How Do I Make More Money?

The Four Questions On Everyone’s Mind: Part 1 of 4 

Freedom By Wealth

By Sam Makhoul

These four questions may not be something you would like to admit, but the research tells us that it is pre-occupying most people’s minds. In this article, I am going to cover the first question…

1. How Can I Make More Money? #Tree of Wealth

The reality is that, in our subconscious, there is a fundamental human need for freedom. And, like it or not, in today’s world, freedom comes from having money. Money to live life on your own terms. But the first step to having freedom starts with defining your wealth in the eight areas of life.

You need to define wealth as:

  • Good health, high energy, peace of mind and emotional strength #Tree of Health
  • Being in an intimate relationship #Tree of Love
  • Having a loving and supportive family #Tree of Family
  • Being in a job that brings the best out of you #Tree of Work
  • Friends that bring you joy and fun #Tree of Friendship
  • The time to read, learn and grow #Tree of Learning
  • Having empathy and compassion for others #Tree of Charity

Ultimately, money is a double-edged sword. It can help you achieve those things listed above, but it can also stop you from enjoying them if your quest for money robs you of time.

The human desire for money:

There is a human desire for money and material wealth. This primal desire is natural and is the reason why humans have made progress. Like any desire, however, this can be corrupted. Let me explain…

In today’s society, there is underlying guilt associated with wanting to make more money. This guilt is sometimes propagated by popular culture and usually justified by misrepresenting eastern philosophies and misquoting bible scripture such as “Money is the root of all evil”. But the truth and correct scripture is that it is “the love of money” that is the root of all evil, meaning that it is greed and the pursuit of material things at the compromise of the eight areas of our life that is wrong.

You have often heard me say that “Owning things is not wrong as long as they don’t own you”, which means that you should never neglect your humanity in the eight areas of life for the pursuit of money. You should not define your identity by what you own. Things that can be taken away from you is like establishing an identity on shaky foundations. You will have an identity crisis and may end up suffering from depression if you lose some of the things that you own. And in this age of uncertainty and chaos, anything can happen.

This is not to scare you. In fact, it is to empower you to be fearless by living life without reliance on an addiction to consumerism. Getting off the hedonic treadmill is liberating.

One of the reasons I founded A Higher Branch Success Academy was because I saw many of my colleagues in the corporate world compromise (and in some cases destroy) their health, family and relationships in the pursuit of profit and promotions.

 

What is Real Wealth?

At A Higher Branch, we contextualize wealth as filling the fundamental human need for freedom. Freedom to live in the eight areas of life daily without neglecting any. Freedom to take care of your health, freedom to spend time with your partner, freedom to spend time with your children and family, freedom to relax and unwind, freedom to read a good book, freedom to ‘stop and smell the roses.

So I ask you… Where is the freedom in having to work long hours to buy things that sit there collecting dust because you don’t have the time to enjoy them? There’s no freedom in that! In fact, that is a form of enslaving yourself. I am amazed at how much time people spend at work and how little they spend on the other areas. That is not wealth. And for some, work is used as an escape from a personal life riddled with unresolved conflict and past hurts that we’d rather not face or fix.

So here is the principle I want you never to forget. Wait for it….

Freedom should not be defined simply by how much money you have but ALSO by how much TIME you have to enjoy in the eight areas of life.

 

 

The object of making money is to give you more TIME to do that, time to work less and live more. But there is an element even more important than time. It is your ENERGY level.

Now I think ENERGY is a better currency than both time and money. Because with high energy you can do more in your day. And ultimately, that is what living is all about. Having the energy to do as much as you can each and every day. In fact, life span should not be measured by the years in your life but rather the life in your years. That is, by how much you accomplish in the eight areas of life. As the saying goes, “I’d rather live a year as a lion than a thousand as a sheep.”

So ask yourself, do I have enough energy in my day to devote to each of the 8 areas of life? If the answer is no, then the reality is that you are probably neglecting one of those areas.

Can you guess where the true source of our energy comes from? Is it from eating healthy, exercising, doing yoga, meditating, sleeping well and taking supplements? Not really. These aspects affect the quality of your energy when it manifests itself, but they are not the source of your energy. In fact, the source of your energy is from living a holistic life in the eight areas.

Your source of energy comes from mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is from love, family, work, friendship, learning, wealth and charity that we stimulate those three ‘energies’. That is why it is fatal to chase money, work long hours and neglect any of those areas. Every time you do, you will diminish your energy by that one. I have known people who eat so well, exercise and meditate and still suffer from fatigue. Why? Because they are neglecting one or more of the eight areas of life.

The Role of Money:

So, if real wealth is about having more time and more energy, the questions become; how do I have more of both? The answer does circle back to money and the money conundrum. And this is where the game of life balance is won and lost. Let me explain….

Whether you work for someone else or work for yourself, earning a living does NOT make you “free”. Only passive income does that; passive income from share dividends, positively geared real estate holdings and passive income from a business that runs itself whether you are there or not.

But does that mean you stop working when you have enough passive income? No, because your energy will come crashing down when you do. And remember what I said earlier. Energy is a better currency for freedom than time and money, acknowledging there is a synergy between the three elements.

Many people make the mistake of aiming to build up enough passive income sources so they don’t have to work at all. This approach is wrong on many levels. It’s like saying I want to get married so I can stop dating. You should never stop dating your partner in a successful relationship; otherwise, it will fail. Likewise, you should never stop working when you have passive income because the Tree of Work fills a fundamental need for fulfilment.

Fulfilment is a critical element in the eight areas of life needed for optimal energy levels. Working gives us purpose. If we focus on making a difference, working also fills the fundamental need for contribution #Tree of Charity, especially if we have a job where we get to see how the fruits of our labour directly help others.

 

 

As I said earlier, I started A Higher Branch Success Academy because I saw so many colleagues in the corporate world destroy their health and relationships in their quest to make money. Still, conversely, I also started to see colleagues over-correct by abandoning their work to pursue an overly obsessive healthy lifestyle filled with supplements and yoga classes, only to lose their way and lose their sense of self-worth. AND to their frustration, their energy levels came crashing down.

 

What is the answer? 

So the objective is NOT to neglect the seven other areas of your life in the pursuit of building a business or climbing the corporate ladder.

Your objective is not to completely abandon your work when you make money. That will only make you feel lost and rudderless. And that’s not real wealth.

What is the objective, then? The objective is to work for love, NOT money. The objective is to work because you want to, not have to. The objective is to work for fulfilment and a sense of achievement. Ironically, people who take this approach make the most money because working for love makes you fearless and bold; and fortune favours the bold. This makes you play a bigger game and makes you more effective.

 

The Love Of Work

 

So, ultimately REAL wealth is about having enough TIME and ENERGY for the eight areas of life. 

Money does play a role in giving you time, but only when you assess how much you need to live a happy life. For many, they don’t know how much is enough because the goalposts keep shifting every time they spend and borrow. The fact is that the more you spend, the more money you need to make and the more personal freedom you need to sacrifice. Most people say that they have a plan to stop and enjoy life when they reach specific money targets. That can be in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or even your 60’s. My argument is that the less you spend, the younger you can be to have that freedom. It’s a simple formula; If you want freedom at a younger age, spend less.

Unfortunately, the big challenge is in knowing what to spend on and what NOT to spend on. You don’t want to compromise your happiness by being too miserly and stingy. It comes down to what value you put on things. This is probably one of the most important questions you can ask yourself in life:

“Do I really need to buy this? Is the short-term boost in happiness 

worth having to defer my sense of long-term freedom?”

The answers to these questions are outside this article’s scope, but I cover two scenarios that demonstrate my point in the podcast published on 15 April 2021; you can find this episode HERE. We will also be doing a deeper dive into this topic at Upgrade Your Life 2022, but I hope, for now, I have you thinking.

Therefore, the real question reframing wealth is this: How much money do you need to give you the freedom of more time? And the answer ultimately depends on how much money you feel you need to spend to be happy.

 

Freedom Through Wealth

Whenever I suggest this to my clients, the following questions often pop up:

  • How do I spend less? Meaning, what things do I really need to buy?
  • How do I work less? Meaning, how much time do I really need to commit to my job or business?
  • How do I live more? Meaning, do I really know what to do with my time? Or will I end up spending it on Netflix and other frivolous pursuits?

The answer to these three questions is a critical step in achieving freedom. It is also outside the scope of this article but will be covered at Upgrade Your Life 2022. If you would like to know more about our annual event, please subscribe to our mail list or Instagram to get the speaker announcement and be the first in line. Ok now that we have outlined the principles to defining your wealth let me take you through the….

The 2 rules to making more money:

Rule Number 1 

Whether you work for someone or have your own business, my number one rule to making more money is to exceed expectations.

How do you do that? In today’s competitive world, you need to go above and beyond to stand out, attract customers or spark that promotion, and that is the reality.

What does it mean to go “above and beyond”? It simply means to make a positive impact on all stakeholders in all your interactions. Not just your end consumer, but with your team, your suppliers, and within your industry. Whether it is an email, a phone call, a face-to-face meeting, or any place on the value chain, your aim is to make the person you’re interacting with feel like your contribution made a material impact on the customer experience. You need to spark a response where the other person thinks, “wow, I was not expecting that.”.

In short, you need to make your contribution unforgettable, so people talk about you. This is how a personal brand is built, and a business goes from being small to being large. Remember that all big businesses were once small. And the main reason they became big is that they exceeded expectations and created a following of raving fans. 

 

Rule Number 2

My second rule to make money is to invest in income-producing and capital growth assets. My investment strategy mix is unique to me but is not unique in itself. So, in all cases, you should get specific advice from your accountant or financial advisor.

I suggest you view investing in four primary vehicles:

1. Investing in yourself:

You need to see yourself and your energy levels as your number one asset. You need to view your energy levels as your number one currency because, in my experience, people with the highest energy get more done in less time, more sustainably and have the biggest impact. They tend to be the most energetic and engaged people in the room. As a consequence, they tend to make more money. Much more.

So you need to invest your money in things that make you happier and healthier. When I say on things, I don’t mean material things; I am referring to good quality food, quality supplements, good health care, meditation coaching, personal training, attending courses, mentoring, just about anything that boosts your energy and vitality.

2. Investing in your own business (if you have one) 

If you own your own business, it is imperative that you invest your super profits back into your business after allowing for your living expenses. This is where being frugal in your early years is so vital to your future success. As a lawyer, I have witnessed the number one reason why good businesses go bad. And it is because the owners take out the profits to spend on material things instead of re-investing back into their own business. The second reason is where they invest their money into ‘other’ areas where they have no competency; typically, things like buying listed shares or cryptocurrency. Listen to my podcast for a deeper dive into this investment strategy.

3. Investing in other people’s business. That is Shares on the stock market/index funds. 

This is not a contradiction of my number 2 investment vehicle. It is in addition to it. Only super profits should be involved in investing in shares and other speculative vehicles. Listen to my podcast on 15 April 2021 for my investment mix between direct shares and index funds. My 80/20 rule and when to cash in to buy real estate. There I also list some of the index funds that I like. 

4. Real estate.

I suggest owning positively geared real estate as a safe and effective vehicle for building passive income and/or capital growth.

What mix between shares and real estate? My strategy is to cash in index funds holdings to purchase real estate, giving me a 20-30% equity stake in real estate. I also prefer positively geared investment unless there is potential for capital growth greater than market movements.

Please listen to my podcast for more explanation. Remember that all geared investment depends on your business’s profits and your personal tax position, which is why you should always consult your accountant for more specific advice.

But I hope I have you thinking about your investment strategy.

How To Develop A Skin Care Regime For Your Skin Type

Lady washing her face in the mirror

Lady washing her face in the mirror
For many of us, a skin care regime is pivotal to our morning and nightly routines. But for others, it’s a task that we don’t put too much time, effort or research into.

Many of us tend to buy one product and use that on an ongoing basis, failing to review what our skin needs at different stages in our life. And in the absence of professional care, an enhanced skin care regime will serve the skin well and your mood too, because healthy skin means a happy individual.

So, to help you achieve glowing skin, we have collaborated with the founder of O Cosmedics, Maria Enna-Cocciolone to develop an easy-to-follow guide on acing your skin care regime.

Your Simple Go-To Skin Care Guide:

Step 1 – Cleanse:

Lady cleansing her face

Cleansing is the first and foremost most important step when it comes to keeping your face healthy. This is because “cleansing ensures you have the perfect canvas for healthy skin and that active ingredients in serums and creams can penetrate the skin and get to work,” Maria explains.

But when it comes to cleansing, choosing the right product for your skin type is important. If you suffer from dry skin a balm or oil cleanser is recommended, whereas if you experience oily skin you may require light acids and or enzymes to deep clean the pores.

If your skin type is normal, a gel or light lotion cleanser will do the job. Once you have the right cleanser for your skin “simply apply the cleanser to your fingertips, apply to the face and neck and work in tiny circles to ensure you are cleansing effectively accumulating makeup, pollutants, dirt, and grime,” Maria details.

Remove the cleanser with a damp skin shammy or face wash. If you’ve worn makeup during the day, make sure you double cleanse and for a super-effective cleanse, use a micellar treatment gel to ensure you leave no residue behind.

If you have thoroughly cleaned it the night before, you can opt for a simply micellar cleanse as part of your morning routine. Maria recommends the O Cosmedics Micellar Treatment Gel for a quick cleanse and anti-pollutant support.

Step 2 – Correct:

Liquid being dropping into a hand

When it comes to correcting your skin, using serums allows you to target specific skin concerns. A serum is a liquid or gel that contains high concentrations of skin actives, which can penetrate deeper than other topical products such as moisturisers.

Serums allow you to target specific concerns due to their high concentration and potency. While most basic serums contain a combination of antioxidants that will brighten the skin, Maria advises as part of an effective skin regime to use vitamin C in the morning and retinol (vitamin A) in the evening.

Step 3 – Hydrate & Protect:

Lady adding cream to her face

Keeping your skin looking radiant and healthy at all times can be a difficult task, but it can all come down to ensuring it is hydrated and protected from chemical products and harsh sunlight. To ensure your skin is being looked after, ensure you hydrate it every morning and evening.

“Choose [a product] that not only hydrates and nourishes your skin but also treats specific skin concerns,” Maria advises. “A great starting point is O Cosmedics Immortal Cream,” which contains super-antioxidants and potent concentrations of V8 Peptide Complex.

This product is also a mega-dose of vitamin C and is commonly used to awaken and hydrate the skin, assist relaxation of muscles and help to reverse and diminish the signs of aging whilst providing a feeling of instant lift. Perfect for assisting line and wrinkle relaxation age prevention super hydration youth and radiance.

Skin Care Regime By Skin Type:

Dry, Dehydrated And Flaky:

Lady with dry skin

When it comes to dry and dehydrated skin, they are too different conditions. Dry skin means you are lacking oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water.

To treat dry skin, opt for an oil-based cleanser and treatment, as well as essential fatty acids (topically and orally). Dry skin can also benefit from a hydrating booster; whether it is a hydrating face oil, a twice-weekly replenishing mask, or a serum with hyaluronic acid.

It is also important to keep up your water intake and hydrate your skin from the inside out. When it comes to treating your dehydrated skin, different molecular weights (molecule sizes) of Hyaluronic Acid is recommended for use.

Oily Skin:

Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of excess sebum (oil) and requires active ingredients to rebalance the productivity. When it comes to cleansing your skin, choose products that contain retinol (vitamin A) and Niacinamide (vitamin B3).

Sore And Red:

Young lady with red skin

If you are experiencing sore and red skin, it is commonly an inflammatory response and should be treated with TLC. To help soothe your skin, there are two recommended treatment phases:

  1. Calming and soothing
  2. Healing and strengthening

“It is not recommended to use actives, or exfoliating products should be used whilst the skin is crying for help,” Maria explains.

How Often Should I Be Doing An At-Home Facial?

Man having an at home face mask

Facials can now be done in the comfort of your own home (and for a fraction of the price). To keep your skin looking flawless, at-home facials are recommended once or twice a week.

Too often, and you risk overdoing it, which can leave your skin irritated. “Simply dedicating 30 to 60 minutes a week to a home-facial can make all the difference and ensure the skin is clear, even and radiant,” Maria says.

But according to Maria, “the most important thing to remember is to stay true to a cosmedical skin care and giving yourself some self-love is imperative to healthy skin.” 

Read our blog on Iso Skin: What Is It And How Can It Be Prevented?

DON’T FORGET YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST WITH MARIA HERE.

Iso Skin: What Is It And How Can It Be Prevented?

Lady suffering from iso skin

Lady suffering from iso skin

This year has been the year many of us are ready to say goodbye to. It has challenged us in new ways we never thought were possible.

For the first time in our lifetime, we found ourselves locked up in our homes with nowhere to go. Shops closed, outdoor time and travel restrictions in place and interactions with the human race was a distant memory.

We were forced to isolate due to the world health pandemic of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. Since March 2020, our lives changed forever.

Isolation itself changed many different aspects of our lives. While it has changed the way we work and communicate, it also had a dramatic impact on our mental and physical health.

But other than the fear of catching COVID-19, many of us experienced another health concern. One that left us thinking “what am I doing wrong?”

Take a moment to think about this…have discovered you’ve suffered from skin breakouts but you don’t know why? Well, it’s safe to say, you are NOT alone.

That is why we have gone straight to the experts and uncovered the reasons why you’re suffering from the new diagnosis of ‘iso skin’ and how you can stop it in its tracks. But firstly, what is iso skin?

“Iso skin is a result of COVID-19 and the pressure of living through a pandemic, being forced to stay home, living a more sedentary life and not being able to seek professional skin treatments due to clinic closures,” founder of O Cosmedics, Maria Enna-Cocciolone explained. “It can be an existing condition that flares up or a new one that is triggered by the stress that comes with living in uncertain times.”

3 Reasons Why Your Skin Is Breaking Out:

1. Stress:

Lady looking stressed

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that stress is the number one cause to our skin breakouts. Especially after the year we’ve had, where we have continuously been living in a world of uncertainty.

This is because when we stress, it releases hormones that increase testosterone that leads to oily skin. And when we have oily skin, our pores become blocked, causing us to experience breakouts.

“In one sentence, stress and skin are not friends,” Maria explained. “Stress triggers inflammatory markers, which can result in acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, dryness, oil imbalance, rashes, and hives.”

Stress can also affect our ability to digest and release toxins from within our bodies. “Stress can slow down digestion, which affects gut bacteria causing a cascade of bacteria in the body and can even be responsible for hormone stimulation that causes oil imbalance and triggers acne,” Maria added.

2. Diet:

Woman holding a glass of red wine

Spending more time at home has its ups and downs. But one thing that many of us can relate to is our growing relationship with the pantry and fridge – especially when we find ourselves procrastinating over a work task.

And as we continue to spend more time at home, many of us find ourselves snacking more and eating foods that are higher in sugar and carbs. This then impacts our hormone levels and causes breakouts around our mouth region.

But is it not just our diet that has changed, so too has our alcohol consumption. A new study from The Australian National University discovered that 20.2% of people reported that their alcohol consumption increased this year.

The study also found that one-in-four women who drank (22.8 per cent) reported an increase in drinking during May 2020 and one-in-five men (17.9 per cent) reported an increase in the same period. So next time you go to grab that block of chocolate or bottle of wine, maybe think twice about the consequences that may follow – your skin will thank you for it.

3. Masks:

Lady walking while wearing a mask

Many of us are now required to wear a face mask when leaving the house, whether it is at the shopping centres, at the doctors or on public transport. But what you didn’t know is that your mask could also be contributing to your irritated skin.

Introducing mascne. Yes, it is a ‘thing’.

“Mascne [acne mechanicha] is a new word and skin condition, which originates from acne caused by wearing a mask,” Maria explained. “Worn correctly and over extended periods the skin sweats, oil and redundant cells build-up, skin dries out and the imbalances clog pores causing mascne.”

We can minimise breakouts by thoroughly cleansing our face morning and night. “[And] if you choose to wear makeup [under your mask] make sure you choose a product that is clean and does not infuse toxic ingredients into the skin,” Maria said. “O Cosmedics 1Skin (pronounced one skin) Treatment Fusion Foundation is 97% Natural, is skin-friendly, preventing breakout and congestion.”

5 Quick Ways To Beat Iso Skin:

When it comes to beating breakouts, there are several approaches you can take. By making some lifestyle changes and switching up your skin care regime, you can help your skin flourish.

Here are five quick and easy ways you can begin to improve the healthiness of your skin:

1. Drink More Water:

Man drinking a bottle of water

We know; you have probably heard this many times, but it is true what the experts say… By drinking at least eight glasses of water a day it helps keep your body refreshed and provides it with the ability to flush any toxins, ultimately clearing your pores.

2. Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet:

A salad in a blue bowl

Diet is a big contributor when it comes to achieving glowing skin. For healthy-looking skin, it’s recommended you consume meals that are high in fibre, whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables, providing your body with nutrients to feed the skin.

It is important to also keep an eye out on foods that are high in salt. While you may be drinking enough water every day, if you are consuming foods that are high in salt, you are interfering with the positive results because these foods are stopping the water from reaching your skin and ultimately removing all the toxins.

3. Take Time Out And Meditate:

Person at the beach meditating

Yes, meditate. We all know breakouts can be caused by stress, so by taking the time out to meditate helps you manage your emotions and ultimately de-stress.

It also assists in adjusting your sleeping matters and reduces cortisol levels. So, use this time to remove yourself from the noise on social media, and the negativity in the world and meditate to relaxing music – do this daily and you will begin to notice a shift mentally and physically.

4. Move Your Body:

Man tying his shoes to go exercise

We know you probably don’t want to believe it, but exercise can improve the appearance of your skin as it helps balance out your hormones. When you exercise, you are delivering oxygen-rich blood to the skin to allow it to restore.

According to Maria, “lack of movement, fresh air and vitamin D can make an individual lazy, compromise circulation, slow down toxin removal and blood oxygenation.” So, make sure you dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to move your body and preferably outside, so you are exposed to natural vitamin D.

5. Feed Your Skin With The Right Products:

Lady fixing her iso skin with a face mask

While diet, movement and meditation contribute to healthy-looking skin, so does establishing a good skin care routine. When it comes to your skin, it is important to use products that keep it balanced, hydrated and nourished.

From picking out the right cleanser for your skin type and the perfect serums and moisturisers; each step of your regime is important to achieving gorgeous looking skin. Read our blog on How To Develop An In-Depth Skin Care Regime here.

But feeding your skin with the right products doesn’t stop at your cleansing products, it also includes the makeup you. According to Maria, choosing clean beauty needs to become your go-to beauty product.

“Look for Natural, Mineral or Organic,” she explained. “If the product isn’t one of those three then chances are everything else is a ‘chemical shit storm’ under the guise of a pretty camouflage,” the skin expert added.

DON’T FORGET YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST WITH MARIA HERE.

How To Slow Down Time

Person holding a clock

Person holding a clock

By Sam Makhoul

Have you ever looked back on a day or week or month or year and thought, “where did the time go?” You are not alone.

Almost everyone is experiencing this phenomenon where time feels like it is flying by. For some limited number of people however, they look back on the same period and feel, “wow there was so much I did.” 

People in this latter category will one day lay on their death bed and think, “I lived a full long life. I am grateful for every minute.”

What is the difference between the two mindsets? We all have 24 hours in the day. For some, it feels full, but most others, fast and uneventful.

In the present moment, time is the same for all of us. It has an infinite feel about it, especially if you are in a state of flow or meditation.

But the passing of time is only evident upon reflection. This is where it is relative and feels different for all of us.

Therefore, you cannot slow downtime in the present. But you can either look back on it as if it went fast or as if it went slow. 

Have you ever gone for a long road trip and noticed that it took forever to get to your destination, but on the way back, it felt so much faster? This gives you a clue into the reason for the relativity of time.

Everyone Dies, Not Everyone Lives:

The answer to the conundrum of time lies in your five senses: seeing, touching, smelling, hearing and tasting. When your five senses experience the same thing every day, they become numb.

Consequently, you become too familiar with the known. Some call that their comfort zone when in reality it is a dead zone where you spend your seconds, minutes, hours and days living predominantly from the subconscious.

You are not really conscious of your thoughts, feelings and decisions. Consequently, you look back on your life and feel like nothing much happened and you interpret that as time flying.

So, while everyone is pursuing a long life, the real answer is to pursue a conscious one. The big question is how do you live a conscious life?

What is the formula? We hear so much about being mindful, but mindfulness is very different from consciousness.

The former is all about witnessing. The latter is more about decisions and actions that help you live a purposeful life where the speed of time is in your control.

The latter can only happen when you choose to live with fearlessness and adventure. This is where your five senses come alive.

I (Sam Makhoul) have been teaching a five-step method called the Circle of Conscious Living, which I have personally lived by from a very young age. I explain this method in great detail in my book, A Higher Branch.

7 Useful Ways To Reboot Your Emotional Health 

husband and wife hugging
broken heart fixed with a bandaid

By Dr. Guy Winch

You put a bandage on a cut or take antibiotics to treat an infection, right? No questions asked.

In fact, questions would be asked if you didn’t apply first aid when necessary. So, why isn’t the same true of our mental health?

We are expected to just “get over” psychological wounds — when as anyone who’s ever ruminated over rejection or agonised over a failure knows only too well, emotional injuries can be just as crippling as physical ones. We need to learn how to practice emotional first aid.

Here are seven ways to do so:

1. Pay Attention To Emotional Pain:

Recognise it when it happens and work to treat it before it feels all-encompassing. The body evolved the sensation of physical pain to alert us that something is wrong and we need to address it.

The same is true for emotional pain. If a rejection, failure or bad mood is not getting better, it means you’ve sustained a psychological wound and you need to treat it.

For example, loneliness can be devastatingly damaging to your psychological and physical health. So, when you or your friend or loved one is feeling socially or emotionally isolated, you need to take action.

2. Redirect Your Gut Reaction When You Fail:

The nature of psychological wounds makes it easy for one to lead to another. Failure can often drive you to focus on what you can’t do instead of focusing on what you can.

That can then make you less likely to perform at your best, which will make you even more focused on your shortcomings, and on the cycle goes. To stop this sort of emotional spiral, learn to ignore the post-failure “gut” reaction of feeling helpless and demoralised, and make a list of factors that you can control were you to try again.

For instance, think about preparation and planning, and how you might improve each of them. This kind of exercise will reduce feelings of helplessness and improve your chances of future success.

Two people hugging outside

3. Monitor And Protect Your Self-Esteem:

When you feel like putting yourself down, take a moment to be compassionate to yourself. Self-esteem is like an emotional immune system that buffers you from emotional pain and strengthens your emotional resilience.

As such, it is very important to monitor it and avoid putting yourself down, particularly when you are already hurting. One way to “heal” damaged self-esteem is to practise self-compassion.

When you’re feeling critical of yourself, do the following exercise: imagine a dear friend is feeling bad about him or herself for similar reasons and write an email expressing compassion and support. Then read the email. Those are the messages you should be giving yourself.

4. When Negative Thoughts Taking Over, Disrupt Them With Positive Distractions:

When you replay distressing events in your mind without seeking new insight or trying to solve a problem, you’re just brooding, and that, especially when it becomes habitual, can lead to deeper psychological pain. The best way to disrupt unhealthy rumination is to distract yourself by engaging in a task that requires concentration.

For example, do a Sudoku, complete a crossword, try to recall the names of the kids in your fifth-grade class. Studies show that even two minutes of distraction will reduce the urge to focus on the negative.

5. Find Meaning In Loss:

Loss is a part of life, but it can scar us and keep us from moving forward if we don’t treat the emotional wounds it creates. If sufficient time has passed and you’re still struggling to move forward after a loss, you need to introduce a new way of thinking about it.

Specifically, the most important thing you can do to ease your pain and recover is to find meaning in the loss and derive purpose from it. It might be hard, but think of what you might have gained from the loss.

For instance, “I lost my spouse but I’ve become much closer to my kids”. Consider how you might gain or help others gain a new appreciation for life, or imagine the changes you could make that will help you live a life more aligned with your values and purpose.

Man with his face in his hand

6. Don’t Let Excessive Guilt Linger:

Guilt can be useful. In small doses, it alerts you to take action to mend a problem in your relationship with another person.

But excessive guilt is toxic, in that it wastes your emotional and intellectual energies, distracts you from other tasks, and prevents you from enjoying life. One of the best ways to resolve lingering guilt is to offer an effective apology.

Yes, you might have tried apologising previously, but apologies are more complex than we tend to realise. The crucial ingredient that every effective apology requires — and most standard apologies lack — is an “empathy statement.”

In other words, your apology should focus less on explaining why you did what you did and more on how your actions (or inactions) impacted the other person. It is much easier to forgive someone when you feel they truly understand. By apologising (even if for a second time), the other person is much more likely to convey authentic forgiveness and help your guilt dissolve.

7. Learn What Treatments For Emotional Wounds Work For You:

Pay attention to yourself and learn how you, personally, deal with common emotional wounds. For instance, do you shrug them off, get really upset but recover quickly, get upset and recover slowly or squelch your feelings?

Use this analysis to help yourself understand, which emotional first aid treatments work best for you in various situations (just as you would identify which of the many pain relievers on the shelves works best for you). The same goes for building emotional resilience.

Try out various techniques and figure out which are easiest for you to implement and which tend to be most effective for you. But mostly, get into the habit of taking note of your psychological health on a regular basis — and especially after a stressful, difficult, or emotionally painful situation.

Yes, practising emotional hygiene takes a little time and effort, but it will seriously elevate your entire quality of life. I promise.

Guy Winch with a quote that reads "emotional pain should not be a constant companion. Do not let it become one."

Learning: Essential Daily Ritual #4

Images of books

Jim Kwik sitting on a table encouraging positive learning

By Sam Makhoul

This article is in a series of articles about the system of daily rituals, habits and hacks you that will completely transform your days. When you live by this four-five-six system, you will find that obstacles and setbacks will not trip you up.

You will find that on the days where motivation abandons you, you will still stay on track.

Diagram of the four-five-six methodology

In case you missed the three previous essential daily rituals here are the links. It’s a good idea to go back and read them as a refresher anyway.

Essential Ritual #1: Journaling

Essential Ritual #2: Movement

Essential Ritual #3: Meditation

But this whole series started with this article that so many people absolutely loved: Is Motivation Destroying Your Identity

In this article we will go through:

  • Why continuous learning is important to your success?
  • How and when to infuse learning into your day?
  • What books and podcasts should you learn from?
  • Who or what are the best teachers on earth?

Why Learning Is Important:

Learning is how we grow personally and professionally. It is the sixth most important area in our lives and the foundation upon, which A Higher Branch has been established.

It is the essence of our philosophy of climbing higher in life and the quest for constant upgrade and improvement in all eight areas of our life. Without learning, we stagnate in those areas.

We do the same things every day because we do not know any better. Learning empowers us to try new things and reach for new goals and dreams.

All the latest brain research also shows that continuous learning and looking after your brain is good for our health and longevity.

3 mistakes we make when it comes to learning:

Gentleman drinking a drink while learning with a book

  1. We stop learning after we finish school and/or university.
  2. We only continue to learn about our job and subject matter expertise. True learning is a lifelong adventure where you continuously learn about each of the eight areas of life.
  3. We learn from the wrong sources. We live in an era of information overload and making sense of this information is difficult when digested in an unstructured way. The internet is also filled with information designed to promote one fad over another; one diet over another; one lifestyle over another; one product over another.

When Should You Learn Daily?

Something becomes a ritual when you do it at the same time every day or on cue. Learning should not be done as part of your morning and nightly rituals.

These times are reserved for movement, meditation and journaling for the reasons previously discussed in those articles. Welcome to Commute College.

Most of us commute to and from work daily. This is the perfect time to plug in, listen and learn.

Learning should be done whenever you have dead time. Boredom should be your cue to read, listen and learn.  In the car, on a plane, train or bus or whenever you having nothing to do.

You need to resist the temptation to drift to mindless entertainment on radio, television, and social media. You need to be in conscious control with what you let into your brain.

This is what the highest of achievers do. Learning is their daily ritual.

What Should You Learn?

Two ladies learning a podcast recording

You should be seeking books and podcasts about all eight areas of your life and not just one area of interest (typically health). This is a problem in itself.

I know some people who become obsessed with one area and start to neglect other parts of their life, especially relationships. It is important that you spread the learning equally among all areas.

We are so fortunate to live in an era where we have so much to read, listen and watch. We not only have so many books written by pioneering minds, but we also have audible, we have podcasts and we have YouTube.

But we need to be discerning and distinguish between entertainment and information. Two decades ago the challenge was the lack of information and lack of scientific research.

Today the challenge is to sift through all the overwhelming and often conflicting information. To help you on your learning quest, check out the below podcasts.

  1. Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik
  2. Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu
  3. The Joe Rogan Experience with Joe Rogan
  4. Found my Fitness with Dr Rhonda Patrick

In these podcasts, the hosts are caring, knowledgeable, authentic and share information generously with no strings attached. They also interview experts, researchers and actual practitioners across the eight areas of life.

Is JIM KWIK The Best Teacher On Earth?

Jim Kwik standing on stage

The standout and foremost world-renowned expert on the superpower of learning is Jim Kwik. He is a world expert in memory improvement and optimal brain performance.

1 (founder, Sam Makhoul) attended one of Jim’s workshops and implement his brain training methods and let me tell you, it is unbelievably effective. It has helped me think smarter and faster in meetings.

Jim is also one of the humblest people I have ever met. He has worked with actors on the biggest Hollywood blockbusters, top global organisations and CEO’s that includes Harvard, Virgin, Nike and GE.

His personal story is also compelling. One of the principles I learned from Jim is that your own curiosity is the best teacher on earth.

If self-awareness is a great teacher of all things internal, then curiosity is the greatest teacher of all things external.

Applying Curiosity To Information:

So, it is important when you read or listen to books and podcasts that you apply a curiosity mindset. Are you accepting everyday information as it is or are you adding to it or contradicting it with your curiosity?

This means having your own opinion and questioning everything you learn. Do this by asking yourself, “yes and…” or the “yes but…” principles.

To apply these principles, we must let our curiosity break through our fear barrier. We all have this curiosity inside of us as children but over the years fear tends to keep it locked away.

Trust that curiosity. Unleash it. You will find behind every curious thought is the potential to discover your own wisdom on what you read. It is that curiosity that leads to genius or a genius idea.

Applying Curiosity To People:

There is also another huge area of knowledge, apart from books, where we can learn from – people. This is the fastest way to acquire knowledge.

Therefore, we must master the skill of listening with undivided attention. We can never know everything in life but by listening to others we can learn from their experience and that accelerates our learning.

Listening is a dying art. Many people overindulge in constant talking that they go through life never really learning from others.

But my advice is that the people you must listen to first come from the eight areas of life, in the following order:

  • Your partner who often knows you best.
  • Your mother, father or grandparents – they have experience and perspective.
  • Your work mentors, colleagues and customers.
  • Your closest friends.

But as always you need to filter any knowledge from these sources by using your own curiosity and asking the two questions above. This does not make you a contrarian. This make you progressive where you build on wisdom from others to create what’s right for you.

Want to read the rest of this series? You can find them here:

How To Get The Best Sleep- Part 2

By Sam Makhoul

The Definitive Guide To Sleeping Longer And Deeper:

In part one of this article on sleep, I outlined the latest stunning research which shows that sleep is more important than any other health protocol and impacts not just the body but cognitive performance and emotional wellbeing in a profound way. If you have not read part one, you can here: Is Sleep the Fountain of Youth?

In an age where artificial intelligence and technology is taking over jobs, it is very clear that creativity, imagination, strategic thinking and the ability to connect with others will be the most prized qualities for any person on the planet. Sleep is your superpower in promoting all of these qualities.

In part two of this series, I will outline the scientifically proven factors that impact good quality sleep, as they relate to the four elements:

  1. Duration
  2. Depth
  3. Continuity
  4. Regularity

Dysfunction in any one of these elements will compromise sleep. Knowing this will help you fix the cause. Later I will list some tips that induce sleep, but without fixing the root cause, those tips are useless.

It is very important to note at the outset that sleep is an innate quality. It will happen automatically with the protocols I am about to share.

So, this article will focus on returning you to your natural rhythm, where you will find sleep to be effortless. I know this from experience because I used to find sleep difficult and a waste of time because I had so much to do.

Today my respect for sleep has been deepened by the fact that sleep has transformed my performance in all eight areas of my life.

Depth:

Lady in a deep sleep

Depth is the most important element because, you will recall from part one of this series, that regeneration and repair of body and mind happen when you go into a long-wave deep sleep. Depth activates the mechanism of autophagy and production of human growth hormones.

The former helps you live longer, and the latter helps you look younger. The depth of your sleep is impacted dramatically by the following four factors:

1.    Not Enough Sunlight During The Day – Especially Morning Light: 

Exposure to natural light during the day is critical for the production of melatonin. This neurotransmitter gets produced naturally by the pineal gland.

Melatonin has two main functions. By day, it plays an active role in energy production by your mitochondria because it is a powerful antioxidant.

Secondly, it promotes deep sleep at night. The best way to get more melatonin naturally is to eat out in the sunlight and get as much sun on your skin and eyes, especially in the first hour of the morning.

I recommend you only wear sunglasses when absolutely necessary. I also recommend the ancient practice of sun-gazing. This is beautifully covered in the book Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health by Mark Bunn.

2.    Too Much Artificial Light At Night – Especially From Screens And Monitors:

Research shows that we now spend 93% of our time inside surrounded by artificial light. We eat in front of TVs.

We work in front of computers. We play games on screens. We browse social media on phones. This is wrecking us.

It is disrupting natural processes that heal and regenerate us. It is disturbing critical neuro pathways.

Exposure to artificial blue and white light at night is suppressing the release of melatonin and therefore the depth of your sleep. It also impacts the duration of sleep – see below.

Here are some tips:

  • Replace your LED’s with low lux lighting which can reduce blue/white light by up to 80%.
  • Put dimmers on all your lights.
  • Light candles instead.
  • Eliminate screen time at least one hour before bed. Ideally three hours or as soon as the sun goes down. If you absolutely have to get on your devices for something urgent, then I suggest you use the Apps Flux or IRIS. Both Apps reduce blue and white light considerably, but I prefer IRIS because it also eliminates flicker on your laptop screen. This flicker has been shown to cause a stress response.

3.    Body Temperature:

Getting overheated at night stops you from getting into longwave delta deep sleep levels three and four. You need to ensure that your room temperature is between 17-19 degrees Celsius.

The best way to achieve this is to put your bedrooms on different temperature settings than the rest of the house. Secondly do not over-dress for bed or have thick bed covers. Thirdly, roll away from your partner after the initial cuddle at night.

4.     EMF Interference: 

Electromagnetic pollution from cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth devices and all devices not in aeroplane mode will all impact your depth of sleep because these frequencies activate your sympathetic nervous system and stop you from going into long wave delta sleep. No ifs or buts, EMF is very bad for your sleep.

How Do You Know If You Are Going Into Deep Sleep?

You can measure whether you are going into a deep sleep through the use of biometric devices such as the Oura Ring. But I strongly suggest you put it in aeroplane mode, especially at night, and only sync it with the App when you are not wearing it.

Duration:

Clock ticking

Duration is important because we all need five, 90-minute sleep cycles every night. This adds up to 7.5 hours.

Every cycle serves a unique biological purpose. Duration is mainly impacted when you cannot get to sleep at the optimal time.

You end up going to bed late and reducing the duration of your sleep. It is imperative for your circadian rhythm and thyroid function to wake on or soon after sunrise.

So, sleeping in to make up the time only makes matters worse. (Your optimal time for sleeping and waking according to your chrono-type is discussed below under continuity). 

Here are the factors that impact your ability to get to sleep. Staying asleep is covered under continuity below.

1. Artificial light at night suppresses the release of melatonin so it also affects duration. In fact, for every 60 minutes of artificial light, you get after sundown, you suppress the release of melatonin by 30 minutes. This effectively delays the time for you to start feeling sleepy and ready for bed. You need to get Amish and eliminate all technology at night.

2. Not enough movement during the day makes you feel flat and stagnant. The body needs to get tired during the day for better sleep at night. Movement is also critical to neutralising the effects of work or life stress. 

TIP: If you cannot play a sport or have the time to work out, try minimum effective dose exercise throughout the day. Do Tabata three, four minutes a day and go for a quick walk before lunch and dinner.

3. Stress boosts cortisol and adrenalin to keep you in a state of fight or flight. This will lead to high blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat, which prevent you from getting to sleep. And even if you do get to sleep it will affect your continuity because chances are you will wake up around 3 am-4 am with your heart beating out of your chest.

Stress also raises your body temperature which we discussed keeps you from going into a deep sleep. The best way to neutralise stress is to slow down during the day and perform your tasks at a normal pace. Research shows that it is not the amount of work we do but the speed in which do the work that is the main cause of stress. So slow down. Read the tips by Carl Honore in his book, In Praise of Slow.

4. Too Many Thoughts. Sometimes it is not stress that keeps you up but thoughts that go around and around in your head of things to do for the next day. Getting things down in your diary gets it out of your head. The five to 10 minutes it takes to do this will save you precious hours of lost sleep. 

5. Feelings are bothering you. You will find it difficult to get to sleep if feelings bubbling under the surface are not acknowledged and processed. To heal you need to feel. We all experience rejections, failures, hurts, and disappointments. The best way to process them is to journal your feelings, using the Higher Branch techniques as espoused by our faculty member, Dr Guy Winch in his book, Emotional First Aid.

6. Eating too late and too much can stop you from getting to sleep and consequently reduce your duration. Especially foods that are high in fat. It is best to avoid food within three hours of going to bed.

7. Caffeine Consumption in the 12 hours before bedtime. Caffeine overrides the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin and keeps you awake for longer. Some people can go to sleep after drinking coffee but the research shows unequivocally that the caffeine stops them from going into a deep sleep. Therefore, they never get the benefits of autophagy and HGH.

The Best Tips To Induce Sleep And Improve Duration:

  • Have a bath, steam or sauna one hour before bed. This helps your body temperature to drop which prepares you for sleep.
  • Sleeping meditation.
  • Listening to comedy.
  • Use an acupressure mat. I use the Shakti Mat. It is incredibly effective.
  • Socialising by talking or playing board games or cards. 
  • Essential oils of lavender for stress or rose geranium for anxiety.
  • Exercise during the day, especially in the morning.
  • Do the four, seven, eight breathing technique. Breath in for four seconds, hold for seven and exhale for eight. Do this at least five times before you go to sleep. Do this during the next technique.
  • Ground yourself. Standing barefoot on green grass drains all the positive ions from your system and replaces them with the earth negative ions. The latter is healing and calming. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system.

Continuity:

Coffee cup in bed

It is natural to wake in the last sleep cycle of the night around the six-hour mark. But if you are waking earlier in the first four sleep cycles, then you have a continuity problem.

Some of the factors outlined in the section above on duration will sometimes affect continuity. For example, if your stress is high then cortisol will surge at night and wake you.

Thoughts and feelings that were bothering you during the day will creep in.  But what is it that makes you wake up, to begin with, and interrupt your continuity in the first six hours?

Typically they are:

  1. Drinking too many fluids before bed.
  2. Eating too much before bed.
  3. Consuming more than one drink of alcohol within three hours before bed.
  4. Falling asleep in front of the TV. 

If you do wake at night, the best thing to do is roll over and keep sleeping. Do not get up and out of bed to drink or go to the toilet, unless you indulge in the list of four things just mentioned.

What about sleeping tablets to help you sleep and stay asleep? Research shows that sleeping tablets grossly interfere with your REM sleep, which is critical for resetting your short-term memory.

This will make you foggy during the day and make you ineffective in performing your tasks, especially tasks requiring client connection and creativity.

Regularity:

Sleeping according to your chronotype can improve regularity, especially during travel and work commitments. If you are a night person and you try to go to bed before 10:30 pm, you will lay awake in bed thinking you have insomnia.

If you are a morning person and go to bed too late, you will get over-tired and have trouble sleeping. According to the research, morning people should go to bed around 9:30 pm and wake at 5:30 am.

Night owls should go to bed around 11 pm and wake at 7 pm. If you are an in-betweener, then anytime between 9:30 pm and 11 pm for sleeping and 5:30 am and 7 am for waking.

In all cases, however, it is imperative for all chronotypes to get plenty of sunlight within the hour after waking. If there is a factor that influences sleep and overall energy levels the most, it would be to practice light hygiene.

Direct sunlight during the day will boost your energy, and the elimination of artificial light at night will induce sleep. They both improve your gut health profoundly, where the majority of melatonin is produced during the daylight hours.

Just think of it this way: good bacteria prefer sunshine. Bad bacteria thrive in darkness. I wish you light and the softness of sleep.

Is Sleep The Fountain Of Youth? – Part 1

Lady sleeping in bed

Lady sleeping in bed with brown sheets

By Sam Makhoul

I really dislike this cliché “this will change your life,” but in this case, sleep will literally do so. What happens to us during sleep is truly remarkable.

It is the ultimate detox for the mind and body. It is a reset button. A reboot.

In fact, if there was a magic elixir or superfood that could help you live not just a longer life but a beautiful one, make you look young, boost your brain power, boost your performance, improve your relationship, make you fun and attractive to friends and family, energetic, enthusiastic. 

Humans are wired to value scarcity. So, we go in search of elusive superfoods or medicinal herbs that grow in unique parts of the world.

But we ignore the most potent health protocol that is available to us for free every night. Sleep!

This article is not just about giving the usual list of tips for sleeping better. That is secondary and found all over the internet. 

I write this article with my lawyer hat on to convince you intellectually of the importance of sleep. Only then will you start to respect sleep.

In my experience of coaching myself and clients, the behavioural change will never happen unless you have complete clarity of why you are doing something. So, I will be sharing the science of sleep and how it impacts every part of your life.

When you really understand what goes on at a cellular level, this will have a profound emotional impact on you. It will then motivate you to take sleep more seriously and make the lifestyle changes I will be recommending later.

Straight up, I am not a sleep expert. But I research and retain information really well and I have studied this area for many years and read multiple papers and books by pioneering scientists, especially in the last two years, where there have been huge advancements.

I have also tested the protocols personally and documented the impact it has had on my own health and performance. I do this with the help of my Oura Ring, which gives me all the data I need to track the results of every sleep protocol I implement.

As an entrepreneur, I often say that “data provides the clarity for business strategy”. That is no different in your personal life. 

This is perhaps the most important article you will read from me this year. It is a little long, but I make no apologies for that.

I respect you too much to give you a cursory summary of what I think is the most important element to your wellbeing that impacts not only your physical but also your mental and emotional health.

Sleep Basics

Sleep happens in cycles typically of 90 minutes duration. So, over an optimal eight hours sleep you will get five cycles.

During this 90 minutes cycle you go into four levels of sleep.  Level’s three and four being the deepest sleep where your brain goes into long delta waves.

Towards the end of the 90 minutes cycle you go back up to REM sleep (they call it Rapid Eye Movement because that is when you do your dreaming). As the night progresses and you go from cycle to cycle you have less delta sleep and more REM sleep, which is why you tend to dream more in the morning hours.

Imagine it like going up and down a ladder five times per night. You will notice from the diagram below that most of your deep sleep happens early in the evening.

Typically this peaks during the second cycle. And this is when you go into a state of autophagy (promotes longevity) and experience a surge of human growth hormones (promotes youth).

Diagram of the sleep stages

There are four layers to your health:

  1. Physical
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Spiritual.

In this article we will discuss how sleep impacts the first three energies.

The  depth duration continuity regularity is what defines high-quality sleep. And it is the combination of all four elements that increases your ability to activate autophagy’and HGH.

Research shows that dysfunction in any one of these four factors negatively alters sleep and accelerates ageing and disease. Depth is how deep your sleep is.

Duration is the length of sleep. Continuity is how long you sleep without waking (especially important in the first four cycles).

Regularity is how often you experience quality sleep. Every day? Five times per week?

How Does Sleep Impact Your Physical?

Long wave deep sleep is critical for activating a mechanism called autophagy. The mechanism was recently discovered in 2016 by Nobel prize winner, Yoshinori Ohsumi.

It is a scientific term meaning your body goes into self-cleaning mode. It leads to the regeneration and repair of all your cells throughout the body via the lymphatic system and the brain, via the glymphatic pathway while you sleep.

Simply put, it destroys the old, damaged, and malfunctioning components of your cells – and rebuilds new and healthier ones. It’s like an overnight spring clean to replace old cells.

So, autophagy is your body’s unique way of naturally rejuvenating and defending itself from disease. Lack of good quality and quantity of sleep will cause a dysfunction with the mechanism of autophagy.

The mind in particular will experience an abnormal build-up of B-Amyloid plaque on the very part of the brain which facilitates sleep – the pre-frontal cortex. Over time, this leads to even more sleep dysfunction, which clogs up the brain even more, accelerates cognitive ageing and contributes to the development of early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. (Reference: Dr. David Rubinsztein, professor of molecular neurogenetics at the University of Cambridge).

When it comes to the body, poor quality sleep predictably leads to a multitude of physical ailments like:

  • Auto-immune diseases from increased inflammation
  • Poor thyroid function
  • Increased insulin/glucose resistance (pre-diabetes)
  • Shortening of your telomeres (these keep you young)
  • Skin ageing
  • Eyesight dysfunction
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • And a dramatic increase in the risk of cancer.

In relation to cancer, studies also show that shorter duration of sleep has been found to reduce the number of natural killer T cells by up to 30%. T cells are what fight cancer cells.

Over time, chronic sleep deprivation of under six hours per night dramatically increases the risk of cancer, especially coupled with the lack of exposure to daylight and lack of vitamin D. Interestingly, the research also shows that poor quality sleep tends to increase the amount of food you eat.

It increases ghrelin cells, which lead to an exaggerated hunger response.  High quality sleep on the other hand increases leptin cells.

These cells inhibit hunger and regulate energy balance, so the body does not trigger a hunger response when it does not need energy. Additionally, poor quality sleep increases your cravings for the wrong foods.

This is because the lack of sleep impact your gut health. Poor sleep leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria that crave the wrong type of foods, typically, high in sugar, fat and salt.

In fact, science is now showing that good quality sleep from a healthy circadian rhythm is more important than pre-biotics and pro-biotics in the regulation of good gut health. If this is not bad enough, research shows that people who get six or fewer hours of sleep per night are four times as likely to get ill after being exposed to the flu virus.

But wait, there is more. Poor quality sleep reduces testosterone levels, which is critical for your libido (and relationship), fat metabolism, muscle strength and bone density.

Still, need more evidence of the importance of sleep? Let’s move to the impact on your mental and emotional health.

How Does Sleep Impact Your Intellectual?

Lady waking up in bed

Poor quality sleep (especially influencing depth and duration) impacts your cognitive and work performance in a profound way. As we enter this age of automation and artificial intelligence, the key skills of creativity, imagination and strategising will become super important to your success.

Sleep impacts all of these three key skills in a profound way. In a recent study performed by the team at Berkeley University led by Professor Matthew Walker, they stunningly found that even one night’s sleep deprivation impacted cognitive performance by 40%.

This is a huge impact. They found that you need sleep to prime the brain before learning and processing new information and you need sleep; after learning to retain or store that same information you learned.

So, sleep before, stores information in the short-term memory (the hippocampus part of the brain) and deep sleep after allows you to transfer that same information into your long-term memory (the cortex). This allows you to reset your short-term memory for use the next day.

Meaning, if you do not get enough deep sleep, your short-term memory does not reset efficiently and therefore impairs your ability to learn and process new information the next day, because that part of the brain has a limited storage capacity (approx. 16 hours). Think of it like a USB stick.

Therefore, a good sleep of depth and duration will have the benefit of clearing your short-term memory reservoir for use the next day.

How Does Sleep Impact Your Emotional?

There is a strong correlation between high EQ and personal performance. Poor quality and quantity sleep impact your emotional stability.

It increases activity in the emotional part of the brain (the amygdala), which becomes 60% more reactive due to the dampening down of your rational brain (the pre-frontal cortex). This is an immediate trigger for anxiety which in turn negatively impacts your ability to sleep.

This leads to a vicious cycle of sleeping less and experiencing higher anxiety. Dr Walker’s research lab shows that this negative loop eventually leads to social isolation because people who are sleep deprived show a strong tendency to distance themselves from social interaction.

Moreover, it showed that the issue was compounded because they were in turn shunned by others; which caused more social isolation and inevitably depression. This is what the R U OK movement is essentially trying to avoid.

Depression causes your hippocampus to shrink, which then impacts your short-term memory. Earlier, I outlined these were critical for your creativity and strategic thinking, and therefore your performance at work and in business.

Poor sleep also amplifies the stress response in a unique way. Your tolerance level drops, your irritability rises, and you are quick to anger.

Hardly good qualities for optimal work performance. In fact, the negative emotions of anger, fear, anxiety and depression (even general unhappiness) will drain your physical energy and this dramatically reduces your effectiveness in all areas of life.

The Definitive Guide To Sleeping Longer And Deeper:

In part two of this article (read it here), I discuss the four elements to good quality sleep. They are duration, depth, continuity and regularity.

I list the major factors that negatively impact these four elements. Knowing this will help you fix the root cause of poor sleep.

And when you do this, you will find that sleep becomes as innate and natural as breathing and drinking water. More specifically I outline the following:

  • Depth: The two major lifestyle changes that will increase the depth of your sleep and activate autophagy and trigger high. These protocols will work almost immediately.
  • Duration: The two major causes of a reduction in the duration of your sleep. And how to prevent them with two simple techniques. I also share with you seven techniques that will induce sleepiness so you can get to sleep on time every night.
  • Continuity: The three major reasons why you are having interrupted sleep and how to sleep through the three sleep cycles of the night where you are most prone to waking. Refer to the diagram above.
  • Regularity: How sleeping according to your chronotype can increase regularity, especially during travel and work commitments. I share the exact best time to sleep and wake according to your chronotype.

Why You Should Trust Your Sixth Sense

Child with glasses

Young man brainstorming

By Sam Makhoul

Are You Genetically Gifted:

You could possibly have a gene that gives you a competitive edge in harnessing the power of visualisation. Nobody ever thinks of their five senses as superpowers but all the science shows that it is our five senses that determine how we experience the world, how long we live and the quality of our living.

Now science is discovering a sixth sense that can create everything we ever wanted out of life. Whether you believe in creation or evolution, you have to accept that we are never given a faculty by accident.

Our taste buds are there for the sense of taste and smell for avoiding toxic food, eyes for seeing and finding food and water; ears for hearing your child cry at night and as an alarm for predators; and touch for intimacy and tactile creation. Every sense serves a purpose.

So why are humans the only living creatures on the planet to also have a creative imagination? Why do we have the ability to envision goals and dreams and hold them as emotions?

Before you dismiss this as an article on nonsense such as the secret, I want you to know that I have a bias for action. I believe in hard work. I believe that hope without habit is futile.

I don’t believe in motivation. I believe it is our actions that define our identity and hence our future behaviours.

But what precedes our actions? Visions and thoughts.

We need to have a vision and clarity on where we are going and why we are taking action.

Creative imagination is a faculty just like our five physical senses… but this sixth sense is by far the most powerful.

Most people use it to imagine the worst that can happen in life (I know this all too well. As a trained lawyer I am trained to pre-empt the worst-case scenario and draft contracts to help my clients avert it).

But for those who know how to harness the power of imagination and visualise the best things in life (a healthy body, great relationships, material abundance to name the typical) then this is a faculty you need to know how to use. Please don’t waste it.

It holds the key to a whole dimension so few know how to step into.

Child with glasses

Imagine it. Done:

Creative imagination or emotional visualisation as I call it has helped me manifest just about everything in my life. The person I am married to, the house I live in, my body and mind, the friends I hang with, etc… this is all a manifestation of the future visual I hold deep in my emotions.

If you walk into my Sydney office at MSA National where we have over 100 people and look at every detail from floor to walls to furniture to layout, the smiles on people’s faces, the culture, the innovation, that was once and remains all in my creative imagination. During meditation, I visualised it so clearly and held gratitude in advance that my heart and mind believed it to be true ahead of time.

The first-ever event of Upgrade Your Life is another example of that manifestation. Watch the highlights here and note that every smile, every tear, every experience, every speaker, every aha moment, every dance, was all once in my head. People asked me after the event: did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that the event could be so beautiful?

A smile always appears on my face, because I visualised it in my heart and mind so clearly. I just had to show up every day and watch the magic of the universe reveal the path I needed to take.

Sure, I did have to overcome all my doubts and fears. Who doesn’t have them? We all do. But if you trust this emotional visualisation you can’t go wrong.

I call it emotional because you have to have that gratitude in your heart in advance. What does that mean?

A beautiful thing happens when you fall in love with your future. When you feel like your future has already happened there is a synchronisation between your energy and that potential in the quantum field.

You start to draw experiences (or synchronicities) that help you manifest that visual because you are connected to that future energy. I am not proposing anything radical here.

Dr Joe Dispenza recently wrote multiple books about this phenomenon and his events, attracting hundreds of people, sell out within minutes of release. People have healed themselves from auto-immune diseases to arteriosclerosis using creative visualisation.

Do You Have A Genetic Competitive Edge?

I was extremely sceptical about this field of epigenetic for many years until I learned that science had discovered a gene that is unique to some humans that gives them the ability to tap into creative imagination at will, to manifest whatever is possible in the quantum field. This genotype known as rs4680(A; A) is in the coding region of the COMT gene.

People with this genotype are associated with higher levels of dopamine in the pre-frontal cortex, a region implicated in the placebo and nocebo response. This phenomenon occurs when a person experiences a physiological response to what he or she thinks is happening.

This is nothing new. People who use their creative imagination to imagine an illness have a psychosomatic response.

The expectation elicits a response. Whether that response is positive or negative all depends on the individual using their imagination.

People who use it to imagine the worst, end up attracting what they fear. People who know how to use it for good, usually are people who enjoy amazing success in their life.

Does this mean that people who don’t have this genotype, cannot tap into their sixth sense? No. It’s just harder.

Just like you have some people who are gifted at running long distances or swimming or whatever, this does not mean you cannot do what they do; it just means you have to train harder (Exhibit A = David Goggins – he was negative buoyant and went on to complete navy seal hell week three times – the most in history). So please do not give up on this faculty just because you discover you don’t have this gene.

I know this life-hack in the series is not as sexy and as easy as the usual diet and lifestyle hacks out there but just because it is a little difficult to understand it does not mean you should dismiss it. It is extremely powerful.

Read more from this series:

Life Hack #1: Grounding & Sun Gazing

Life-Hack #2: Eating Properly And Maximising Nutritional Absorption

Life-Hack #3: Oil Pulling & Your Amazing Saliva

Life Hack #4: The Power Of Laughter

Life-Hack #6: Let There Be Breath

The Power of Laughter

Three people running

Three people running

By Sam Makhoul

Firstly, I need to clarify what a life-hack is. It is a lifestyle protocol that will boost your energy, help you sleep better, boost your immune system and ultimately make you live longer.

Why is laughter a life-hack that is in my top six? Just like a bodybuilder will focus on compounding exercises such as squats, the six life-hacks, including this one on laughter, all have a compounding effect on your health. 

In other words, the impact is far-reaching inside the body. Let me explain why laughter is so important to your health by explaining its impact on your physical, mental and emotional health.

Physically:

  • Decreases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin
  • Lowers blood pressure because it boosts nitric oxide and dilates the inner lining of blood vessels. It even increases HDL.
  • Increases the circulation of antibodies that boosts resistance to infections
  • 60 seconds of hearty laughter relieves tension in your muscles for up to 45 minutes. That makes it more potent than Valium without the side-effects
  • It relieves depression

Thoughts (Mind):

  • Laughter (or even ‘humour’ without having to laugh out loud) boosts dopamine to the brain and thus increases the sense of pleasure and reward.
  • It changes brain wave activity towards what’s called a “gamma frequency” and this amps up memory and recall. 

Ultimately the combination of mind and body benefits lead your mood to greener pastures. You have peace of mind and sleep better at night.

Suddenly everything seems manageable, even pain or loss or failure. You smile more.

You have an air of self-confidence and you start attracting good things and good people into your life, including customers. Most importantly it will improve your relationships with family, friends and your partner.

I coached one client who said that until he learned how to laugh, his kids found him too serious and scary. When he learned to let go and laugh more he was getting more hugs at home.

In fact, research shows that people who are fun, witty and smile often are voted as more attractive. Not bad for a life-hack aye? Which is why it comes in at number four in our series.

How To Increase Laughter In Your Daily Life:

  • Surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine – in other words, who make you laugh and are easy going. Physically, we do feel warmer from laughter.
  • Listen to or watch, comedy – preferably at a live comedy show. One of my nightly rituals is to listen to comedy every night before I go to sleep.
  • Read our article Yes But Are You Having Fun? There are many spiritual teachers who believe that our highest purpose in life is to play, have fun and spread happiness.

Read more from this series:

Life Hack #1: Grounding & Sun Gazing

Life-Hack #2: Eating Properly And Maximising Nutritional Absorption

Life-Hack #3: Oil Pulling & Your Amazing Saliva

Life Hack #5: Your Sixth Sense

Life-Hack #6: Let There Be Breath

Video Games Can Boost Emotional Health and Reduce Loneliness

Man playing video games

Young boy playing video games

By Dr. Guy Winch 

When you think of video games in the context of mental health, what comes to mind? For most people, the association is not a positive one.

Concerns have been raised about video games causing violence; gaming culture being sexist, racist, and homophobic; and whether video game addiction should become an official diagnosis. But while video games and gaming can have detrimental impacts in some contexts, what gets lost amidst the psychopathology-skewed headlines is that they can also provide significant benefits to our emotional health and well-being.

In fact, game developers are now designing games with the specific purpose of addressing psychological issues and boosting emotional health. For example, Sea of Solitude—developed by Jo-Mei Games and published by video gaming giant Electronic Arts—was created by Cornelia Geppert after a painful break up in 2013.

In the game, Kay, the heroine, has to fight humans who have turned into monsters because they became too lonely. To save herself from becoming one of them, she has to fight her own loneliness.

The game is both emotional and compelling. I (Dr Guy Winch) recently met Cornelia at a conference and witnessed firsthand the engagement and immersion of the attendees as they played it. Multiplayer platforms can be especially conducive to increasing social connection, forming community, and reducing loneliness.

Tom, a married man in his thirties, spends roughly 10 to 15 hours a week playing a multiplayer strategy game on his phone, in which he leads a group of sixty other players on complex missions. For the alliance to succeed in the game, they need to communicate effectively and work together. 

Group of males playing video games

As do many gaming teams, Tom’s group established a communication channel outside the game to discuss strategy and delegate tasks. But like on other such channels, discussions go far beyond the actual game.

Players often share personal problems, challenges in their relationships, or difficult feelings such as loneliness. The outpouring of compassion and support they receive from the group in such instances fosters powerful feelings of connection and community. 

Indeed, a study of social interactions within and outside multiplayer gaming platforms found that these kinds of platforms allowed players to express themselves in ways they might not feel able to in their real lives. This has helped lead to the creation of strong friendships, long-term relationships, and even marriages.

And a 2014 review concluded that video games can help gamers flourish psychologically by generating positive emotions, boosting individual functioning, and enhancing social connections; all of which contributed to mental health and well-being. The bottom line is that while video games can be problematic and even potentially addictive for some people (both children and adults), and while some gaming environments can indeed be hostile, we should not throw out the gaming console with the bathwater — so to speak.

As is often the case, it isn’t necessarily the thing itself that is good or bad, but how we use it that matters. Playing games that foster emotional health and psychological recovery, and taking advantage of the connective social fabric that can form in certain gaming environments could offer valuable opportunities for supporting and enhancing our mental health and emotional well-being.

Copyright, Dr. Guy Winch

Guy Winch is a licensed psychologist who is a leading advocate for integrating the science of emotional health into our daily lives. His two TED Talks have been viewed over 20 million times, and his science-based self-help books have been translated into 26 languages.

He also writes for Psychology Today and has a private practice in New York City. Read all about Dr Guy here

Essential Habit #3: Greetings and Goodbyes

By Sam Makhoul

In case you missed them, here are the links to the first 2 habits

Habit #1 – Smile on Waking
Habit #2 – Situational Gratitude

This is a series of articles on the four essential daily rituals, five essential daily habits and six energy-boosting life hacks. 

Why Are Greetings And Goodbyes So Important?

And why is it such an important habit to cultivate? Greetings and farewells are an important catalyst between people and situations.

It sets the tone, pace and energy transfer between people. It’s an impression you leave on people that either engages them or repels them, consciously or subconsciously.

This is critical socially and in business. It can be your secret weapon or your greatest weakness.

And it is a relatively easy habit to implement and has the most powerful impact on all your personal and professional relationships. In this article I will step you through how to cultivate this daily habit with your partner, your family, your friends, your colleagues and your clients; so people get to experience the real you.

“But I am not charismatic or charming. In fact, I can be awkward,” I hear you say. I am not asking you to be fake.

I am asking you to master the art of greetings and goodbyes in a way that attracts people to you, whether you are an introvert or an extravert, forward or awkward, cheerful or reserved, talkative or observant. Some of the most lovable people I know are introverts.

But first some science….

Psychologists have for many years confirmed that there is energy transference between humans which mean people feel your energy first and hear what you have to say second. The ancient sears also declared there is an invisible force that connects all humans and animals, a universal consciousness.

We know it as spirit, Prana or Chi. Microbiologists are now saying there is a cellular basis for it as well.

Our microbiome (gut bacteria) speak to each other and decide whether there is chemistry between us. So, what does it mean for greetings and goodbyes?

It means how you greet and bid farewell to people is an energy transference.

How To Greet And Farewell Your Partner:

As Dr Guy Winch said at Upgrade Your Life 2019, “it’s in the little gestures”. The research shows that lavish gifts are easily forgotten and mean very little compared to the compounding effect of small daily gestures.

You need to get into the habit of kissing and hugging on seeing your partner and on saying goodbye. It will strengthen your relationship and builds connection at a deep level.

Rule:

It does not count if you don’t look at your partner in the eyes. The kiss needs to be on the lips and the hug, full body.

Every time you leave and return, without fail, no exceptions, whether in a hurry or not, whether they reciprocate or not. Back it up with loving words and a smile.

Make it a commitment from this day onwards and watch your relationship transform. It’s in the little things….

Your Family:

The bottom line here is to greet and say goodbye to your family every time. Never ever sneak out.

It sends a message to your kids that they do not matter. Greetings and goodbyes make children feel more emotionally secure.

Have a family meeting and tell your children it is important for the family to greet and say goodbye to each other. Make it a family rule.

It will feel weird at first if you have not done it in a while, but in a few days, it will feel natural and reassuring. It will fill your home with joy and love. It is that powerful.

Children love big hugs– especially big family group hugs. Teenage children not so much but you can still insist on a small hug.

Young children also love secret handshakes as a way of saying hello and goodbye.

Rule:

Do not wait for them to come to you. If you enter the house it is your cue to announce your entry and find your family members.

Be playful, fun or endearing. “How is my gorgeous family tonight?”

Your Friends:

Greeting friends should be done warmly, with a smile and their name is spoken out loud. People love to hear their name.

It is a primal trigger for them to get closer to you. It builds an instant connection, especially if you have not seen them in a while.

Using phrases such as “Hey mate/buddy/beautiful” or “See ya mate/buddy/beautiful” are also terms of endearment you can use for friends you see often. Should you kiss, touch or hug?

If you know them well, then yes otherwise this should be limited to people of the same gender. More discretion should be exercised with the opposite sex whatever your heritage.

An air kiss may be more suitable. You need to treat each friend individually.

Some are affectionate and love a hug, others are uncomfortable and prefer their private space. When saying goodbye to friends always leave them with a compliment that is genuine and leaves an impact on them.

Your Work Colleagues:

Handshakes are usually adequate. High five’s is also okay in a team environment.

It is not appropriate to kiss colleagues unless you are long time colleagues who have become friends and you are meeting at a social function outside of work. If you work in an office within a team, you need to make it your daily habit of greeting and saying goodbye to everyone in that team.

A work environment resembles a family one. And all relationships require a sense of recognition and connection. Greeting and farewelling make everyone feel valued.

Your Clients/Customers:

The bottom line with clients and customers is to always leave the impression that you genuinely care. You need to be professional at all times.

Shaking hands with eye contact and a smile are the general rule. A two cheek European kiss is not appropriate unless they are a long-time client.

A warm but professional greeting captures their attention and builds instant rapport. A graceful and charming exit will make you unforgettable.

It is how you make them feel on exit. It should never be hurried. 

Some Rules:

Be present when you kiss or hug or shake hands. It never counts if you do not look the other person in the eye, warmly. Looking away is a big no-no. Never make too-personal comments, especially in cases of divorce, bereavement or illness.

If you are arriving home from work and in the wrong headspace, stay in your car and do a brain dump in your diary to get your ‘to-do’ list out of your head. That way you can switch off and greet your family from the heart.

If you are at work and preoccupied when someone greets you, bring your awareness to your breath. This will bring you to the present moment where you can switch your attention to them and greet them properly and listen attentively.

Back It Up With Words:

Whether you are greeting or saying goodbye, words in conjunction with a kiss, hug or handshake make it more personal. “I love coming here…” applies when visiting not only family but also friends.

“You always make my day…” is another example with friends and colleagues. Make it genuine and make it appropriate depending on the closeness of the relationship.

What is your trigger?

Ask yourself this question. “If this is the last time you get to see this person, how do you want them to remember your last interaction.”

When it comes to your partner, family or close friends, even more so; you never know what happens in life. I know this is a morbid thought but knowing this helps make you memorable. It puts your greeting or goodbye into real perspective.

My Promise:

I know the habit of greetings and goodbyes is simple and this article is unremarkable, but simple habits such as this need not be remarkable. The fact that it is ordinary should make it an easy habit to infuse into your days. And I promise you when you master the art of greetings and goodbyes, you will become unforgettable and bring joy to everyone around you.

12 Tips for Mental Toughness & Emotional Resilience

By Sam Makhoul

Make no mistake, this year is going to be tough for business. This will put many people in a fear mindset.

Your ability to compete will no longer be about how much you know and not even how fit and healthy you are. It will depend on your mental and emotional resilience.

These two elements to your wellbeing are far more important to your work performance and life success. The following tips will keep you in the right state of mind and emotions:

  1. You become who you drink coffee with. Associate only with positive, focused people who will not drain your valuable energy with complaining and uninspiring attitudes.
  2. Start every morning with 10 mins of visualisation meditation, 10mins of ‘minimum effective dose’ exercise and 10 mins of priming and journaling. Don’t know how? Email the team for further info: enquiries@ahigherbranch.com
  3. Start a ‘hero file’. Any time you receive a written compliment, a card, a great report, an award etc… file it away in an accessible location, like an app called Evernote. Refer to this hero file whenever you experience a setback or rejection and you find yourself indulging in negative self-talk.
  4. Use the power of negative thinking. When things are going bad, sit, close your eyes and imagine how much worse life can get. Now open your eyes and thank your lucky stars for what you do have. Most mental health issues come from focusing on what you do NOT have instead of what you do have.
  5. Have a laugh before bedtime. You will have a better-quality sleep and help you wake with a great attitude. Also, make an effort to be humorous throughout the day. Not only is it good for your mental health but it diffuses tension in difficult circumstances and creates an excellent atmosphere wherever you are. As a consequence, people will be drawn to you.
  6. Stay Away from Food that Makes you angry. Food impacts your mood in a profound way. People talk about the gut-brain connection (i.e. thoughts and cognitive performance) but the truth is that foods bigger impact is on your emotions (feelings). Here is a list of foods.
  7. Get more sleep, more sunshine and have more fun socialising. Those three life-hacks are scientifically proven to be more effective than any drug.
  8. Work for Love Not Money. Stay on purpose, not on outcome. In other words, do the task because it is what you love to do or because it will help someone. Don’t do it for the money or the recognition. Those will come naturally. This is the way of the world.
  9. Slowdown. Science emphatically shows that doing things with speed damages your mental health by increasing your stress levels. Read here tips for slowing down.
  10. Learn to Forgive Quickly. You will never have peace of mind nor taste success and wealth if you are hanging on to grudges and regrets. Learn how to practice forgiveness.
  11. Keep a photo on your desk or phone and look at it throughout the day. It could be a photo of your partner, your children or a picture of your next holiday destination.
  12. Other happiness tips: smile on waking, walk tall, breath deeper, smell flowers, hug your family, call your friends, listen to music, sing in the shower, pack a picnic, walk barefoot, visit a farm, ride a bike, spend less, save more, love unconditionally.

Is Your Food Making You Angry?

By Sam Makhoul

Science in the last few years has discovered that your mind is your thinking brain and your gut is your feeling brain. And we all know that your feelings are much more powerful than your thoughts.

Try thinking your way out of anger or fear or anxiety? Difficult right?

Researchers have also discovered that people are getting more serious and angrier than at any time in history. The research further shows that people are quicker to get angry.

That’s not surprising because we are doing everything faster than ever before, so why not anger? The big question is, ‘what is causing all this anger?’

One answer is the pace of life. But the other answer is the food you eat.

More specifically the impact food has on your ‘feeling’ gut-brain. The following is a list of foods known to make you angry because they cause an inflammatory response in your gut and this, in turn, inflames your emotions and makes you, well… an angry person!

Foods To Be Avoided By Everyone:

  • Oil: Foods fried in industrial vegetable oil.
  • Sugar: Stuff like soft drinks, fruit juices, pastries, cookies, cakes etc.
  • Flour: Refined starchy foods – pasta, pizza and white bread.
  • Anything artificial: colouring, flavouring, preservatives, nitrates and MSG.

Foods To Be Avoided By Some:

  • If you are sensitive to caffeine – Coffee, black and green tea.
  • If you are sensitive to alcohol – beer, wine, spirits.
  • If you are sensitive to dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • If you are sensitive to certain psychoactive stimulants – chocolate.
  • If you are sensitive to gluten – most grains especially wheat.
  • If you are sensitive to lectins – most beans, lentils, soy, corn, cashews and peanuts.
  • If you are sensitive to the nightshade family – tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and Goji berries.
  • If you are sensitive to certain foods that cause a histamine response – such as eggs, kombucha, fermented foods and avocado.

What To Do:

The first list of foods is easy to identify and avoid. The more sinister list is the second one because unless you know your sensitivity you will never know what is affecting your gut and therefore your emotions.

And you will never be in control of your life and your performance at work. How do you discover your sensitivity?

Two ways. One way is by having a sense of awareness and journaling how you feel after you eat certain foods in isolation.

The second and quickest way is to get your gut bacteria (known as the ‘microbiome’) tested. Alessandra Edwards is one of Australia’s leading practitioners in the area of genetic-based human performance.

For more tips on nutrition download Sam Makhoul’s latest FREE EBook, GUIDE TO GREATNESS

Benefits of Walking Barefoot

By Sam Makhoul

Have you noticed how children rip off their shoes and socks whenever they can? That’s because they instinctively know the benefits of walking barefoot, especially on the natural surfaces such as grass.

This practice is known as earthing or grounding and studies now show that standing barefoot on earth improves your health as it channels the free radicals and electric charges that we carry with us, back into the Earth. It is as important as eating foods high in anti-oxidants!

This is because the Earth carries a strong negative charge and anything above the ground such as air or insulated materials such as rubber, carries a positive charge. As our nervous system works on electrical impulses, our heartbeats with an electrical charge and we are constantly surrounded by electrical radiation from technology, it is necessary to neutralise our electric charge by ‘plugging’ ourselves into the earth.

Grounding is important for removing negative radiation and electric waste from our bodies, but it also has the following health benefits:

  • Greater balance
  • Greater strength
  • Healthier feet
  • Greater circulation
  • Better posture
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Calms nervous system

If you have not yet downloaded your FREE copy of the eBook, GUIDE TO GREATNESS, please do so here.