No person is free who is not master of themselves.
Self-discipline and self-control aren’t easy ~ these admirable character traits are not something we are born with, and usually most people don’t really develop self-discipline and self-control until they are well into adulthood. Some sad people never learn any real self-discipline and self-control at all. They are doomed to live meaningless, unfulfilled, unhappy, and unenlightened existences.
The exercise of self-discipline and self-control is difficult and complicated, needing willpower, flexibility, and judgement. To live fully rewarding lives we must continually be completely honest with ourselves, yet at times withhold the whole truth from others. To be free of disappointment, pain, and suffering we must assume total responsibility for ourselves and our own actions. It’s no good breaking our abstinence from alcohol or cigarettes just because some other people seem to having a good time smoking and drinking. That is just giving the power to control our lives to others whose own judgement is very suspect.
We must also have the self-discipline and self-control to reject responsibility that is not truly ours. I am not my brother’s keeper, nor are you responsible for what your sister does with her life.
True self-discipline and real self-control means being organised and efficient, living wisely, and living in balance and harmony with yourself and the Cosmos.
A key part of this is the ability to delay gratification ~ don’t always stop at the pub on the way home from work, don’t always get angry when questioned, and don’t always eat that last sandwich even when you are not hungry. Keep an eye on the future, think about what your actions are going to mean tomorrow, next week, next year. Do you want to be an angry and overweight alcoholic? Well, by the sound of it that’s where you’ll be heading if you don’t learn some self-discipline and self-control.
Let hunger sharpen your awareness. Abstain liquor and frivolous recreation, which dull the mind and weaken the body. ~ Laura Joh Rowland.
It’s all about replacing bad and self-destructive habits with good habits that will enhance your life in the longer term. Instead of stopping off at the pub on the way home from work, three or four times a week, go to the gym instead. You won’t get the immediate buzz of getting drunk, but you will get the long-term buzz of being a fitter, healthier, much better person.
Either I’m lucky, or I have a lot of willpower, because I seem to have more than my share of self-discipline and self-control ~ (and even I self-destruct from time to time). I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t pick up cheap women in bars for meaningless sex. I’m fit and healthy, I walk at least 5 miles every day, exercise, and I do yoga. My weight is right where it should be, my blood work is excellent, and my heart is strong. I don’t go to work at all, and yet I’m wealthy enough to do what I like when I like.
And nobody has ever given me one damn thing. Everything I have I have earned for myself through hard work, self-discipline, and self-control.
The answer is easy. Stop pissing your life away like a fool, and start really living instead. Replace your bad and self-destructive habits with good habits that will enhance your life in the longer term.
If I can do it, anyone can.
People are lonely because they build walls for themselves.
Do you live inside a prison of your own making?
Do you remember building those fortress walls?
A wall of protection, are you looking for an opening?
Are you happy living in your empty, echoing halls?
Are you trying to find a way to freedom, escaping?
How dark and lonely are your clouds, cliffs, and hills?
No use running, happiness is too far away for running.
You need time, effort, and creativity to build anything worthwhile.
I intend to build a tiny teardrop trailer sometime this summer. These tiny camping trailers are built on a commercially built trailer frame, on top of which a plywood structure is mounted.
I could build this from scratch, just using half-inch sheets of 8′ X 4′ plywood I cut to shape for myself, or I could buy a kit ~ and I think I’m going to buy a kit.
Some of the available kits include:
Make: features 11 Teardrop Trailer Builds on its blog.
Including this, which I really like because of its squared-off shape, which will give more usable space than a ‘classic’ teardrop shape.
This is totally home built from scratch on a commercially bought steel trailer frame.
This teardrop camper kit is from Fyne Boat Kits, and I really like its sculptural, upturned, boat-shaped design.
So-Cal Teardrops has a range of kits, including this off-roader.
And, Little Guy Trailers has this 5 foot wide teardrop kit.
Or, I could also build just from plans, like the Wyoming Woody.
Having few desires means satisfaction with what you have.
Making radical plans always has more ramifications that one first thinks. I have this germ of an idea to convert an old school bus into a camper / RV / motor home, and / or find a great plot and construct a home / holiday home out of shipping containers. One of the ramifications is that the amount of interior space is likely to be limited in either of those projects.
But, there is an axiom; You don’t need more space, you need less stuff…
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. ~ Will Rogers
Ergo, the first rule of living with less is to stop buying things you don’t really need. A lot of us like buying new stuff: kitchen gadgets, clothes, pictures, ornaments and geegaws, books, and other sundry unnecessary crap. Then we find our spare room and garage filled with the old stuff we have replaced with new stuff, and eventually we have to take all that old crap to the thrift store.
All this costs us time, money, stress, and heartache. Buy stuff we don’t really need and our lives are filled with clutter, and clutter is incredibly stressful. The simple answer is; ‘if you don’t absolutely need it, then don’t buy it’. If there is no clean and empty space on your tables, kitchen counters, bookshelves, dressing table, desk, and in your bathroom, then you have far too much stuff.
Clutter, junk, piles of unused stuff, overflowing cupboards, a garage you can barely get your car into, a spare room full of more unused stuff… all this is bad for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. If you can’t lose weight, you’re always tired, you’re always late for work ~ then clean up your clutter.
Instead of complications and clutter, consider simplicity and minimalism instead.
If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough… and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. ~ The Dalai Lama
Simple living will benefit your physical, mental, and spiritual health in many ways. Living simply declutters your life and your daily schedule ~ who knows if you live simply you may even make it into work on time.
Living simply with less stuff, living a clean and minimalistic lifestyle, well it isn’t something that you should attempt to achieve overnight, usually this kind of huge change takes time, effort, and determination. Take little steps, at least to begin with. Some good ideas are;
- Get rid of all your duplicates. If you have 2 of something, like 2 copies of the same CD, then you have 1 too many. Take the duplicate to the thrift store.
- Clean out your garage and spare room, (and other places you store unused stuff). If it’s been in your garage for years, and you’ve never used it, then either take it to the thrift store, give it away, or put it in the dumpster.
- Start a clutter-free area. Have a minimalistic and clutter-free zone or room perhaps your bathroom, or kitchen, and then expand that through the rest of your home.
- Travel lightly. Take half the stuff you think you will need, and twice as much money. If your garage or spare room is full of luggage, suitcases, bags… then get rid of some of them. Most airlines will only allow one bag anyway.
- Dress with less. If you haven’t worn it in months, and you don’t really like it, and maybe it’s a little worn, and it doesn’t fit you any more ~ then take it to the thrift store. Have a colour and style theme that really suits you, and try your best to always stick with that.
- Simplify and purify your diet. Go through your fridge, freezer, and larder ~ junk anything past its ‘use by date’ or is of dubious quality, or you shouldn’t be eating or drinking anyway.
- Have a £1,000 pound emergency fund, ($1,000). Money for emergencies reduces stress and makes it amazingly easier to junk stuff you don’t really need.
I live in a 500 square foot loft apartment I call the garret. The only thing I have too much of is books. My bookshelves are full, my bookcases, (2 of them), are full, and there are books stacked on the floor… I’m working on that, all of my books are for sale on Amazon. In recent weeks I’ve got rid of half my clothes, (see point #5), and replaced some with far better quality stuff. My kitchen counters and bathroom are totally clutter free, and my refrigerator is only half-full. I’m not doing too badly on being minimalistic and clutter-free.
Trust me~ discarding unwanted stuff, being clutter-free, creates a raft of good feelings.
Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit experience and the last effort of genius. ~ George Sand
Good design and good quality is timeless. Always buy the best you can afford, and never buy more than you need. Remember K.I.S.S. ~ Keep It Simple Stupid… Simplicity is Good, and Clutter is Bad. Focus on what really matters to you, and don’t get suckered in to buying cheap bargains you don’t need.
Less is more. ~ Mies Van Der Rohe
Be clean, simple, uncluttered, and minimalistc, (especially in the bedroom), and I promise you your life will be better.
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A dog, a wife, and a walnut tree, they more you beat them the better they be.
It looks like a simple change to our diet, like eating a few walnuts a day, boosts our health in some amazing ways.
I’ve long thought that eating nuts was a good idea, and now some scientists at the Louisiana State University agree with me. After some experiments they say that eating a couple of ounces of walnuts a day improves your digestive health. Seems it’s all to do with prebiotics again, and that walnuts have their beneficial effects by nourishing the friendly bacteria in our gut, helping them to thrive and multiply.
These good bacteria have anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is now thought to be central to the onset of arthritis, various cancers including prostate and breast cancer, depression, early aging, various heart / circulatory diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
It’s better to get the nutrients for healthy skin from food, not supplements. Salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach… lots of my favorite foods happen to be amazing for skin too. ~ Gail Simmons
Scientists and nutritionists say that the health of our digestive tract is central to the health of our whole body. Walnuts act as a prebiotic, meaning that eating these nuts helps keep our digestive system healthy.
Gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. ~ Professor Lauri Byerley.
Walnuts and hazelnuts are just about the oldest tree foods known to man; their importance going at least at far back as 7,000 BC. Walnuts in particular;
- Help with weight loss.
- Improve good sleep if eaten late at night~ walnuts contain lots of melatonin.
- Are good for your hair, in fact eating walnuts may help prevent hair loss.
- Are very good for your heart and circulation.
- Help to lower your bad cholesterol.
- Help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Makes your skin healthier.
- Can keep senile dementia at bay.
- Help to prevent various cancers, especially breast and pancreatic cancers.
- Will help you to live a longer, healthier, and less stressful life.
Personally, I firmly believe that eating almost any type of nuts and seeds is a beneficial addition to one’s diet, but walnuts may be better than most as they are the only nut that contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acid. And, as we already know, omega-3 fatty acids are good for us. Walnuts also have a lot of protein, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in them.
Walnuts are a tree nut, along with Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios ~ each of these has it’s own nutritional properties, (I can’t abide macadamia nuts and I hate pecan pie).
Walnuts have the vitally important amino acid l-arginine, which give loads of benefits to people with heart diseases, or who may become prone to suffering from heart and circulatory problems.
These almost magical nuts also contain neuroprotective compounds, such as vitamin E, folate, and melatonin. Research shows that eating a half a cup of walnuts a day may stave off senile dementia.
Allegedly, walnuts also make men more sexually potent, and are good for pregnant women…..
There is one nut which is not generally thought to be quite so healthy; peanuts. These are legumes anyhow, and basically legumes are either peas or cattle food. The main reason that early farmers grew legumes is that they improve the soil, and not because they’re good to eat.
Nevertheless, there are health benefits to be found from the humble peanut; they’re full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, the anti-aging molecule resveratrol, and phytosterols that help reduce bad cholesterol.
Nuts and seeds are a far better snack than the other disgusting crap many people munch on, especially late at night. So don’t snack on potato chips, crackers, popcorn, blue cheese, ice cream, doughnuts, pretzels, candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, s’mores… have some walnuts instead, or almonds, or hazelnuts, (or any nuts and seeds).
The good news is, that glass of red wine you like late at night is good for you too.
always buy organic walnuts
Life is not merely being alive, but being well.
If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life. But, what is a healthy lifestyle? Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.
The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run. ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet. Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;
- Stop smoking. Stop smoking weed too. Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
- Drink only in moderation. If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
- Don’t be fat, don’t be obese. It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories. Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you. There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet; sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy. Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
- Take enough appropriate exercise. Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life. You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights. Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
- Have a good quality and healthy diet. And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin… The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.
Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK. In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.
Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life. Professor Kenji Shibuya.
Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;
- Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
- Get your blood pressure checked.
- Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
- Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings. Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
- Stop smoking.
- Start exercising. There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
- Walk don’t drive. Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
- Don’t get stressed. Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
- Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day. Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
- And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital. Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.
These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own. Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness. As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~ Paul Dudley White.
Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.
Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.
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All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
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