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?

Why do nice guys finish last?

If you believe that your kind and loving attitude will help you qualify for the big boys club, you are profoundly mistaken. Nice, kind, loving, caring, empathetic, sensitive – all of these are default settings. Being nice doesn’t make you unique.

Good morning planet,

How are we this lovely morning?

I am fantastic!

What delights me the most is our intimate conversations about human excellence.

We have covered a lot so far in the previous essays.

We have understood how to deal with mental health issues.

We have explored the benefits of acting responsibly.

We have analyzed the impact of sleep and diet on our performance.

We have deduced the benefits of reading and writing.

We have realized the importance of listening.

Taking things forward today, we will discuss an essential human trait – kindness.

A lot of us, when face to face with a calamity, ask either ourselves or a supreme being – Why me?

Why am I going through so much of trouble in my life?

I am a good person.

I have always been kind to others.

Why did my girlfriend leave me for a jerk?

Why doesn’t my wife respect me?

Why was I not awarded a promotion?

Why is the world so insensitive to me?

Why don’t people take me seriously?

Why don’t my kids listen to me?

Why am I bullied?

Why me?

Why me?

Why the fuck me?

I am so nice, always!

Trigger Warning: The content ahead is too honest. Please proceed if you can handle the truth. You have been warned!

As much as I want to sugar coat things for you, this is something that cannot be expressed with mitigated speech. I need to be blunt. If that hurts your feelings, be it.

The first step in creating a better life is self-realization.

You need to realize that you must make changes in your personality. With your current outlook towards the world, you are not best suited with the optimal qualities which can improve your life.

This self-realization needs to stem from within, without any influence from an outer body.

If I tell you today, that you suck, that won’t make much of a difference. You need to realize that you suck.

Hopefully, by the end of today’s essay, you will realize what you lack and begin your journey on the path of self-improvement.

First of all, if you consider yourself nice, it means you are agreeable. You haven’t yet formed your own opinions. You are just a yes man!

A yes man is a weak man.

If you believe that your kind and loving attitude will help you qualify for the big boys club, you are profoundly mistaken.

Nice, kind, loving, caring, empathetic, sensitive – all of these are default settings.

Being nice doesn’t make you unique.

It doesn’t make your more qualified.

It doesn’t make you more appealing.

Kindness has nothing to do with attractiveness.

Niceness is not the measure of your abilities.

If you see a dog and pet him, that doesn’t translate into success.

If you buy your girlfriend expensive stuff, that isn’t an indication of your love or respect. Maybe you are trying to buy her love. Perhaps you are so insecure that you think presents are the only way to secure her love. You are so high in self-loathing that you know someday she would leave you. You are trying your best to delay that inevitable outcome.

You must have heard about Pablo Escobar. He was one of the first drug entrepreneurs. He terrorized the DEA for more than ten years. He was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. In this context, responsible means, the kill order came directly from him.

Not from his organization.

Not from his associates.

But from him!

Once upon a time, Escobar, while escaping authorities, found himself trapped in the cold with his sick daughter. He had no means to keep his daughter warm. All he had was millions of dollar bills. He started burning those. He flashed dollar bills worth millions in a single night to keep his daughter warm.

Now that’s kindness. Will you not agree?

You might claim that he was one of the wealthiest people on the planet; money didn’t mean shit for him. Yet, see this from a father’s perspective. He did all he could to keep his daughter warm when she needed it.

If that’s not kindness, then I don’t know what is!

This is a man being nice to his children.

You can’t get any sweeter than that.

If a barbaric, homicidal maniac like Escobar can be gentle when needed, what makes you so special. You are just an ordinary fellow who has no capacity for violence. Being nice is your default setting. Why do you expect to be treated differently if you do not have anything out of the ordinary to offer?

There’s an old poetry by a renowned Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar which I studied during my formative years. These lines got imprinted in my mind.

क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को जिसके पास गरल है

उसका क्या जो दंतहीन विषरहित विनीत सरल है

Translation: Forgiveness suits a venomous snake, not a toothless, spineless, simple-minded fucker!

Jordan Peterson says the same in different words.

“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.”

JBP

You do not assign the security of your home to rabbits. You entrust it to dogs, ferocious dogs who will rip the intruder’s throat. You trust them because these are not mad dogs. These are loyal dogs.

A weak person is not a loyal person by choice. He’s loyal because he has no other option. He must be loyal or face dire consequences. He is acting faithful, driven by fear.

A strong person makes a choice. He is not scared shitless. He has the capacity for violence. He has the capacity for evil. If he chooses to follow someone, he does it out of his own will, either because he’s inspired by the leader or out of internal motivations. But he isn’t doing it out of fear. He is making a choice.

If you consider yourself nice and yet you fail a lot, it is a possibility that you are stuck in the victim mindset. Before we move forward, you must write this down on a piece of paper and stick it in front of your study table.

The world owes me nothing.

No one owes me anything.

I don’t deserve shit.

I need to earn my place.

I am no longer in the past.

I need to create my victories.

No one is going to handover success.

I am not what happened to me.

I am what I choose to become.

I will become the best version of myself.

This ‘why me’ mentality is toxic. It is a cognitive bias. You have a presupposition that awful things shouldn’t happen to you. Just because you have a default setting of being nice and kind, no harm should come your way.

I hope you are aware that Jesus was the son of god.

I am positive you know what happened to him.

Jesus was a miracle worker literally. He created miracles. He was the human embodiment of kindness. Ideally, by the culturally acceptable definition of nice men, he was the nicest of em all!

They nailed him to a cross and executed him.

He was the son of the god, for fuck’s sake.

He had the right to say – why me father!

But he chooses not to.

Instead, he pleaded forgiveness for his captors from god.

Jesus, being the son of the god, was tortured to death. Yet, he held no ill-will.

Ever wondered why?

Well, he wasn’t only nice. He was also a strong person. He knew the world is filled with apple orchards and snake pits. Our actions lead us to one or the other. He was a strong person. Countless weak, flawed, spineless maggots feared his glory. Crucification, murder, rape, riots are what so-called nice (weaklings) individuals do when they feel threatened. They breed resentment and hatred. They will go to any extent to hurt whom they dislike.

This fact of life is what you are oblivious of if you consider yourself nice. You are as non-deserving as the person next to you. Your competency will make you efficient and worthy, not your compassion.

A famous ancient text in India reflects upon few strategies to get your way with people, institutions, hierarchies, and complex social structures.

It talks about – Saam Daam Dand Bhed (साम, दाम, दंड, भेद), which translates to –

Saam: This translates to flattering or appeasement. When things do not go our way, we can always try to smooth talk to obtain desired results.

Daam: This indicates monetary benefits. If mere words are not fulfilling your goals, you can always buy the other person.

Dand: This contemplates punishment. You can threaten the other person to subside your way.

Bhed: This is threatening. If nothing works, you will politely make the other person understand that this might be the last day for their loved ones.

You get the gist.

These methods were taught by ancient sages to rulers and emperors so that they can manage procedural complexity attached to running a realm efficiently.

None of them suggests you be nice and rollover.

If you are extra nice to people, you might want to reflect inside and identify which nasty part of yourself are you trying to hide with this bullshit. Furthermore, you should speak to that shadow of yours. Understand his motivations and drive. Tame him.

You can’t ignore your insufficiencies with the excuse that the world is an ugly place, and you, only you, are nice. Everyone else is an asshole.

You must have heard about the book of knowledge – Gita.

Gita is a spiritual text. It, in its entirety, talks about consciousness, soul, the human spirit, and how to discover a higher purpose. Surprisingly this profound non-violent text was narrated by a king named Krishna to a warrior named Arjun during a devastating battle.

Arjun’s family considered themselves true heirs to the throne, which was in the control of their cousins. In order to win back the disputed kingdom, Arjun must slaughter his brothers. A critical situation like this can make any sane person a little reluctant. Arjun was battling his mind about the consequences in the middle of a war zone. That’s when Krishna intervened and poured an endless stream of wisdom in which Arjun basked to glory.

Even a profound text like Gita, which preaches peace and tranquility, advises means to achieve nirvana, was brought to light during a violent conflict.

Aggression, violence, and kindness need to go hand in hand.

You must be aggressive in the pursuit of your goals.

Being docile will not lead you to greatness.

A cow can’t hunt.

A cow is sent to a slaughterhouse where she doesn’t even put up a fight.

A cow is nice.

A lion, on the other hand, is the king of the jungle.

Even a captured lion is regarded as a treasure.

It takes balls to tame a lion.

That’s why it is respected and feared even inside a cage.

A cow is never feared.

I am not asking you to intimidate weak people.

I am requesting you to be competent.

You must possess the ability to stand in front of a bully.

You must have the physical strength to put up a fight if life throws one at you.

You must have the mental strength to navigate stressful times.

Only being nice will not lead you to glory.

Mahatma Gandhi was nice.

He was also a warrior.

Everytime oppressors beat him down, he came back again.

He broke the spirit of his oppressors without even raising a finger.

That’s a unique form of bravery.

That isn’t plain niceness.

When Britishers subjugated him and India, he didn’t complain to other countries. He took a firm stand. Believed in himself. United people and inspired the masses to rise.

Every achiever is a dangerous person. They battle their demons and adverse circumstances daily. They are not some whiny bitch who blame their failures on circumstances. They rise above the bullshit, learn from their failures to destroy every obstacle between them and their goals.

Before we talk about achievers, it is crucial to understand how this victim mindset stems.

A tit-sucker or a newborn baby, as the decent folks might say, sees the mother as an object. He assumes that he is training his mother to provide him gratification. Whenever a tit-sucker is hungry, he yells and cries, throws mood swings. The mother then comes running, offering him a pair of boobs. The tit-sucker comprehends this phenomenon as a ground of possession. He thinks that the whole purpose of the mother is to provide him with what he wants.

The mother becomes an object of pleasure.

Now, if on a given day, the mother is not available or delays the gratifying response anticipated by the tit-sucker, he gets mad. The tit-sucker throws a fit of anger. Even when he is starving, the tit-sucker tries to enact revenge. When the mother offers her boobs, the baby bites her. The tit-sucker is more concerned about the power dynamic than hunger pangs.

Now, I am still studying how the female brain functions, so I don’t have examples for the ladies. But, this same behavior is translated by men in the later ages.

We all are aware that after break-ups, a majority of men leak private pictures and videos of their girlfriends. A lot many distribute the phone numbers of their girlfriends on social media so that trolls could harass her.

Men go to terrible extents when they feel rejected.

Weak men assume that women are their property. Unlike abusive men, they do not exploit the women during relationship. However, once the female tries to break free, all hell breaks loose. Weak men act like an agitated tit-sucker, meticulously planning ways to hurt their ex.

And these are mostly nice men. They can’t handle rejection.

These are men who love their women more than others could. At least that’s what they think in their head. They consider themselves loving, caring, and supportive. However, that’s not the case.

Feeble men and women never deal with their emotions. They escape confronting conversations that are essential in a healthy relationship. Now and then, couples fight to resolve their issues. This is not a flawed approach but rather an effective strategy. Disputes are essential and unavoidable. If two people are together, they will have conflicts. There is no workaround.

Feeble men and women act nicely even during conflicts, feeding themselves a faulty narrative that they are acting nice out of love. That is never the case. They avoid conflicts because they are not apt to pursue honest conversations. They have sugarcoated things their entire life. The very idea of conflict makes them shiver. Their brain goes into a panic mode. Instead of resolving issues, they only focus on diffusing it temporarily in an attempt to avoid a loud conversation.

All this while they are under the impression that they are nice, that’s why they avoid conflicts.

However, in reality, they are weak; that’s why they avoid disputes.

You will mostly see weak individuals throw emotional tantrums because they have nothing concrete or factual to add to a dispute.

Weak men and women will argue with leads such as:

I have been so helpful to you. Why are you mean to me?

Do you not love me anymore?

I have done so much for you, why are you behaving this way.

Please don’t fight with me. I can’t take this anymore.

I am sorry, please forgive me.

Please, pay attention to the phrases mentioned above.

None of them offer any sort of solution. Each of them is only meant to appeal to the emotional side of the other person. The bottom line of such sentences is the belief of the weak person that they do not deserve a stern treatment because they are nice.

Please understand that I am not asking you not to be kind. I am asking you to balance your niceness with toughness. That’s the recipe for being successful in life, relationships and all you do.

Consider your life a game.

If you are nice, you are a beginner stuck in Stage 1. You will need to be tough to beat the boss and get to Stage 2. Every stage is more complicated than the last one.

Nice people stay in the first stage for the entirety of their lives.

You need balls to fight your fears and move to the next level.

Do you think you and Elon Musk are playing the same game?

Do you think Robin Sharma is in level 1?

Do you think Jeff Bezos is even playing?

These masters have unlocked bonus stages for themselves.

They are highly competitive, goal-oriented individuals shaping the world for a better tomorrow.

Robin Sharma is a very kind person.

So are Elon and Jeff.

But they have the capacity of evil inside them, which they have conquered. These are not angry warriors running around creating havoc, high on testosterone. These are methodical, meticulous geniuses. They are nice when it is needed. They are also highly combative when it is need of the hour.

Being nice will not make you successful.

Fuck niceness!

Niceness doesn’t pay bills.

A rapist will not leave your sister because you are nice.

A scoundrel will not return your money out of pity for you.

Your partner will not stay with you forever because of your kind attitude.

Kindness is a must. But it alone cannot help you much.

I am in charge of 12 people. If they make errors, I give them stern feedback and track their improvement. I can’t improve people by showering them with rose petals. At times a strict approach is essential.

The so-called friendly people hate those who can act decisively when needed. They resent achievers because such individuals make them feel inadequate.

If you or someone among your friends and family are stuck in such a mindset, you must coach them about reality.

Being nice will not take you anywhere. Being competent and responsible will!

You might want to read this before moving to the next section!

Do You have what it takes to be responsible?

I was born in a small town called Muzaffarpur in Bihar. We were the only middle-class family among a colony filled with rich folks!

During my formative years, I experienced a lot of bullying.

I was sexually abused on multiple occasions.

Those days kids did not talk about rape. If it happened, they had to bear the trauma themselves. I had nobody to talk to. I isolated myself, found recluse in books.

As I grew, I became more socially inept. I was an anxious tiny male who hated himself the most. Yet, in my eyes, I was virtuous, nice, and kind.

I didn’t have the capacity even to defend myself when bullied.

I thought of myself as a practitioner of non-violence.

Little did I know, that I was just a rabbit with no claws to defend myself from wolves.

It is essential to stand up to bullies, not to give in to them.

I got abused, beaten, bullied, made fun of, yet I endured all of that.

Trauma, if not appropriately processed, becomes a part of you.

I and my trauma got entwined in my personality.

I lacked confidence.

My posture was hunched.

I spoke meekly.

Never challenged authority.

Always expected people to be nice.

I was like this for at least 25 years of my life before I started working on myself, one step at a time.

I specifically remember an incident which was a pre-cursor to my transformation.

A good friend of mine always warned me about my poor posture. He coached me on how to improve it, but he wasn’t aware that it is a mental issue and not a physical one.

During one of our conversations, he posed a question.

“Nishant, what will you do if you become the CEO of this company. Will you still walk with your shoulders bend?”

I confidently replied, “Yes, of course! I do not want to throw attitude to others or come across like an oppressor. I think my posture depicts that I am a humble person.”

The conversation continued for hours. I had every arsenal to prove my point. I glorified my inadequacy. Finally, my friend gave up.

Once I got some time to reflect on our conversation, I immediately knew that all I did was blanket my inadequacy with faulty narratives.

Instead of accepting that I do not come across as a confident individual, I gave in to my feeble self, ranking my niceness above every other quality. But that made me think.

I knew my friend was right. I knew I had to do something to improve myself.

And thus began my journey.

I always read, and I always wrote. But back in those days, I considered non-fiction as useless crap.

Fiction was what fancied me. The amount of pain a writer goes through to pen down an epic text is unparalleled. I assumed that writing non-fiction didn’t require mastery. I was wrong.

When I shed my presuppositions regarding non-fiction, I fell in love with the process. Every non-fiction writer researches for years before compiling their work. They, too, suffer during the process of creating their art. Just because their suffering didn’t meet the standards of my poor interpretation, I regarded it as useless.

Finally, I realized my faulty approach and embraced non-fiction researched texts.

I studied NLP, mindfulness, lucid dreaming, stoicism, tai-chi, eco-meditation, emotional intelligence, and the ways we can rewire ourselves to unlock the limitless potential of human minds.

I spent quite some time in Ladakh practicing meditation. It transformed my life.

I began with self-authoring, wherein we tear apart our past on paper to identify toxic patterns, followed by getting rid of those poisonous shadows.

Mindfulness helped me stay in the present.

I finally realized that I am not what happened to me as a child.

I altered my present.

I became a better version of myself.

I am still a flawed individual, but I am no longer suffering.

I put in work daily.

I get better daily.

I fail daily.

I try the next day again with a better approach.

After self-authoring and mindfulness, I felt a lot healthier. I then turned my focus to physical activities and a healthy diet, which increased my focus, concentration, productivity, and efficiency.

I consider myself a student.

I will continue to be one for the rest of my life.

I study for around 5 hours daily to add value to myself. Every free minute of my life is dedicated to learning and helping others. At the same time, I expect nothing in return.

A smile on the faces of the people whose lives I touch positively is my reward.

If you consider yourself nice, yet you have an expectation from the world to treat you in a better manner, you are ugly, my friend.

You are weak.

You must get strong.

Try these five steps to organize your life:

  • Stop being a victim.
  • Take responsibility.
  • Be kind without expectations.
  • Upgrade yourself.
  • Stand up for yourself.

Stop being a victim

A victim mindset is a toxic mindset. Even if you were abused, cheated on, backstabbed, disrespected in the past, it was in the past. You can no longer live in the past. You must break free from the chains of trauma that have enslaved you for years. You must sculpt your destiny. The first step is to make peace with your past.

“Don’t fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.”

CHARLES BUKOWSKI

Write down your most terrible memories—ones, which haunt you daily. Accept them and acknowledge that you are in control. Forgive the people who wronged you. This is where your niceness should play a dominant role. Forgive the wrongdoings of others. They hurt you because they were themselves in pain. They did not know how to deal with it. In their ignorance, they projected their insecurities on you.

Hold no ill will.

Get in terms with your past.

Respect yourself.

And begin a new glorious journey to a bright new future.

Take responsibility

Once you have accepted your life, you need to change it. The first step is being responsible for yourself. You will need to be accountable for every activity related to your being.

Set goals for yourself.

Wake up early.

Workout.

Write a daily journal.

Cook your meals.

Wash your clothes.

Take care of your loved ones.

Spend time learning new skills and be a master of ones you already possess.

Keep distance from toxic people.

Have no expectations from others.

Have high expectations from yourself.

Do not waste a single minute.

Do not indulge in activities that don’t bring you closer to your life goals.

Once you have done these, then take on new responsibilities. The whole idea of being responsible is having no time for mindless pleasures.

Be kind without expectations

Being kind adds happiness to your being. The more generous you are to others, the more adequate you will feel inside. But, many of us are helpful because we expect something in return. That could be as little as a thank you. However, the world doesn’t follow your rules.

It is not necessary that everyone will be grateful for your kindness.

A few years ago, I overheard a conversation wherein a driver was begging his employer for money as his kid was admitted to a hospital. He frantically pleaded his case.

The kid had suffered a brain injury, and the doctors refused to operate without advance payment.

His employer asked him to wait for a day or two.

The driver was baffled. His kid could die if not provided immediate medical attention.

I didn’t think twice before emptying my savings. I gave all I had. Though it was a small amount, yet it was sufficient for the greedy doctors to get the procedure started.

The driver took my number and said he would return me the money.

Now, I did not expect to get that money back.

But at the same time, I wanted him to make me feel better about myself.

I waited for weeks. He never called back to thank me.

After a few months, I grew sour. I felt cheated.

Even after doing an act of kindness, I wasn’t happy.

I recently realized my mistake.

Though I was kind, my actions were self-motivated. I was high on self-loathing. I thought a kind act would make me feel better about my inadequacies. That’s where I went wrong.

We cannot do nice things for others, hoping they will be grateful.

We need to be kind, selflessly.

Buy your partner expensive gifts, but don’t expect a lifetime commitment.

Feed your kids while you starve, knowing that you will be alone during old age.

Take care of your family. Elevate their lives. Do not expect gratitude in return.

Work for longer hours without expecting a raise or promotion.

Help your friends when they are in need. Do not expect that they will return the favor.

Have high expectations from yourself

Do not expect from others. Expect from yourself.

All of your expectations should be from yourself.

You are one. Yet, you are not one.

You are your body.

You are also your mind.

You are your feelings.

You are your surroundings.

You are your soul.

All in all, you are a bright fucking universe in yourself.

Expect things from yourself.

Expect that your mind will wake you up early.

Expect that your body will be strong.

Expect that your soul is pure.

Expect to be fearless.

Expect to be innovative.

Expect to impact lives.

Expect to be the best version of yourself.

All of your expectations should be with yourself. Take the proper steps to fulfill your expectations.

If you expect yourself to be loyal, then do not engage in adultery, no matter how tempting it feels.

If you expect yourself to be ultra-productive, do not subscribe to Netflix. Read books instead.

Here are the benefits of reading!

If you expect to be physically fit, stop eating out.

If you expect to be stress-free, practice mindfulness.

All your expectations should be with yourself. And you should leave no stone unturned to meet those expectations.

Upgrade yourself

Till the time your breath doesn’t stop, your learning shouldn’t either. Life is a never-ending journey of self-improvement. You need to upgrade yourself continually.

Imagine if our computers still ran on DOS, or for that matter, Windows 98. How would you feel?

Frustrated and annoyed!

Every object needs to upgrade itself with time. That includes humans too.

We are not using ink and pen carved out of wood anymore. We use typewriters.

Books are not being written on leaves. They are printed and digitized.

We are no longer using wood stoves for cooking food.

We are not using bricks to workout.

Everything around us changes with time to make our lives convenient.

Yet, we tend to be the same. It is an inadequacy.

More skilled individuals replace less competent people.

The only difference between both is the amount of time they spend on improving and honing their personalities and skills.

If you consider yourself a photographer, click pictures daily.

A writer must read and write daily.

A coder should always be coding. Dream of 01 01 01 01. That’s a competent coder.

If you want to master a foreign language, stop thinking in your native tongue. Even your dreams should be in the foreign language.

If you are a businessman, keep on learning from the industry veterans. Read about new ways to improve your productivity and efficiency.

If you do not upgrade yourself, someone new, better than you, will replace you.

A better listener will make love to your woman.

A responsible professional will do your job.

Your kids will be the master of your home.

Even your god will abandon you.

If you want to be happy, learning must never stop.

Stand up for yourself

Being kind, nice, responsible, selfless is exemplary. Yet, this doesn’t mean getting exploited or bullied.

Just because you want to be selfless, please don’t invite conmen to rob you of your property.

In being a better professional, do not end up being exploited by your bosses.

Being nice to your partner doesn’t mean showering them with gifts while they are sleeping with someone else.

While practicing kindness and forgiveness, do not allow bullies to walk all over you.

Be nice but have the capacity to stand up for yourself when needed.

The world respects people who voice out their concerns.

Be articulate. Do not be meek.

Lay down clear boundaries. The moment someone crosses those boundaries, you need to protect your kingdom. Do what it takes.

Remember Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed.

Never bow down.

Mahatma Gandhi didn’t raise a finger ever, yet he broke the spirit of the imperialists.

Even your adversary will admire you when you stand up for yourself.

I am not asking you to get into fights. We are not going to follow Tyler Durden and begin random fights at every street corner to be fearless.

Being fearless means looking into the eyes of the bully and explaining to him the consequences calmly.

Do not be combative unnecessarily.

Yet, be combat-ready always.

Jordan Peterson, in his remarkable book – 12 rules of life, asserts the first rule as – Stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back.

When you stand up straight, you are ready to take on the world.

Once again, I am not asking you to get into a series of bar fights and prove your masculinity, feminity, or toughness.

I am asking you not to bow down, hoping if you stay silent, bullies will ignore you and move ahead. That never happens factually.

The more docile you are, the higher are the chances that you will be anxious and jittery all the time.

You cannot live in a constant state of fear.

What’s the alternate?

Stand up straight with your shoulder pulled back.

This way, you are signaling the universe that if it throws a fight at you, you will charge head-on. It’s not an invitation. It’s a warning.

You can continue being victim, blaming the world for your misery, or you can improve yourself, becoming kinder and stronger – the choice is yours!

That will be it for today.

If you think my work can help others, I will request you to share it on social media. But, you are free to accept or reject my request.

Please leave feedback and suggestions. I welcome them, helps me improve.

How has your experience been with so-called nice people?

How to beat depression?

Depression isn’t bad. It is a crucial phase. When our psyche realizes that our current self isn’t our desired self, we experience depression. It is a wake-up call to make necessary changes for building the base of a fulfilled life. When you tackle your depression the right way, you come out as a winner.

It was April 2018. I was working a dead beat job in Gurugram to support myself financially. I was a published author, and a handful of folks loved my writing, yet writing never paid the bills. I always had to secure a paying gig to keep the water running.

I was living alone on the 5th floor of a shabby apartment. My pay was meager, and as usual, I hated what I did. Though I was working for a global giant, all in all, it was a mundane job. What made the situation worse was a prevalent culture of lying to paying customers. Instead of focussing on problem-solving, we were encouraged to make false promises. Promises which were never fulfilled.

I always had an issue with lying. It complicates life unnecessarily in ways we can’t comprehend. Once you start telling lies, you are sucked into a vacuum of insecurity. The idea is to win the trust of the other person by the assistance of a well-formed lie. You see the irony here!

Honesty untangles life. You do not need to keep track of your past statements. Your soul remains pure and untarnished. That’s why children are considered innocent. They haven’t learned the art of deceiving yet. In the coming years, they will ape the people around them, slowly pushing their divine consciousness into a bottomless pit filled with pitch-black darkness.

Lying kills!

That guy who coined – honesty is the best policy – he was an embodiment of the god himself. It’s truly profound. If you imbibe honesty into the fabric of your being, you will be unstoppable.

Try being totally honest with yourself and the people around you. It will change your life. You will witness an awakening as you slowly rise miraculously from the depth of the abyss, hurling towards a glowing ball of light.

Honesty isn’t limited to speech.

Your thoughts need to be honest.

Your deeds need to be honest.

So, there I was, lonely and broken, in a tiny room, crying myself to sleep every night. I was caught in an endless loop.

Every morning I broke my promise to myself.

Each night before passing out, I made the same promise to myself.

I pledged to wake up early, and prepare my breakfast, give my day a healthy start.

Each morning I failed. I found myself struggling to open my eyes. The courage to kick off a splendid day wasn’t inside me. I struggled, only to give up, adding a ton of pain to my misery.

Now, at this moment, you need to understand that there was nothing really wrong with me. Apart from underlying mental health issues, I had everything in control. However, due to my personal failures, I was sliding into the dungeon of depression.

Ideally, I had everything one could ask for.

I had a place to live in.

I had a job.

I had books.

I had a TV.

I had utensils to cook food.

I had a few friends too.

People listened to me.

I was getting laid also.

All was going well!

Yet, I wasn’t living up to my potential. This unfulfilled sensation inside me got heavier with each lie. I was dying. It was a painfully slow death.

I could have easily quit my job, but the kind of person I am, I prefer giving things a little time. After all, I am just a chimpanzee in clothes, what the fuck do I know about what’s right and what’s not working!

Every morning I woke up late, marking the beginning of an average day. Chocolate bars became a lifesaver. They were my breakfast and my dinner.

At work, I peddled lies, surviving on processed junk.

I had a few friends. We were a small support group. We used to listen to each other complain while getting high. I was aware that all this accomplished was added misery. Yet, I continued!

What else could I have done? A little weed, made the day bearable! I couldn’t let it go.

After work, upon reaching my den, all I was capable of doing was binge-watch some random brain dead TV show, waiting for sleep to overwhelm me.

I had no strength to cook. I cursed myself every night while munching a chocolate bar.

I badly wanted to write but couldn’t gear myself up to such a demanding task. With each passing day, my loathing for myself intensified exponentially. I had no self-esteem left. I was totally broken.

The turmoil within me was no longer in my control. The voices in my head grew louder. They had me convinced to jump from the top of my building.

I casually shared my suicidal thoughts with a dear friend. He’s a sensible guy. He gets me. We have shared a bond for the past 15 years. He patiently explained to me the downside of jumping from a 5 storey building. The chances of getting crippled were extremely high. There was barely a possibility of me ending up dead.

I could have ended up being a cripple, not dead!

Well, that’s not a desirable outcome.

To increase possibilities of instant death, one must throw themselves from at least the 12th floor. Anything lower than that will break your back but won’t kill you.

This fact alarmed me even more. I simply wanted to put a stop to my life, not complicate it further. Jumping from the 5th floor wouldn’t have been ideal!

At this point, I had completely given up on life. I was more excited to end it than bear a never-ending ordeal.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010. Living with such a terrible disease is exhausting. There are constant highs and lows. Even the tiniest moment of pain or happiness appeared as an event. I endured it for 10 long years. I wanted to give up now. I had no bravery or courage left in me anymore.

Now, to a lot many folks, ending your own life might sound easy. However, it is more complicated than killing someone. If you have to kill someone, all you need is a time, a place, and a method. But, when you are trying to kill yourself, you must devise a result-oriented painless strategy.

Added responsibility, you see!

I couldn’t shoot myself. (Didn’t have a gun)

I couldn’t stab myself. (Not enough strength)

I couldn’t jump. (My building wasn’t tall enough)

I couldn’t light myself on fire. (Too brutal)

I didn’t want to drown. (Tough to execute)

I didn’t want a chance street accident. (Low success rate)

How about poisoning, I asked? It seemed like a good idea at that point in time!

At this point, I need to skip a few details to protect my sources. Just understand that I am a highly resourceful person. If I am motivated to get something, I get it!

So, a few days later, I have in my possession a highly potent poison.

A day later, I decide – today is the day!

I write a detailed suicide note mentioning how much my parents loved me, repeatedly pleading the world not to judge me.

I follow the guidelines and ingest the recommended dose.

30 minutes later, the poison gets to work.

I experience stomach cramps.

I vomit all over my bed.

I hallucinate for more than an hour while shitting and puking myself.

Liquid was oozing out of every hole in my body.

There was a moment when I almost felt dead. I had an out of body experience. I saw myself leaving my body. This could have merely been a hallucination, but it seemed real.

While my soul was roaming my room in the middle of tons of puke and shit, I posed a question to myself – am I dead?

And the next moment, I see myself back in my feeble body. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wouldn’t die.

Every fabric of my physical being resisted death.

Now, this is a fact which a lot many goal-oriented aspiring suiciders aren’t aware of. Irrespective of how firm your resolve might be, you won’t achieve your desired outcome because your mind and body aren’t in sync.

You, in your thought, want to die. However, your physical being and your primitive brain are programmed with survival as a primary directive. Their job is to protect you from danger. And, when it comes to their primary task, they do a perfect job. This is an area they won’t disappoint you.

I drank a lot of liquid and continued with my experience.

An hour down the line, I was almost dead but not dead.

I gathered whatever strength I had left, cleaned myself and my room, hid the suicide note, and sat in the middle of my stinking bed with a renewed understanding that I won’t succeed in killing myself until it’s my time to die.

The next day, I emailed a resignation to my boss, called an Uber, informed my landlord that I need to leave, and headed to my parents in Vasundhara.

I took a break for a week. Ate healthy and worked out.

A week later, I was hunting for a co-working space to start my own content marketing firm.

I am not sure how many of you have experienced depression and suicidal tendencies, but I know its quite prevalent.

A lot of advice is floating around ways to deal with depression, yet there is no credible resource. I am not a health professional, and you probably shouldn’t listen to me either, yet my battle of more than 10 years of managing highs and lows has taught me a lot. I will love to share it with you all. That’s my goal for the day.

First of all, depression isn’t bad. It is a crucial phase. When our psyche realizes that our current self isn’t our desired self, we experience depression. It is a wake-up call to make necessary changes for building the base of a fulfilled life. When you tackle your depression the right way, you come out as a winner.

The question remains, what’s the right way?

In my experience, there are five central axis which we need to work on during depression.

1. Physical Fitness

2. Healthy Eating

3. Productive Activity

4. Relationships

5. Thought Process

We will discuss all of these in detail –

Physical Fitness

Morning Routine – If you are feeling depressed, the first thing you must do is establish a routine. Our biological processes depend a lot on circadian rhythm. The moment things are not working your way, make sure you start waking up and sleeping at the same time. And that doesn’t mean sleeping at 2 am and waking up at 1 pm. We need to respect the nature. You should wake up with the sun and sleep around the sunset.

I am not asking you to wake up at 4 am and sleep by 9 pm. However, you should wake up before 7 am and sleep before 10 pm. This is elemental to your recovery.

Exercise – You cannot be stuck in a state of inertia. You must move. Whether a walk in the park or regular strength training, your body needs to burn energy. The easiest way would be to go for a morning run the moment you wake up. 

Begin with keeping your sneakers at the side of your bed. The moment your alarm yells, charge forward, out of the house.

Get A Job – Unemployment clubbed with depression can be a deadly combo. Whether you enjoy your job or not, your mental wellbeing depends heavily on your daily work output. Trust me, you might feel you are better off at home, yet you should go to work. Working daily will make you feel a little better, even if your mind tells you otherwise.

If you are jobless, eat a healthy breakfast and go out daily for job-hunting.

Healthy Eating

Food – Your mood is defined by your diet. Eating healthy is essential even on regular days; however, during the depression, you must be extra cautious of what you consume. Do not consume sugar or high carbs diet. You should eat a protein-rich diet and ensure the intake of essential fatty acids. Protein and omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for a healthy mind. Depression makes life unbearable. Healthy eating can change that.

Substance – Any sort of substance – alcohol, weed, or cocaine – will make your depression worse. Indulging in substance abuse seems like a great idea during the depression, yet using substances will delay your recovery. Avoid any sort of intoxicating agent, including nicotine. They will make you foggy, further deteriorating your already flawed thought process.

Do What You Love

Hobbies – Dancing, singing, painting, gardening…. Whatever lights up your mood, invest at least 30 minutes daily doing that. Even if you are in a dead beat job, these few moments of delight can give you the hope that not all is lost.

Journaling – Daily journals are an intimate dialogue with ourselves. Depression messes up our thought process badly. We experience low self-esteem and barely think straight. Daily journals can act as a helpful tool. Writing down your plan for the day and reviewing yesterday, gives a sense of accomplishment, presenting you with a real-life picture rather than a monstrous morphed image, your brain is hell-bent on producing.

Don’t give up on your dreams – My dreams kept me alive. Our aspirations push us forward. Never ever give up on your dreams. If you enjoy doing something, do it daily. 

Get better at it. 

Make realistic plans.

Track your progress. 

Work on your dreams. Dreams are important. 

Don’t let the world steal your dreams away!

Relationship

Don’t plug out – Human beings are social animals. I am not referring to a herd mentality. I am not asking you to fit in. I am not asking you to behave like others. However, you cannot deny the underlying need for affection and love.

You might have experienced a rough childhood, had your share of heartbreaks and backstabbing, resulting in a negative outlook towards people. Yet, you have good friends, you have family, you have that special someone – reach out to them. It is hard to reach others during depression, yet you must do so. 

Send at least 5 texts, make 3 calls, and speak to a person face to face daily. 

Human contact matters!

With Yourself – Someone must have chuckled in the last para, claiming they have none. No family, no friends, no special someone, no neighbors, no pets either. Well, buddy, you still got yourself!

Our relationship with ourselves matters the most. There are two people inside you. 

Oh, please don’t panic, you don’t suffer from multiple personality disorder! All I mean is there is the logical side and the emotional side. Make them talk to each other. Find common ground.

There’s one who says you are awful, good for nothing! 

Question him. 

Talk to him, understand him, plan with him. 

Talk to yourself. Don’t overdo. Don’t go deranged. But fix your relationship with yourself. Love and respect yourself. 

Find your strengths and weaknesses. Find what you love and hate. Improve. Be a better version of yourself.

Thought Process

Once you start talking to yourself, you will identify flaws in your thinking. Either you will see yourself being a victim or being irrational. You would be right many times also. 

Depression messes up your thought process. You need to reclaim your control. 

Always be mindful of your inner dialogue. Don’t let it misguide you. The world owes you nothing, and you owe yourself a lot. That’s the base you need to begin on. Further, nurture your self by consuming the right content. 

Listen to Dr. Jordan Peterson, Robin Sharma, Joe Rogan, and other sensible people. Learn from them. Stay away from religious cult leaders. They are always on the lookout to recruit depressed individuals as they are easy to convince.

Depression is more than a disease. It is a phase of your life. The way you deal with your depression will determine the person you will become in the future. Do not take it casually. Neither let it engulf you. You are way stronger than you think.

In the end, everyone beats depression and comes out a winner.

You will too!

Finally, two golden rules –

Never hesitate to see a doctor!

When things go out of hand, you need an expert. There is no shame in visiting a specialist. Medicines are a necessity to manage chronic depression. If society has worked so hard to develop medications that will ease your pain, you shouldn’t avoid them. 

Don’t waste time listening to Johnny Cash!

“I hurt myself today

To see if I still feel

I focus on the pain

The only thing that’s real!”

Yes, pain is real.

Yes, pain is potent.

Yes, pain is profound.

Pain alone can give you enough push to transform your life.

Yet, you don’t need to be in pain 24/7.

It is another form of self-abuse if you intentionally allow yourself to be in pain for more than the period it is needed. 

Don’t turn into a pain addict.

Seek help!

Never attempt suicide!

Buddy, you do not have free will when it comes to choosing the time of your birth and death. These are independent events that occur beyond the control of us petty humans. Instead of wasting time on well-laid plans around ending your life, spend your time wisely on restructuring your life in an orderly manner. 

Believe me, death isn’t the end of your misery. Death is a curse. 

Life is a chance to be happy. And you only get one shot at it. 

Don’t waste this golden opportunity!

Remember, the sun shines the brightest once the dark night ends. 

The dark night always ends.

The sun rises daily!

Hope this helped.

Tell me about your depression. I would love to know.

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.)

Are you sleeping well?

Sleep is an essential phenomenon in our daily cycles. Yet, a lot of us suffer from poor quality of sleep, which leads to both physical and mental issues.
Let’s learn how to sleep well and improve our physical endurance and overall mental wellness,

Good Morning Planet,

Today we are going to discuss one of the most interesting phenomena of our daily cycle – Sleep!

Before we go full hardcore on the science of sleep – let’s begin with the basics.

What is sleep?

Yeah, well, what is sleep?

The textbook definition saysSleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

In simpler terms, like a computer goes in hibernation after inactivity, our body and mind experiences sleep during which our systems shut down partially, and we get into a power-saving mode.

Let’s explore more!

What will be considered an Ideal Sleep?

If you start researching, you will find countless theories around the ideal sleep time.

  • An artist or an entrepreneur might suggest you four-four and a half hours.
  • A sleep specialist will advise you six-six and a half hours.
  • A general physician will recommend you 7-8 hours.

So we don’t have a general consensus here!

How Does Sleep Impact Your Overall Health?

Proper sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood, and weight. Sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep deprivation, and restless legs syndrome (you must have seen few characters around you, annoyingly shaking their legs), are common.

  • Sleep improves cardiovascular health

Heart attacks and strokes occur due to poor cardiovascular health. A good night’s sleep keeps your heart pumping.

You don’t want it to stop, do you?

  • Sleep reduces the risk of cancer

Nighttime sleep is essential. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the human body and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. It also protects cells against cancer as it suppresses the growth of tumors.

Lights off, baby!

  • Sleep reduces stress

Lack of sleep can accelerate the production of the stress-response hormone cortisol. The more cortisol your bloodstream contains, the more complicated your life would seem.

Close your eyes, take it easy!

  • Sleep makes you more alert

Sound sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Not only will you experience higher energy levels, but your overall productivity and performance will improve too.

And, when we say PERFORMANCE, we mean between the sheets!

  • Sleep improves your memory

When you are sleeping well, half of the time, you don’t remember where your phone and tv’s remote is. Amplify this 10 times, and that’s what happens if you are not getting enough sleep daily.

You can aspire to be an ‘American Psycho,’ but unfortunately, you ain’t handsome like Christian Bale.

  • Sleep can help you lose weight

If you want to maintain or lose weight, don’t forget that getting adequate sleep regularly is a massive part of the equation. Insomniacs are mostly bone-dry, and obese people have poor sleeping habits.

Sleep to slip in that dress, sister.

  • Sleep improves mental health

Poor sleep can make you depressed. Sleep is essential for your brain to process reality. Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. Lack of serotonin can influence your mood and efficiency negatively and may result in mental disorders.

Sleep, don’t let anyone fly over the cuckoo’s nest!

  • Sleep repairs the body

Your body needs rest to repair and rejuvenate cells. Your muscles need to relax. Those eyes enjoy a little shut lid. Sleep gives enough room for your body to perform repair tasks in a gonzo mode, which slows down while you are awake.

Sleep – that’s the ultimate fix!

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s delve deeper!

Apart from regular sleep, there are other ways to enjoy this fulfilling experience –

  • Napping
  • Lucid Dreams

Napping

Well, they say, napping makes you smarter

Nighttime sleep isn’t the only way to complete your sleep requirements. Day time napping is also a refreshing alternative. So next time, when you feel that caffeine craving to drive boredom away, close your eyes, and take a nap. 

Research indicates that daytime naps, shorter than one hour, can increase your mental abilities four to six times compared to those who don’t nap. People who nap at work show much lower levels of stress. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function, and mood.

Next time your boss catches you dozing off at work – you know what to say!

Lucid Dreams

You don’t need psychedelics to alter reality. You got lucid dreams for that. Lucid dreaming happens when you’re conscious during a dream. Around 55 percent of people have had at least one or more lucid dreams in their lifetime.

You’re aware of your consciousness, during a lucid dream. It’s a form of metacognition or awareness of your awareness. Mostly, lucid dreaming allows you to control what happens in your dream.

Researchers claim that lucid dreaming has therapeutic benefits and could be useful in treating conditions like anxiety, PTSD, or recurring nightmares.

Lucid dreaming allows you to alter the details of your dream, something on the lines of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. 

Say no to drugs; Say yes to lucid dreams!

Bizarre Sleeping Habits

No article is complete without the reference of legends. Therefore we bring to you most bizarre sleeping habits of legendary artists –

  • Winston Churchill enjoyed a two-hour nap every day.

Every day at 5 p.m., British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would drink a little whiskey and take a two-hour nap. Churchill believed that his practice allowed him to get 1 1/2 days’ worth of work done every 24 hours.

  • Charles Dickens slept facing north to enhance his creativity.

Dickens, who reportedly had insomnia, always kept a navigation compass with him to ensure that he wrote and slept facing north. He believed that this quirky practice improved his creativity.

  • Novelist Emily Brontë walked briskly in circles until she crashed.

The 19th-century celebrated novelist and poet had insomnia, and she would walk in circles around her dining room table until her body gave up and she fell asleep.

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s never slept. He took 20-minute naps every four hours.

Da Vinci religiously followed an extreme polyphasic sleep schedule referred to as the Uberman sleep cycle, which includes 20-minute naps every four hours. This unconventional sleep cycle may have a lot to contribute to his genius.

Thank you for not dozing off while reading this!

Also check out our podcast regarding the same.