Quickfix

I believe that often times the answer to a problem is quite easy. What most people fail at is the discipline to carry out what they know to be right. For the last days I have been struggling with this. I haven't been out as long as I wanted to. I didn't really stick to my daily morning routine of either showering or doing sports and I failed at going to bed early. 

I think that the most important skill that I picked up during my studies is discipline. But what is it worth that I can be disciplined when I am not being it? I know that happiness is a skill that I can manage to learn but like with every other skill I need to grind myself.

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry 

Today I woke up after about 5 hours of sleep and I just wanted to lay in bed forever and probably watch some episodes of Arrow (a pretty decent series on Netflix). Where would this lead me? Well I wouldn't need to feel myself, but that would only work for a couple of hours until I wake up and find myself in a even worse position because I'd realize that I haven't achieved anything today and hate myself even more. 

I am writing this article to remind myself that I don't have to identify with my feelings. I don't feel like doing sports now, but I will do it anyways because it gives me satisfaction, mental and physical strength, it gets my blood flow going and because it is part of my routine to a healthier, happier and more productive me. 

Seeing opportunity

I strongly believe that hustling is 90% of becoming great. The other 10% is chance. I think chances will come along for pretty much everyone but only those who currently try will finally see the opportunity when it is strolling down the line with you. 

I've had some pretty bad days this week. I got sick, I stopped working out and my lovely meditation app (get it at headspace.com) just introduced a new meditation technique, visualization, which is pretty frustrating because I feel unable to do it. Many words, little meaning: I feel miserable.

As an result of that I've been bingewatching Gotham and House of Cards on Netflix and those are definitely shows, I'd recommend, but it's very unfulfilling. I am on a vacation with my parents. I planned to get some video cutting done here, but I lost the USB stick with all the material. I guess everyone sees my train of fought: I'm finding lame excuses. 

Tomorrow is the date of my brothers confirmation. I have big problems engaging in conversations with my family and it's friends because I feel sluggish and bad about myself, but I will take the opportunity.

Which opportunity? I will train to network and have mindful conversations under the best situation possible: I feel bad, so it's hard for me to engage into meaningful conversations or conversations that don't interest me at all. So that's quite a hard level to work on, but it's okay if I fail. It's family. Nobody cares if I leave at a certain point in the talk. I don't lose money or a relationship about it. I can just be there and work on my skills trying to hide how much I hate myself and the situation I'm being in. Sounds great, right? I'm almost pumped. Almost.

Mother nature

I stumbled upon another short post on the positive effects of some bacteria living in soil which could be beneficial for the suppression of depression and other mental problems by positively controlling serotonin levels. I decided to make a small adjustment on my workout routine. Whenever I go out to work out, I will do it on some green space, in a park for example. I will go out for my workout everyday and not stay at home. Last but not least I make it mandatory to walk barefoot through the city every day for at least 2k steps.

Real love

After one relationship I might not have to much entitlement to write about love, but I will just do it anyways. Who would have guessed. Anyways, I have the strong feeling that now that the relationship is over and I am in fact caring more for myself, I am also more confident in caring for others. I feel that I can finally stop waiting to be loved. I have been meditating for 40 days in a row and I feel more mindful every day. 

During the last few days I got the strong feeling that I'd rather interpret love in the altruistic way. I want to use that new quality of my state of mind to improve the lives of the people around me. Finally I feel like I can give more than what I receive. Meditation is quite awesome.

I am quite sure that I am still to unstable to be part of a two human relationship but I can still learn to be the best version of myself at any given point in time.

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.