Listen up young bloods, I’m a Positive Psychology expert, and what I know is this: it’s mind over matter, so rock an optimally functioning mind, and the matter will follow. Translation? Build a better brain, and you clear up the acne, clean up and tone the body, and have the fitness to be an all-around rock star.

Each week over the next several weeks, I’m going to help you become your most awesome self, and live your most awesome life, with one new Pax Fact. I want you to follow the tips closely, really make them a part of your life, one each week, until you’re feeling so freakin bad ass, you’re wondering where to send me my “thank you” flowers.
Ready? Get set…GO-

GET ENOUGH SLEEP. And for you, that means a solid 8-9 hours a night. You’re probably skipping out on this needed rest for a variety of reasons: time with your phone, too much caffeine, time with your phone, too much making out with your special person, time with your phone, too much TV. Your brain is growing rapidly right now. New connections are being made every minute in your brain, helping you to think fast, and activating growth circuits to help you get taller and fill out. Trust me, I know about this first hand. I went through major depression when I was 14, and one of the side effects was that I didn’t sleep much. Unfortunately, I was right in the middle of my growth spurt when this happened. I should have been about 5’8, I’m 5’5. Not that being small is a bad thing; Tyrion Lannister is arguably the coolest character on Game of Thrones. I’m just saying, give yourself every chance to reach your max potential. Because my body didn’t have enough sleep back then, my legs grew first, and, right when it was my torso’s turn, I got short-changed. Literally. My torso got the shaft. Small compared to my legs! Now I’ve gotta work so much harder to compensate for those proportions, in yoga (you’d be surprised how much harder a forward fold is with long legs to a tiny torso!), buying clothes and putting outfits together, and then some. C cups are in my genes. Small B’s are what I got. Thank God for padded bras, but man, sometimes I just want to fill out that dress without the bubble wrap. Short change your sleep now, you’ll be a less smart, less built, less personable version of yourself later. Get the point? If you want to go into college ballin out instead of bailin out, you need to SLEEP.

Here’s how:
1) Lay off the caffeine, especially after 4pm. If you’re getting enough sleep, I promise you won’t even need the stuff. This is getting into your system in a variety of ways: anything coffee (cappuccinos, lattes, frappuccinos), teas (yes, even green tea has caffeine!), energy drinks. If you wanna hang at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts with your homies after school, go decaf, or get a non-coffee alternative, like smoothies or herbal teas. Decaf is the new cool.

Your Pax Mantras for the week:
Mocha makes your sleep broke-a.
Even green has caffeine.
Red bull gives you dings.

2) Turn off and stow away (like you’re on an airplane) all of your electronic devices at least 1 HOUR before bedtime. That includes your smartphone (No she di’ent!), computer, TV, iPad. Basically anything with a screen. These screens stimulate your brain, and make it ready to think and work. Sort of the opposite place you want to be in before you sleep, am I right?
3) Ok, you’ve successfully pried the device out of your fingers, which are still in the shape of a claw from being so used to having your hand wrapped around the thing. OMG now what? What will you do to fill the void?? Try writing in a journal with a pen (remember those long skinny things that ink comes out of that you can use to write with?). This helps you vent out anything that’s on your mind, so you don’t have to spend time tripping out about it while you’re trying to fall asleep. Leave it on the page and leave it behind so you can dream about much sweeter things, like your next big business idea, next epic weekend, next concert you’re stoked to attend.
Read a book-yeah, like actual printed words on a page. Pick something you can get into, but not so much that you can’t put it down. Something you’re interested in, but that you can drop after about 20 minutes or until you feel your eyelids start to droop. I’m really into elephants, so I’d pick a book where I can learn some interesting facts about these mammoth mammals and scope some cool pictures for about 20 minutes or so, and then feel perfectly satisfied to close up shop and close my eyes.
Zone out with some meditation. There are very cool meditation apps you can download on your phone. I know, I said no phones. But turn it upside down so you can’t see the screen, throw on some headphones, and follow the guided meditation. Before you know it, you’ll be zenned up and zoned out, resting and recovering so you can be your most awesome self tomorrow. Get in touch with your inner baby and sleep like one!