' When I put myself in the shoes of the person on the other side of my arguing and thought about how they might receive my unrelenting debate, it gave me pause. Let your frazzled brainwaves settle, and just be. Give yourself some love. And then some more. There is no end to the amount of love you can, and should, give yourself. We're taught to give our love away to others but, really, we could do with loving ourselves before we start loving other people. Self-love is not so widespread but is very needed. So, what is self-love? Well, it is about being good to yourself. It's about making friends with your own soul. It's about becoming your own best friend and getting comfortable with yourself, because someone who is comfortable with themselves is a nice presence to have around. Foods high in antioxidants may also help: beans, fruits, berries, nuts, and vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. Try any combination of these techniques to decrease inflammation in your system, perform at your best, and improve your health at the same time. In the rare moments when I have some time to myself, I like to get up early while everyone else is still sleeping, make a coffee, and head to my backyard. There are very few things I love more than sitting by myself and watching the sun come up. This is my reflection and metacognition time. The three questions of metacognition that spark contemplation and reflection--the what, why, and how--can make all the difference when charting a path forward in our lives. We need time by ourselves to think, to consider, to plan, and to learn. In our hyperconnected society, alone time can be hard to come by, which is one of the reasons why we struggle with mental health. We are constantly in beta brainwave activity--hustling and racing around, taking care of our tasks and responsibilities.

There is a time to be in beta, but our lack of alpha (reflection) time is killing us. This lack of long-term 'results' often leads people to shift strategies, or to double down on their current strategy, potentially leading them farther down a maladaptive path. If, for example, your low-carb diet isn't working as you'd hoped (perhaps because it's the right diet at the wrong time), you might decide to intensify your efforts by going even lower carbohydrate, or perhaps keto. Keto does its best work as a corrective counterpoint to chronic summer, in which we constantly consume and crave. If we can manage to resist all of those tempting carbohydrates on offer in modern society, and instead consume almost exclusively fats and some protein, our bodies go into ketosis, which means they begin burning fat and ketones, instead of glucose, for energy. Ketosis represents a significant break from our glucose-driven chronic summer eating patterns. The problem, of course, is that dieters who see benefits on ketogenic diets conclude that keto is a permanent, year-round solution. Many online forums feature people measuring their ketone levels by urinating on ketone strips, fretting about the concentrations of ketones in their blood, and whether that chicken breast with lunch kicked them out of ketosis (rendering them a dreaded 'glucose burner' again). Before you know it, people are afraid to eat even healthy foods and become more restrictive as their health begins to deteriorate. Such anxiety is really a shame because, upon closer examination, all of these diets converge on a similar pattern. Take, for example, a healthy low-carb meal. It is obvious that these belong to us. It is important to recognize that the other party's part in the affair, no matter how volatile or malicious seeming, is actually calling forth areas in which we feel volatile or are not whole. It is hard to accept the cliche that our antagonists are very often our teachers, but it is so often the truth. Once we commit to personal responsibility we turn inward, away from the story, and objectively review the feelings that have been exposed by our reactions. We also test the truth of any accusations we have experienced. When reviewing feelings, one of my favorite questions is: where and when have I experienced this type of reaction before? What does this situation remind me of? If we simply ask this question without trying to force the answer, it is amazing how often and how quickly an answer arises. Often, we find that we have an unrecognized pattern of behavior, which the current story has touched off or highlighted.

I have been amazed at the self-discoveries my clients and I have made by letting go of blame and judgment, staying with our emotions and following them to their source, while trusting that a revelation can occur when and if we are ready for it. I believe that the autobiographical urge in this phase is fueled both by a continuing awareness of one's mortality and by some of the physiological changes in the brain that were discussed in article 1. In particular, it seems to me that the use of both sides of the brain allows for an optimum expression of the full range of factual and emotional elements in a person's life story. I don't think it's completely accidental that older people enjoy telling tales from their lives so much or that life review is so popular at this age. It is undoubtedly true that having more free time plays a role here--writing or even just organizing things, such as family photo albums, takes time and energy that younger people in the throes of child care and career development don't necessarily have. But people's free time could be spent doing many things. Why such a seemingly universal urge to sum up and, in the same larger process, give back to those around them? The entire answer to this question is not yet at hand, but research suggests that at least part of the reason can be traced to the hippocampi, those twin brain structures that are vital for memory formation and retrieval and that also help link the neocortical 'thinking brain' with the limbic 'feeling' brain. Recent studies by Eleanor A. Maguire and Christopher D. Frith, of the Institute of Neurology at University College, London, have discovered a pronounced difference in the activation of the hippocampi between younger and older adults when they are recalling memories from their lives. I've been the person stifling the eye roll as I listen to someone insist that he's right, and I have seen the unwillingness to be wrong as a sign of insecurity, immaturity, or both. When I learned to ask myself if I might be seen that way, the answer demanded a yield and a pivot. I opened myself to the value of others' ideas. There is an upside to considering other people's ideas and points of view as you tackle an issue. Once I was able to move past the association that being wrong in an argument was something that made me less as a person, active listening became an option. When you value achieving the goal over being right about the best way to get there, you not only get there faster because of the new possibilities you've opened yourself up to, you've likely endeared yourself to your partner or team who have become accomplices in getting you there. A couple of years ago, my oldest son, Jackson, came to me and asked for my thoughts on his running for president of his elementary school class. We had a good conversation about it in part because I had some experience in this department. Not once, but twice I'd run for president of different classes.

I liked the hustle of having to work hard to convince people to vote for me. It's about softening. Softening how tough we can be on ourselves. We can give ourselves a pretty hard time, no? Let's see if we can change that pattern and turn it around. It's about redirecting how we have been taught to love because it seems we are pretty much taught to love everyone except for ourselves! The trick to loving yourself is to turn that love you so easily give to others back around and direct it at yourself - 24/7, every minute of the day, loving your skin, your cells - all of you. And loving yourself means taking care of yourself. It means giving yourself lots of goodness with zero guilt. This is often what comes between us and the ability to receive our own self-love - the guilt. We can feel like somehow, we're not worthy of loving ourselves. When we change our performance (beta brainwave) state to the thinking and learning (alpha brainwave) state, we can open ourselves up to a much higher level of performance and health. Do you know people with exceptional focus? People who have a mind-blowing ability to control their attention so they can stay with an issue or problem long enough to see solutions and possibilities that others can't? I call this rare quality radical attention--basically, deep and sustained concentration. The ability to control your attention, concentrate, and focus deeply is a powerful tool for managing stress, directing your mind, taking care of yourself, accomplishing more of what is important, and reaching your dreams. It helps you to think clearly at work, at home, and while pursuing your passions. In order to gain focus, you first have to protect your attention. You also need to be aware that we burn huge amounts of mental and physical energy when we are in deep focus mode, so it's easier to get tired and rundown--even sick. It's important to strategically recharge between bouts of focused execution (think exams, presentations, key meetings, workouts, etc.

). What does that look like on a plate? Probably something along the lines of a hand-sized portion of protein plus some nonstarchy vegetables. In such a meal the total carbohydrate is low, but the total fat may be higher (or at least higher than has been recommended over recent years). How about a healthy Paleo meal? On the plate, such a meal will represent something like a hand-sized portion of protein (typically animal protein) plus some nonstarchy vegetables. It may also contain some starchy root vegetables, but it is still likely to be lower in total carbohydrates than a typical Western or standard American diet meal. A keto diet? A higher-fat, very low-carb variant of the low-carb meat and vegetables. A vegan diet? If done right, plant-based protein sources plus vegetables. In this way we often discover things about ourselves about which we have been totally unconscious (sometimes for years). We have uncovered behavior patterns that were not constructive or helpful in our lives and yet were so hidden that we were completely unaware of their presence. When this happens we are encountering our truth, that which is absolutely real for us. We are able to see how our beliefs form our reality, sometimes negatively. We are often able to get to the source of our beliefs and question their validity. The encounter we have just experienced suddenly has depth and meaning. Sometimes we feel tremendous freedom when this happens while, at other times, the truth is not pretty or comfortable and reveals the work to be done. Both responses are a gift. This is the real material for our personal and spiritual growth, and it has arisen out of conflict, out of an area in which we now see we are not whole because we are unable to accept its existence without fear.