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Intermittent Fasting Can Change Your Life – One of the Best Life Hacks!

Intermittent fasting is a recent diet trend that is here to stay. Unlike Paleo, low carb or the keto diet, intermittent fasting every day has tons of benefits for your health and even your mind.

One of the reasons intermittent fasting is so effective is because there is simply less time of the day to eat. With intermittent fasting, you only eat 6-8 hours while most people do the opposite by eating 16-18 hours per day. 

Fasting is one of the most ancient healing traditions in human history which has been practiced by virtually every culture and religion on earth.

I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting since the beginning of 2018 and couldn’t be happier with the results.

Here are five ways intermittent fasting can help your mind just as much as your body.

1. Increased Discipline

As,l Jocko Willink said, “Discipline equals freedom.” In any area of life, how disciplined you are, determine how successful you will become.

When you stick to intermittent fasting on a regular basis you are being disciplined by not eating when everyone else is. Some people will scoff when you tell them your plan but it doesn’t matter. As long as you know what you are trying to achieve that’s all that matters.

This discipline to stick to eating during specific hours has poured into my business and fitness routines. Discipline is contagious and fasting can help add some to your life!

Here’s Kerwin Rae talking about how fasting is one of the top 2 life hacks he knows:

2. Better Brain  

Once you get past the first few days of your body adjusting to the new eating schedule you will feel more focused, positive, and optimistic than ever before.

A study from the Society for Neuroscience in 2015, revealed that intermittent fasting offers “enormous implications for brain health.” According to the study, IF stimulates the brain in a number of different ways including the growth of neurons, recovery from brain injuries and enhanced memory performance.  

There is also evidence to show that intermittent fasting might actually improve both cognitive function and quality of life for people living with those conditions already.

3. Health = Wealth

Unfortunately, people spend too much time on wealth while forgetting about their health during the process. But if you want to be truly successful you have to look out for your health.

Intermittent fasting is a commitment to your mind and body.

Intermittent Fasting Can Change Your Life - One of the 2 Best Life Hacks! Fasting has been practiced throughout history but almost every religion in the world Michael Leonard quote quotes

4. Improves Spiritual Well Being

Fasting has been practiced throughout history by almost every religion in the world. IF can lead to increase spirituality and I’ve found to have more clarity, peace, and focus during fasting times.

Studies have also shown that fasting can help regulate your mood by reducing stress and anxiety. To me, intermittent fasting can lead to feeling more connected with yourself. This can lead to a more positive outlook on how you see the world. 

5. Trust Yourself

How can fasting help increase your confidence?

By making a promise you keep to yourself. Intermittent fasting is a big commitment if you’ve been eating the opposite your whole life but once you switch it becomes second nature.

This commitment, day in and day out, will instill confidence and self respect in yourself.

More confidence equals higher self-esteem and the ability to reach your goals quicker.

Intermittent Fasting Can Change Your Life - One of the 2 Best Life Hacks! the things you can do to promote energy, are only going to promote the outcome keratin are quote quotes fearless motivation youtube

Are you ready to try intermittent fasting?

While it may seem like a daunting challenge, fasting is more than doable. Not only can you lose fat and have more energy but you can also gain more clarity on a daily basis.

Whether you can practice intermittent fasting every day or only on certain days, the benefits are endless.

This clarity can lead to more focus, confidence, and ability to push through the hard times to achieve your goals.

Intermittent Fasting Can Change Your Life - One of the 2 Best Life Hacks! Discipline equals freedom jock willing quote quotes

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How to Enjoy Your Days More: 4 Ways to Live Life to the Fullest

“It wasn’t until I slowed the car and rolled down the windows that I realized I spend most of my days driving ‘through’ life without driving ‘in’ life. So, I’ve decided to walk because the pace is slower and the windows are always down.” ~Craig D. Lounsbrough

Voices—they’re everywhere. As soon as I wake up, I can feel the stress of keeping up with their demands. As soon as I look at my smartphone, I am overwhelmed with all the notifications “needing” attention. They seem to pull me in every direction and keep me dodging here and there, attempting to keep up with all the differing opinions, unnecessary tasks, and media.

The sound of the voices seems to echo throughout every part of our lives. Calling to us from our Snapchat notifications, our workplace newsletters, and our family reunions. Wherever we go, distractions and other people’s opinions shout for our attention.

We desperately try to keep up with the influx of media, news, responsibilities, and social events, but we often find ourselves too worn out to really enjoy any of the aspects of our lives. Everything seems bland and dull, like an endless mill of things to do and ponder that we aimlessly run to keep up with, much like a hamster on a wheel.

So how can we truly relish the fullness of life?

1. Say “no” to unnecessary activities and business.

It’s hard for us to really experience and enjoy life when we are so busy running from place to place taking care of extra work or someone else’s duties. We hardly even have time to realize what we are doing much less to fully live in each moment.

Instead, we brush the surface of precious moments that we pass through instead of diving in and immersing ourselves in the embrace of a partner, the warmth of the sunshine, and the taste of home-baked cookies. We simply don’t have time to experience the essence of what makes life good when we say “yes” to unnecessary responsibilities.

Part of the problem is that we simply have far too much to do. We need to learn to say “no” sometimes to the extra burdens our work, friends, or even family members beg us to take care of.

Don’t say “yes” to an added responsibility when you already feel too busy. Sure, your friend might be disappointed, but if she is really your friend, she will eventually understand that her problems aren’t yours to solve. Learn to politely but firmly decline from taking on too many tasks.

As a recovering perfectionist, I have a hard time saying “no” to tasks I know I could do well. This past year I’ve had to learn that I can’t do everything.

I’m getting married in the winter and beginning graduate school, so I have a lot on my plate. But, when people ask me if I could play my violin for their wedding or church service, I have had to weigh which events are priority and which ones I simply don’t have time for. For instance, saying “yes” to helping with a close friend’s surprise wedding this summer versus getting paid to play my violin at a stranger’s wedding.

I’ve even had to decide which social events I really have the time, energy, and desire to go to versus the ones that sound too stressful or that simply don’t fit into my schedule. In short, I have had to learn to say “no” to unnecessary activities, even if my decision might disappoint someone. Only by avoiding extra busyness have I begun to truly experience and live in each moment.

2. Minimize your exposure to media.

Media is everywhere around us in today’s society. From television to smartphones to iPads, we are constantly flooded with media. In fact, we often get so distracted by media that we feel like we have to check Instagram every five minutes and we have to watch the news every morning and we have to post one more tweet on Twitter.

The media saturation can cause us to be distracted from our work, family, and hobbies. Just recently, I noticed that even though I see my fiancé only on weekends I was scrolling through Instagram more than I actually conversed with him. I was too busy taking creative pictures and reviewing the likes and comments on my posts.

Every time I had a free moment, I would feel the urge to check my phone. In fact, I would sometimes find myself sitting next to my fiancé on the couch, blankly scrolling through Instagram instead of engaging in real, deep conversations. As a result, I uninstalled Instagram.

Almost instantly, I noticed a change. I didn’t feel like I had to check my phone all the time. I felt more attached to my partner and looked forward to spending time talking with him. I was less superficial and less worried about how I looked.

Furthermore, I became interested in my old hobbies like writing poetry and reading, now that I was less distracted with social media. I miraculously looked forward to work and what I could accomplish each day. Clearly, we need to avoid becoming distracted by media, so we can more fully experience life.

3. Take time to do the things you love.

Many times, we think that as adults, we should outgrow hobbies and live in the routine of work and household responsibilities. While adult life does include many more necessary duties, we should not let our daily tasks keep us from occasionally taking time out to do the things we love.

Remember what you used to do in your free time? Take a minute to read a chapter of your favorite book, to go birding at your local park, or ride your bicycle downtown. Sure, you might not be able to do it very often, but don’t let the business of life keep you from doing the things that bring that extra sparkle of life to your eyes. Just because you’re a busy adult doesn’t mean you should never have a little fun or relish doing something just for the enjoyment of it.

For me, that meant sitting down to write this article. Or, going to the library and finding a couple of good books to read. Or, writing a few quirky poems to add to my poetry collection. Without realizing it, I had allowed myself to be so busy that I had stopped doing the things that I loved, and I just kept chasing after the things I had to do without ever coming to the end of them.

There will always be more necessary activities to do in life. But, your hobbies are part of what make you uniquely “you.” Learn to take time to cherish those activities and to experience the joy they give you. The constant grind of work and home duties can grind a person’s spirit into the dust. But, pausing to do something you love can help bring vibrancy and vitality back int your life.

4. Be authentic to your beliefs and values, even if it goes against popular beliefs or the opinions of those close to you.

Letting other people’s opinions control our lives can squelch our creativity and joy in life. Constantly worrying about what other people think is draining and keeps us from experiencing life fully and genuinely. We are always uneasy when we are pretending to be what we are not, and we are always dissatisfied when we are living in a way we would not live unless society told us we should live that way.

I was lucky to grow up in a wonderful, loving home that nurtured and grew me. However, when I started college, I realized that I had absorbed so much of what my family, community, and society believed that I needed to figure out what I really felt and thought to see if it was the same.

I had to sort through what I did because I’d always done it that way and what I did because I believed it should be done that way. I had to discover what I felt about social issues because I’d absorbed what society taught me and what I felt about injustices because that’s what I’d discovered to be true.

I had to decide whether it was more authentic for me to continue my career as a musician because I’d played violin since I was a toddler, or if my talents and life experience led me to explore a different field of study like writing and library science.

The people around me didn’t all support my career change. Some even challenged me because they thought it was a waste of talent and that I was “too smart” to be a librarian. At times like this, I’ve had to consider my choices and decide to stand up for myself, even if others didn’t agree with me.

Other times, I’ve had to reconsider my choices and beliefs again and have discovered new, even more fulfilling truths. In either case, I’m learning to be genuine and make decisions that I believe support my convictions and who I am, instead of living to please other people.

Living life genuinely gives us the freedom to be authentic. We can make decisions logically and emotionally from the values that we hold to be true, and thus we can be fully content with our decisions.

We do not need to pretend in order to make more friends or please our family. If our friends truly love who we really are, they will accept us and all our idiosyncrasies without us having to put on a façade.

In the same way, we need to put up boundaries with our families and disconnect ourselves a healthy distance from family dictums, so that we can discover for ourselves what we really believe, how we really want to live, and what we really want to accomplish in life.

We need to learn to make decisions because we think they are right, not because that’s how everyone else does it, because that is what is acceptable to society, or because that is how our families did things. Only when we can stay authentic to our own values and beliefs can we truly feel satisfied and live life to the fullest.

With so many distractions and opinions surrounding us every day, it can be difficult to be fully present and truly experience each moment of our lives. But, if we say “no” to extra duties, if we reduce our time distracted by media, if we take time to do the things we love, and if we stay true to our own values and beliefs, we will find ourselves enjoying more of our days.

About Bethany Thornton

Bethany Thornton is a writer, violinist, and poet. She is currently pursuing her dream to become a youth services librarian in order to share the power of learning. She enjoys hiking, drawing, reading, and composing in her free time. She is passionate about sharing hope, community, and joy that can be found despite and through tragedies, conflict, and mental illness.

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What It Means to Live Life with Open Palms and How This Sets Us Free

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Roughly one year ago, I was having the time of my life.

Everything seemed to be going well. My stress levels were at an all-time low. I was enjoying myself in a new city. Work was engaging. My meditations were deep and fulfilling.

And when I looked back on things one year later, I was kind of, well, frustrated.

Because things haven’t been going that smoothly lately. Don’t get me wrong; they haven’t been terrible. I’m in a loving relationship, and I’ve achieved a couple of significant milestones this year, but some aspects of life have been challenging.

A couple of months ago I was talking to a meditation teacher who I occasionally consult when I’m having issues with my practice. I was honest about my situation, and my frustration with it.

So I asked her what I was genuinely thinking; why doesn’t it feel like things are as good as they were twelve months ago?

And what she told me stunned me. I mean, it really left me thinking.

“You need to start living life with open palms. You tried to grasp onto the good times you had, and the experience has gone. But any challenges you have now will also go, you just need to hold onto them softly, with open palms.”

The metaphor was so poignant. It made complete sense. I could feel myself grasping onto the idea of the old scenario and making dozens of assumptions about the new one.

And those words stuck with me. They truly resonated. In fact, echoed might be a better description, because since then, whenever I’ve started to stress and hold onto my problems too tightly, the image of two open palms would arise and drift around the back of my mind, calling me to pay attention to it.

There’s a reason why this metaphor is so accurate—the left cerebral hemisphere, which we use for focused attention, is also responsible for the grabbing motion our hand makes. The right hemisphere on the other hand (pun absolutely intended) is used for both open-minded thinking and open exploratory motions. So when someone tells you to hold on or to let go, they’re telling you what to do with your mind, not just your hands.

So over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to reflect on what this means from a practical perspective, and while teachings like this take years to really digest, I’ve come up with a few ways in which you can start to live life with open palms, right now.

Appreciate things momentarily.

At first, I didn’t really understand why this was important. To only appreciate things for a split second seemed to be to under-appreciate or even neglect them. But I soon realized that when I was trying too hard to enjoy something, I ended up quickly telling myself a story about how good it was—and soon enough I wasn’t actually experiencing the object anymore, I was enjoying the idea of it.

By making a conscious attempt to appreciate things momentarily, I’ve been able to achieve two things. Firstly, I get used to short-term experiences so when pleasure leaves, it’s okay because I know something else will come soon. And secondly, I’m able to focus on the direct experience and not get lost in my judgments about it.

Remind myself about the transience of things.

This is relevant to letting the momentary experiences go.

Whenever I see a pleasure arise, whether it’s a nicely cooked meal, a Netflix show, a hot shower, or just sitting down after a long day, I try to remind myself that it will soon pass and something else will replace is.

When I’m experiencing less pleasurable states, like physical discomfort, boredom, tiredness, or even pain, I similarly try to watch it come and watch it go, not getting too attached either way.

Identify with my experience over my narrative.

Though relatively simple, this idea is incredibly profound.

My worry over whether or not I was better off than twelve months prior was largely rooted in the story I was telling myself. The story, once I had told it enough times, quickly became my experience.

If however, I had just been focusing on the sensations I was having in each moment, there would have been no ruminating on the past, and a lot of the problems I was creating for myself simply would’ve ceased to exist.

Don’t shy away from pleasure.

One of the ways we protect ourselves from subtle feelings such as a fear of loss or feelings of not being worthy is by not allowing ourselves to fully appreciate positive experiences when we have them. It takes a certain kind of vulnerability to give ourselves over to pleasure, and oftentimes there is an unconscious shield between us and our experience that may manifest itself in slight muscular tension or distracting thoughts.

I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on getting the most out of joyful moments when they come up and not holding back from completely enjoying them.

Question my relationship to time.

A lot of the suffering that comes from our experience arises because we can’t help but compare it to another moment in time. In my own case, it was because I was arbitrarily using the marker of a year to make judgments about how I should’ve been feeling.

I felt that this year should be as good as or better than last year. Not only is it pointless to make the comparison, but it’s impossible to do so accurately. When we’re told to be present and not focus too heavily on the past or the future, it’s not only practical advice, it’s rational advice; our ideas about time are incredibly skewed and often dictated in large part by our emotional state in that moment.

The ways by which I’ve been trying to live life with open palms are nothing groundbreaking. They’re tried and tested ideas that most of us have already had some exposure to. What is difficult, however, is our ability to remember these in any given moment, when they should be most useful.

We can do this by anchoring ourselves to the ideas, whether through a mantra, a memorable metaphor, or simply just repeated exposure, as you’re doing right now reading this article.

How have you tried to live life with open palms? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

About Benjamin Fishel

Benjamin Fishel is a freelance writer, meditation practitioner, and the creator of the popular blog Project Monkey Mind. He’s also currently studying his Masters in Applied Neuroscience. If you’d like to know how you can calm your mind using Modern Psychology and Eastern Spirituality, get his free cheatsheet 7 Psychological Hacks for Depression & Anxiety (in 5 minutes or less).

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