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Did You Know

The Story of Stuff

Story of Stuff

Too much stuff is not only bad, it’s worse than you think. And it’s not just about the environment. It’s about people too and the quality of their lives.

Check out this preview video of “The Story of Stuff.” If you are interested, you can view the full version which is just below the first video. Continue Reading →

Easily Transform Your Winter Blues into Winter Joy!

hibernate

photo by Willow&Monk

Bears do it.

Koi fish do it.

So do frogs, squirrels, and several other animals. So why should you allow yourself to feel bad when you feel it’s effects? What I’m talking about here is hibernation.

Of course, humans don’t hibernate fully, but when the cold and short days of winter come around, many of us feel a physical change. We may want to sleep more. We may want to eat more. We may want to be less active and leave our home less frequently. I had a revelation about this recently. Since this is totally normal and most everyone experiences it, then there is absolutely no reason to feel bad about it!

The way to transform your winter blues is simple. Reconsider these winter changes from a new perspective. Here’s how:

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Should You Care About Global Warming?

Why the Wind Blows

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” according to Matthys Levy, who wrote “Why the Wind Blows: A History of Weather and Global Warming.” Why? Levy states that reversing the global warming course will help future generations. My belief is that through choosing greener ways of living, we improve our own lives today as well.

I think you will enjoy reading Mr. Levy’s personal insights to questions I posed to him recently. I know I did!

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Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty, When You Help Others You Help Yourself

Stop Poverty

photo by Stitch

Did you know that a major key to happiness is giving to others? This is substantiated in an excellent book by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks,”How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People–Their Secrets, Their Stories.” In the book, they describe the profound effect giving to others can have on your level of happiness.

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Life Doesn’t Have to Be Miserable!

belly dancer

photo by DavidDennis

So many of us, myself included, get caught up in life. We move from one thing to another, doing all the things we think we “should” do or have to do. And we never stop to think that there might be another, more pleasurable way, to skin that cat in front of us.

What made me think of this is a belly dancing class I signed up for. It’s completely fun and silly and you know what? It tightens your abs! Who knew you didn’t have to do boring sit-ups in order to get your tummy in shape. That little revelation got me thinking of all the other areas of our life where we just keep doing things the same old way even if it is drudgery because we think life has to be hard. But here’s the news flash: Life Doesn’t Have to Be Miserable! You can increase your enjoyment by making some simple changes.

So here is a listing of some areas that might feel like obligatory hardships followed by some alternatives to consider to make your life more enjoyable.

Say Goodbye to: Say Hello to:
Sit-ups and Crunches. Yoga, belly dancing, latin dancing, walking.
Exercising on a Treadmill. Have Fun Exercising! Get outside! Try walking, jogging, tennis, dancing to your favorite music, or other favorite sports. Exercise is allowed to be fun!
Being Serious all the time, especially at work…or at home…or anywhere! Laugh, Smile, & Have Fun. Make a point to include laughter in your day. Make a point to smile. Put a reminder and a mirror at your desk so you don’t forget! Get a joke buddy that you call each day to share a joke or funny story.
Work Til You Drop. Shorter Workdays and Scheduled Play. What you make time for is what gets done, so SCHEDULE in some PLAY time!
Austere Painful Diets. Cheats in Moderation. There are several ways to work this: Eat what you want, but only in moderation. Have one day per week be a complete cheat day where you can eat anything you want with some moderation. One small cheat per day. Keep your diet enjoyable and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Hating Your Body. A lot of women spend their whole life this way. What a waste of time and how unkind! Are there any men who feel this way? Appreciate and Love Your Amazing Body. Get in touch with your body by having a gratitude session devoted just to realizing and being thankful for all the things that different parts of your body do for you everyday. How amazing are our hearts, feet, minds, nervous system, hands, eyes, lymph system, and more?! It’s high time we start to love our bodies! Think of role models who love their body no matter the size and assume that confidence too!
Recurring Arguments. Why, oh, why do I always get into the same arguments? Stop the Argument Cycle! Click here to read more about how to changing your expectations and perspective can change these destructive patterns.
Living a Life of “Shoulds.” I should do this, I should do that. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. Live the Life of Your Dreams! Plan the life you want today. Click here for an amazing free life goal workbook ! (free excel spreadsheet download). Planning your life is fun. Just take it one step at a time and have fun!
Living in the Empty Part of the Glass. Notice That the Glass is Half Full. Realize that much of what’s there is great. Try for one day to be grateful for every little thing in your day and your life. Watch your happiness soar! And then make it a daily habit!
Telling Your Kids or Your Spouse, “I don’t have time right now. I’ll play later.” Play Today! Even if you are a very busy person, take small breaks to play with your children. Try 15 minutes here and there. Involve them in housework. With your spouse, be sure to set up date-nights on some regular basis. Why not enjoy life? When you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you did!
Working at a Job That Is Not Your Passion. Discover Your Dream Job or Reconnect with the Meaningfulness of Your Current Job. There are times in all of our lives when we need to work at things that are not our passion. That’s ok, but always have your plan in place towards getting your dream job. Barbara Sher writes great books about doing this. Sometimes we lose sight of our love for our job. If that’s the case for you then try to re-discover that meaning in your current job.
Staying in a Bad Relationship Because You’re Afraid to Be Alone. Embrace Your Inner Strength. Don’t live out of fear. Live out of your strength. Know that it is there. Discover how you can be happy on your own. I’m not saying run away simply if you’re bored, but if your relationship is not healthy for you, find support from someone to help you move forward with your life. Move towards the good things you want and deserve.
Letting a Good Relationship Wither from Complacency. Appreciate and Nourish Good Relationships. Think about the good relationships in your life. Ask yourself, “What could I do to care for this relationship more?” And then do it! You know you’re smiling thinking of some things you could do! Let us know what they are!
Being Chronically Exhausted. Discover Maximum Energy! Stop the energy zappers in your life. Get more sleep, cut back on caffeine, get some exercise, cut out excess sugar, meditate, and enjoy life more.
Never Any Time for Yourself. Schedule a ME Day. Try this once per quarter or even once a month. Plan a day or afternoon where you only do things for yourself. Get that massage you’ve been dreaming of for the last 6 months. Maybe ice fishing would be your idea of fun. Whatever it is, do it!
Zombie Mode. No creative expression. Too much TV or video games. Same old, same old. Unleash Your Creativity. OK, maybe you think you have no creative talent, but assume for today that you do. I’m telling you, you have creative talent. Now, go ahead and write that song you’ve dreamed of writing. Practice that dusty guitar. Carve something out of a bar of soap. Go buy a massive canvas and paint a spectacular naive painting. No self-judging, just express yourself and have fun!
SPENDERS: Stop Running Up Your Credit Card Bills. Enjoy the Simple Pleasures in Life. Instead of the heavy burden that comes with an overabundance of possessions, enjoy things that are free for a change. Take in a sunset, a walk in nature, time with friends and family, or low cost entertainment like renting DVD’s. When you feel the urge to buy more and fill up your house, ask yourself, “Do I really need this? What can I do that will make me feel good instead of buying something?”
FRUGAL FANATICS: Stop Denying Yourself. Treat Yourself Every Once in a While. If you always deny yourself, you are always frugal and careful with money, allow yourself a mad money day every once in a while where you buy that one thing or service you consider a true luxury or extravagance. You deserve it!

I hope that these ideas prompt you to take a little more enjoyment from life starting today! I’m going to try too! I think I’ll be belly dancing, playing more guitar, and playing with my son some more! How about you?

Please Share!

How do you choose to make life more enjoyable? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

You can Support Life Learning Today by visiting one of my sponsors, making a donation, or making a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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Lose Belly Fat – Is It Really Possible?

Lose Belly Fat

Yes! Of course it is! Don’t give up! There is hope. The key is to understand how your body works and to have a comprehensive plan that you will execute over a reasonable period of time. Translation: this is not a quick fix. But, remember, it is doable! Take the turtle approach, slow and steady, and you’ll get there.

Now it is true that fat cells don’t disappear unless you surgically remove them. But you don’t need to go that route because fat cells can shrink! You may think “Oh, boy, this is going to be difficult.” It will take work, yes, but remember it’s not impossible. There is a solution. You can trim your tummy. This is great news!

I’ve assembled a guide here that includes the best tips from my own personal experience as well as other experts in the fields of diet, exercise, and stress-management.

The tips below work best when combined as an overall program. The three areas we’ll cover are diet, exercise, and anti-stress strategies. Get committed, create your personal plan, and you will lose your belly fat!

If you want the total solution in full detail, check out my ebook “The Secrets to a Healthy Life,” which details the fully researched health regimen I used to lose 15 pounds and become a much healthier and happier person. (And yes, a flatter tummy too!)

Diet Tips for Losing Belly Fat

If you want a sleeker tummy, then you’ll want to lose weight overall and more specifically you’ll want to lose fat. Spot reductions are not feasible. However if you carry most of the weight in your mid-section then the good news is that’s where you will see the results first. Here are the tips for healthy dieting:

1. Weight Loss Plan.

2. What to Eat.

  • Balanced Diet where your calorie breakdown follows these percentages approximately: (check out How to Eat Healthierfor more information)
    • 35% lean protein (vegetarian is healthiest – beans, nuts, tofu, seitan, lots of green veggies)
    • 35% high fiber carbohydrates (shoot for 25-30g fiber per day)
    • 30% healthy fats (olive oil, flaxseed oil – bear in mind you can’t cook with flaxseed oil, add it to salads or already steamed vegetables for flavor and other important nutrients)
  • Eat lots of vegetable and fruits that have a low glycemic index. Here is a list of foods and their glycemix index. To reduce fat, steam your vegetables or stir fry in broth.
  • Drink Your Fruits/Veggies! This is an easy way to eat healthy. Blend up smoothies, vegetable drinks, or quick puree soups. I can’t recommend anything more highly than a VitaMix blender. It’s a little pricey, but they last a lifetime and they make eating healthy a breeze. I love mine!
  • Consider taking a CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid), 1000mg 3 times a day with meals. In studies CLA was shown to reduce body fat, in particular in the belly area. If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, check with your doctor first. UPDATE: I no longer recommend CLA supplements. I don’t think that CLA will hurt you, but from all my research, it appears that the most effective, safe, and healthy way to lose weight is to follow a whole foods plant based diet called a Vegan diet. Also check out Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedmand and Kim Barnouin. (FYI: It’s not a diet of misery. It’s a delicious way to eat, otherwise I wouldn’t do it!)
  • If you eat meat, buy organic meats which have lower saturated fat content and higher natural levels of CLA.

3. Resources.

 

Exercise Tips to Lose Belly Fat

When trying to lose belly fat the important thing to remember is to include whole body exercises and to rotate your workouts in order to continually provide a challenge for your body. Otherwise your body becomes acclimated and does not receive as much benefit as if you vary your workouts. So for example if you always jog 30 minutes every day, that will be less effective than if you do different types of workouts every few days. Here are the exercise tips for losing tummy fat:

1. Do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. Brisk walking or jogging are great low cost exercises to do, but anything that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up is fine. Shoot for at least 3-5 times per week at a minimum. Here is an excellent article on varying your jogging workouts. And here is an article on how to become a runner.
2. Do whole body workouts 2-3 times per week such as yoga (strenuous) or Pilates or a weight-lifting program. These types of exercises will build muscle, increase metabolism, and make losing fat easier. Here is a link to my favorite yoga and Pilates videos.
3. Instead of cruches, try these Army exercises that strengthen and tone your stomach as part of a whole body workout.
4. Hold your stomach muscles in during the day whenever you can think of it. This will strengthen your abdominal girdle and create a flatter stomach.
5. Sit up straight and pull in your stomach muscles when sitting. You might want to create physical reminders to do this such as a post-it note at your desk or a loose rubber band around your wrist.
6. Stretching. Take breaks throughout the day to do back bending stretches that will stretch out your stomach muscles and keep them from becoming shortened which is not good for your stomach or your back.

Additional Resource: Check out “Why Is Exercise Good for You?” This gives you information on all the cool ways that your body changes when you exercise. It’s very motivating!

Anti-Stress Strategies for Losing Belly Fat

You may have seen commercials for supplements that will help you regulate the hormone cortisol in order to lose belly fat. Well controlling cortisol is very good idea, however supplements are not the way to go. What you want to do is reduce the stress that produces the cortisol hormone.

Cortisol is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and blood pressure. When you encounter stress, including lack of sleep, cortisol boosts your energy level by producing glucose. If you have chronically high stress levels then you’ll have too much of this hormone. This will keep your appetite stimulated and also keeps glucose production high. The body converts excess glucose into fat, which is usually stored in the midsection for quick access by your body.

How do you neutralize the stress of daily life? With relaxation techniques. Here are some helpful ideas:

1. Get Enough Sleep. Only you know how much sleep you need, but if you are routinely dragging during the day feeling sleepy, lethargic, exhausted, etc., then you probably need to get more sleep.

2. De-Stress Breaks. Take small breaks throughout the day, say every 1-3 hours. On the break you can:

3. Try Tai Chi, Qigong, or Yoga a few times a week.

  • Here are a list of my favorite yoga videos.
  • Here are two Qigong videos I recommend:
  • Qigong for Stress Relief – Francesco Garripoli
  • Qigong beginning practice – Francesco Garripoli

4. Meditate Daily. Meditate for 10-20 minutes 1-2 times per day, once in the morning and once in the later part of the day. This will set the tone for your day and help curb the automatic stress response. Here are a few recommended meditation and self-hypnosis guides:

5. Calming Guidance. Consider listening to positive audio tapes in your car or on your daily exercise. The one that I highly recommend is Andrew Matthews, “Happiness and Success” audio program. The website is one of those salesy sites, but never fear, this is probably the best self-help product I ever bought. I listen to it often and always refer my friends to his books and audio programs.

Other Considerations When Trying to Lose Belly Fat

1. Hypothyroidism. If you follow all these steps and can’t lose weight check with your doctor as you may have an under active thyroid which can throw off your metabolism and cause you to gain weight.

2. Buddy Up for Success. Enlist a friend, colleague, or family member to join your challenge. You’ll be more successful if you have someone to encourage and push you!

3. Hire a Personal Trainer. Think of all the stuff you buy that you don’t need. Why not spend money on something that could make a real difference in your health? This is great if you need help with discipline or with crafting an exercise routine.

4. Make Healthy Eating Easy. Fruits and veggie eating is the best way to be healthy and lose weight. You can eat as much as you want! Blend them into smoothies and soups. I can’t recommend anything more highly than a VitaMix blender. It’s a little pricey, but they last a lifetime and they make eating healthy a breeze. I love mine!

Please Share!

Do you have a success story on losing your tummy fat? If you’re just starting let us know so we can all encourage you! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you want the total solution in full detail, how I lost 15 pounds and got a flatter tummy, check out my ebook “The Secrets to a Healthy Life.”

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

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25 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Tired of online dating?

There are many good ways to meet new people.

Check out my guest article at Dumb Little Man for 25 ways to find a date.

DumbLittleMan.com: 25 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Please Share!

Got any good stories on finding a date? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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Cool Stuff I Learned This Week


Cool Stuff I Learned This Week

Here is a round up of some cool things I’ve discovered this week. I hope that you find them useful and interesting too!

Interesting

Spontaneous Urban Gatherings: From Subway Parties to Pillow Fights. This new wave could spark something wonderful. Does it give you any fun ideas? Web Urbanist always has some very interesting stories about cities around the world with amazing pictures. Check out Web Urbanist home page too for some more gems. (Image from Web Urbanist)Parkour

Writing

How to Complete Your First Book with these 9 Simple Writing Habits by Leo Babauta at Dumb Little Man

Business

Thinking of starting a web based business? Read this first: Learn From an Adsense Millionaire: Notes on Markus Frind and PlentyofFish.com by Maki of DoshDosh.

Money

Massive Personal Finance Resource List by Brett McKay of The Frugal Law Student

Living

Zenhabits.net . You know what? I just can’t pick one from this blog. There are so many good ones. I learn and am reminded of useful things here every week. Check out Leo’s superbly useful articles!

Kindness from Be Inspired Every Day blog. Kindness always makes sense. This article will make you feel good because it helps you release negativity.

Technology

Did You Buy an iPhone? If so check out 4 ways to get your money back and 200 reasons to love american express – an article by social media maven MSaleem.

Sudden Hard Drive Crash. Lorie Morero’s (happy ending) story of a hard drive crash. Are you ready if your hard drive crashes?

Please Share!

What great articles did you read or write this week? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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If You Have a Blog, You’ll Want to Read This

If you don’t have a blog, you can skip this post. But if you do have a blog, and you’d like the chance to win some extremely valuable services that can help take your blog to the next level, then you’ll want to check this out.

I recently came across a prize giveaway by one of my favorite bloggers, David Airey. David Airey is a graphic designer specializing in logo design. He is holding a prize giveaway to celebrate the one year anniversary of his blog. There are more than $4,000 worth in free prizes! Find out how to enter by reading the details on David’s logo designer blog.

David Airey Logo Design

To whet your appetite, here are some of the prizes that are up for grabs:

If you’re interested, find out how to enter the drawing by reading the details on David’s logo designer blog.

Want to Know a Feel Good Secret?

improvement

A Little Secret with Big Benefits

If you’ve been feeling bad about yourself lately, you can turn that around pretty quickly. The key? Be improving. Be improving in some area of your life. When you are improving on something you are moving forward, you are getting better, and you will feel better.

Perhaps you’re experiencing a life crisis, early life, mid-life, or early life crisis. Or maybe you’re simply in a rut. Maybe you’ve noticed how aging is affecting your body. You can break past this! All you have to do is get busy improving on something you enjoy, and you will begin to feel better and better each day.

Just know that it is never too late to start, and today is the perfect day to start!


Things You Could Improve On

  • Physical: walking, jogging, biking, tennis, soccer, sailing, windsurfing (if I can do it, you can!), kayaking, skiing, golfing, etc.
  • Hobbies: fishing, whittling, model making, pool, quilting, crochet, knitting, arts, gardening, working on a vintage car.
  • Parenting: take a class, take an online course, read a book, find a parenting blog.
  • Skills: painting, sculpting, public speaking, writing, teaching,
  • Learning: take a class on something that interests you such as a foreign language, history, creative writing, art, etc.
  • Relationships: find a great book, such as in Follow Your Heart by Andrew Matthews, and apply it a little bit each day. Focus on yourself and what you can do to make a relationship more positive.

How to Be Improving

  1. Pick an area that interests you.
  2. Plan a start. (example: Plan to walk 20 minutes each day at 7am. Plan to go to bed by 10pm. Lay out shoes and workout clothes night before.)
  3. Start slow.
  4. Do it everyday.
  5. Challenge yourself a little bit more every day. (example: Want to start jogging, but you can only jog for one minute. Do a combination of jog/walk. Each day try to jog a few minutes more within your 20-30 minute session.)
  6. Track your progress on a simple calendar.
  7. Find a success buddy who will support you and encourage you. Everyone knows someone really positive and enthusiastic. Call that person and ask them to cheer you on via email or via phone calls every once in a while.
  8. Plan a special treat for after 30 days of continual improvement.
  9. Celebrate, smile and enjoy how it feels to be improving!
  10. Start Today!

Please Share!

What will you improve on this month? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

 

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

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