Three Simple Ways to Tackle Depression

A friend of mine has recently shared an interesting article on the psychological costs of doing a PhD. In a nutshell, according to numerous studies, many PhD students suffer from depression, anxiety, and uncertainty.

These things are familiar to me. The point, however, is not whether one experiences them or not. Arguably, the above feelings are common among many people – not just students – living in the super-fast urbanized environment full of stress. The point is how to handle these negative moments.

In my opinion, there are three simple yet effective strategies for this.

Strategy 1: WORK

Just get your ass working. There are always things to be done. Whining is counter-productive. OK, you can keep on whining and work at the same time. As a result, not only will you get a result (please excuse my tautology), but the negative mindset will fade away.

Strategy 2: WORK OUT

Best thing to do by far. Down and depressed? Do 50 push-ups, will you? It will take just a minute of your precious time, for Christ sake. See how you feel after that. As an alternative, consider regular sports activities – or just walking in the morning.

Strategy 3: WORK AND WORK OUT

Combination of 1 and 2 (in any order). I usually prefer working out first, and then work. Physical followed by mental. However, so many people, so many tastes. Find out what works for you.

As Carlos Castaneda put it, it takes the same amount of energy to be happy or unhappy.

We always have a choice.

The Best Way To Avoid Problems

Life has three rules, according to Dan Millman: paradox, humor, and change.

Indeed, life is full of paradoxes. Which are paradoxes at first sight only, but are grains of wisdom at a closer look.

We all hear that prevention is better than cure. Long-term investment is better that immediate fire-fighting. Being proactive is better than being reactive. From this I formulate one of my favorite paradoxes:

The best way to avoid problems is to create them. 

How come?

I think most of the people have a patient mentality. We realize we have serious problems once confronted with challenges we cannot ignore. And even then, we prefer quick fixes to sustainable solutions.

What is the opposite of the patient mentality? That of a student. Meaning not going to school (though that doesn’t hurt), but creating your own challenges, formulating tasks and setting goals that require high concentration and effort.

Such challenges must be tough enough to keep you focused, determined, and alert.

Build a relationship. Contribute to a community. Move to another country. Change your profession. You name it.

And here is the thing. If you consciously create these “problems”, if you keep the fire burning, life will bring less or zero misfortune. Why should it, if you’re already busy sorting out your stuff? 🙂

It’s easy to “learn and grow” once life slams you into the face. It’s much harder to do so when things are shiny and rosy.

After all, this is what responsibility means: creating your own challenges and solving them creatively, rather than facing “unexpected surprises” from the world in a panic mode.

 

 

Life Is Amazing

As am I sitting in my room at 7.30 am, the sun is rising up over the cloud, the birds are twitting merrily, and I feel like a happy guy.

It really takes so little to embrace the joy of life.

How come we still tend to miss this out in the today’s world of fantastic developments and opportunities?

The video below is one of my favourites in this regard. Watch it and re-consider your attitude.

Amazing Louis C.K. about amazing life:

Incredible India: P.S. (Top 10 Lessons Learned)

When I took off from the Singapore Changi airport bound for my Indian adventure, by a strange coincidence one of my favourite movies was on in the aircraft. This was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The idea of the movie is that travelling and adventure are great teachers.

So it was for me during the 24 days spent in the marvelous Southern India. In addition to diverse and splendid sceneries seen, and to fantastic people met on the way, I was constantly confronted with life-learning situations. Here is the list of my top 10 that India had taught me.

  1. Don’t plan too much.
  2. Let your goals be indicators on the way, not “must-achieve-by-all-means” destinations.
  3. Trust the Universe. Everything is OK in the end.
  4. Be open and friendly. Openness attracts beautiful people and situations.
  5. Be a ‘yesman’ (yeswoman). Be open for new experiences.
  6. Be here and now. Life is a wonderful gift.
  7. Be flexible.
  8. Be tolerant.
  9. Smile.
  10. Relax.

Wish everyone find his lessons in incredible India!

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3 Golden Rules of Time Management

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They are very simple and difficult.

A paradox, huh?

RULE #1: Time is not money. Time is much more than money.

This is more a principle than a rule. It’s the foundation of everything else.

Just think for a while how privileged we are – having an invaluable resource FOR FREE – our time. Pink Floyd sang that “money is gas”. Well, time is oxygen in this case. With proper effort and self-discipline – and sometimes extreme discipline – you can convert your time to virtually anything.

Time is ingredient number one for making a dream come true.

Yet it is so often just wasted. Maybe because it’s free?

Because it’s free, however, doesn’t mean it’s endless. We are all gonna die. Or transform. Or reincarnate. It all depends on your beliefs. Perhaps you could escape taxes, but not death.

What will you leave behind you? A life full of meaning and purpose, or just a grey episode in a myriad of others? Rule #1 can set your mind on the right track leading to self-fulfillment instead of self-pity and misery.

RULE # 2: We always have time for what we really need. 

Based on my observation, “I don’t have time” is the most popular excuse for lack of action.

How about starting cooking yourself? You don’t have time.

How about doing morning exercises? You don’t have time.

How about spending more time with the loved ones? You don’t have time, of course.

The truth is, we always have time for what we REALLY need.

If you REALLY want to train, you will find time for the gym. If you REALLY want a new job, you will work your ass off for it. If you REALLY need a relationship, you will find time for that too.

Lack of time is the best pre-text for one of the biggest sins – laziness.

So how to motivate yourself to find more time?

Just stay in shit.

RULE # 3: The more things we need to do, the more time we have.

Another paradox, huh? Of yeah, life is full of them.

This rule flows out logically from the previous one.

Notice I didn’t say “have to do”; I said “need to do”. There’s an eternity of difference between the two. ‘Have’ is something that is imposed externally. It is against your will, in other words.

Of course we all HAVE to do tons of things as social beings. Yet we are more inclined to do them if we have a NEED for them. ‘Need’ is something that is born inside. It is your sincere wish and desire. Sincere need begets energy for its realization. Hence you find time.

There is an option, of course, to try to turn as many ‘have-to’s into ‘need-to’s as possible. To paraphrase Spinoza, freedom is acknowledged necessity.

My deepest wish is that this short post would be found useful by at least one of my fellow human beings.

P. S. Feel free to refer to and use some of the free materials on time management here.

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My Definition Of Success

There are hundreds of keys to success. In my understanding, success is the ability to manifest your values in life.

It’s that simple.

Values, however, can vary greatly. They are not just some abstract ideas, and are more tangible than it may seem. A value is your understanding of what is important to your own self. For example, wealth, growth, family, self-actualization, serving others, etc.

People act on their values and beliefs. They set goals based on their values. They buy things based on their values. They choose hobbies and who to communicate with based on these same values. Besides, every single day gives an opportunity to realize values.

As already mentioned, values can be different, and this is totally OK. For example, my two guiding sets are the three values by Viktor Frankl (creation, perception, attitude), and the Indian four temples (material well-being, joy, public service, spiritual growth). In fact, these two approaches have much in common.

What is important, we have to continuously realize our values to be successful. It’s not something that just happens. It’s a never-ending process.

So what happens in the long run?

If we manage to adhere to our values and act on our beliefs, we make our lives meaningful.

To sum up, success is the ability to make one’s life meaningful via implementing his or her values.

Three Types Of Destiny

In his profound book Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, considers three types of human destiny.

The first one is biological. It is pre-dermined by heredity and can hardly be changed, i.e. your height, body shape, colour of your hair, etc.

The second one is psychological destiny. For example, this includes your temper and character.

The last one is social destiny, i.e. the social environment you were born into.

A crucial remark from the auhor here is that human beings are capable to shape all types of their destinies. This is what Viktor Frankl calls resistance of spirit. This echoes, by the way, with the 5th tenet of taekwon-do – indomitable spirit.

I cannot agree more with the author.

On a daily basis, we all have an opportunity to deal with these three destines. If we’re not happy with out social status, we can work hard to change it. If we lose temper too quickly, we can learn to control it instead of blaiming our Zodiac signs. We can even change our biological characteristics, i.e. by growing muscles or taking a diet.

And if we can’t, we always have an opportunity to change our perspective towards what we can’t change. In other words, we can exercise the value of attitudeone of the three values embedded in our lives.

To sum up, there is always space for free will, even though it may be restricted by biological, psychological or social factors.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger put it:

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

Crowd Vs. Community
Castaneda And Frankl: A Bridge Between Esoterics And Psychology
The Pillars Of Human Existence: Spirituality, Freedom and Responsibility
Three Types of Values That Make Life Meaningful
Where Space for Growth Lies
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action
Knowledge Vs. Wisdom