I suffered from a common cold and cough throughout the year

But not anymore…

Looking back at my childhood, I used to suffer from common cold throughout the year. The frequency was such that the kids at school started making fun of me. Even my family had a hard time digesting the fact.

I was suffering from sinusitis. I always had trouble breathing. It was so bad sometimes that I had to breath through my mouth. My family used to tell me to close my mouth but how could I. It was difficult. I had to breathe somehow.

So I consulted various doctors. They asked me to go for X-Rays and take medicines. Nothing helped. Medicines hardly ever do.

This went on for the first 17 years of my life. Then my uncle came to the rescue with his magic trick.

He told me about the Neti pot and to do Jal Neti with it.

This is what a Neti pot looks like.

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The process involves the following steps:

  1. You put lukewarm water and a pinch of salt in it.
  2. Tilt your head sideways.
  3. Insert the pipe into one of your nostrils.
  4. Open your mouth and breath.
  5. Let the water come out of the other nostril.
  6. Repeat the process on the other side.

Believe me. This is his magic trick. Just this act of a minute a day cured my sinusitis. My misery of common cold, cough, and headaches was reduced to a standstill. I was liberated.

All it took was a few days to see the change. And my condition improved drastically over a period of six months.

Now I don’t know what sinusitis feels like. No doctor was able to help me with it. When I told a doctor about this, he started laughing at my face and called it a regressive act not meant for modern society.

I don’t want to comment on what all these doctors did or didn’t do. But they failed miserably.

I am giving you this advice to try this technique if you are suffering from any one of the following:

  1. Sinusitis
  2. Common cold
  3. Nose blockage
  4. Irritation in the nasal passage
  5. Breathing issues
  6. Allergy

Remember to always clean the Neti pot. And use clean water that you drink.

You may find the pot in a drug store or online retailers.

There are no side effects. It’s completely safe. I have heard some people using it for more than six years. And I am one of them.

I even tricked my mother into using it for the past few months. Even she is reaping the benefits. It’s time that you start reaping the benefits too. It only takes a minute.

I want to remind you that the first few days will be difficult. It will be a bit painful. The water may not come out of the other nostril. But you keep at it. Two of my friends started this and they stopped after one try. The said it didn’t work for them.

How would it work? If you don’t let it work for you. You need patience. As I say any change in behavior takes time. This will also take time. Eventually, you will get used to it. Just try it for a week and then tell me about your experience.

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Choose a physical activity that you like…

And work your way to fitness.

Fitness is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Not boring and inevitable. It is supposed to be a part of our lives. If you feel good, you will do good in life.

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There is a lot of information on the internet about fitness. Everyone seems to have their own idea of the best one can possibly do to keep oneself fit. Some recommend gymnasium as the ultimate heaven for fitness. While others consider yoga to be supreme. Sports enthusiasts will definitely talk about their sports which keeps them fit.

Everyone is right when it comes to themselves. But what is right when it comes to you? What is the best for you? Only you can answer this.

There is no good or bad thing one can do for fitness. It all depends on one’s interest.

If you like something, then you are likely to continue with it.

Let me give you my experience of going to the gym.

The first time I went to the gym was at the age of 17. The trainer just told me to do some exercises. When I asked him, “How?” he told me to look at how others are doing it and learn from them.

The next day onwards I stopped going to the gym. My whole body was aching. I was in a bad shape. I lifted weights instead of focusing on my posture and the movement. I hated the gym.

Again I started with the gym after four years at the age of 21. I stopped after three months. I couldn’t continue it because I didn’t enjoy it. It was painful.

I started going to the gym again two years ago. This was just for two months. I tried this ‘On and Off’ thing. It never worked for me.

So I decided to play some sports to keep myself fit. And this worked. I played badminton and basketball in the morning. This kept me fit and I enjoyed it as well.

Now I have started the gym again after some research and understanding of the exercises. I like it now and hope to continue.

The learning from my experience is that you may try different things and do what works for you. You don’t need to listen to others.

I used to hear people asking me to swim for good health and physique. I tried and it was horrible. I didn’t like it at all. So I stopped.

It’s better to do something you enjoy and stick with it than to start something you don’t like and then stop. Go for anything physical activity that makes you sweat.

One simple trick to limit your intake of a food you want to avoid

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

All of us face a challenge in staying away from food that is not good for us. The reasons might be the taste, the peer pressure, the habit, the marketing by various brands and the list goes on.

We secretly hope that we will get rid of the habit one day. We will avoid it at all costs. We spend money on it and ruin our health. Still, we can’t live without it.

We even take resolutions from time to time. We avoid it for a few days or weeks. But we go back to our previous habit. Because habits are not easy to break. They are permanent. They are a part of who we are.

It’s a good thing that in case of food, you don’t need to stop altogether unless you really want to or have to.

I am sharing a simple trick that I experimented on myself. And it worked. You may try the same and see if it works for you.

Let me give you the story of my earlier failed attempts and why I decided to try this trick.

What I did was I decided to stop drinking coffee. Because it is not good for health. Now you may say: I need my morning cup of bliss. It is all right. I want the same thing. But my health comes first. At least in the case of coffee.

Coffee is my favorite drink. So it was a very difficult decision to stop having it.

I tried several times but failed. This went on for three years. My friends started mocking me. I found my failed attempts shameful. So I stopped discussing it with anyone.

I tried different psychological tricks to avoid it. Whenever I drank it, I thought of all the bad things it was doing to me. It didn’t help.

I told my mother to shout at me and curse me when she saw me with coffee. It didn’t help. I even asked her to take away my coffee and have it herself. But she prefers tea to coffee.

I tried and I failed. But I did not give up.

I decided to make a pilgrimage to Starbucks once a month to have a Grande version of Americano. Let me relish the bitter taste of coffee I enjoy so much. Let it be an expensive and wonderful experience. Let me have premier coffee just once a month. And that will be all. I won’t be having coffee at home or anywhere else. It will be Starbucks once a month. Period.

It has been four months and I am still sticking with this routine.

Notice how a simple trick helped me limit and enjoy the food that I love. Just because I care about my health.

We all have to make sacrifices. So let us make a sacrifice where it matters the most: our health. Any change in behavior leading to a habit is a slow process. So give it time. Don’t rush into it. The aim should be to achieve the goal in some weeks or months.

The above is just an example. I am looking forward to doing the same with tea. Make it a once a month only routine.

What this ‘Once a month’ does is it makes you cherish each and every moment of consumption. You take something in good quantity like I have about 450 ml of coffee which is quite a lot at one go. After having a large quantity, the kind of feeling you get is something which you look for the next 30 days. It makes you excited about the prospect of having your drink which you love. The happiness in this is unparalleled. You will never get this feeling if you have the same thing each day. Trust me.

‘Once a month’ worked for me. Maybe it won’t work for you. You try different things and iterate the technique which works for you. It may be anything.

You may even try using the social method. This will make you tell everyone around you what you are about to do. So people will actually keep you on your toes. In order to not let them down, you will keep your word. You will behave rationally or at least try your best. In the process, you may succeed.

And guess what. Who benefits from this? Not the people you informed about your resolution or promise. But You!

How I got rid of my frequent neck aches with a simple change

And you can too.

Most of us have suffered from neck aches. I used to have it at least once a week. The stiffness in the neck after waking up was making it difficult to move it from side to side. Sometimes I couldn’t move it at all. I missed school for a number of days each month. I needed help.

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I went to see a bonesetter. I told him the issue with my neck and asked him if there is a problem with my neck.

He told me that my neck is fine. But my use of a pillow is not.

I didn’t understand him. How can a pillow lead to frequent neck aches? He explained this to me.

It went like this…

We were born without a pillow. It is not in our nature to use a pillow. It is a man-made thing. It is artificially injected into our systems to use a pillow. But it has no use to us.

Our spinal curve is such that our back will be in alignment with our neck when we put our head down while sleeping. The lowering of the neck is a part of this process. It is natural.

But we mess with our nature. We mess with our body requirements. This leads to an imbalance and hence neck aches.

This made sense. But it was difficult to digest.

I spent the first 17 years of my life using a pillow. And now this person tells me not to use it. How am I supposed to do that?

He told me that it will take me a week or two to get used to it. But my neck will forever thank me. Also, it will help with my back pain.

Along with this, he told me to use a hard surface to sleep. I asked why.

He again talked about the natural alignment of the spine when we lie down. And using a soft surface messes with it.

So first I need to remove the pillow from my bed and now change the mattress too.

His consultation fee may be economical but his advice wasn’t. I had to bear the charge of a new mattress.

But he told me to sleep on the floor. He does the same. He just uses a thin mat.

He may be a saint but I am not. This is too much. I came back home with a confused mind. My father told me to forget what he said. But I couldn’t.

I decided to follow his guidelines against the wishes of my family.

The first night: I couldn’t sleep.

It was so painful. A hard surface complemented with no pillow. But I persisted.

I kept at it for two weeks until I finally got a peaceful sleep.

From then on, I am using a hard mattress without any pillow. And it feels natural. I never had a neck ache since then. My back pain also subsided.

I found a way out of this mess. You can too. Just try this technique. This is a simple lifestyle change. Give it a few days and you are set for a peaceful sleep for life.

Tried and tested benefits of waking up early in the morning

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If you are thinking why to wake up early at all, then you have a good question. Let us start by looking into the reason.

I came across a study which said that the number of hours you sleep before midnight has double the impact of the number of hours you sleep after midnight. So I tested this on myself.

I used to go to bed around 11 at night. And I used to wake up around 7. This makes 8 hours of sleep.

Then I started going to bed at 8. And woke up at 2. The sleeping time reduced to a mere 6 hours.

Such a drastic change! I couldn’t believe my eyes. So I tested this on a friend.

And guess what! He also saw a reduction in his sleeping hours.

So by now, you may have another question like: won’t I feel tired if I reduce my sleep time?

The answer is No. At least, in this case.

I started feeling much energetic and healthier after I started waking up early. I took a nap or two during the daytime as I used to before I tried this sleeping schedule.

People didn’t believe the change in me at first. But looking at my behavior, they started believing eventually.

Till now we have seen 3 benefits of sleeping early and waking up early:

  1. Reduced sleep time
  2. Increased energy
  3. Increased health

Just imagine what all you can achieve extra in your life with the above three benefits. Well, this is just the beginning of the benefits list.

It is very calm and quiet early in the morning. So you can focus on your activities without any disturbance. This helped me do a lot fo productive work in the early morning like exercising, writing and reading. My productivity increased due to lesser distraction.

So the benefit number 4 is a lesser distraction and number 5 is increased productivity.

Moving on, I didn’t feel like getting up when I used to sleep late. But now, I get up without any self-probing. So this is benefit number 6: no need to force yourself to get up from the bed. Sometimes, I get up before the alarm.

Earlier, I used to take time to fall asleep after getting into bed. Sometimes, it took me an hour or even more.

But now, it is just a matter of a few minutes. And we reach the benefit number 7: fall asleep faster.

Earlier, I used to get headaches frequently. Now, they are mere guests who show up only when I allow them to. This means when I don’t follow my sleeping patterns or a proper diet.

So the benefit number 8 is fewer headaches.

The best part is yet to come.

I forgot to tell you the best benefit of sleeping early: weight loss. That’s true. My friend and I both experience weight loss.

I was weighing 187 pounds last year. Even after 8 months of dieting, I couldn’t reduce much of my weight. I went down to 176 pounds only.

But after starting my ‘sleep early’ routine. It took me merely two months to go from 176 pounds to 155 pounds.

This leads us to benefit number 9: weight loss.

I understand that losing weight is a big deal for many of us. I have experienced it myself as well. It is such a pain to go on a diet. (We will talk about diet related to sleep in another blog post)

Another useful benefit is you get more time for yourself. More time means you can indulge in things you always wanted to do like pursuing a hobby.

Last but not the least, I started feeling more confident about myself. I felt more intelligent. I don’t know why. But I did. As it reflected in my work. My brain started processing faster.

So the benefit number 11 is feel more confident and smarter.

We have looked at 11 benefits of ‘early to sleep and early to rise’:

  1. Reduced sleep time
  2. Increased energy
  3. Increased health
  4. Lesser distraction
  5. Increased productivity
  6. No force required to get up from your bed
  7. Fall asleep faster
  8. Fewer headaches
  9. Lose weight over time if you have extra weight to shed
  10. Get more time for yourself
  11. Feel more confident and smarter

All these benefits will vary from individual to individual in terms of the degree. You may end up with all these benefits or the majority of them.

But trust me, you will love your new schedule.

Now the question in your mind will be how to get a schedule for this. We will cover this in another article. Otherwise, it will be information overload.

First, understand that sleeping early and waking up early is really beneficial for your mind and body. You will be healthier no matter what.

This understanding is the first step to changing your habits. Without this understanding, you won’t be motivated to change your habits.

You have to follow a 4-step process for changing your behavior for the long term:

  1. Understand why to follow a habit
  2. Change the behavior slowly
  3. Form a habit (which will take a few weeks)
  4. Develop a lifelong attitude

We have covered the first step of the process in this article. Look out for the rest of the steps in the subsequent blog posts.

Thank you for learning about sleeping!

Get in touch with me by leaving your comments.

How much is enough?

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That was it. Two boys in two days. First, Ron and then, Tom. This was unexpected. No one was hurt in successive days. The monster was raving for more. The village would lose all their children in no time at this rate. The village head called for a meeting at dawn.

“Gather around, folks. And be quick with it. We have something major to discuss,” Ronald said. He was 55 and was the first to lose his only son. It started with him and he wanted to see the end of it. He couldn’t take it anymore.

“We make a pact here. Today. Right now. We say no more. No more to this madness. This insanity and Godless behavior have to stop. This has got to come to an end. So who’s with me? Who will stand his ground and join me to stop this evil who has ruined our lives, invaded our lands, massacred our children!” Ronald shouted.

The villagers shouted in unison, “We pledge! We pledge! We pledge!” The vibrations must have reached the monster. He must have shaken with the intensity in their voices. He must have cowered in darkness.

A young lad by the name of Jackson saw Tom being dragged and followed him to the cave. He knew where to find the devil. He led the crowd. He shined the light. He burned the torch.

The sun was up by the time they reached the cave. Ronald came forward and asked, “It’s time you confront the village. We haven’t had a proper introduction. How about you show your face?”

The monster growled and crept towards the entrance one step at a time. The crowd gathered outside were shaking with terror. A boy wetted his pants. His worse nightmare was to come true. He was to meet the boogeyman after all.

How much is enough?

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Tom was eleven. He was a good lad with a good family of four. His younger sister was seven. She was grounded in fear of the worst. Tom blamed his parents for being too harsh on her. He would understand better if he were a father. It’s not easy greasy to wear someone’s shoes and walk in them. It takes effort. You got to feel what they are going through. It’s not simple. It wasn’t for Tom. He was a child after all.

He was tilling the field when he was grabbed and dragged. His mouth was squeezed such that he couldn’t let air out. There was no sound by him. He started praying and became unconscious.

He woke up in a den reeking of rotten meat. The smell was nauseating. He pushed out whatever he had inside his stomach. His mouth hurt. His belly ached. He was desperate to find a way out. But it was dark and he sat and shivered. He sweated and cried for help when he heard a noise. A rumbling sound came on his left side. He turned and shrieked in pain. The monster squished his arm and drained it of blood. Tom felt numb in his left arm. Blood gushed out when he shrieked again. The right arm’s turn took him by surprise. He couldn’t feel his fingers. He felt nothing down his elbows. He cried not in pain but in the anguish of losing his arms.

“How does it feel? I love it. I will have more,” someone said.

Tom didn’t know who it was. It was a weird, heavy sound coming from behind. He thought there is someone else. He cried, “Help! Please help!”

“Help! You think so. Help!” the voice came. The voice was so terrifying that Tom wetted his pants. He thought he was in hell. Maybe, he was.

A moment later Tom stopped sobbing. It was over. The pain was gone. He was gone.