40 Ways to Feel More Alive

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” ~Joseph Campbell

As I write this, I am two hours away from my first weekly acting class in Los Angeles. I’ve been here for almost two years now, and though I loved Community Theater as a kid, I never so much as researched acting classes until a couple weeks back.

I frequently said I wanted to do it, along with painting classes, which I’m starting next week, but I always made excuses not to start either.

I was too busy. I didn’t have enough money. I didn’t have the time. I wouldn’t be good enough. I’d feel uncomfortable. I might not enjoy it. I don’t like commitment. It wouldn’t lead anywhere.

The list went on and on, but I realized the last two were the big ones for me. I chronically avoid commitment because I associate that with hindering my freedom. (What if I decide last-minute I want to go somewhere or do something else?)

Also, I hesitate to give large amounts of time to hobbies I have no intention of pursuing professionally.

I realized last month, however, that I want to prioritize more of the things that make me feel passionate and excited—and not just occasionally, but regularly.

I don’t know if these classes are “leading” anywhere. I just know I feel in love with the possibilities I’m creating—not possibilities for growth tomorrow; possibilities for joy today.

That’s what it means to really feel alive—to be so immersed in the passionate bliss of this moment that you don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. You just enjoy what you’re doing and love every piece of it.

If you’re looking to feel that sense of exhilaration but don’t know where to start, you may find these ideas helpful:

Say Something You’ve Been Meaning to Say

1. Tell someone how you really feel about them instead of waiting because you’re scared.2. Tell someone what you really want and need instead of building up resentment.

3. Share your fears publicly, in a blog post for example, and ask the community to keep you accountable in overcoming them.

4. Tell a friend your greatest dream, and then ask them to hold you accountable in pursuing it.

5. Admit to a friend how you really feel about how you spend your time—then brainstorm about ways to improve it.

6. Introduce yourself to someone you’ve been dying to meet, even if you feel nervous.

7. Ask someone who’s done what you want to do for advice and encouragement.

8. Tell your boss what you can do instead of wondering if you’ll ever move forward professionally.

9.  Or tell your boss his or her services are no longer needed—then finally start pursuing your passion.

10. Tell yourself the truth instead of lying to yourself about the changes you want to make in your life.

Try Something You’ve Always Wanted to Try 

11. Sign up for a class to learn a skill you’ve always thought would be fun.12. If you can’t afford a class, look on Craigslist for free events related to that interest.

13. Ask a friend to teach you to do something you don’t know how to do—and offer to teach them something else in return.

14. Take that new class at your gym instead of worrying that you won’t be able to keep up.

15. Buy a new or used instrument and look on for instructional videos on YouTube.

16. Think of something you’d enjoy creating—a blanket, a song, or a small piece of furniture—and then do some research today to take the first step in doing it.

17. Write a blog post or take some photos and submit them to your favorite website.

18. Invite a few of your friends to play a sport you’ve always wanted to try, even if you fear you’ll seem uncoordinated.

19. Blast your favorite song and try a dance style you’ve always admired. Nothing makes you feel alive like getting your blood pumping!

20. Make a list of things you think you’d enjoy, and then pick one you’ve never done to try this weekend.

Go Someone You’ve Always Wanted to Go

 21. Plan a vacation to that destination you’ve always dreamed about visiting.22. If you can’t afford that, research cheap ways to travel—staying in hostels, volunteering abroad, or transporting someone else’s car, for example.

23. Issue yourself a “life ticket.” According to Tiny Buddha contributor Jamie Hoang, we find ways to pay tickets when we get them because we have to. Think of travel in that same way—and be resourceful to make it happen.

24. Take a weekend road trip to somewhere close you’ve always wanted to visit.

25. Write down your three favorite hobbies and for each, a place you’ve always wanted to try(i.e.: a beautiful beach an hour away for surfing). Plan to go this weekend.

26. Invite friends to a restaurant, bar, or other establishment you’ve wanted to try, but have avoided in favor or familiarity. (Once you invite other people, you’ll be less inclined to change your mind last-minute!)

27. If you’ve avoided going to a new spot because it’s expensive, start a “fun night” savings jar today, and make trying that place a priority.

28. Make a list of fun “staycation” ideas (for daytrips in your area). Schedule at least two of them for the next month.

29. If there’s a conference you’ve always wanted to attend, book your ticket for next year, or see if you can volunteer there to get free or discounted attendance.

30. Plan some type of creativity-driven travel project—once a week or even month, take photos, draw, or write in a new spot you’ve wanted to visit

Do Something You Thought You Couldn’t Do


31. Jot down three qualities you’d like to possess, then three choices or activities that coincide with them (i.e.: adventurous—white water rafting). Make a plan to do that thing.32. Enlist a friend to help you face it fear, whether it’s quitting your job or skydiving.

33. Create a positive affirmation to replace a limiting belief (i.e.: tell yourself, “I feel confident around new people” instead of “I can’t meet new people—I’m too nervous”). Then use that new belief topush yourself out of your comfort zone.

34. Think of someone you admire and write down three things they do that you don’t think you can. Now make it a personal mission to prove yourself wrong.

35. Think of something huge you’ve wanted to do, but feared you can’t. Now shrink it down to something smaller but related (i.e.: climb Mt. Everest could start with join a rock climbing gym.) Do that smaller thing today. It’s a start!

36. Ask a friend to describe your potential. Find the parts that make your heart race with excitement, and then take one small step today to work toward that possibility.

37. Set a 30-day challenge—i.e. write 5 pages every day without worrying if they’re any good; after 30 days, you’ll have a first draft of a 150-page novel.

38. Ask yourself, “What would I try if I thought I wouldn’t fail?” Take one tiny step toward that goal today.

39. Ask a friend or your significant other to design an “opposite night” for you—a night when the two of you do things completely opposed to what you usually do.

40. Share something you want to do but think you can’t in the comment section here. Just putting it out there is a great start!

This is obviously a large list—and there’s far too much to do all at once. But maybe you can pick just one thing that resonated with you, or pick one thing every week or month.

The point is to do something to feel passionate, excited, and exhilarated.

We all have different interests that inform what we want to do; and we all have different responsibilities that might limit how we’re able to do them. But we all have the ability to make at least one tiny change, or take at least one tiny risk.

Today I’m going to spend several hours doing something I haven’t done in 10 years with people I’ve never met. I feel terrified, but oh so thrilled and alive.

What would give you that feeling?

Photo by Yafut, garryknight, Alec Schueler, chetbox, and John_DL

Profile photo of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook seriesTiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, and Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions. She’s also co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow on Twitter& Facebook.

Scientists find key to ‘turbo-charging’ immune system to kill all cancers

Imperial College scientists are developing a gene therapy designed to boost immune cells

A protein which ramps up the immune system has been discovered by scientists at Imperial College London

A protein which ramps up the immune system has been discovered by scientists at Imperial College London Photo: Wellcome Collection

In a breakthrough described as a ‘game-changer’ for cancer treatment, researchers at Imperial College found a previously unknown molecule which boosts the body’s ability to fight off chronic illnesses.

Scientists at Imperial College London, who led the study, are now developing a gene therapy based on the protein and hope to begin human trials in three years.

“This is exciting because we have found a completely different way to use the immune system to fight cancer,” said Professor Philip Ashton-Rickardt, from the Section of Immunobiology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial, who led the study.

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A protein which ramps up the immune system has been discovered by scientists at Imperial College London Photo: Wellcome Collection

“It could be a game-changer for treating a number of different cancers and viruses.

“This is a completely unknown protein. Nobody had ever seen it before or was even aware that it existed. It looks and acts like no other protein.”

The protein – named lymphocyte expansion molecule, or LEM, promotes the spread of cancer killing ‘T cells’ by generating large amounts of energy.

Normally when the immune system detects cancer it goes into overdrive trying to fight the disease, flooding the body with T cells. But it quickly runs out of steam.

However the new protein causes a massive energy boost which makes T cells in such great numbers that the cancer cannot fight them off.

It also causes a boost of immune memory cells which are able to recognise tumours and viruses they have encountered previously so there is less chance that they will return.

The team made the discovery while screening mice with genetic mutations. They found one type produced ten times the number of cancer-fighting T cells, suppressing infections and becoming resistant to cancer.

Researchers found that the mice with enhanced immunity produced high levels of the unknown protein which is also found in humans.

They are hoping to produce a gene therapy whereby T cells of cancer patients could be enhanced with the protein and then injected back into the body. It could end the need for harsh chemotherapies as the body itself would be fighting the disease, rather than toxic drugs.

Dr Mike Turner, Head of Infection and Immunobiology at The Wellcome Trust, said: “The discovery of a protein that could boost the immune response to not only cancer, but also to viruses, is a fascinating one.

“Further investigation in animal models is needed before human trials can commence, but there is potential for a new type of treatment that capitalises on the immune system’s innate ability to detect and kill abnormal cells.”

Charities said the protein showed ‘great promise’ and were eager to see if it could be translated into humans.

Dr Alan Worsley, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “This exciting work in mice is still at an early stage and only looked at one type of cancer.

“Cancer often finds a way to suppress the immune system, but drugs that overcome this and allow immune cells to target cancer show great promise. Research into the biology of the immune system could help develop more effective treatments by increasing the number of cancer-killing immune cells.

“The researchers now need to figure out how to develop drugs that target this molecule, and whether doing so would be safe and effective in cancer patients.”

The research was published in the journal Science.

Move Over Titanium, 3D Printed Bone Implants are Here

3D-printed-ct-bone-implantedit

Move Over Titanium, 3D Printed Bone Implants are Here

Tarun Tampi BY ON MON, MAY 18, 2015 · 
 In the rapidly transforming world of medical technology, the best material that was available till now for 3D printed bone implants was titanium, or in certain cases PEEKor PEKK. Of course, other solutions could involve cutting bone from the patient and repositioning it where required. But as far as external implants are concerned, only alloplastic or non-biological materials – say metal, ceramics or plastics – had been successfully tried and tested. These materials when implanted met with varying degrees of success and one surgery in 2012 made headlines worldwide wherein a 3D printed titanium implant was inserted into the jaw of an 83-year-old woman with oral cancer.

3D printed titanium implant

Xilloc Medical, a Dutch medical design company that has pioneered patient-specific implants, had built a printable file for the implant from CT scans and then went one step further: they used complex algorithms to modify the digital jaw bone so that blood vessels, nerves, and muscles could grow into the titanium implant once printed, thus allowing the body to integrate the implant to a greater extent than ever before.

Now, Xilloc is pushing the boundaries in skeletal reconstructive surgery once again. Teaming up with Next21, a Japanese company that is an innovator in medical technology and a specialist in biomedical ceramic printing, Xilloc is on the verge of licensing and releasing a new technology for bone implants in the European market- it’s called CT-Bone.

3D printed ct bone

The manufacturing of CT-Bone involves printing the designed implant using calcium phosphate, the primary constituent of natural bone. The advantage is that when this is implanted, the patient’s existing bone fuses with it just as it would with natural bone and unifies in a few months. It’s a bone-like implant that allows bone to grow naturally into it.

As Maikel Beerens, CEO at Xilloc, said, “3D Printing of CT-Bone allows us to help even more patients with a tailor-made solution. After taking a CT-scan of the patient, a patient-specific implant is designed by our biomedical engineers in collaboration with the surgeon. This design perfectly fits on the anatomy of the patient, ensuring good bone-to-implant contact and facilitating bony in-growth.”

The material is artificially made, yet integrates with the body just as natural bone would. 3D printing it means that it can be customized to the individual patient and controlled to exhibit the same porosity as natural bone. It dramatically decreases the odds of infection, bodily rejection and interestingly, doesn’t require thermal processes like sintering to increase its mechanical strength.