How to deal with anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most widespread forms of mental health disorder. Every third person on this planet suffers from some form of anxiety. If we plan to live a purposeful life in a functional mental space, it is essential to understand anxiety and learn how to deal with it.

Goodmorning Planet,

How are you? I am fabulous!

Our intimate conversations are being appreciated by many. The feeling of positively impacting someone’s life is pure bliss. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Great, now that niceties are out of the way, let’s begin our today’s discussion. Today we are going to talk about anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most widespread forms of mental health disorder. Every third person on this planet suffers from some form of anxiety. If you do not suffer from anxiety, it is almost certain someone in your family does. If we plan to live a purposeful life in a functional mental space, it is essential to understand anxiety and learn how to deal with it. 

What is Anxiety?

Let’s cover the basics. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear about an event that might occur in the near future. Note the use of the word – might. 

“Might” separates anxiety from fear. We will explore the correlation between anxiety and fear later.

Anxiety is a crippling emotion. Those who suffer from severe forms of anxiety can get overwhelmed imagining consequences, and false narratives. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ideally, anxiety only occurs if we are inadequate to deal with a given situation. Weak coping mechanisms fuel chronic anxiety. Stage fright, interview nervousness, exam fear, fear of nudity, fear of public speaking, agoraphobia, fear of crowds are few mild forms of anxiety.

Instead of facing their fears, head-on, anxious people choose to isolate themselves from situations that make them anxious. If unchecked, basic phobias with time metamorphose into a full-blown disorder. 

If anxiety can make our daily lives miserable – why do we have a mental system which triggers it? 

Ideally, as an evolutionary advantage, we should only have mechanisms that help us survive. Evolutionary biologists have proven many theories regarding elimination of unhelpful traits. If anxiety doesn’t help us in any manner, why do humans have to endure it. Let’s find out!

The biological need for Anxiety

We are homo sapiens. Humans, as the kids call it!

Neanderthals were our immediate ancestors. As the evidence indicates, Neanderthals also painted a few cave walls, which shows, they did possess creativity and intellect. If you can paint, you can very well enjoy the tiny moments of life. You will learn to appreciate trees, water bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars.

We are all familiar with the survival of the fittest. Nature only allows the most resilient species to move ahead and eliminates the weaker links.

Now imagine two Neanderthals living in a cave. Let’s name them. How about Jack and Joe?

Jack has a higher sense of awareness. He doesn’t see things like others do. He is akin to Dolores of Westworld. 

“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world—the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days, a purpose.”

~DOLORES ABERNATHY (WESTWORLD)

Joe, on the other hand, is a simpleton. He knows his place in the ecosystem. He is efficient in the game of prey and the predator. He spends his days focusing on what’s important, which for him is – survival. 

Let’s see how do they both proceed with their mornings:

Jack: Upon waking up, Jack listens to bird songs. He then strolls to a nearby stream and washes. Upon relieving himself of bodily functions, he stares at the sun admiring the glowing ball of light that blesses the world with much-needed light and heat.

After having a relaxed morning, he gathers fruits from the nearby trees to prepare breakfast. He makes sure to leave a portion of his food as a symbolic sacrifice to the gods, which is later consumed by herbivores animals. All in all, Jack is a cool dude and doesn’t worry unnecessarily. 

Jack doesn’t realize, but he has an evolutionary disadvantage as per his era.

Joe: Joe wakes up in a state of paranoia. He quickly scans his surrounding for threats and dangers. He carefully observes the grass around his cave, searching for footsteps of lurking predators. 

While heading to a nearby stream of water, he is highly vigilant and alert. Even while drinking water, he continuously scans for predators. He then sharpens his tools and heads towards a hunt.

Joe is well adapted to his era. 

One beautiful morning when Jack wakes up and comes out of his cave, a tiger pounces from a nearby bush, marking an end to Jack’s career as a painter. 

The same morning when Joe wakes up, he too is attacked by a tiger. However, he is alert. He quickly grabs his tools. Rather than becoming the tiger’s meal, he makes the tiger into his breakfast. Joe will continue living longer, as he is only focused on his survival.

Jack wasn’t well suited for his time. Those were dangerous times. The price for not being vigilant and alert was life. No doubt, Jack didn’t last long.

Importance of Fear

Jack was not driven by fear at all times. Joe, on the other hand, harnessed the power of fear, which made him a winner.

Fear is a beneficial emotion. Every species on this planet experiences fear. Fear makes us alert and triggers a flight and fight response.

Jack was unprepared to deal with the danger of a predator. Joe, on the other hand, was alert at all times. His alertness made him focus on defending himself against predators. He developed better survival skills.

Joe was well adjusted while Jack lacked essential survival skills.

For a Neanderthal, there was always a danger of getting hunted. Those who did not adjust to the threat level adequately were wiped off by nature’s law of survival of the fittest. Those who adjusted and got proper nourishment further evolved into – Homosapiens – us, the humans.

Our brains have a fear detector referred to as the amygdala. Its primary job is to scan nearby surroundings for threats. The moment risk is identified, a level is assigned to the threat. Depending on the threat level, the brain determines our response. 

Our breath intensifies. All non-essential bodily functions are shut down. Energy is diverted from systems responsible for digestion and sexual arousal to your thigh and calves. As per the nature of the threat, either you run away from the danger or charge on towards the danger.

Without fear, our ancestors would not have survived long enough to reap the fruits of evolution.

Anxiety can be referred to as a pre-cursor to fear.

Anxiety helps us analyze future threats and prepare an emergency strategy. If we are well prepared, then in the state of fear, we would be more efficient to deal with the threat. 

At times fear makes us freeze. If we are prepared for the event, we won’t freeze out of fear. We will deal with the situation.

Both fear and anxiety are a helpful tool for all of us to deal with imminent danger. 

The systems we have talked about so far were adequate as per the Neanderthal era. However, with time, our environment changed. Now someone like Joe would not survive for long because he would be exhausting all him physic energies scanning for non-existent threats.

He would anxiously scan his surroundings each morning on waking up and begin his day on an unsatisfactory note. His state of mind would slip from morning to his entire day, making him highly inefficient in productive tasks. His stress levels would always be high. His heart rate and blood pressure would be skyrocketing. Joe would never calm down. Joe would never be at ease.

It breaks my heart to say that all of us are JOE!

I am Joe.

You are Joe.

Your best friend is a Joe too.

Had we been Jacks, we won’t be having this discussion. We would be creating art leisurely.

We have evolved a lot from Neanderthals. Our surroundings have changed rapidly. Our lifestyles have transformed. But our ancient brain still has all those primitive systems running in full gear.

For someone suffering from an anxiety disorder, life is a never-ending threat. The only difference between anxiety and fear is – fear is a response to an immediate threat, while anxiety is a response to a perceived future threat.

Now and then, we need to compute our efforts and progress to identify a strategy for a better future. It is a helpful activity. It helps us get better in all aspects of life. However, people suffering from anxiety disorders do not have their systems in control.

Anxiety worsens because our brains cannot distinguish between the imaginary and the real. It deals with every situation as if the situation is happening in the present. For an anxiety patient, constant threat assessment builds a negative mindset, deteriorating their quality of life.

Suppose you are not performing well in your studies. The only reason behind this is your weak skills. These could be any number of skills. You could have a low attention span, you could have low levels of intelligence, you could have comprehension issues, and the list goes on. You will always be anxious about your performance. Now, ideally, you are supposed to sort yourself out.

You will sit down calmly and identify the reason behind your lag in studies. Then you will formulate a plan. Maybe you need to get more disciplined, perhaps you need a tutor, maybe you need access to better study resources, maybe your home is toxic, and you cannot focus. Keeping the issue at hand in mind, you will strategically prepare yourself to proceed ahead in life.

This is how a reasonable person deals with anxious thoughts.

People like you and me do not process anxiety in this manner.

The moment we get anxious about our studies, we will think about it obsessively. 

We will create imaginary narratives in our minds. 

We will blame ourselves for our inadequacy. 

In moments, the walls will start to close in. Our hearts will start racing, our palms will sweat, and we will experience a panic attack. Our minds will consider this as a fear sensation, and begin pumping adrenaline into our veins. We will need to run, but there is nowhere to run. There isn’t a predator from which we need to escape. 

Dealing with anxiety is a fundamental life issue. We must be well equipped to conquer anxiety.

Over time our anxiety will worsen. The mere sight of study books or classrooms will make us more anxious. To save ourselves from angst, we would binge-watch or loiter. Do anything else to avoid thinking about studies. Unfortunately, this ostrich mechanism doesn’t work well, not even for the ostrich.

The only way to deal with anxiety is by becoming competent enough to deal with the issue, which fuels anxiety.

If you are always anxious about spending money, then start a systematic savings plan.

If you are anxious about your job, add more skills to yourself.

If you are anxious about your looks, spend time grooming yourself.

If you have social anxiety, expose yourself to crowds in a controlled manner. Get habituated to people.

If you have a fear of small spaces, practice staying in tiny places daily for 2-3 minutes.

The only way to efficiently deal with anxiety is to let your mind know, nothing awful would happen to you. You are well placed to deal with the current threats. If you are not, then you must.

Easier said than done, I know! 

Don’t worry. I will lay down a step by step plan to deal with anxiety towards the end. However, let’s first realize that we are not the only generation suffering from anxiety. Nearly every civilization in the past, even the mighty Greeks and the Romans suffered from anxiety. 

Anxiety in ancient times

With the advent of the internet and social media, many people are now becoming more and more aware of anxiety disorders. This gives the impression that anxiety is growing.

However, that is not the case at all. Statistics indicate that the percentage of people who experienced anxiety in the ’70s and those who suffer from it today is more or less the same.

We have always experienced anxiety and have dealt with it using more or less the same old tools – medication, intoxication, meditation, self-mastery.

Greek and Latin physicians and philosophers distinguished anxiety from other types of negative affect and identified it as a medical disorder. Ancient Epicurean and Stoic philosophers suggested techniques to reach an anxiety-free state of mind that are reminiscent of modern cognitive psychology.

Latin Stoic philosophical writings, such as Cicero and Seneca’s treatises, prefigure many modern views concerning the clinical features and the cognitive treatment of anxiety.

In the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero wrote that affliction, worry, and anxiety are called disorders on account of the analogy between a troubled mind and a diseased body. 

Seneca, another Stoic philosopher, taught his contemporaries how to achieve freedom from anxiety in his book Of Peace of Mind (De tranquillitate animi [DTA]). Seneca defines the ideal state of “peace of mind” as a situation where one is undisturbed.

According to Seneca, fear of death is the primary cognition preventing us from enjoying a carefree life (DTA, chapter 11. “He who fears death will never act as becomes a living man”).

This thought anticipates the future developments by Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and existentialist philosophers about the fundamental anxiety caused by man’s realization that his existence is finite. One way to escape from the clutch of anxiety is to devote one’s attention to the present instead of worrying about the future. In his book On the Shortness of Life (De brevitate vitae [DBV]), Seneca’s recommendation is to combine past, present and future in only one time. Today, this focus on the present moment is one of the critical objectives in techniques such as mindfulness meditation.

Epicurus taught that the objective of a happy life included reaching a state called ataraxia where the mind was free of worry. One path to ataraxia was to get rid of negative cognitions about the past and of fears about the future since the only existing reality is the present moment.

In the 18th century, medical authors published clinical descriptions of panic attacks, but they did not label them as a separate illness.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, anxiety was a key component of various new diagnostic categories, from neurasthenia to neuroses.

Freud separated anxiety neurosis from neurasthenia.

In the centuries separating classical antiquity from the emergence of modem psychiatry in the mid-19th century, typical cases of anxiety disorders kept being reported in medical writings. Freud coined many of the terms used for various anxiety disorders in DSM-I and DSM-II. DSM-III introduced new disorders such as panic disorder, GAD, and PTSD. Significant contributions of DSM-5 are (i) a grouping of the anxiety disorders into three spectra (anxiety, OCD, and trauma- and stressor-related disorders) based on the sharing of standard features, and (ii) the grouping of developmentally connected disorders in the same chapters.

So yes, we are not unique. Anxiety has always been there and will continue to plague us until eternity.

How anxiety disrupts life

The primary symptoms of anxiety will appear insignificant. But the way these symptoms cripple our day to day functions is alarming.

Excessive worrying

Agitation

Restlessness

Fatigue

Focus issues

Irritability

Tense muscles

Sleep issues

Panic attacks

Irrational fears

A quick look might not make these primary symptoms appear acute. We all suffer from such symptoms once in a while. Enduring such symptoms daily makes lives difficult for people suffering from anxiety disorders.

Daily anxiety can lead to psychosomatic fever. 

Around 40% of the working population takes sick leave very frequently. The statistics are similar for teenagers around school attendance. There is no denying that these individuals feel feverish, which is why they think they cannot work or study. However, their fever is not a by-product of a physical issue. No bacteria or virus is responsible for such illnesses. These are fatigue induced psychosomatic illness which happens due to the high level of cortisol in the body.

Anxiety raises levels of stress. Each anxious thought contributes to the levels of cortisol in the body. The more anxious you are, the less will be the secretion of serotonin, which is essential to maintain elevated mood and energy. 

Anxiety-prone individuals are less efficient and productive despite being creative or competent. There is no denying that small effort accumulated over a considerable period helps us reach a desired positive outcome. However, anxiety-prone individuals suffer weekly or bi-weekly setbacks and cannot perform for at least 4-5 days every month.

If your competitor is a healthy individual with balanced biochemicals, they will easily outwork or outsmart you. 

Anxiety not only hijacks our professional lives but also disrupts our personal lives. Anxious people have trouble trusting others, or they trust everyone. Both the cases are damaging for an intimate relationship.

They are either hypersexual or have extremely low sex drives. Once again, both of these can destroy your relationship with your partner.

Anxiety in today’s times

Anxiety is undoubtedly perceived as more common nowadays because we are vocal about mental health. 

In the past, there were a lot of stigmas attached to mental illness. Nowadays, weakness is the new sexy. Shed a few tears, and the world will be at your feet.

This weak society encourages everyone to be mediocre so that others will not be threatened by competency. We have started glorifying every inadequacy. Fat people are beautiful and slender women are accused of setting unacceptable standards of beauty.

Progress and inclusion are essential. However, romanticizing disorders aren’t. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, yes, you are not less competent than an average person. But being anxious doesn’t give you an upper hand either. 

There is no glory in weakness. I want this on record.

If you suffer from anxiety, do not expect the world to treat you kindly. Instead, you should work on yourself and get better soon to be a more productive member of society.

Modern lifestyle contributes a lot towards anxiety. Even if you experience mild anxiety, alcohol, drugs, weed, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and procrastination can worsen your situation. Undoubtedly our fast lifestyles are responsible for added stress which fuels anxiety. However, each time demands a different approach to deal with issues.

Joe’s approach is not going to work anymore. Jack is who our inner beings need to model.

Role of Technology and Social Media

Despite anxiety being an age-old issue, there is no denying that social media contributes a lot towards anxiety. 

Every app on our smartphones is addictive. Once again, this is not a new phenomenon. The blueprint is the same as it was in the times of email.

Why do you check your emails?

First, you get a notification. It works as a trigger.

You are intrigued to know the details about the email.

It also gives you a chance to prove your responsiveness. That’s an added personal gain.

The more we wait after the initial notification, the more anxious we get.

Delay in checking email can make us anxious.

We worry that we might miss something important, which is rarely the case. But we can’t make our brain understand this. We will continuously feel a trigger to check our email.

Once we give in to this feeling and check the email, we experience a tiny amount of satisfaction. Dopamine is released. And we feel relieved. The contents of the email are no longer critical. Even if it was a spam email, we get our hit. Over time our brain gets programmed to derive pleasure from checking notifications. It acts as an escape.

Slowly and gradually, the trigger, which is a notification bell, is replaced by an internal trigger. Instead of getting anxious after the notification bell, we start checking for notifications, whenever we feel anxiety.

Giants like FB, Instagram, Twitter capitalize on this human weakness.

Anxious people spend a lot of time on social media, scrolling. Every scroll gives them a little surge of dopamine without them realizing they are exhausting their valuable cognitive energy in an activity only meant for leisure.

We must understand that social media doesn’t reduce anxiety. If you are already anxious, you are at a higher risk of being more anxious after your social media visits. When you witness pictures of other people’s picture-perfect lives, it induces a sense of incompleteness, and you feel more worried about your future.

But then again, we cannot blame technology and social media for our problems. In the end, we have control. The same technology also provided many solutions. We can quickly turn off notifications in our phone settings or assign a dedicated time frame for such activity. Not more than 15-25 minutes daily. We do have the capacity to change. What we need is a willingness to change.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the most prevalent form of anxiety we witness in modern times. A lot of us are scared of social situations. Whether it be going to the college, a new workplace or a party, we all have experienced some form of social anxiety at least once.

Fear of a stranger marks the beginning of social anxiety. Ideally, for kids, fear of a stranger is a helpful trait. Kids shouldn’t be trusting everyone they encounter. They are vulnerable and do not possess adequate skills to judge a person’s character. However, if this underlying fear turns into a phobia, you are fucked for life!

If you were humiliated publicly as a child and you weren’t able to process your negative emotions healthily, your adult life can worsen. You might feel challenged in social situations due to unresolved past trauma. 

People experiencing stage fright or fear of socializing are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of others. This fear freezes them, and they get more nervous. 

If a socially anxious female goes to a party, all of her survival mechanisms misfire. She considers herself a prey in between a group of predators. Imagine a rabbit in between a pack of hungry wolves. You won’t blame the rabbit for acting a little weird.

Anxiety is the reason why alcohol is served in parties. Alcohol, also known as liquid courage, calms your nerves temporarily, and you blend in. Though any sort of substance worsens your anxiety, in the long run, they are effective in treating the immediate symptoms.

The easiest way to deal with social anxiety is by exposing yourself to social situations more often. The more social gathering you will attend, the more confident you will get dealing with uncomfortable situations.

Managing social anxiety is paramount for a healthy and peaceful life. Once you start blending with people, you will realize that neither are you a rabbit nor they are wolves. People are mostly lovely, even if evidence point to the contrary. If you are socially anxious, start with small groups. Interact with people. Gradually, build a bigger network of people to commune with. Never choose isolation over someone’s company.

Isolation and me-time are essential, but it shouldn’t be the most desirable time of your life. You must balance your me-time and social company.

Never forget what “Into the wild” taught all of us –

“Happiness is only real when shared”

― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

My battle with social anxiety

It is a little awkward for me to share this personal story; however, keeping in mind the greater good, I will be as honest and forthcoming as possible.

I was a skinny, dark-skinned man. I was far from the acceptable definition of attractiveness. My grooming skills were also poor. I had no idea how to dress well and look good.

At the age of 18, I met a charming Kashmiri girl. In terms of physical appearance, we were poles apart. She was one of the most divine females Allah ever created. I, on the other hand, was made during rush hours.

Whenever we went on a date, I was always obsessed with my looks. I used to glance at every reflective surface to catch a glimpse of myself for reassurance of my decent looks. I understand that we all check ourselves now and then. But I was obsessed. I used to check myself at least ten times every minute. That’s a glimpse every 6 seconds.

We frequently visited a KFC outlet in V3S Mall, Laxmi Nagar. I always choose a seat in front of a mirror so that I could continue reassuring myself.

Back in those days, I didn’t even know that it was a symptom of anxiety. Fortunately, as I grew older, there were other things to be obsessed about. I realized that looks don’t matter, competency does.

Even today, I am obsessed and anxious. If I do not complete an essay every 3-4 days, I start getting anxious. But this is a healthy obsession. It helps me get better in my craft.

My underlying anxiety was cured by a healthy diet and a stress-free lifestyle. We will discuss every step which you can take to get rid of your anxiety.

How to deal with anxiety

Like most of the mental disorders, anxiety, too, is manifested by self and punishes self. In case you are looking for a quick remedy, you can visit a local physician and get on prescribed medications. The only challenge is most of such medicines are highly addictive. They build a dependence, which is hard to shrug off later. Popping pills for the rest of your life doesn’t sound like a good idea.

The only alternate is healthy living. It is imperative to design a daily routine filled with activities that keep your mind stable and anxiety at bay. The below mentioned guidelines, if followed correctly, can transform your anxious being into a sober self.

Make a Routine

Anxiety is fear of the unknown. It only happens when we are unsure of the consequences of any particular action or event. The best way to deal with it is by making your life less impromptu and more structured.

A routine might appear monotonous, but that’s what we need to be in control.

Set a morning routine for yourself.

Wake up and sleep at the same time.

Keep spare time for physical activities.

Allocate time to do the things which you love.

Take small breaks during your day.

Do nothing during those breaks. Breathe and Relax.

Make a to-do list every morning for your professional responsibilities.

Maintain a timesheet.

Eat Healthy

Similar to other organs in your body, your mind needs nutrition too. A poor diet will result in a starving brain, leading to a troublesome mental space. 

I am sure all of us have seen the snickers commercial. Despite being overly melodramatic, it closely resembles the truth. Hunger does make us crazy!

If you are anxious, you shouldn’t stay hungry at all. 

Take small meals every two hours.

Do not eat junk, chips, and other processed items.

Eat dairy products and meat.

Reduce your carbs intake.

Do not consume sugar.

Eat a fiber-rich diet.

Never eat after 8 pm.

Always eat within 2 hours of waking up.

Physical Activities 

Physical activities are not only healthy for your body but also essential for your mental health. If you are eating food, your body needs to burn energy. A workout provides a healthy outlet to get rid of built-up energy. 

A lot of you masturbate frequently. It is also a way to get rid of extra energy, though an unhealthy one. People facing sleep issues, often report better quality of sleep after masturbation. The same people experience similar results after 20 minutes of workout.

If you do not get rid of extra energy, it will turn negative, and overthinking will follow. A racing mind is an anxious mind. You won’t like to go to bed after a hard day of work only to realize that you can’t sleep. 

Workout daily.

Go for a morning walk. Jog.

Visit the gym at least thrice every week. 

Run or cycle.

Do stretching.

Dance fanatically.

Move. 

Move motherfucker!

Mindfulness

Mindfulness activities are a must for mental health. The one and the only way to make your mind calm is by practicing mindfulness. However, we shy away from practicing mindfulness because it appears tedious initially. The practice is tough in the beginning. 

As per ancient Ayurveda, toxic substances can be removed from the body by consuming bitter melon and drumsticks. They both taste horrible.

It is alright if something appears distasteful. We need to focus on the benefits. Despite being tough initially, mindfulness is a miraculous way to transform your mental wellbeing. 

A mentee of mine once said he would rather listen to Morrison than meditate. You, too, can listen to pumped-up numbers and avoid meditation but remember you are looking to calm your excited mind, not push your boundaries of excitement. Practicing calmness is the only way to tame your anxious mind.

Take a mindfulness walk in the park.

Meditate for 20 minutes daily.

Download Headspace today to begin guided meditation.

Do Yoga.

Do tai-chi.

Stretch.

Practice breathing exercises.

Do not Binge Watch

If you strive to get meta, then you shouldn’t consume any sort of entertainment. If you are only looking to manage anxiety, do not consume entertainment for more than 30-45 minutes daily.

Any emotionally charged TV show or movie zaps your senses. The more television you will consume, the higher will be your anxiety levels.

Try this on an off day. Just sit and binge-watch the whole day. Make a note of how you feel afterwards.

The very next day, do not consume any entertainment. Do your work and stick to your routine. Make a note of your mental state.

You will sense a vast difference.

Binge-watching is taking small doses of unwanted anxiety. Why would you do so if you are already anxious?

We watch movies and TV to feel emotions that we do not frequently experience in our daily lives—wonder, excitement, sexual arousal, grief, horror, fear, anxiety, happiness. The more profound is the cocktail of emotions served by a piece of entertainment, the higher will be the engagement.

Well, in your case, you are already experiencing a lot of unwanted emotions. You do not need more doses. Refrain from any sort of entertainment consumption. Just starve yourself. Read books instead. They also entertain without overloading your circuits with an emotional charge.

Stay away from Toxic People

Healthy surroundings help maintain a healthy mind. We often are angry with our parents, siblings, and relatives. We blame them for most of our problems. What we ignore is they only constitute a small percentage.

Yes, there are many people we cannot choose.

It’s hard to choose a desirable boss.

It’s impossible to control parentage. 

But almost every other person in our life is selected by us. We should be careful in our selection. We must choose friends who help us move ahead in life.

We are an average of our five friends. If your five friends are drug addicts and nihilists, you cannot expect yourself to be an innovator. You, too, will fall short of your goals if you continue keeping an unhealthy company.

Our surroundings play an essential role in our success. Surround yourself with positive, goal-oriented people. Bid goodbye to toxic people to begin an anxiety-free life blossoming with positivity. 

Bottomline

Anxiety laden life is horrible. You will never realize your full potential if you do not break free from the chains of anxiety. You can choose to engage in distractions and temporarily manage your anxiety. Or, you can practice healthy living and conquer anxiety. As always, the choice is yours. Choose wisely!

Hope this helped. 

I would request you to share this essay on your social media if you liked it. Obviously, you are free to accept or deny my request.

See you next week with another novel, fresh and exciting topic.

Leave comments and suggestions. I need them to improve. 

How is anxiety impacting your life?

15 Things You Must Do During COVID-19 Lockout

Let’s talk about what you should do, now that you are doomed to stay inside your homes, and your incompetent government has no respite to offer you.

Goodmorning Planet!

How are you doing?

I am perfect.

The only challenge I was facing was a lack of meat in my diet. 21 days had passed without a chicken being slaughtered for the pleasure of my taste buds. Fortunately, that spell broke yesterday, and finally, I relished the taste of an innocent bird raised on a farm, with a so-called family and a small tribe of like-minded birds.

Let’s call this bird, “Neo.”

Neo was a bright chick. He was curious.

Neo had a good life. He was cared for by the farm owners and his family. He was admired for his intelligence among his community.

However, there was something that bothered Neo and gave him sleepless nights. He often wondered what happened to the adults. Every week few of the grownups were taken away by the farm owners, and they never came back. Whenever Neo enquired, he received contradicting answers. Somebody told him that the adults are sent to a better spacious farm. Another chick said to him that the adults were misogynists and adulterers, therefore they were being sent to a reeducation camp. Neo doubted all these explanations as he feared that something might be terribly wrong with this joyous and comfortable community.

Finally, the judgment day arrived. Neo was an adult now. He looked magnificent and weighed 2.4 kilos, ideal for slaughter. The farm owners came and took Neo away in a black truck. Neo’s heart was thumping louder than the vehicle’s engine noise. Finally, the vehicle stopped in front of an establishment called Freshos.

Neo was horrified to see different bird parts displayed on the establishment’s wall with adjectives such as –

Succulent Chicken Breasts

Thunder Thighs

Crispy Wings…

For the first time in his life, Neo experienced the truth. He realized that he was nothing more than food for humans. His first reaction was to fly away, but he knew he couldn’t. He was immediately placed in a small cage and kicked off on a slaughter ramp. Neo remembered his gods and asked for forgiveness. He closed his eyes and requested God to spare his family a similar fate. In the middle of his prayer, a pair of hands grabbed his neck and slashed it with a fine cut.

Finally, a few hours later, Neo’s succulent breasts were lying on a frying pan, and I was sprinkling salt and black pepper on it for taste.

Well, so there’s that.

Now, a lot of you would be wondering why I shared this story with you.

Few of you would be feeling awful for Neo, and many of you baffled about the significance of this story.

Well, this was just a gentle reminder that life is short. In the end, you will also lie, fortunately not on somebody’s plate (I do not entirely deny this possibility) but either 6 feet beneath the ground or on a fire bed. If you belong to a superior civilization, you might be sent off to meet your gods, in a water canoe and eaten by fish instead after vultures feast on your vital organs.

So, so far, we have established that life is short, and you are a stupid puppet in a complicated cycle of events that you can only interpret on your death bed like Neo.

Great, so now that we are on the same page, let’s talk about what you should do, now that you are doomed to stay inside your homes, and your incompetent government has no respite to offer you.

I have 101 things which you must do in the coming weeks to make your homestay exciting and fruitful. I will share 15 of them today.

Before that five things you must not do –

  • Do not beat your wife and kidsI understand that beating the shit out of your kid is therapeutic and kicking a woman might be empowering for you, however, if you can try other ways to channelize your violent outbursts, it would be better for you, else who knows, maybe accidentally your wife slices your throat while shaving you. Accidents happen, you know!
  • Do not cheat on your partner – The most liberating feeling is infidelity. If you were in an affair before the lockdown, you might miss your secondary partner now that you are locked only with your primary partner. But if you are caught cheating in such critical times, things can get way heated, and both of you would still be beneath the same roof with nowhere else to go. Therefore, cheating might not be a good idea at the moment. I am not asking you to practice loyalty. It’s alright. It’s your life. Do as you please. Win an award in debauchery for all I care, but for now, suspend your affairs. You can get back to your steamy, raunchy, false hope once the world is back on track. It’s not that difficult. Give it a try!
  • Do not attempt to fool your BossNow, this is coming from a personal wound. A lot of you working from home are under the assumption that your boss is an idiot, and you can just pretend that you are working and things will work out for you. Well, unfortunately, your boss isn’t an idiot, or else he wouldn’t be signing your paychecks. These are tough times for businesses worldwide, and the least you can do is pull your weight, or else soon enough, you might be without a job.
  • Do not spend more than 30 minutes on social media Social Media is a toxic addiction. If you get in the habit of consuming social media content, either you will be filled with hatred, resentment, and anxiety, or you will get stuck in an endless loop of scrolling through feeds and tapping on stories whenever you feel a little low. At the same time, governments all across the globe are using COVID-19 as an opportunity to monitor your social media and related activities. You could be a right-winger, a leftist, or a neutral, but none of you would do better if you land under a government scanner. If you have doubts, remember Neo, the chicken. In the end, you are Neo, and the government is an institution in the business of peddling lies.
  • Do not spread hatredA lot many of you are losers, which is alright, there is always a population of losers in every community. It is not something to be ashamed of. You people create the bottom so that legends like us can get to the top. So I respect losers also! Now, some of you might be a Trump supporter and hate immigrants and Muslims, a lot of you would be Modi supporters and hate Muslims and Dalits; well it is okay, I understand the phenomenon. People who live unfulfilled life are filled with hatred and resentment for others because that helps them not to hate themselves. So you can continue hating, however, at least in these times of crisis, try and take a break because you could die tomorrow and so could your family from respiratory diseases. Do you really want your last thought to be that a Chinese Virus killed you and Tablighi Jamat infected you? These toxic thoughts will kill you before any illness does. So take a break from hate.

Awesome, so we are done with things you should not do during the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s

15 things you must do during COVID-19 crisis:

  • Wake up early – Before you yell at me, give me a chance to explain. I realize you may not be in the habit of waking up early, and now due to inactivity and binge-watching, you sleep around 3-4 am. Why on earth will you wake up early? Here, read this –

Why Should I wake up early?

  • Meditate daily – Meditation is essential to stay sane in these challenging times. A lot of you would be struggling with mental diseases and issues, life could be chaotic without proper support and medication. Practice daily meditation to stay on top of your mental health.
  • Exercise Daily – And I see a sinister gleam in your eyes. I know what you are going to say, you excuse laden sissy. Well, even if the gym is closed and going to the park is risky, you can exercise indoors. Yes, you heard it right. Climb stairs, do burpees, do crunches, do squats, do chin-ups, do push-ups, there’s so much you can do inside. Move Motherfucker!
  • Brush your teeth – You might give in to the temptation of nihilism and argue with yourself that there isn’t a good reason now to brush your teeth….. Well, buddy, there’s something called personal hygiene. You brush your teeth, you shampoo your hair, and you trim your nails. Be a good boy! Don’t be a bad dog.
  • Eat healthy – Once the lockdown is over, you won’t enjoy your pot belly. Stop eating junk and processed food. Read this.

            Importance of eating healthy during COVID-19

  • Read books – Enough doing cursory reading of blogs and articles, get real, read books.

            Importance of reading

  • Connect with people – Posting status on social media is okay if you are a dim-witted person, however, if you want a real life, talk to people, talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers. Speaking to people keeps your sanity intact and will also help reduce anxiety.
  • Dedicate specific time slots for shows/movies – You cannot spend entire days binge-watching unless you have tons of weed and endless pizza delivery, therefore, plan your day and do not dedicate more than 1-2 hours consuming entertainment.
  • Masturbate – It is alright, nobody will judge you! You can masturbate twice a month, it’s normal.
  • Sleep well – Do not cut or exceed your sleep duration. Sound sleep governs your mood. If you sleep less or more, chances are you will be irritable the entire day. You don’t want that, do you?

            Are you sleeping well?

  • Plan a video date – There’s an old Indian song – “Zinda rehne ke liye Teri Kasam, Ek mulakat zaruri hai Sanam” (To stay alive, I must see you!) Well, well, well, you got Video Call feature. Go for a video date. Going outside might kill you, but trust me, staying inside won’t.
  • Invest in yourself – You wanted to play guitar, learn to code, learn Photoshop, write, create your page…. You never did all that claiming you didn’t have time. Well, now you have. Do your shit!
  • Get your finance in order – Now you cannot overspend, consider this a blessing, and use your funds wisely. Pay off all those high-interest credit cards and be debt-free.
  • Clean your room – Nothing is more critical than a tidy house. If your room is in order, your home will be in order, and your life will be in order. Grab that broom and get started.
  • Help others – If there is a day when you really feel, you have nothing to do, be a volunteer. Countless people are suffering in misery, help others, and feel better. Nothing can beat the feeling of being of assistance to someone in need.

That will be all for today!

Leave a comment about how you will spend this lockdown and win a Rs 2000 amazon voucher. Winners will be announced on 3rd May. Cheers!

(Contest open for Indian Citizens only, but you can still comment.)

Importance of Eating Healthy During COVID-19

A balanced diet is the key to a healthy mind and a strong body. Are you eating healthy?

A balanced diet is the key to a healthy mind and a strong body. Are you eating healthy?

Goodmorning Planet,

We are in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. It is a crisis of colossal magnitude. The outbreak began in Wuhan, China. Now in the Chinese language, Crisis stands for both danger and opportunity.

We all agree that we are staring in the face of impending danger. However, let me tell you how you can use this as an opportunity to uplift yourself from the present situation to a favorable outcome.

I am sure you are taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We are the most resilient species on this planet. In the past, we have successfully conquered:

15th Century and earlier

· Plague

· SmallPox

· Sweating Sickness

16th – 17th Century

· Plague

· SmallPox

· Yellow Fever

· Measles

18th Century

· Plague

· SmallPox

· Yellow Fever

· Measles

· Influenza

· Epidemic Typhus

19th Century

· Yellow Fever

· Malaria

· Bubonic Plague

· SmallPox

· Cholera

· Influenza

· Typhus

20th Century

· HIV/Aids

· Meningitis

· Nipah

· Dengue

21st Century

· SARS

· Ebola

· Zika

· Corona

You see the trend here!

There will always be an evolved virus that would assume that its better than us. Kill a lot of us! But in the end, we beat the shit out of it. History repeats itself. This, too, shall pass!

This is just Mother Nature’s way to settle scores. Survival of the fittest, you know!

Have you ever wondered why during such outbreaks, a lot of us die, and few of us are safe?

You can point out these few factors:

· Few are lucky – Absolutely wrong, luck has no role to play.

· Geographical isolation – Ok, makes sense.

· Personal isolation – Ok, this too.

· Access to advanced medication – Partially, but okay

· Better immune system – There you go, this is what I was waiting for!

Absolutely my friend. Bingo! You figured this shit out.

People with compromised immune systems are always the first target of viruses and pathogens. Second, are those with weak immune systems. And, healthy ones like that awesome looking guy/gal whom you secretly adore because of their healthy skin and perfect fit bod are the last ones. Even if healthy individuals get in contact with deadly viruses, their immune system can fight, and their chances of survival are much better than others. Even the HIV virus can be kept in check by practicing a healthy lifestyle.

My blogs are always around the theme of health – be it mental wellness, physical fitness, or attached metrics like discipline, productivity, and efficiency…

Today we are going to discuss how healthy eating is essential for a healthy lifestyle. However, before we begin, I want to share a story with you all.

It is September 2020. Aqsa and Aparichit are incredibly excited to meet each other after nine months. Aparichit met Aqsa in a creative writing workshop somewhere in January.

Whenever you are around people, you can always sense their presence either by their mannerisms, their body language, the way they dress, their speech, or something as rudimentary as the color of their skin and their looks.

Whenever you are around people, you can always sense winning personalities, charismatic individuals, legends, history-makers, average Joes’ and the losers.

Aparachit was in his early twenties, and so was Aqsa. After an hour of learning about the basic elements of writing, every participant was invited to read out their writeups.

Aparichit is perfect in every aspect of his personality. He is attractive, articulate, sensible, caring, and emotionally intelligent. Adding to all of these near-perfect traits is the fact that he is a fabulous storyteller. He had written a remarkable piece, and when he was invited, he confidently narrated his writeup, mesmerizing both the participants and the lecturer.

When you are around people, you know who’s exceptional and who’s regular. When Aqsa stood up and began to narrate her writeup, there was total silence in the room. As cliche as this might sound, Aparichit’s heart did skip a few beats.

Aqsa was perfect in every manner. Her tiny waistline complimented her broad shoulders. Her long, blonde hair fell just a little above her curvy, toned ass. Her intoxicating fragrance was enough to knock out a bunch of adolescent teenagers. Her writing had a dark, witty sense of humor, adding meaning to her otherwise Perfect Barbie personality.

Well, what do you think happened next?

Smoking Hot Sex!

You wish. No, but yes, they fell in love.

Aqsa belonged from Kashmir, and Aparichit was from Jammu. Everything went as a fairy tale for the next few weeks as both the lovers got to know each other.

Somewhere, at the end of February 2020, Aparichit was called home by his mother as she was a little unwell. She had a small back injury, and it got worse in the winters. She wanted Aparichit to be around to feel some relief seeing her adorable son nearby. Mothers are like that. They want to give us freedom and long to trap us in their misery too. Aparichit left for his hometown.

Few weeks down the line COVID-19 spread rapidly, and both Aqsa and Aparichit, along with million others, were confined in their homes. While the power-hungry governments failed to protect the people and instead focussed their resources to turn the country into a surveillance state, our two love birds longed desperately for each other.

As months passed, Aparichit saw a change in Aqsa’s behavior. She was mostly morbid and always sounded gloomy. She had stacked up a ton of great habits, which helped her maintain a spellbinding personality. Somehow the lockdown had put a stop to her life. She couldn’t visit her gym. The swimming pool was closed. Her dance classes were suspended. She also had to compromise on her diet. There was no Zumba, no Aerobics, and no social contact at all.

Aparichit tried to play the role of a good boyfriend and listened to her complain for hours. He shared a few easy tips around how she could substitute her habits with similar habits while staying inside her home. He asked her to attempt workout at home, eat healthy, read, stay away from social media, especially the toxic accounts, but his advice fell to deaf ears. Aqsa was extremely reluctant to break free from her new found bad habits. Her days began at 10 am and the first thing she did was check her phone. Social Media and News were filled with propaganda shit and she got in a habit of waking up with a negative mindset. Beyond that due to lack of options, she continued eating junk throughout the day and had no impulse control. Aparichit tried  to help her see clearly but see didn’t seem to be interested in breaking away her comfort cycle. After few attempts, he gave up. They started speaking less with each passing day.

An incredibly bright dawn follows every dusk. We, as humans, beat the shit out of COVID-19. The failed government, too, was happy as now they had more control than they dreamt of. They could now lock people up just because they posted something as simple as highlighting the failure of the authorities in managing the crisis and the blatant mismanagement of funds. So, in a nutshell, everything was back to normal.

It is September 2020. Aqsa and Aparichit are incredibly excited to meet each other after nine months. After waiting with restless anticipation, Aparichit saw Aqsa enter the funky cafe in CP. This version of Aqsa was not the version Aparichit fell in love with. She was obese. Her appearance was unattractive; she didn’t look like a winner. Even a stranger could sense that she had low self-esteem, and adding to this awful deteriorating flabby human flesh was a distinct smell of the depressed.

What do you think happened next?

Aparichit must have supported her and then brought her back to her winning personality. Yeah!

Well, no. This is not a Disney Movie. This is real life. Aparichit left the cafe and broke up with her over a text. And I am glad he did so.

Aparichit fell in love with a person who is not themselves anymore. Life doesn’t give you second chances. Even if it does, it is because of your commitment and efforts, not because you deserve it or because it is fair. The universe doesn’t operate on the principle of fairness. It works on action and results. If you want something, you put in the effort, and you bring desired results. You fail. You learn. You revise your strategy, and you begin Round 2.

It is alright that Aqsa grew fat. Anyone can. What wasn’t alright was her losing her winning attitude. If she had her confidence intact, maybe it was worth giving her a chance. Maybe Aparichit would have supported her get back to her old groove. But she lost it altogether.

Anyone can win when the circumstances are right. Those who maintain their calm during tough times deserve to win.

Hope this story acted as an eye-opener for all of you who have taken a back seat on your wellness.

Now, we will resume discussing the importance of eating healthy.

What is a healthy diet

A lot many Dietary & Nutritional experts have gone bald trying to figure out the exact definition of a Healthy Diet. Maybe, because of our dynamic lifestyle and such different cultural practices focussing on a variety of different eating habits, there isn’t a concrete definition. I personally believe that anything which makes you strong and your mind calm is healthy for you.

Now, this might sound vague to you. But then the question remains – Don’t you already know what’s healthy for you?

It will come as a shock to me if even a single person among you is unaware of the textbook definition of healthy food. I mean, who doesn’t know that vegetables, fruits, eggs, sprouts, & lean-meat is healthy, and cola, sugar, excessive fat, carbs & processed food is unhealthy.

We were taught this when we were kids. Who wasn’t paying attention? Oh! It’s you, the pot-bellied guy and the overweight woman. Well, what can I say? I want to say, “You fucked up!” but I will be a little tolerant and say, “It is okay. Let’s begin fresh today. It is never too late.” Okay, so now that I have made you feel a little better, let’s focus!

We will begin with the basics.

There is a lot of conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there. The irony is even I am no expert, yet, once you understand that your food is unique to your personality and previous eating habits, you will be able to identify a dietary pattern that works for you and will help you, irrespective of what that Influencer Food Critic tells you.

I am going to make a generalized statement.

“Anything which doesn’t grow on earth and doesn’t have a mother is unhealthy.”

This should be the base of anything you pick to eat.

  • Chocolates – Do they grow on trees? Does Snickers have a mother? No! So, you can only eat chocolate, maybe once a month. Ideally, you should never. But honestly, I don’t expect much from you. So let’s stick to one chocolate bar each month.
  • Burger & Fries – Oh my God! I can see that drool dripping down from your mouth. Who’s a good boy? You are a good boy! What does a good boy want? The good boy wants burgers and fries and soda. Okay, good boy! But, the question is – Does burger grow on trees? Do chips have mothers? Oh no! Sorry, good boy, you ain’t getting any unhealthy junk food.
  • Apple – You want an apple? Make sure you are not dating a doctor. Else he will be away. Eat apples, oranges, papaya, bananas, pineapple, avocado, dragon fruit…….. Did someone ask why? Well, they grow on trees, you dummy! Whatever grows on trees, is healthy.
  • Eggs & Meat – Eggs & Meat are excellent sources of protein. You need protein both for your brain and body. Therefore you eat eggs and meat. If you are a vegan, substitute these with lentils and pulses, and similar sources of high protein vegetarian food items.
  • Salami – Meat is healthy, but we will ask the same question. Does Salami grow on trees? Does it have a mother? Well, the answer remains no, because its processed food and we don’t eat processed food. Therefore no Salami!

Great, now that we have covered the basics. Let’s get to the expert level. Though your 8-year-old nephew knows all this, yet because you were too busy noticing your recent pubic hair growth when this was being taught to you in the school, and you didn’t pay attention, here we go again.

The fundamentals of healthy eating

There are many extreme diets that you can try. I follow a strict meat and fruit diet due to my unique personal requirements. However, ideally, we all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to support a healthy body.

Protein gives you the energy to get up and go—and keep going—while also supporting mood and cognitive function. If you don’t want to consume animal products, use plant-based sources of protein each day.

Fat. Not all fat is the same. Bad fats can ruin your health and increase the risk of certain diseases while good fats protect your brain and heart. Add Omega-3 fats into your diet. Indian Ghee is known to give excellent results.

Fiber. Foods rich in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) promote a healthy gut and heart. Eat sprouts every day.

Calcium. Lack of calcium can add to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Eat a diet rich in magnesium, vitamins D & K and calcium. Vegetables and dairy products are rich sources of calcium.

Carbohydrates are excellent sources of energy. But only if they are coming from complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) rather than sugars and refined carbs. Cut back on white bread, pastries, starches, and sugar to reduce rapid spikes in blood sugar, fluctuations in mood and energy, and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline.

Making the switch to a healthy diet

You might be in the habit of eating donuts for breakfast, burgers for lunch, and pizzas for dinner. Switching to a healthy diet could be troublesome and challenging. However, you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to change everything all at once. It doesn’t work.

A better approach will be making small changes every day. I can suggest you a four-week plan.

Week 1Eat everything and document every meal. Take a diary and make notes about what you ate in breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This practice is called food journaling and have helped many compulsive eaters in the past. Do this till Friday and then check what all can you substitute next week.

Week 2Begin with your substitutions. Replace unhealthy breakfast with sprouts and fruits. Add protein to your lunch. Make your dinner light and never eat after 8 pm.

Week 3You will sense a positive change, and you will be able to identify what more you can get rid from your plate. Reduce every processed item.

Week 4By now, you will have everything figured out. You will see the patterns like Neo saw in the Matrix. You will be able to identify all that was wrong in your plate, and now you are all set to start your healthy eating frenzy. Do not stop food Journaling. It will make sure, you do not fall back to your old patterns of behaviors.

Conclusion

Now I understand that all of this sounds easy. But at the same time, a lot many of you have already started making faces because deep down inside, you know how difficult it is. And, trust me when I say this, I do realize it’s extremely difficult.

We all are wired in a specific manner, wherein we follow a set of habits, and breaking those habits is challenging. If you are someone who is in the habit of eating donuts and ice cream when you feel sad, making yourself understand that it is unhealthy for you in that moment of weakness when you feel like shit, is next to impossible.

I have been there. For countless days, I survived on sugar and processed food because they made me feel good about myself in those moments of despair. A little sugar helped me get some dopamine and avoid suicidal thoughts. If a chocolate bar is helping me avoid jumping from a 12 storey building in Gurgaon, I will eat that chocolate bar, even if that kills me in the longer run.

Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow.”

I was only able to change my unhealthy eating habits when I realized that I am in my thirties, and there is no going back. If I don’t straighten my act, I will be a bald, weak, old guy in my 40’s. I wanted a better life, and it made me embrace a healthy lifestyle.

You, too, will need to find your why!

It could be as simple as finding a suitable partner or as complicated as building a million-dollar business. Remember, you are what you consume!

Have you found your why?

Why should you read 52 books every year?

Reading a book daily for even 15-20 minutes can increase your cognitive abilities and enhance your overall personality.

When was the last time you read a book?

If you are one of those who wish to dominate a water cooler conversation in your office or a friendly chit-chat in the smoking zone or maybe impress that dumb boyfriend/girlfriend of yours – googling things out will work for you.

Occasionally, I am sure you do check Wikipedia pages to enhance your knowledge. To sum a few other resources together, your knowledge is getting enriched by :

  • Speed-reading articles chosen by machine learning in your Facebook feed. 
  • Youtube videos suggested by friends shared on WhatsApp.
  • Occasional reading of blogs powered by some news app you accidentally installed, a long time ago.
  • Watching Insta stories.
  • Watching TV shows, movies, and documentaries which are based on real-life events.

No wonder your life is going so well!

Now, all of the above-mentioned resources are best suited for dominating the conversation with an average Joe. 

However, how well would you fare if –

  • You are supposed to talk about something for more than 10 minutes? Ideally, to speak effectively and confidently on a topic for 1 minute, you need to have read a minimum of 10,000 words.
  • You encounter someone who’s genuinely knowledgable? Yes, my friend such people, however rare, do exist.
  • You have to write an original well-researched article/blog/paper? Nothing turns off women more than plagiarised content. 
  • You have to explain a phenomenon to a child? Unlike adults, children are curious and ask questions seeking clarity. You can’t trick a kid.
  • Your job demands you to continually upgrade your subject matter knowledge? You can’t watch Neil Patel for all your answers. 

If not today, then tomorrow or the day after or definitely in the coming weeks – you will encounter one of the above or a similar situation. The one and only solution to all your life issues is READING. Books encompass shared knowledge/wisdom of entire generations in a granular depth. Every other medium of knowledge/wisdom is superficial in nature. If you do not read –

  • Yes, you will learn a thing or two.
  • Yes, you will be able to weave a decent conversation.
  • Yes, you will be able to write killer social media captions.
  • Yes, dumb members of the opposite sex will be attracted to you.
  • And, yes, every now and then, you will achieve one of your life goals.

However, you will still remain hollow inside. That’s the price one pays for superficiality. 

Great, so now I have you convinced that no matter what you do, where you come from – irrespective of your personal goals, desires, and aspirations – you got to read. 

YOU MUST READ!

Summary

Books are the only source of true theoretical knowledge. Reading enables you to participate in intellectually stimulating conversations. (which last more than a minute)

Now that we have moved past our first hurdle of getting you committed to daily reading, let me share with you the benefits of daily reading.

Why should you read daily?

Reading 52 books every year translates into reading one book each week – which means you need to read daily. 

I understand how this sounds.

If you are not a reader, this would appear as an Impossible Task.

However, consider a few real impossible tasks which our ancestors completed, not only successfully but also with panache.

Your forefathers –

  • Hunted the woolly mammoth
  • Established a civilized Roman empire
  • Built the Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Captured the wildest animals
  • Battled the most fierce conquerors
  • Thought of Religion
  • Survived unheard epidemics
  • Crafted the TajMahal
  • Invented electricity
  • Established Democracy
  • Recognized Human rights
  • Conceived The Internet, and
  • Created this amazing unparalleled digital device on which you are reading this blog.

So, consider this – our ancestors defeated every adversity and claimed their glory by creating a marvelous world where even the tiniest of objects are sophisticated beyond imagination. 

And here you are, wondering – 

“Can I really read daily?”

“Do I have the time?”

“Is this really helpful?”

How about you just try developing the habit of reading and find out?

I will also like to admit that even I wasn’t born a reader. Though fortunately, I was exposed to timeless literature at a very early age; however, after my teenage, the only thing that seemed worthy of studying was – Girls!

In my twenties, this passion got replaced by booze and drugs combined with powerful binge-watching. Even after 12-14 hours of slogging my ass in corporations, I made sure that I binge-watched at least two hours daily, for 7-8 years.

It was effortless for me to convince myself that numbing my senses by binge-watching was a healthy practice. I told a unique narrative to myself repeatedly. 

To be a successful storyteller, I need to watch stories.”

It was compelling.

I clearly remember spending entire weekends – 14-16 hours – binge eating and binge-watching under the influence of Marijuana & Alcohol. I had no social life, and I was at the pinnacle of my unhealthiness.

Finally, I realized that my life cannot continue like this and made a conscious choice to go back to my life before my teenage and begin reading again. 

In 2019, I read around 40 books, and my goal for 2020 is to finish 52 books. 

Hope my story got you all geared to take on this challenge of reading daily!

In case you still have issues, please consider these benefits of daily reading –

  1. Reading improves your vocabulary.Real people use real words. (not – r u k?)
  2. Reading makes you articulate. Well-read people discuss concepts and ideas, not gossip about others.
  3. Reading improves your writing skills. One who can write and read is unstoppable.
  4. Reading increases your attention span. You don’t have ADHD. You just ain’t reading. (That is what social media does to you, lowers your attention span as there is no need to be attentive.)
  5. Reading strengthens your mind. Muscles grow in the gym and mind in libraries.
  6. Reading lowers down stress levels. Hate shrinks? Me too! Books are real therapy.
  7. Reading is hugely entertaining. Don’t play with yourself; play with a book!
  8. Reading makes you knowledgable. Intelligent people were not born that way; they read!
  9. Reading enhances creativity. Readers don’t experience writer’s block, losers do!
  10. Reading improves the quality of your sleep. Those pills will kill you; these books won’t!

I rest my argument!

Now you have two choices. Open Netflix or open that dusty book in that corner of your room.

We both know what you will choose!

Hope, you enjoyed reading this. 

Do check this video podcast for more insights.

Also, leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments sections so that I can improve.

Summary

We have achieved unimaginable glory; therefore, the least we can do is pick a book and commit to reading it till the end. Reading enhances your cognitive abilities.