you with a deep sigh). The point is: Science is for measurement, stories are for values. As the great Scottish philosopher David Hume said:

“You Can’t Derive An Ought From An Is.”

Science can tell us what there is (roughly), but it can’t tell us what to do. See? This observation really blew my mind — sorry if I stress an obvious point.

Stories are just as important as science. The story of your life matters. What you value matters. What you value determines what you can see. To change your story is to change your life.
Good and bad isn’t something that exists out there. As great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it:

“The Line Dividing Good And Evil Cuts Through The Heart Of Every Human Being.”

That’s why your eyes are so glued to the TV while watching your favorite hero. You’re trying to understand the good and evil in your own heart. You’re trying to understand yourself.
Becoming aware of this process completely changed my life. It started simple, and I never felt like rushing my understanding. In the end, it’s as simple as understanding how to tell a story. Anything more is just gravy.

Even if you’re not a writer, it’s important to understand how stories work. They make human life possible.

Here are my favorites, from easy to difficult:

  • Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  • Modern Man in Search of Meaning by Carl Jung
  • Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson
  • The Origins and History of Consciousness by Erich Neumann

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#4. Pop-Science (Get Your Facts Straight)

“If You Go To Thinking Take Your Heart With You. If You Go To Love, Take Your Head With You. Love Is Empty Without Thinking, Thinking Hollow Without Love.”

Another quote by Carl Jung. Before I read him, I was too much thinking and too little heart. Stories are heart, science is thinking. With all my facts in a neat row and no love, I was hollow.
That’s why mythology was so important to me about a year ago. I discovered a meaning in life that didn’t ask me to believe in wishful thinking (which some overly optimistic self-help writers tend to sell). I needed a more robust version of meaning for the modern mind that wasn’t based on ignoring science. That’s what thinkers like Jung gave me.

I say pop-science because science needs a good storyteller to make it relevant to our lives. Otherwise, it is a phonebook. As Jung would claim, no information is meaning-neutral (despite what some egg-heads might have you believe). Unless you’re a scientist, it’s OK if you don’t wanna read scientific journals.

There are many great scientific storytellers out there. They were my first love, so to speak. When I was a kid, I read Hawking, Dawkins, and Sagan. What makes them great was not only the science but the way they mixed in storytelling. I was obsessed with rationality. I only learned later that it was just a story; A good one, but not the only one.

Read the great science storytellers of our age so that you don’t fall for pseudoscience. Learn to think critically as well as with passion and meaning. You can’t lean too far one way or the other. Strike a balance that makes you comfortable.

While this isn’t an urgent category, it’s important if you want to be a respected and trusted person. Without an ability to see fact from fiction, you are vulnerable to believe things that certain string-pullers would like you to believe. Myths show us what we stand for; facts prevent us from falling for anything.

Do you always avoid science? Dip your toe in the pool. There is more fun here than you think. Here are my favorites:

  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollen
  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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#5. History (Know Where You Come From)

I struggle the most to read history. The way it was taught in school made it seem like memorizing dates and battles for tests.

That’s a shame because I finally realize that we are a historical animal. Reaching about history is reading about yourself. Without knowing about what happened in the 20th century, for example, we might be doomed to repeat the mistakes. That would be a disaster.

In recent years, I have been slowly engaging more and more with history. I’m sure many people could give you much better recommendations — but I can give you the point of view of a convert.
Not interested in history? That’s OK — stay higher on this list. Read long enough, and I promise you’ll come around. Nothing beats the feeling of realizing that someone 2,000 years old was going through the same things are you are.

Here are my favorites:

  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Einstein by Walter Isaacson
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Hariri
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

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#6. Philosophy (Tie it All Together)

In a lot of ways, I lived this list backward. I suppose that makes me a cautionary tale.
I studied philosophy in college. While I am very thankful that I did, I think a lot of what I learned fell on deaf ears. Only now do I even begin to understand Neitzche, for example. And only barely. I had no business reading him at 21 when I was mostly just trying to get laid.
That being said, philosophy is the ultimate self-help. It’s not as concrete and actionable as “self-help,” but it has the same aim. How does one live? If you want to know deeper truths to help you live a better life, read philosophy.

Philosophy is the highest level of abstraction. It’s thinking about thinking about thinking. It hurts the brain. I have a secret for you…a lot of it is nonsense.

When it’s not, it will knock your socks off. But when it is, it will make you read the same sentence 40 times and get no closer to understanding it. For a lot of the greats, I recommend reading secondary materials. Most of this stuff can be summarized. Only if you are a wild man on a mission should you dive into the source material!

That being said, I love philosophy, and I love philosophizing. It’s a hobby for me — like knitting. It doesn’t have to be a hobby for you.

There are a lot of great YouTube videos about philosophy. I recommend watching a lot of them before picking up any philosophical text. There is no rush, and there is no test. This should be fun. If it’s not, quit.

That being said, nothing will change your world like reading philosophy. Like Plato’s cave, you’ll see the world for the first time, and it will be marvelous. This can happen over and over. It’s truly something.

Here’s a shortlist, starting easy:

  • Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday (concrete and actionable)
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (Fiction, stunning writing)
  • The Apology by Plato (where we started in the West)
  • Beyond Good and Evil by Fridrich Nietzche (where we ended up)

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#7. Political (If Ever)

I feel intensely bored by politics.

For the most part, I think you can leave the political chatter to the heads on TV. Without deeper understanding gained from the above categories, political talk is powerless and toothless. With a deeper understanding, you see that it’s best to try not to engage on this level, ever.

People usually start with politics because they want to feel like they are doing something important. I’m here to tell you; nothing is more pressing or important than getting yourself in order. Without that inner work, any political change you make is likely to make things worse.

Politics is nothing more than recent history without any perspective or wisdom. Without a little time and distance, you can’t really see the forest for the trees. After a while of tree-gazing, you lose the ability to perceive forests at all.

Occasionally, politics pokes its ugly head into our lives, whether we like it or not. That’s to be expected and dealt with. Treat politics like fighting and reading like karate. A great karate master never goes out looking for a fight — but he will whip your ass if you start one.

Yes, vote. Make sure you engage with your community. But unless you’re passionate about something, there is no reason to be “informed.” Truly informed people know Plato as well as Twitter.

That being said, I have a few books that shaped my point of view:

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
  • Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
  • The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison, Jay

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If you read these, you avoid the “he said, she said,” of most political writing. Here’s my basic takeaway (OPINION INCOMING):

The right wants stability. The left warns that stability makes power accumulate into fewer and fewer hands. Both are right. We have to talk to stay in balance. If you’re right or left is mostly due to your personality. The best political action you can make is to learn to talk to people unlike you. I’m a writer, and I live in LA. Of course, I lean left. But my parents are hard-working people from Louisiana. I have learned to speak with them. That feels important.

Reading great books starts with the reader. All books are about you if you’re reading them.

Read to have a good life, not to seem smart. Get smart as a byproduct.

Start easy, keep it fun, and never let it become homework. School is over, and you never have to do homework again.

Read the great books when they call to you. Let books change you from the inside out.

After over 700 books, I believe that nothing is more important.



14 Self-Care Tips to Prevent Burnout

This is not your mother speaking. However, it has come to my attention you take an awful lot of pride in being extremely busy while flirting dangerously close to the edge of burnout— in spite of all those productivity and mind-hack supplements you might be taking.

Burnout is a serious problem, and the less you take care of yourself, the more likely it is to occur. And seen as you have no intention in slowing down, I thought I would weigh in with a few self-care tips to help ensure you don’t end up a complete mess while you wait for any — or all — of the below to occur:

A) The world to stop and acknowledge just how awesome and hard-working you are

B) Your mother to send out a tweet saying how proud she is of you — which then gets retweeted a few thousand times

C) Landing a guest spot on the Ask Gary Vee Show

D) Actually making the world a better place

E) Finding out who killed Kenny

Seen as Gary Vee might be your best hope, self-care is pretty much essential to maintain a level of sanity in today’s world, so perk up a minute and pay attention if your boy, Gary, ain’t responding to your tweets.

In this day and age, I could write a list the length of the Nile of things you could do to cleanse that precious little soul of yours, but that would piss us both off, so I’ll keep it brief and focus on that which can create the most impact in the shortest time.

FYI: I’m running on the assumption you know that if you eat like crap and overdose on coffee, sugar and other stimulants, you’re going to feel like crap.

Take this stuff a lot more seriously than my intro and hopefully, you’ll never know just how lucky you are to have a healthy body and mind.

This is just a guide and some tips to help change your state, prevent burnout, and keep stress to a minimum. There are no rules here but your own. You do what’s right for you.

#1. Change Your Environment 

I’m not talking about quitting your job, packing your bags and moving to a new city or country. I’m talking about getting away from whatever is causing your stress and doing something that nourishes your mind, body and soul. It can be as simple as going for a walk or anything listed below.

I’m assuming you spend too much time at your computer while losing your mind. Studies carried out by Princeton University found that the brains of those who are sedentary behave differently under stress, and aren’t able to function as well. So stand the fuck up my friend, and take yourself off for a little trot.

The more you do this, the better it works. If things have got out of hand and you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you’ll need to do more in-depth work, but even still, breaking your environment will always give your mind a much-needed break, so the best practice is to do it often.

#2. Practice Yoga

Realistically, everything listed here is worthy of an article in itself. And yoga might be the longest one. The mind-body connection is real Y’all, and nothing quite taps into it like yoga.
Yoga probably saves a million panic attacks a day. You stand to gain so much from a regular practice. I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped my anxiety. Just make sure to balance your Yin and your Yang. You’re already living your life in Yang, so do yourself a favour and get some fucking Yin!

#3. Stay Hydrated

No shit, Nicky. But seriously, according to a study by CBS, roughly 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. Considering mild dehydration affects your ability to think clearly—that’s crazy!

Ease off on the caffeine and beer, and make sure you’re getting plenty of h2o. At a minimum, you should be drinking at least 2 liters a day — so drink plenty more and know what you need to accommodate your mind and body based on your lifestyle.

#4. Have Some Fun

If you’re not laughing your way through all the drama life fires at us — what’s the point? You have a duty to enjoy your life and have some fun. The more you honor that and the more fun you have, the more likely all the other stuff you’re stressing over will fall into place.

#5. Stop Drinking

It pains me to write this because I’m drinking a whiskey as I type. Alcohol is a depressant. If you’re going through shit, take a break from it and clear your mind. There’s probably nothing worse for you than alcohol. The clarity you stand to gain from cutting it out of your life — if only for a period is ridiculous.

#6. Listen to Music That Smoothes Your Soul

Music is extremely powerful when it comes to stress-management and relaxation. It can aid in meditation, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and helps decrease stress hormone levels.

Obviously, the type of music matters, but I even find Eminem to be great so this is all on you. If I’m working, I’ll have some classical or relaxing music playing softly in the background which studies confirm help reduce stress levels.

And if I’m working and stressed, it’s usually because I’m not listening to music. So, if you have a Hitler type boss that refuses to allow you to tap into this form of stress reduction when you work — quit!

#7. Indulge in Cold Water Therapy

13-degree water is hardly an indulgent, but whatever. Stress causes inflammation. Inflammation is bad. Cold water therapy helps kick the shit out of inflammation, so get yourself down to your local plunge pool or at the very least, blast that shower on full freezing for a minute every morning.

On top of that, cold water therapy helps boost cognitive function, immunity and your mood by giving you a hit of grade A dopamine, unlike that crap you get from Instagram which barely lasts a minute.

#8. Get in the Sauna

Saunas are magical. I’m only recently starting to learn just how good they are for overall health and longevity. You’ll feel great, relieve stress, flush toxins, cleanse your skin, help induce a deeper sleep, relax your muscles and soothe any aches and pains.

You get all of that from sitting your ass down in a hot room. Fucking magical!

#9. Meditate

Some dude nails this quote:

“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”
Surely that’s worthy of a collective amen?

The breath doesn’t just play a role — it plays a major role in controlling emotions and keeping anxiety at bay. Meditation has been shown, through brain scanning imagery, to turn down the amygdala. And for anyone that doesn’t know, your amygdala is the little prick responsible for getting overly aroused and instructing the adrenal glands to flood your system with so much adrenaline — you’ll be reaching for the phone to call an ambulance before your heart bursts from your chest.

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Basically, your amygdala is a dick. Studies confirm you can tame the bastard through meditation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more convincing.

#10. Practice Gratitude

“Gratitude Is The Healthiest Of All Human Emotions. The More You Express Gratitude For What You Have, The More Likely You Will Have Even More To Express Gratitude For.”

I’m all in with Ziggy! Challenge yourself to practice gratitude for 30 days, and I guarantee your life will start looking rosier. It really is a glorious bastard!

#11. Sleep Sleep Sleep

A lack of sleep is scientifically proven to be extremely bad for your health. Unfortunately, many struggle a lot with this one. I don’t care what anyone says — unless you’re a robot, you need sleep to function. The good news is that all the above should help.

In addition, you can burn some incense, drink camomile tea, light some candles, take a magnesium supplement, and infuse the shit out of your bedroom with essential oils.
Develop a nighttime routine that works for you and write in a diary all you achieved today and all you plan to achieve tomorrow, so it’s not running around your mind driving you batshit crazy as you try to nod off.

#12. Unplug

Your phone causes havoc on your mind. Get it away from you before you go to bed and don’t even think about reaching for it first thing in the morning unless it’s to turn off your alarm or throw it out the window.

Get in the habit of turning airplane mode on sporadically throughout the day and get out of the habit of playing with it when you are in the company of others. It will make you a better human.

#13. Talk to Someone

Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit opposite someone who’s capable of listening and offload your shit on them. Easier said than done because most people are incapable of listening and offer shit advice because the context they use will be their own.

If you have someone in your life that’s really awesome and supportive in this area, great. If not and you need to vent and process some shit you keep repressing, there’s no shame in paying for it. Change is hard when you do it on your own, but it can be fun working through some shit with someone else. What is it they say? A problem shared is a problem halved? The solutions are there, and sometimes the right ones will pop up quicker when you confide in someone with a neutral stance.

#14. I Didn’t Want to Freak You Out With Just 13 Tips, But That’s All I Got. My Bad!

Remember, all these are good for your body, mind and soul. The more you pull yourself from a stressful environment and indulge in self-care, the better you will feel.

Most of the above listed will instantly improve your mood and stress levels, but like everything else, the real results come with repetition and compound over time, so take this stuff seriously and incorporate what works best for you into your lifestyle.

It shouldn’t be a treat. It should be a priority. There are far too many in this world suffering from anxiety and depression due to the insurmountable stress of everyday life.

Start with you. First and foremost, you’ve got to keep yourself healthy and sane. And if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or just overwhelm, then talk to someone. You’ve got massive blinkers on. There are solutions, and when you sit down with someone that can help you see the reality, you’ll soon realize those solutions are well in your grasp.

How to Hack Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re anything like me, the nighttime rolls around and a very serious matter resurfaces to the forefront of your thoughts:

“What am I having as a treat tonight?”

Maybe it’s not even nighttime yet. Maybe it’s your lunch break, the time between difficult tasks, or a rough day on minimal sleep.

The almighty sweet tooth never sleeps, it simply spares you while you are busy focusing on more important things than eating again.

It’s an everyday battle for me. If it feels like a battle to you too, then good. That means you want things to be different too.

What I am going to share with you is how I realistically manage my sweet tooth.

I don’t ignore it, I don’t pretend that a cup of berries will tide me over (yeah, right), and I don’t believe in using willpower against your cravings.

I have to feed the craving somehow, it’s just about doing it in a way that doesn’t punish me later.

Typically, the punishment is a sick stomach, lots of guilt, or even trips to the bathroom sometimes.

For someone else it might be visible weight gain. For another it might be a dangerous insulin spike.

Whatever your reasoning is, it’s good enough. You’re in the right place to fix it.

Here are my two tips to manage your sweet tooth:

Uninteresting Treats

This is a strategy I’ve been using on my weaker self lately with much success.

You obviously have your preferred treats that always hit the spot for you. For me, those are cookies, cupcakes, sweet pastries, and milkshakes (among many more).

Your favorite treats are going to encourage you to make more excuses though.

“Well, this is my favorite, I have to let myself finish them all.”

“I never get to eat these. I’ll just enjoy them this time.”

These are the treats that get you into dangerous territory. The more bites you take, the further you are dragged into deep waters.

My solution is to intentionally buy yourself treats that will do the job, but aren’t good enough to binge on.

I’ve realized that chocolate is usually the main taste I am going for. So if I can get some chocolate in, while avoiding my favorite treats, I can satisfy my sweet tooth without being sorry for what I’ve eaten.

I now buy these little brownies that are made for kids and that is my first defense against the sweet tooth.

They are small enough that I only get a few bites out of them, they only have 10 grams of sugar each, and they are plain, chocolate brownies with great ingredients.

I couldn’t ask for a bigger win here.

Individually Wrapped Treats

My other tip is to focus on little treats that are individually wrapped.

The reasoning here is because you want something that you can easily only allow yourself to have one of or one bag of.

With my chocolate brownie example, those come in a box of six and they are individually wrapped. So when I have a craving, I know to go and grab one so that I’m held over.

The difference between this technique versus telling yourself you’ll only have [enter arbitrary number here] is that if you open a package of Oreo’s or donut holes, there’s nothing there to stop you from overdoing it except for your willpower.

That is the last thing you want to be using to stop yourself because even if it works, you feel more worn down from having to resist and you walk away feeling unsatisfied that you had to stop earlier than you wanted.

It’s Your Turn

It’s all just a mental game.

Sure, you need to stimulate your tastes buds, but these are simple ways to get around it.
The sweet tooth just wants to feel like it got what it wanted, but that doesn’t mean you have to play it’s game.

Implement these strategies into your days so you know exactly what you’re getting into and you’ll find yourself wondering why this was ever a problem in the first place.

How To Cure Panic And Anxiety With Meditation

Meditation is the practice of focusing on your body rather than your thoughts. The most common form of this practice is to sit still and concentrate on your breathing, either with your eyes open or closed. People who meditate for as little as 20 minutes per day have reported a number of benefits. Among the most well-known effects of this practice are the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression.

Frequent meditators typically find it easier to separate themselves from their thoughts. By taking a few minutes to pause from thinking and focus solely on their bodies, they learn to recognise their thoughts as emotions that live outside of them. As a result, when negative emotions arrive during their everyday lives, they are less affected by them. They also find it easier to connect with the present moment, rather than being distracted by a constant inner monologue.

What’s more, the meditation process itself can also be highly enjoyable. Some people report ecstatic highs during particularly clean sessions.

How meditation improves confidence

This comes back to controlling the ‘inner bitch’.

In moments of panic and anxiety, we often feel so attached to our emotions that they run our behaviour. We run away. We shake uncontrollably. We make excuses that seem so incredibly real. Without meditation, we may be helpless to prevent this from happening.

Yet, meditation trains us to separate ourselves from these thoughts. As such, we can learn to view our inner bitch as a separate entity. He is no longer a part of us. He is a voice which we can choose to embrace or ignore.

What’s more, regular meditation is likely to make you calmer overall. As a result, it may take more to trigger feelings of panic and anxiety. When these feelings do arise, you’ll find it easier to act logically and with emotional intelligence.

How else can meditation improve your life?

Here are some more reported benefits of meditation.

#1. Focus and productivity

Think you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes a day? It could be argued that you’re too busy not to do this.

Once you learn how to clear your thoughts during meditation, it becomes easier to do the same during everyday life.

This creates an ability to resist distractions. Often, you’ll end up getting more done by meditating for 20 minutes a day, then you would have done otherwise.

#2. Weight loss

Regular meditation reduces stress, makes it easier to lose weight.

After all, stress triggers the production of cortisol, which causes cravings for carbohydrates, fat and sugar, even if we’re not hungry. It also signals to your body to store calories as fat, making it harder to lose weight even if you’re eating well and exercising.

Without these cortisol spikes, your diet and exercise plan will be more effective.

#3. Better sleep

Poor sleep often arises from being unable to shut your mind off at night, perhaps because of stress or excitement. Either way, by practicing turning off your thoughts for meditation, you may also find it easier to fall asleep.

A good night’s sleep in itself can reduce cortisol, improve focus and help you feel calmer.

#4. Improved sex life

A common cause of erectile dysfunction (if you’re a man) or failure to orgasm (if you’re a woman) is being unable to lose yourself in the moment.

Whether it’s because you’re nervous or desperate to make a good impression, being stuck in your thoughts is the best way to ensure that sex is mediocre at best.

Thankfully, meditation teaches you to escape your thoughts, making it easier to connect with your partner, appreciate every sensation and enjoy mind-blowing orgasms.

If that’s not worth 20 minutes a day, it’s hard to think what is.

How to meditate effectively

Meditation is easier when it’s practiced in a distraction-free room. Set an alarm so you don’t have to worry about checking the time. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably.

From there, take deep breaths and concentrate on how your body feels. If a thought pops into your brain, don’t get frustrated or resist it. Accept it, then avert your concentration back to your breathing.

The more you practice, the easier it will become.



5 Common Reasons For Low Libido

There will be times when you just don’t feel like having sex. No matter what you do, there is no way of forcing yourself into doing it.

Your libido has taken a nosedive. Before jumping to conclusions and feeling worried that you may not be attracted to your partner anymore, know that there are several factors that influence libido. It’s not just about your feelings.

5 Common Physical Reasons For Low Libido

Physical Illness

Some physical health conditions may affect your sexual function.

Many women and men suffering from the following illnesses report a significant decrease in their libido:

Heart problems — Atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease may result in limited blood flow. This results in a lack of lubrication, less sensations during sex and low sex drive.

High blood pressure — High blood pressure can result in blood vessel damage and decreased blood flow.

Neurological disorders — Any illness that affects the nervous system, the brain, nerves and spinal cord can affect sexual function. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, meningitis and injury to the brain and spinal cord are among the major types of neurological disorders.

To prevent these health conditions from ruining your sex life, you should maintain optimal overall health.


Medical conditions require treatment in the form of medications. Sadly, some prescription medications can dampen your sex drive, arousal, and desire.

Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-seizures particularly benzodiazepines, H2 blockers and diuretics and beta-blockers for high blood pressure are on the list of libido killer medications.
If you are taking one of these medicines, do not stop taking it just because you want to improve your sex life. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. He or she may be able to recommend alternative medicines, or reduce your dosage.

Lifestyle Habits

If alcohol is your go-to after a hard day, which seems like every day, do not be surprised if your sex life takes a plummet. Excessive intake of alcohol regularly can decrease blood flow, which may make it hard for you to be sexually aroused.

Red wine is a popular choice for alcohol due to its reported health benefits. But, you should still stick with a limited amount of intake, which is typically one serving per day.

Diet plays a vital role in your overall health. If your body lacks several important nutrients at once, it decreases you chances of getting aroused because your body may not be “firing on all cylinders”.

All-natural supplements are available that you could take to charge up your sex drive.


Lack of sleep, too much work, looking after the kids and taking care of your family’s needs can leave you physically exhausted.

It’s hard to fantasize about sex and to act it out, if all your body wants is nothing but rest and sleep.

If you don’t want to reject your partner constantly, learn to balance your priorities. If you can afford to hire a babysitter once a week or every two weeks, then find one and go out on a date with you partner. Sex is part of nurturing your relationship, so you must not take it for granted.


Long working hours, demanding jobs, family issues and the general state of the world can stress you out and make your sex life suffer. Stress affects the libido in many ways. A lot of people are emotional eaters and tend to overeat when stressed, and this could lead to weight gain.
Poor body image makes you less confident in bed. Stress makes you resort to substance abuse, such as the excessive intake of alcohol. Too much alcohol will decrease blood flow, which can lessen sensations and arousal.

Most importantly, stress triggers the release of the hormone, cortisol. Your body needs cortisol, but only in little amounts. Your body will produce high levels of cortisol when stressed. If this happens constantly, cortisol can suppress your sex hormones, and eventually will lead to libido loss.


A lot of men and women suffer from loss of libido due to many reasons. Before feeling guilty about it, ask your doctor to help you rule out these five physical causes first.
And remember, you are not alone. Sometimes it may feel like you’re the only one in the world that’s not interested in sex, but rest assured, you’re not.

For more life-enhancing articles and products, visit The Vitamin Hippo today!


However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your life and your situation are unique. You need to take various perspectives so you can choose the one that fits best. That’s why I’ve put together the best advice that helped me make better choices from people much smarter than I am.

Climb the Mountain of Inner Clarity and Overcome the Obstacles of the Mind

What do the world’s leading high-performance coach and a Shaolin monk with 30 years of experience have in common?

Both Brendon Burchard and Master Shi Heng Yi say that to make great decisions, you first need inner clarity. Without, you look at the road ahead through a foggy windshield and take wrong turns. But while you can quickly clean the outside with wipers, the inside often stays foggy, making it impossible to see clearly.

Information about your options is usually easy to obtain. You can ask about the requirements and pay of a new job, find out which girl would like to go out with you, or look up how many calories a burger has. Inner clarity, however, is much harder — the “what do I really want?” often isn’t easy to answer, at least not if you want the truth.

By mastering yourself first before you take on the outside world, you’ll free yourself from distractions, bad decisions, and layers of overwhelming uncertainty.

Ancient Shaolin wisdom says obtaining inner clarity is like climbing a mountain. Once you’re at the summit, you can see clearly. But you’ll have to face five obstacles on the way up, representing the states of mind that prevent you from making a clear decision.

Sensual desire

I’ve climbed a ton of mountains in my life and they all had one thing in common. Walking upwards is hard and you quickly get hungry and thirsty.

Now imagine you come past a restaurant with delicious food, cool drinks, and a bunch of people. How tempting is it to leave your path and join them? This desire keeps you from reaching the summit and obtaining inner clarity. Your short-term cravings stand in the way of your long-term decisions, whether you break your diet or decide to move across the country for a girl because you’re lonely and crave love and affection.

Before you make a decision, ask yourself: “Am I distracted by a desire or even addicted to a temptation?”

Ill will

In 2018, the Swiss mountain rescue had to pull 3211 people out of the Alps, many of them due to bad weather conditions. Climbing mountains is no fun when it rains since it’s easy to get lost and off track. When your mind is clouded with negative emotions and rain, you can’t reach the summit of clarity.

Before you make a decision, ask yourself: “Am I feeling a negative emotion?”

Dullness of the mind & heaviness of the body

Any decision you make takes mental energy and willpower. Car salesmen know this and let you decide about the most profitable options in the end when you’re too exhausted to resist. To reach the summit of clarity, you have to be fit.

Before you make a decision, ask yourself: “Am I unmotivated or exhausted?”

Restlessness & worry

When you’re worried, you often zig-zag between thoughts and ideas. “What if A doesn’t work? Maybe B is better. Or how about C?” You’re too worried about the future or stuck in the past to make a clear decision. Focus on the present moment instead.
Before you make a decision, ask yourself: “Am I caught up in the future or the past? Is my mind jumping from thought to thought?”

Doubts of other people

Doubts are normal. They’re healthy. They cause you to challenge your ideas and weed out the bad ones, separating the wheat from the chaff. But too many doubts, especially from other people, will lead you off track.

When you listen to others saying this won’t workyou will fail, and you should do something else instead, you get lost. Their doubts cause you to turn around, choose paths that aren’t your own, and miss the summit altogether.

Before you make a decision, ask yourself: “Am I lost in doubt?”

Inner clarity is key. Only with a clear mind can you make a good decision.

Use the 10–10–10 Rule to Think Long-Term

You base most of your choices on your emotions. The food you crave. The words you say in a fight. The tap on your alarm clock so you can snooze for another ten minutes. Your emotions determine a good deal of your behavior, but there’s an inherent problem to this.

Emotions are short-lived. They demand instant gratification and don’t care about long-term effects. Your decisions are often too focused on what you want right now when the consequences will still be there for years to come.

You need to make the long-term results more apparent so you can give them more weight in your decision-making process. This is where the 10–10–10 rule comes into play.

It’s as simple as effective. Ask yourself how you will feel about something in ten minutes, ten months, and ten years from now. These three timeframes put the long-term consequences into perspective.

Buying an iPad will feel good ten minutes after the purchase — you’ve got a new and shiny device, and you’ll probably spend the first few days glued to it. But what about in ten months? Will it be worth the investment? Will you still use it as much as in the beginning, or will you want something else already?

And when you look into the future ten years from now, you likely won’t be using it at all anymore. Will it have brought enough joy to justify the $600 you spent on it? Or could you’ve done something else with the money, e.g. spent it on a holiday or crazy trip you’ll still remember ten years down the line?

If you want to make a good decision, you have to consider the long-term consequences.

Image by author

Face Your Fears and Calculate the Cost of Inaction

What if I told you all your decisions and behaviors are rooted in fear? It would be a shameless exaggeration, but with a germ of truth hidden underneath.

You are prone to negative information, including anything that triggers your fears. This negativity bias is the reason why bad news sells like hotcakes while good news magazines struggle.

Your fears influence your decision-making process to a great extent. When the risks are unknown, unique, or infrequent, you often overestimate them, making mountains out of molehills.

After 9/11, many people avoided flying out of fear of terrorist attacks and traveled by car instead. However, the data shows planes are much safer than cars. This means an unnecessarily large number of people died on the road thinking it was the safer alternative.

How can you put your fears in perspective and make better decisions? With a simple exercise by Tim Ferriss, author of the bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week, and popular TED speaker. Fear setting will help you rationalize your fears instead of giving in to them, helping you to make better, life-changing choices.

When I thought about quitting my Master’s program to build my own business, I went through the simple three-step process to put my worries and fears into perspective. This led not only to a better decision, but also peace of mind and confidence in my choice.

Step #1: Define, prevent, repair.

The unknown and uncertain are a great source of fear. This Xenophobia often causes stock prices to plummet and also compounds many anxiety disorders. Lots of people are afraid of the dark simply because they don’t know what might be lurking in the shadows.

Before I decided to quit my Master’s, I was worried about all sorts of potential outcomes. What if I go broke? What if I’ll have to flip burgers at McDonald’s and get yelled at by angry customers? What if I regret this decision for the rest of my life? What if…?

But the more I defined and examined my fears, the calmer I became. Once I explored all the possibilities, I felt a sense of peace — nothing could surprise me anymore. The fear of the unknown was gone.

After you defined your fears, ask yourself how you can prevent the worst-case — and if there’s anything that helps you sort out the mess if shit hits the fan.

Sure, my business might fail. But I could prepare amply, get a mentor, and put away a financial buffer so I wouldn’t starve to death. And even if everything went belly-up, I’d still have my Bachelor’s degree and could score an entry-level job, so there wasn’t that much to fear in the first place.

Define your fears. Think about how you can prevent your worst nightmare from happening and if there’s anything you can do to repair the worst-case damage.

Step #2: Ask yourself, “What can go right?”

When you face a decision, you often focus on what can go wrong. Again, it’s natural — negativity bias and all. But what if you asked yourself “what can go right?”

Assume for a second everything went splendid without any hiccups or dead bodies in your basement. Just a smooth homerun without mistakes — putting you on top of the high score list.

In my case, that meant I’d be my own boss, make more money than I ever would’ve in the corporate world, and actually enjoy what I do for a living. It would be a dream come true.

Step #3: Calculate the cost of inaction.

Newton’s first law of motion states that if no outside force acts on an object at rest, it will stay at rest. In simpler words: If you don’t do something, nothing will change.

However, inaction comes with a hidden cost. Keeping your job will make you slightly miserable every day. Your apartment’s high rent will keep you from saving every month. Your toxic relationship will take a toll on your emotional well-being.

Once I considered these costs, I realized doing my Master’s was a pretty bad idea. I’d be miserable in my job, stuck in corporate life, and have a lot less time and energy to follow my dreams.

Calculate the costs of inaction. Write down what it costs you to keep everything as it is — in half a year, a year, and three years from now.

For your final decision, compare the scenarios from steps one and two. What if the worst-case happened — considering your measures for preventing and repairing the damage caused? What if your dream came true — considering all the good things that could come of it?

Rank these scenarios on a scale from -10 to +10 according to the long-term impact they can have on your life. In my case, I found myself comparing a -3 to a +9 — and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of inaction. To me, that’s a clear decision.


To reach new heights in fitness, it’s tempting to look outside ourselves for new answers. In search of new hacks we don’t realize there are things directly under our control that can propel results. For example take resistance training and muscle growth. We’ve all heard how rest and recovery is essential for growth, but most don’t know how sleep affects muscle growth specifically.
Sleep seems straight-forward; we close our eyes at night and BOOM- next thing we know it’s a new day. However thanks to science we’re learning that it has distinct stages and cycle that play into fitness. We’ve all heard how a good night’s rest is important for weightlifting and fitness as a whole. Though with all this new information about sleep coming out it’s natural to wonder — how does sleep affect muscle growth specifically?

While much is still unknown about sleep, I’ll do my best to describe the relationship between sleep and muscle growth.

Why Do We Sleep?

Sleep offers many services to the body.
Interestingly all researchers agree there is no one physiological role sleep serves. Yet one dominant, over-arching purpose for sleep is to rejuvenate the body. Sleep is vital for development, energy conservation, brain waste clearance, immune health and much more, all of which is necessary for recovery. For the average lifter it directly provides muscle growth and mental alertness. However, regardless of training type, without adequate sleep, effort put into the gym is ultimately wasted.

Recharging The Brain

The brain is one of the most important organs affected by sleep. Molecular, electrophysiological and behavioral findings suggest that the billions of synapses in the brain are constantly hard at work. During waking hours neurological performance and synaptic strengthening require considerable amounts of energy. Sleep on the other hand promotes synaptic weakening, removing unimportant information from the brain and re-establishing energy reserves that handle cellular stress.

Immune Boost

Sleep plays an important part in immune health. The sleep status of certain mammals can affect the ability to respond to infection and wound healing. It’s also well recorded that impaired sleep is evident in diseases with enhanced inflammation like cancer and type 2 diabetes(4). Hormonal balance during sleep largely determines how the body responds and fights infections and foreign entities.

Sleep And Muscle Strength

One thing we know for sure is that sleep does play a role in how the muscles function.
A cross sectional study performed on 10,000+ university students measured the association between sleep quality/duration and muscle strength. The study found that men who got 6 hours or less of sleep had poorer muscle strength than those who slept 7–8 hours or 8+hours.
There was also no real difference in results between those who slept 7–8 hours and those who slept 8 or more. It’s safe to assume that quality sleep is associated with greater muscle strength.
To me this is great news, but at the same time it opens even more questions. What about sleep lends itself not only to muscle growth but increased strength? What chemical/ biological processes happen while the mind is unconscious? Why do they only work well with certain amounts of rest and not when we’re awake?

So many questions, but we’ll try to break them down the best we can.

Why Sleep Is So Crucial For Muscle Growth

I think a single word can describe the importance and necessity of sleep: BALANCE
The body burns hundreds of calories an hour simply standing. The brain burns a ridiculous amount of calories both conscious and unconscious to facilitate bodily function. Physically active individuals not only break down muscle fibers during exercise, but their metabolisms are constantly firing to keep up with the demand for energy.

To put it simply; there are a thousand and one systems at work within your body simultaneously. That means there are 1001 systems that need energy and maintenance while trying to support one another. When you look at it this way, you can see why recuperation seems impossible while the body is conscious and in constant motion.

This is where sleep comes in. While the body is still active during sleep, many of it’s systems aren’t stimulated to the same degree as when conscious. This allows the body to regain balance on a hormonal level, thus triggering repairs throughout the body.

Hormonal balance during sleep is the key to muscle growth and the reason why it’s absence leads to decreased muscle mass. Here are a few factors to remember that tie into muscle growth and quality sleep:

Sleep’s Effect On Body Composition

Not only does sleep help to increase muscle mass, but it also improves the quality of a person’s lean mass to fat ratio.

In a study testing the effect of sleep protocol on resistance trained subjects, participants were split into two groups. The first was exercise and sleep optimization group, the second exercise only. Both groups performed resistance training twice a week for ten weeks, however the exercise/sleep optimization group was given education on how to improve sleep quality and quantity.

Fortunately both groups experienced gains in lean muscle mass. However the ExS group not only enjoyed slightly greater increases, they also reduced fat mass significantly (-1.8 kg +/- 0.8) while the exercise group did not (-0.8 kg +/- 1.0).

Controlling body composition is crucial for anyone looking to burn fat or build muscle. The fact that quality sleep can help in both processes highlights its importance in our everyday lives.

How Limited Sleep Affects Muscle Growth

Personally, I used to wear it as a badge of honor to only get a few hours of sleep. Who doesn’t feel productive spending more time awake while everyone else is fast asleep?

With my pride out of the equation I realize that it’s ok to get a reasonable amount of sleep. And fortunately science backs up this notion.

Sleep is crucial for functioning on a systematic and cellular level, and it’s absence can have devastating effects. Reduced sleep can alter feeding patterns, glucose regulation, blood pressure, some hormonal axes, etc. With the hormonal changes comes a rise in cortisol and a decrease in testosterone and Growth Factor 1. It’s important to note those last 2 hormones are necessary for protein synthesis and as an extension muscle growth.
In short it’s theorized that a lack of sleep does 2 things:

Sleep deprivation alters the balance of anabolic and catabolic hormones creating a trend towards decreases in muscle protein synthesis.

Both of these lead to a loss of muscle mass all the while hindering muscle recovery for damaged tissue after exercise. I don’t know about you, but I’ll gladly get a few more hours of sleep if it means avoiding this outcome.

We’ve all heard it before, but there is a reason they say rest and recovery is just as important as training. At the end of the day the best exercise program, nutrition, or supplementation can’t compensate for lack of sleep.

Useful Sleep Tips For Muscle Growth

Having head-knowledge of how sleep can affect muscle growth is great, but without practical application, it can’t do much for us. Here are a few tips you can incorporate into your fitness lifestyle that will promote better sleep and more muscle growth.

Casein Before Bed

Adding protein to your schedule before bed may be a game-changer.

Pre-sleep protein feeding at least 30 minutes before sleep has opened the door to great nutrient timing opportunities. This method has proven to increase resting metabolic rate, overnight muscle protein synthesis, and recovery.

Before you whip out your debit/credit card and rush to the nearest Vitamin Shoppe, it’s important to know what kind of protein works best.

Like the heading suggest, casein is your best option for overnight protein synthesis. Casein protein clots up the stomach delaying the gastric emptying process due to the acidic environment of the stomach. This results in a moderate release and increase of plasma amino acid concentration in the intestines.

All of this leads to prolonged overnight hyperaminoacidemia (that’s a mouthful) and serves as a precursor to overnight protein metabolism, thus increasing RMR.

Consuming a pre-sleep helping of at least 30g of casein can lead to improved resting metabolic rate, gym performance, and muscle gain over time.

Stick To A Consistent Sleep Schedule

I know life can make this difficult; you may have a social life that keeps you out late some days, late night work, etc. It can be hard but the benefits far outweigh the trouble.

Parents put their children to bed at a set time to ensure they get adequate rest in order to re-calibrate and grow. Us gym-goers need to follow suit.

Setting a specific window of time will guarantee your body gets enough rest through the night and grows properly.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

The easiest way to kill a good night’s rest is having a lot on the mind. We know that stress is directly linked to fitful sleeping, insomnia, and different forms of anxiety. To ensure you get the most growth out of your sleep, it is essential to be as comfortable and relaxed before bed as possible.

I would recommend setting aside an hour before bed to do things that put you at ease. A good book or soothing music can help get your mind off of daily troubles and focus it on positive subjects.

Improve The Quality Of Your Fitness

While quality sleep affects the quality of results we see in the gym, the same can be said vice versa. The quality of exercise and activity level effects our quality of sleep as well.

Having an effective, consistent workout regimen will help progressively build muscle AND ensure a good night’s rest. If you haven’t already I would prioritize finding a workout program that meets your hypertrophy goals and stick with it. With both adequate sleep and exercise grafted into your lifestyle I guarantee you’ll see an increase in results.

If you’ve made it this far I hope these tips will improve your sleep and quality sleep will improve your results as a whole.


We all know what cold-water exposure can do to a man’s reproductive organs, so who would have known that low temperatures could prove beneficial to men’s health? And actually, this isn’t new science, people.

The use of cold as therapy — to treat disease, alleviate pain, and improve overall wellbeing —has a long history. Its earliest known references can be found in the Edwin Smith Papyrus from 3500 B.C., currently regarded as the most ancient medical text in existence. It wasn’t until the late 1980s when modern allopathic medicine took an interest in hypothermia, after it was shown to provide unprecedented levels of neuroprotection in cases of brain injury. And since then, cold therapy has received lots of attention from medical and scientific communities.
As far as new additions to your health routines go, this one can be extremely easy, cheap, and (mostly) painless. Most of the evidence suggests that cold can improve general health, and maybe even reproductive health. Download The Coach App if you’d d like to learn more about men’s health.

Extreme Cold at the Boundary Between Life and Death 

No discussion about cold exposure and health will be complete without talking about Wim Hof, the poster boy for the triad of hypothermia, meditation, and breathing exercises. This Dutch daredevil, known as the “Iceman,” holds quite a few world records for cold exposure. He singlehandedly changed what scientists believed to be the limits of the human body’s ability to withstand cold temperatures.

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In a 2009 attempt to set the world record for full ice immersion, Wim swallowed a special capsule that could measure his internal body temperature. After 100 minutes in the cold, his core temperature dropped to 88°F. But 20 minutes after that, it rose back to 94°F
This astonished scientists, because the medical consensus at the time was that once core temperature fell below 90°F, the body would be powerless to warm itself up again. Without an external heat source, death due to hypothermia would be inevitable. 

Well, Wim escaped death, and he went on to perform other miraculous feats: 

  • Wim set the Guinness World Record for the longest ice bath— at 1 hour, 52 minutes, 42 seconds
  • He ran a half-marathon through the snow at 4°F – wearing nothing but shorts
  • He trekked up Mount Everest to an altitude of 23,600 feet — again, wearing just shorts (unfortunately, he had to stop due to a recurring foot injury)

Wim attributes his success to breathing exercises and meditation during cold exposure. Apparently, these techniques enable him to consciously control his immune system. And it appears that his claims are true! Researchers tested the immune cells in Wim’s blood after cold exposure and found a subdued response to certain toxins

Research into what’s been dubbed as the Wim Hof method is still ongoing. Scientists have already studied Wim’s monozygotic twin brother, who’s not used to extreme cold exposure. They found no evidence of genetic predisposition playing a major role in Wim’s accomplishments.

Frozen Solid But Thawed Back to Life

Numerous other anecdotes have made scientists reconsider the relationship between cold and the human body. But unlike Wim, these two people pushed the boundaries of life and death in the cold — while unconscious. 

Jean Hilliard

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On a cold December night in 1980, Jean got involved in a car accident, forcing her to try walking to a friend’s house about two miles away — in -22°F weather. She didn’t make it, collapsing 15 feet away from the door of the house. After some six hours in the cold, her body was found “frozen solid.” 

Doctors couldn’t even take her body temperature right away, as it was too low to be measured with a thermometer at the nearest hospital. But eventually, doctors got a reading: 88°F — a full 10 degrees below normal.

While initially thought to be dead, Jean did have a pulse of about 12 beats per minute. Doctors slowly brought her body temperature back up, and after two hours, Jean regained consciousness, having suffered only from surface frostbite.

Stella Berndtsson

In 2010, 30 years after Jean Hilliard’s car crash, someone else set the record for the lowest recorded body temperature. One fateful day in December, seven-year-old Stella Berndtsson fell from a cliff and drowned in icy water. Three-and-a-half hours later, a rescue helicopter found her body. 

Everyone was sure Stella was dead. Still, she was given cardiac compression in the helicopter on the way to the hospital 55 miles away. Upon arrival, her temperature was 55.4°F and her heart had no pulse. The doctors slowly warmed up her body anyway. And against all odds, the next day Stella showed the first signs of life. 

Stella is alive and well today. She doesn’t remember anything about the accident, and suffers only from relatively minor setbacks, such as issues with short term memory and weak legs.

“You are not dead until you are warm and dead”

…And Jean’s and Stella’s stories certainly support the point! They’ve forced scientists to re-evaluate what extremely low temperatures do to the human body. Bottom line is, we don’t know much. But there’s substantial evidence that the relationship between extreme cold and bodily function isn’t what it was thought to be. 

Cold seems to be able to preserve the body and stop — or at least slow down — brain damage, which is what actually leads to clinical death. Does this mean you should freeze your body and expect to wake up in a few hundred years when scientists will have finally discovered the cure for aging? Probably not. Besides, cryopreservation is pricey, ranging from $30,000 to $200,000.
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Get Cold, Get Healthy

We don’t need to limit ourselves to the extremes of cryopreservation to appreciate the therapeutic value of cold temperatures. So, what else does science say?…

Cold fights inflammation

When exposed to low temperatures, the body produces adiponectin, a protein that helps it fight inflammation and protects the cardiovascular system. Adiponectin is also associated with lower risks for obesity-related disease.

Cold promotes longevity

Many studies have been performed on mice, rats, fish, worms, flies, and other animals, showing that colder ambient temperatures can increase the creatures’ lifespan up to 75%, generally making their bodies stronger and more efficient. 

Cold boosts immunity

Cold-water immersion has been shown to increase metabolic rate and activate the human immune system.

Cold combats oxidative stress

Studies looking at cryotherapy have determined that it helps the body get rid of potentially dangerous free radicals more efficiently. No need to splurge on the expensive procedure, though! It seems that simple winter swimming has a similar effect of fighting oxidative stress.

Get Cold, Get Healthy… Down There

What does all of this mean for you as a man? Well, aside from the four benefits mentioned above, it’s worth noting that erectile dysfunction has been linked to overall inflammation in the body, oxidative stress, and an abnormal immune response. Testosterone levels are also affected by inflammation,oxidative stress, and immune function. See the pattern? 

While the biological mechanisms behind cold exposure’s positive effects aren’t fully developed, cold exposure seems like a great addition to a healthy routine if you take time to do your research and chill yourself in a safe, responsible manner. We don’t suggest that you go full Wim Hof on Day 1 and dive into an icy lake first thing in the morning. But if you take your time, allow your body to gradually adapt, and carefully monitor how you feel, cold exposure can probably improve your overall wellbeing, reproductive health, sexual performance, and mood. 

Here’s a quick list of things you can do:

#1. Take cold showers

Go really cold, instead of chilly, but keep it short and avoid brain freeze. Don’t go for longer than 20 seconds. Make sure to warm up with some mobility exercises before going in, and you’ll be all right. (And no, a cold shower won’t make you catch a cold or flu — your mom lied to you about that.)

#2. Keep your bedroom cold at night

It’s recommended to keep the air in your bedroom between 60°F and 67°F. Temperatures above 71°F will likely cause restlessness, poor sleep quality, and other issues. Cold and dark — that’s what your body needs at night. A smart thermostat will definitely help here, but just leaving your window open if the weather is cold outside is a great place to start.

#3. Leave the heating off

Saves you money, saves the planet, and will keep you more awake and alert during the day. Sounds like a win-win, right? A pair of warm socks can do wonders in helping you feel comfortable even if the room is cold.

#4. Experiment with cold exposure

Again, trying to beat the Dutch Iceman is probably a bad idea, but try experimenting by spending a few minutes on your porch barefoot, wearing as close to nothing as your neighbors will tolerate. That is, if winters get cold around where you live. If not…

#5. Try cryotherapy

Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) exposes your body to extremely cold dry air with temperatures as frigid as -150°F. Although it may sound intimidating, cryotherapy has been a thing since the late 1970s. And many people, especially athletes, swear by it!

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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Distraction is everywhere. It comes in dings, vibrations, blinking lights, video calls, energetic children, and unplanned visitors, both live and online. In my article called “5 Ways Multitasking is Destroying Men,” I said multitasking is a severe problem.

Since distractions tempt us to habitually multitask, I would like to share how to avoid distractions. Distractions have been robbing men of their focus for generations.
Even Abraham Lincoln faced this problem.

People who wanted to speak with him frequently interrupted him at the White House. Despite his open-door policy, the 16th President was still able to read, write, visit battlefields, and abolish slavery, all while battling distraction.

It’s tough to know how Lincoln would have handled our modern distractions. While we will not be able to avoid 100 percent of them, we can avoid some.

Here are 6 practical ways to reduce distractions while still living in the real world.

#1. Turn off all notifications.

“Do not let your cell phone disrupt your day.”

People look at their phones close to 82 times per day.

So, turn off all notifications on your device. I mean everything. Do not let your cell phone disrupt your day.

How many times are you busy working on a project, having a healthy conversation, or trying to read an article and you suddenly receive a bajillion notifications from all your apps? Turn them off.

Nobody needs notifications from every single app. I only have my “reminders”notifications active. That way, I can control when I want to be interrupted.

#2. Focus in 20-minute intervals.

I recommend working in short bursts of 20-minute intervals to help you achieve hyper-focus. This is effective if you are easily distracted at work, especially while working from home.

Hide your phone, close your door, have your beverage already in hand, and work fluidly. Embrace having no interruptions for 20 minutes at a time. Then give yourself a five-minute break, but don’t get sucked into responding to multiple emails if you are trying to concentrate.

#3. Respond routinely to batch messages.

Only respond to emails and other messages at dedicated times. Be like professors, who let everyone know their open office hours — unless you are a CEO (or President Lincoln) and your immediate response is critical to others’ well-being. That’s not for all of us, though.

I find it challenging to hold off on responding when I receive an email at midnight. If I am awake, I feel tempted to reply, often trying to impress the sender by showing that I was up and considered their email important.

But most of the time, messages that show up late can wait to be addressed until regular work hours.

#4. Cancel social media.

This idea may be controversial, especially for my millennial colleagues — but I did it and am still alive. Get rid of your favorite social media platform.

It has been two years since I deleted my Facebook account and I have not looked back. I often would waste time perusing other people’s posts and inadvertently generating extreme disdain for people I once admired.

Sometimes, a post would get stuck in my head all day and disrupt my productivity until I vehemently voiced my opinion.

#5. Fast from TV and streaming.

After a long day of working, cooking, cleaning, and wrangling screaming kids, most of us just want to sit and relax. Awesome! Just don’t get distracted from relaxation, namely by streaming your favorite TV show.

I am a cinephile, so I get the need to get lost in a good film or a streaming binge. But try to have at least one day a week when you fast from all media.
This will help declutter your mind.

Talk to your spouse, play a board game, or open that book that has been sitting on your nightstand all year.

#6. Research.

Finally, learn as much as you can about this topic. Clifford Nass from Stanford discusses this in a video on YouTube.

Check out the books The Productivity Project or Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey. He has received the title “most productive man in the world” and has lots of great ideas on how to avoid distractions and multitasking.

And getting good at avoiding them will take time.

As I write this, I am leading an orientation group at my company. So, I am not guiltless in this, but I think with some self-awareness and practice, men can turn this around and increase focus in the areas of their lives that matter most.


This week was not a shining moment for me. My dishwasher broke a while back and I am in the middle of a warranty battle that is not going my way. There was a moment where I found myself getting increasingly frustrated while trying to navigate the warranty process on the phone. I was being handed off from one automated answering system to another, none of which’s voice recognition software seemed advanced enough to grasp that I had a broken appliance with a warranty. At one moment I found myself yelling at an automated system as the pre-recorded voice politely disconnected the line. Yelling at a computer system over something as trivial as a back-ordered part, again, not a shining moment.

You see, I have a hidden temper, and sometimes it surfaces. Many who read my writing know me personally and may be surprised to hear me say that. That’s because on the surface I generally am all smiles. But underneath the exterior lies a person who I work hard to suppress and educate. That person can be angry, mean, aggressive, and frankly kind of an asshole. I would define that person as a someone with anger issues, or one prone to extreme anger with little or no provocation.

As I write this, I can already see how I try to dissociate from that identity by talking about my angry side in the third person, rather than just saying it like it is… I have a temper and anger issues. Step One to fixing any problem is acknowledging there is a problem, right?

The truth is that this was brought to my attention by my wife a long time ago, she’s a strong and direct woman who was never afraid to tell me when I was being a ridiculous jerk. In spite of her repeatedly telling me this for a few years, I continued to ignore it as a real problem. I’d justify my angry moments with arguments such as:
– ‘You know what, it’s not my fault that their automated answering service sucks, sometimes yelling at a pre-recorded message is just the best way to get your point heard’ or
– ‘Hey, if the refrigerator didn’t want me to yell at it, then it shouldn’t have let it’s compressor go out’.

Rational, right? Wrong.

If you deal with temper issues, then I’d imagine you’ve heard yourself utter similar phrases in the past. As you’d have it, there are plenty of ways to be heard without losing your temper. Furthermore, most times a well thought out and collected argument is going to be far more impactful than blowing a gasket on an inanimate object that isn’t performing as you think it should.
This came to a head a few years ago when my wife asked me to seek help for my temper issues. I was taken aback, could this really be such a big problem that my own family was asking me to get professional help? Either way, one thing I’ve learned in life is that if your loved ones sit you down and ask you to fix something, then you should, at a minimum, be willing to discuss it. And in this instance, my wife already had someone lined up for me to go talk to, so I figured I better take it seriously.

That was two years ago, and I have been seeing a professional counselor ever since. Initially, I thought this was a bad joke… sit and talk about my feelings for an hour a couple times a month with a total stranger? I had better things to do like yell at automated answering services over broken appliances. But since then I have evolved a great deal in my perceptions of seeking help for emotional issues that are causing yourself and others pain.

If you’re a frequent reader, then you know I don’t write without offering some advice. So, here are just a few of the things counselling has helped me put in place to shift my mindset and deal with my anger more productively.

Talk it Out

I used to be afraid to have a discussion with someone who was bothering me. I’d simply let things bottle up. The inevitability of this suppression was that an angry eruption would eventually happen on an unsuspecting target (like a broken refrigerator). Months of undiscussed issues would channel into something that really had nothing to do with the root of my anger.

Since learning to be blunter with my loved ones and communities about how I’m feeling, I’ve become far less prone to angry outbursts. Sometimes these conversations aren’t easy, in fact most of the time they’re not. But I can say without doubt that getting that stuff out on the table is a cleansing experience and even tough conversations can only go up once the worst is on the table.

Find a Physical Outlet — and defend your time to do that thing with your life

If you deal with temper and anger issues and don’t have a physical activity that you like to do, then find one, fast. This can be anything; hiking, walking, running, weightlifting, rowing, swimming, wrestling, competitive fighting, basketball, soccer, cycling, or literally anything else that is physical.

Once you’ve chosen something, time block it, and defend that time, with your life. Because your relationships with loved ones just might depend on it. I’ve always been active, but I know for a fact that my anger issues are far more prevalent and surface level when I de-prioritize physical activity.

My sport of choice? Boxing. Given the context of the article, the reasons are likely fairly obvious. Boxing is a very aggressive and physical sport. If you don’t channel a bit of frustration productively when you’re in the ring with an opponent, who is trying to take your head off, then the regret will likely manifest in the form of a concussion.

I could (and likely will) write an entire article about the positive mental health benefits of exercise (increased endorphins, improved sleep and thus mood, increased post workout parasympathetic stress response, etc., etc.). However, for this article, the point is, exercise makes a huge difference for our mental health and temper.

Find Time for Low Impact Stress Relieving (Parasympathetic Activities)

As a male, it’s programmed societally to be aggressive, alpha, and on the go. While there is some benefit to these things, I have found that my self-improvement journey took an exponential leap once I started prioritizing healing activities (parasympathetic). These activities can come in many forms; taking a leisurely walk, sitting and watching the sunset with a loved one on the patio, playing a board game with family, getting 8 hours of quality sleep, baking a cake with your kid, throwing a football with your nephew, sipping a cup of coffee at a café (with no distractions), or anything you can think of that is relaxing. The key is to be fully present in the moment (no distractions).

These activities are like an internal reset for us emotionally. The parasympathetic response (opposite of the fight or flight response) holds benefits such as lowering blood pressure, decreased cortisol in the blood stream, decreased heart rate, decreased respiration rate, improved sleep, elicits healing, decreases inflammation, and overall improves our mood.
Once I started prioritizing stress relieving activities like the ones mentioned above, I noticed a definitive improvement in my mood and coping ability for stressful situations.

Reduce Alcohol and Intake of Toxins

A stressful day calls for a few drinks, right? It depends. Once in a while, no problem. But if a few drinks are simply your go to activity to blow off some steam and deal with stress, then take it from me… refer to the points above.

I used to be the first one to crack a beer after a hard day at work. The problem is that regular alcohol consumption has multiple adverse impacts on our mood and mental health. Ultimately drinking alcohol regularly, decreases serotonin, which leads to depression. And for someone with anger issues, this can be a slippery slope.

Once I started prioritizing exercise, parasympathetic activity, and communication with my loved ones all while deprioritizing alcohol consumption, I noticed a huge shift in my ability to control my temper and handle angry moments more productively.

Acknowledge Your Bad Moments

When you know that your emotions are about to run hot, own it. I spent years denying that I had a temper and using justifications to ignore the problem. While I am still far from perfect, I have become far more honest with myself when my temper surfaces in a way that I am not proud of. Don’t be afraid to apologize and own it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask yourself honestly what triggered you, so that you can identify your triggers and thus be prepared for them in the future.


There you have it, a tell all of my temper and how I work to control it. I hope that if you are someone who has experienced angry moments that you find use in this article. It’s never easy to have a mirror held up to your face and not like what you see. But if we can learn from the experience of others, then perhaps we can avoid some pitfalls before they become too deep.
I am far from perfect and still have moments that I am not proud of (refer back to the first paragraph and my brief story of yelling at an automated answering service over a dishwasher this week). But I can say that I use the tools above every single day of my life to mitigate what once was an out of control temper and it has changed my life for the absolute better.




Men naturally lose some scalp hair as they grow older — almost two-thirds of men by the age of 35, and roughly 85% of men by the age of 50. And if you have hereditary male pattern baldness, you may lose a bit more. It’s even possible to lose all your scalp hair during your 20s — if not before then! If that hasn’t happened to you, count yourself lucky.

Alopecia is the collective term for hair loss, a condition that, while physically harmless, can cause emotional distress due to societal pressures to look a certain way. Some forms of alopecia are reversible; others are not. The condition can occur all over the body, including eyebrows and eyelashes. However, the scalp is what’s most often the cause of concern, and understandably so. Want to stop hair loss problem as soon as possible? Download The Coach App and forget about alopecia!

Do You Have Male Pattern Baldness? Here’s How to Find Out

If you’re finding lots of hair on your bed, or in the shower, or caught between the bristles of your comb, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from this hereditary form of hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia.

We naturally lose around 100 hairs a day, as the scalp sheds old hair and grows new hair. This is a normal part of the hair growth cycle.

But what might indicate you have male pattern baldness?

  • A receding hairline
  • Thinning of the crown (the top-back) of your head
  • Bald patches

If male pattern baldness is what’s behind your thinning scalp, this is due to your body’s conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause hair follicles to shrink. Some of us carry follicle genes that are sensitive to DHT, and the receding hairline and thinning crown begin.

But if you experience a sudden loss of patches of scalp hair or a loss of body hair, there may be another culprit behind your hair loss. Get in touch with your doctor.

What Are Other Causes of Hair Loss?

Before we get into that, let’s take a quick moment to dispel some common myths. Wearing hats and using hair products (e.g. hairsprays, gels, waxes) do not cause hair loss. They only speed up existing hair loss, by pulling out extra hair from an already thinning scalp.

That said, excessive use of high-heat treatments or harsh chemicals in dyes or other products can inflame the scalp and accelerate hair loss.

So now, back to some true causes of hair loss. If hair loss isn’t due to male-pattern baldness, other causes could be stress, certain medications, and illness. Alopecia-triggering illnesses include anemia and a range of auto-immune diseases.

Whatever the cause of your hair loss, a discussion with your doctor is the first step. 

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Prevention, Treatments, Cosmetic Fixes — What Are Your Options?

If you’re afraid of getting hair loss, or if you have it, don’t dismay. The world isn’t over, and you’ve got options.


When it comes to prevention, you should always make sure your diet and exercise routines are in check. Hair loss caused by poor nutrition will usually stop following the adoption of a healthy diet: plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and poultry, alongside limited red meat, and little to no processed food. And exercise — while not directly linked to hair loss — improves blood flow, which delivers those nutrients to your scalp.

Scalp massage

On the subject of blood flow, a study on 327 men suffering from male pattern baldness found that 69% of the men saw stabilization of their hair loss, or regrowth, after performing a scalp massage on themselves for 11-20 minutes a day, over a period of two months.

To massage your scalp, use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or black castor oil. Use your fingers to work the oil onto your scalp and hair, applying pressure with your fingers onto your scalp, moving in circular motions.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C may be useful if an iron deficiency is the cause of your hair loss. This is because vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron.

Vitamin D

Two studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can have a possible correlation with hair loss. In one, men with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder that causes unpredictable hair loss) had significantly lower levels of vitamin D than the control subjects. Moreover, the lowest levels of vitamin D correlated with the highest instances of hair loss.

In another study, again pairing alopecia areata sufferers against control subjects, 96.7% of the men with the condition were vitamin D deficient. By contrast, 73% of the non-balding control subjects were vitamin D deficient.

The takeaway? If you have hair loss, get your blood work done to check your vitamin levels. You might find you are deficient in Vitamin D. If this is the case, then there are a few steps you can take. First and foremost, get out and get some sunshine, this is by far the best way to absorb Vitamin D into your body. Secondly, you can increase your intake of food sources containing the vitamin, such as salmon and other fatty fish, beef liver or egg yolks. We don’t absorb Vitamin D as well through food as we do through sunlight, however, so you may want to consider a supplement.


Several studies have shown that iron can have a positive effect on people suffering from hair loss if they were alsoiron-deficient. It’s critical to note that low iron levels is not a common issue for men.

But if your iron levels are low, you could be suffering from a condition causing gastrointestinal bleeding, such as a stomach ulcer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These are serious conditions that should certainly be ruled out, so if the doctor doesn’t suggest it himself, ask to be screened for these diseases.

Finasteride and minoxidil

Remember DHT, the compounds that cause hair follicles to shrink? Well, if you have male pattern baldness, you want to block them! That’s what DHT blockers are for.

These DHT-blocking medications, such as finasteride and minoxidil, are prescription drugs for male pattern baldness, and there’s plenty of evidence that show they’re effective for many users. But here are some things to consider:

  1. These medications work only so long as you keep taking them.
  2. Not everyone will see results.
  3. They’ve also been shown to cause erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia (male breast enlargement), and a decline in libido in some men.

If you’re interested in trying a DHT blocker, again, definitely have a talk with your doctor. Or check out our special partnership offer with The Keeps Company. 

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Ketoconazole shampoo, also a DHT blocker, is the onlyhair loss shampoo with any scientific backing to its claim. Several studies have shown that it’s effective in the improvement of male pattern baldness. Ketoconazole shampoo halts hair loss and even promotes the regrowth of hair.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto, a natural DHT blocker and alternative treatment to hair loss, has been used by Native Americans as a food source and medicine for hundreds of years. In one study, 50% of men with male pattern baldness saw improvement from the topical application of a saw palmetto supplement.

Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) devices

These seemingly sci-fi devices include wands or caps that emit red LED light, believed to increase blood flow to hair follicles and reduce inflammation. The great news is that LLLT devices have been FDA-approved.

In 2017, a meta-analysis showed that LLLT devices were superior to a placebo in re-growing hair.

Hair systems

Yes, the days of wigs are over (although certainly still available). You can now use high-tech hair systems, which connect with your existing hair. The result? A breathable and semi-permanent hair replacement solution that allows your underlying, natural hair to grow!

These cosmetic options can be indistinguishable from the real thing and come in a range of prices depending on whether they use synthetic hair or real hair.

Hair transplants

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Hair transplants, like faux hairpieces, have come a long way in recent years. These procedures remove the follicles from the back of your head and transplant them onto areas where your hairline, or crown, lacks hair. (Fortunately, the hairs on the back and sides of our head don’t suffer the same hormonal decline that hairs on the top of your head do.)

In an average surgery, 700-1500 follicular units (follicles) are transferred onto the affected area. This procedure often leaves a patient with a thinner-looking hairline for the first few months after it’s completed. It will take 6-12 months before the transplanted hairs fall out, regrows, and gets to a length that achieves the patient’s desired look.

To maintain the look post-transplant, a prescription DHT blocker is typically prescribed to avoid further hair loss.


In this cosmetic technique, tattooing techniques are used to camouflage thinning hair. Tiny dots are tattooed across the scalp, creating a thicker look and fuller hairline.


For many people, losing hair is no bother at all. But for others, this can cause tremendous emotional strain. Although historically male pattern baldness was a sign of virility and wisdom in many societies, today it’s often something that is ridiculed.

If your hair loss distresses you, have you considered that you might actually rock that skinhead look? It could be a blessing in disguise.

Otherwise, do contact a professional therapist to discuss your problem. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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98.6 degrees Fahrenheit has been the official average temperature of the human body for as long as an official body temperature has been recorded. The problem is that a recent study indicates that the average human body has dropped almost a degree in temperature. How so? Were past studies flawed?

The Original Claim

In 1851, German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich analyzed the body temperature of 25,000 patients. The published result? 98.6oF. This became a precedent for science.

To check whether Dr. Wunderlich made any errors in his study, researchers at Stanford University took data from Civil War soldiers, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the 1970s, and data from people from the past two decades. They found that Dr. Wunderlich’s research was correct, but also that human body temperature has steadily declined for decades.

Why the Change?

Stanford researchers can’t pinpoint exactly why the temperature decline occurred. One of research, Julie Parsonnet, believes that the cause could be a combination of modern lifestyle factors, such as warmer clothing, indoor temperature control, more inactive lifestyles, and even the reduction of infectious diseases.

The subjects whose temperatures were taken in the 1970s, and those from the past two decades, have a much smaller chance of being infected with syphilis, malaria, or gum disease — diseases that would all have an effect on body temperature. When the Civil War data was recorded, 2-3 percent of the population would have been living with tuberculosis, for example.

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Casting Some Doubt

The initial study on Civil War soldiers has been called into question, however. Philip Mackowiak, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, argues that the Civil War data is suspect.

While Dr. Wunderlich had a large database of patients, it’s unclear whether his methods of recording temperatures were consistent, and unclear how such a massive amount of data was analyzed systematically. He added that the human body has no “normal temperature.” The varying temperatures across the body, and the variations in temperature throughout the day and across genders, mean that there’s a range of temperatures that we could consider “normal.”

While Parsonnet agrees on some of Mackowiak’s points, particularly about the recording of the temperatures, she says that the similar drop in temperature between the Civil War data and the 1970s data, and the 1970s data and the 2007-2017 data, was key in reaching their conclusion.

Also, within the Civil War data itself, temperatures taken from older participants were higher, reducing by 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit with each birth decade. What’s in agreement among all the scientists involved in the studies or the debate surrounding it, is that the temperature-altering fever that disease can cause is a continually reproduced phenomenon.

Should You Worry?

No, don’t. We’re cooling down, it seems, but for positive reasons. We’re better clothed, we have better heating systems in our homes and — most importantly — we’re suffering less and less from disease. Win for mankind.