About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and have been featured in numerous publications. He studies health and fitness as a hobby. He also writes for The Popular Teen and The Popular Man.

Case of the Mondays

Sometimes it can be hard to get up and going on Mondays, especially if we have jobs that we don’t care for. Having a case of the Mondays is a normal occurrence for many of us. The Monday blues may not be a scientific diagnosis but it sure is a reality for many people.

But, we can make Monday a good day. It may not be as easy as making Saturday a good day. But it can be done.

I recommend that people start Monday with a good attitude. Begin with meditation or prayer. Then, keep the right attitude throughout the day. If your colleagues are grumpy then you’ll have to fight that. But, you can fight it by being in a great mood yourself.

I also think it’s important to set fun and goal oriented activities for yourself on Mondays. Meet a friend for coffee, go on a date, find an activity where you can feel accomplished. We need to find ways to feel good on Mondays. Make sure you identify those ways and then go out and do them.

Should Guys Shave Their Body?

shirtless shaved man

Image courtesy of photostock/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of hair on the body, for either men or women. It’s not a romantic issue because I’m not gay. But, I still feel that even men should shave. I have an aversion of sorts to hair.

But, it’s not just my opinion. If you look around you’ll see that in ads, on television, in the movies, etc. all the good looking guys lack chest and back hair. I’m not going to get into the more intimate spots, but it’s definitely clear that shaving chest hair (as well as back) is becoming the norm.

If you decide on shaving your chest and back hair, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you may not even want to shave. You can also wax and sugar. You can look those up for more information, but be aware that they are fairly painful.

However, waxing and sugaring do have some benefits. The hair grows back much more slowly than with shaving. You’ll probably have a week without hair and then it’ll be more like stubble for a couple weeks. You likely won’t need to wax again for another month. Also, waxing kills the hair follicles over time, so the hair will become thinner and less healthy.

Second, if you do shave, then you might need a little help. While shaving your chest is easy, it takes some flexibility to shave your back. I typically shave as much of my back as possible, then get help for the remaining parts.

If you’re going to be shaving, it’ll help to also improve your body. After all, if you’re removing the hair, you might as well reveal more of your body and make that body worth revealing.

So, should guys shave their body? For me, the answer is yes. It also seems to be the consensus of popular culture as well.

It’s Time To Start Tanning

sun coming through treesIt’s finally past April 15th and it’s time for a little excitement. No, I’m not talking about the deadline for filing taxes and the relief completing that can sometimes bring.

I’m referring to the fact that it’s now possible to make Vitamin D in the United States again.

So, it’s time to start thinking about going out and getting some of that sunshine and making Vitamin D. Here are few of our tips to make tanning a little easier and more fun. We’ve also written a few tanning tips for men you might like from our other website.

First, try to find fun places to tan. It could be the beach, parks, or anywhere you can relax and meditate while tanning. However, sometimes people prefer a more private setting. I find that a trampoline is a good place to tan. It’s away from bugs and with the netting is somewhat private.

Second, make sure to not overdo it. Tanning can actually be addictive for some people. But, don’t fall into that trap because tanning too much is really bad for the skin. You can always tell people who tan way too much. Their faces have a leathery look and they wrinkle prematurely.

Finally, keep your face protected. You face receives a lot more sun typically than the rest of your body. In other words, during your official tanning times you’re exposing your face to more harm than good. So, even when you’re out tanning, try to use sunblock or at least screen.

Now that it’s time to start tanning, I hope these tips were helpful.

The Dating Game Can Be Tough

heartThe dating game certainly isn’t easy for those of you actively involved in it. This is true at whatever age. While humans don’t have a mating ritual like animals (a dance, etc.), we still do have our fair share of rituals that confuse and frustrate people.

It’s why dating tips for men is a highly searched term on Google! But, women have similar problems. It’s a problem that plagues the majority of people.

The dating game can be very tough, let me tell you. When I was younger, I found it very frustrating because I watched as other guys “had all the luck.” Granted, they behaved differently than I did. But, it obviously had to be luck. The reality of course is different.

Just like star athletes are better at their sports than the rest of us, so others are better at the dating game. For a guy, succeeding typically involves being powerful, strong, and confident. For a woman, it involves being open to interaction, flirty, and feminine.

Some people try to get around these rules by trying online dating. However, there are lots of problems with online dating too that many people don’t even realize. Online dating is a great way to meet other people. But, it can’t change your ability, or lack of it, to get dates and keep relationships.

So, my best advice to succeed at the dating game is to follow the gender specific advice above, but also to keep trying. Approach lots of new people. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you like someone ask for her number. And, finally, don’t be attached. Relax and take it easy. Life’s too short to turn something great (love) into something miserable.

The Value Of Youth

young girl playingWe live in a very youth oriented culture. Whether this is a good or bad thing can be debated, but you can’t deny that it’s true. Just have a look at all the different products and gimmicks out there for creating a younger look.

The market is saturated with facial creams, miracle supplements, and weight loss products, all of which are aimed at making people look younger. In addition, there are various books and other products that have the sole purpose of teaching people how to look younger at a supposedly reasonable price.

It’s evolutionary in many ways since the valued attraction traits for humans mostly occur when we’re young: six pack abs, raw beauty, athleticism and strength.

So, if you are getting up there in age, you can take comfort in the fact that, at least with attitude, sixty is supposedly the new forty (and I guess that makes forty the new twenty). But, even if you have the best attitude in the entire world, if you look seventy when you’re sixty, it’s not a good thing!

So, when thinking about your eating habits, fitness goals, and overall health, it’s always important to consider the value society places on youth. While looking younger shouldn’t be your main concern (and neither should conforming to society), if you want to be considered beautiful and popular, you’ll at least have to keep in mind the youthfulness connection.

So, we hope you enjoy your Friday! Don’t be depressed about being older. Knowing how to look younger isn’t necessarily that difficult. We have lots of tips on this blog and on some of our companion blog. Live and think young and best of luck in doing it!

A Worldview Guided By Thought

I feel, therefore I think

Pardon my paraphrase of Descartes’ famous realization. Basically, it means we feel a certain way and that, in turn, influences our thinking.

This mentality pervades contemporary American folk philosophy. It leads to such statements as “I have depressed feelings, therefore my life is not worth living” or “I feel unlucky, therefore I know nothing ever works out for me.” I saw it back when I used to teach. “Mr. so-and-so gave me a bad grade (i.e. I felt unworthy), therefore he hates me.”

Such a line of reasoning encourages helplessness and victimization. Feelings, which are by their very nature irrational (I don’t mean expressing feelings, which is rational and good, but that we can’t help how we feel) control our rational side. Consequently, people are held captive by forces ultimately beyond their control and trying to take control often comes in the form of holding in feelings, only to have them explode later.

This is not a way to form a worldview, but it forms more of them than you may think. Take these statements: “A woman hurt me once, therefore I will never trust women” or “I felt mistreated by religion, therefore religion is unequivocally a terrible force for evil.” These are just a few examples.

I think, therefore I feel

In my opinion, this is the far better philosophy. It recognizes that feelings emerge from an intentionally cultivated worldview (or one our parent’s cultivated for us). This kind of thinking is found in phrases like “I know that tragedy is temporary, therefore I’ll bounce back when I’m ready” or “I am an attractive person, therefore I feel confident that one bout of “bad luck” doesn’t hinder me.”

In both cases, a proper way of thinking, leads to positive and genuinely realistic feelings. It allows them to be guided by a rational (I don’t mean coldly rational here), thoughtful, and affirming worldview instead of one created haphazardly from a slew of discrete feelings. It allows for resilience in not only individual lives, but also the world. And, this philosophy allows for change, a difficult one for sure, but at least it’s possible. It’s preferable to succumbing to the fate of feelings.

Creating Reality Begins in the Mind

I mentioned in yesterday’s post an insight I had recently: if you don’t create your own reality, someone else will happily do it for you. To get a sense of the meaning, it’s best to cue ominous music or mentally play Mr. Burns saying “excellent” in your mind when you start reading the second clause. In other words, if we don’t take charge of our destiny, someone else will control it for us. And they won’t always have our dreams in mind.

We are all held captive to others in some way and that’s not always bad. Being bound to others by culture, creed, etc., as long as they’re a positive factor, is not only necessary, but life enriching. Rejecting such experiences solely to be independent or allegedly free is hardly positive and not what I’m referring to.

I’m talking more about a mindless journey through life where one never questions circumstances or experiences and simply follows the lead of advertising, peer pressure, expectations, etc. (to say nothing of cultural and parental values). This mentality is commonplace and is the philosophical equivalent of the parent or teacher response: “because I said so.” We might as well be zombies.

That’s why part of creating our own reality comes through detaching from the numerous systems we’ve invested in. Detachment, as the great sages in every religion have realized, brings happiness because the anxiety is annihilated. For example, a person who has a lot of money can tell his jerk of a boss where to go more easily than someone living paycheck to paycheck.

Most people who talk about creating their own reality want to stop living paycheck to paycheck and want to create wealth. This is not a terrible goal. However, they’ve actually bought into another reality: materialism. Who’s to say that if these people were making 100,000 dollars a month that they wouldn’t still live bigger paycheck to bigger paycheck with all the accompanying dread of bills?

That’s why it’s important to truly create a new reality within ourselves, not just hope to manipulate the world around us for a better outcome. I truly believe in the law of attraction, but I think manifesting is primarily about new ways of imagining. We change the world by first changing our reaction to the world. We create new pictures, new images, within our minds, which create new brain wiring. And, not surprisingly, the world becomes a very different place.

This way of thinking is less flashy and marketable than the get rich quick themes of much create your own reality literature. However, it allows people to truly live in freedom and to forge a path of happiness and joy detached from the systems and people who create other realities primarily to exploit and control.

The Conforming Power of Education

Me: If I can help it I’ll never work for someone else again
My teenage step-daughter: Then how will you ever get a job?

Such a reaction would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t actually so tragic. The notion that we must do the bidding of others is so engrained in the minds of many, that the thought of actually starting one’s own business or forging a new path is completely overlooked. It reminds me of an insight I had a few months ago: create your own reality or someone else will happily create it for you.

I don’t want to make this a post bashing compulsory public education, but I wouldn’t expect a movement dedicated to de-Catholicizing Catholics to give independent thought a, well, second thought. Instead of promoting American Civic Religion, it seems much of high school education today turns people into intellectual conformists.

While the blame can’t be laid at the feet of teachers, I think the system bears quite a bit of fault. But, then again, education hasn’t changed much since the telegraph took social networking to new heights. Forward thinking tech geek entrepreneurs have altered the way society thinks and acts with their ideas and hard work, but our educational experts have merely replaced the chalkboard and overheard projector with a smart board and chalk and overheads with Power Point.

Although most teachers would be horrified to know they’re creating zombies ready to do the bidding of corporate masters, they’re in a system designed for just that. Everyone sits in rows quietly. Everyone does the exact same assignments in class and basically learns the same material. The questioning or the rowdy (who are really asking questions with their behavior, like why the hell am I wasting my time?) are marginalized. It’s nice preparation for a life where a person is expected to work a job he or she hates, retire, then die. Oh, and let’s not forget the layoffs, stagnant wages, and so on.

I know this post is a tad on the cranky side (maybe fully there) and part of it is my own anger that I am thirty-two years old and even after completing high school, undergrad, and getting my Masters, was still as clueless as my daughter only six months ago. She is more than welcome to work for someone else her entire life. But, at least I know, no thanks to the schools, she has the knowledge to choose otherwise.

Stopping the Cold and Flu Onslaught

manongolfcoursemodblog

It’s that time of year: cold and flu season are fast approaching. And, with the quick and early drop in temperatures  (global what?), the season promises to be longer and nastier. There is no “cure” for the cold and flu. Even though drugs and other substances may help, your body must fight off the viruses through the immune system. This is why it’s vital to boost your immune system especially this time of year. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

1.  Sleep- Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours for adults) is crucial to keep your immune system at top performance. How many Americans get enough sleep? My guess is not enough

2.  Exercise- Exercise can boost your immune system in important ways. However, you can’t over-exercise or your immune system takes a hit. Workouts that go too long cause stress on the body and immune system.

3.  Eat well- Low sugar, whole grain foods, limited meat, lots of fruit and vegetables, and other healthy choices boost a person’s overall health and immune power.

4.  Stress- Keeping the body in a constant fight or flight response wreaks havoc with the immune system. This is true even for low level daily stress, so you should avoid it if possible or deal with it through relaxation techniques, fun activities, friends, etc. A good, basic technique is an easy one to remember. In a high stress environment think of: STAR (Smile, Take a Deep Breath And Relax). This can really make a big difference.

I don’t specifically recommend supplements because that is a personal decision to be made with a doctor, but I use them and believe they have an important place in fighting colds and the flu. So, the following represents my personal experience and is not medical advice. I start with Vitamin C. I typically also take Oregano Oil, Olive Leaf, N-Acetyl Cysteine, and Bromelain. The first two may have anti-viral properties and the last two could help with congestion. I also fry up green beans or spinach in a lot of garlic. It’s bad for the breath, but probably beneficial in getting rid of foreign invaders in the body.

Image by Jonathan Bennett. To order prints or download high resolution images, click here.

Back in the “Low” Life Again

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If you are prone to weight gain, it’s important to live your life lower (but not too low) than higher. And, it’s amazing how weight gain can get away from you. You work hard, you love how you look and feel, and then bingo, you’re back on the roller coaster ride of weight gain. The key I guess is to keep it a small hill since it’s much easier to get down. I personally put on about 6 pounds over the last 3 weeks and I’m trying not to make it permanent and a prelude to more.

How did it happen? I took the vacation mentality too far. My mother in law was in town for a few weeks and she can cook. Very, very well, in fact. And, she cooks in a traditional Italian way: generally healthy (I don’t eat meat which helps), but also caloric and lots of added flavor. For example, I put about a cup of cheese on a whole pizza. She put almost a cup per slice (or so it seemed). As much as I loved it, the pounds started creeping on. And, since she was visiting, I didn’t make it to the gym as much. In short, my control slipped away.

My plan is to lose it over the next few weeks now that she is gone. I’m going to miss her for a variety of reasons including her cooking. I should’ve adjusted and actually used moderation and control. This is how I typically gained weight in the past: I “go off” and never really get back on until it’s too late. Not this time, though. I’m back in the low life again, which, as those who have been overweight and lost it know, the “low” life of healthy weight is actually the high life in terms of health and confidence.

Image by Jonathan Bennett. To order prints or download high resolution images, click here.