Stealing good ideas

I think it's always important to steal good ideas from others. Like every artist needs to learn how to craft his art by copying the work of others, we also need to learn how to craft our lives, or live.

For today I will try to steal the following from the latest episode of the art of charm: 

His job title is the CEO - Chief Executive Optimist. I guess everyone should become the CEO of their lives. Have a great day!

I can (not)

For quite some time and especially during my last relationship I've had the feeling that I can not do certain stuff. I've been feeling like I was not strong enough. During my studies I've learned that it's often times enough to just stick to some kind of behaviour or exercise or just try to do my best. 

I have been used to suppress my feelings in order to not get overwhelmed by them and it seems like I am just now learning to deal with those emotions. On somedays, like today they just feel overwhelmingly big and I feel like I could not do anything but mindfulness as it is trained with meditation and as I practice it by writing this article gives me the power of observing the feeling rather than experiencing it. I feel like I don't want to do anything today but I will do it anyways. Because I can. 

If only

As I mentioned in the previous posts I tend to overthink the future and the past. While there is probably nothing wrong with analysing the past, seeing your mistakes and readjusting for the future, a process called learning, I think I am doing it to much. 

I used to blame others or the circumstances for my bad feelings. I used to tell myself "If only I could go on a vacation...", "If only I wouldn't need to get up that early every morning...", "If only I had a girlfriend...". Well, in fact I had everything I ever wanted at the end of last year/the beginning of this year but I still wasn't happy. 

What do I learn from that finding? Well the obvious: it's me or my depression for that matter. I find it hard to make myself be aware of the good things around myself because I feel empty on the inside and nothing that is already around me has fulfilled me this far. At least it feels like nothing has fulfilled me even though I know that the opposite is true. But it's not that I can't see beauty. It's just that I need to force myself to see and appreciate it. 

For the next few days I will make an experiment. I am not allowed to go through my negative thoughts unless I work on a blogpost, write a poem or song, sing or speak to my therapist. I am pretty self aware so I think that I can manage to tap out at this point. I know that those things help myself and so I am confident that it might lead to a significant improvement.

Career Advice

Yesterday I stumbled upon another interesting article. It covers the question what differs people with great career paths from those who always seem to struggle and never really seem to get out of their mediocre life. 

Even though I find the article worth reading I just want to focus on one particular part of it. It mentions another article by the NY Times which discusses the success of second generation immigrants in the US when compared to Americans whose families have been living there for a longer time span. 

It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.

I want to become an entrepreneur. Probably it's because I have all three of those traits. As I pointed out in yesterday's post, I should really be living in the here and now, but obviously none of this traits is going to make it easier for me, as it isn't for anyone else:

But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough. “I grew up thinking that I would never, ever please my parents,” recalls the novelist Amy Tan. “It’s a horrible feeling.” Recent studies suggest that Asian-American youth have greater rates of stress (but, despite media reports to the contrary, lower rates of suicide).

On the other hand I don't really feel like settling for a life in mediocracy. I strongly feel like I want to leave a footprint, a legacy and I almost feel blessed that I have those three traits. People ca laugh about me, I don't care (superiority complex); I will prove myself (insecurity) and I have the discipline (impulse control). I don't really know how to act on this. Certainly the different point of view on stress that is being taught in the TED Talk I linked in yesterday's article should make a difference. Also I won't stop meditating. I feel like I need to get more resilient to stress and to my negative emotions in order to win this game. As soon as I have any further thoughts, I will let you know. :)

 

Greetings from Hippocampus: Stress down!

I had a blast today. Starting with an interesting Article about depression on nymag. The article mainly covers the great influence of aerobic exercise in form of running and meditation on depression and it's symptoms. The theory explaining this is that neurogenesis, the new formation of brain cells that happens throughout the whole life span, is reduced in the Hippocampus of depressed people.

According to German wikipedia it is backed up knowledge that the volume of people with (unipolar) depression is reduced when compared to healthy individuals. I was thinking of myself, because I am a narcissist (No seriously who's the person you care for the most, when you are single?). I am pretty bad when it comes to accessing pictures, smells, tastes and sounds in my memory. I have no problem spotting them whenever I encounter anything I have saved in my brain but accessing it at will is quite a problem. I also now that I get better at it on good days. So it might not be a very consistent problem. 

I had a theory coming up that depressed people probably tend to be stressed out all the time leading to a wasted Hippocampus which then leads to poor memory. So I started looking at a few sources on that subject because I did not really believe that there should be no sources available and what shall I tell you? Of course there are.  

Those sources are listed down below in the sources section of this article. Summoning them up: little amounts of stress increase the performance of memory in mice while high amounts of stress lower it's performance. Alcoholics also show a very similar change in their brain structure and eventually stress will also increase the emotional response: fear. 

Another source suggests that especially highly intuitive, sensitive people tend to have an always firing fear response (which I clearly see in myself during bad phases). This is why people who belong to that type of person are always in some state of trauma; they are stressed out all the time. The natural response to that is often times that people live in the past or in the future rather than standing their own emotion at this very moment, which is definitely something I do a lot. I would suggest that playing computer and video games or watching TV shows would also fall into this category even though I am not quite sure about that. I mean who does not exit reality using one way or the other?

Obviously the best way to cope with this is to learn to relax and recover which is not a natural behavior for people who own that trait. Mediation comes in handy at this position as well as doing sports does. Another interesting video that my brother has shown me the other day suggests that also changing our attitude towards stress would help us improve our response to that. Another article published by the German "Spiegel" in 1978 also suggests the obvious: antidepressants and a more interesting helpful thing: releasing the bad feelings by feeding them into anger and articulating them. I know from myself that this definitely helps to get some relief. 

 

Sources

Momentum - Win the fight day by day

During the last 4 days I've been having a lot of problems. Basically I wasn't feeling much worse than the days before but I was paralyzed. The two weeks before I have always been fighting because I had told myself, what I would have to get done until this last Friday. I had stuck to my routine and done everything on the list. But then I fell into a hole. I had expected to see a huge improvement in my mood by then and I did not see it. I was feeling like I had to struggle like this every day for the rest of my life and it just sucked all the energy out of me.

Today I realized that I simply shouldn't care for anything mood related that will probably happen in half a year. Or tomorrow. When it comes to emotions I only need to care for today. I only need to care for the very moment. I just need to feel good now. Or feel good in an hour. I will stick to my routine and work on myself to find joy in everything I do. Even it's studying for an exam.

Just thinking of the sun shining through my windows (which it hasn't done for 5 days) makes me be a little bit happier. Cleaning up makes me happier. I hope to cultivate this behaviour.

Acceptance

I started to meditate about two weeks ago. I always tried to meditate on my own but it didn't really work out for me. When I started this time, I used an app called headspace.com. It moderates you through every session and it changed my attitude towards meditation and life in general. I always want to control things. I like to change myself to adapt to the world around me, because it gives me control. I makes me feel save. 

Using this app I learned that meditation is not all about making the mind focus on your breath and that you lost the game as soon as you loose focus (Then again my all-or-nothing-mentality kicks in). It taught me that I need to accept my thoughts. It's perfectly natural to have the mind striving around. It's not important to always keep up the focus. It's just discipline to refocus as soon as you feel that your mind has wandered off. 

I've always had problems accepting my thoughts. I've always had problems accepting myself. And in my now gone relationship I sometimes had problems with accepting my spouse. Why am I wired this way? I guess that question will be answered during my therapy, but what I can tell right now is the fact, that I feel the urge to have control in order to feel save. As soon as I loose control I feel uncomfortable and in the moment I can't control myself, I can't change who I am, I start to be disappointed. Meditation now helps me accept me for what I am.

This does not mean, that I can't change myself. But instead of working on myself on the surface I need to accept my wiring and change that. I need to accept what I am before I can change it. And I need to let go. I need to be able to loose control in order to regain control over my life and my feelings. It's quite a strange lesson to learn. But I needed it.

Get out of your way

Yesterday I joined my singing class for another round of totally awesome singing done by me. Well everyone who knows me also knows, that I am very incapable when it comes to hitting the right notes. That being said I started to take singing classes because I want to improve that. 

Singing as always been the best way to express my feelings since I don't really know how to do it speaking for myself (or at least I always feel uncomfortable when doing it). Singing would help me to find peace and calm and cope with my feelings when I was alone and for much longer times than talking about it would do.

During one of my first singing classes I also got to know and important fact, why people like me are wired to use singing to express their feelings and emotions: We as human beings start to sing very early in our lives. In fact: we start it right away. (At least my teacher explained it to me that way.) We scream and cry and laugh and express all of those great feelings by using our voice. When we get older we learn how to behave and how to suppress showing our feelings even though they are still there. Singing then is our way of taking this way of expressing feelings by making noises back and allows us to be and show what we're usually not allowed too. My teacher also told me that this is also the reason, why our voices tend to get higher, when we're very emotional. 

The very lesson I took away, however, was the following: I am much better in hitting the notes sung by my teacher or played on the piano when I don't really have time to think. I always used to say "To get something done, you just need to get out of your way". I knew that I had to stop thinking, complaining and worrying about the work I had to do and just do it. So why didn't I just apply this tactics in any field of life? For example the struggle with my inner self when I needed to clean up my room: Why not just do it and safe time? Why not get out of my way when singing? Why didn't I trust myself on this one thing? I can see how this is an important theme throughout all of my life, it did play a very important role in my last relationship, and I will try to fix this asap. 

Why?

Why do people do stuff? How do they choose what they want to do? Why do I do stuff? Those are some of the questions I have been struggling with for quite some time. 

I have always seen people who just knew what they wanted to do. In fact everyone besides me seemed like they knew what they wanted to do. I always felt different because I did not. I would change what I do periodically because I just couldn't stand the old task anymore. 

I've spoken about it with my brother the other day and he said that I should just keep on trying until I find something that would make me always think about it. Then I had another call with my beloved friend David. And he asked the most profound question:

Why do you even need to stay with one thing? Probably your thing is to always move on and explore new stuff and talk about them.

And that's why I love him. I mean basically that is why I started studying physics after all: I loved the idea of learning new stuff every day and changing my project every once in a while. I mean truth be told: The studies are hard work and most of the day I don't really get to learn something new. I rather apply stuff that I had already known on new fields or learn something over and over again so that I can apply it in an exam. 

That's why I started to devote myself to health, fitness, self growth and psychology topics using my most favourite medium: podcasts. That's why I have always wanted to own a company: I want to try out stuff throw ideas into the room and have other people do the 'hard work'. 

But that's not all the beauty in these two sentences: the other part, talking about the part that I just got to know is as important as getting there. I really regret that I did not speak about the things that excite me for quite a long time. I just need too. That's why I have always been seeking new people. Because I needed new people to talk too. I needed new space to throw ideas and thoughts in and see what other people think about it. I needed to be heard. 

So what do I do with that why that I have just found? Well I put it into action. I am already working to get a podcast up and running. I am listening to more podcasts. I will pursue my studies in physics until I have this master's degree and I will try to find something where I can reinvent myself every day.