Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Jul

5 Things I Still Struggle With

ican When it comes to living a healthy, Primal lifestyle, for the most part I’ve got things dialed in. There are very few things, if any, I’d change about my eating plan, my workouts, or my sleep schedule, for example, but there are some areas in which I know I can improve. Some major, some not so major. Like everyone does, I’d imagine. Nearly all of my struggles are related to finding a deeper sense of peace and contentment in this hectic modern world. In fact, I selfishly wrote a book, The Primal Connection, to give myself more tools and strategies to achieve the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from within that we all seek. (The book, you may be happy to know, recently won the Eric Hoffer award for best self-published book of 2013.)

While I’ve made some strides in these areas in recent years, the journey is never over. There is no perfect lifestyle or perfect diet or perfect workout. We all have something, or some things, we’d like to get better at. We all have struggles. So, today, I thought I’d share with you guys some of my personal struggles, as well as some ways for addressing and even overcoming them.

Stress Management

For all the posts I’ve done on the subject, all the advice I’ve doled out, all the focus I’ve given it, stress remains my biggest struggle. And, from talking to lots of you guys, this is a common issue in the community. The reason why stress continues to vex us, even if we’ve come to terms with our diet, fitness, and sleep? Stressors exist everywhere and they are non-specific and often non-material. They can be anything – or anyone – and the stress that results is intangible. You can choose not to eat the cupcake, but you can’t choose not to drive to work in traffic, pay your bills, or hear the neighbors’ insanely loud music at 2 AM. I suppose you could avoid opening the envelope containing the overdue notice on your mortgage, but that’s not really managing stress. That’s actually compounding it. The problem’s not going anywhere, and it actually intensifies the longer you ignore it. The cupcake you declined? That’s it. It’s done. You’ve said “no” and it ceases to impact you. Stressors are different. They linger. There’s no easy way to deal with them or the stress they produce.

And so we must manage our stressors, we must prepare ourselves to deal with the inevitable. That can be really, really tough. Another problem with the intangibility of stress? It’s tough to know when you’re truly managing it successfully. There’s no instant feedback. Even a stress management technique as relatively concrete (in the sense of “I’m taking active steps to manage my stress”) as meditation doesn’t deliver instant results. Heck, it can take months or years of consistent practice to derive tangible benefit. So when I try to manage my stress, it’s hard to know if it’s working or not. I’m an instant feedback kind of guy. That’s how I operate best. When that feedback doesn’t materialize right away, I struggle.

How I deal: I’m still working on this one. I’ve done a bit of meditation (too formal for my tastes). I’ve tried avoidance (impossible and ultimately ineffective). What seems to work best is filling up on nature. I’ve come to realize that I can’t avoid stress. It’s there and if I want to keep doing what I’m doing, it’s unavoidable. But if I can get out into nature several times a week, preferably every day, I feel markedly better. “Nature” can mean a hike through Topanga Canyon, a few hours of standup paddleboarding, lounging on the beach, a weekend camping trip in the Sierras, or even – if I’m really desperate – a game of Ultimate Frisbee in the park. As long as I can get the grass (or sand, or dirt) between my toes and some greenery in my periphery, I can deal with the stress. It doesn’t last for long, though. I have to keep re-upping my nature intake.

Staying in the Moment

I’ll often notice my mind drifting away, mid-conversation, mid-reading-a-book, mid-watching-a-great-flick, mid-workout, mid-anything-that-deserves-full-attention. It’s not that I try to think of the post I’m writing, that meeting tomorrow, or what I’m eating for dinner that night when talking to another person. Those thoughts just drift in and seize hold of my attention. The problem is that however momentary the lapse in attention on the here and now, it’s disruptive and off-putting (especially if you’re in the midst of a conversation) and ultimately cheapens the experience of everyday life.

How I deal: I can’t avoid those thoughts, but I can stop myself from focusing on them. Lately, I’ve had success by changing how I perceive the exchange. My mind isn’t drifting to other thoughts; other thoughts are drifting into my mind, which stays in the same place. This reframing allows me to acknowledge, briefly analyze, and then ignore the incoming thoughts. They’re there, and I know it, but I don’t let them seize control of my attention. If they happen to be important thoughts with a legit claim to my attention, I can switch over. But it’s under my control, at least in theory. It seems to be working so far.

Staying Off the Phone and the Laptop When I Know I Should Be Chilling with Friends and Family

The Internet is an amazing resource offering untold delights. With a few taps on the keyboard, you’re privy to untold reams of knowledge vaster than any library, historical, fictional, or otherwise (except maybe the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – the electronic database depicted in the book of the same name, not the book itself). And it’s always growing, moving, living, responding – in real time. You don’t just read an article, you read the comment section that unfolds before you and often contains better stuff than the article itself. You don’t just read a single Wikipedia entry and then power off the computer. You start clicking links, bouncing from Roman mythology to astronomy to astrology to mythological dragons to cryptozoology to Bigfoot to famous hoaxes to the JFK assassination to Vietnam until you’ve fallen down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and emerged moderately more knowledgeable than you were before. It’s great, and that’s what makes it so irresistible and addicting.

It doesn’t help that much of my work takes place on the computer or phone, whether it’s responding to emails or taking meetings online or conducting research for blog posts. If I want to keep doing what I’m doing, I need to be connected, which makes it easy to come up with justifications for using it all the time. But I don’t need to be connected during dinner with the family. Or when out for drinks with some friends. My brain may “think” it needs to check that email or respond to that text, but I know better. Even though I “want” to grab the phone because it’s been twenty minutes since I last checked my email, I ultimately can refrain from doing so.

How I deal: This is a constant struggle, but actually physically powering the devices down when I know I shouldn’t be using them has really helped. So, if I go out to dinner, I’ll often turn my phone off. It’s there if I need it, but it’s not tempting me. If I’m at home with the family, I’ll shut my laptop down. It’s a simple and effective solution. Powering something back on is just difficult enough to dissuade you from constantly doing it on a whim.

Learning to Say “No”

I’m constantly in “go” mode, as I alluded to earlier. I’m always looking for a new experience, something bigger, something better. And the bigger MDA and the Primal community has gotten, the more opportunities I’ve had to get involved in extremely cool projects. It’s hard to say no to them, and I rarely do. There’s an innate desire, in everyone, I think, to devour new and “awesomer” experiences. It’s that very Primal part of me that just wants as much as he can get. Thousands of years ago, when the world was very small, when traveling thirty miles took an entire day (not twenty minutes) and relaying messages required physical transportation of that message (not a click of a button), we could go for every opportunity and stay grounded because, well, there weren’t that many opportunities. The number and scale of opportunities in the ancestral environment were inherently limited.

Now? Now I can get an invitation from a guy in South Africa to speed off for a safari. Now I can get fifty emails a day requesting my participation in some project or another, and most of them sound great. And because everyone’s so interconnected, and data is so widely available, and cool ideas are mating with cooler ideas, people are coming up with fascinating opportunities. It’s really, really hard to say no. But say no I must, because our bodies are still meat machines limited by physical realities.

How I deal: With the help of an assistant, I break down what I have to do, what I’ve already planned to do, and what I’d like to do, then set a “venture limit” each month based on my schedule. It isn’t perfect, but it does help keep me accountable to someone that’s not me.

Turning My Brain Off

Our brains are “us.” Quite literally, our hopes, our dreams, our personalities, our consciousness, our sense of self – they call come from the brain. With that in mind, the idea of turning off the brain is scary. I mean, won’t that kill me? Or, at the very least, reduce me to a mindless automaton? No. By “turning my brain off,” I mean “getting out of my head.” It’s important to be able to get out of our own heads from time to time and get into the instinctual “flow” state, where you are completely absorbed by your endeavors without engaging in fluffy, counterproductive metathought.

I’ve touched on the flow state before. The problem with getting to the flow state is that once you realize you’re there, it’s in danger of slipping away. It’s kind of the eternal, uniquely human struggle faced by big brained hominids: how do we reconcile the animal inside us with the intellectual? The passion and the rationality? There are nights where I keep myself up just thinking about… stuff. I’ll think about what I have to do the next day. I’ll think about what I didn’t do twenty years ago and now regret. I’ll think about all these struggles I’ve been relaying in this post. I’ll think about thinking. In short, I’ll be in my own head way too much, so much that it gets in the way of living, doing, and being.

How I deal: This is a tough one, especially since I have to use my brain to tell my brain to stay out of itself, or something. I can’t do this on cue, but I have the most success getting out of my head when I’m intensely focused on an important, interesting task. The key for me is to figure out how to do that when I’m just lying in bed.

Well, that’s what I struggle with, folks. What about you? What do you still struggle with? How do you cope, and how successful are your coping strategies? Let me know in the comments! Oh, and if you’ve got any suggestions for my struggles, I’m all ears!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I struggle with stress, too. I think the most helpful thing to remember is to not stress out ABOUT being stressed out. Somehow that works wonders. :)

    Cristina wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  2. I use GPS4SOUL to help me de-stress, a free download from the app store it measures your pulse and provides various short guides some of which are beautiful music and pictures. Works for me, I always feel better for using it.

    Kay Nelson wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  3. Try Bach Flowers’ White Chesnut drops.
    White Chestnut
    “For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and still remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the work or pleasure of the day.” – Dr. Edward Bach
    Keywords: Repeated unwanted thoughts, mental arguments, concentration, sleeplessness, insomnia.
    Human Indication: When you mind is cluttered with thoughts or mental arguments. You may be unable to sleep because of the thoughts.

    Susan wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  4. Stress Management
    Staying in the Moment
    Chill offline
    Say “No”
    Quieting the mind

    Better sleep
    Less cravings

    It all improves with meditation. It is as simple as that.

    Once you know how to do it, it is not boring or formal. It is sitting and experiencing anxiety and stress hormones leaving your body. It is simply amazing and it is the one thing which is more important to be in my life than the right diet. Just 5-20 minutes can change “the world” immensely.

    Stop searching for solutions outside yourself. Everything you need is right there inside of you. The happiness i get from meditation is the best driving force to “survive” – it gives me energy, positivity, creativity, focus, peace, etc etc etc.

    I just had to say this, as meditation is the closets to magic i have ever experienced. For me, meditation is to happiness what lifting is to big muscles.

    I am just 26 years old, learned meditation on a weekend course, took a 10 days vipassana retreat to get an intense start, and now have been meditating for 1-2 years, not even much or regularly. I have had all the problems mentioned, seriously, but meditation changed that :)

    I am actually a bit disappointed to read Mark’s article (which I never have been before) We are all different, especially diet-wise, but if there is one thing which i dare to recommend to everyone, it is meditation.

    Eline wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  5. I enjoy reading these posts in which Mark talks about his own life. I find it nice to learn a bit about the people I learn from.
    I dealt with a bit of restlessness yesterday in a good way. I left the computer for a bit to do some rooftop chilling. I did a standing jump from one to higher one that was a frightening distance and would have been a devastating drop, but it felt great. Then jumping back I landed in a shoulder/barrel roll and climbed down by sliding down a pole. It was fun and I returned to the PC feeling refreshed and more intent on focusing on the text in front of me.
    A little later in the day I was held in the local police station for really no reason (they said public intoxication, but I can handle my liquor.. it’s just the cops in this town all know me so sometimes it’s hard to avoid the lame cat and mouse game) and shamelessly hit on a cop. It was good stuff.

    Animanarchy wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  6. Very honest post, Mark.

    Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5 are actually all the same thing = resisting the present moment, resisting what is.

    All stress comes from wanting things to be different to the way they are. Once you get that and realise that whatever is happening right now, in this moment, is ok, *including* your incessant thoughts or your self-distraction strategies, then you access inner peace. And then, paradoxically, the incessant thoughts cease to seem so important, and tend to fade, and the drive for distraction also lessens.

    And even if they don’t, that’s ok too.

    The present moment is all that we ever have. Making friends with it, accepting it EXACTLY as it is, is the key to peace and fulfilment.

    It’s a bit like this. If someone has a different opinion to you, thinking that they shouldn’t have that opinion will get you upset. Whereas once you accept that they have that opinion and it’s ok that they have it, you are a) not upset any more, and b) actually MORE able to take action to change the situation, if you want to, by calmly putting forward intelligent arguments, using humour to help them see a different point of view, or whatever. The paradox is that the more you accept the PRESENT moment, the easier it is to create the NEXT moment the way you’d love it to be.

    And please keep up the great work.

    Kevin

    Kevin Burch wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  7. If you are in a State where cannabis is legal, then you have the perfect solution to stress, anxiety, and depression. Hopefully, one day soon, the silly prohibitions against cannabis (nature’s medicine) will be lifted throughout the United States.

    Rich wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  8. One of the things that achieves most of this for me is hunting.

    As someoner dealing wityh depression, I have come to realise that I cannot afford to NOT do thios, so I simply have to write it into the calendar. The psychologist that I see approves.

    It takes me out of my normal work environment, away from the computer and out of moble-phone range.

    It places me in the company of like-minded people, in camp where there is nothing to do arounbd the fire but eat, talk and drink.

    It is an immersive activity in which my total focus is on what we are doing to the exclusion of other things. I cannit “an emotional holiday” because it gives me rest from the normal stressors.

    It takes me into beautiful, quiet country.

    It gives me hard physical things to do… Climbing mountains, running after hounds, carry out heavy sections of game…

    PeterW. wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  9. Definitely agree with being out in nature as a stress reducer. The times in my life where I was most carefree are by far the multi-day hiking trips I’ve done. It’s amazing that activity that is so physically and mentally strenuous can be relaxing, but I never fail to feel better when I’m on the trail :) Getting prepped tonight for a four-day trip over 4th of July weekend; I can already hear the woods calling :P

    BGottfried wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  10. Great article. I have the exact same struggles. I find that not only going out into nature, but playing hard enough to get truly exhausted works the best for me as well.

    Bruce wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  11. Hi Mark,

    just want to add my 2 cents worth… I personally have found that if I meet all my emotional/physical/safety needs that I just AM content. There’s a certain level of rebelliousness there – rejecting some of society’s norms. For example, in my case, spending time with my family is actually incredibly stressful, so I rebel against that. I rebel against the idea of having to work 9-5 and push towards my dream of working my dream, creating things that people love and making money which is clearly there in the gazillions to be had. Why shouldn’t it be me? I am now 35 and I spent much of my life trying to live according to the christian faith, and then trying to live according to society’s norms.. and I am delightedly happy to say I’ve completely given up. I read books by and about people that didn’t live according to the rules – people that pushed the boundaries and lived exactly how they pleased. Wildly successful icons of history. And that encourages me and feeds my soul, feeds that part of me that like you wants always to be growing, doing more, doing the next exciting thing. I find company when I need company, have made more good friends this way and numberless companions, I drink wine on the occasion and I live my life. I cannot wait to wake up each day, and aim higher, strive harder, sometimes relax like a slug… Your books were a real ‘blessing’ to me, and I will always be grateful for your shared knowledge and understanding towards a much better diet and lifestyle. I think perhaps you need to be challenged outside of your square. Read some new books to read. It doesn’t matter what they are!! (novels do it for me about half the time!) Just as long as they get you out of that box, that blue funk. Relationships may need changing, even your personality might end up being tweaked. But that’s life isn’t it. And you’ve got to embrace it. Go to a musical. Watch an opera. Go read about some of the great artists in history. Find yourself companionship that delights your soul. My advice from the other side of the world. All the best Mark, and thanks once again a million for such an amazing site and the fount of knowledge you are re food and exercise. So so appreciated. I sprinted yesterday with my 8 yr old son and beat him for the first time in years. So so glad for your advice. So happy to be embracing health and hope and rejecting the doctor’s advice. Yippee. So happy to be almost back to complete health. I’ll be a terrific testimonial I hope for you soon, if you want it. Cheers, and I hope you have a fabulous day ahead of you.

    Anna wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  12. Ranch work – digging, hauling, planting, etc. Have PTSD and always watch the sun rise and the sun set, as much as possible. The key to stress management is to be in the moment. What am I doing? How do I feel? Why am I stressed? What is really happening? The bad traffic isn’t a lion coming to kill you or it’s modern day version.. Neither is the long line at the grocery store or the unexpected car repair.

    bamboo wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  13. I concentrate in praying. Like getting my rosary and pray for somebody or something that I heard in the news that left me speechless And I think only God’s mercy can reach… Even when I already had a time to pray during the day…

    Franchesca wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  14. having the same trouble, I recently thought of this: stress is a hydraulic force, either emotional or physical such as blood pressure. the emotional stress feels like a filled tube or line or pipe in your chest. it is at a normal level and should be there to keep you safe. however it goes easily overboard in an unnatural way, artificial, really. so if aware of this hydraulic pressure inside your chest becoming too high, you can peel away the pressure as you would with a hydraulic line in machinery. widen the line or tube a little at the time. breathing seems to coincide with it, in is pressure awareness and out is letting off the extra pressure on the tubes that hold the hydraulics. you are gradually left with exactly the peace of nature and the previous trouble is like the cupcake, calmly living with it

    martina neale wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  15. Cooee, I’m also a first-time MDA poster!

    I interviewed a yoga teacher a few years ago who reminded me that our grok ancestors would sit around a campfire and either talk story or stare at the stars. We would wind down our mind naturally and if anyone on here knows what pure delicious wood fire heat is like ~ there is a magic therein that lulls us to sleep. On our family farm it’s hard to stay conscious past 9pm when the pot belly’s firing.

    Now…what to do in summer ?!

    Renata wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  16. I too, use the counting down from 100 by 7’s technique when having difficulty getting to sleep. The lowest I have ever gotten was 63 before drifting off. If I start thinking about things that are mainly resolved or for which there is no immediate or apparent solution, I just picture the file that contains them being closed and that file going into the file drawer and the drawer being closed. For relaxing I use the meditation technique that was developed for returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Just get comfortable; close your eyes and follow your breathing. No need to breath a particular way; your breathing will take care of itself. As thoughts come and go just go back to concentrating on your breathing; observing each breath as it goes in and out. This simple technique can be performed on the spot anywhere such as in an elevator or while waiting in traffic but be careful as you might fall asleep!

    Gord, Vancouver wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  17. What do I struggle with besides stress? I find myself 18 months after discovering the Primal Blueprint way of life still struggling with going primal. The longest I’ve gone is 17 days. I got super stressed and fell off the primal wagon.

    The grains are so hard to not eat. Not only are they everywhere but I know I’m one of those that are addicted to them. My default comfort during stress. (Bad, I know.)

    I know going primal is what will work for me but getting there…

    Bethoc wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  18. Hi! I highly recommend Vipassana Meditation! It’s extremely hard, but beneficial. :)

    Lauren wrote on July 3rd, 2013
    • Agree! I have also been on the 10 day course. Meditation is awesome!

      Eline wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  19. Darling Mark I love your emails n blogs Well done for the improved health of the world.
    I was an atheist till my 50s. I have to tell you the only answer to all that you struggle with really is Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. When you accept a relationship with Him you also receive the Holy Spirit of God who loves, guides, comforts and teaches you. Yay I have NEVER looked back. With love and blessings Anne Sciola Australia melbourne.
    No.,
    , I am not a nutter.Was an intellectual snob who knew it all untill I met Jesus.(Play twilight zone music here..)…….. Healthy eating has been my passion and funnily enough God, Holy spirit told me to follow exactly this paleo diet in 2005!! Praise God. He knows what humans need cos He created them and all life.

    anne sciola wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  20. All the meditations mentioned are ancient Buddhist/Hindu/Taoist techniques with a little modern sugar coating.They don’t fit modern man who uses his head too much and his body too little.Try OSHO’S cathartic active meditations,like dynamic meditation and kundalini meditation(www.osho.com for demos,descriptions and downloads.Also look into how your brain is functioning WHY ISN’T MY BRAIN WORKING by Datis Kharrazian.I’ve been a psychiatrist for 55 years and a meditator for 40 years.I work 12 hour days in an acute psychiatric hospital,16 days in a row,and I don’t feel stressed.”The essence of the way is to observe the mind” Bodhidharma The Primal Diet rocks,in 1 year my homocysteine dropped from 13 to 6.

    Swamii Anand Bodhicitta wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  21. Hi Mark. Only one answer I found after being an atheist for 50 years..
    A relationship and encounter with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, the kindest, most loving , most peaceful person you will ever know who will guide you into peace, love, truth and wholeness. Do not fear about anything.
    I would NEVER go back to BC.
    Also I was given the paleo diet via a Holy Spirit download in 2005. I have struggled to believe in it and didnt follow it till I became convinced it was the only way when I found all you guys.
    Well done for helping make the world’s western sickies well.
    Love and blessings Anne

    anne sciola wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  22. Stress relief (and I’m trying to re-phrase that into a positive aspect, like Resiliency Training Ideas welcome!) is what I am building my business around. Right now we present it to emergency responders. We are going to modify our services and product to a different audience.

    So Mark, I especially would like to hear from you. I think I can help, and I would consider it returning the favor as my partner and I are both on the Primal diet, and incorporating a primal workout.

    If anyone has questions, contact me via my website.

    Rob Harrison wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  23. Still working my way through Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” It’s 50+ years old and full of gems, e.g., figure out what is worrying you, identify the worst thing that can happen, and make up a plan to handle it. I often don’t get past step 2 as the worst thing is not unmanageable, so the stress was pointless in the first place.
    As a fellow entrepreneur whose brain never shuts off and who has trouble saying no, I resonate with all of these problems. My escape: movies – the more brainless, the better, and with 2 little kids, many of the movies are brainless! (or at least not exactly complex)

    Anne J wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  24. I don’t know about you, Mark, but if I
    were describing myself in your words,
    I wouldn’t see a psychological or
    spiritual problem, but rather that I
    was eating too much carb and/or protein
    so that my fasting insulin was going
    too high. Perhaps your carbohydrate
    tolerance is diminishing. Meditation
    is quite easy when the metabolism is
    right because then the brain is right.

    Jim Jozwiak wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  25. I think this is one of your best posts ever!

    pinkmuffin wrote on July 4th, 2013
  26. I remind myself of my “enough” point. There will always be the “betters & mores” out there tempting us to strive higher. But at the end of the day, if I have done my best and gave it my best effort, that counts! Trying to make each day higher based on the day before is a recipe for burnout and having experienced that, it’s no fun and really detrimental to your body. Isn’t that what corporations move heaven and earth to do every quarter?! I believe if we all go out there and do good work and strive to be the best we can be, that alone will change the world.

    MW wrote on July 4th, 2013
  27. Good post Mark! I really enjoy knowing other people have the same issues going on as well. Something I’ve been reading up on is Bowen Family Systems Theory. Here’s a site you can check out to read about more if you’d like to… http://www.thebowencenter.org/pages/theory.html This way of thinking has really been helping me with stress in my life. It’s something that I suggest and it might not be for everyone, but that’s okay too. Anyhow I wanted to throw in my thoughts and hope everyone has a great 4th of July!

    Jeffrey wrote on July 4th, 2013
  28. I struggle with reconciling the caveman in me with the spaceman in me!

    Bill Berry wrote on July 4th, 2013
  29. You should check out the TRADITIONAL INUIT & ALEUT DIET. Very primal, also check their health and life expectancy. You’ll see what you are missing

    Andy wrote on July 4th, 2013
  30. What! Mark?! You’re not perfect, lol! Just Kidding!

    Turning my brain off, that is definitely a tough one, however, the way I do it is by telling myself that if I don’t do X Y & Z right now… No one will die, and I won’t die. If things get overwhelming, so much so that I cannot focus, I tell myself that I need to STOP because if I keep trying to do something in that state I will only 1/2 ass it… As opposed to coming back later or tomorrow when I am refreshed! I convince myself to stop and then I turn off my brain to recharge!

    GiGi wrote on July 4th, 2013
  31. Wine is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy…

    Lucylu wrote on July 4th, 2013
  32. Interesting article… For the stress side of things a book called Change your Thinking by Sarah Edelman has really helpful for me and is highly recommended. Helps you to recognize unhelpful patterns of thinking and reframe your thoughts so that the stressors become less well, stressful…

    Katie wrote on July 5th, 2013
  33. Hi.
    I’ve been reading this pages for some time now i I like a lot of it. When I started to read this theme I thought of Tolle’s books and how he said fairly enough on the topic of being in present moment and what we are and aren’t. For many christian folks I see have posted comments I recommend “The spiritual man” written by Watchman Nee – to see how he explains what we are and aren’t.
    To comment on Mark’s accurate description of internet I must say that he put a wide and lasting smile on my face when he mentioned “The hickhiker’s guide to galaxy”, one of my favorite books of all times, a must read. And I was smiling while I was in bus, traveling to my work (as an MD who must almost excuse myself every time I start talking about nutrition) in a small Mediterranean city in Croatia.
    Anyway, Transurfing by Vadim Zeland could also be interesting to read, but it’s just a technique, without deeper meaning that Christianity gives to people.
    Mark, glad to have found your page.

    Ivana wrote on July 5th, 2013
  34. Great post Mark; thanks for sharing your challenges which help us work through ours!

    Not to get too ‘heavy’ but if you ask the ‘God’ question straight in the eye it relieves a lot of stress and buzzy brain things. It just does.

    Knowing God is in charge it just makes so much of the other stuff not matter as much and makes it be OK. We won’t understand it all or like it all but knowing that the Supreme Creator exists and is interested in us makes even death OK.

    When we go on our lovely moments into nature (an excellent thing to do) just ask this one question – its short: ‘where did it all come from’. Where did the incredible complexity and variation of things we see in nature EVERYWHERE come from? Could all this stuff, the red in the head of a woodpecker and the vividness of a trout and on and on and on all have just happened by a series of haphazard combinations – by accident? And if you do think the richness around us was started with an accidental combination of dirt, lightning and water or whatever, ask yourself, who made the dirt?

    I can respect either answer to the above question. What is more difficult to respect is when people never ask what might be the biggest, most obvious question of all.

    Ya – if we stay busy enough, we might be able to avoid asking it. But if we slow down a little…

    There‘s change and responsibility that comes with accepting the idea of ‘I think something made it’. Now, you are on a journey. Things may change. And the Creator may want things from you. But at least you feel good about looking at this head on rather than saying you don’t have time to think about it

    Plus – if these don’t find you waking up in the morning refreshed and thinking hey – I fell asleep! What was I thinking about last night? – I’d be surprised!

    Bob wrote on July 5th, 2013
  35. The grains are no match for me, but the sugardragon is a constant fight. I often feel like it’s a loosing battle, but I will never give up! Also getting enough sleep is a challenge for me. But I never forget how far I have come compared to a couple of years ago, when I was a wreck because of glutenintoleranse and malnutricion. I try to be thankful every day and instead of focusing on all the things I do wrong, pat myself on the back for the things I did good. You should too, Mark;) Thank you for sharing!

    Camilla wrote on July 5th, 2013
  36. Thank You Mark!!!! :-)

    Alexandra wrote on July 5th, 2013
  37. Re meditation: There are many flavors and paths as well expressed in many comments. The research being published is unmistakable that we can rewire our brains on many levels and also improve our immune function.

    It’s worth it to keep trying until you find a meditative approach that is right for you. I’ve had a lot of super-formal meditation training, and found that I really benefit from free, guided meditations available on my phone. I need the gentle helping hand.

    Of course many meditative traditions have a strong history of movement and nature. I find that learning new physical activities forces me to focus on one thing in a strongly meditative way.

    Oddly enough, I also have a little training as a Zen temple cook and trust me there is a many thousand year tradition of learning how food affects one’s energy and state of mind. This is where I first learned about the glycemic index. Also, vinegar perks you up. (Just a little freebie there friends). Clean eating does help clean the mind.

    Lastly, for all my smart talk, of course I have my own stress to manage too. Over the years, three things have helped me the most:

    -“Move toward anxiety” — meaning ID what is bothering me and deal with it

    -“Do the hard things first” — related to the above but also helps me elevate strategic projects and get them done. Somehow makes getting all the “other” stuff done easier.

    -“Just because it’s a good idea, that doesn’t mean it has to go on the list.” This has spared me more stress than I can ever express. The day I realized that I don’t have to do everything I come up with. Because I come up with A LOT.

    It’s really wonderful to have this community to share with and a place to contemplate these topics as well as receive thoughtful ideas and recommendations. I enjoyed this thread and will check out some of the ideas that are new to me. Thank you all.

    Juli wrote on July 6th, 2013
  38. Mark, I could completely relate to this post! I share the same difficulty with meditating, quieting my brain and focusing. At least now I know I’m in good company, LOL! Just last night I ended up getting out of bed to work on my new blog and website because I knew I wasn’t going to get any rest until I did.

    As to those who suggested Eckart Tolle, I only found his books helpful as a cure for insomnia…so I agree, when you can’t get your brain to shut down you should try reading his books, they should help you go to sleep. Always works for me.

    Diane J wrote on July 6th, 2013
  39. Wow!!! What an article. I hope you get to read my reply. I have been where you are. Meditation is ok and yes it takes years. The Secret is a great book. But, all of these leave out one specific mode of the mind. I have written a booklet on this subject. Have cd’s.
    Was is my business for 20 yrs. I am not perfect for sure but would not want to think of where I would be in my life if I hadn’t learned this technique. Mark I like to discuss this with you and see what you think.
    Your story reminds me of when I was working in a doctors office and helping people with this particular situation of the mind wandering and why meditation didn’t seem to work for them, etc., Men would come to us to see if we could help them with premature ejaculation<<<<>>>>right?
    Some men said they were taught to think of a train wreck and that would hold them back. I was floored. It is not productive to try and dodge what you want by replacing it with another challenge. Such as walking or turning off you computer, etc. Both are good things but in most circumstance one just replaces an anxiety with another leaving the results the same. More angst.

    Sue wrote on July 6th, 2013
  40. Stress (even PTSD) can be melted away by using Emotional Freeing Technique, Tapas Acupressure Technique or Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing. I’ve been using EFT since 2005 and credit it (and my persistence) with healing a huge number of issues many of which were stress-related. EFT is great for specific things while TAT is best (for me) for more “global” issues. EMDR is awesome any time for anything, even when you’re too tired to tap or hold the TAT pose. These three things used together are too much for pretty much any stress. It does take time and persistence, though. I have had a few “one minute wonders” but over-all it takes time and persistence. Give them a try! If you can find a therapist the learning curve is much easier to negotiate but you can learn them on your own and do just fine.

    Felicia wrote on July 6th, 2013

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