The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel (Part 2)

Renewal Lab. Learn to reduce ‘ego threat’ stress. Tell yourself that your identity runs wide and deep. Write down the goals and values that matter most to you and stick to that. This has been proven to help reduce stress responses. When you understand that no one big event can hurt you, you become less stressed over the negative occurrence of any one event. Learn to distance your thoughts from your emotions. Use the third party pronoun and not ‘I’ too frequently. One can also apply time distancing, this means you imagine whether an event will affect you in 10 years’ time. One can also apply visual self-distancing. Imagine that you are viewing an event from afar. Pretend to be a third party witnessing yourself act. This technique of mentally stepping outside of your body can work well.

Mind Your Telomeres: Negative Thinking, Resilient Thinking. Thought suppression isn’t healthy and good for our telomeres. Negative thinking isn’t good too. Try to learn about your style of thinking. Cynical hostility isn’t good at all. A lot of these thoughts are actually automatic. One strategy is to learn to laugh at your negative thoughts. Hostility is associated with anger and thoughts that people cannot be trusted. Pessimists typically predict that a bad outcome is going to emerge. Pessimists are also associated with shorter telomeres. Pessimists tend to hate stressful situations and worry that they are not up to the mark. The human mind tends to wander and not focus on the task at hand. However, activities like sex, engaging in conversation and exercising produce less mind-wandering. If you are not fully engaged in an activity, you tend not to be happy. Multi-tasking actually is a source of noxious stress. To do something effectively, it is better to only do one thing at a time. It would be wise for you to try to eliminate distractions and to focus on the task at hand. Rumination is about rehashing your problems over and over again. Instead of finding a solution, people feel worse in this process. People who ruminate experience more depression and anxiety. Thought suppression is about pushing away unwanted thoughts. The more you try to push something away, the more it will call for your attention. This is also known as ironic error. Scolding yourself when negative thoughts emerge is unlikely to work. One can use resilient thinking, which is based on acceptance and mindfulness. Exercise thought awareness and loosen the grip of negative thought patterns. This is not thought stopping, but simply viewing the thoughts with more clarity. Meditation and long distance running can help with thought awareness. Stand like an observer and witness your thoughts passing by. A lot of the thoughts are repeat of thoughts that came before. Understand that thoughts will fade after a while. It is advisable not to believe everything that you think. Mindfulness is really about training the mind to focus. Now, I can focus better on whatever I do. Close your eyes and breathe once you experience negative thoughts. You do not need to go for a long course on mindfulness to be good. Meditating also increase your sense of purpose in life. A stronger life purpose can definitely give you better resilience in life. Being happy and having a purpose are often closely linked. Having a purpose is associated with eudaemonic happiness. This is associated with a strong sense of values and purpose. Volunteering to help the community can certainly be very rewarding. Volunteering can produce 2 to 3 years of reverse aging. Being conscientious is a good trait for your telomeres. These people tend to have long term goals and longer telomeres. Having good impulse control is important. Self-compassion is also another technique and it means kindness towards yourself and not beat yourself up. Be patient and be tolerant towards others. When you fail at something, do you berate yourself? It is good to be high in self-compassion. Developing self-reliance helps towards building stress resilience. Start your day with gratitude and say ‘I am alive and I will seize the day!’. Learn to understand your habits of thinking. When encountering something stressful, try to take a self-compassion break. Tell yourself that suffering is a part of life and also say ‘may I be kind to myself’. Be wary of the internal critic inside of you. Think about what do you want people who to remember you as in a few words as possible. Articulate what are the more important principles in your life and write them down. If your life is too boring, engage in cognitive exercises and do something out of the ordinary.

We push away our bad feelings, which inevitably roar back, and then we feel bad, and then we feel bad about feeling bad. – Elizabeth Blackburn

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. – Leo Rosten

When Blue Turns to Gray: Depression and Anxiety. Some people suffer from a panic attack, an intense episode of fear and anxiety. Depressed people feel that there is no possibility in life. If you have depression, the onset of more serious illnesses will come faster. Anxiety is characterized by dread/worry. Some people have anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are associated with shorter telomere lengths. Women who are depressed have shorter telomeres. Sometimes, people whose cells experience telomere shortening have cells producing more telomerase. However, this attempt at producing more telomere fails. Telomere length can also increase if the anxiety goes away after a while. Mice who are subjected to a lot of stress develop an excessive number of mitochondria. Depression is a dysfunctional response to stress. Negative thoughts are not signs that you are unworthy, but are substances of depression. If you are anxious, you will need to learn to face the fear of the item and deal with it head on, in a brave manner. Depression is chronic in nature. There is a sense of contentment of focusing all your attention on a small task. Take a 3 minute breathing break. Breathe and become aware. Gather your attention by breathing and exhaling slowly. Paced breathing can help to lower blood pressure.

Instead of frantically striving to change things, you can choose to do little things that bring you pleasure, and things that help you feel masterful and in control. – Elizabeth Blackburn

When we breathe in, our heart rate goes up. When we exhale, our heart rate goes down. By having a longer exhalation than inhalation, we can slow our heart rate more, and we can also stimulate the vagus nerve. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Master tips for renewal: Stress-reducing techniques shown to boost telomere maintenance. Meditation has a lot of benefits and has been shown to be able to improve well-being. People who meditate tend to have longer telomeres. Staying at a retreat has a powerful effect as you are unplugged from tech devices. Those without meditation experience can try the mindfulness based stress reduction programme or MBSR. MBSR is good for those who want to reduce stress. There is much literature on the health benefits of yoga. It improves the quality of life and mood for many people. It can improve spine bone density if practiced long term. Qigong is part of the wellness progress for Chinese medicine. Qigong reduces depression and may improve diabetes. Qigong exercises are easy and can give you a sense of calm in minutes.

Help your Body Protect its Cells. Stressful long-term events have the potential to contribute to telomere shortening. Do you suffer from mood disorders? Try to figure out how much social support do you have? The more physical activity you do, the better it is for your body. One should engage in aerobic activity at least 150 minutes per week and engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. Exercising more can increase your telomerase levels too. Do consider your nutritional needs as well. Eat food with antioxidants and vitamins and avoid sugar carbonated beverages. Choose an area to focus on where you have weak scores. Choose one area to work on at a time.

Training Your Telomeres: How Much Exercise is Enough? Try to avoid being a weekend warrior when it comes to exercise. Do not overtrain or over-exert unnecessarily. Over-training is characterized by sleep changes, fatigue, mood swings etc. Telomeres do not need extreme fitness regimes to thrive on. How does exercise work wonders for your body? There are cellular benefits of exercise. Ideally, our cells should have enough antioxidants. When free radicals build up, it is bad for our body. Exercise is very valuable in the short term, as it stimulates the body to produce more antioxidants. When you exercise more, your body produces less cortisol and you feel calmer. People who exercise regularly have a more robust immune system. Exercising regularly can help to delay the onset of immunosenescence. Exercise also helps to maintain your telomeres. Both moderate aerobic endurance exercise and HIIT are useful. Those who increased their aerobic fitness the most experienced growth in telomerase activity. Strength training helps to improve bone density and muscle mass. Fitness is one of the keys for telomere health. Even though you might be naturally fit, exercise will still help you keep your telomeres healthy. Is too much exercise bad? The benefits of extreme endurance do not seem to be useful. It is important to start exercising when you are young, and never be discouraged. Learn to read the signs of over-training and avoid them as much as possible. Even if your schedule is packed, find time to slip in some exercise. In addition to your exercise regime, it is still important to keep moving throughout the day.

People who exercise live longer and have a lowered risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. And they avoid dementia for longer. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Exercise can improve your mood for up to 3 hours after working out and can reduce stress reactivity. Stress can shorten telomeres, but exercise shields telomeres from some of stress’s damage. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Tired Telomeres: From Exhaustion to Restoration. How can we get more sleep? Cognitive changes and mindfulness will enable you to get more sleep. If you feel sleepy during the day, it is a clear sign you need more sleep at night. Poor sleep will definitely affect your well-being in life. Insomnia is associated with shorter telomeres. Sleep is the most restorative activity that you can actually perform. REM sleep helps to regulate your appetite as well. Poor REM sleep results in higher level of cortisol and insulin, stimulating your appetite. Sleep helps us to refresh emotionally too. Longer sleep results in longer telomeres. 7 or more hours of sleep is the key. Sleep quality matters a lot too. Going to bed at regular hours help in your cell’s ability to regulate telomerase. When you suffer from insomnia, you tend to worry as you are afraid that you will not be able to function after a poor night’s sleep. When such thoughts come to mind, learn to challenge them instead. How can someone suffering from chronic insomnia get better sleep? Avoid engaging in mind-sapping activities just before bed-time. Avoid light sources like phones/laptops. One can consider some light reading/ some classical music. Blue light can supresses melatonin. Minimize light from windows and digital clocks, if possible. Tune out your environment from light and noise distractions. Always try to eat and sleep at regular times. Sleep procrastination is a big problem in modern society. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, go for a check-up. Learn to adopt the following 5 bedtime rituals. The first is to spend 5 minutes in transition. The next is to listen to soothing music. Set a mood for relaxation Brew warm herbal tea. Perform bedtime stretches (gentle rolling of the head and neck, forward bend, child’s pose).

When you are well slept, you are better at learning and remembering. Tired people just aren’t as successful at focusing their attention, so they don’t take in new information as well. – Elizabeth Blackburn

If you feel terrible without 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Don’t try to scrape by with 7. Get those extra hours. And remember that rule of thumb, which offers highly customized sleep advice: If you feel sleepy during the day, you need more sleep at night. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Telomeres Weigh in: A Healthy Metabolism. Belly fat is something that must be avoided. It is a good idea to bring a salad to work as it is healthy. Some people find it hard not to think about food. Eating too much does affect your telomeres, but not as much as depression. Weight is a not very accurate measure of metabolic health. Dieting is not the only way to get healthier. You can be of a normal weight, but if you have a belly, it doesn’t bode well for you. Belly fat, high cholesterol and high blood pressures are key risk factors for diabetes. High belly fat might indicate poor glucose control or insulin resistance. Globally, 9% of people have diabetes. People with diabetes find that it is more difficult for glucose to enter the cells. People with belly fat tend to develop shorter telomeres. There is a connection between short telomeres and diabetes. Weight cycling (increase and decrease) is very unhealthy and should be avoided. Constantly thinking about eating less also produces a cognitive strain. Instead of dieting, one could be physically active and eat nutritious foods. Reducing sugar can lead to metabolic improvements and simple carbs are bad. There is mixed research on caloric restriction. Learn to measure your insulin sensitivity by testing your fasting insulin and glucose. Cutting back on sugar will work wonders for your body. When you crave for sugar, surf the urge. Sit down and close your eyes and imagine the snack and the flavour, but do not eat it. Understand that the cravings will pass and dissipate. Stop eating when you are moderately full, at around 7 or 8 out of 10.

This idea – that improving your metabolic health is more important than losing weight – is vital, and that’s because repeated dieting takes a toll on your body. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Our body has a set point that it defends, and when we lose weight, we also slow our metabolism in an effort to regain the weight (metabolic adaptation). – Elizabeth Blackburn

Dieting can create a semi-addictive state, and it’s also just plain stressful. Monitoring calories causes cognitive load, meaning that it uses up the brain’s limited attention and increases how much stress you feel. – Elizabeth Blackburn

To Be Continued 🙂



How to be a Leader by Martin Bjergegaard and Cosmina Popa

Introduction. Kitty Genovese was murdered on 13 March 1964. Ever since, the 911 emergency system was used. She wasn’t famous but the murder was brutal. The strange thing was that nobody called the police. There were 37 people who witnessed the murder but didn’t call the police. When interviewed, they all assumed that someone should have had called the police already. People condemned the human race as being selfish. Researchers have termed this the bystander effect. It’s about the diffusion of responsibility. Social influence also reflects that it is okay to be like everyone else. Bystander apathy can be overcome and there are instances that prove it. Leadership is a choice too, you can choose whether to step up or not. In China, some babies died when their milk powder contained melamine. Melamine is known to cause severe urinary problems and kidney damage. We need to step up as leaders and be masters of our own lives. This book will introduce ideas, thinking and practices. Every moment is a potential for you to exhibit leadership qualities. There are 12 strongest leadership lessons. Leadership needs to evolve with the times.

You. You need to know thyself. Learn to discover one’s purpose. Connect your leadership with your purpose. Learn to become wiser. Be curious about yourself and have a thirst for knowledge. Become a touchstone of wisdom, awareness etc.

Is There Something You Really, Really Care about? For instance, can you stand up to bullies? In Naples, there is a culture where people would advance purchase a coffee for someone in need. It was then that John discovered the need to pay it forward through simple acts of kindness. This is a simple way to help someone in need. John Sweeney really cared about kindness as he was bullied as a kid. When someone does a favour for you, turn around and do someone else a favour too. Learn to lead a big movement of people. Look deep inside yourself to find out what moves you. Is there anything which you care about deeply? Leadership is for everyone. Stillness and solitude is important for self-reflection. Sit down and reflect on the moments where you have been hurt or pained. Ask yourself whether there is anything you care deeply about?

The best leaders in the world find what they really care about, and almost everything else flows from this point. But many of us live in a way that is out of alignment with our true purpose. – Martin Bjergegaard

Mind the Body. How will I be able to cope with jet lag? Extensive traveling can be draining on the body. We need to learn to pay attention to red flags. Please take care of your body. Modern leadership requires heart, body mind and soul. You can view your body as a temple which houses your consciousness. In the past, people believed in dualism, but we know our mind and matter are integrated. You must always take good care of yourself. Sleep is of utmost importance. Sleep is actually vital for memory consolidation. It is also associated with cell rejuvenation. It cleans away dead and dying cells. Poor sleep habits are associated with negative well-being. You should sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night. Learn to possess self-care and not abuse alcohol. Please avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Find the type of movement which you like to take part in, this could be in the form of dance etc. Your body is a sage. Researchers have discovered that we have both a heart and gut brain. Your body can also produce ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to everything. Our body is indeed really intelligent. How do we inhabit the body? Like artists, leaders have to step back and listen and be open to change. Learn to enhance your relationship with your body.

What’s important is that we acknowledge where we are, accept and love ourselves exactly as we are. – Martin Bjergegaard

If we consume information prior to going to sleep for a minimum of an hour and a half, this enables our brain to consolidate learning and we retain that information for a longer period of time. – Martin Bjergegaard

Unleash Your Curiosity. You must always question the status quo and how can you do things better. Always learn with an open mind. Curiosity is a habit where we can all develop. A world without curiosity could be extremely boring. It would kill the human spirit. Curiosity makes our lives richer. Children tend to be curious than adults. It is always possible to find something that you are curious about. Young people should be learning how to create the future. The problem with curiosity is that one might get too distracted and unfocused. What people need is focused curiosity.

A lot of people do it when retired – and those are the ones that seem to be getting ten years older during their first year of retirement. In order to thrive, most of us need surroundings and circumstances that change, develop and ideally improve. Our curiosity is what makes tomorrow interesting.  -Martin Bjergegaard

Infuse Your Leadership with ‘Ecosophy’. Churchill was fascinated by butterflies. Could this have helped keep him calm? Nature can indeed move and nurture you. One should be at one with nature. Learn to have a deeper appreciation of nature. ‘Ecosophy’ means a dynamic and evolving sense of wisdom required to live in harmony with the Earth. Nature can also be inspiration for buildings and structures. Learn to have a deep experience with nature. Nature can indeed be your teacher. Humans actually for form a subsystem with Mother Nature.

A moment that touches us and, with a gasp, allows us to see and feel the intricate marvel of the web of life of which we are a part. – Chris Nichols

You & Others. Culture matters. Communication is everything. Master the Art of Communication. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is extremely demanding and can take more than 10 months. Most of the crew were amateurs. Communication was the key for success. The skipper is the leader, who must communicate with his crew well. Here are 5 key skills for effective leadership. They are 1) storytelling; 2) understand what others are saying; 3) conflict resolution; 4) be open and transparent; 5) create a space for others to tell the truth. The second one is difficult to achieve. It is necessary to foster genuine conversations that lead to mutual understanding. The use of the talking stick works, as the person who holds it is allowed to talk. No one else is allowed to talk. The listener should be able to repeat what has been said. Strive to understand the other party. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be transparent. Do not keep your employees in the dark over problems in your company. Ensure that your employees understand your P&L statement etc. The owners shouldn’t cover up when the start-up is sinking. It is okay to be vulnerable. Find a way to pull through together. Talk to other people in your organization about going beyond small talk.

Trust is immediately eradicated when people sense we are not being honest with them. They might not know exactly where the fire is, but they will notice the smoke. None of us enjoys being kept in the dark, and the result is a quick drop in morale. – Martin Bjergegaard

Define your Riverbanks. We need to create culture and evolve it over time. When there are people, there is culture. It can be dynamic. It takes leadership for this to happen. The Container Store in the US aims to ‘help people organize and simplify their lives’. They pay their employees very well. Money is not the most important motivator. The 3 intrinsic motivators are 1) autonomy; 2) mastery; 3) purpose. The company invests in training. The employees feel valued and tend to stay. As a leader, you must be there with your employees. There must be a culture of taking care of your employees. For instance, the aim of a restaurant could be to leave people a little happier when they leave than when they came in. Pleasing guests were important. Learn to develop a ‘hospitality quotient’. Culture is like a boundary, just like a riverbank. Lead to design a culture where everyone can thrive. For instance, you could end meetings with voluntary appreciation.

Decision-making is a Team Sport. At Rainmaking, we were run by 6 co-CEOs. We make decisions collectively. Someone must be the natural leader. This is powerful collective leadership. Traditional thinking is that there can be only 1. As a group, we make better decisions. We also own the decision, so there are better commitment levels. This also leads to better team morale. In the past, direct democracy was possible, but it soon got evolved to representative democracy because there were too many people involved in the decision making. People should vote for those who best represent them to make a decision.

Grow Your Appetite for Altruism. I remember being in a sheep farm. I knew I wanted to move to the US. Marylyn Ginsburg was very curious about learning and was concerned with people in the orphanage. I respected her deeply. She also funded my education partially. I experienced genuine acts of altruism and wanted to pay it forward. Altruism and co-operation are deeply linked. Selfishness is not the only reason for altruism. One person can make the difference too. Never underestimate that. Altruism can build a more caring society.

Shadow. This is the dark side of our personality. We are reluctant to explore it. Invite fear and learn from it. You can transform uncertainty into creativity. Learn to build a constructive relationship with your ego.

Leadership During Crisis. The first tip to deal with crisis is to apply yourself as a human being and not a corporate CEO. Be authentic and deal with the problem yourself, and not use a spokesperson. Get help from the board and experts. Get help from PR advisers if necessary to prepare to face the media. Think about the landscape you are navigating. Treat crises as learning opportunities for your company to rebound and step up. Trust that the world is good. Ask yourself: what is the right thing to do under these circumstances? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

So when you experience a crisis as a leader, remember that we are all imperfect, never lose your perspective, and trust that you will eventually be forgiven. – Martin Bjergegaard

Welcome, Uncertainty. There is no blueprint for uncertainty. We need to live on the edge of the unknown. When something happens, we tend to classify it as either good, bad or neutral. You can start to practice mindfulness. It can help the pain to go away. Notice the sensations you feel but let them go, without an anchor. One can try the sensation or isolation chamber. You can learn to consciously deal with uncertainty. Mindfulness is a great way to deal with the problem.

In order to do something extraordinary, to create something from nothing, you have to not only be okay with uncertainty, but actually welcome it. – Martin Bjergegaard

Double Your Failure Rate. Failure can be crippling. Success and failures are indeed very relative in nature. We like to compare our achievements with our past. Learn to view your genius as something external to you. Humans have the tendency to compare with people in our immediate surroundings. Failures are just part of your journey. There will be hits and misses. Humour is a great way to deal with failure. Share your failures openly. BVP has a website documenting their anti-portfolio, or list of failures. View failures through a philosophical lens. Failure and pain are necessary for growth. Failure is the greatest teacher of all. What is the optimal next step from all this? Learn to write a plan.

Without taking risks, we are not going to accomplish much. But taking a risk by definition involves a high probability of failure. 90% of all start-ups are said to fail, but still millions of people quit their job every year to start their own thing. – Martin Bjergegaard

On Ego and The Forces of Glamour. As a CEO, you have to watch your ego. How do you recognize when it is getting out of hand? It is a double-edged sword and it can also create something new. The ego is a ‘complex of ideas which constitute the centre of one’s field of consciousness’. It is like man’s best friend. It can cause mischief for our leaders. It likes to seek validation and attention. Glamour is something that distorts our perception and reality. If you like to find fault with employees, it is an example of being in glamour. Do not drag your negative energy home. Some people feel there is glamour in busyness and self-importance. Be aware and cultivate a detachment. When you observe your ego taking over, take a breather and a back-seat.


As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

A Practical Guide to Living the Purpose Driven Life.

Thought and Character. People are makers of themselves. A man is literally what he thinks. His character is all his thoughts summed up. Man can derive either joy or suffering from such thoughts. In order to achieve a noble character, Man must think in the right way. He is the master of his destiny and the master of thought. As such, he holds the key to every situation. When things aren’t working out well, Man is conscious and can correct his thought. If he digs down further, he will examine cause and effect and the effect of thought. All this is the means to attain Wisdom, Understanding and Power.

As a man thinketh in his heart so is he – James Allen

Effect of Thought on Circumstances. Man’s mind can be cultivated or neglected. Just like tending to a garden, Man can rid the garden of weeds (of impure thoughts).  Man’s character will be shaped by his outer environment as well. However, it is linked to thought-element within himself too. Thought will lead to action and action will lead to opportunity/circumstance. Nothing can influence Man’s thoughts. A man who wants to acquire wealth must be willing to make great sacrifices. If a man who wants to get rich starts to shirk his work, or complains that his wages are too low, deserves to stay poor. It is very important for your thoughts to harmonize with your goal. However, at times, good thoughts might not lead to better circumstances immediately. If a poor man thinks life is unfair, then something is wrong. A man can be rich and cursed or be blessed and poor. Indigence and indulgence are examples of wretchedness. Look for the hidden justice in your life. Use your circumstances in order to discover your powers and possibilities within himself. You cannot choose your circumstances, but you can choose your thoughts. The world is your kaleidoscope.

Man, therefore, as the lord and master of thought, is the maker of himself the shaper and author of environment. – James Allen

Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself. – James Allen

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. – James Allen

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself. – James Allen

Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance. – James Allen

Effect of Thought on Health and the Body. The body is the servant of the mind. With good thoughts, the body will seem radiant and energetic. Anxiety and fear opens the body to decay. You must have clean thoughts. Learn to beautify your mind whenever possible. For those that have lived righteously, aging is a calm and peaceful process.

Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace. The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it. – James Allen

Thought and Purpose. Thought and purpose/goals must be linked. If you are aimless, you will achieve nothing. Everyone needs a central purpose in their lives. One should find an object and steady and focus one’s thoughts on it. Even if he fails to achieve his purpose, he would have gained a deep strength of character. If you don’t have a purpose, fix your thoughts on a faultless performance of their duty. Try to avoid thoughts of doubt and fear as much as possible. Your every thought should be imbued with power. You must be conscious of your mental powers.

The Thought-Factor in Achievement. Your weaknesses and strengths are brought about by your own doing. The weak man must be willing to help himself. A man must learn to overcome weakness and selfish thoughts. He can rise by lifting up his thoughts. There can be no achievement without sacrifice. Achievement comes from effort. Do not allow arrogance, selfish and corrupt thoughts to enter.

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. – James Allen

Vision and Ideals. Humans need to dream. Most people have no goals/dreams in their life. One must have a vision in his heart, in order to realize it. As you dream, you shall become. Dreams are the seedlings of reality. You will gravitate towards the thing that you secretly love. You will become the master of your dream. Some men think that others have become successful just via luck and become jealous. They do not understand the hard work and sacrifice that others have undergone.

Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. – James Allen

The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart – that you will build your life by, this you will become. – James Allen

Serenity. Calmness of mind is really important. He knows how to adapt himself to others. The more peaceful you are, the greater your chance of success. The strong man is revered. They are never temperamental.


Four Quadrant Living by Dina Coleman

Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life

The 4 quadrants are psycho-spiritual, behavioural, communal and systematic. Learn to be mindful. Make minor tweaks to your life. Take charge of your health. Make little changes to your life.

Health is an experience. You can always improve your health. Improve the way you do Life. Work out what is going on in your Mind, Body, and Relationships & Environment.

The author was at high risk of cancer. Her sister contracted Stage 3 cancer. Because of all that, the author lived in fear of disease and dying. She left the corporate world and headed back to school. Life does impact your health. It is possible to change your life circumstances. Her sister recovered and is cancer free now. Some chronic diseases can be prevented. Learn to experience healthy living. Live radiantly.

Health is not just about exercising well and eating well. It is about relationships and the environment too. Genes can be turned on or off. Modern eating habits are not doing us any favours. Every individual has their optimal nutritional needs. Heart disease can be prevented. Your way of life matters a lot. Learn to calm your mind. Be mindful and focus on your breathing. Nourish your body and ensure adequate sleep. Remove the toxic relationships in your life. Have a strong support group when things are failing.

Mind and Health (Part 1)

This comprises of our thoughts, emotions, memories, perceptions etc. Stress can be good or bad. Too much stress is detrimental to your body. Reframe the way you look at something and change your attitude towards it. Meditate and breathe in and out. Positive thoughts can heal us. The placebo effect can work sometimes.

Creating Your Masterpiece. Do not envy others who know what they wanted when they were young. The key is to stop talking and do more. Pick up the paintbrush and start creating. If you can’t change anything about a lousy job, you can change your mind-set about it. Use the words ‘I choose’. Paint your picture.

Wish I Were Here. It is challenging to live in the present. Notice interesting facts about your body. Be mindful and experience everything in the moment. Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, at any time.

You’re Laughing Now? Make the most out of the situation. The feeling of control is crucial. The 5 ways to find humour are (1) Be objective; (2) Reframe the situation; (3) Let go of control; (4) Feel gratitude; (5) Lighten up. Try to see humour even in stressful situations.

Meditation with Hollywood. Meditation has been on my to-do list. Learn to focus on your breathing. Clear your mind and focus on one thing. Create space in your mind. It should come easily and calmly. It is helpful in disease prevention and health promotion.

Productive Unproductiveness. When you are too busy, sometimes it helps to take a well-deserved breather. Stress can lead to increased productivity, but only up to a certain point. When you are overworked, you need to know it yourself and learn to take a breather. Enter into your healthy function zone.

Free to be Me. Being authentic is the best. Follow your own path. Know your purpose. Live in the flow. Quiet your mind. Focus on the positive. Choose your friends wisely. Don’t be afraid of failure. Trust your inner guide. Declare yourself. Let go of your ego. ‘Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else’.

Birthday Hat Dare. Laughter is free and fun and good for your health. There are many benefits to laughter. Wear your birthday hat and walk around. On your birthday, have courage and wear a hat wherever you go.

We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. – Benjamin Franklin

Rise and fall. Breathing is important. When we are stressed, we tend to breathe in a shallow manner instead. Diaphragmatic breathing is the best. Put your hand on your stomach and breathe. You should see your stomach rising. Pay attention to your breath.

Losing my Mindfulness. When you are too busy, you tend to miss appointments. When you are too busy, you lose your concentration. Review your schedule for the coming day. Learn to be grateful. Set your intentions and learn to meditate. Review your schedule for the upcoming day.

What a Difference a Day Makes. 8 tips for yourself. Detach yourself and observe from a third party perspective. The difference is yourself. Don’t be defined by the situation. Focus on the joyful parts of your life. Learn to ask for help when you are down. Mourn the loss and move forward with optimism. Take a 4 quadrant perspective. Learn to remember what a difference a day makes.

The Mental in Illness. Believe that you are in good health. Do not just focus on your illness. Do not let your illness impact 4 quadrants of your life. Your mind can play a big part in the healing process.

If You Knew You Could Not Fail. Assume that you cannot fail. What would you do if you could not fail? Do you have a healthy mind?

Body and Health (Part 2)

Bill was busy and stressed-out at work. He had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Diet and exercise are crucial and must not be over-looked. Use the 80/20 rule, which is eat healthily 80% of the time and indulge on 20% of the time. There are numerous benefits to exercise. Many adults are not exercising. Fun and exercise doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Do not take anti-depressants as you might become reliant on it.

Living in the 80s. Eating healthy all the time is hard to achieve. Do not feel stressed over eating, otherwise, you will not enjoy it. Throw out your unhealthy food. Reduce your portion size. Wait till you are full first, before considering whether to eat more. Keep it simple. Eat more veggies. Eat mindfully. Dine out with care. Ask yourself why. Pinpoint and control your emotions and understand why you like to eat so much.

Find Your Gypsy. Think creative about your workouts. Adopt the following tips to aid your workouts. 1) Change your framework; 2) Think Creatively; 3) Make the gym fun; 4) Talk and walk; 5) Do it with someone; 6) Count your steps; 7) Crunch at work; 8) Keep moving. Exercise enhances your mood, lowers blood pressure, increases metabolism etc. There are many benefits to exercise.

From A’s to Zzzzzs. The fountain of youth is sleep. Life is so frantic that many people sacrifice sleep. It is not a ‘nice to have’. It is a ‘must have’. Lack of sleep puts you at great risk for infection etc. Sleep is the natural antidote during the day. There are many people who suffer from sleep apnoea. There are 10 ways to sleep better and you should follow them: Go dark and quiet; Stop the caffeine; Eat a bedtime snack; Relax and breathe; Write it out; Watch the liquids; Exercise early; Create bedroom bliss; Stop smoking; Don’t drink and sleep.

Keeping it real. Do not feed yourself fake food. Look at the ingredient list to see whether the product is real or fake. Even snack bars may contain soy protein etc. Look at the ingredient list when buying a product. Some of food have chemical additives and corn/soy. Less is more when it comes to ingredients. Ingredients that are difficult to pronounce are usually fake. Eat the right type of fat. For instance, eat avocados, nuts, seeds, almond butter, olive oil etc. A lot of processed food have GMO content. Some countries ban the use of artificial growth hormones. As consumers, we should demand healthier food choices. Avoid GMO products.

Au Natural. What you put on your skin is important too. Think about your personal care products. Avoid using products containing toxins. Try to avoid products containing parabens, fragrance, phthalates, SLS, propylene glycol etc. To reduce toxic exposure, one can support the right companies, read the ingredient list, use fewer products, know your resources, check the expiry etc.

Just Say Maybe. Take medication mindfully. Be observant as to the side effects that may be present. Do not abuse drug prescriptions. Be wary of drugs that alleviate symptoms but doesn’t go to underlying cause. Vioxx was pulled from the shelves. Do research before taking medication. Find out about side effects. Drug chemistry can react differently for different individuals. Explore natural ways to take care of your health. Your body is an amazing healer.

The Trendy Diet. Soy has been blacklisted recently. Are carbs good? Carbs have been a long term enemy. Fat is good? There was a point when the Atkins diet was popular. Recently, people have been fickle about soy products too. Wheat appears to be the latest enemy. Modern food products contain a lot of gluten. Some people are sensitive to gluten contained in food. Be wary of food sensitivities.

Follow yourself. You are your own advocate of your health. Learn to help yourself. Chemotherapy is not for everyone. There is no right solution for everyone. Learn to do what is right for you. Trust your body and listen to it. Listen to everyone and follow no one.

Diagnosis – Inadequate Eyelashes. Products used to lengthen eye lashes can cause further issues. Beauty is very subjective. Who created the view that long eyelashes are associated with beauty? Worry about aging. Can we cure ‘unattractiveness’? Should we even try to do something like that? We are all products of socialization.

Body Talk. Listen to your body and monitor your blood pressure etc. This is known as biofeedback etc. Observe your before and after readings. When you experience stress, observe how your body reacts to it. Wear a heart monitor etc to monitor how you are. Measure your pulse. Practise deep breathing so that you can enter a relaxed state. Find ways to cope with stress. Hear how your body talk.

Fad-Free Eating. Follow the following 12 tips: 1) Eat real food; 2) Follow the rainbow; 3) Eat organic food; 4) Buy local; 5) skip the bad fats; 6) Play detective; 7) Start the day right; 8) Carry snacks; 9) Go unconventional; 10) Know your fish; 11) Eat for yourself; 12) Follow the 80/20 rule. Drink loads of water. Skip the soda. Please try fad-free eating.

Pink Ribbons and Red Hearts. Do not rely on genetics or statistics solely. We are a data-driven society. Don’t take numbers at face value. Research and you will find out that there are other factors that affect health as well. Dig further into the data.

Relationships and Health (Part 3)

This is about your personal connections with others. Put energy into managing relationships. People with a strong social network live longer. Learn to identify your emotional triggers. Manage your social network. Do not feel low about yourself. Love and intimacy are very powerful factors indeed.

Exiting Stage Left. The quality of relationships you have affect your life. You need caring and supportive friends. Friends who are manipulative are not good for your health. You have the power to choose your relationships. How do you feel after meeting that person? Be genuine in your approach to others. Observe your self-esteem levels. Be mindful of the time you spend with others. Thank your friends who have supported you. For those who have not, please exit stage left.

Trigger Happy. Identify your triggers. A trigger is something that caused you to overreact. Do not be completely reactive. Understand what your abandonment issues are. Now, I have a significant relationship with my parents. What is your trigger? Is it feeling abandoned? Deprived? Vulnerable? There are many other forms of triggers. What can you do about your triggers? Understand what emotion you are feeling and what is causing you to feel that way. Awareness is the first step.

Vitamin T. If you are touch deprived, you could be affecting your health. It helps to calm the skin and warm the heart. The lack of touch can lead to decreased emotional health. Touch helps to relieve stress. Touch can stimulate body mechanisms. Where can you get more Vitamin T in your life?

Me, You and ‘I’. I refer to ‘iPhone’ in this case. However, do not be overly attached to your phone. Do not let it take over your life. Do you text non-stop in the presence of your friends? Are you addicted to social media? Too much clutter can affect your serenity in life. Here are 7 ideas you can consider: 1) reduce email; 2) delete, not forward; 3) help yourself; 4) be present; 5) play the game; 6) disconnect; 7) ask why. One needs to set boundaries with technology.

Find Your People. Who understands your passion for what you do? Who are those who can relate to you completely? You can always be authentic around them. Spend time with those who can relate to you. How can you make an effort to spend more time with those who matter?

Crazy Runner Girl. BOMF encourages people to pick up running. Running reminds people of how similar people actually are. There is no separation between race, gender etc. When you care for your community, you can connect with others on a human level. Helping others give you health benefits too. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose. How can you make the community a better place?

Four-Legged Therapy. Who gives you unconditional love? You can always volunteer at a dog shelter. Pets can bring you immense joy. There are positive physiological responses that come with it. Pet lovers are apparently less stressed than non-pet lovers. There are health benefits associated with loving pets. Give your pet a hug.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. – Mahatma Gandhi

Do you know? Sometimes, it is good to talk about deeper topics. Record how your family members answer such questions. Get to know your friends and family on a deeper level. Create special bonds with them.

‘I think I’m in love’. That feeling of being in love is amazing. You want to spend a lot of time with your soul mate. How do you keep that spark for love alive? By doing the following 5 things: 1) Make time; 2) Touch more; 3) Greet with a wag; 4) Get to know; 5) Have fun. Be present and love each other.

There is no there. Bad news sells and dominates the news industry. There is no there, it is only here. Global tragedies affect us. Global stock markets were affected by the Japanese Earthquakes. When others are suffering, we feel it. Seek out meaning and be happy. Live the best life you can. Create the life that you want. Be happy and live healthily.

Freaky Friday. Try to understand things from another person’s perspective. Write your feelings in a diary and understand how other people make you feel. Talk to it. Use the first person pronoun, ‘I’. See things from their point of view. Do the 3-2-1 exercise. Is there someone in your life who is a source of sadness and anger? Maybe you can try to look at the relationship from their perspective.

Dying Healthy. You can still be healthy with cancer. It’s your choice. Put good food into your body and move around. Do not let the disease take control of your life. Work with the disease instead of against it. Some cultures fear death. Learn to accept death as a part of life by talking more about it. Information is power. Don’t let the illness take control of your life. If one quadrant is down, focus on the other three. Watch what you say. Pick your own label and befriend death and disease.

Environment (Part 4)

This represents both the natural and constructed environment. The environment is not separate from us. There are many potential toxins in our body. We ingest them all the time. Toxins are linked to poor health effects. Learn to use recycled materials etc. The environment will have an impact on your health.

Green Exercise for the Sole and Soul. Green exercise is exercise that is done in nature. Some outdoor exercise is beneficial. Unplug and listen to the sound of nature. Listen to the sights and sounds around you. Take a lesson from how others. How will you nourish your soul?

Shoeless Sanctuary. Make your home a healthy sanctuary. 1) Leave shoes at the door; 2) Clean green; 3) Limit the leaching; 4) Remodel with care; 5) Set bugs free; 6) get an air cleaner; 7) Garden organically; 8) Be quiet.

Free Space, Free Mind. Do some spring cleaning once in a while. Create space in your physical environment. Free up space for a non-cluttered mind. Be honest about the kitchen. Get rid of unnecessary materials in the bathroom. Sort and file materials in the office. Consider cancelling subscription of magazines you don’t read. Discard old gifts which you don’t need. Sell your old items on Craigslist etc. Recycle old materials. Consider donating your old items.

Don’t Judge a Weed. Weeds are the enemy? You need to expend a lot of effort to kill a weed. Approach them with an open mind. Weeds are beneficial for your health. They are also a good source of protein etc. Learn to work with nature. Dandelions are packed with good vitamins and minerals.

Shrinking Your Waistline. Use less resources so as to protect the environment. 1) Forgo plastic; 2) Carry your own bag; 3) Double up the paper; 4) Don’t toss the napkins; 5) Let the fingers do the typing; 6) Don’t flush the meds; 7) Recycle right; 8) Save water. There are many changes you can do to reduce the impact on our environment.

Frying the Birds. Life is not good for seagulls when they munch on leftover food left behind by humans. It is also best not to touch wildlife. The laws seldom protect animals sufficiently. Be mindful of wildlife. Expand from our compassionate circle to include all living creatures. Nature and us are in balance. We should not disrupt it.

Vinegar and Soda, Please. Toxins released from cleaning products can affect you. Be mindful of the products used on your skin. Cleaning products can affect the skin. Avoid ingredients like petroleum distillates, phosphates, triclosan, ammonia and others. Use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. Get back to basics when choosing cleaning products.

No More Litter Bugs. People litter for different reasons. It start fires, reduce property values, causes car accidents etc. Learn to develop the habit of picking up litter wherever you go. Make it fun. Educate others. Volunteer. What are the steps you can take to keep your environment clean?

Stop the (Holiday) Madness. There is too much waste during the holiday period. Limit the holiday cards. Go potted. Try homemade gifts. Give less. Create traditions. Be creative with gift wrap. Forgo the ribbons. Save energy. Enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. Health is a significant part of pleasure too.

Sleep Deprivation Unit. Hospitals isn’t a very pleasant place to visit. We can make the environment more cozy and make it more attractive for people to visit. You can make small changes to your environment. Play the tunes. Feel the love. Bring the outdoors in. Set the mood. Nourish your body.

Eating for the Planet. Understand what the various ways for eating well are. 1) Go Local; 2) Buy organic; 3) Eat it all; 4) Load up on plants; 5) Skip the process; 6) Support green businesses; 7) Grow your own; 8) Compost; 9) Be thankful.

My Love Affair with a Mountain. I have always enjoyed nature hikes etc. It is a must have. Mount Diablo is one of my loves. Marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature. Nature gives us so much. It provides clean and beautiful air. It connects and reunites us all.

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Confident Now by Noel N

If you want to be more confident, this is the book for you. I am more confident than I ever used to be. This book mentions the ACT Therapy (Acceptance & Commitment). 1) Practise the skills; 2) Utilize them effectively; 3) Evaluate results; 4) Adjust as needed. If you had unlimited confidence, would you do anything differently? This book will cover issues on mindfulness, goal-setting, fear communication etc.

Mindfulness. This is an ancient concept found in Buddhism etc. It involves being present in the current moment. It involves being curious and open, especially in unpleasant situations. Defusion, expansion and engagement are all key elements. Defusion involves detaching yourself from your thoughts in order to prevent them from controlling your actions. Have a sense of separation from such a thought. Singing the thought aloud helps. Recite your thought in a silly voice. Imagine your thoughts on leaves which are floating down a stream. Keep repeating until you get the hang of it. Stay in the present moment. When life gives you pain, try to enlarge and open and accept the pain. Expansion means making room for your emotions. It is important to notice, acknowledge and then make room. Be aware. Engagement means to be engaged in the present moment. Take deep breaths and then relax. Breathe in, breathe out. When you get distracted, please return your focus on your breathing.

Values. Keep your values strong and keep pushing. Stand for something in your life. What can a clear set of values do for you? An example is that of Nelson Mandela. Goals set in accordance to values are very fulfilling indeed. Values are more about long term reward than short-term gain. Even if you don’t achieve your goals, it is satisfying to be able to live up to your values. Create a values list and write it down. There are plenty of values that this book suggests. Values are not rules.

Goals. A ship must have a rudder. You must be able to steer your own ship. Set meaningful goals for yourself and work towards them. Do not drift about aimlessly in life. Many people are full of self-doubt. Your beliefs must change first. You need to want it and know what you want before you can achieve it. True success is living by your values. Embrace the process and let go of the outcome. The process is more important than the outcome. Now that you have written your values, learn to write down your goals in terms of both career, love, play, health etc. Choose one area of your life to focus on first. It is very important not to let your thoughts hold you back.

Fear. When we are in autopilot mode, we are not aware of our emotions. How do you face your fears? Notice which part of your body experiences fear. Let your mind chatter away. Acknowledge your feeling by its name. For example, say ‘Here’s stress’. Make space and breathe. Loosen up and feel yourself. Expand your awareness. Every day, you should be working towards your values. Do something fun and meaningful each day.

Remember, the actions of confidence come first and the feelings of confidence come later. – Unknown

Self-Acceptance. You have to fully accept yourself and avoid judging yourself at all costs. Focus on how to improve instead. When you recognize a judgment, stop and acknowledge that it is a judgment. Break the habit of judging other people as well. Learn to compete with yourself instead. Focus on every experience and learn from it.

Body. Exercise makes you happier and more confident. It makes you look more radiant and happy. Do not neglect your health and your body. Try walking for long distances if you have not incorporated exercise into your routine. Nutrition is important as well. Incorporate healthy diet choices into your lifestyle.

Communication. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Communicating with confidence is important. Learn to genuinely treat people well. Practise using confident body language. Fake it till you become it. Do not hesitate to record yourself in the mirror etc. Pay attention to how professional leaders project their voice. If you are good at social interaction, people will pay attention to you.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. – Lao Tzu

Appreciation. Be grateful for everything you have. Say thanks to everyone. Savor every last experience of life. Make a gratitude notecard to note down the important moments in life. Practising gratitude isn’t easy. Be a giving and compassionate person. Give without constraints. Make small donations to charity. Buy a gift to show appreciation for someone.

If we give with no thought of getting, there is no limit to the abundance that will accrue to us. We limit our happiness to the extent that we try to measure out happiness to others. – Earl Nightingale

Forgiveness. Do not hold on to anger. Instead, learn to let it go. If you are healthy, you should be able to forgive others. Don’t be a slave to negative experiences. The past has no power over the present. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and learn to move on.

Practice. Nothing will happen if you don’t practice. Being confident is a skill that is useful and you can carry with for the rest of your life.

Win. Russ Harris wrote a book on confidence. There are 10 rules for confidence. Negative thoughts are normal. Learn to defuse them, but do not fight them. True success is living by your values. Befriend your fears. Peak performance is achieved through total engagement.