Is Life What You Make of It?: Q&A

Heard it before have you? “Life is what you make it.” Or, “The world is what we make of it.” – Sounds very Hallmark, or perhaps, like something you’d find in a fortune-cookie. Well, it’s time we crack that cookie open and examine the validity of its contents…. Q: Is life really what you make of it?                                                                           A: Yes.  Short story:  Once upon a time, …

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Total Reboot – Five Habits To Change Your Life

The following post is an excerpt from my recent ignite talk at Habit Design:  Topic: Five habits acquired over the past five years, which, assembled in the proper construct, have proven to be the most instrumental in actualizing significant and enduring change in all aspects of my life from health, to happiness, to self-concept, and general outlook on the world as abundant and positive. These habits, you might note, are quite broad. Whereas habits such as, tooth-brushing, regular exercise, and healthy diet are among those commonly targeted for improvement, consider the five habits on my list as “meta-habits”; ones that aim …

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Why Advice Doesn’t Work and What to Rely on Instead

  So you find yourself sitting on a park bench, weighing the pros and cons of what has grown in your mind, to be the mother of all decisions. What started as a simple left or right on life’s I-95 has branched into a complex network of stop-lights and intersections, each holding over you, the power to determine your entire future; so it often seems. You know that choosing one path necessarily entails forgoing all others, and at no other time then in that moment, is it more crucial to keep your hands on the wheel. But you’re afraid of …

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Don’t Miss the Boat!

I first came across the following poem while visiting the very scenic Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, back in May. – It reminds me how important it is to remain “tuned in” – not distracted by external influence, during any time of great decision:   Missing the Boat by Naomi Shihab-Nye It is not so much that the boat passed and you failed to notice it. It is more like the boat stopping directly outside your bedroom window, the captain blowing the signal-horn, the band playing a rousing march. The boat shouted, waving bright flags, its silver hull blinding in …

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Who Am I? What’s My Deal? and, Why “The Limitless Self”?

Greetings! In this, my premier post on the new site, I’d like to take the opportunity to explain what is meant by The Limitless Self, how the concept arose, and say what I hope to accomplish through my writing here. But first, a little background on who I am: My name is Ben Ahrens and I’m the author of these posts. I’m deeply involved in the world of health and physical fitness – as a Practitioner of Holistic Health, a Sports Nutritionist, and Personal Trainer specializing in Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement. I wrote a health column for a newspaper …

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Practically Letting Go – What Zen and Children Tell Us about Recovery

  There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs, when a number of people are confronted with disaster; children often pull through ahead of adults. Author and survival expert, Laurence Gonzales, has read hundreds of accident reports and writes in his book, Deep Survival, of such instances when an experienced hunter gets lost in the woods and perishes in one night while a four-year-old survives. The underlying principle, he says, applies not only to wilderness survival but to getting through any demanding situation, be it divorce, loosing one’s job, or surviving illness. The question is: what do children do that we …

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How to Abolish Your Low Back Pain – for Good!

A staggering 100 million people suffer from low back pain in the United States at any given time, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In addition, an estimated 50 billion dollars are spent on treating low back pain each year, yet it remains this country’s leading cause of missed work and still holds true that eight out of ten Americans will experience it at some point. The price we pay for low back pain is high and growing. It’s time we turn our attention toward avoiding this problem, not just treating …

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“Don’t Let Your Knees Go Past Your Toes!” – Really?

Have you ever heard a yoga teacher, read an exercise article, or worked out with a trainer who told you, “Whatever you do, don’t let your knee go past your big toe!”? The idea, here, being that it’s bad for your knees if you allow them to protrude beyond your toes (as viewed from the side) when doing squat or lunge exercises. Well, is it? – Southampton Hospital’s knee specialist, Dr. John J. Brennan, says “No”. Before jumping into the physiological rationale, let me ask you another question: Have you ever seen Roger Federer throw himself into a super-lunge to …

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Fix Your Posture – All the “Why” and “How” You’ll Need

  You’ve been told: “Don’t slouch”, “Keep your shoulders back”, “don’t drop your head”, and by God, “Sit up straight”. You’ve been nagged ever since you graduated from the highchair; always told it’s important to practice good posture. But until now, you’ve never been told why. When it comes to working out, what are our main concerns? If you’re a guy, you probably want to build a bit of muscle, burn some fat, gain strength and get lean. If you’re a girl, you likely focus your efforts on weight-loss, getting toned, and total body conditioning. But goals aside, let me …

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Stretching: continued

In last week’s column, we clarified some of the recent confusion about stretching; mainly the claim that no one knows if stretching is useful. Today, we’re going to leave all myths behind and answer some frequently asked questions, based on proven benefits. That way we may resume our flexibility enhancing ways, and do so, most importantly, with good reason. Q: How often should I stretch? A: If you haven’t been in the habit of stretching regularly, a good fifteen-minute stretch session, three times a week will be sufficient to loosen your muscles and begin to increase flexibility. After about a …

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The Truth about Stretching Revealed

Recently, several articles have been circulating and studies emerging, which raise questions about the age-old practice of stretching. We used to be so clear on the matter; stretching is a good thing and has important bodily benefits. Now, an article in the New York Times states: “The truth is that after dozens of studies and years of debate, no one really knows whether stretching helps, harms, or does anything in particular for performance or injury rates.” – How did we all go from stretching in every gym class to being so confused?

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High Heeled – High Risk: Ladies, the price you pay for fashionable footwear

In 1998, Harvard researchers found a direct connection between wearing high heels, and knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Since then, emergency room doctor at the University Hospital of Wales has studied high-heeled shoe related injuries, both acute, and long term. His conclusion –  “Women should stick to shoes with heels less than 4cm (1.5in) if they want to avoid a trip to the hospital.” The lack of support they provide, combined with their excessive height, give high heels a mechanical advantage, perfect for rolling an ankle. Furthermore, because of their steep incline, “when you wear heels”, one researcher says, …

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