I know for a fact that all of you have read at least one personal development and wellness book. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have ready many. Believe it or not, none of them work without the fundamentals. What I mean is the following- “you cannot build a house on a quicksand”
Therefore, with this attempt of outflow of ideas, I will try to explain the way to build that firm and colorful house on a solid ground.
It is 9:00 PM and I am in Lecce. Young and energizing little town in Salento, Italy. Yet, it is very historic. I am sitting in a café called “Cittadino” with music in the background. I have this incredible view in front of me. It is an arena “L’Anfiteatro Romano”, right in the middle of Piazza St. Oronzo. You got that right, “L’Anfiteatro Romano” was used for gladiator combats, venations and executions. You are picturing colosseum right now, but Romano is different. It is built into the ground like a big hole. The picture is below.
I decided to have some “me-time” while my girlfriend and her friend Fede are having drinks. It turns out to be a good decision.
I am aware of the fact that I drifted off and started writing about sceneries around me & the view I am surrounded by. However, this evening feels quite poetic. For which another reason is that – this is my first hand written article. Just 15 minutes ago, I bought a very weird looking notebook from a Tabacceria 100 meters away from café Cittadino. I am sitting right next to a little pizzeria called “Da Michele”. To all who is reading this article, that name means nothing. However, to those who has watched the movie called “Eat pray love”, it might ring some bells. It is the same famous pizza chain where Julia was in.
Now that we have set the mood right, I will glide back to the topic in question. My self-made Pyramid.
I have figured this scheme out few years ago and have vocalized it just three times. One of the encounters was with Rosalina, next time was to my colleague Ismayil & last time was in “Alachati” Turkey. Some ideas take time to ripe.
This is a very simple pyramid and it aids me in ‘better living’. In the most general understanding of it. It has 4 domains – sleep, eat, move & love/sex. I am 100% sure that, if I don’t have these and pillars or domains ‘right’ then I cannot enjoy anything in life to its fullest.
I have the word “right” in quotations, because everything is very individual. No system is one size fit all. You should be able to figure out what is right for you. Maybe even you can come up with your own pyramid. For now, you can use mine.
I do not like giving advices or answers. Because most advice sucks, unless you can mold that piece of information to your situation and I would rather facilitate thinking in readers. Instead of giving crude or absolute statement answers.
Ironically though within this scheme the absolute statement is the following.
“Sleep is the most important domain”
Without sleep this structure would not even work. I would like to outline the following. Everything that I write in this particular article is backed by science. A while ago, I was introduced to my favorite scientist Andrew Huberman by Joe Rogan and my friend Ilya. Here is what Stanford professor has to say about importance of sleep.
“Our light-viewing behavior has perhaps the strongest effect on our levels of alertness and our capacity to fall asleep and get a good night’s sleep. And this is because, at the fundamental layer of our biology, every cell in our body needs information about time of day. It’s no coincidence that we have a collection of neurons over the roof of our mouth. The so-called suprachiasmatic nucleus. That’s our central circadian clock. It informs every cell in our body about time of day. But it is deep in our brain. It has no access to light. So there are a collection of neurons in the eye, the so-called melanopsin ganglion cells, or sometimes called intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells. These are just neurons in the back of your eye. Remembering of course, that the eye is actually part of the brain that’s outside the skull. And those neurons communicate to the central clock when it’s daytime and when it’s night.”
There is so much science to better sleep. There are some tricks that I do. I started recently a theory of setting two timers for myself one for wakefulness and one for sleepiness.
Bright light exposure of any length between 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM causes a serious disruption in the dopamine system. Such that in subsequent days you have a disruption of lowering mood and difficulty in learning.
There is a cascade of things that happen, in other words we got punished for light viewing at the wrong times of the day and we get rewarded for light viewing at the correct times of the day.
So, when I wake up, I expose myself to light even if it is cloudy – it triggers cortisol also sets a timer for onset of melatonin. Furthermore, I try to do stretching in front of the window for 10 minutes. When 10-11:00 PM hits I dim the lights at home, to prepare the eyes and the body to undisrupted sleep.
By the way all of these steps above go away if I am on vacation. While on vacation I do whatever my dirty little desires tell me to do.
There is another link for in depth study of sleep
Now that I had my carpaccio we can continue. I have bad news for you- all four domains in the pyramid are interconnected. You have to find the ideal setting for each of them and ideal synthesis of all four to enjoy your everyday life.
All four domains must feed your mind, body and soul. Yes, cheesy I know. Deal with it. Everything I do within these domains to make me feel better, productive and energized. Otherwise, what is the point?
Here is the next one:
By ‘eat’ I mean whatever goes into your body. Aka, nutrition.
There are bunch diets; ketos, fasts, low-carb and etc. However, none of them fits all and if we double down on essentials. I would advise this simple approach. Maximize raw foods, organic foods and add on some grilled seafood and chicken. Minimize red meat, fried food, most importantly processed food and refined food. While doing this all, observe the messages your body is sending you. Messages can be- fatigue, pale colors, aches, soreness and varying digestive signals.
For example, I have brought down consumptions of red meat by 99%- just because it makes me less productive, sleepy and digests too long.
My point is by applying obvious benefiting approaches you can come up with your own nutrition plan. Believe it or not, that self-made nutrition plan if set right. I till help you learn faster, think better, lose extra weight, gain the desired amount of muscle, sleep better and perform better with your sexual partner. Yes, you read it right! Shake it off and move on.
With the right amount of effort and experimenting you can find your individual eating habit. Because as they say “You are what you eat!”
Let’s move on to the 3rd domain and my favorite one.
Here is why this is my favorite part; I’ve been an amateur athlete almost all my life. Started with 5 years of tennis, over 3 years of kick boxing, over 15 years of basketball and fitness for the last 10 years. Yes, some did overlap. However, this is me! And this is what gets me going. By movement I mean literally any kind of movement.
Reminder: daily walking is literally bare minimum. Furthermore, counting steps is the funniest thing you can do, it is like counting how many times you blinked through the day. Unless you have heart problems or joint problems and walking is the only thing you are eligible to do, then I understand. In any other case walking has minimal effect on your body and cardiovascular system.
The purpose of any kind of movement should be the increase in heartbeat. 130 BPM (beats per minute) and above this is where you lose weight or fat. However, I am not a nutritionist or a coach, but I know a thing or two about this. Furthermore, my purpose with this article is to help you feel better about yourself and your body.
Bottomline is the following. Move around! Hike, run, lift, ski, swim, climb, wrestle, stretch or yoga. Do whatever you feel like doing and get that body of yours moving around. The way you feel within your body also affects your mood, hormonal levels and even self-confidence.
In my case, for many years I wanted to look good and athletic. However, now I want to perform and do functional workouts. Increase power, speed and agility. Yet again this is me! You should be you!
You can either hike every Saturday or prepare for Ironman Barcelona. I am going to repeat it again- the way you move has to feed your body, mind and soul.
Now we can proceed to the last segment of Ali’s Pyramid. Love and Sex.
I remember back in high school Biology class; the whole classroom was looking forward to paragraph 16. The topic was ‘Reproduction”. Our juvenile curiosity came from our parents’ generations inability to talk freely about love, relationships, sex and reproduction.
Us kids were looking forward to get some answers from a biology class. After, a full anticipation of 3 quarters of a semester. Our teacher decided to skip that class, leaving us hilariously devastated.
Nonetheless, with this article I will not skip a thing and speak my mind.
Everything comes down to biology, we are mammals. We are driven by instincts. But yet, we are the only type of mammals that has a ‘being’ at the end. As in human being.
Let me explain. If you give a giraffe its three basic needs it will not want anything else. Food, shelter and reproduction- this is it. The giraffe is happy. However, us human beings, want endless things. We want that job, that car, that house, that woman and etc. Endlessly. It is very hard to exist without clinging on to those desires, possible but definitely not easy. Our sexual and sensual desires to a partner or partners are no exception.
So, why do I have two words in this domain? Love and Sex. Because we, throughout our life and on different life cycles want different things. I think that, whatever you want today is OK.
Absence of love & sex or unobtained desires deprive you of the dopamine (happiness hormone). So, what if you are fit, eat healthy and sleep like a baby. If you cannot or would not fulfill your desires towards the partner for a night or a lifetime, then you will end up sad and alone on your big bed.
Therefore, I am a fan of following those desires and impulses.
Before summing up, I want to tell you what I think about a good relationship (partnership). I do not agree with the following statement “they complement each other” as in they fill each other’s blanks, when someone refers to a couple. So, an amazing relationship is not 2+2=4 or 1+3=4.
An amazing relationship is when two individuals are fully capable of living and existing on their own, but when they meet, they boost each other on so many ways. They fulfill each other’s need and wants, they believe in each other, they support each other & all that leads up to changing hormonal levels too, like epinephrin, dopamine & even testosterone. So, when all of that happens, an amazing relationship becomes this 2+2=10, 2+2=20, 30, and even 100!
Therefore, ‘complementing each other’ means shit. I love when couples make each other superheroes. Without imposing limitations, possession, constrictions and jealousy. Love is freedom!
When it comes to sex, my favorite comedian Dave Chapelle once said: “Everyone fucks funny to somebody”. Lastly, my message is to you dear gentleman or lady!
Do whatever your body wants you to do. Sex should not be judged or feared. Sex is not just exchange of fluids. You exchange energies as well. If you do not want a relationship, play around whilst choosing carefully. Follow your impulses and desires. Throughout human existence of many, many years you were chosen to exist in this particular lifetime, if you are lucky you are going to live for 80-90 years. So, enjoy it.