Archive for the ‘Balance’ Category

February 9th, 2012 No Comments

Three Ways to Break Free From the Chain of Consumerism

Breaking Free From the Chains of Consumerism
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from TJ Chasteen of How-toBeHappy.com.

So you want to be happy, yet you find one of the largest hindrances to this is the amount of time you slave away at work. Day after day you dread waking-up, hit snooze 16 times (you were smart enough to set the clock a tad bit early), roll out of bed, go waste valuable life in exchange for currency, come home watch TV, and repeat. Sounds familiar right? Well that’s how it works for nearly everyone, in a matter of fact it is so common that it seems normal!

But my friend I am here to tell you it is not normal at all, it is conditioned… And it can be broken once you find the culprit (soon to be revealed).

Dig a Little Deeper

My darling girlfriend of many many years, was watching Disney’s The Princess and The Frog when a cute old lady with a triple neck bursts into a musical. The theme of the song was that in order to be happy we must not know what we “want” but instead know what we “need”. To do this we must dig a little deeper inside ourselves to find out what we really value in life. Oh great you’re thinking, this guy is going to take that old route (live on necessities only). No that’s not what I am suggesting, however it is a smidgen similar.

Our culture has taught us that in order to be happy we must follow a familiar pattern. One that looks something like this: Step A + Step B + Step C + Step D = Happiness. With the steps following a similar pattern to these:

Step A – Spend loads getting a sound education, have a blast doing it, and obtain everything you want during this youthful stage.

Step B – Use your education and go get yourself a good job.

Step C – Spend the next 35 + years working your tail off until you pay everything back from Step A.

Step D – Congrats you are 60+ and if life worked out perfectly you get to spend the rest of your health-ridden life doing as you please. However, many find this impossible because they do not know how to live a life that is different than the one they’ve had for so long!

Wow glamorous right? Most people have been so dog-gone busy that they have not even had time to look at their own lives to see if they are a current victim. Are you? hmm…

These Culprits Double Team Us

What I am suggesting is to simply have less “wants” and have less expense to live free. Easier said than done, sure. In American society (I realize many readers come from elsewhere), the system functions on consumerism. Our citizens are constantly being tempted with new gizmos and gadgets. Buy the iPhone 3 to be cool, (shortly after) buy the iPhone 4 to be cool, (shorty after) buy the iPhone 4s to be cool. It’s ridiculous and insane the way things work here and in many similar countries. The pressure to fit in with peers and regular members of society is extreme and to do that one must continue to consume.

The irony is that in an attempt to get away from work and find true happiness, people trap themselves in it even more deeply.

How do people have fun outside of work?

  • $$$ Bar
  • $$$ Dinner
  • $$$ Vacation
  • $$$ Movies

What do people do to cure depression and unhappiness caused by working every free day of their lives?

  • $$$ Shopping spree
  • $$$ Spa
  • $$$ Manicure
  • $$$ New “Toys” (Computer, Truck, Fishing Pole) ~~~ Sorry girls, the list was becoming a bit female dominated.

In order to pay for all of these short term solutions to happiness, trapped consumers of the world must continue chugging along and hooting their stem engines while they work to support the habit.

Having more wants only means having more failures. The more we want the more chances of not getting everything we desire, resulting in sadness. To want less is to appreciate what we have. If we want less we depend on money less and slowly develop a sense of liberation from it.

Expenses are the real chain keeping you locked away from happiness – A consumer can never be free of work unless they learn to have less expenses. When you really sit back and look at it, are the things that force you to work worth the time you spend trading life for them? For example is a $30.00 Pampered Chef Magic Chopper really worth the 1, 2, 3 hours someone gives away at work to earn it? Or would it have been perfectly okay for them to have spent an extra 15 seconds a meal chopping the carrots themselves? (Who knows how much time one of those things would save you anyhow, plus like most things bought with the traded life people spend to earn them, it would probably end up in the landfill.) Way to be green happy consumers!

Three Ways to Break Free

If you truly wish to beat the system then you must be willing to make a HUGE life adjustment. One must learn to “dig a little deeper” and live by being able to fulfill their needs by working less.

1) Work less – Your time is more valuable than the money you trade it for. Learn to live with a lower amount of expenses that way you can spend less time chained up working. Some people manage this by working a seasonal or part-time position where they bring in enough money to cover their needs. As long as your expenses are covered then the rest of your time can be spent living. Make sure you are working to live, not living to work.

2) Stockpile – Another great strategy is to work hard for a number of years while saving like crazy and spending very little. The idea behind this is to save up enough money to live on the interest. While working yourself to death certainly isn’t a solution to break free, it is a solution should it be for a limited number of years. If you can manage to save up enough money in 15 years to live on it’s interest and therefore retire early, then you by all means have beat the system.

3) Make your money work for you – When consumerists run out to the stores and spend their hard earned greenbacks on materialistic things, their money isn’t working for them. Their money is instead working for 1% of the population which holds 99% of the wealth. To make your money work for you figure out exactly what you need it for and see past the cultural trends of throwing it away on useless items that will be discarded in the near future. This doesn’t mean be cheap. If you need pots and pans by the best darn pots and pans there are that way you don’t ever have to replace them! However avoid the other little cheapo nick-knacks that line the shelves of Wally World.

A Real-World Example: Jacob the Stockpiler

There are people who learn to live on as little as $20,000 or even $7,000 a year such as Jacob Fisker.

Jacob was a stockpiler, he managed to retire in his 30′s by working hard and being a slave to his job for five years while living on 7,000 a year. After saving an amount he was satisfied with he was able to use the money saved and retire by living only on its interest! For example, 140,000 dollars makes an interest of 5% per year which would give Jacob the $7000 he needed everyday to survive. And yes his health insurance is included in this number. Of course 7,000 probably won’t cut it for many people but it is a strategy for living frugally for a set number of years 10, 15, 20 (still beats 35 any day) and then retiring before one is too old to walk the beach without a cane.

If you’re not happy now, ask yourself what really makes you happy? Would more free time but a simpler life spent with those who matter be a better solution?

tj chasteen
TJ Chasteen is the founder of How-toBeHappy.com. TJ believes nothing is more important than living a life full of happiness. He promotes free happiness research, strategies, and how-to guides to improve life-long happiness on his blog.

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January 24th, 2012 No Comments

Using Facebook, Youtube and Twitter Too Much? Create Healthy Habits for Your Free Time

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The future will belong not only to the educated man, but to the man who is educated to use his leisure wisely.

-C. K. Brightbill

What do the Internet (Facebook / Youtube / Twitter), television, newspapers, film and radio have in common? These are all forms of mass media. If you spend your free time passively consuming mass media, it is likely to be disappointing in the long-run. Mass media consumption requires very little psychological energy, and rarely helps you grow. Its purpose is not to make you happy. It is (usually) to make someone else money. And by passively consuming the same information as everyone else, you are likely to think like everyone else.

As technology continues to improve, it is becoming easier than ever for you to spend your free time passively, living vicariously through the creations of others. An example would be getting home from work and deciding to watch television or Youtube videos instead of creating something of your own. You are stagnating during your free time when you could be growing. This is okay occasionally, as you need time to relax and recover after work. The problem is when it becomes a daily habit (e.g. watching television for 4-5 hours per day).

Create Healthy Habits For Your Free Time: Mass Media Rehab

By using your free time to create and grow, instead of passively consuming, you will find yourself living a more meaningful life.

Create your own content: You wouldn’t be reading this blog post if I hadn’t started LifeEvolver.Com four years ago. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to create your own content and get instant feedback. For example, you could start your own a blog or create videos on Youtube today. Immediate feedback from the online community could help you improve and refine your talent. This type of instant feedback wasn’t available to artists 50 years ago. And don’t forget to reach out to friends and family for feedback as well.

Examples: Write your own book, create your own movie, start your own blog, create a video on Youtube

Become an active contributor: You can continue to use mass media, but become an active contributor. The Internet is the easiest form of mass media to participate in. Did you know that only 1-2% of website visitors actually contribute content? This is the case for Wikipedia and most other websites (Benkler 2007). If you have a valuable opinion, or are an expert on a subject, why not share it with others? You might be surprised how much feedback you start getting, how many interesting people you meet along the way, and how good it feels to contribute to a greater cause. You can help support online communities by content, contributing feedback, comments, and ratings to websites.

Examples: Create an article on Wikipedia, comment on a blog post, rate a Youtube video, edit a spelling error on a Wikipedia article

Get away from mass media: As with your work, it’s healthy to create a daily ritual of disconnecting from your home computer and television. There are plenty of leisure activities which do not require the passive consumption of mass media.

Examples: Play a sport, learn to play an instrument, create art, create music, exercise, join an improvisation group

Create goals for how you use your free time: Choose goals that are intrinsically rewarding. This means that you enjoy the process of reaching your goals. Also make sure that your goals are challenging, have clear objectives, a clear timeline and performance criteria.

Example: Let’s say that you decide to create a leisure time goal of reading one book per week. Choose books that you enjoy reading, and you will enjoy the process of reaching this goal. Your goal would be “I will read one book per week of at least 200 pages for the next three months, starting on April 1st and finishing on June 30th.”

Creating Healthy Work and Leisure Habits

Escape the Rat RaceFor more tips on creating healthy work and leisure / free time habits, ready my mini-book Escape the Rat Race:

Escape the Rat Race: Change Your Mind or Take the Emergency Exit
How can you escape the rat race? Should you change your job? Or can you keep it, while making smaller changes to your daily habits and ways of thinking? This mini-book explores both options, and teaches you when each is appropriate for escaping the rat race.

Creating Alternate Sources of Income During Your Free Time

Are you interested in creating alternate sources of income during your free time? Check out my other mini-book Modern Moonlighting:

Modern Moonlighting
Modern Moonlighting: Keep Your Day Job, Make Extra Money, Do What You Love
How can you create alternative sources of income while keeping your day job? This mini-book teaches you how to start moonlighting and gain more independence from your job.

Sources:

  • Benkler, Y. (2007). The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yale University Press.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 1ST Edition. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

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January 20th, 2012 No Comments

Are You a Workaholic? Be Careful… Your Job Could End Up Killing You

WorkaholicAre you a workaholic? Living in a state of stress produces an adrenaline rush, and over time, this becomes addictive, and you lose the ability to relax. Common sense would tell you that you need to take breaks and rest, but instead you overindulge in work, and face the consequences. If you have a physiological addiction to work, you are a workaholic.

Risks of Living a Workaholic Lifestyle

For people under fifty, what is the greatest predictor of heart attacks? More potent than smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes? It’s job satisfaction (Dossey 1992). We’ve known this for more than twenty years, and yet many of us don’t make changes when we get stuck in a toxic work environment. Career stress is the greatest health problem for working adults.

The workaholic lifestyle is becoming a bigger problem each year in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are an estimated 10 million workers who average more than 60 hours per week. According to the International Labor Organization, Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers (International Labor Organization 2011).

Workaholics live a very unhealthy way of life. Research shows that they have a significantly higher than average incidence of stress-related illnesses, divorce, and alcohol abuse. There has even been a support group started in the United States called Workaholics Anonymous, with over 50 meetings now taking place on a regular basis.

As further proof of the workaholic lifestyle problem, more Americans are canceling their vacations each year. According to a USA Today survey, 64 percent of Americans canceled their vacations in 2010. One third canceled their vacations due to work-related reasons, 25 percent check into work regularly while on vacation, and 58 percent feel they are more in need of a vacation than last year (Shontell 2010, September 13).

Symptoms of Living a Workaholic Lifestyle

Burnout: You may be burnt out but still continue to push on at your job. Think about lifting weights at the gym. When you push yourself beyond your ordinary work limits, and regularly seek recovery, you will grow. When you don’t allow yourself to recover, you end up getting burned out as a consequence.

Fear of losing your job: You may have a strong fear of being fired or laid off. This is related to the false belief of obtaining 100% job security. Complete job security is never a reality, and becoming a workaholic due to fear only leads to unhappiness. You aren’t changing the fact that you could still be fired or laid off. You’re just losing your free time and peace of mind.

Artificial importance: You may be addicted to your work on a psychological level. Maybe you like the feeling of importance when you become busier. Even when it means being unavailable to your friends and family. This artificial importance will only create artificial success and eventually lead to unhappiness.

Drugs mask the problem: If you rely on alcohol, marijuana or sleeping pills to calm down, you are trying to artificially create relaxation. Similarly, if you rely on stimulants such as caffeine or amphetamines, you are trying to artificially create alertness. These artificial means of relaxation and alertness are masking the bigger problem. You are overexerting yourself without recovery and living your life in a constant state of stress.

2 Approaches for Curing a Workaholic Lifestyle

Approach 1) Keep your current job, but create healthy work habits. Read my mini-book Escape the Rat Race:

Escape the Rat Race: Change Your Mind or Take the Emergency Exit
How can you escape the rat race? Should you change your job? Or can you keep it, while making smaller changes to your daily habits and ways of thinking? This mini-book explores both options, and teaches you when each is appropriate for escaping the rat race.

Approach 2) Explore options for quitting your job. Check out my mini-book Quit Your Job:

Quit Your Job: Decide When to Leave and What to Do After
How do you decide if you should quit your job or take a sabbatical? This mini-book guides you through making the decision to quit, and what to research before quitting.

Sources

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October 7th, 2011 No Comments

How to Start Meditating in the Next 5 Minutes

Ethan Nichtern Banner IllustrationWhatever method you use, meditation is simply getting to know your mind. It’s not about meditating “on” something or getting into a zone where you’re blissfully removed from your mind’s contents. Instead, the actual meaning of meditation is more like getting used to being with your own mind.
-Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

Why Meditate?

Meditation helps us increase our mindfulness and awareness, strengthen our sense of inner peace, and improve our ability to deal with our emotions. After practicing meditation over a period of time, the mind naturally falls into a resting state, allowing us to be fully present in our life. When we are not constantly pulled into the past or future, we are able to begin experiencing the present moment.

Sitting Meditation

Calm abiding meditation, or shamatha, is a practice that helps us to develop a peaceful state of mind, along with the ability to remain in a peaceful state for increasing periods of time. Normally our mind is a whirlwind of thought, so “peace” is the calming down of the mental agitation and stress caused by this whirlwind.
-Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

This is the easiest type of meditation to start practicing. I’ve adapted these steps from Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind.

Step 1: Find a Comfortable Seat or Cushion

Find a comfortable seat in a chair or cushion. Have a relaxed but erect posture, keeping your spine straight. If you are sitting on a cushion, cross your legs. If you are sitting on a chair, place your feet evenly, flat on the ground. Your hands can rest in your lap or on your thighs. Why? Your body’s position has a powerful effect on your mind. A natural and upright position allows your mind to rest naturally in a calm state. A slouched position will make it difficult to rest your mind.

Step 2: Watch Your Breathing

Sitting relaxed but erect position, watch your breathing. You should be breathing natural, even and relaxed. Focus your attention on your breathing, specifically the coming and going of the breath at the tip of the nose and mouth.

Step 3: Become One With Your Breath

As you do this practice for some time, you start to become your breath. You feel the inhale and exhale and become one with the breath.

Step 4: Allow a Gap

At the end of your exhalation, let your mind and breath dissolve. Allow a gap and let it go. There’s no rush to take the next breath. Keep your mind on the breath as you inhale, feel it, and relax.

Bonus Step: Wandering Thoughts and Counting Your Breath

When you are meditating, you will experience all kinds of thoughts, some of which may seem extremely important. Instead of getting up and stopping meditation, simply recognize the thoughts and continue. Acknowledge each thought and then let it go.

If your mind becomes distracted with thoughts, or the sense of nowness is gone, you can practice counting your breathing. Simply observe your breathing and count each inhale/exhale cycle as one breath. If you find your mind wandering off into a thought, start over at one. Keep this up until you can count from one to ten without becoming distracted. Afterwards, you can start setting new goals for yourself, such as counting to one hundred without your mind wandering off.

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August 28th, 2008 2 Comments

How Significant Changes in Your Routine Can Threaten Your Daily Positive Habits

Betws y Coed
Life is like a river

Life is like a river. It’s moving, and you can be at the mercy of the river if you don’t take deliberate, conscious action to steer yourself in a direction you have pre-determined.

-Anthony Robbins

Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits recently wrote a very honest post about The Dirty Little Secrets of Productivity Bloggers, and I’ll be sharing one of my own with you in this post. To give you some background, over this last month, I have been on two extremes, and am now back to normalcy. For the first two weeks, I was on vacation. I had lots of free time, and I managed my own schedule and did what I wanted to do. I lived on my own sleep schedule (I’m a late riser). I meditated and exercised every day. I did a lot of reading, writing, and relaxing.

When I came back to work, I was immediately placed on an intense project, which involved long hours and weekend work for 2 weeks. I went from 100% free time to 100% structured time. Was I able to maintain my positive habits when my routine changed so significantly? Nope. And this explains my dirty little secret- I wasn’t able to follow my own advice.

I ended up building sleep debt due to long work hours. I was unable to maintain my exercise routine due to getting home so late from work, I ate unhealthy food (catered into our conference room at work), and I stopped meditating.

Why couldn’t I maintain my daily positive habits when my routine changed?

I love being challenged and pushed to extremes- this is a way to personal growth for me. I dedicated myself to the success of the project at work, and gained a lot of experience from it, but in doing so, I also adopted the norms (eating and sleeping habits) of the team, and temporarily lost my positive habits along the way.

I wasn’t able to follow the advice of my blog post about living like a sprinter (having a healthy balance between stress and recovery), versus living like a long distance runner (no balance/time for recovery, leading to burnout). During these past two weeks, I have been confronted with how difficult living like a sprinter can be. How do you maintain positive habits when routine changes, and the nature of your work can be so chaotic?

Your routine will change, that’s a given- plan for it

I’m learning that routine changes will happen to you and I many times in our lives, but the important thing we need to have in place is a a backup plan. A back up plan is your pre-determined way of handling drastic routine change and maintaining positive habits. Why come up with a backup plan early on? If you have to come up with the backup plan while you are in crisis mode, it’s already too late:

Changes to routine have a smaller impact on your positive habits when you use a backup plan
Changes to routine have a smaller impact on your positive habits when you use a backup plan
Here are several examples of creating a backup plan:

Routine Change: Working long hours, unable to work out at gym

Backup Plan Options: If long work hours are going to be a long-term occurrence, you will want to find an alternate work-out time, such as early in the morning or over lunch break. If it is only short-term, you can simply cut back on your daily caloric intake, and plan to get back into your workout routine as soon as your work hours go back to normal.

Routine Change: Unable to leave work for lunch break due to deadlines, unhealthy snack options in the office

Backup Plan Options: Bring a bag of trail mix or nuts with you to work, use this as a meal replacement when you are unable to eat a normal lunch. Otherwise, you may end up eating unhealthy office snacks, or even worse, you will be starving by dinner time, and overeat to make up for the missed lunch.

Routine Change: Unable to get enough sleep during the week

Backup Plan Options: Take a mid-day 20 minute nap at work. If you have you own office, this will be easier to do. If not, you will have to be more creative with napping at work.

It’s Your Turn to Share

It’s much easier to maintain positive habits when your external environment and routine stay the same. But when the situation suddenly changes, are you able to adjust? Do you maintain your positive habits, or do you revert back to the way you were before you acquired the positive habits?

I’m still working on my backup plan, and experimenting with the best ways to maintain positive habits when my routine changes. I’d love to hear your experience with maintaining positive habits through routine changes- please leave a comment!

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July 13th, 2008 4 Comments

How to Prevent Burnout from Stress: Live like a Sprinter, not a Long Distance Runner

When we expend energy, we draw down our reservoir. When we recover energy, we fill it back up. Too much energy expenditure without sufficient recovery eventually leads to burnout and breakdown (Overuse it and lose it). Too much recovery without sufficient stress leads to atrophy and weakness (Use it or lose it).

-Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

There needs to be an equal balance between stress and recovery- too much of either one has negative consequences
There needs to be an equal balance between stress and recovery- too much of either one has negative consequences
Nature is constantly oscillating- think of tides moving in and out, the seasons changing, or the sun rising and setting. We as human beings naturally follow a similar rhythm with our energy levels. Our natural state is to oscillate between rest and activity, similar to a sprinter. Unfortunately, our society of technological innovation socially sanctions living like a long distance runner– we ignore rest and fail to recognize its necessity for preventing burnout and sustaining high performance.

Ignoring recovery for too long causes burnout- symptoms of being burned out include emotional exhaustion, loss of motivation, detachment, isolation, and irritability.

Are your addicted to living like a long distance runner?

Living in a state of stress produces an adrenaline rush, and over time, this becomes addictive, and we lose the ability to relax. Common sense would tell us we need to take breaks and rest, but instead we overindulge in work, and face the consequences. Researchers have found that self-described workaholics have a significantly higher than average incidence of stress-related illnesses, divorce, and alcohol abuse.

Are you creating artificial relaxation and alertness?

If you regularly rely on alcohol, marijuana or sleeping pills to calm down, you may be trying to create relaxation (artificially). Similarly, if you rely on stimulants such as caffeine or amphetamines, you are trying to create alertness (artificially). Both of these artificial means of oscillation are masking the bigger problem- you are still living life like a long distance runner.

Are you creating artificial importance?

Do you like the feeling of importance when you become busier? Even when it means being unavailable to your friends and family? This artificial importance will only create artificial success, as you are still living life like a long distance runner.

Are your work habits putting you at risk to karoshi?

Karoshi is the term in Japan which means “death from overwork”. This is apparently a fairly common occurrence. In fact, I just read about a Toyota engineer who worked himself to death today (he died of heart disease). Additionally, I have known several people in the workforce who have had heart attacks after working extreme long hours under high pressure.

Research shows that these five key factors contribute to karoshi:

  • Extreme long hours that interferes with normal rest patterns
  • Night work that interferes with normal rest patterns
  • Working without holidays or breaks
  • High pressure work without breaks
  • Extremely demanding physical labor and continuously stressful work

Here are some tips for preventing burnout (or karoshi!), and living like a sprinter:

Tips for Preventing Burnout from Stress and Living like a Sprinter

1) Balance stress and recovery to achieve your best performance

Push yourself beyond your ordinary limits, and regularly seek recovery, and you will grow. This is similar to lifting weights at the gym. The problem with people who live like long distance runners is that they don’t allow themselves to recover, and get burned out as a consequence. This brings us to the topic of tip 2.

2) Create a ritual of disconnecting

New technologies such as Blackberries/PDA’s, and social networking tools (ex. Facebook, Twitter), make it easy for us to never truly disconnect. Several people I work with will bring their work phones/laptops with them on vacation, and check e-mail/take phone calls the entire time. This is faulty, socially-sanctioned “live life as a long distance runner” logic.

It is a very good plan every now and then to go away and have a little relaxation… When you come back to the work your judgement will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose the power of judgement.

-Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci’s advice still applies to us today. To prevent work burnout, create a daily ritual (read my post on creating consistent daily habits) of completely disconnecting- have a daily stopping point. For example, if you are a business traveler, make a habit of not working during your commute, and instead, relax and read books/magazines. If you are on vacation, completely disconnect from your work- don’t bring your PDA or laptop.

Another option for preventing work burnout is to disconnect during your lunch. A lot of people fall into the habit of eating at their desk, or eating with coworkers and discussing work-related topics. To truly disconnect and use your lunch break to recover, you may need to eat by yourself.

3) Create healthy breathing, eating, sleeping, and exercising habits

Breathing: This is an easy way to relax and prevent burnout- throughout your day, make a habit of breathing in to a count of three and out to a count of six, for several minutes. This will help you relax deeply.

Eating: Eat small meals at regular intervals (five to six times a day is recommended), in amounts that are satisfying (not over or under filling). Try to eat primarily foods that are low on the glycemic index, as these will provide a steadier source of energy. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Sleeping: Get 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are able to, take at catnap in the afternoon. Winston Churchill was a proponent of this, explaining that a catnap helps you get two days in one, as you wake up more alert and sustaining energy.

Exercising: Work out 3-5 times per week, and add some form of strength training to your routine (read my post on losing weight by gaining muscle). Strength training is just as important as cardiovascular training, especially as we age- on average, we lose one-half pound of muscle mass each year after the age of forty in absence of exercise.

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