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Your body produces a protein found in your skin and connective tissues, called collagen, that provides elasticity. As you age, collagen production decreases, causing wrinkles. If you want to put your best face foward, try daily supplementation with grass-fed collagen in water, healthy shakes, or a hot beverage.
Did you know that the time between each of your heartbeats varies? It’s known as heart rate variability (HRV), and measuring it can tell you how your nervous system is doing at any given moment. HeartMath’s Inner Balance is a bluetooth sensor that connects to your smartphone. It tracks your heart rate, then teaches you how to reach a more balanced emotional state. The result? Less stress and better performance.
It’s the most wonderful time of year… for the favorite biohacker on your holiday shopping list. This Biohacker-approved holiday gift guide features the coolest biohacking gadgets for everyone on your list — whether they’re coffee snobs, fitness fanatics, geeks who love their tech, or all-around health nuts. Click on a category below and get ready to play Santa.
I wanted to write a post about mental health awareness month. But I keep having a hard time finding the words. It’s a topic I particularly care about… I’ve been there, touched a pretty dark bottom, and worked hard to rise back up to where I’m today. A healthy place, a balanced place. What really helped me was accepting the part of the journey I was in and asking for help. Being ashamed and afraid of what we feel and go through doesn’t protect us, it protects the false truth we’ve been told about what is acceptable to feel and how to be.
Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children, work in the next cubicle or sit in the same church pew.
What Exactly is a Mental Illness
Mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases which can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease. The two most common mental health conditions are:
Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood. What You Can Do to Help you can do to help:
Showing individuals respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their illness. Having people see you as an individual and not as your illness can make the biggest difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
Advocating within our circles of influence helps ensure these individuals have the same rights and opportunities as other members of your church, school, and community.
Learning more about mental health allows us to provide helpful support to those affected in our families and communities.
Get Professional Help If You Need It
If you need help with self-care and self-love don’t hesitate to reach out!
If you or someone you know is feeling especially bad or suicidal, get help right away. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.
Of course, you don’t have to be in crisis to seek help. Why wait until you’re really suffering? Even if you’re not sure that you’d benefit from help, it can’t hurt to explore the possibility.
I know a lot of you are just like me. You want to be creating habits in your life like meditation, exercise, eating better but the actual meta habit of creating habits is actually really difficult. So how do you create habits? I found it a very interesting theory called the cue routine reward cycle, popularized in the book ‘The Power of Habit’. I’m going to walk you through a sample habit cycle that you can use to begin meditating, eating better, or quitting social media addiction.
Let’s talk about the Habit cycle.
Now generally like Charles Duhigg popularized in his book ‘The Power of Habit’, generally there is a cue, a routine, and a reward cycle to a habit. The cue, routine, reward cycle is basically what triggers the habit, what the habit is and why the person does the habit. Because generally speaking we don’t just do things for no reason. Generally we do things because there is some kind of payoff or end goal we are trying to achieve. Weather in the brain or whether it’s just temporarily with distraction.
Now the cue.
The cue is what triggers your routine, an example of a cue could be me getting stressed out trying to write and edit this post. The cue being “I feel stressed”. This leads to my routine, what I do to deal with that cue. The routine is, I stuff my face with chocolate because I love chocolate and this helps me get through the post. The reward is getting through the task successfully and not feeling stressed, life is good.
The cue is what triggers it, stress, in this case, is the routine. What I do, is stuff my face with chocolate, that is the reward. That relief we get after is because we did that habit for some reason. Now I feel like I can do this post and I’m not grumpy.
Now let’s talk about a simple cue routine reward cycle you can use for meditation that I have successfully used. The cue here is going to be waking up in the morning. I’m going to link waking up and doing 10 jumping jacks to sitting down on the bed for one minute to meditate. So what we’re linking is to get up out of bed, 10 jumping jacks because, one, you already are getting up anyway. You always have a morning. so linking meditation to morning ritual is one of the best ways to consistently do it. Now the reason for the jumping jacks is that is going to actually wake you up. Honestly, it’s going to it’s a lot easier to be lazy and sit on the bed and fall asleep if you’re not woken up a bit so the jumping jacks will have built up circulation, and blood flow to wake you up.
Then you sit down at your bed calmly and quietly put your hands on your knees and then just meditate for 60 seconds. You can use a phone timer, you can set some kind of alarm. Your morning wake-up alarm whatever. The point is, you link waking up to doing 10 jumping jacks, to just sitting on the edge of your bed for 1 minute. Then you’ve linked meditation to a pre-existing event that’s already in your calendar.
So rather than being like yeah I’m just going to start meditating every day and then assigning it to some random time throughout the day is very hard to actually do that your master.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active form of these fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are rich in a nutrient called omega-3, which is essential for the development and maintenance of brain tissue. Nutritionists recommend to portions of oily fish a week as part of a balanced diet. Tined or fresh is equally acceptable and both have good nutritional value.
Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss whilst having sufficient levels of both EPA and DHA is thought to help us manage stress and helps make the good mood brain chemical, serotonin.
High in antioxidants and a rich source of vitamin C, evidence accumulated at Tufts University in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss. Eating them can help aid coordination and balance among other things.
Richer in zinc than many other seeds, pumpkin seeds supply this valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. These little seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin. Another rich source of Omega-3 oils and zinc, they are perfect for any vegetarians out there who feel they might miss out because they can’t eat oily fish. They help maintain the part of the brain that keeps sensory function intact.
Guacamole isn’t just delicious—it’s also jam-packed with monounsaturated fats, fiber, and lutein that can better cognitive health, says a 2017 study. According to the study authors, participants who ate one fresh avocado every day saw a significant improvement in their memory and problem-solving skills.
Often avoided because it is felt they have a high fat and cholesterol content, avocados facilitate blood flow to the brain, which is essential for keeping the Mind alert and focused to concentrate on the stresses of the day. They can also help to reduce overall blood pressure in the body.
For most people, this is probably the nicest of all brain foods, although it must be said, it is really only good quality dark and milk chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids that counts!
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids are a group of antioxidant plant compounds.
The flavonoids in chocolate gather in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. Researchers say these compounds may enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline (1, 2, 3, 4). In fact, a number of studies back this up (5, 6, 7).
In one study including over 900 people, those who ate chocolate more frequently performed better in a series of mental tasks, including some involving memory, than those who rarely ate it (5).
Eating a couple of small squares of premium dark chocolate every day will help provide lots of memory improving antioxidants, eating the same amount of milk chocolate will improve motor functions and reaction times.
If you’re like most people, you’re staring at your electronics screen all day and probably most of the night. All of that blue light exposure can mess with your sleep cycle. Research has shown blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to sleep. Blue light blocking glasses give you the extra protection for your eyes from too much junk light exposure.
Red light and Infrared Light can be very healing and regenerative. Red Light is a great stress reliever and is very beneficial to metabolism. Due to the large amount of time we spend indoors, we are often deficient in exposure to Infrared Energy. Red light promotes relaxation and a sense of calm energy, reduces anxiety and irritability. It also
helps you fall asleep and get a deeper, more restful night’s sleep.
It is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible. That said, it’s not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can be helpful.
Napping is good; my childhood was wasted crying to stay awake!
If I could go back in time, I would go back to my 4 year old self that was dead set on keeping my eyes open through the ENTIRE day to become a ‘big kid’. Many hours were wasted fighting with my parents, hell, fighting with my body, just to be awake so I can say I didn’t take a nap. Flash forward twenty some years and I would love to be forced to take a nap. Sadly that is not the reality of my adult life and my 40-hour a week job. However, science is showing that making time for naps have countless positive effects on things such as productivity all the way down to your body’s inner functionality!
Our Bodies Dance to Their own Tune!
Our bodies all function off our own personal circadian rhythm, say what? That’s a fancy term for the 24 hour cycle that your body goes through each day. We all have our own circadian rhythm, and each person is different. They are influenced by things such as sunlight and our feeding schedule. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle.
As adults there are certain times throughout the day that our rhythm takes a bigger dip. You might be familiar with the term “mid-day slump”, turns out this is a real thing. Between 1:00-3:00 PM we experience a dip in our circadian rhythm and that is when we get drowsy, can’t focus, start questioning your thoughts and just overall less effective in your tasks. Now this “slump” can look different to each person and can vary by the day. If you get a great night sleep, your circadian rhythm will not have such a severe drop during the day, you might not even notice it.
Let’s Take a Brain Break
So now you know a bit more about why you might feel the need for a nap. Let’s talk about what the nap can do for you because I already know what you are thinking “who in the world has time for a nap?!”. The answer is rather simple, if you struggle through your circadian rhythm dip, you will be less productive, irritable and less alert, and likely have to redo simple tasks you usually have no problem completing.
Studies show that taking a 10-20 minute nap can help to boost alertness and energy making the rest of your day more productive and meaningful. By keeping your nap on the shorter side, you will stay out of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep that makes for a smoother transition back to whatever it is that you need to do! As with most things, listen to your body, it knows you best. Some people find that their body needs more or less to recharge.
Avoid The Nap Hangover
If you nap for too long you can wind up with a hangover like feeling, leaving you in a groggy state for a while before you are back up and running. If you experience this, you need to cut your time back a bit. It will take some testing to find out what works best for your body as well as the best time of the day for you to take a nap.
Famous People Who Loved to Nap
Winston Churchill once said ”Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces” From his book “The Gathering Storm”.
John F. Kennedy would nap for up to two hours without fail as part of his daily routine. Kennedy was not to be awoken unless it was a true emergency and would always be joined by Jackie
Studies, Research and My Opinion
There are many studies and ongoing research surrounding the benefits of napping yielding results such as improving memory, lessening the susceptibility to death by heart related diseases, blood pressure, dementia, weight control and immunity. Most of these studies are very specific in the demographic that it researched and at this time I’m not seeing anything that would make me feel comfortable stating any of those are a tested outcome across the board. What I can tell you with certainty is this; every human body has dips in their circadian rhythm, which literally makes us sleepy in the afternoon. Finding a nap period that works for you will release serotonin which produces feeling of wellbeing and can reverse the effects of stress, increases alertness and can increase productivity. Personally, I would rather find time for a 30-minute siesta and return to raring to go than struggle through the day working slower, not to my ability and likely having to redo the work I produce.
One meal a day is a form of intermittent fasting that literally involves eating one meal a day. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern or dieting cycle where you transition between periods of eating and fasting. The primary aim is to lose weight using an effective method that does not include the shortcomings or failures of other methods.
OMAD utilizes the two periods of intermittent fasting which are fasting window and feeding window. In one meal a day the fasting window consists of about 22-23 hours of a day while the feeding window is limited to 1-2 hours in a day. Therefore, OMAD pushes intermittent fasting to its maximum capacity.
Within the limited feeding window, you can eat as much as you want but maintain a healthy diet that includes appropriate food groups. One meal a day is also quite flexible and allows a calorie-free light snack during the fasting window.
OMAD might seem extreme to those who are ignorant of its benefits and lifestyle plan. It is the most natural and effective way to lose weight, and stay healthy. Here are some benefits of OMAD:
Efficient Weight Loss
So many people struggle with weight loss because they keep trying methods that produce less result. Most of these weight loss plans come with strict diets and counting calories. Still the effects are short-term and unsatisfactory. One meal a day is an almost effortless way to lose weight. By simply eating less and healthy you shed calories quickly without a struggle.
Your Overall Health is Improved
Eating one meal a day helps to reduce various health risks such as blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar levels. One meal a day helps the body maintain better insulin control.
Most people spend long amounts of time cooking, heating, and eating every day. OMAD lifestyle plan will help you cut down on those hours and find more use for time. Eating once a day guarantees less cooking, heating, and dishwashing time.
One meal a day is one of the cheapest weight loss plans. It helps you save money by purchasing fewer junk foods and using less gas. Your grocery shopping becomes more cost-effective, and so does your lifestyle.
Increased mental and Physical Productivity
The benefits of one meal a day include higher clarity and concentration levels. It also includes increased energy and productivity than eating frequent times a day. OMAD improves memory, energizes cells and reduces fatigue.
Time is a very precious resource. The fact is that regardless of how well you manage time, at the end of a day, you will still only have had 24 hours. In one year there are still only 8,760 hours. The key is using your time efficiently and eliminating time wasters from your day. Your attitudes and behaviors effect how you use your time.
By substituting what’s not working for you with a more effective behavior and/or attitude you’re on the road to managing your time.
1. Waiting for Inspiration
The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or creative inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to success, not some mythical spark of creative inspiration.
2. Worrying about what people will say
Most of us worry a little too much about what others think of us. We all want to be liked and appreciated for our many talents, our ferocious intelligence, our good nature, our sparkling personality. But when we give over our power to others and allow that their impressions to become how we perceived, we lose out on who we really are.
Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.
No one cares to be around a complainer. If you want to start attracting and creating the success you desire, you’ll want to stop complaining. Complaining can add to your stress levels and the stress of those around you. The first step is to become aware when you are complaining. One of the techniques I use is: Thought Stopping. This is a technique that many therapists recommend for a variety of issues because it works well. When an undesirable thought enters your head, you literally interrupt it with the mental image of a stop sign or the word “stop!” and move on to a different thought.
4. Trying to please everybody
Trying to please everyone will never bring you the approval and love you seek. You absolutely shouldn’t try to please everyone all the time. It’s just not worth it. Not only will you begin to live your life according to someone else’s standards, but you’ll deplete yourself of any sense of happiness. Saying yes to everyone’s requests means you’re saying no to something else.
5. Comparing yourself
You know you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Yet, that’s often easier said than done. Job title, income, grades, house, and Facebook likes, you’re not alone. I often find my self doing it too. We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others. The best way to get over this is to become intimately aware of your own successes. You can control one life—yours. But when we constantly compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other peoples’ lives rather than our own.
We feel driven to repeat mistakes from the past in the hopes that this time the situation will work out differently, but it rarely does. To avoid this repetition failure, I suggest the following: Engage in vigorous self-examination. You will have to identify the behaviors you want to change. Understand how your history influences these behaviors.
If you’re a perfectionist, it could be seriously holding you back. Remember, there is nothing wrong with having high standards, but when these standards are too high, they can really get in the way of your work/school, relationships, and enjoyment of life. Because adults with perfectionism are often very critical of themselves, one of the most effective ways to overcome perfectionism is to replace self-critical or perfectionistic thoughts with more realistic and helpful statements. “It’s okay if some people don’t like me. No one is liked by everyone!”
8. Lack of priorities
The wrong priorities lead to bad decisions. Being under pressure because of a lack of priority makes your priorities even fuzzier, choosing the now over what really matters. Take a close look at how you ACTUALLY spend your time. What are you doing that is moving the needle that needs to move?
Busy isn’t’ a sign of success, it’s a lack of priority.
Many of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time. But fear of failure (also called “atychiphobia“) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals. I do an exercise called “fear-setting” I learned from Tim Ferriss.
We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.
10. Not living your life
I know it’s easy to say we should just stop worrying and live our lives. Living a life where you’re happier and kinder towards yourself is not just about what you can do. But also about what you are already doing. Understand that your life unfolds as your mind perceives it. Cultivate an internal focus of control. Stop existing at the whim of other people, of tragedy, of uncertainty. Develop your personal view and embrace it, let it guide you.
What is a flotation tank? The flotation tank looks like a large enclosed bathtub. They are usually built from fiberglass and design to block out all external distractions, such as: sights, sound, tactile sensations, and gravity. Basically a sensory deprivation tank. (Another name these flotation tanks can go by.)
The salt water solution is heated to skin temperature (93.5F). Once you are settled, it is almost impossible to tell watch parts of your body are in the water and watch aren’t. This is the trick your brain into thinking you’re floating in midair.
The buoyancy created by the Epsom-salt solution effectively removes the effects of gravity on the body. This will make you feel almost completely weightless, letting Every single muscle in your body fully relax.
Floating weightlessly your body is perfectly supported by a cushion of silky skin temperature liquid. Freed from all sensation of gravity, temperature, touch, sight and sound (which together account for 90% of normal neuro-muscular activity). You conserve and redirect vast amounts of natural physical and mental energy.
The ultra deep relaxation of floating “resets” the body’s hormonal and metabolic balance, strengthening resistance to and accelerating recovery from the effects of stress, illness, injury, or strenuous exercise.
Unless you are an astronaut this is the only situation you will encounter where your body is free from harmful forces of gravity.
Celebrities like Steph Curry and Joe Rogan swear by flotation therapy. Steph Curry and Joe Rogan, who have promoted it as a post-workout recovery tool and a way to reduce muscle soreness.
Floating devotees claim that the therapy can be a cure-all for everything from hypertension to insomnia.
The tiny spikes on this torturous looking mat actually stimulate the acupressure points along your back. When you go to bed, your fight or flight response is still activated, your body’s nervous system is still in a sympathetic mode. When you lay down on a sleep induction mat your body panics for a moment because it can’t really figure out what you’re doing and why there’s some pain. (It’s not unbearable, or painful at all, just uncomfortable for a bit.) Once you adjust for a few seconds your body starts to relax and you just melt into it. Your nervous systems starts calming down and realizes that you’re not going to die. Then your body starts releasing your feel-good hormones. This is all the perfect storm to quiet your mind, let you relax, and let you slip into a deep, restful sleep.
Everybody needs to get quality sleep, and many of us are in need of some help when it comes to getting it. I definitely recommend trying this out if you are having trouble getting to sleep. Did you know 1/3 of your life is spent on sleep? That means 26 years of your life are spent in bed.
Other ways to improve your sleep that won’t cost you anything. No caffeine after 2 P.M. Start winding down two hours before bed. Avoid bright lights in use F.lux on your computer. Sleep in the pitch black room (If it admits light, cover it – Your hands should be invisible in front of you) Avoid big meals before bed.
I love my morning routine. A morning and an evening routine are a great way to bookend your day, and the morning routine in particular allows you to prioritize all the things necessary to take care of yourself and your body while your willpower is high.
I wake up trying not to use an alarm. Instead try to wake up naturally at the same time every morning. Check my HRV. Complete a morning entry into my custom EvernoteFive Minute Journal
I walk to the kitchen and I pour 16oz of water. As I drink this water, I take my morning supplements and there’s currently quite a few – specifically:
I will take a cold shower. I will wash my body and hair with warm water. When I’m done with that, I will crank it as cold as it will go. Cold thermogenesis is the practice of intentionally exposing parts of the body to specific levels of cold stress. Years of research now shows this can cause significant increases in metabolism and calorie burning, can increase insulin sensitivity and help control blood glucose levels, reduce systemic inflammation, help with sleep and recovery, and potentially fight certain types of cancer as well as promote overall longevity. I will then stay in there for as long as I can but nothing less then two minutes.
I will get April up for school. I will talk to her about her sleep, dreams, things we are grateful for, breakfast, and the day’s activities.
We will head out the door to drop April off at school. On the way to school we will listen to an audio book that April has picked out. I try to teach her to always be learning. It’s especially effective when you’re commuting. I used to listen to tons of Anthony Robbins audiobooks on my way to work and I learned a lot of things while I was stuck in traffic. Plus it was really uplifting and made me more engaged at work.
I will drop April off at school and I will head to work for the day.
If you have proposed modifications to my morning routine, you want to describe your own morning routine, or you have questions, thoughts, then feel free to use the comments section below!
There are a handful of books that should truly be required and desired reading for everyone across the world. This is one of them. It is simultaneously repulsive and compelling, disheartening and hopeful.
This book humbled me; I used to get upset when someone took my parking spot, or cut into my queue but now I smile as I have never had to endure real horror or injustice.
Does a chronic disease or messed up life have you feeling like you’re at the end of the line? Are you feeling like it’s time to end your life? Reading/listening to this book may end your suffering. The author, Dr. Frankl, has insights on life that may change your perspective. He was a Jewish doctor in Austria when the Nazis invaded in 1938. He had the opportunity to get out of the country, but decided to stay with his family. That was the wrong choice as he ended up in concentration camps, but this little book was the result.
While the book stumbles a bit in it’s opening chapter trying to justify it’s attention-grabbing title, the rest of the book is, without hyperbole, life changing.
This book isn’t about throwing everything to the wind and turning in to a useless blob. It is a book about being told harsh truths. It’s about giving f*cks where f*cks deserve to be given, placing your f*cks where they’re going to do you good instead of drag you down. That you are not uniquely talented. That the things you believe are the product of an imperfect mind imperfectly interpreting events. That society has made you entitled and your entitlement is making you depressed. And, most painfully of all, that you can fix it.
I highly recommend it, but if you pass on it, I really don’t give a f*ck.