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.

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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.

 

 

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

Every Master Was Once A Beginner

I believe in three letters.

A

P

‘D’ stands for desire. One  need to have a burning desire to make one’s dreams come true. As Paulo Coelho nicely put it in The Alchemist, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

‘A’stands for action. Dreams without continuous action are nothing but daydreaming. Only action brings true knowledge, and only action propels us forward.

‘P’ stands for patience or perseverance. Patience is the ultimate ingredient that makes the dish complete, fresh and tasty. Indomitable confidence combined with the previous two steps can create magic results.

The difference between possible and impossible is only in the amount of time invested.

This is why we must never give up.

Can We Defeat Fear?

Everybody fears something. Whether we realize it or not, whether it is conscious or subconscious, we are all afraid of something.

I consider fear to be one of the biggest sins. As Carlos Castaneda put it, fear is the first enemy for the man of knowledge.

So the question is – can we defeat our fears?

I don’t think so.

I already addressed the subject in the post on the biggest virtues. Briefly, in order to deal with fear, one needs to practice courage. Think about darkness stepping away when there is light.

The key word here is practice. We all require courage in different situations. Yet I don’t think there will be a day when we can say honestly and sincerely: “I am not afraid of anything!”.

The point is not about having or not having fear.

The point is whether we face it or surrender.

Other posts related to Carlos Castaneda:

Castaneda And Frankl: A Bridge Between Esoterics And Psychology
Death Makes Life Meaningful
What Is The Way of The Marital Arts? (Part 1)
What Positive Attitude Really Means
A Cubic Centimeter Of Chance
We Must Never Stop Dreaming
The Four Enemies Of Knowledge