A Simple Way to Reduce Stress: Get Less Done in More Time

Adrenaline causes physical changes, some of which are to make you capable of moving quickly and to motivate you to move quickly. Moving fast goes with anxiety. Fast, jerky movements are one of the things adrenaline produces. But here's another feedback loop. You can actually make yourself feel more nervous by moving quickly. You see and feel how you're moving and what the tension in your muscles feels like and it has a psychological effect on you.

So when you feel tense, or when you want to feel more relaxed, try moving deliberately slowly and calmly. It tends to make you feel calmer and more confident, sometimes dramatically so. I have noticed myself many times doing something quickly when I have no reason to be moving that fast. It is merely a habit. I might be taking a walk and suddenly I notice I'm marching along at a furious pace, especially if I'm feeling tense. When I deliberately slow down, it has an immediate and noticeable effect on my state of mind.

I sometimes find myself driving quickly or doing the dishes as quickly and efficiently as I can — even walking down the hall from the living room to the bedroom like the house is on fire. When I notice it and consciously slow down I'm often surprised at how much calmer it makes me feel.

The surprising thing is that sometimes when you move slower, the task gets done almost as quickly. Which means your striving for efficiency isn't doing any good and actually does harm because it creates an unhealthy feeling of pressure.

This is such a simple method. All it requires is for you to notice yourself hurrying and change your speed to something slower, calmer, and more deliberate.

A related principle — kind of an assistant principle — is to give yourself extra time. If it takes twenty minutes to drive to work, give yourself half an hour and take your time. Go to bed a little earlier if you have to, and get up a little earlier. It doesn't take much extra time to give you a feeling of calm control. The night before you may need to watch a little less television, but watching television tends to increase feelings of tension anyway, so that's a good thing.

Do the dishes or yard work while deliberately avoiding efficiency. We forget how efficient we try to be. Go at your own pace and do only one thing (or less) at a time. It is very calming.

This method goes against the grain of modern Western culture. You don't have to make this your lifetime modus operandi, but try it once in awhile on a task. Try this method on a different task until you've tried them all. You'll discover something about how you stress yourself out. You'll find out you normally eat faster than you really want to, you try to do several things at once, you try to be efficient with your time, and you try to cram as much into your day as you can and you wonder why you feel stressed!?

It's not your fault. It's the culture we live in and the times we live in. But that doesn't mean you can't do anything about it. You sure can. Consider this technique as a kind of training. Think of it as a one-day vacation or even a one-hour vacation and deliberately get less done and take your sweet time doing whatever you're doing. It is surprisingly relaxing.

Notice when you are moving quickly and slow your speed. It's a technique you can use just about any time, and it's easy.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Sibling Rivalry — A Revealing Factoid About Oil Versus Alcohol

Alcohol was the original fuel for cars. And the oil companies have been alcohol's biggest competition. Because gasoline has a low octane rating, it was suggested way back in the early 1900s that ethanol (which has a naturally high octane rating) could be added to gasoline to boost the octane.

But the oil industry resisted the idea. Like an irrational sibling rivalry, the oil companies would use anything rather than validate the usefulness of their biggest competitor.

So they added lead to gasoline, and used it for a long time — from 1917 until 1987, when it was finally stopped because, of course, lead is poisonous.

Now ethanol is added to most gasoline routinely, and it not only reduces the toxic output of a car because alcohol itself is less polluting than gasoline, but alcohol also helps the gasoline burn more completely, so it lowers the amount of pollution produced from the burning gasoline too.

The oil industry has done its best to retain a monopoly on the transportation fuel business, but unfortunately for gasoline, alcohol is a superior fuel in many different ways. It's better for national security, it's better for America's economy, it's better for the environment, it's better for the car engine, and it has a higher octane rating.

If we had enough cars on the road capable of allowing fuel competition, alcohol could finally compete as an equal with gasoline at the pump. Gasoline prices would be forced to stay below alcohol prices (even though alcohol prices would probably continue to drop as the industry improves its efficiency) because the only superiority gasoline could maintain would be its cheapness.

Whatever happens between the contestants in this rivalry, if the U.S. had true fuel competition, in the end there would be one sure winner — the American citizen.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Corn Was Only the Beginning: Turning Waste Into Fuel

New technologies are converting municipal waste into ethanol or methanol for fuel. Several companies have made arrangements with local municipal waste-collection services, and full-scale commercial facilities are under construction. The technology has been worked out in pilot projects already. The trash is delivered to the alcohol plant instead of the landfill. The garbage is then converted into alcohol fuel and electricity. The result is far less trash ending up in landfills.

The first large-scale commercial waste-to-ethanol facility that received registration from the EPA to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-food waste materials just opened in Vero Beach, Florida this year. As I’m writing this, the facility is up and running, producing electricity from yard and other vegetative wastes, and agricultural wastes. And by the end of this year or early next year, it will be producing ethanol fuel too. It’s expected to produce six megawatts of power and eight million gallons of ethanol per year — out of garbage that would have been dumped in a landfill.

Scientists presented themselves with this challenge: Find a way to turn a non-food material that is abundantly available into fuel and electricity without polluting the atmosphere. And they’ve done it.

The new facility (called Ineos Bio) uses a process called gasification, which heats up the garbage to 800 degrees Celsius, creating what is called synthesis gas, or “syngas.” The heat breaks material down to core elements — hydrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. — and then Ineos Bio adds a naturally-occurring bacteria that is able to quickly ferment the hot gases into ethanol.

It requires fuel to get the process started, but after that, it is self-sustaining. In other words, the heat causes new garbage to burn, which causes more heat, so they can keep shoveling in garbage, and it keeps burning, keeping the temperature where they need it without having to add any other heat source except the garbage itself.

Excess heat from this process is fed to a steam turbine, which produces electricity, powering the facility, and producing excess, which is put onto the local electricity grid, powering an estimated 1,400 homes.

As Jim Lane, the editor of Biofuels Digest wrote, “It’s taking landfill and turning it from a problem into an economic opportunity, and that’s good for Ineos, but it’s also good for Vero Beach. They’re on the verge of becoming Florida’s largest energy exporter, and that’s a unique position for a small town.”

The construction, engineering, and manufacturing of the Ineos Bio facility created 400 jobs. And it now has 60 full-time employees.

Every city should do this with their trash — make fuel from the local garbage. As the Fuel Freedom Foundation’s co-founder Yossie Hollander quipped, the U.S. is “the Saudi Arabia of garbage.” According to EF123, an energy funding company that specializes in waste-to-energy developments, the average American throws away about five pounds of trash per day!

Another similar facility is under construction in Carson City by Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels. They’ve got a twenty-year contract with Waste Management and Waste Collections Inc. to pick up the garbage and bring it to their facility, which will then be sorted to remove recyclable material like cans, bottles, plastics and paper. It will then annually convert what’s left — 147,000 tons of municipal solid waste — into ten million gallons of ethanol. It is scheduled to be up and running in 2015.

Still another company in Montreal “makes ethanol from old utility poles and household garbage,” says Matthew Wald, a green energy writer for the New York Times. The same company (Enerkem) just received a loan guarantee to build a similar plant in Tupelo, Mississippi which will consume 100,000 tons of garbage per year, transforming it into methanol. The methanol can then be converted to ethanol, or sold directly to American drivers as methanol for their cars if cars were warranted for it (the Methanol Institute is working on that).

Enerkem not only gets the feedstock (garbage) for free, they are actually getting paid to dispose of the garbage, making its feedstock what the company calls “cost-negative.” The feedstock is readily available in abundant, uninterrupted supplies, and the infrastructure already exists to collect and deliver the “feedstock.”

According to chemical engineering researchers at Fayetteville, Arkansas, 70% of municipal solid waste can be used to create fuel. They’re talking about food waste, yard waste, paper, wood, and textiles. What can not be converted to fuel can be converted to electricity.

Converting this material to fuel and power is doubly beneficial, because when garbage is taken to a landfill, it’s broken down by microbes into methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas, which rises to the surface and then into the atmosphere. The syngas production process prevents this from happening. The process is able to use about 90% of the waste stream, and produces minimal emissions.

If you ever hear about a local proposal for such a thing, lend your support. These projects often need support because they are routinely opposed. One recent project proposal in Chicago, for example, faced strong opposition from the county dump (the landfill) because, of course, the dump would lose a lot of business when the new ethanol plant opens (people pay to dump their stuff at landfills).

There was enough public support, however, and the ethanol plant is proceeding. Lend your support to such projects when you can.

This is one of the most important things we can do: Turn solid waste that would have gone into a landfill into fuel. Would you like to see more investments in waste-to-fuel facilities? All that’s missing is a rapidly growing demand for ethanol and investors will line up to put their money down. It is a potentially very profitable enterprise. The facility gets the feedstock for free, or the company could even be paid to take it.

Let’s encourage this kind of investment by creating a strong and growing demand for ethanol fuel. Here's how to convert your car immediately and begin the fuel competition revolution right where you are: Convert your car.

- Excerpted from the book, Fill Your Tank With Freedom.

A Petroleum-Only Society Leaves Our Economy Vulnerable

Even though Saudi Arabia deliberately restrains their oil output to keep world oil prices high, they still export more oil than any other country in the world. And the U.S. imports more oil than any other country.

The global price of oil is determined by production levels. If something happened to seriously slow down Saudi Arabia's production, oil prices would go through the roof, which would seriously damage the economic stability of every country except Brazil. I don't think it would be an overstatement to say it would be an economic catastrophe for the United States.

We are extremely vulnerable to oil shock. It doesn't matter how much oil America gets from Saudi Arabia. A disruption in Saudi oil production would immediately and critically raise the global price of oil.

Security on one of Saudi Arabia's biggest facility is weak, and it is considered an important target by terrorists.

In all likelihood, it is only a matter of time before terrorists successfully cripple Saudi Arabia's facilities. And that is not the only possible way Saudi oil production could be disrupted.

But the Open Fuel Standard would greatly reduce America's vulnerability. Once the bill passes, within three years most gas stations will provide fuel pumps for alcohol fuels because there will be enough flex-fuel cars on the road to justify it. Then fuels can begin to compete. And our vulnerability will begin to wane. If something happens to Saudi Arabia's output, American drivers would simply put alcohol fuel in their tanks on the very next fill up.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Grazing Animals Can End The Drought

Whether the drought in the Southwestern United States is caused by climate change or desertification (or both), grazing animals can end the drought, if those animals are managed the way Allan Savory suggests in his famous TED talk.

The Southwestern United States is almost entirely grassland, and it is turning into desert. Even when it rains, the land no longer holds the water and little of that water is making its way to the aquifers. Its desertification could be reversed with Holistic Planned Grazing. If you would like to see what can be done with such dry land, check out the before and after photos at Planet Tech and prepare to be amazed.

But, you might reasonably ask, how is this possible? Here is a clear explanation of how Holistic Planned Grazing can restore lush grassland and water to dry and barren land: Literally Saving the Earth by Regenerating Grassland.

Read more about how this works and what you can do to help: How to Stop Grasslands From Turning Into Deserts.

Listen to a podcast about this: Literally Saving the Earth by Regenerating Grassland.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Want More Rain and Cooler Temperatures?

Most grasslands on earth are turning into desert because the rainfall runs off or evaporates before it can nurture any plants. What could we do that would help the rainwater soak in and stick around long enough to do some good? 

Think about it for a second and you can answer that yourself. What do all thriving grasslands have in common? Large herds of grazing animals. The grass plant and the grazing animals have evolved together. Their needs intertwine so tightly that the absence of one causes the absence of the other.

So grazing animals, if they are grazed the right way, can restore bare land to thriving grassland, which prevents the rain from running off or evaporating, allowing it to soak in and refill the aquifers and rehydrate the plants.

Also, plants release water when they get hot, similar to sweating, which lowers the area's temperature. In the long run also, more plants equals more sequestered carbon dioxide, which lowers the earth's overall temperature.

Read more about how this works and what you can do to help: How to Stop Grasslands From Turning Into Deserts.

Listen to a podcast about this: Literally Saving the Earth by Regenerating Grassland.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

How to Stop Grasslands From Turning Into Deserts

Some of the land on earth is humid and moist year round. On this kind of land, you could burn ten thousand acres to the ground, wait until grass grows on it and then overgraze it until the land is spent and dead, and if you then simply left it alone, the jungle would grow right back. On this kind of land, you can't create bare ground for any length of time without constant weeding. Whole cities in the jungles of Mexico, complete with giant stone pyramid structures, have been swallowed up so completely by the jungle that new cities are still being discovered.

Another significant portion of the land on earth is dry for part of the year. Much of that is grassland, which is the largest ecosystem on land. On grassland, if you burn it and/or overgraze it, many environmentalists and ecologists once believed (and many still do) that you could also just leave it alone and it would grow back. But for more than 60 years, that method has been tried in many places all over the world, and what happens? The land slowly turns into desert. It does not recover. The question is why?

This is a very important question. About 70 percent of grasslands have either turned into deserts or are in the process of turning into deserts. In satellite photos of the earth, the green areas are moist year round. The tan areas are turning to desert, and this process has been a large source of climate change itself because all that life that died sent its CO2 into the atmosphere. So this is a problem that must be solved, and soon.

A basic evolutionary fact has been staring scientists in the face all along. These tan-colored places are (or were) mostly grasslands. And what do you always find on thriving grasslands? Large, hoofed animals grazing on the grass — buffalo, zebra, gazelles, wildebeest, etc. The grass and the animals evolved together, much like bees and flowering plants. They evolved to rely on each other. They developed characteristics that are adapted to each other.

So if you take away the grass, the hoofed animals die off. And if you take away the hoofed animals, the grassland turns into a desert.

The reason this was not apparent is that once the naturally-occurring hoofed animals were gone from a particular area, they were immediately replaced by domesticated hoofed animals, and these were clearly overgrazing and killing the land. So the obvious solution was to ban domesticated animals from damaged or endangered land areas so the land could recover. So huge plots of land have been made off limits to grazing animals for long stretches of time. But as I said, the land does not recover. It begins to die. And the bare ground spreads until it looks like the barren plains of Iraq.

Domesticated animals made the land turn into desert. But leaving the land alone also made it turn into desert. The biologist Allan Savory has found an answer to this puzzle. The answer is counter-intuitive. It didn't really matter which animals were grazing. The key was HOW the animals were grazing. If the hoofed animals graze in a particular way, the grass grows and the deserts turn back into rich grassland. If they graze in any other way, or don't graze at all, the land turns into a desert.

Savory's answer is this: For a grassland to be healthy it requires herds of hoofed animals to graze on it. But they must graze in a natural way, which means: 1) all bunched up as grazing animals do (for safety in numbers — safety from predators), 2) never staying in the same spot for very long, and 3) not coming back to that spot for a while (which allows the grass to grow back). If you graze the animals that way, it doesn't matter which hoofed animals are doing the grazing — wild or domestic, or both — the grass begins to thrive.

Thriving grass has many impressive and meaningful consequences. First of all, grass captures moisture. On bare earth, rain runs off (washing away topsoil) and evaporates. When the ground is covered with grass, the plant roots and other living organisms in the soil soak up the water and hold it. The grass does the same with CO2, removing it from the air and sequestering it in the earth. Grass also cools the atmosphere and prevents soil erosion. It prevents contamination of groundwater and surface water (because it needs no artificial fertilizer or pesticides). It turns the falling sunlight into abundant food. And grasses are the foundation of entire ecosystems, so diverse plants and wild animals also get what they need to thrive. Thriving grassland increases biodiversity.

Experts have estimated that using grazing animals in this way on only half of our barren or semi-barren grasslands would remove so much carbon from the air that our atmosphere would be like it was before the industrial age began.

In a natural setting, two forces working together cause hoofed animals to graze the right way: predators and disgust. The presence of predators causes scattered grazing animals to bunch together in a big herd. They eat the grass and, of course, urinate and defecate. After a couple of days of this, they are compelled by their noses to move to greener pastures. So the ground gets thoroughly and regularly "tilled" and "fertilized" and then left alone for a while. And grasses flourish. When the grass has grown tall, it lures the animals back into the area to do it all again. If the animals don't come back, the tall grass rots and smothers any new grass trying to sprout. That's when bare ground begins to form.

Huge parcels of the earth have been turning to desert because we haven't understood how this works. All over the world — from Australia's outback to the Northern Rockies to Zimbabwe — Allan Savory and his teams have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that when these principles are applied, the deserts disappear. The land turns green. Wildlife returns. Plant diversity proliferates. Birds start singing. It's a beautiful thing. Watch this TED talk to see some photographs of the kind of transformation these principles bring into being. Well over forty million acres of land are now being grazed this way (called Holistic Planned Grazing).

Think about the consequences. More food can be generated with less water. Instead of draining the Colorado river to grow lettuce in the Arizona desert, for example, livestock could be raised instead. The grass would capture the little bit of rain that falls, and hold it and grow into food for livestock.

Using grazing animals correctly, the grasses grow deeper roots over time, sequestering more carbon and holding more water, preventing runoff, preventing the loss of topsoil from wind and rain, and protecting the plants and animals from dying off during droughts.

But, you might be thinking, don't all those hoofed animals create methane? And isn't methane a powerful greenhouse gas? Yes to both. However, the alternatives are either bare ground that produces no oxygen or food but produces excess heat...or the grass goes uneaten, so it rots, producing methane. The bacteria can either break down the grass inside a grazing animal or outside it. Either way, you get methane.

But for the reduction of greenhouse gasses, shouldn't we focus on getting alternatives to petroleum fuels? Yes, but not exclusively. The desertification of the land also produces copious amounts of atmospheric CO2. So even if we got rid of all fossil fuels, these lands would continue to turn into deserts until grazing herds return. We should, however, also find alternatives to petroleum. Click here for one possible way to accomplish it quickly.

In some places, people working with Allan Savory are using domesticated animals mixed in with the wild animals to make the herds bigger (bigger herds work better for grass than smaller herds), and both the domestic and the wild animal herds grow healthy and multiply because the process makes each acre produce more grass. Considerably more. Another good reason to manage the wild animals along with the domesticated ones is because in many places humans have wiped out the predators, and without the predators, grazers stop bunching together and the grass starts dying.

So there it is. Would you like to prevent a big portion of the world from turning into deserts? Would you like to end poverty for millions of people (who are currently relying on this desertifying land for their sustenance)? Would you like to help feed a hungry world? Would you like a cooler, more hospitable world? Would you like to solve our growing water shortage problem? Would you like to stop the burning of tropical rainforests to create grasslands for cattle? Would you like to stop the erosion of topsoil? Would you like to reverse the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? There is something you can do to help.

Here's where to start: Sign up for updates at the Savory Institute and Holistic Management International. Like them on Facebook (Savory Institute here, HMI here) and share their posts. You'll find plenty of opportunities to get involved. At the very least you can help make this information more widely known, and that will make a difference. You can do the same for our Facebook page (here).

One simple and practical thing you can begin immediately is to buy only beef and lamb that has been grazed using Holistic Management. Support that industry. Put your money where your mouth is. Find out how to know if your meat has been grazed regeneratively: A New Choice For Consumers: Regenerative Organic. Also: Applegate Farms Announces It's Joining The Regenerative Agriculture Movement.

The Savory Institute has a certification program now (certifying that the meat was grazed Holistically), and more and more companies are getting certified all the time. You can track that here: Land to Market.

This is all extraordinarily good news. Desertification of the earth can be reversed, and it can happen very quickly. The land starts to noticeably recover in the first year. To achieve it, we need more animals, not less. Sometimes for the process to work, Savory has discovered he needs to increase the herd size by 400% or more. Grasslands need herds. Humans can make it happen. People are already doing it. The end result is a healthier planet, healthier animals, more food, and healthier humans.

Listen to a podcast about this: Literally Saving the Earth by Regenerating Grassland.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.