Friday, September 8, 2017

Why Do I Feel Overwhelmed and Anxious With Change?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all the responsibilities on your plate?  If not, you are a super hero or have complete control over your life.  If so, then you can join the rest of us and feel right at home.  Lately, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities on my plate.  Why?  I have been putting too much pressure on myself to actually write and learn about such a wide range of topics.  This blog post can serve to update the readers who follow my mental health journey -- Mike's Mental Awareness Journey.  Let me explain a little below.



Change Is Great!!!




Thinking back over the last few years, I have changed many of my behaviors to a large extent.  First and foremost, I stopped drinking alcohol -- which made available a large amount of time previously devoted to drinking.  What do I do with that new time?  This has been a big question lingering in my mind with all sorts of possible solutions.  One might call this 'lingering in my mind' the process of optimization.  Initially, I was determined to do activities and hobbies which prior to my drinking career I had not the time to do.  Activities like: more exercising and reading along with writing.  I have been exploring these activities which has been wonderful.



I have enjoyed learning and writing about topics lately.  Over the last year, I have written more and read more than in other parts of my life.  That produces a "high" in productivity.  Although, no fast paced life can proceed without a cost.  The cost has come in the form of 'pressure' which I exert on myself.  Sometimes that 'pressure' is good and at other times that 'pressure' is bad.  How does a person distinguish between each type of 'pressure'?  Personally, the distinguishing factor is based on my anxiety at various times throughout the day, week, or month.



Anxiety can be used to motivate or stagnate a person's progress on a variety of levels.  I just finished a wonderful book on reducing the anxiety in life titled "From Panic to Power" by Lucinda Bassett.  In the beginning of her book, she describes the onset and origins of each person's anxiety.  Which I found extremely helpful in my daily life.  Identifying the origins and onset can help a person change immediately before the anxiety sets in.



Below are a couple excerpts from the ending of her book on dealing with anxiety.  After taking the steps to identify the triggers of anxiety, each of us naturally start to change toward becoming a new person who is less anxious.  Although, beware, becoming a new person can bring changes too as noted in the excerpt below:



It's time to get familiar with the new "you" who is confident, positive, and an inspiration to yourself and everybody around you.



People are not aware of the "new person" they become after a large transition -- whether that be a lifestyle change, or image change, etc.  Those changes take time to become comfortable with.  Even if you are not the person who has changed.  Making changes in your life might even put pressure on others around you -- which in turn can take time to adjust toward.



When change is on the horizon, there is a certain amount of anxiety associated with the change.  Here is an excerpt regarding anxiety and recognizing the origin:



We can only imagine a stress-free existence; stress is a necessary part of life.  The only way to live without it is not to be alive at all.  The dictionary defines stress as: "a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation," or "a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium."
Stress results from negative experiences such as arguments, scary thoughts, depression, exhaustion, divorce, and death.  It also can be the by-product of positive experiences such as the birth of a child, going back to school, getting married, or receiving a long-awaited job promotion.  Winning the lottery, as magical as it might be, also can cause a certain type of stress.  So can environmental factors such as extreme weather conditions, toxic air pollution, and the people around you.
It is important to recognize the stressful contributors to your life.  Only then can you eliminate some, minimize others, and change your reaction response to whatever cannot be changed.  If you tend to react to anxiety with heart palpitations, dizziness, perspiring, or nervous and spacey feelings, your symptoms of stress will most likely be similar.  What you do with the stress in your life will determine whether or not it will turn into anxiety.



That excerpt is extremely powerful and has spoken to me over the last couple of weeks.  The beginning of the academic semester is underway with the ending of summer.  Naturally, each of us had "so much to do over the summer" which we were unable to accomplish.  This is an enormous source of anxiety -- if I let the anxiety build with the line of thought.  Instead, I can just let go of all of the planned activities for the summer (which is in the past) and start planning for the future.



I Am A New Person?




As stated in the excerpt above, with every lifestyle change, there could be a certain amount of anxiety that comes with that new change.  Although, after reading the book by Lucinda Bassett, I feel that my tool box for dealing with anxiety has been updated and is now equipped to deal with even more situations (and more effectively) than before.  I highly recommend reading her book.  The book is less than 300 pages in length and is filled with numerous tips on how to spot and deal with anxiety and stress.



With the knowledge gained from the book, I have stepped back from overwhelming myself with "self-imposed deadlines" for pumping out blogs on both "Kaiserwellnesscenter.blogspot" and "jmkthought.blogspot".  This time has allowed me to evaluate a pace (if that is possible) for writing that is healthy.  Prior to reading Lucinda's book, I was placing the same time restriction on each blogpost.  This is unreal?  Why?  Because the blog posts are on separate subjects and require different amounts of content.



Writing a blog post on current events requires getting the content from the news source and adding commentary (a relatively easy task).  Whereas, writing a blog post with dimensional analysis (math) inside requires more time to generate figures (illustrations) and equations.  Furthermore, writing a blog post regarding chemicals inside of skin care products takes even longer.  There is a certain amount of research that is entailed which takes time for me (for anyone for that matter).  The learning curve is different for each.  I am not trying to make excuses for irregular schedule of blogs.  I am offering an explanation though.



I am learning to take these hobbies down to a normal pace and not incur too much stress writing about subjects that I love to learn about.  Speaking of which, I am looking forward to returning to the last post on natural skin care products with quite a range of 'herbal' ingredients.  I am researching more into their origin and use for the incorporation into skin care products.  Why would the manufacturer include them in the formulation?  Sometimes the answer is not easily discernible.



Conclusion...




The past couple of months have been quite eye opening for me.  I look forward to continuing my writing on both blog posts.  If you have any suggestions on blog content, please feel free to e-mail me: jmkthough@gmail.com.  Until next time, have a wonderful weekend.




































Saturday, August 5, 2017

Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 11: "Natural Facial Moisturizer"

What is next on the "Anti-Aging Skin Series"?  Has that question been on your mind lately?  If so, I am here to give you some insight into the next few posts.  Over the last few months, three skin moisturizers have been broken down by ingredient list.  Additionally, certain insight was given in some cases to the reason why each ingredient is in each product.  I have experimented with writing different ways to blog about a given product.  I have yet to find a method that works for me.



In light of that, I will continue down the current path of introducing a skin care product with an ingredient list in an introductory post. Next, I will follow up with insight into the ingredients and briefly compare to previous blog posts.  If you have any suggestions contact us through twitter or Facebook.  And after the current product is analyzed, I will break the series with a brief discussion regarding science research that sheds light on using DNA as a sunscreen.  Yes, I mean DNA - Deoxyribonucleic Acid -- the genetic code of life.  First, lets move onto another skin care product which has claims which differ from the previous products discussed in the series so far.



Without further ado, I chose to sway off of the previous path of analyzing "mainstream" products made by large corporations and chose to try to go small.  The product I chose to look at in this post is made by "Lush Cosmetics" which claims to be all "hand made cosmetics".  Specifically, a facial moisturizer called "Shangri LA".  You might be wondering how I chose this product.  I was walking in the mall and spotted the store (in the Galleria in Glendale, CA, USA) - and could not help but stop by to check out the products and their claims.  In this first post, I will list the ingredients with their function in the product.  The definitions and functions are taken from the Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep Data Base".  I use this data base to illustrate the fact that you can use the same data base to get answers regarding other products which I might be looking at presently.



Here is the front of the 'Facial Moisturizer' shown below:







And here is the backside of the moisturizer with the ingredient list shown below:








Below is the ingredient list of functions:



1) Sweet Almond Oil:

About PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL: Almond oil is extracted from the seed kernels of the sweet almond plant, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive


2) Cold Pressed Jojoba Oil:

About SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL: Jojoba oil is extracted from seeds of the desert shrub, Simmondsia chinensis, native to California, Arizona and Mexico.

Function(s): Hair Conditioning Agent; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive; EMOLLIENT; SKIN CONDITIONING; VISCOSITY CONTROLLING


3) Triticum Vulgare (wheat) Germ:

About TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM: Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ is a natural product obtained from the embryo of the wheatkernel separated in milling.

Function(s): Skin-Conditioning Agent - Miscellaneous; BLEACHING; SKIN CONDITIONING; SKIN PROTECTING


4) Bladderwrack Seaweed (Alginates):

About Alginates: used as an emulsifier, thickening agent, or smoothing agent in facial creams.


5) Organic Aloe Vera Gel (aloe barbadensis):

Other LOW concerns: Data gaps
About ALOE BARBADENSIS (ALOE VERA): Aloe vera is extracted from the succulent leaves of the aloe plant, Aloe barbadensis

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; MASKING

Synonym(s): ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF, ALOE; ALOE BARBADENSIS; ALOE EXTRACT (ALOE SPP.) ; ALOE LEAF POWDER; ALOE VERA; ALOE (LATIN) ; ALOE, POWDERED; AROE (JAPANESE)


6) Glycerin:

About GLYCERIN: Glycerin (also called glycerol) is a naturally occurring alcohol compound and a component of many lipids. Glycerin may be of animal or vegetable origin. This ingredient is listed in the PETA's Caring ... read more

Function(s): Denaturant; Fragrance Ingredient; Hair Conditioning Agent; Humectant; Oral Care Agent;Oral Health Care Drug; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Humectant; Skin Protectant; Viscosity Decreasing Agent; PERFUMING; SOLVENT


7) Stearic Acid:

About STEARIC ACID: Stearic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid. It is listed in the PETA's Caring Consumer guide as a substance of animal origin, since stearic acid is primarily derived from rendered fat of farm.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Surfactant - Cleansing Agent; Surfactant - Emulsifying AgentSurfactant-Cleansing Agent is included as a function for the soap form of Stearic Acid.; EMULSION STABILISING; MASKING; REFATTING


8) Cocoa Butter:

About THEOBROMA CACAO (CACAO) SEED BUTTER: Cocoa Butter is extracted from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, a tree native to the Americas.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive; Skin Protectant; EMOLLIENT; MASKING; SKIN CONDITIONING; SKIN PROTECTING


9) Cetearyl Alcohol:

About CETEARYL ALCOHOL: Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources.

Function(s): Emulsion Stabilizer; Opacifying Agent; Surfactant - Foam Booster; Viscosity IncreasingAgent - Aqueous; Viscosity Increasing Agent - Nonaqueous; EMOLLIENT; EMULSIFYING; EMULSION STABILISING; FOAM BOOSTING; VISCOSITY CONTROLLING


10) Primrose Oil:

About OENOTHERA BIENNIS (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL: Evening Primrose oil is extracted from Oenothera biennis, a plant native to North America.

Function(s): Skin-Conditioning Agent - Miscellaneous; EMOLLIENT


11) Coconut Oil:

About COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL: Coconut oil is extracted from the kernels of the seeds of coconot palm, Cocos nucifera.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Hair Conditioning Agent; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Miscellaneous;Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive; EMOLLIENT; MASKING; SKIN CONDITIONING; SOLVENT


12) Wheat Germ Oil:

About TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM: Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ is a natural product obtained from the embryo of the wheatkernel separated in milling.

Function(s): Skin-Conditioning Agent - Miscellaneous; BLEACHING; SKIN CONDITIONING; SKIN PROTECTING


13) Lanolin Oil:

About LANOLIN: Lanolin is a refined derivative of the fat-like sebaceous secretion of sheep. This ingredient is listed in the PETA's Caring Consumer guide as an animal-sourced product.

Function(s): Emulsion Stabilizer; Hair Conditioning Agent; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Emollient; SkinProtectant; Surfactant - Emulsifying Agent; ANTISTATIC; SKIN CONDITIONING


14) Triethanolamine:

About TRIETHANOLAMINE: Triethanolamine is a strongly alkaline substance used as surfactant and pH adjusting chemical.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; pH Adjuster; Surfactant - Emulsifying Agent; BUFFERING; MASKING


15) Beeswax (cera alba):

About BEESWAX: Beeswax is the purified wax from the honeycomb of the bee, Apis mellifera. This ingredient is listed in the PETA's Caring Consumer guide as a substance of animal origin.

Function(s): Binder; Emulsion Stabilizer; Epilating Agent; Fragrance Ingredient; Skin-Conditioning Agent -Miscellaneous; Surfactant - Emulsifying Agent; Viscosity Increasing Agent - Nonaqueous; EMOLLIENT; FILM FORMING; PERFUMING


16) Vanilla Planifolia:

*limited data: perfume, flavoring


17) violet oderata:

*limited data - n/a


18) Benzyl Salicylate:

Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption
About BENZYL SALICYLATE: Benzyl Salicylate is an ester of benzyl alcohol and salicylic acid; this ingredient has been associated with allergies and contact dermatitis.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Ultraviolet Light Absorber; MASKING; UV ABSORBER


19) Geraniol:

Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology
About GERANIOL: Geraniol is a naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose oil and citronella oil.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; MASKING; TONIC


20) Benzyl Benzoate:

Other HIGH concerns: Occupational hazards; Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption
About BENZYL BENZOATE: Benzyl benzoate is used as solvent and preservative; associated with allergies and contact dermatitis.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Solvent; ANTIMICROBIAL; MASKING


21) Farnesol:

About FARNESOL: Farnesol is a flavor and perfume ingredient found in nature and also manufactured synthetically; associated with allergies and contact dermatitis.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; DEODORANT; MASKING; SOLVENT; SOOTHING


22) Linalool:



About LINALOOL: Linalool is a terpene.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; DEODORANT; MASKING



23) Methylparaben:



Other HIGH concerns: Endocrine disruption; Other MODERATE concerns: Biochemical or cellular level changes; Other LOW concerns: Data gaps

About METHYLPARABEN: Methylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.


Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Preservative



24) Propylparaben:



Other HIGH concerns: Endocrine disruption; Other LOW concerns: Data gaps, Ecotoxicology

About PROPYLPARABEN: Propylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.

Function(s): Fragrance Ingredient; Preservative; PERFUMING





Conclusion:



The ingredient list is full of interesting names which inspires curiosity as to their 'healing' efficacy.  I thought that the ingredient list was cleverly written.  I was exhausted in reading the list. Which caused me suspicion of the manner in which the ingredients were listed.  In the next post, I will dive in further into the list and compare to the claims of the product manufacturer.  Your assignment (yes, the reader - you) is to review the list of the other three products and find differences.  This will help you understand the importance of each ingredient in the Shangri LA above.




Until next time, have a great weekend.















Thursday, July 6, 2017

Where Do I Find Previous Anti-Aging Skin Series Blog Posts?

I had a realization the other day while writing the next blog post for the ongoing "Anti-Aging Skin Series".  While making a reference to a previous blog post in the series, I tried to look for that blog post.  When a user to our site clicks on the button on the "right hand side" of the web page titled "Anti-Aging Skin Series" the result is a list of all of the previous blog posts.   I will update the list as a new blog post is written.



Note: The blog posts are from most recent to oldest.



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 11: "Natural Facial Moisturizer"



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 10: What Is The Difference Between Products? Continued



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 9: What Is The Difference Between Products?



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 8: Suave Skin Solutions



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 7: Part 3 -- Toxicity Analysis Of Jergen's Skin Lotion



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 7: Part 2 -- Ingredient Analysis Of Jergen's Skin Firming Lotion



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 6: Short Glossary Of Functions For Skin Care Ingredients



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 5: Part 1 - Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizer Lotion



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 4: What Is A Cosmetic Product?



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 3: Skin -- Function - part 2



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 2: Skin -- Function - part 1



Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 1: Skin -- Structure



Can You Please Break Down Into Bits Your Anti-aging Article?



Can Science Really Reverse Aging Skin?






















Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Anti-Aging Skin Series Post 10: What Is The Difference Between Products? Continued

What happened to the "Anti-Aging Skin Series"?  Is that what you have been thinking over the last month?  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have had some writer's block.  Although, on a positive note, I have had the chance to review a 'Masters thesis' for a friend in cosmetic chemistry.  Which as a result has broadened my understanding of 'anti-aging' skin care formulations.  I will talk more about this in the future.



With this in mind, we are continuing on with the last post.  For those who have not read that post, there were two products (anti-aging skin creams) that were compared.  One product was Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizing lotion.  The second was Suave Skin Moisturizing lotion.  Here are the two products shown below:








And ....








If you click on the name below the image, you will be directed to the original blog post which was written earlier on each product.  Note that next to each picture of each product, there are bullet points which highlight the individual claims that are unique to each product.  Additionally, you will remember that in the previous blog I highlighted the common ingredients (in list form) along with a list of the unique ingredients to each product.



The importance of these lists was to highlight the "common ingredients" along with the "unique" ingredients.  In this blog post, I would like to discuss (somewhat briefly) the different ingredients and match them up to the individual claims.



Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizing Lotion:



To start with, take the first product Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizing Lotion.  The ingredients which are unique to this product are shown below:







If we inspect the list above, the ingredients will support the claims of the product: 1) "tones and tightens skin" 2) "increases elasticity for visibly firmer skin" and 3) "with an illuminating Hydralucence blend and collagen and elastin".



The chemical acrylates copolymer will form a semi-solid film by combining with dimethicone.  This could work as a "skin firming" agent to make the skin appear "tighter and firmer".  Add to this mix the ingredients "hydrolyzed elastin" and "hydrolyzed collagen" to make up a layer with body.  By "body" I mean that adding "hydrolyzed collagen" and holding the chemicals underneath the skin, there is a sense of "collagen restoration" to the skin -- making the skin appear to have more "body."



Remember that there are plenty of theories that collagen restoration is possible with various chemicals.  Each pathway and process needs to be studied in more detail.  Although, early suggestions is that chemicals such as 'vitamin D' is effective at restoration.  The exact mechanism is not known.  To substitute for the inability to generate 'collagen' which supports the skin's 'body' and "strength" -- different polymers and collagen are added with various chemicals.  Wash the lotion off and return to your skin.



Now I should make a note: The polymer blend which provides a "skin" or "barrier" which makes the skin appear to be "firmer" also acts as a trap.  "Hydrolyzed elastin" acts as a "humectant" which is retain water.  In the process of absorbing water and trapping is underneath the "polymer film" the corneum layer is being hydrated and protected against damage.



As far as "anti-aging" properties, the moisturizing ability of this system is accomplished by the mechanism just discussed.  Providing a barrier between your younger skin and the environment.



Suave - Skin Solutions:



Understanding how Jergens works will help us in understanding how the next product Suave Skin Solution lotion works too.  The ingredients unique to this blend are shown below:







Remember the claims made by the product manufacturer: 1) "Revitalizing with vitamin E"  2) "Age defying moisture" and 3) "....Amazing grace firming body emulsion".  The third claim is made by the composition of polymers added to the formulation.



"Carbomer" is a polymer which will form a layer or film with dimethicone and glyceryl stearate.  Other ingredients such as glycol stearate and cetyl alcohol will act as a "stabilizer" or an "emulsifier" to the polymers which are present.  Cetyl Alcohol is a waxy crystalline substance which will help provide "body" to the formulation.



The first claim that involves the chemical 'vitamin E' is supported by removing 'free radicals'.  Free radicals are formed when damage occurs to molecules making up your skin.  The result is an unstable 'radical molecule' which will react readily with other molecules like DNA or skin molecules.  During the interaction, the original molecules are altered and therefore cannot function regularly.  Which is to say, the skin molecules are damaged and will be rendered useless -- hence part of the process of 'aging'.



The ingredient which is truly unique to this product and acts like an "anti-aging" component is the "Retinyl Palmitate".  Here is the profile from the "Environmental Working Group" shown below:







Retinyl Palmitiate is dangerous for a few reasons.  Notice that ratings on the scale above in the upper left hand corner.  On the right hand corner, the scale is from 0-10, with retinyl palmitate coming in at 9 -- not great.



The main danger is that the ingredient promotes 'cell division' which results in accelerated 'aging'.  In the short term, the 'accelerated aging' appears to be restoring "younger skin" to the surface.  Although, if you were to think of the skin cells making up skin as having 'a finite' number of 'cell divisions' over the course of your lifetime, you would realize the danger.  If you keep regenerating skin to look healthy, eventually, you will have no defense system against UV radiation and other environmental damage that is done to the outer layer of your skin.



The last claim that I would like to discuss is the "age defying moisturizer" which is accomplished through 'trapping' moisture inside of the skin.   This is accomplished with the chemicals which act like a "humectant" and "emollient" along with the polymers which form the film on the layer of your skin.



Conclusion:



In closing, this has been a short comparison of the unique chemicals to each formulation.  Over time with other products added to the blog post, the ingredients will become more apparent.  At this stage, the most important realization is that skin is best protected by reducing the environmental exposure during the day.  Reduce the amount of sun exposure.  Reduce the amount of 'dry weather' that your skin is exposed to.  Hydrate your skin by applying a "moisturizer" to your skin.  Protect your skin.  That is the best 'anti-aging' treatment that you can provide at this moment.



Until next time, have a great day.









































Friday, June 16, 2017

Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?


Alcoholics Anonymous is probably most famously known through the lens of hollywood films.  A majority of newcomers have great misconceptions about the program.  Today represents my fourth year of Sobriety -- in effect -- Happy 4th Birthday Mike!  Right about now, you may be wondering the following question:



Why is he revealing his sobriety and the program of A.A.?



Simple, the reason that I am able to write this blog post is due to the last four years of working on sobriety.  I just wanted to touch on a few aspects about the program without revealing the program in its entirety or discussing other members of the program.  Anonymity is the key to the program.  Why?  Because having the label of an 'alcoholic' can be stigmatizing to say the least.  And when some people find out that you are in the program, adverse effects can happen due to their insecurity or misunderstanding of the program.



I am blessed to be able to tell you about my sobriety.  I feel much different (in a good way) than I did 4 years ago.  My story is not very much different than others inside the program.  The underlying theme is that alcohol became the focal point or central part of our lives.  Think about the analogous situation of being an 'over eater'.  Eating becomes the central point of your life.  Live for eating.  Not eating to live.



The most vital point of A.A. is to understand that you have let some 'vice' take over your life.  Entering the program can be equivalent to a 'reset' on your life.  To bring you back to equilibrium.  The program is centered around 12 steps -- which according to my interpretation are a way back toward living like a 'normal' member of society.  Coming from a place where a 'vice' dictated your life, this understanding is crucial.



For me, living by the 12 steps is equivalent to living life like an ordinary citizen.  Which is to say, pay taxes, take responsibility for your wrong doings, and admit when you are wrong.  Additionally, be of service to another person either entering the program or suffering with living according to the 12 steps.  If I take a step back from the veil of A.A. on the title of the program, I tend to ask myself the following question:



Why would every person not want to live by the 12 steps?



The world might be a better place if so.  Why?  Because, admitting that each of us have the tendency to take a 'vice' (eating, drinking, smoking, etc.) to the limits of where the addiction dictates our life is a serious issue.  I believe that each of us could do great with a small amount of daily 'introspection' in our lives.



Having the ability to look inward and admit your own faults is critical to living a healthy life.  Blaming others for mistakes only takes the person back in time.  Which means that progress forward is now going to be much more difficult.  Let me tell you about the last four years (briefly) and you can judge for yourself.



Upon entering the program (A.A.), my wife and I were "partiers" - who loved to socialize and drink to extreme.  I have discussed our ability to live life to the extreme in other blog posts before.  This is nothing new.  We placed partying above other activities.



We were in debt (with taxes, credit card debt, etc.) to say the least.  The first couple of years were spent on pulling ourselves back together financially while educating ourselves about the role of a 'vice' can play in our lives.  Any 'vice' or addiction can be taken to the extreme.  As soon as each of us realize this, then action can be taken to restore us to sanity sooner.  But know this, work is involved on everyones part.



Today, our life is 180 degrees different (better) than four years ago.  Education is a critical component toward success.  You might say..."Mike, you are educated with a Ph.D.?" The education which I am talking about cannot be taught in school.  This education requires each person to look within themselves and inspect for 'deficiencies' -- which is extremely unsatisfying during the initial process.  Although, after a while the process gets much easier and better.



Where are we now?



As I just mentioned, daily work is required to maintain a good standing in society.  I used to suffer from bad anxiety.  Today, my anxiety is a small percentage of what it used to be.  Furthermore, my wife and I rarely argue due to the absence of alcohol in our lives.



The overarching guiding principle for us was to understand the following:



Alcohol did not relieve us of our issues (problems).  Alcohol enhanced and amplified our problems.  Furthermore, alcohol prevented us from finding solutions to problems.  Today, problems are met with solutions much easier than 4 years ago.



In closing, I would like to welcome you to the program if you have gone to a meeting recently.  Do not worry about the process of 'identifying' as an alcoholic' at first.  The more important realization is the following:



You do not have to take another drink again!



Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 9, 2017

T.G.I.F., Anti-Aging Skin Care, Bicycle Riding, and more.

This morning I realized while riding to school on my bicycle that regardless of how tired I am, there is so much to be thankful for in life.  Why now?  Why not everyday?  Well, as I was cruising across campus on my bicycle with the breeze running across my face staring at the horizon where the sun was making an appearance, I suddenly had this feeling of gratitude rush over me.  Of course, the fact that today is Friday and the weekend is upon us helps tremendously....T.G.I.F.



Boosting your energy level with a short bicycle ride or walk instead of driving can bring a sense of accomplishment before the work day happens.  I am reminded of Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech at University of Texas in 2014.  His speech is filled with wonderful suggestions for success in life.  One of which is to 'make your bed each day'.  This is important because if you accomplish nothing else that day, at least you have accomplished one task -- made your bed.  This thought has stuck with me for a while now.  Additionally, this can be applied to walking or bicycling to work.  Each day provides an opportunity to experience these little accomplishments.   Plus, this one task leads us to want to accomplish another task.  Think about it.



Lately, I have had a small amount of 'writers block' with regard to the series which I started last year on deconstructing products in 'anti-aging skin care' products.  I wrote about the last few weeks in a previous blog post - here.  I decided to just keep getting back to writing the series.  Unbeknownst to me, another person would be contacting me to review a 'Master's Thesis' on 'Anti-Aging' skin care creams.  Last week, I started reviewing a friend's thesis on peptides in skin care cosmetics.  The hope was to incorporate peptides into the cream in order to stimulate the production of 'collagen' in skin which is a 'holy grail' of the anti-aging industry.  I will write more about this thesis when I am done reviewing and revising the document for my friend.



On top of all of this stagnation and writer's block came the 'norovirus'.  My wife and I contracted the virus which is 48 hours of sitting near a toilet sick as all get out.  This was depressing to say the least.  Not being able to read, write, or go anywhere.  Although, during these times, there is time to reflect and think about the wonderful aspects of life.  Today, was a celebration of re-entering life -- getting over being sick.  Hooray!!!!!!!



I look forward to return to writing on the skincare series that I have started.  I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend.













Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mike's Mental Awareness Journey: Changing Your Environment!

Here is a simple question for you to ask yourself:


Are you content with your life? 


If the answer is no, then ask yourself what part of your environment needs to change.  I recently had the experience of changing environments and realized the great difference that such a change can provide.  If you want to understand why the recent blog posts in the series "Anti-Aging Skin Series" then read this short post.  Of course, to read my new entry into Mike's Mental Awareness Journey, you will have to click on the following link -- click here.



If you are looking to change your environment and need to see if the time is correct, then read what happened to me.  Remember to have an open mind and be willing to change to accommodate a new environment.  Push forward and the future will be better if the change is correct for you.  I look forward to continuing the "anti-aging skin series" very soon.  Stay tuned.


Until next time, have a great day!