Taking Back the World

With the world changing every day, you generally aren’t able to make a huge impact on it. But you can do small things for yourself and others that bring back your spirit and humanity.  As a new year begins, we can look back and reflect on what is great in our lives and what is not so great.  We should all do this periodically to have an opportunity to change what isn’t working out well. For me this has been a few key things.

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One, my career is unfulfilling and merely a paycheck.  It seems to get in the way of the things I really want to do.  I always seem to need more time.  I have discovered I have more passions for life such as videography, travel, and sharing my experiences through this blog.  But my daily life is like a machine.  I go to work, then home to do even more work that I don’t want to do, and then go to bed and do it all over again the next day.  Weekends are consumed with grocery shopping and cooking. Finding time on the two days a week to get serious about what I’d rather be doing is limited.  I feel trapped in an endless cycle that I can’t get out of.

I’m finding ways to simplify cooking for my picky diet, and buy more prepared meals so I don’t have to do it from scratch.  I plan to dedicate blocks of time to my passions instead of it being something I do when all of my other obligations are complete.  As for my job, I plan to dedicate time to explore my passions to provide a new perspective of life.  Maybe I will come up with a plan to start my own business or try a new career.  You don’t know your passions unless you start trying different things.

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The next thing is I am surrounded by constant negativity, whether it is on Facebook or the local news.  These media sources always show the worst of humanity and it sometimes consumes me and makes me depressed.  Social media expands on this, especially on political views.  I try my best to stay out of the comments section.

I’m moving my news apps on my phone so they are less convenient.  I am limiting watching the morning news and instead will watch YouTube videos that are not related to news, but instead my hobbies or other interests.  These two things have greatly improved my mood, which has improved my sleep and my motivation to do great things.img_6537

Everything I have mentioned  so far, has impacted my relationship with my family and friends.

Relationships and social connections are some of the most important aspects of life.  They help you stay healthy and sane.  The people you live with matter even more.  If the situation at home is stressful or negative, you need to better balance home life with everything else you do and even prioritize it.  Because without family, what is the point.  This is your support network and if you don’t have them, then you could fall flat on your face and not get back up.  I’m making my home life more of a priority, going back to my roots with my wife and kick-starting it towards a more happy and fulfilling relationship.  I am also finding ways to be more social and get together with friends more often.  finishedbri-2984

What things are you doing to reboot and take back your own world?  Let me know in the comments.




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Taking Back Social Life

Being social is a key to really living and enjoying life.   I’ve found that when I am socializing with friends, my happiness and health improve dramatically.  The problem with our current world is that we are connecting more to our devices than we are with the people we care about.  As a result we begin to isolate ourselves without even knowing it.

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Isolation behavior examples

  • A couple that goes out to dinner and spends half the time on their cell phones
  • The cousin that prefers texts to phone calls
  • Kids that don’t play with their friends because they prefer to play video games or browse the web
  • A programmer who works from home instead of going into the office

The internet allows us to do so much more without ever leaving the convenience of our home.  If we don’t get out, we stay isolated.  However, by using the power of the internet, we can obtain social interaction with a website called meetup.com. This site has allowed me to meet and establish several long-term friends with common interests.  You can find just about any type of group out there in your local area, and if you can’t, then you can start your own.  Here are a few other things that can help you be more social.

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Social behavior examples

  • Calling a friend (yes actually calling them, not texting)
  • Joining a group that has similar interests (volunteer groups, hobby groups or sports activities)
  • Walking the neighborhood with your dog (or cat) and chatting with neighbors
  • Rounding up your five best friends and doing some activity together
  • Dating, even if you are married to the one you date

So this is your chance if you are ready for it.  Turn off that device and find time to take back your social life.

Additional resources

 

 

 

Taking Back Health

My health journey has been a long one.  Reflecting on it now, I can think back to health issues starting as far back as elementary school.  So let’s start there.  Growing up I was raised on the typical American diet, which consisted of significant amounts of sugar. Bread, cereal, and other cheap carbs were the norm.  It was easy to become addicted and that has carried forward throughout my life.  I believe that this one thing has been more detrimental to my health than anything else.  So if you are a parent, you may want to think about this one a bit.  Look around your cabinets and you will not believe how much sugar is in everything.

In my adult life I see that sugar is the root cause of some health issues, but have learned that it is even more than that.  We drink water full of chemicals.  We eat food full of pesticides, and we are a laboratory experiment with GMO’s.  Anything processed has little nutrition so vitamins are added.  Hooray for human kibble!  So I switched things up a few years ago and started eating real food.   I cook all my own meals and use fresh local ingredients whenever possible.  I’ve limited sugar as much as possible as well, although I tend to find excuses to splurge here and there.  I think there is a healthy balance of treating yourself, but if the consequences outweigh the benefits it just isn’t worth it.  When you go without it long enough you don’t miss it or desire it as much.  Although it is hard to get past the initial withdrawals. Sugar sounds like a drug and it might as well be.

I believe that health is more than just food though as that is just one piece of the possible. Our society is very sedentary with all of our modern conveniences.  Many of us work in cubes sitting down all day.  We get up for a few breaks, but the deadlines keep us chained to the chair.  Without movement we waste away without optimal digestion and circulation.  So if you are in this type of situation, try to get up more. Honestly those few minutes of walking around energize you and you may accomplish even more when you get back to your desk.  Make exercise outside of work a priority and routine.  Find a way to make it fun.  Treadmills are boring, if you can get outside and play tennis, basketball, or just go for a run in a beautiful area it can work wonders for you.

Sitting in front of screens and putting out fires constantly in a job can create a lot of stress.  After work you get to sit in traffic and go home to a different set of fires.  Being stressed all the time impacts just about every area of your life (sleep, eating habits, exercise, relationships).   I am working towards entrepreneurship to break these chains and do something more meaningful with my time. I would rather be writing this blog relaxed in my living room than in an office.  You could also find a line of work where you are happy with what you do every day.   Life is too short to do something you dislike or hate. Please see Taking Back Passion  for more on this.

 

Next in the chain reaction is sleep.  Being stressed out all day, reaching for sugar to cope and possibly even drinking leads to sleeping problems.  Sleep gives your brain a chance to cleanse and be ready for action.  Without it, you build up toxins in your brain.  This leads to poor memory, concentration, motivation, and deprives you of happiness or feeling. Sleep is impacted by what you eat or how well you digest your food.  If you have poor digestion, you wont sleep well and if you don’t sleep well you will have poor digestion.  It feels like a never ending battle.

What I have done to improve sleep is watch what I eat before bed, turn off electronic devices an hour before bed, and create a relaxing environment to settle down that last hour before bed (reading, meditation, etc.).   Blue light is emitted from most screens and stops melatonin production, which is a hormone that puts you to sleep.  I bought these glasses to wear at night to eliminate blue light.  Blue Light Glasses.  There are more stylish ones, but these are cheap and do the job. This article from Chris Kresser goes into some very good suggestions around improving sleep.  Sleep More Deeply

Lastly, having a social life and regular friends have been beneficial to my health.  You need a place to vent your frustrations or celebrate your successes.  Friends or groups are a great place to fill this need.  If you have trouble meeting new people or making friends, I have found success on meetup.com.  There you can find groups that suit just about any interest and if you don’t see something you like, you could also start your own group.

In summary, these are the key areas of focus to health:

  • Eat Real Food!  Limit eating out of boxes and cook.  Pressure cookers and crock pots are great for making this easier with bulk meals.
  • Exercise! Get up from your desk throughout the day. Find a way to make exercise enjoyable so you stick with it and even look forward to it.
  • Sleep!  Create a good environment, eliminate blue light and shut offex electronics at least an hour before bed.
  • Stress Management!  Stress is unavoidable, but by doing the last three items you prepare yourself to better handle stress as it comes.  If the way you live is creating too much stress, find ways to prevent it or do something different all together.
  • Social life!  The human connection is critical for happiness and health.  Nourish it by finding people who like to do similar things and have regular friends.

Good luck!  I am currently fighting my way through this and writing this blog keeps me going with it.  I would love to hear any comments about your own experiences or advice.

 

 

What is Taking Back Humanity?

With all of our devices, cubicles, and other chains, we are dulling our senses and losing meaning in life.  I am very passionate about breaking these chains and sharing my experiences in hopes that it helps you to do the same.  I’ll have to get comfortably uncomfortable and stumble through any obstacles to get there.  This is my story.

Taking Back Humanity is a blog dedicated to removing the barriers in life that prevent us from living our fullest and happiest lives.  Topics will include the below themes and my experiences with each.

Taking back:

  • Time
  • Health
  • Friends
  • Passion
  • The World

Enjoy!23268836611_dbd634cebc_z