Photo: Michael Eisen

Michael Eisen is the founder of the Youth Wellness Network (YWN), an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. YWN specializes in creating and implementing wellness programs in schools and organizations, while offering additional assistance through online resources.

Michael is a passionate, authentic, and charismatic speaker, author, and social entrepreneur. Michael’s book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Guide to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be released fall of 2012 with Hay House.

After positively transforming his own life at the age of 19 and overcoming challenges with stress, anxiety, depression, and sickness, he is now driven to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life.

Michael created YWN when he was 25 in order to provide more extensive support programs and resources for youth struggling with similar challenges. He contributes a fresh, young, authentic voice to the field of wellness, and is rapidly becoming a youth-wellness expert.

To learn more about the YWN, visit www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca.

My Story

My whole childhood I struggled with a lack of self-worth and self-love as everyone around me always wanted to change me to fit within the label of “normal”. For the first 18 years of my life I refused to conform, but as a result I picked up various conditioned belief systems that guided the way I lived my life, and led to the creation of too much stress, pressure, uncertainty and anxiety that all culminated once I got to University.

When I was in my second year at McGill University I was going through a tough time in my life, dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, and a constant feeling of not being good enough. I was running a program of conditioned belief systems and thinking that said I had to get good grades, I had to get a high GPA, I had to prove my worth to the world through academics. If I did not succeed at this, I would not get a good job, I would not be able to support myself or a family and I would have a troublesome life full of struggles, pain and suffering. These beliefs that I was allowing to control my life led me into a dark time in my life surrounded by self -created sickness, depression and physical pain. I had reached a point where I started to seriously question if this is really what life is all about. There was a big part of me that believed deep down that this was not how I was supposed to live my life.

It was right around this same time that my father went through a major transformation in his life, and started working as a life coach. I had witnessed first-hand how he had changed his life, and it inspired me to make the decision to get assistance and start changing my life.

At first I was introduced to various new perspectives and ideologies about life and myself, and this started my journey of self-discovery and development. I began having informal coaching sessions with him, focusing on my feelings, beliefs, and general outlook on life. I realized that I was living my life thinking and worrying about how things would turn out, rather than enjoying the moment I was in. I always thought that once I got past the next midterm, project, or final exam life would settle down and I would feel happy. However, when each “event” ended I felt empty. Instead of reflecting on what I had learned from each event, I immediately put my focus on the next one and found myself feeling stressed- out all over again.

With coaching from my dad, I was able to shift from this “destination focus” and I started living life as a journey, thinking about each experience as a milestone to learn and grow from. This shift in perspective allowed me to stop putting so much pressure on the next exam, basketball game, or party, and instead I started to live more in the moment, enjoying things as I experienced them. When it came to schoolwork, I made the decision to stop studying in order to get good grades and instead, I started studying to learn. I tried to focus less on winning, and more on evolving.

The interesting thing was, I was able to learn more about myself from the downs or the so-called “failures” than I was from the actual successes, because I had changed the way I looked at these experiences. This transition allowed me to live a much more peaceful and happy life, filled with more inspiration and motivation for learning about myself and others. I was able to study for exams without worrying or feeling anxious about how I was going to do. I was able to live the remaining years of university not only feeling better about myself, but also feeling better about life.