My Goal This Year: Become The Happiest I’ve Ever Been In My Life (And How You Can Too!)

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Become my happiest self – happier than I have ever been in my life. That’s the goal I set for myself on January 1st this year. Now, I am not huge on New Year resolutions because usually I make a laundry list of goals that I would like to get done, and then I don’t get them done because it is too much and we forget and etc. So this year I decided to just focus on the ONE thing that I believe will improve everything else in my life as well by doing it: my happiness. I’d rather do ONE amazing thing than 1,000 mediocre things.

My goal for my happiness journey this year is not quite as simple as it seems. It precedes some bigger and deeper questions. How do you become your happiest? What is happiness and what brings more of it into your life?

I am taking a multiple pronged approach to optimal happiness. There are a few major categories that are scientifically backed in research to bring about happiness which I focus on improving:

The first one is doing what I love every day. Life is not about doing what is easiest and just lounging around all day. It’s not about playing it safe and taking the “normal” route. It is about pushing yourself to do something meaningful and worth doing in your life. It is about trying new things, meeting new people, helping others, and committing yourself to something that is bigger than yourself. For me right now, that is this blog and Life Tools. For those of you who don’t know, Life Tools is an online company and community I started to help each other naturally become happier and healthier for a higher quality of life. I love this mission and this is what I want to do with my time, energy, and passion. This is what I am here for and I know that I can help many, many people become happier and healthier, and live better lives. So, I do this every day. A lot. My passion comes from my WHY! So first step for you: find something that is bigger than yourself, be it a mission, a passion, or anything else that can help yourself and others, and make the world a better place. Make sure you love it and DO IT! Go all in! This will fill your life up with so much meaning and energy. You will have a huge reason to get up in the morning and your life will feel on track. You will know it is right because things will flow. From meaning, you find a deeper happiness and satisfaction in yourself and life.

Second area of my life that I’m improving is my health. Yep! Happiness and health are so interrelated that I’d actually venture to say they are the same thing. When you have a stomach ache or the flu or pain, do you feel happy? Exactly. It is much harder. I don’t think that you can have one without the other – at least not optimally. So this year I am focusing on becoming my healthiest to ultimately become my happiest. This means eating well, fixing nutritional deficiencies (through diet and supplementation), taking care of my body by stretching and staying active (such as riding my bike instead of driving a car), finding any hidden food allergies, having a calming morning routine, stopping and relaxing when I feel stressed, etc. There will be plenty of future articles on all of this! 🙂 Your brain and your body are one, and it is time we started taking care of it! So the first step for you in this area is to focus on eating a healthy diet with plenty of REAL food, and moving your body every day. You can do other things, but the simpler you keep it, the more likely you will stick to it. Once you’ve got this down, you can add more like looking for hidden inflammation and food allergies, balancing your hormones, supplementation, meditation, etc. I believe that a healthy diet and an active lifestyle is the 80/20 of health (what is the 80/20 principle?).

The next area of life that I’m improving is my social life. An active social life is SO important for optimal happiness, and it is something that I was definitely been lacking in for a few years. Just keeping yourself from being isolated and alone all the time is important and has been proven to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety levels. I most definitely learned that the hard way. But you don’t have to! For my social life, I have joined a few local groups where I am able to meet new people and make friends. I also plan on doing some volunteering at places I find interesting and enjoyable, or that I feel passion to help with. My business, Life Tools, has also been great for my social life since I am part of a few different associations and groups that meet up at various times throughout the month. I also started my own Life Tools Community group which I believe will become very successful and fun, since it is focused on helping each other become happier and healthier. There is no end to what you can do to bring more people and social events into your life. I am probably going to join and start a few more groups, and do a few more things as I continue to gain momentum, which I will write more about soon! So the first step for you in this area is to get social by joining a group, team, club, event, or getting a job that is social, etc. (NOT a cult though!). Just get yourself out there and get the ball rolling. The more you do it, the more people you will meet and the more events you will go to and get invited to, and the more people you will meet and become friends with, and on and on. Just start. This one is a compounding effect. 🙂

The fourth area of life I am focusing on is putting extra time, effort, and attention into those important people in my life. Looking back on my life, I want to remember the times when I did crazy, fun, amazing things with the people I love the most. I am still improving in this area of course, but what I have learned so far is that if you have a good, caring, and loving relationship with your spouse, kids, family, etc., your whole life feels so much happier and brighter. If you are happy within your romantic relationship, you feel much happier in your life as well. If you are in harmonious relationships with your kids and extended family, your own happiness levels are going to be harmonious too. By kicking out toxic, stressful people and only focusing on those amazing and wonderful people in your life, your quality of living will skyrocket! You will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders and you will feel much happier overall. Maybe because of less stress and more fun with each other. So the first step for you is to identify all of the amazing people in your life who you truly love and appreciate, and make sure they know you love them! Put extra time, attention, and effort into these relationships, and enjoy life with them. Even if they are far away, call them! Take a road trip to go see them. Whatever, but don’t let these important relationships fade. No excuses. Also, make a list of anyone who is toxic and stop having relationships with them as soon as possible. These people drain you of your energy, health, and happiness and you don’t need them in your life (unless you enjoy negativity, stress, and rapid aging).

The next area of my life that I am improving is focusing and simplifying my life and myself. I put these two together because I think that you can’t really have one without the other. How do you simplify your life without focusing on what you want and need? How to you focus on something without simplifying the process and simplifying your life around your focus? I have been pretty good so far this year about focusing and simplifying things – not necessarily on purpose, but I think a lot of my focusing and simplifying actually came from the changes above I am making in my life and in myself. Life is much more peaceful now, and I know what I need to do, and I know what I want. I don’t own much, but I’m getting rid of most of what I own because I don’t need it – and somewhat by accident I recently found out that I actually don’t even notice when most of my belongings are gone or inaccessible. It made no difference in the quality of my life whatsoever. Once you know these things, life becomes much more interesting and enjoyable. So the first step for you is to make a list of what (and who) is truly important to you in your life. Focus your time, energy, and attention into those things and people. Reduce your time, attention, and energy on pretty much all other things. It really is this simple. However, it does not mean that actually doing this is easy. Execution is the hardest part because it is much easier said than done. But it is something that anyone can achieve if they want a happier life, and to become happier within themselves.

The last area of my life that I’m improving is spending time relaxing and rejuvenating. You can’t work every second of every day. That’s why we need sleep – so that our bodies and minds can rest. So I am focusing on getting enough sleep, doing things that I enjoy that also help me relax (such as hiking or songwriting), and stopping whatever I am doing and taking a break when I feel stressed out or anxious. No one can do their best or most efficient work when they are in this state of mind. It is also really bad for you – kind of like drinking a soda or something. If you feel anxious and stressed out, you must learn to control this. It may sound hard to do, but if you can get good at just pausing and stepping back for a breather, this will become simple. For example, when I am working on my business and I start feeling uptight and anxious, I stop and do something relaxing until I feel better. Usually, I only need about 10 minutes to feel better again. It doesn’t really matter what I do in that ten minutes as long as it is enjoyable and relaxing – sometimes I take a walk outside, other times I do some gardening, sometimes I take a warm shower, other times I call someone I love and just talk, and sometimes I just read a book. The important part is just taking this time to relax and come down from this state of high stress and anxiety. The problem is that most people don’t take that ten minutes, and carry that anxiety around with them for the rest of the day, and they bring it home with them to the people they love. This is not the kind of pattern you want going on in your life (especially since you want to focus extra love, time, and attention on your loved ones, not extra stress, fights, and anxiety). So the first step for you is to monitor your feelings and notice when you are feeling stressed and uptight. Once you are able to identify this, you can practice taking breaks to relax and get yourself back into a better mindset. I know that this can be hard for many people, especially at work and places that don’t approve of you taking “unnecessary” time away from your work. Luckily, there are ways around this and if you just bring a little creativity to the table you will still be able to do it. I’m not saying be lazy at your job and try to do nothing; I’m saying when you are anxious and stressed out, take the time you need to reset or else your whole day will go down the anxiety toilet! If you need a break you need a break.

So, this is what I have been doing so far! If you plan on implementing these things above, don’t try to do this all at once – just do it as it comes. I am not trying to accomplish major, specific, set goals towards any of these areas above. My goal instead is to just improve my happiness and health every day. I spend time learning about happiness from experience and other sources, and any time I see an opportunity in line with my happiness journey, I jump on it. I say no to everything else. I can tell you that lately I have been feeling happier than I have felt in a long time, so what I am doing is definitely working! I’ll keep you updated on my happiest-happiness journey as the year continues, and hopefully you can learn from it as well!

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How to Ditch Your Car, Get in Shape, and Follow Your Dreams :)

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My whip & Shasta 🙂

For the past few months now I have been riding my bike everywhere. On average, I have been riding about 8-10 miles per day. This milage might seem like a lot, but sometimes it is split up throughout the day, depending on what I am doing. Other times it is all at once. Either way, you are probably wondering why I would do this?

About 2 months ago, I quit my job and started working on Life Tools full time. I saved up enough money from my job that I could have all of my living expenses covered for about 5 months. I would like to sound like I have life all figured out and that I had planned it this way from the start, but I didn’t. I just got tired of my job and realized that I really didn’t have to work and I could give 100% of my attention to Life Tools and my blog (side note: I have some AWESOME things coming very soon for this blog so stay tuned because it is about to be great!). So that’s what I did! If you read my previous post, I am on a journey this year to become happier than I have ever been in my entire life (so far) and I knew that doing this would greatly improve my happiness.

So what does this have to do with riding my bike?

A lot, actually.

The only problem I had was that my job provided me with a work car to drive that I took home at night. I was also allowed to drive to do my own personal errands and grocery shopping after work, and do pretty much anything I needed to do if it wasn’t too far out of the way. So at that time all I needed was my work truck, but when I quit my job I also lost my set of wheels. I didn’t want to buy a car because it would use most of my fund I had saved up to live on and I wouldn’t be able to pursue my passion and dream! So, inspired by Mr. Money Mustache’s blog, I decided that I could just ride my bike for a while until I need a car. Right now I simply don’t need one. Would I like one? I guess. Would I enjoy it? Sure. Probably not much more than my bike. But is it an absolute necessity right now? No. It is far more important to me that I work on my passion until it not only can support me financially, but can also more importantly impact thousands of lives in a positive and enlightening way. I would much rather work on this than have the material comfort of a car. Besides, cars are kind of expensive and then you have to pay registration, insurance, and you are at the mercy of the gas prices. Not to mention pollution (for most cars, at least).

What I have noticed when I ride is that you smell the most wonderful fragrances as you pass by beautiful gardens. You see things that you never would have noticed in a car, like a for-sale sign in front of a house or a new park, etc. You can hear everything around you and feel the wind and sun on your skin. And of course, you get in great shape (at least cardio-wise)! Plus, once I get to wherever I am going, I am always alert, energetic, and ready. That is just naturally how you feel after getting a little exercise. Plus, if you are trying to get in shape or get some cardio in, it is a lot easier to do it when it is your only way to get somewhere. Riding your bike also helps you prioritize the things you need to do away from your house and it really motivates you to chunk together all activities that are close in proximity to each other. Another nice thing I have noticed is how kind the drivers are to bikers (at least in my area). They will usually go way around you when they pass, they will slow down and let you by, and they are typically really careful. Whether they truly care about my safety as a person or they just don’t want a lawsuit, they are very respectful and it makes me feel grateful for all of the good people in the world. What a difference from when you are in a car! Everyone just seems to cut you off or drive ridiculously. So basically, with a bike you just become more efficient, more energetic, more lean, and more appreciative of everything around you. 🙂

Is this no-car, only-bike thing for everyone? Of course not. But my point here is that we need to look beyond what we think are necessities and understand that we can live life very simply – AND still be happy! Am I ever going to be a hard-core biker? Probably not. I don’t really have a desire to do that. I just use the bike as a tool. Choosing to ride my bike instead of spend money on a car allows me to have more time and freedom to do what I love and help others do the same.

I have learned that not having a car is really not that big of a setback and biking is not only a great alternative, it is really enjoyable. Do I feel like riding it every day? No. But am I grateful that I am riding my bike and working on my dreams (no matter how much of a headwind there is) instead of driving a car to a job that doesn’t fulfill me and sitting in terrible traffic. There are other options, of course, if you don’t have a car – depending on where you live. For example, I am really lucky that my surrounding area is pretty flat. If there were lots of steep hills, I would probably not be riding my bike – especially since my bike is a one speed. There is public transportation, Uber and other driving services if you are in large metro areas, carpooling (which I do when I can), motorcycles and mopeds, etc., even walking! There are many options! Honestly, many things in life just come down to how creative you can be. And guess what? This makes life very interesting!

If you want to follow your dreams and passions, there is nothing holding you back but yourself. No matter what setbacks you face, the only one who can decide persevere or quit is you. You are the only determining factor as to whether you can do it or not. Chose your dreams. Choose to make decisions in favor of them. Go all in! And NEVER, EVER give up!

 

To living your dreams,

Alex 🙂

PS– Here is one of my favorite speeches by Les Brown that will really inspire you to go after your dreams and what you want in life. I have listened to it countless times and it still motivates and inspires me each time. Listen and/or watch it on Youtube here. 

PPS– there is a great discount on Peace of Mind Natrual Blend (for less stress and better sleep) going on right now on Amazon! Get 40% off when you enter this coupon code at checkout: VRGISBE7

I just wanted to let you guys know about it so that you can check it out if you want! 🙂

Is Depression A Prozac Deficiency?

Hey guys! This is an article from Life Tools, but it bears repeating so I am posting it here as well. Enjoy! 🙂


Depression is the leading cause of disability affecting more than 1.1 billion people worldwide. According to Mark Hyman, M.D, “More than 40 million people have anxiety, and more than 20 million people have depression”. Millions of people each year use pharmaceutical antidepressant medicine for their depression. Yet, more people than ever are now depressed. Mark Hyman M.D. goes on to explain that one in ten Americans takes an antidepressant, and the use of antidepressants has tripled in the last ten years. In fact, the rate of antidepressant use among middle aged women in their 30s and 40s is extremely high. One out of every four middle aged woman is taking an antidepressant. That is 25% of middle aged women. With so many people taking antidepressants to treat their symptoms, you would think that depression rates would be going down. If antidepressants are as effective as they say they are, then why aren’t people getting better from them? Why do these people still feel depressed when they are supposed to be feeling better? And why isn’t anyone asking how effective these drugs truly are?

To start with, we all know that there are some undesirable side effects to pharmaceutical antidepressants. Some cause dry mouth, blurry vision, constipation, sedation, lightheadedness, and sexual disfunction. They can also slow the rhythm of the heart, and can therefore result in death in the event of an overdose. Other antidepressants can cause a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure that is accompanied by a severe headache. Yet others can cause nausea, headaches, anxiety, restlessness, weight gain, fatigue, loss of mental abilities, and trouble sleeping. On top of this, eighty six percent of people taking antidepressants experience unpleasant side effects. These unwanted side effects have been justified by proclaiming that they are worth-it because the drug is effective in curing depression. Unfortunately, this is also a misconception. According to Mark Hyman, M.D., most patients who take antidepressants either don’t respond or have only a partial response. In fact, success is considered a 50% improvement in half the symptoms. And this minimal result is achieved in less than half of the patients taking these medications. This is a pretty dismal record in anyone’s book. Unfortunately, the public still believes in the effectiveness of these drugs because drug companies selectively publish studies on antidepressants. The New England Journal of Medicine stated that the pharmaceutical companies publish nearly all the studies that show benefit and almost none of the studies that show they don’t work. This kind of underreporting and deception warps our view, leading us to think that their antidepressants work to cure depression when realistically they don’t. They’re more like a band-aid.

Is depression a Prozac deficiency? Is ADHD a Ritalin deficiency? Is Alzheimer’s an Aricept deficiency? Of course not. Yet the use of these drugs is skyrocketing. According to trends in psychotropic medication use among U.S. adults, psychiatric or psychotropic medications are the number-two selling class of prescription drugs, after cholesterol medication. The rate of increase in the use of psychiatric medications in the last decade is huge (such as 1,000% increase in the use of stimulant medication in children). Yet, as we discussed above, these medications don’t really work. These drugs don’t cure the problem, they cover over the symptoms. So why not look for alternatives? There is always more than one way to do things in life, and fixing your psychiatric difficulties is not an exception. In fact, I am arguing that maybe all of these mental illnesses are actually the noticeable results of deeper issues in the body. There is an answer to brain problems, but it is not more drugs or psychotherapy. Although these tools can be a helpful bridge during your recovery, they won’t provide long-term solutions.

The answer to fix our mental illnesses is in our bodies. Brain function is directly influenced by what you eat, and by nutritional deficiencies, allergens, infections, toxins, lifestyle, and stress. Mental health disorders such as “depression” and “anxiety” are simply names of common responses our bodies have to a variety of insults and deficiencies. Unfortunately, our current healthcare follows a 100% accuracy, 0% validity system. It provides a perfect way to describe symptoms, but has nothing to tell us about the underlying biology for what causes them. For example, being labeled ‘clinically depressed’ explains all of the symptoms of someone who is depressed, yet it does not explain why they are depressed or how they became depressed. Their depression may have been the result of a multitude of causes, for example, “folate or B6 or B12 deficiency, low thyroid function, brain allergies (reactions to food that can take many forms, including mood disorders, ADD, autism, insomnia, and just plain brain fog), an autoimmune response to gluten, that inflames the brain, mercury poisoning, abnormal proteins called gluteo- or caseomorphins from poorly digested food that alter brain chemistry, brain inflammation from a hidden infection, blood sugar imbalances, low testosterone or other sex hormones, a deficiency of omega-3 fats, or adrenal gland dysfunction from excessive stress, etc.” (Mark Hyman, M.D.). All of these body issues can result in depression. How can you fix anything before you know what is wrong? You can’t – yet that’s what modern medicine does today by diagnosing the symptoms and assigning a drug. In reality, mental illness subjective for each person. All psychiatric illnesses are results and symptoms of deeper physical problems.

The future of medicine is personalized treatment, not “one size fits all”. The outdated method of naming a disease and then assigning a drug to fix it clearly isn’t working. This problem is a direct consequence of the myth of diagnosis. Doctors are trained to name the disease, and then assign a medication to ‘treat’ it. But if the causes of a disease can be radically different for each person, why should we believe that a “one size fits all” prescription of medications would work to treat those underlying causes of the disease? For example, two people might go to a doctor both complaining of a bad headache. One gets headaches because she drinks too much wine. The other gets headaches because he keeps getting hit over the head with the wine bottle! They both have the same symptoms of a headache, but they have very different reasons for their headaches – and therefore, very different treatments. Just giving these patients Motrin or pain medication will not solve the underlying problem. One needs to drink less and the other needs to stop getting hit in the head!

Medications can be lifesaving and are incredibly useful if given in the right dose, for the right reason, at the right time, for the right reason. The problem in medical practice today is that their only tools are medications. This means that the best or right treatment for any particular condition may be ignored, because all that doctors have studied and used are medications. Our goal in medicine should be to find the right cure for each person, without prejudice, whether it is a drug, a nutrient, diet change, detoxification, a hormone, exercise, etc. For example, patients might just need a vitamin to cure a B6 nutritional deficiency causing their depression instead of a harsh antidepressant drug.

We need a completely different approach to address mental illness. It starts with your lifestyle and your body.This includes living a physically active life with social interaction and quality relationships. It also includes optimizing nutrition, balancing your hormones, cooling off inflammation, fixing digestion problems, detoxifying your body, boosting your energy metabolism, and calming your mind. In essence, it basically means that it is time to get healthy. This country is so unhealthy that we don’t even realize how bad we were feeling until we feel better again. If you keep your body healthy by doing these things, and also live a life that makes you feel happy, you will be healthy.  You will not be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, etc. because you are taking care of your body, mind and soul. This is the holistic approach to treating mental illness, and it is extremely effective – especially compared to the harsh drugs used to “treat” these disorders. This approach addresses the root causes of your mental issues and heals you from the inside out.

If you are suffering from some kind of mental illness or difficulty, you should consult a high-quality holistic or naturopathic doctor who can help identify exactly what you need to do to fix the underlying problem, not just the symptoms. They also will be able to refer natural solutions to you for your depression, anxiety, stress, and much more. There are so many amazing natural supplements to help with mental illness and depression that are much more effective than pharmaceutical antidepressants and have fewer side effects. I also suggest using Life Tools as a resource. We are a community first and foremost. Our mission as a community and company is to help each other and the world become naturally happier and healthier to live a higher quality life. We have a Life Tools Community on Facebook where you can learn more about natural health and happiness for less stress, better sleep, and a better life. We also offer natural products that help people become happier and healthier in their lives, such as Peace of Mind Natural Blend, which is a natural supplement for less stress and better sleep. It is a harmonious blend of herbs and vitamins that also replenish your nutritional deficiencies and help you feel good while doing it. Like Dr. Mark Hyman says, “You can sit on a tack and take all the pain killers you want, but it is still going to hurt until you remove the tack”. Peace of Mind Blend removes the tack. Between recharging your body with the vitamins you need and the herbal comfort from our special blend, Peace of Mind Natural Blend will help you permanently reduce (or even eliminate) stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as increase your energy and greatly improve your sleep. Many people have enjoyed taking the Blend as a safer and more effective natural alternative to harsh antidepressant drugs.

Depression is not a Prozac deficiency, and it is time that we start finding real solutions – not just band-aids – so that we can become our happiest and healthiest together. Here at Life Tools, we want to address this disconnect to help make our community and our world a naturally happier and healthier place. If you would like to help with our mission, then please join us and share this article!

 

Life Tools

Live Natural, Live Happy

 

Sources:

Demyttenaere, K. WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium. 2004.

Hicks, MD. 50 Signs of Mental Illness. Yale University Press, 2005. pp. 104.

Hyman, MD. The Ultramind Solution. Scribner, 2008. pp. 11, 42, & 47.

Paulose and Ram, R. “Trends in psychotropic medication use among U.S. adults.”

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf, vol. 5, 2007, pp. 70.

Turner, H. “Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent

efficiacy.” N Engl Med, vol. 3, 2008. pp. 60.


I think that this post could help thousands of people realize that defeating depression for good is an option if they use natural, holistic principles. I have been wonderful proof of that. Please feel free to share this article with others and let’s make this world a better, happier, and healthier place!
To living your happiest life,
-Alex

Stillness

There is a stillness within each of us.

It is especially noticeable when we wake up in the morning and when we are about to go to bed.

If we could capture this stillness and extend it throughout our day, how would it change our lives?

There may be more peace and serenity. Or more love for, and enjoyment of, every moment. Or maybe just less going on.

This stillness is a peaceful place and if we can cultivate it to grow throughout our lives, then we can always come back to our stillness, our essence, at any time. All we have to do is simply move into this state of mind whenever we feel it is desired or necessary. The more we can learn to extend this stillness throughout our day, the easier it is to utilize at any time wanted or needed.

Stillness is contaigous. It starts with just one of us, and then it multiplies exponentially as we impact those around us. What would our world look like if we all were able to utilize our calm stillness throughout our day and naturally spread this to others.

Would we have less fighting and troubles? Or less greed and selfishness? Or more friendship, community, and openess to change?

It starts with one.

We can all live more peacefully and intentionally, starting with slowing down and embracing the calm stillness we feel at the beginning and end of our day.

To living your happiest & most peaceful life,

-Alex 🙂

How to Know What You Want (When You Don’t Know What You Want)

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Let me ask you a question: What do you want?

Do you want a fancy house, 8 new cars, and a 30 person hot tub? Or a job working outdoors with a wonderful family to come home to? Or do you want to retire early and travel the world? Or do you want to go to college for a degree? What about health? Do you want to complete a triathlon? Do you prefer jogging 5 miles daily? Or crossfit? Dancing? Sports? Yoga? Do you want abs? Do you want to do all of these things? None of these things? Some of these things?

There are so many options in life!

We all want to live an awesome life, full of adventures, fun, and success. We all want to live our dream lives. We all want to be free in every way- personally, spiritually, physically, politically, etc.

We all know these things. But the problem is that most of us stop there. We don’t ever get to this place of freedom and happiness. Why? One reason is we might not know what we really want. Yes, we know in general that we want to be happy, wealthy, healthy, etc., but we need to get a little more specific and focused to figure out what we truly want.

Ask yourself this question: what do you visualize as your dream life?

What are you specifically doing? This may bring up a wall for you. Your mind might go blank. You may not know exactly what you want it to look like. There are so many paths that your life could take. You might begin to realize that you don’t really know what it is that you truly want.

Here are three things you can do to figure out what you want from life:

 

Figure Out What You Don’t Want. Then Flip It. 

Sometimes we don’t know what we want out of life, but we do know what we DON’T want! If you are having trouble finding purpose and direction in your life, start out with what you don’t want to do. What do you dislike or hate? What are your least favorite things to do? What are you unhappy about in your life right now? Write your answers down so you can see them plain and clear for what they are! These negativities in your life are causing you pain and suffering. Luckily, you can turn these negative things into amazing triumphs! It is time to turn your life around and get happy! If you are clear on what you don’t want in life, then you can steer away from those unpleasant areas and move in a more positive direction. What I would advise is this: Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write down all the things you don’t want in the given situation, or just life in general. Once you have finished listing your non-wants and dislikes, look at each non-want and write down the opposite of it in the right column.  It should look like this example:

Don’t Want: Want:
to fight w/ spouse good communication & enjoy time w/ spouse
loneliness & isolation close friends and frequent social interaction
etc.

Filling in a table like this will give you a good starting point. You will know what you definitely don’t want, and you will have an idea, therefore, of what you might want. You don’t have to know exactly where you are going, so long as it feels pleasant and exciting. The next step is to take action and try things to see what works and what brings you more happiness in your life.

 

Try New Things. 

If you don’t know what you want, then it might be because you have never committed to trying a new or different type of living- and I mean completely committed by giving this new try your all. By trying new things, you learn what you like and dislike/ want and don’t want in life. You want this to be something simple that you can start today. You can add this into your chart as well if you want, and it will look something like this:

Don’t Want: Want: Action:
to fight w spouse enjoy time together spend time together daily, eat&sleep well so not grouchy/tired
lonliness & isolation close friends, social volunteer in town to meet people. Spend time w/ bff
etc.

In this example, the actions recorded are all able to be started today. You could call up your spouse right now and plan a date or just plan on going on a walk together through the neighborhood later. You could go to bed early tonight to ensure a restful sleep, and you can eat good, healthy food for breakfast lunch, and dinner to ensure that you don’t get hungry ad grumpy. You could also set up a time to hang out with your friend, and you could get signed up to start volunteering soon too. All of these baby steps you would be taking today would be catalysts for a better tomorrow. Each step makes it possible for a bigger action step in the future until you are living in the “want” category on the chart above, and not the “Don’t want” category!

 

What Do You Know You Want in Your Life? 

It is ok to feel unsure of what you want! Don’t panic. Don’t feel like you are a hopeless or lost soul. You don’t have to know every little detail of your future life! You just have to look at what you know that you want in your life, and compare it to your current life, and then take action. You don’t have to know every detail of your life. You don’t have to know what every second of your perfect day would look like. You just have to commit yourself to making every day awesome. You have to truly believe in yourself and realize that while you are trying to build yourself your perfect life, it was right there all along. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the results. Enjoy the present.

When you envision your dream life, what comes to mind? The specifics, I mean. Don’t get bogged down in every little detail, just simply close your eyes and ask yourself this question. Write down your answers.

These are the things that you know you want. For some people, it may be to travel, or to be a singer, or to eat healthier food every day. For others it might be to write a book, or start a business, or meditate daily. There will probably be multiple things that you are positive that you want in your life – probably more than you think. Now that you have figured out what you don’t want, it is much easier to understand what you do want, or at least have a general direction to try out.

Remember, nothing here is permanent and nothing is set in stone. You can always change, in fact you will change. What you want in life changes as you do. You want different things out of life now than you did when you were a kid, right? Exactly! So don’t worry about it. Just go towards your passions, interests, and hobbies, and go away from what you don’t want in life.

“At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are, and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu

Now, whatever you wrote down for your answer, go do that. Whatever actions you wrote down in the chart, do those too. Start working on it, even if it is in tiny bite-sized portions. Little by little, great things get done.

 

To living your best life,

-Alex

PS- Peace of Mind Proprietary Blend is now on Amazon! If you need less stress and better sleep, you can try it now for 40% off (for a limited time, so now is the time to try it if you are curious!). Check it out. It may also help you relax and center yourself when going through the process of figuring out what you want from your amazing gift of life. 🙂

Why I Haven’t Worn A Single Drop Of Makeup In Months (The 30 Day Challenge)

This post is oriented more toward women, but if you men would like to understand women better, then keep reading!

Our society loves makeup. Guys and girls alike. There is a huge and disproportionate emphasis on looks versus real beauty. Looks are only a part of that true beauty. Yet, it is a social norm for women to slather on a bunch of face paint to look a certain way, usually to try to look and feel more attractive. Men seem to like makeup on women too, mainly because it is what our culture tells us is true beauty.

This all became very real to me one day when one of my best friends confided in me, saying,” I’m terrified of not wearing makeup.” It surprised me so much because I had always thought that she looked great with or without makeup. In fact, I couldn’t really tell the difference between when she did and when she didn’t wear it, and she always looked beautiful in my opinion.

After being so surprised by this statement, I realized that she definitely was not the only one to feel this way. It is a huge pressure in our society. So many women wear makeup simply because they feel like they are ugly and unattractive without it, and they are terrified to take off the mask. I was surprised to find that I even used to feel like that too sometimes.

After this encounter, I decided that I would not become dependent on makeup to feel attractive like so many women unknowingly do. True beauty is not going to show through makeup anyways. True beauty comes from a woman who is confident enough within herself to have no need for makeup.

I don’t have a problem with makeup itself, and I have nothing against it. I think that it is great! Many women wear makeup because they simply love putting it on, and love feeling the anticipation while getting ready for a fun day, night out, etc. But when it becomes a crutch that you must use to feel attractive, and something you can’t leave the house without, it becomes a problem. Many women hide behind their makeup and don’t feel pretty enough to go without it. But the truth is that the more you feel like you need to put on makeup to feel attractive, the more you are subconsciously telling yourself that you are not pretty enough without it.

I’m not saying to never wear makeup again; I just want you to be aware of what your relationship is with makeup. Is it one that causes you stress? Do you feel like you have to wear it? Do you feel ugly without it? Why? Do you feel like you have to wear it to look attractive to men?

You don’t have to wear makeup. If a man doesn’t think you are pretty without makeup, then he is not the man for you. A good man will love you for who you are and how you look with or without makeup. He will love you for you- for your raw self. He will love all of you just how you are.

You should too.

 

The Challenge:

I challenge you to one month of no makeup! That’s right!

If you are terrified of taking off your makeup and going completely naked faced into the world, then you are one who needs to do it the most.

Along the way if you are having trouble, experiencing some great insights, etc., leave a comment to help other readers who decide to embark on their own 30-day no makeup challenge! Tell me how it went, what you learned, what was the most difficult for you, and any other advice you might have for others. Let’s support each other!

If you feel like a month is impossible for you, cut it in half and do a 15-day no makeup challenge. Once you have done that, you will be ready for the month-long challenge.

In the beginning, you will likely notice feeling very anxious, scared, and you will encounter a lot of doubt and negative self talk saying that you look ugly. But I want you to push through those negative comments and feelings, and tell yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. And if people don’t like you without makeup then they aren’t the people you want to have in your life anyways.

Once you get past the insecurity phase, you will start to feel much better about yourself and your natural self image. You will realize how truly beautiful you are, and how great you look in your natural skin and your naked face. By the end of a month you won’t even realize that you aren’t wearing makeup. You won’t even notice that you have gone so long without it, and you won’t even think about it when getting ready. In fact, since completing my initial 30-day makeup fast, I have had a few two or three month periods where I have gone without it and didn’t even notice! I do wear makeup for fun on occasion, but it is such a freeing feeling to know that I don’t have to use it to feel beautiful.

Again, I’m not telling you to go throw out all of your makeup and never use it again. Makeup itself is not bad. It is just a thing, a product. It is your relationship with the makeup that is good or bad. You don’t have to be a slave to it. You should be able to be happy with how you look – with or without makeup. I suggest that any time in life you start feeling anxious and insecure about your looks, go on a makeup fast for a week or a month, or however long you need to regain your love for your true, natural looks.

To live your best life, you must be confident within yourself. You have to stop following the majority of people and start doing what makes you happy. You must do things for you, and not out of fear that you won’t be the same as the other people around you. It is more worrisome to be just like everyone else than to be the one who is different. Be yourself, love yourself, and follow your own path to your best life and best self.

 

To your natural beauty,

-Alex

ps- here is a link to a video of Alicia Keyes talking about why she wasn’t wearing makeup. She’s cool so I thought I would add it in here.  https://youtu.be/GmbFPPiK6D8

In Case You Forgot…

It is a beautiful day here on the blog today, don’t you think? But do you know what is even more beautiful? You! That’s right – you. Yes, you. No, not the person behind you. YOU.

It doesn’t matter what gender you are- you are beautiful! And DON’T let stupid false thoughts sneak in telling you any different! Now go think about how beautiful and amazing you are and how much you love yourself, and have a great day.

 

To you and your awesomeness,

Alex 🙂

How Well Do You Know Yourself? | The Question Game

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To live your best life, you also must become your best self. To become your best self, you have to know yourself thoroughly, inside and out. Many times you get to know your true self through experiences, your reactions to certain events, meditation, etc. But today we are going to play a game to help you become an expert on yourself.

It is time for the game! It is probably a little different from the other games you have played before. For one thing, it is only a one-person game. And secondly, it will probably result in more personal insights than pure entertainment. So let’s play! This game comes from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School, which I wrote for high school students but a lot of its content applies to anyone of any age.

 

The Question Game:

How to play: Ask yourself and answer as many of the questions as you want to. Answer them in as much detail as you can. (Note: the questions that you do not want to answer might give you some insight into what you are avoiding asking yourself. If you feel that you aren’t answering certain questions because you don’t want to face something, then answering that question is exactly what you need to do.)

How to win: Learn something about yourself that you weren’t consciously aware of beforehand.

 

Get out a piece of paper and something to write with. You are going to want these answers in writing!

 

It’s Game time!

Questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least, 10 being the most) how much do you like yourself?
    • Why did you pick that number?
    • What exactly do you like about yourself? What exactly don’t you like about yourself?
    • How can you take what you don’t like about yourself (if anything) and change it into something you do like about yourself? (note: the question game does not take “I can’t” or “that’s impossible” as an answer. If you resort to these answers, you automatically lose… Harsh, I know – but so is an overly pessimistic outlook on life.)
  • What are you passionate about?
    • What percentage of your day is spent doing what you are passionate about?
    • How can you do more of your passions and less of what you don’t want to do?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how happy are you?
    • Why did you choose that number?
    • What specifically brings you happiness in your life?
    • What specifically brings you unhappiness in your life?
    • What can you do do get rid of or reduce your unhappiness in your life right now (if any)?
    • What would bring more happiness into your life?
  • Who do you hang out with?
    • Are they people you enjoy and look up to? Or are they people you actually don’t like very much?
    • What feeling do you get when you are around them? Are you happy, annoyed, bored, excited, angry, uncomfortable, insecure, etc.?
    • Name your top 5 closest friends. Now ask yourself why you hang out with each of them.
    • Are the qualities in your top 5 friends qualities you look up to and want to be like?
      • If not, what qualities do you look up to and want to be like? Do you know anyone who has some of those qualities that you could make friends with?
    • What animal represents you and why?
    • What do you see yourself doing in…
      • …1 year
      • …5 years
      • …10 years
      • Why? Of all the things you can do in your future, why are you doing these?
    • If you had two or three months to do absolutely whatever you wanted, what would you do?
      • How could you make this possible now or sometime in the near future?
      • If you could not do all of those things you see yourself doing in 1-5-10 years in the future, what would you chooses to do instead? In 1 year? In 5 years? In 10 years?
    • Finish these sentences:
      • I am:
      • I need:
      • I want:
      • 5 adjectives that best describe me are:
      • I am proud of:
      • Three of my accomplishments are:
    • What energizes you? In other words, what activities do you do (or want to do) that make you feel excited? What excites you?
      • Pick one from the list you just made. What can you do today to start working toward this goal?
    • What are you really good at? What are your strong points?
      • How can you leverage your talents to make life easier and to use to your advantage?
    • What are you really bad at? What are your weak points?
      • How can you improve? How can you use your strengths to improve on your weaknesses?
    • Have you been putting your energy, effort, and focus into your strengths or your weaknesses in your life?
    • What would you do/be/have if you had $10m in the bank?
    • If you found out that you were going to die in five years what would you do?
      • One year?
      • In a month?
      • Tomorrow?
    • How often do you find yourself following the crowd?
    • How often do you find yourself challenging the status quo, and instead, doing your own thing?
    • what would you be doing if you weren’t always trying to get somewhere or be someone?
    • Who do you look up to?
      • Why?
      • What qualities or skills do they have that you want to be better at?
    • Make up your own questions and answer them! It’s time to think about all of those deep questions that you have avoided answering.

 

The purpose of this game is to get you thinking about who you really want to be. It will ask you questions about who you believe you are, and then you can determine whether or not you would like to change anything about yourself.  You don’t find yourself, you make yourself up. Therefore, to become your greatest version, it is important to know yourself completely. You can’t live your dream life without knowing your true self. They are a package deal. Without truly knowing yourself, you are not able to live up to your full potential. So stop playing small and cutting yourself short. Life is too quick for that! Stop hiding from yourself. The world needs more people who are willing to step out and share their gifts, instead of shrinking back and pretending that they are not there. Small thinking and small actions lead to small-minded people. You’re better than that! You are reading this right now because you want to live an amazing life. Why should you settle for anything less? But to live that way, you’ve got to be that way first within yourself.

 

To Becoming your best self,

Alex 🙂

Life Tools is Here!

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Hey guys!

This isn’t a typical article here on the blog today because…

My company called Life Tools is launching today!!

This is something that I have been working on for about 7 months now, and it is finally ready to launch! We are just starting with a single product, and then gradually we will be adding more soon.

After I got out of depression I became passionate about helping others do the same and ultimately live a life of happiness, inner peace, and success in all areas of life. One way I decided to do this is through writing books, but the most current way I have been working on is through a company I’m starting, called Life Tools.

So what exactly does Life Tools do, and what is the first product?

Through our products, Life Tools helps people free themselves from daily stress and anxiety, and promotes complete relaxation.

Our store is completely online and our first product is called Peace of Mind Proprietary Blend, and it helps people do just that! 🙂 It is a natural, herbal supplement that helps people relax and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

I am really excited about this because I really think that this business will truly help people. I really want to help people have better lives through my company, while also following my own dream of owning a business.

Another thing I am excited about is that I am donating 10% of all profits to charity and research organizations to help people live better lives. Once the business gets up and running, we will be able to do things like go on a mission trip somewhere in the world to help others and invite a few customers along too. Or donate money to research on anxiety, stress, depression, etc. The more we understand it, the better and faster we can overcome it. Or start a non-profit to help people better their lives. The options are limitless, but I plan to make this business into something amazing. This 10% is not just a money donation, but also effective & active participation to help make this world a better place. 🙂

If you would like to check it out or support the launch, you can go to www.lifetoolsofficial.com

Or you can go straight to our first product: Peace of Mind Proprietary Blend.

If you want to get involved or learn more, you can email the company, or you can connect with the Instagram account @lifetools_official 🙂

 

To living a life of happiness and inner peace,

-Alex

 

PS- Go after your dreams even if they are scary! 🙂

Get Happy With …Stretching!

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Welcome to another edition of the “Get Happy” series!

Just as a reminder, the point of the articles in this series is to try different ideas and methods to bring you to a higher baseline happiness level. These “baseline happiness boosters” have cumulative effects, meaning that if done only once, you probably won’t get much benefit out of it. What we really want is the lasting effect of doing it so often that it is engrained into your brain, and it is part of who you are. If you do it on a regular basis to the point where you do it without even thinking, then you will see a huge overall positive surge of benefits!

In this post, we are talking about Stretching! 🙂

Did you know that when your muscles are stretched or exercised they send signals to the brain which help keep your body and mind from degenerating (damage and aging in the body)? That’s right! Even just 15 minutes of stretching every day will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a healthier mind and body as you continue to grow older.

Aside from just the long-term effects, the act of stretching literally loosens your muscles by creating a mild stress response in the body. When you do this, you are bringing oxygen into the muscles which in turn puts you into a better mood due to the increased oxygen and blood flow in your body. You feel better physically and mentally. While you are loosening and relaxing all of your muscles, you are literally eradicating your stress. All day long you have little things that cause you to feel slightly pressured, annoyed, stressed, anxious, etc. The amount and intensity of these emotions you feel vary from day to day, but we all feel them. When you are stressed, your body responds to how you feel by tensing up and tightening its muscles. By stretching, you are reversing this stress process and renewing your body for a more relaxed state of being. When done daily, stretching can really help eliminate stress while increasing your mood and health. It’s completely a win-win!

If you want to take stretching to the next level, you can also activate your spiritual and emotional side of stretching. To do this all you need to do is turn on some relaxing music and take some deep breaths while doing different stretching exercises. You will be surprised how great it feels, and how different it is from stretching without it. And by the way when I say relaxing music, I mean that it has no words. It is just calming music. You are trying to breathe and relax. If you don’t know what kind of music to listen to, then you can always put on some meditation music from YouTube. Just type in music for meditation, or for studying, or relaxing, etc. Usually hours of nice, soothing music shows up. You can also do Yoga. This has long been known for its mind body spirit connection. If you don’t want to sign up for a class, Yoga with Adrian is a YouTube channel and you can learn Yoga from your home if you have never done it before.

Most people say that your muscles and bones and everything else just gets weaker as you age, but research hasn’t actually proven that to be completely true. Yes, as you age, you do begin to degenerate from damage in the body and brain (that’s what aging is, damage. There are no aging genes). But that doesn’t explain how 80-year-old men are able to become just as fit and muscular as people in their 20’s. There have been a few studies based solely on these facts, asking how this is possible for some people at 80 while others are struggling mentally and physically at 50.

The secret has to do with physiology, or how people move their bodies on a daily basis. The reason most people’s muscles begin degenerating in their 40’s is not necessarily because they are aging. If that was the case then everyone at 40 would have this problem, and we all know that not everyone does. So what is it? The answer lies within the most basic concept. Move your body every day. Most people in their 40’s and up have set their habits and sit at a job all day to come home and sit around some more. Where’s the exercise?! Nowhere to be seen.

The people who have the least amount of problems with their bodies and minds as they grow older are usually the people who live more active lifestyles. It doesn’t matter whether that is walking, running, lifting weights, stretching, yoga, biking, whatever. As long as you are moving your body daily for at least 15 minutes, you are setting your present moment and your future up for lasting success, happiness, and health.

SO, by stretching for just 15 minutes every day your body, mind, and spirit will all be much happier and healthier. Try it out yourself! Just remember to not over-stretch. If it starts to actually hurt, then you have overstretched. That is an injury. Don’t stretch more than your body is comfortable with. Flexibility comes with time and consistency.

Here are some other benefits I noticed from daily stretching (which I have done for about 3 months now):

  • Greatly reduces the risk of injuries as long as you go at your own pace when you stretch to avoid over-stretching.
  • For women around their menstrual cycle, no back pain anymore and reduced cramps by 80% with the remaining cramps at only 60% of the usual intensity.
  • Puts you into peak state. In other words, it relaxes you and puts you into a centered state of being.
  • Increases flexibility a lot
  • Puts you in tune with your body, so that when you stretch every day you notice every little difference in your muscles or whatever else each day.

If you want to create a better life for yourself, start with your physiology. In other words, start with moving your body every day. I recommend starting with stretching because it is one of the easiest ways to move your body (compared to other exercise). Many health problems are created by people to themselves because they don’t take care of their own selves. One particular area where people are pretty bad at taking care of themselves is exercise. But it is one of the most important. Moving your body and eating Happy Food is key to an extraordinary life and a higher baseline happiness level.

 

To your utmost happiness and health,

-Alex 🙂

ps: One of my favorite ways to stretch is to use the Yokebar. I can usually get a deeper stretch and feel better in 15 minutes using the Yokebar than if I did 30 minutes of floor stretching. The Yokebar is used and known best for its intense workouts and exercises you can do to train like a pro, in fact it is even in olympic and military gyms. But honestly, I have used it for more than three years to work out and I still like it best for stretching.