Friday, 31 August 2012

Maimonides, teachings of the Rambam -
How to be healthy: healthy food and healthy habits

The principles of preventive medicine have remained practically the same for centuries. The idea behind those guidelines is that individuals, barring birth defects or misfortune, should stay healthy if they lead a balanced life. Sickness is an exceptional status arising from wrong behaviour or from wounds received in combat or by accident.

In Antiquity, Hippocrates formulated the precepts that a man should follow in order to maintain a good condition. In the Middle Ages, Maimonides compiled and commented Hippocrates' writings, confirming their effectiveness. Here is a summary of those principles:

  1. Ensure proper rest everyday at least for eight hours.
  2. The ideal sleeping time is between sunset and dawn.
  3. A man should not eat more than he strictly needs.
  4. Foods that are difficult to digest should be avoided.
  5. The most healthy drinks are water and wine.
  6. Bowels evacuation should take place at least once a day.
  7. Fruits, legumes, and nuts should be eaten regularly.
Beyond those basic rules, other prescriptions of Maimonides have also been confirmed by modern medicine as highly beneficial. For instance, the recommendation that a man should sleep on his side instead of lying on his back or face. In our age, a common remedy against back pain consists of sleeping on the side, with one leg stretched and the other in the foetal position.

Another guideline from the Middle Ages encourages eating small fish. During the last decades of the twentieth century, this prescription has been confirmed by marine biology studies. Apparently, in areas of the sea polluted by chemicals, large fish, due to their size, are more likely to be contaminated than small sardines or anchovies.

Amazingly, even the contemporary exhortation against saturated fat finds some precedents in Maimonides' writings. Nine hundred years ago, although the chemistry of the different types of fat had not yet been discovered, olive oil was already being recommended as a healthy food. At the same time, man was being advised against eating old cheese.

Most of the great physicians of Antiquity and the Middle Ages spent a good part of their lives working for kings and princes. This fact explains why, in their writings, they placed so much emphasis on recommending a balanced life as the best way of preventing disease. Nowadays, when workers are wealthier than ancient monarchs, such advice remains as valuable as in the times of Maimonides.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Retlaw Snellac under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best investments:
What to invest in at this moment

  1. Ericsson Telephone Company (Sweden)
  2. Delhaize Group (Belgium)
  3. IBM (United States)
  4. Baidu (China)
  5. Ford Motor Company (United States)
  6. eBay (United States)
  7. 3M Co (United States)
  8. Bank of Nova Scotia (Canada)
  9. Market Vectors Africa ETF
  10. iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index ETF

Disclaimer: either I already own shares of these companies or I am currently considering to add them to my investment portfolio.

How to be rational:
Free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Thursday, 30 August 2012

What investment is and why personal values play a crucial role in the definition

Thick books full of equations deter most people from learning economics. The suspicion that there might be something wrong with the whole science is not unfounded. Otherwise, if economists are so knowledgeable, how do you explain that most of them are not wealthy?

Every course on economics begins with the law of supply and demand, which is considered the baseline of the science. This principle teaches that consumers buy fewer units when prices are high, but that on the other hand, when prices are low, for the same amount of money, you can get much more.

Since people have been acting in this way since the beginning of time, one might wonder if such wisdom justifies the cost of taking an economics course. My answer is rotundly positive. No matter how simple principles look, their applications demand subtlety and can lead to many blind alleys.

When it comes to applied economics, the most important paradigm is not mathematical. Understanding it can help you make better decisions and, above all, avoid many traps in your private and business life. If you choose to study only one thing about economics, let me suggest that you learn to tell the difference between consumption and investment, in particular:

  • Investments are not defined by their high acquisition cost. A large house on the beach that you buy to spend your summer holidays every year can be expensive, but is not an investment, since it does not produce you any income. In comparison, a small low-cost apartment that you rent out to tenants does constitute an asset.

  • Investments are not defined by their long durability. A refrigerator that you purchase for your kitchen may last 10 years, but does not generate you any income. Such acquisition is not an investment. In contrast, a set of liquor glasses that may last 3 years is an investment if you buy them for use in your restaurant.
The lesson is that the aspect that creates the distinction between consumption and investment is psychological. Classifying buildings automatically as investments without considering their purpose may lead to wrong decisions and expensive errors.

The fundamental economic difference between assets and expenditure lies in the use that we give to items, not in the accounting rules regarding depreciation and tax deductions. A laptop computer to play video games is a consumption item, unless you get paid for playing those, for instance, because you write reviews for a video-games magazine.

The consequences of this principle are wide-ranging and encompass all fields of our lives. Being conscious of the difference can help you, for instance, to buy your clothes more efficiently, to discard worthless investment proposals quickly, and to reduce the cost of starting your own company.

Misunderstanding what truly constitutes an investment results in the waste of enormous sums of money every year. Do not fall into that trap. Not every big-ticket item is an asset and not all inexpensive purchases are consumer goods. When you make decisions, you will be much better off if you weigh each element according to its veritable nature.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Dean Croshere under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best blogs about the philosophy of Albert Ellis and thinking skills

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

How to be happy through Rational Living - Free e-book presentation


A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to be happy: The essential element

Traditional behaviour models are crumbling in our midst. Old morality is taking the blame for current problems, although often through spurious argumentation. Never mind. Ethical decay has reached such an extent that many parents have given up all attempts to provide moral guidelines to their offspring.

Where are we headed? Should we conclude that principles are relative? That happiness is unattainable through individual action? That success is more dependent on luck than on personal effort? To answer these questions, we must point out the connection between personal effectiveness and happiness.

Rationality establishes the basis for making productive decisions and developing valuable skills. Even in an unfavourable environment, individuals who possess strong values and motivation grow more effective with each passing day. Principles are not luxuries, but practical tools that enable progress and achievement.

Logic and consistency are the keys to quick learning and rapid implementation. A well-organized mind absorbs information more effectively than a mind affected by anxiety. Ethical certainty nourishes psychological stability and personal productivity.

Sustained personal growth relies on universal ethical principles. Virtues such as openness, tolerance, and honesty render individuals efficient and self-confident. Prosperity and happiness result from consistent action in pursuit of sensible goals. Nobody can predict the future accurately, but no matter how difficult the situation becomes, rational individuals will do better than average.

There is too much noise in the world and too many offers compete for our attention. We cannot accept every proposal that promises to improve our condition. Focusing our efforts on becoming more effective is a simple way to increase our chances of leading a more satisfying life.

New fashions that entertain your spirit for a while will distract you from important matters. We all want to experience the fresh before it becomes stale, but do you want to waste your days chasing the latest novelty? Leading a chaotic life is self-destructing. Without focus and personal effectiveness, there can be no real happiness.

Overcharging our agendas and accelerating our life is the equivalent of a sugar-coated sedation. The pursuit of faster results makes no sense if those are irrelevant to our long-term goals. Actions that contradict our plans and ambitions rarely produce beneficial consequences.

Empty pursuits cannot still human hunger for happiness. Leading a meaningful life requires consistent ethical values, long-term plans, and effective implementation. The link between personal effectiveness and happiness cannot be denied.

The life of the Ancient Roman writer Titus Livius (59 BC-17 AD) provides a good illustration of how to be happy. When Titus Livius turned thirty-five, he looked back at his life and realized that he had not accomplished much. Like many Romans of good family, he had enjoyed a solid education, read widely, done some travelling, and also a little writing.

He had tried his hand intermittently at everything and achieved pretty much nothing. Since his life lacked purpose and ambition, Titus Livius felt ineffective and unhappy. He asked himself if he should continue living in the same way. Was there something that he could do to give meaning to his days?

The prevalent philosophies in Ancient Rome, stoicism and hedonism, did not provide an answer to his questions. Hedonism encourages man to live for the pleasures of the day and ignore long-term consequences. Stoicism seldom provides other contentment than the quiet acceptance of misfortune.

We do not know what made Titus Livius change his ways, but we do know the results. Instead of continuing to pursue random interests, he conceived a wide-ranging project that would take him decades to accomplish. Instead of wasting time in abstract speculation, he fixed himself an ambitious goal and figured out how to accomplish it.

By the time he turned thirty-six, he had already formulated how he was going to spend the rest of his life. He would write a History of Rome unlike anything ever written before. He would speak not only of facts, but also of heroes. He would recount not only events, but also the values that had inspired them.

Titus Livius' plan comprised researching hundreds of documents and writing 150 books, an enterprise that nowadays would keep busy a complete university department. He did most of the work himself and it took him four decades.

Apparently, he was very happy devoting his time to such a demanding undertaking. Such devotion to a single long-term purpose is essential to improve a man's personal effectiveness and psychological well-being.

When Titus Livius died, he was 77 years old. His only regret must have been that he had not started his project earlier, since he only managed to complete 142 books out of the 150 that he had initially planned.

Do you have similar objectives and plans in your life? Have you established long-term goals for yourself? Do you have a strategy that consistently favours your personal growth? Are you becoming more effective at what you do day after day? The answers to these questions will show you how to be happy.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by striatic under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best 10 blogs about how to be happy

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

How to be happy through rational living - Free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sunday, 26 August 2012

How I invest my savings every month

During the last sixty years, a myriad of investment books have explored different approaches to maximizing the return on your savings. Most of those theories have proved inadequate and, a decade after publication, few financial authors want to be reminded of the predictions they made.

Simplicity is another characteristic that is missing in most investment advice. Ideas that are too complicated to implement are as good as worthless. In the field of personal finance, what we need are prudent recommendations that anyone could follow as long as he is ready to exert a minimum of effort.

Rational investors should have a well-defined long-term goal. That objective should be, quite openly, to reach a point when they are able to live from the income produced by their savings. Such goal has motivated generations to put aside part of their earnings month after month.

The great majority of the population cannot afford devoting hours on end to following the markets. What many of us want is to achieve reasonably good results with a minimum of involvement, but without relinquishing control of our assets. No one should trust other people's recommendations blindly.

My suggested method combines four elements that are available to most individuals: a monthly income from their jobs or professions, the possibility to open a brokerage account, internet access, and the willingness to devote a few hours per month to follow their finances.

* Nobody can make for you the commitment to set aside regularly part of your revenue in order to secure your future. This first step is the hardest to take, since frequently, man sees old age too far away. As a general rule, the sooner a person decides to take responsibility for his finances, the better his economic prospects.

* After that, you need to establish the infrastructure to manage your savings. Opening a brokerage account is a straightforward process in most countries, although it seldom takes less than a week. Many brokers accept orders by phone, but you are going to need internet access for the purposes of research.

* The final steps of my suggestion require that you establish an effective system to select your investments and devote a few hours per month to implementing it. An easy method of researching shares consists of identifying some reliable mutual funds that invest in dividend-paying equities and using the internet to look up their portfolios.

You will find the names of well-known mutual funds in any financial newspaper. More often than not, the web pages of those firms indicate which shares they have been holding in their portfolios during the last quarter. If you look up the web pages of a dozen different firms, you can get plenty of ideas about shares that might be worth considering for your personal portfolio.

With those ideas in hand, the last step is checking if they make any sense right now. This is something that you can do by typing their symbol in the web sites of free on-line financial discussion boards and publications, from which there are dozens. Reading several opinions and sources will show you how attractive those companies look as potential investments.

You will need several hours when you go through this process for the first time, but once you bookmark the web sites on your internet browser, your effort will be drastically reduced the following months. No investment system is foolproof, but you might wish to explore this approach, which offers a good balance between effort and simplicity.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by DiAichner3 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How I invest my savings every month

During the last sixty years, a myriad of investment books have explored different approaches to maximizing the return on your savings. Most of those theories have proved inadequate and, a decade after publication, few financial authors want to be reminded of the predictions they made.

Simplicity is another characteristic that is missing in most investment advice. Ideas that are too complicated to implement are as good as worthless. In the field of personal finance, what we need are prudent recommendations that anyone could follow as long as he is ready to exert a minimum of effort.

Rational investors should have a well-defined long-term goal. That objective should be, quite openly, to reach a point when they are able to live from the income produced by their savings. Such goal has motivated generations to put aside part of their earnings month after month.

The great majority of the population cannot afford devoting hours on end to following the markets. What many of us want is to achieve reasonably good results with a minimum of involvement, but without relinquishing control of our assets. No one should trust other people's recommendations blindly.

My suggested method combines four elements that are available to most individuals: a monthly income from their jobs or professions, the possibility to open a brokerage account, internet access, and the willingness to devote a few hours per month to follow their finances.

* Nobody can make for you the commitment to set aside regularly part of your revenue in order to secure your future. This first step is the hardest to take, since frequently, man sees old age too far away. As a general rule, the sooner a person decides to take responsibility for his finances, the better his economic prospects.

* After that, you need to establish the infrastructure to manage your savings. Opening a brokerage account is a straightforward process in most countries, although it seldom takes less than a week. Many brokers accept orders by phone, but you are going to need internet access for the purposes of research.

* The final steps of my suggestion require that you establish an effective system to select your investments and devote a few hours per month to implementing it. An easy method of researching shares consists of identifying some reliable mutual funds that invest in dividend-paying equities and using the internet to look up their portfolios.

You will find the names of well-known mutual funds in any financial newspaper. More often than not, the web pages of those firms indicate which shares they have been holding in their portfolios during the last quarter. If you look up the web pages of a dozen different firms, you can get plenty of ideas about shares that might be worth considering for your personal portfolio.

With those ideas in hand, the last step is checking if they make any sense right now. This is something that you can do by typing their symbol in the web sites of free on-line financial discussion boards and publications, from which there are dozens. Reading several opinions and sources will show you how attractive those companies look as potential investments.

You will need several hours when you go through this process for the first time, but once you bookmark the web sites on your internet browser, your effort will be drastically reduced the following months. No investment system is foolproof, but you might wish to explore this approach, which offers a good balance between effort and simplicity.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by DiAichner3 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The top 10 blogs on rational philosophy and objectivism

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Altucher Confidential
  3. Rationally Speaking
  4. Voices of Reason
  5. The Objectivist Standard
  6. The Rule of Reason
  7. Rational Jenn
  8. Mudita Journal
  9. Thinking Objectively
  10. Alexander Marriott

The top 10 blogs on rational philosophy and objectivism

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Altucher Confidential
  3. Rationally Speaking
  4. Voices of Reason
  5. The Objectivist Standard
  6. The Rule of Reason
  7. Rational Jenn
  8. Mudita Journal
  9. Thinking Objectively
  10. Alexander Marriott

Free e-book presentation on the philosophy of Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Free e-book presentation on the philosophy of Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Saturday, 25 August 2012

General goals, particular goals

Unless you love to do things for no reason and work for free, you belong to those who expect to receive adequate compensation for their efforts. It does not have to be money, since humans do a million things to help each other without payment, but fair enough, we all want to see concrete results and a minimum of gratitude.

Groups of all sorts welcome those who want to give a hand. Since there are conflicting views about which direction is best, lots of efforts are devoted to discussing where to go and who does what. To the thousand organizations that call for your support, a new one is added every day.

When it comes to pursuing abstract objectives, it is up to you to decide how much time and resources you wish to invest. If you possess a generous heart, you will never lack opportunities to share what you have. Problems are everywhere and seem to multiply by the hour.

Strangely enough, despite massive efforts and dedication, little is achieved when we pursue general goals. You might argue about percentages of improvement, but still, the alleged solutions remain mostly invisible. Trouble persists and alternatives stall, to the extent that one could doubt if anything is being done at all.

Checking propositions thoroughly should never be seen as a sign of disrespect. If we ask for proof of what has been achieved so far, we might be regarded as cold-hearted, but when things are not clear, raising questions about methods and means is perfectly appropriate.

On the other hand, when we focus on our business or profession, things seem to get better at an amazing speed. Products are made, services rendered, invoices sent, and customers content. Companies grow or, at the very least, become more efficient. On many occasions, we don't need to advertise to gain credibility, since this is something that we earn through out daily work.

Before contributing to this or that new initiative, is it not fair to ask if our support is going to make any difference in the result? Is it not rational to remain sceptical when facts are inconclusive? A man cannot be expected to believe any story that he is told. Most of us expect paths to have clear destinations.

My point is that devoting time to grand theories and hopeless causes is never a good use of our energies. Experience shows that the best way to move someone to our views is to let our actions speak for themselves.

The most effective use of our resources seldom comes from following other people's agendas. To accomplish our chosen work and goals, that's what we are in this world for. As Confucius put it so well, "teachings are worthless without personal example."

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Jim Linwood under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The 10 best personal development blogs

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Mindhacks
  3. Life Optimizer
  4. Wisebread
  5. Life Coaches
  6. Unlimited Choice
  7. The Positive Blog
  8. Zen Habits
  9. A certain simplicity
  10. The Happiness Project

The 10 best personal development blogs

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Mindhacks
  3. Life Optimizer
  4. Wisebread
  5. Life Coaches
  6. Unlimited Choice
  7. The Positive Blog
  8. Zen Habits
  9. A certain simplicity
  10. The Happiness Project

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Friday, 24 August 2012

Inexpensive habits will do just as well

For the individual, no other asset is as valuable as his health. Money, friendships, and business connections won't help much if your body exceeds the limits of what it can reasonably withstand. Medical services can be purchased, often at a great expense, but they cannot always help.

Maintaining an optimal level of vitality should be one of the main priorities in life, but unfortunately, for many people, it is not. Too much is taken for granted and, after irreversible damage has occurred, little can be done beyond reducing the pain. Prevention is better than cure, in particular, low-cost prevention.

The principles of staying in good shape have been known for centuries, although in the last decades, details have been worked out in many areas. Barring inherited illness and extreme bad luck, the way to an excellent health depends on five factors, namely:

1. Avoid situations of serious physical danger.
2. Sleep long enough for your needs.
3. Do not eat or drink harmful substances.
4. Choose a sound diet that you can easily follow.
5. Make sure that you do a minimum of exercise everyday.

The first aspect is frequently overlooked by wellness experts, but it plays a crucial role in allowing individuals to reach an advanced age in good condition. Combat sports and exotic vacations draw crowds in search of excitement, but they entail risks that cannot be easily averted.

Insomnia, when it happens, should be counteracted with natural means. On many occasions, the underlying cause of sleep difficulties are psychological. Peaceful nights frequently return after measures have been adopted to reduce stress, overcommitment, and relationship problems.

We should remind ourselves from time to time that people suffer illness equally for their actions as for their omissions. It is as important to identify what we should eat as what we should refrain from eating. There are countless books on the market about the elements of good nutrition and, if you have not done so already, I encourage you to read a few of them.

For the purpose of enhancing our well-being, exercise does not need to be complicated or costly. Do visit a sauna or swimming pool if that is your choice, but inexpensive habits, such as cycling and walking, are also effective means to keep in shape. If you make the effort to acquire healthy routines, maintaining a good condition will become automatic and you will spare yourself plenty of trouble down the road.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Alex E. Proimos under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Inexpensive habits will do just as well

For the individual, no other asset is as valuable as his health. Money, friendships, and business connections won't help much if your body exceeds the limits of what it can reasonably withstand. Medical services can be purchased, often at a great expense, but they cannot always help.

Maintaining an optimal level of vitality should be one of the main priorities in life, but unfortunately, for many people, it is not. Too much is taken for granted and, after irreversible damage has occurred, little can be done beyond reducing the pain. Prevention is better than cure, in particular, low-cost prevention.

The principles of staying in good shape have been known for centuries, although in the last decades, details have been worked out in many areas. Barring inherited illness and extreme bad luck, the way to an excellent health depends on five factors, namely:

1. Avoid situations of serious physical danger.
2. Sleep long enough for your needs.
3. Do not eat or drink harmful substances.
4. Choose a sound diet that you can easily follow.
5. Make sure that you do a minimum of exercise everyday.

The first aspect is frequently overlooked by wellness experts, but it plays a crucial role in allowing individuals to reach an advanced age in good condition. Combat sports and exotic vacations draw crowds in search of excitement, but they entail risks that cannot be easily averted.

Insomnia, when it happens, should be counteracted with natural means. On many occasions, the underlying cause of sleep difficulties are psychological. Peaceful nights frequently return after measures have been adopted to reduce stress, overcommitment, and relationship problems.

We should remind ourselves from time to time that people suffer illness equally for their actions as for their omissions. It is as important to identify what we should eat as what we should refrain from eating. There are countless books on the market about the elements of good nutrition and, if you have not done so already, I encourage you to read a few of them.

For the purpose of enhancing our well-being, exercise does not need to be complicated or costly. Do visit a sauna or swimming pool if that is your choice, but inexpensive habits, such as cycling and walking, are also effective means to keep in shape. If you make the effort to acquire healthy routines, maintaining a good condition will become automatic and you will spare yourself plenty of trouble down the road.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Alex E. Proimos under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The top 10 blogs about Rational Living

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

The top 10 blogs about Rational Living

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Rational Living - Free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Rational Living - Free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Thursday, 23 August 2012

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities

People become discouraged and despondent in relationships because, at a certain moment, they believe that they have no options. This is not true, unless you suffer from terminal illness and you have no time left. Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, alternatives exist to bad relationships.

An active mind is a precious treasure that is given to every human. If you doubt this, look at children. Their curiosity and excitement are irrepressible. An entrepreneurial spirit is not something you have to acquire, but your natural due. If later in life, you find that missing, you just need to reclaim it.

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities when it comes to meeting new friends and lovers. In each case, you might need to exert effort, look around, and experience some rejection. That's part of the price you pay for growing as a human being.

Once we are equipped with an entrepreneurial attitude, we should actually love it when someone calls our dreams unrealistic. In particular, when that person adds some trite remark, such as "in life, we cannot always get what we want." That's a sign for us to take action.

If your parts supplier expects you to make your purchases at exorbitant prices, find a new supplier. If your internet provider acts as though you have no choice, change providers. If your computer repair shop informs you that they are the only experts in that brand of computer, throw away the old computer and purchase another brand.

If your bank announces that you have no other place to save, open accounts in three other banks. If your plumber tells you that your have to pay too much, learn how to replace the water tabs yourself. If a painter tells you that you can do things only his way, hire someone else to paint your house.

The examples above apply equally to a bad relationship or marriage. The time to step out of them is now, even if you cannot immediately figure out where to go next. You should make your priority number one to escape a situation that makes you feel unappreciated and belittles your best qualities.

What about geographical constraints? Moving to another region or country to build a new life seems so complicated that most people don't give it much thought. Nevertheless, every year, millions of men and women go and live in another country in search of better conditions or to break completely with miserable past relationships.

When someone says that you have no choice, give yourself a break. Look hard at your situation and question why, when and how. Once you decide to replace a failed relationship with a better future, your eyes will begin to detect opportunities that you had never seen before.

When people express the view that you should be content with what you have, don't get upset and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Useless discussions are not going to save the day. More often than not, you will be better off if you just nod, smile, and move on.

The world is full of possibilities to connect with wonderful people and build great relationships. Don't waste a minute with those that believe that there is only one path to walk. You have better things to do.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ynskjen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities

People become discouraged and despondent in relationships because, at a certain moment, they believe that they have no options. This is not true, unless you suffer from terminal illness and you have no time left. Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, alternatives exist to bad relationships.

An active mind is a precious treasure that is given to every human. If you doubt this, look at children. Their curiosity and excitement are irrepressible. An entrepreneurial spirit is not something you have to acquire, but your natural due. If later in life, you find that missing, you just need to reclaim it.

There are plenty of unexplored possibilities when it comes to meeting new friends and lovers. In each case, you might need to exert effort, look around, and experience some rejection. That's part of the price you pay for growing as a human being.

Once we are equipped with an entrepreneurial attitude, we should actually love it when someone calls our dreams unrealistic. In particular, when that person adds some trite remark, such as "in life, we cannot always get what we want." That's a sign for us to take action.

If your parts supplier expects you to make your purchases at exorbitant prices, find a new supplier. If your internet provider acts as though you have no choice, change providers. If your computer repair shop informs you that they are the only experts in that brand of computer, throw away the old computer and purchase another brand.

If your bank announces that you have no other place to save, open accounts in three other banks. If your plumber tells you that your have to pay too much, learn how to replace the water tabs yourself. If a painter tells you that you can do things only his way, hire someone else to paint your house.

The examples above apply equally to a bad relationship or marriage. The time to step out of them is now, even if you cannot immediately figure out where to go next. You should make your priority number one to escape a situation that makes you feel unappreciated and belittles your best qualities.

What about geographical constraints? Moving to another region or country to build a new life seems so complicated that most people don't give it much thought. Nevertheless, every year, millions of men and women go and live in another country in search of better conditions or to break completely with miserable past relationships.

When someone says that you have no choice, give yourself a break. Look hard at your situation and question why, when and how. Once you decide to replace a failed relationship with a better future, your eyes will begin to detect opportunities that you had never seen before.

When people express the view that you should be content with what you have, don't get upset and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Useless discussions are not going to save the day. More often than not, you will be better off if you just nod, smile, and move on.

The world is full of possibilities to connect with wonderful people and build great relationships. Don't waste a minute with those that believe that there is only one path to walk. You have better things to do.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ynskjen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Rationally Speaking
  3. Voices of Reason
  4. The Objectivist Standard
  5. The Rule of Reason
  6. Rational Jenn
  7. Mudita Journal
  8. Thinking Objectively
  9. Alexander Marriott
  10. Kazoo Objectivist

The best 10 blogs about rational philosophy and objectivism

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Rationally Speaking
  3. Voices of Reason
  4. The Objectivist Standard
  5. The Rule of Reason
  6. Rational Jenn
  7. Mudita Journal
  8. Thinking Objectively
  9. Alexander Marriott
  10. Kazoo Objectivist

Rational Living free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Rational Living free e-book presentation

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How rational thinking supports your long-term motivation

Sustaining your motivation is crucial when you are involved in long-term projects, such as obtaining a college degree or starting up a business. How can you prevent that negative events consume your energies and ruin your temper?

Most popular recommendations in this respect do not work. For instance, repeating encouraging messages to yourself will seldom eradicate deep-rooted feelings of anxiety. Beliefs in supernatural forces might soothe fear for a while, but sooner or later, reality will return harder than ever. Telling yourself that everything is for the better, when it is not, is demeaning and psychologically destructive.

Rational thinking is the best approach to ensure that you start each day in a good mood. When used consistently, it leads to serenity, enhances productivity, and reinforces personal effectiveness. What you need to stay optimistic is not fantasy, but objectivity. If you maintain a balanced view of the world, pessimism cannot take over your feelings.

My suggestion is simple and it is based on the observation that all of us tend to exaggerate problems. Our closeness to current unpleasant events, such as failure or rejection, deprives us of perspective. What you need to do is to write down a list of your assets and place it where you can see it every morning.

Make a thorough inventory of everything you have in your favour. Do not overlook any of your qualities and possessions, since other people may lack those. If you have an excellent health, you might be taking that for granted, but don't forget that, in any country, a percentage of the population suffers from serious disease.

Add up your skills, what you own and whom you know, your half-done projects and your latest initiatives. The point is not to make you look good in the face of other people's misery, but to remind you of the extent of your resources. As counterpoint to the latest annoyance, we can all use a fresh view of our own capabilities.

Neither problems should be magnified beyond reason nor opportunities forgotten. Whatever challenges you are facing, it is good to keep in mind all the factors that play in your favour. Make the list of your personal assets and let it shed a reassuring light on your plans for the future. With time and perspective, most of today's adversities might be remembered, if at all, as minor inconveniences.
 

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by linh.ngan under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How rational thinking supports your long-term motivation

Sustaining your motivation is crucial when you are involved in long-term projects, such as obtaining a college degree or starting up a business. How can you prevent that negative events consume your energies and ruin your temper?

Most popular recommendations in this respect do not work. For instance, repeating encouraging messages to yourself will seldom eradicate deep-rooted feelings of anxiety. Beliefs in supernatural forces might soothe fear for a while, but sooner or later, reality will return harder than ever. Telling yourself that everything is for the better, when it is not, is demeaning and psychologically destructive.

Rational thinking is the best approach to ensure that you start each day in a good mood. When used consistently, it leads to serenity, enhances productivity, and reinforces personal effectiveness. What you need to stay optimistic is not fantasy, but objectivity. If you maintain a balanced view of the world, pessimism cannot take over your feelings.

My suggestion is simple and it is based on the observation that all of us tend to exaggerate problems. Our closeness to current unpleasant events, such as failure or rejection, deprives us of perspective. What you need to do is to write down a list of your assets and place it where you can see it every morning.

Make a thorough inventory of everything you have in your favour. Do not overlook any of your qualities and possessions, since other people may lack those. If you have an excellent health, you might be taking that for granted, but don't forget that, in any country, a percentage of the population suffers from serious disease.

Add up your skills, what you own and whom you know, your half-done projects and your latest initiatives. The point is not to make you look good in the face of other people's misery, but to remind you of the extent of your resources. As counterpoint to the latest annoyance, we can all use a fresh view of our own capabilities.

Neither problems should be magnified beyond reason nor opportunities forgotten. Whatever challenges you are facing, it is good to keep in mind all the factors that play in your favour. Make the list of your personal assets and let it shed a reassuring light on your plans for the future. With time and perspective, most of today's adversities might be remembered, if at all, as minor inconveniences.
 

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by linh.ngan under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best psychology blogs

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

The best psychology blogs

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Uninterrupted focus, accelerated learning

Self-confidence is the most admired character trait that actors play in movies. For most people, it dwarfs any other psychological or physical attribute in terms of desirability. What is the key to attaining self-assurance? Does it come from internal sources or from external validation?

Most advice given on the subject consists of isolated prescriptions without logic or context. Telling people to repeat in their head that they are capable and positive does not help much. Focusing on external aspects, such as clothing, might lead individuals to think that they lack fundamental value.

For two thousand years, the writings of philosophers have linked personal happiness to a feeling of certainty. The serenity that comes from trusting the future cannot be replaced by artificial beliefs.

Self-reliance is the consequence of following the essential principles of reality, namely:

1. What happens in the world is determined by the law of cause and effect.

2. Human beings possess the unique characteristic of being able to set their own goals.

3. Consistent purposeful action is the decisive factor that shapes the future of an individual.

4. Ambitious long-term goals can be achieved by means of relentless activity in the chosen field.

5. Progress is a natural process driven by persistence, mistakes, learning, and refocusing.

Despite the impression that one might gain from watching films, self-assurance is not a supernatural quality that chance bestows on certain people. It is not an innate talent or physical capacity that only a few inherit, but the result of continuous personal growth. It takes substantial effort to develop and maintain self-reliance.

Lack of trust in the future is originated by the conviction that nothing can be done to improve one's situation. The size of problems and obstacles is exaggerated. Opportunities are overlooked. Alternatives are not explored. The impact of external forces is magnified beyond measurement.

The opposite process takes place when we acquire a healthy, rational view of the world. We become conscious of the fact that, primarily, our actions will define how our life turns out. We learn to deal with the undesirable aspects of reality by taking appropriate steps. We focus on steadfast activity rather than on elements that we cannot control.

Uninterrupted focus on one area allows accelerated learning. Incessant alertness permits to discover opportunities that remain invisible to most. Self-reliance is the result of implementing rational thinking through long-term undertakings. If you pursue worthy goals through consistent action, self-confidence is your natural due. Claim it.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by TheLizardQueen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best blogs about philosophy

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Philosophy and Life
  3. The Philosophy Blog
  4. Experimental Philosophy
  5. The Partially Examined Life
  6. Philosophy etc
  7. Philosophers Anonymous
  8. Maverick Philosopher
  9. Philosophy Talk
  10. Philosophy in a Time of Error

The best blogs about philosophy

  1. John Vespasian
  2. Philosophy and Life
  3. The Philosophy Blog
  4. Experimental Philosophy
  5. The Partially Examined Life
  6. Philosophy etc
  7. Philosophers Anonymous
  8. Maverick Philosopher
  9. Philosophy Talk
  10. Philosophy in a Time of Error

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Monday, 20 August 2012

Keeping your fundamental goals in view

Contrary to trains, cars can change direction at the driver's will. Along the highway, billboards invite us to stop by and visit all sorts of tourist attractions. On the car radio, advertisers present us their wares, some useful and convenient, others pricey and counter-productive.

Distractions are many and increase by the hour. The longer the trip, the harder it becomes to keep the vehicle on the right track. If you carry passengers in your car, they will express their views about what you are trying to do. "Turn around and return," you will be told, "stop and let it go."

Our environment offers us support at the same time that it places obstacles in our path. Physical barriers are visible and material problems can be directly faced. If you experience hunger or extreme discomfort, your attention will seldom be deviated from the issue at hand. Pressing needs demand immediate action.

Stonewalls will seldom prevent your progress, since they can circumvented. Nor the price of gasoline, food, and lodging. Your delays will be caused more often by doubts than by certainties. Your lack of progress will be more frequently due to shifting convictions than to insufficient means.

Thinking is not automatic. Observing reality and reaching correct conclusions requires effort. Focusing your mind on what is relevant involves selecting and discarding. Establishing goals and taking consistent action demands concentration. No one but yourself is going to ensure that your current concerns are aligned with your long-term interests.

Unless you remind yourself daily of your priorities, chances are that you will spend your time dealing with the latest emergency, only to discover later, that the problem was inconsequential. Noise distorts music in the same way that fashion distorts principles. Not by contesting them, but by making them inaudible and invisible.

The reason why men read old philosophers is not to learn about the latest scandal, but to reaffirm essential truths. The news of the hour may entertain your attention and satisfy your curiosity. Novelties might provide you subjects for small talk with strangers, but superficiality leads to anxiety.

Foolishness arises not so much out of ignorance, but out of the willingness to obliterate what we already know to be true. Balance and motivation require sharpness of intent. Unless you find a way to restate your goals every day, nonsense will contaminate reason and your determination will wane.

Personal objectives are meaningless if plans are not implemented. Relentless activity ensues from self-confidence, not from self-effacement. You need to find the manner to keep your purpose in view and your understanding fresh. Restate truth at every turn the road and ignore signs that tell you to stall.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Pink Sherbet Photography under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Keeping your fundamental goals in view

Contrary to trains, cars can change direction at the driver's will. Along the highway, billboards invite us to stop by and visit all sorts of tourist attractions. On the car radio, advertisers present us their wares, some useful and convenient, others pricey and counter-productive.

Distractions are many and increase by the hour. The longer the trip, the harder it becomes to keep the vehicle on the right track. If you carry passengers in your car, they will express their views about what you are trying to do. "Turn around and return," you will be told, "stop and let it go."

Our environment offers us support at the same time that it places obstacles in our path. Physical barriers are visible and material problems can be directly faced. If you experience hunger or extreme discomfort, your attention will seldom be deviated from the issue at hand. Pressing needs demand immediate action.

Stonewalls will seldom prevent your progress, since they can circumvented. Nor the price of gasoline, food, and lodging. Your delays will be caused more often by doubts than by certainties. Your lack of progress will be more frequently due to shifting convictions than to insufficient means.

Thinking is not automatic. Observing reality and reaching correct conclusions requires effort. Focusing your mind on what is relevant involves selecting and discarding. Establishing goals and taking consistent action demands concentration. No one but yourself is going to ensure that your current concerns are aligned with your long-term interests.

Unless you remind yourself daily of your priorities, chances are that you will spend your time dealing with the latest emergency, only to discover later, that the problem was inconsequential. Noise distorts music in the same way that fashion distorts principles. Not by contesting them, but by making them inaudible and invisible.

The reason why men read old philosophers is not to learn about the latest scandal, but to reaffirm essential truths. The news of the hour may entertain your attention and satisfy your curiosity. Novelties might provide you subjects for small talk with strangers, but superficiality leads to anxiety.

Foolishness arises not so much out of ignorance, but out of the willingness to obliterate what we already know to be true. Balance and motivation require sharpness of intent. Unless you find a way to restate your goals every day, nonsense will contaminate reason and your determination will wane.

Personal objectives are meaningless if plans are not implemented. Relentless activity ensues from self-confidence, not from self-effacement. You need to find the manner to keep your purpose in view and your understanding fresh. Restate truth at every turn the road and ignore signs that tell you to stall.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Pink Sherbet Photography under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The best websites and blogs about Rational Living

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

The best websites and blogs about Rational Living

  1. John Vespasian
  2. The Albert Ellis Institute
  3. Dr. Hurd - Tools for Rational Living
  4. Dr. Aldo R. Pucci - Rational Thinking Score
  5. The Lazaroff Center
  6. Living Rationally
  7. Rational Philosophy
  8. Center for Rational Living
  9. Rational Living Therapy Institute
  10. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Free e-book presentation about Rational Living

A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link

Sunday, 19 August 2012

How to change fundamental patterns


Sleeping pills have become an everyday accessory in modern society. In Europe or America, Asia or the Middle East, rare is the bathroom closet that does not contain some pharmaceutical product to induce slumber. The solution has become so commonplace that few dare to question it any more.

How did we arrive at such widespread social acceptance of chemical dependence? Certainly not because sleeping pills provide a fully satisfactory solution to the problem. If given a choice, the great majority of insomniacs would prefer to find a remedy for their condition that does not involve using chemical substances.

Sleep difficulties, like any other health problem, can be treated by addressing its cause or its symptoms. Herbs and pharmaceuticals focus on the symptoms of insomnia. Their goal is to replace the natural process of falling asleep by a chemically-induced slumber that lasts a few hours.

Addressing the cause of insomnia is a much more demanding undertaking, since it requires introspection and personal growth. Contrary to what you might have heard, most people usually have little trouble figuring out why they cannot sleep well. Leaving aside environmental aspects such as noise or an uncomfortable bed, the most common causes of insomnia are these four:

1. An unpleasant job: too boring or too demanding, poor pay, too long hours, high risk of redundancy, an aggressive supervisor, nasty colleagues, professional health risks, excessive stress or fatigue, continuous travel, and so on.

2. Financial worries: for instance, excessive debt, poverty, investment losses, imminent mortgage foreclosure, risk of bankruptcy, difficulties to collect from debtors, negative cash flow, or being involved in litigation.

3. Family or personal conflicts: spouse with antagonistic values or interests, betrayal, exploitation, or abandonment, dealing with hostility or discrimination, social isolation, or lack of friends who share the same values and interests.

4. Health problems: facing heart surgery, awaiting results of critical tests, getting old, suffering from debilitating illness, cancer, or invalidity, extreme overweight or underweight, and any other serious medical condition.

At any given time, most of us will be going through one or several of the above-mentioned situations. Since problems tend to succeed each other at an amazing speed, one will never lack excuses to resort to sleeping pills. Nevertheless, in each case, we will be much better off by using philosophy to achieve serenity.

The antidote to insomnia is peace of mind. No other alternative, cure, or remedy can address successfully the cause of sleep difficulties. All other options have failed and serenity is the only one that works. What is the process of acquiring and maintaining peace of mind? Which steps should one take?

Eliminating anxiety and stress permanently is equivalent to modifying the structure of a house. Such fundamental change can be carried out, but only with care and little by little. If done properly, it will not weaken the building. The resulting edifice will offer additional space and a more pleasant environment to live and rest.

Dozens of self-help books propound auto-suggestion as the key to achieving success in life. Even if that promise proved true, would it also put an end to insomnia? Let us not forget that sleeping well is a direct consequence of achieving peace of mind, which must come from consistent thinking. For this reason, I submit that the best way to attain serenity and a good sleep at night comprises five elements:

* Identify your most important problem and write it down.

* Find out who has solved a similar problem satisfactorily and how he did it.

* Study the solution, adapt it to your life, and make a detailed plan.

* Start implementing the plan right away by taking the first step.

* Follow up your progress and remind yourself daily that you are on the track to recovery.

A dramatic example will illustrate the process. Imagine an individual who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He is told that his illness is in a beginning stage and that he has sufficient time to explore different treatments with good prospects of recovery. On hearing the news, his anxiety mounts and, at night, he has difficulties to sleep.

Such situation leaves little doubt about what your most important problem is. Taking sleeping pills, assuming that they are not contraindicated for cancer, may help you get a few hours of rest, but will not reduce your preoccupation during the time you are awake.

The rational approach starts with gathering information about available treatments, reading success stories, and possibly talking to some of those who have recovered. Once you choose a path of action with reasonable chances of success, you will begin to turn your worry into uncertainty.

As you learn more details about the treatment, your mind will progressively consolidate a schedule of events. You will know what you have to do, at which time, and the results that you can expect. In parallel, your general mood will improve. Your newly-found positive anticipations will lead to regained self-confidence.

Implementing your plan, tracking your results, and making any necessary adjustment in your actions, will in most cases reduce your anxiety and stress. This process should naturally lead to better rest at night without need of sleeping pills. In addition, you will be now equipped with a higher level of self-reliance that should benefit all areas of your life.

Does it sound difficult? No wonder, because few endeavours are as demanding as changing our fundamental patterns. A victory over insomnia without resorting to sleeping pills usually results from facing effectively a major problem in our lives, whether professional, medical, or in relationships. May your success be uncontested so that, after a while, you will remember all this just as another milestone in your personal growth.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kdee64 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How to change fundamental patterns


Sleeping pills have become an everyday accessory in modern society. In Europe or America, Asia or the Middle East, rare is the bathroom closet that does not contain some pharmaceutical product to induce slumber. The solution has become so commonplace that few dare to question it any more.

How did we arrive at such widespread social acceptance of chemical dependence? Certainly not because sleeping pills provide a fully satisfactory solution to the problem. If given a choice, the great majority of insomniacs would prefer to find a remedy for their condition that does not involve using chemical substances.

Sleep difficulties, like any other health problem, can be treated by addressing its cause or its symptoms. Herbs and pharmaceuticals focus on the symptoms of insomnia. Their goal is to replace the natural process of falling asleep by a chemically-induced slumber that lasts a few hours.

Addressing the cause of insomnia is a much more demanding undertaking, since it requires introspection and personal growth. Contrary to what you might have heard, most people usually have little trouble figuring out why they cannot sleep well. Leaving aside environmental aspects such as noise or an uncomfortable bed, the most common causes of insomnia are these four:

1. An unpleasant job: too boring or too demanding, poor pay, too long hours, high risk of redundancy, an aggressive supervisor, nasty colleagues, professional health risks, excessive stress or fatigue, continuous travel, and so on.

2. Financial worries: for instance, excessive debt, poverty, investment losses, imminent mortgage foreclosure, risk of bankruptcy, difficulties to collect from debtors, negative cash flow, or being involved in litigation.

3. Family or personal conflicts: spouse with antagonistic values or interests, betrayal, exploitation, or abandonment, dealing with hostility or discrimination, social isolation, or lack of friends who share the same values and interests.

4. Health problems: facing heart surgery, awaiting results of critical tests, getting old, suffering from debilitating illness, cancer, or invalidity, extreme overweight or underweight, and any other serious medical condition.

At any given time, most of us will be going through one or several of the above-mentioned situations. Since problems tend to succeed each other at an amazing speed, one will never lack excuses to resort to sleeping pills. Nevertheless, in each case, we will be much better off by using philosophy to achieve serenity.

The antidote to insomnia is peace of mind. No other alternative, cure, or remedy can address successfully the cause of sleep difficulties. All other options have failed and serenity is the only one that works. What is the process of acquiring and maintaining peace of mind? Which steps should one take?

Eliminating anxiety and stress permanently is equivalent to modifying the structure of a house. Such fundamental change can be carried out, but only with care and little by little. If done properly, it will not weaken the building. The resulting edifice will offer additional space and a more pleasant environment to live and rest.

Dozens of self-help books propound auto-suggestion as the key to achieving success in life. Even if that promise proved true, would it also put an end to insomnia? Let us not forget that sleeping well is a direct consequence of achieving peace of mind, which must come from consistent thinking. For this reason, I submit that the best way to attain serenity and a good sleep at night comprises five elements:

* Identify your most important problem and write it down.

* Find out who has solved a similar problem satisfactorily and how he did it.

* Study the solution, adapt it to your life, and make a detailed plan.

* Start implementing the plan right away by taking the first step.

* Follow up your progress and remind yourself daily that you are on the track to recovery.

A dramatic example will illustrate the process. Imagine an individual who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He is told that his illness is in a beginning stage and that he has sufficient time to explore different treatments with good prospects of recovery. On hearing the news, his anxiety mounts and, at night, he has difficulties to sleep.

Such situation leaves little doubt about what your most important problem is. Taking sleeping pills, assuming that they are not contraindicated for cancer, may help you get a few hours of rest, but will not reduce your preoccupation during the time you are awake.

The rational approach starts with gathering information about available treatments, reading success stories, and possibly talking to some of those who have recovered. Once you choose a path of action with reasonable chances of success, you will begin to turn your worry into uncertainty.

As you learn more details about the treatment, your mind will progressively consolidate a schedule of events. You will know what you have to do, at which time, and the results that you can expect. In parallel, your general mood will improve. Your newly-found positive anticipations will lead to regained self-confidence.

Implementing your plan, tracking your results, and making any necessary adjustment in your actions, will in most cases reduce your anxiety and stress. This process should naturally lead to better rest at night without need of sleeping pills. In addition, you will be now equipped with a higher level of self-reliance that should benefit all areas of your life.

Does it sound difficult? No wonder, because few endeavours are as demanding as changing our fundamental patterns. A victory over insomnia without resorting to sleeping pills usually results from facing effectively a major problem in our lives, whether professional, medical, or in relationships. May your success be uncontested so that, after a while, you will remember all this just as another milestone in your personal growth.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kdee64 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]