I'm ready to level up!

James Swanwick ON: Alcohol Free Lifestyle, Blue Light Blocking Glasses & Sleep Hacks

Mar 14, 2021



  • The bottom line is this you don't want to drink to relieve you of your stress, you just want to be relieved of your stress. And you can do that a million different ways that do not involve drinking a glass of toxins.” \


  •  To be able to serve, we need to be fit to serve. We should be healthy, physically and mentally. However, there’s so many stressors in this world. In addition, we have pollution, blue lights, bad habits and false belief of how to relieve stress. Understanding the effects of these in our body will give us more knowledge on how to handle them.  
  • In this episode, we talk about the effects of blue light and alcohol on your body. How you can prevent it and handle it better. If you value your physical and mental health, and you want to know how to take care of yourself,  this episode is for you! 


  • James Swanwick shares amazing nuggets and personal experience’s on how to change your relationship with alcohol. He also shares how his product, Swannies, can improve your sleep quality which will greatly help your productivity at work.  

I want to gift you guys 20% off the full range of Swanwick Sleep products. Just head across to https://www.jjlaughlin.com/FAVES


Not to be missed...

Receive weekly tips from James on how to Live Your Life on Purpose. James interviews some of the leading performers in business, sport and life. Learn from the worlds greatest, each and every week for FREE. Click here to sign up!


Inspirational Quotes



Full Transcript

[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Life On Purpose with James Laughlin Show. Please note that there may be small moments where grammar goes off track - this is simply due to the fact that the LIVE episode was converted to full long-form transcript.  For weekly motivation, please subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Youtube.]

James Laughlin  00:00 

Welcome to Life on Purpose. My name is James Laughlin, former seven time world champion musician and now success coach to leaders and high performers. Each week, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you live your life on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show. Thomas Edison once said, "The value of an idea lies in the using of it." and Theodore Levitt once said, "Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things." Investor, entrepreneur, speaker, health coach and former sports centre anchor on ESPN. James Swanwick joins us today. He is the creator of Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses, and a 30-day No Alcohol Challenge. Plus, he was named by Forbes as one of the top 25 networking experts. Guys, I hope you enjoy the show. Welcome to life on purpose. James, absolutely fantastic to connect with you. Thanks for making the time. 


James Swanwick  01:27 

Thank you for having me, James. 


James Laughlin  01:29 

Now, I mean, it's gonna be funny James and James back and forth here for the next session. You based over in Brisbane, and I came across some of some of your content through a friend who's connected with you. And I was really inspired on two fronts. And so one of those was, the glasses that you're wearing are very unique. They're not normal glasses. So I'd like you to maybe just tell me on the audience a little bit more about those glasses and what inspired you to create them. 



James Swanwick  01:57 

So, I'm wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses. These are named Swannies, I have a company called Swanwick Sleep. And you know, we're staring at screens so much these days, because of COVID related lock downs, and people are working from home. And every time that that blue light from your computer screen hits your eyes, and you're not protecting them, then you're damaging your eyes, and especially at nighttime, if you're not blocking, you know the blue light from devices and lights, then you're compromising your sleep quality. So, about 2015 I was in Palm Springs, California. And a friend of mine was wearing a really unsightly pair of orange lens, kind of like safety goggles to kind of, you know, safety glasses that you might wear if you were mowing the lawn. And I said, "What are you doing? You look ridiculous. And you're making me look ridiculous by association", because we were in this very nice restaurant in a hotel. And he said, "I'm trying to block the blue light." And I said, "block the blue light, what are you talking about?", and he went on to explain that, particularly at nighttime lights from bathroom light, kitchen lights, microwave light, cell phones, screens, TV screens. When thatlight hits our eyes, it triggers our pituitary and pineal glands and convinces us that it's daytime even though it's nighttime. And that stimulates our daytime hormones, which then compromises our body's ability to create create melatonin. And so staring into a screen late at night means that you don't sleep as well as nature intended you to sleep, which means you wake up the next morning, irritable and stressed. The only problem was you had to wear a really ugly pair of glasses to block that blue light you kind of had to look like a meth chemist in order to protect your eyes. So, I just created a what I consider to be a very stylish pair of blue light blocking glasses called Swannies in 2015. And it kind of kicked off, I guess we're known as being the original gangster of stylish blue light blocking glasses. And, we have nighttime ones with the orange lens and daytime ones which have more of a lighter or clearer lens to them. 


James Laughlin  04:08 

Okay, that's fantastic. And for people that have a mild prescription glasses, can they get these altered or added? Is that possible?  


James Swanwick  04:16 

Yeah, we do prescription as well. Yeah, on our website, you can put in your prescription, and we make prescription glasses. And then also we've got these things called fit overs, which go over the top of your existing prescription glasses as well. 


James Laughlin  04:29 

That's cool. I love it. So So cool. Do you distribute internationally? 



Yeah, yeah, yeah. They were designed in California. We're now based in Texas. But yeah, we have worldwide distribution. 


James Laughlin  04:45 

Fantastic. And so anybody that's listening in today, what's the best way for them to connect with your brand? 


James Swanwick  04:51 

Yeah, swanwicksleep.com is the best place or you can just type in Swannies in Amazon. If you're in the US, you can Text me at the number 44222 and just put in the word Swannies and I can send you back a link there as well. But don't do that if you're not in the US, otherwise, you'll just get a weird error message. 


James Laughlin  05:10 

Good to know, I love it. The one other thing I wanted to talk about, because I personally know that I need to be wearing those glasses. I spent a lot of time, as an entrepreneur and somebody who's walking, working from home, and during COVID, I need those glasses. So, I'm excited to start wearing them. And I interviewed a guy a few weeks ago in LA, who uses them, who's a big advocate for them. And he just says, you know, as part of a sleep cycle, it's important to do it. So, I'm going to put my hand up and say, I'm next. I'm going to do it. So, you'll be receiving an order from me after this, James. 


James Swanwick  05:38 

I love it.  


James Laughlin  05:39 

Now, I wanted to talk about another thing. So, on your feed, I've been following you on Instagram for a while now, the one thing that's inspirational is your alcohol free journey. Now, can you please tell me a bit more about what sparked that journey? 



James Swanwick  05:55 

Well, I'm Australian, I grew up in Brisbane and I was a suicidally acceptable drinker in as much as I had a drink or two each night, at the end of the day just to relax. On weekends, I might drink heavier. And, on occasion in my 20s, I got drunk. But you know, going in my early 30s, to my mid 30s, I would have a couple drinks a night, and I thought that that was pretty innocent. But then in 2010, I woke up one morning, and I looked in the mirror and all of a sudden it kind of hit me. I was like, well, you look kind of old James or you look a bit weathered. Like your skin's dry. You got a few little crow crow's feet around your eyes. I had a little bit of a beer belly, like I wasn't rock bottom, okay, I wasn't like obese. I was definitely overweight, but not obese. I wasn't sleeping great. I was irritable. I was just blah. It's kind of how I would explain like, if you feel like you're operating at a six out of 10 consistently, that's kind of how I felt. And I identified that it was these one or two drinks each night and a bit more on the weekends. That was the culprit, so to speak. So, I committed to 30 days being alcohol free just as an experiment just to see what would happen. And in 30 days, I lost five kilos, which is about 13 pounds, and I slept better. And I noticed I had the clarity. I no longer had the fogginess, I wasn't as irritable, my productivity improved. And around that time, I had an opportunity to audition for a job at ESPN over in Bristol, Connecticut to be a sports centre anchor. And I credit the clarity and focus that I got during that alcohol free months for helping me get that job. I became a sports centre anchor on ESPN and I don't think I would have got it if I had been drinking, because I would have been irritable and foggy and distracted. So, I just thought, Well, you know this has given me an incredible ROI. Like I've lost weight, I'm sleeping better. I've landed my dream job. I feel terrific. I was attracting a higher calibre of relationship into my life both both platonic and romantic. I was single at the time. So I thought, Man, this alcohol free lifestyle has given me some good bang for the buck. I'll keep going. And I haven't drunk since I haven't drunk since 2010. It's been almost 11 years and since that time, I've created programmes through my sort of holding business called Alcohol-free Lifestyle, which helps people now, quit drinking, reduce drinking, change their relationship with alcohol, I have a signature programme named Project 90, which specifically helps entrepreneurial folks, like entrepreneurs, parents, high performers, people who are in their 40s and 50s, late 30s. To quit drinking, and the results people get are saving marriages or making more money or you know, sleeping better just overall wellness really. 


James Laughlin  09:00 

I love it. That's seriously amazing. And I can really resonate with and I just want to honour you for sharing the story. And what started that change because that's a monumental change. And I know what you mean, being Australian, I live in New Zealand being Kiwi or growing up in Ireland, being Irish, it's normalised to socialise alcohol, and we celebrate with it. We end the week with it, we end a hard day with it. When we're having a tough time, we engage with it. It's kind of like hey, we just normalisethis alcoholic engagement. So, about 10 months ago, I was challenged, a friend challenged me to do one year of new alcohol. And I'm 10 months in and I feel amazing. And I was like you were it was like I could cope and I can manage and I didn't think I was out of control. But every day there'd be a couple of beers or a couple of wines and I just normalise that. My results in 10 months have been phenomenal for my health, my mindset, my productivity, as you mentioned, I can relate to everything you've just said. But I know that for some people it's actually a really hard transition. So, For people that are listening and thinking, "Hey, I'm that person that kind of functions okay. But I'm not high energy and I sometimes I'm groggy in the mornings. But man, I couldn't go to the party, the office party not drink or I couldn't go to the big event and not drink." What advice would you have for them? 



James Swanwick  10:16 

Yeah, well, we help people rewire their brain around socialising, and alcohol because a lot of folks when they first become clients, say, "I'm so scared about going out and socialising without alcohol, because people will judge me, they'll think I'm an alcoholic, I won't be able to have fun. I'll have to cower in the corner, like people are going to keep asking me about this." and I get it like it's a perfectly normal human trait to have that fear built in. Because society has normalised drinking. Because society has normalised social drinking. We've convinced ourselves that we need alcohol in order to bond or to have fun or relax or to create a connection. But it is a nonsense, because the reality is, is that you can connect and have fun and create a connection without attractively packaged poison. And that's how I refer to alcohol. It's it's simply attractively packaged poison. How do you handle that? Sothey've done studies of the human brain and they've done studies of persuasion and influence. And they've shown that persuading and influencing anyone is only 7% what you say And 93% how you say it. The 93% is composed of body language, tonality, voice, those kind of things. So, to answer your question, how do you socialise without alcohol? The way in which you share with people that you are not drinking is far more important than any explanation you give them for not drinking. So what I say to my clients is, think about George Clooney, George Clooney, we think of as confident and cheeky and kind of like, just like, totally solid in who he is. If we go out with a George Clooney esque kind of mentality where it's like, "yeah, I'm not drinking. It's, um, you know, whatever. Yeah, I'll take a soda water. Yeah, love a soda water. Thanks. Yeah. No I'm not drinking at the moment. Actually, I've haven't drunk for about three months now. So I'm feeling pretty good. But yeah, I'll take soda water ice and a piece of lime things. Yeah, you know, it's just drinking too much. And I just I'm taking a break at the moment. I feel feel pretty good. But watch me get drunk on this soda water tonight. Hey, I tell you what, I'll go toe to toe with you. We'll go drink for drink. You take the shots, and I'll drink the soda water. Haha, look out. I'm going to swing from the rafters tonight on this water." If you take on that George Clooney esque kind of like, it's no big deal. It's like, "Oh, yeah, it's all good", then that will inspire you to remain alcohol free to have a great time, you will demonstrate to others around you that you are having a great time because nobody wants to be around someone who isn't. That's why they keep encouraging. You have a drink, have a drink, have a drink. Because they don't want you to feel like you're depriving yourself of something. But when you take on that physicality, and that intentionality and that being of like, I'm cool, suave, sophisticated, happy, having fun, being alcohol free, then everyone can just relax and just get on with it. 


James Laughlin  13:25 

That's amazing. That's such an amazing way to approach it. I love that. And I think to actually have strategies for people to implement. That's the goal. Because often people will started January, maybe go dry January or dry July is a big thing here in New Zealand, but they'll push through this month and maybe have one or two cheat days. But it's actually really hard because they don't have strategies, they're doing it by themselves with no game plan, no support, no accountability, of what you're able to offer them as, actually, hey, here's where you start. Here's your next step. Here's the ability, here's support. I love that. 



James Swanwick  13:56 

Here's where here's why dry January and sober October and a few of those other things are ineffective for long term. alcohol free living. They're very successful for getting people to 30 days, right. But they're very unsuccessful and getting people to embedding it as a long standing lifestyle. And the reason is, is because it's finite, right? 30 days means for 30 days, you're going to deprive yourself of something that ordinarily you would freely choose. So, you feel like you're in a prison during those 30 days. You're white knuckling it, you're using willpower and all the studies show that willpower is completely ineffective as a long standing lifestyle change tool. So, what we do is we help people to look at alcohol through a different lens. And that lens is look at looking at alcohol for what it is, it'sattractively packaged poison, it's a toxin, it's compromising all areas of your life. And we don't talk about quitting drinking, we don't focus on quitting drinking, we focus on living an alcohol free lifestyle, of health and vitality and energy. So, you're not saying no to alcohol, you're saying yes to alcohol free living. There's a big difference there. Because if you're saying no to alcohol, then you're going to feel like you're in a prison. And all prisoners want to do? They want to break out of prison. Which is why when dry January is over, everyone's out there celebrating a drink. I mean, on February, the first, I was checking my Instagram feed, and I saw a number of my friends who were celebrating, completing DryJanuary by drinking alcohol. I'm like, Well, what was the point of you even doing that? Like, what is the point if this is not a long standing like, lifestyle? So yeah, you know, we provide psychology research, scientifically backed accountability, tools, techniques, body language patterns, and we make it fun. And we create a community and that is what has generated an 87% success rate of people embedding an alcohol free lifestyle, and by the way, AA has reported 7% success rate. Because it's dark, it's gloomy, right? It's depressing, you got to surrender to a higher power, as an 87% success rate, because it's fun. 



James Laughlin  16:31 

That's unbelievable. I've heard those stats about AA, but I did not know the stats about your success rate. That's phenomenal. I love that. And I'm thinking about because I'm a parent of a young, four year old boy, little toddler, and those first few years, and I'm sure as the years go on that the other challenges, but there's a lot of parents out there. And if you watch on social media, the behaviour is interesting that parents seem to almost make it a comical thing, that to deal with the stresses of being a parent, you need to reach for the glass of wine, a glass of wine and ice what every parent needs and what they deserve. How can a parent go about rewiring their brain? Like what's a couple of simple steps for them to reframe their whole process to thinking alcohol is the solution to my stress. 



James Swanwick  17:14 

Yeah, what alcohol actually creates more stress is very important to understand that from the beginning. When you drink alcohol, you have a temporary and illusionary feeling of relief. Right, so I get it because you're stressed, you're anxious. And so you pop a bottle of attractively packaged poison, you drink it, you sit down and go. Oh, yeah, I'll finally have relief from my stress. Well, sadly, it's temporary. And sadly, it's illusionary because what that drink is actually doing is now filling your body with toxins, which is now going to compromise your sleep quality, which is going to result in you waking up in the morning, feeling just a little bit irritable, just a little bit foggy, just a little bit more crappy, which in turn leads to you making poor choices throughout the day where you have like a sugary food to give you a little pick-me-up. And now you live your whole day looking forward to six, seven o'clock at night. Again, when you can have another glass of attractively packaged poison and temporarily an illusionarily provide yourself with some stress relief. So, it's a complete falsehood to think that drinking is relieving you of your stress. The bottom line is this you don't want to drink to relieve you of your stress, you just want to be relieved of your stress. And you can do that 1,000,001 different ways that do not involve drinking a glass of toxins. Some of those ways can include breath simply being intentional with your breathing, walking outside, moving your body, just changing your body state can vary significantly reduce stress and anxiety, which reduces your cravings. Overall, it's living a life of appreciation versus expectation. I have all of my clients write down 20 things they're grateful for every day. It's called the daily 20, 20 things it seems like a lot, but it's intentional, because what it does is it activates something called your reticular activating system, which then makes you start to see so much more evidence that there are things to be grateful for. And when you're in a feeling of gratitude, then your stress reduces. And the biggest trigger for people wanting to drink is stress. So, if you're starting to connect the dots here, if you are living a life of appreciation versus expectation, then you're not as stressed which means you don't have as many alcohol cravings, which means you're less likely to want to drink alcohol. I mean, I could go down the rabbit hole with this but just to sum all of that up. Drinking alcohol doesn't relieve you of your stress, it creates more stress and focusing you don't want to drink to relieve you of your stress. You just want to be relieved of your stress. And you can do that 1,000,001 different ways. 


James Laughlin  20:02 

I love that's amazing. I really appreciate you taking the time to actually explain that because a lot of parents don't have the time to figure it out and just want to reach for the glass. So the way you succinctly done that, I think there's so many golden nuggets in that, really appreciate it. So, if somebody wanted to go out there and take the next step, and they didn't want to go to AA, because there's a lot of connotations that people have around going to AA. And also the results are pretty poor. So, if they wanted to connect with your programme, but they don't live in Brisbane, Australia, where you are, how can they get involved and become part of what you do? 


James Swanwick  20:34 

Well, it's all virtual, you don't have to drive to a meeting, like you do an AA, it's all it's all virtual, I mean, it's virtual coaching. So, if you just go to Jamesswannick.com or Jamesswannick.com/project90, you can see some details there. We have a six month kind of like fun accountability, coaching, membership, where we'll help you get to 90 consecutive days alcohol free, and then we'll help you in the second block of 90 days to really embed that as a lifestyle. And it's super fun. It's mostly for parents, entrepreneurs, people like late 30s 40s 50s we have some folks in their 60s as well. And, you know, it involves you have a one on one accountability coach who you speak to once a week in a really fun way we set goals around your health and weight loss and energy and creating new habits and mindfulness and nutrition. And, you know, it's not, I want to stress. It's not like a quit drinking programme. It's a really life transformation membership in the sense that we're helping you in health, wealth, love and happiness. You know, like AA, there are meetings, there just happened to be virtual Zoom Zoom meetings. And the meetings aren't Oh, my life sucks, because alcohol is really bringing me down. It's like, what did you do this week? Alright, what are you going to commit to doing this week? Awesome, right? Let's talk about this, let's share, let's vent, let's get the things out on the table, let's celebrate, let's have some fun little games here. And, really create change in a really fun way. Because all of the neuroscience shows us that if something is fun, it's a lot easier to achieve. And if it's not, it's going to be a lot more challenging. 


James Laughlin  22:12 

That's amazing. I really love it. So, you've got an incredible community there. And for folks who are listening, I'm going to pop those links down below. If you're on YouTube, we'll put it in the description. If you're listening in on Apple or Spotify, I'll also put it in there. So you guys can head along and actually check it out. So one question for you. What are you most excited about for 2021? 


James Swanwick  22:33 

I'm creating a new brand at the moment, which is going to be, which is a self care brand so, you know I have a sleep company, help people sleep better with Swanning Glasses, got a alcohol freedom company with alcohol free lifestyle. And now I want to kind of spin off of that a self care company. SoI'm going to be creating a brand which will help people to live a life of appreciation more and be in gratitude. So things like the daily 20 like a journal, gratitude journal, some healthy or natural products, to help people reduce stress and anxiety. And, you know, really get people focusing on and having creating more sustainable joy in their life. So that's what's coming up. 


James Laughlin  23:17 

That's beautiful. Please keep me in the loop. I'll be sure to share it all, it's fantastic. And the last question I like to ask everyone, because that's the life on purpose podcast is what's your definition of living life on purpose? 



James Swanwick  23:33 

Well, for me, it's doing what you want, when you want with who you want, I actually have a something up on my board here, on my wall, which is and I start with "I know when I am being successful when..." and then I've I've marked down seven or eight things there at the moment. And what I've written down is, I know when I'm being successful when I reflect daily, I have endless energy. I'm not stressed about business growth. I'm fully present. I listen. I eat flawlessly. I'm laughing. So I look at that and I go well, am I laughing? No, I'm not laughing as much time to watch a comedy or hang out with some friends who make me laugh. Am I fully present? am I listening? Maybe I'm a bit distracted. I think I need to go and just sit down and have an intentional conversation with my partner. Do I have endless energy? Or am I feeling a bit tired at the moment? Maybe I'm a bit tired time to really, you know, focus on some exercise. So for me, that's a living a life of purpose. 


James Laughlin  24:37 

That's amazing. I bet there's a bunch of people listening to this right now that are going to take that idea and run with it. It's so simple, but so powerful. I love that's real, intentional living. 



James Swanwick  24:47 

Yeah, and I think laughter is huge. In fact, I was actually reading a study yesterday that it was a University of Oxford study that showed that of the happiest things that People can do is, is having a meal with people they know like and trust, like friends. So eating food gives us pleasure because it increases our subconscious perception of probability of survival, right? Because humans are designed to survive. So if we're eating, that increases our chances of survival, which in turn gives us joy. So that's why people love to eat. But then when you throw in eating with friends, or family or people that you like, again, that increases your subconscious perception of probability of survival, because now you have allies around you, right? So that's going to, you know, on a subconscious level, that means you have a better chance of survival. So eating with friends, is one of the most joyous things that you can do, according to the University of Oxford study. So when all else fails, get around your friends, invite them over for dinner, go to a restaurant, if you can, you know, dine with friends, and that will that will certainly increase your your mood, and certainly there'll be laughter there as well. I would hope. 


James Laughlin  26:03 

That's amazing. And the one thing I'm going to add into that for everyone listening is make sure and make it alcohol free. 


James Swanwick  26:09 

Yeah, that's right. Well said, James. I'm a big fan of that. Yeah. alcohol free dining with friends. 


James Laughlin  26:15 

Yes. Hey, James, thank you so much for making the time and I encourage everyone to go and check you out. Grab some of your glasses. And for those of you who are thinking about going alcohol free stop thinking, start acting just go and connect with them and he's got courses got amazing resources go become a part of it. Thanks a million man. 


James Swanwick  26:32 

Coll James. Thank you for having me, mate. Appreciate it. 


James Laughlin  26:47 

Well, listeners since this was recorded about a month ago, I've managed to get my hands on a pair of Swannies day glasses, blue light blocking ones, I've noticed such a difference. I want to gift you guys 20% off just head across to my website, jjlaughlin.com/FAVES and that forward slash FAVES that should be in capitals, F-A-V-E-S and Laughlin for those of you that don't know how to spell it's spelt laugh, L-A-U-G-H. So jjlaughlin.com/FAVES. You'll see there's a 20% discount code in there for you guys. So, get your hands on a pair of those amazing glasses and protect your eyes. Thank you so much for tuning in, guys.