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?

These 8 Brilliant Quotes Can Transform Your Life

The show is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The show will give you rise or bleed you dry. The show will attract more or none. The show will be a huge hit or a drowning failure. Whatever be the case, the show must go on!

GoodMorning Planet,

Hope you are doing well!

Today, I present to you 8 timeless quotes that are genuinely profound, capable of positively transforming your life for better. Irrespective of the experiences you have encountered so far in your life, whether you are in a good place or bad, understanding these quotes followed by implementing the necessary changes will definitely give you a better fighting chance in this cut-throat worldly premises we exist in. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Quotes are tiny packets of wisdom. Unlike wordy articles, blogs, or books, quotes bombard you with heavy doses of enlightenment in as little words as possible. However, there’s a catch involved. Despite being acutely simple, not everyone can comprehend the profound meaning overflowing from 5-6 words pearled thoughtfully, held together by centuries of wisdom.

Had that not been the case, all of us would have been honest and resourceful as the first few quotes we encounter in our early life are:

  1.  Honesty is the best policy. 
  2. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

These two most straightforward quotes encompass all the wisdom one needs to possess to achieve greatness. Yet, we barely pay attention to such basics. 

Had the case been different, each of us would have only spoken the truth and uncomplicated our messy lives. Every individual would have easily solved all of their personal problems and moved on to pressing collective concerns of the human race.

There’s a profound lack of comprehension in today’s times.

The term “cliche” was barely used before 1970. Beyond that, it became an easy escape for individuals lacking will or high on self-loathing. 

Whenever you present a simple novel idea which is groundbreaking, it will be disregarded by feeble men and women as a cliche. The only reason is their fear of committing to anything which demands bravery.

If you are depressed and you go for a morning run – its brave!

You need courage to have a sensible conversation.

You must display strength to take an initiative.

Modern society has dulled our senses with heavy doses of violence, hatred, nudity, and cheap thrills, manufacturing a generation of gutless women and emasculated men.

When you share wisdom with a failed generation, they are either speculating the size of your penis or drooling over your cleavage. They cannot see beyond base desires. Any activity which requires effort and doesn’t offer immediate gratification is a cliche for them. Glad, I don’t write for them, I write for myself and you.

Okay, so now that this is out of the way, here we go!

1. Find What You Love and Let It Kill You – Our first pick of the day is a marvel coined by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski has generated a cult following in the last decade. 

Someone with an extremely notorious past, Bukowski, was infamous for his drinking and whoring. Yet, this man toiled his ass off every day in a fucking post office, working for pennies only to come home to his mistress – a vintage typewriter, on which he made 10 pages of love before passing out. 

Anything pouring out of such a soulful individual is gold, as is this quote!

Bukowski isn’t asking you to die drinking if you love alcohol. He isn’t making a case for meth and coke addicts. 

He’s talking about passion. 

The passion which went out of the window when you decided to waste precious hours on social media. 

The passion which was stolen by a mediocre society. 

The desire which was blanketed by failed parents. 

That’s the passion you need to find.

Find your love and bleed for it.

Do you love playing the guitar? Well, if that’s the case, then your fingers should be sore each evening.

Do you enjoy writing? Make sure your keyboards are wobbly due to a million keystrokes pounding on it every day.

If you enjoy singing, your throat should be sore before you stop practicing.

Nothing comes easy, my friends!

Nothing comes easy!

If you want to make things happen, the gods demand sacrifices.

Sacrifice your pleasures.

Let go of comfort. 

Be an odd-ball.

Bleed for your dream.

Die for your ambition.

Find what you love and let it kill you.

2. The show must go on! – An anonymous gifted genius blessed us with this quote.

For me, this works in conjunction with Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage.”

All the world’s a stage, and the show must go on!

That’s the way I like it.

Are you having a bad day? Well, nobody truly gives a fuck. And they shouldn’t either. They have paid to see a show. You must provide them with a show.

Your employer can demand your presence even when you are unwell. He bought the ticket for your show. Either you can be hateful or comply. It’s upon you!

Being hateful or acting as a rebel is depriving your boss of the show you signed up for. It won’t be wise. Pick up all of your broken pieces, jump start your dying soul, and get to work. The show must go on!

You have hungry kids at home, a bickering wife, your excuse that you are depressed won’t work for you. 

Whether you are knee-deep in grief or just tired as fuck, the kids need a show. 

You have brought them in the theatre, now is the time to dazzle them. 

You can’t escape from responsibilities. The show must go on.

The show is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The show will give you rise or bleed you dry. The show will attract more or none. The show will be a huge hit or a drowning failure. Whatever be the case, the show must go on!

Remember folks, there’s a lot of rush for your show, don’t disappoint the audience. It is your responsibility to present a dazzling, entertaining, exciting, inspiring, charming, fucked up, terribly sad, yet powerful SHOW!

3. Go all the way, or don’t even start – Another wonder from Bukowski!

Hey, I am not biased. Yes, I am in love with this guy, but that’s not the reason he features so frequently. He did offer thunderous quotes. That was kind of his thing.

So, a fattie goes to the gym for a month, he works hard as per his standard, what happens after a month? 

Well, he’s still fat. 

He will continue being fat for at least six months before he witnesses any credible signs of weight loss. But our dear fat friend is a product of a 2-minute society.

These people want results in 2 minutes. Else they will give up.

They go to the gym.

Day1 – There’s this awesome selfie with tons of belly fat and disgusting man boobs. The caption says –  I can, I will!

A month later, there’s nothing to show for. So, what’s the point! 

My question is, why start?

Go all the way, or don’t even start!

Countless individuals begin. Our culture has a great appreciation for the beginning. Every social media guru or influencer will ask you to do what you want, live your dreams. 

Well, that’s fractured advice. It isn’t whole. 

Beginnings are shit if you lack consistency.

Consistency is the only agent that makes shit happen.

You want to make something happen, you do it every day. 

You invest every ounce of your energy in achieving your goal.

Or, what’s the point? 

Why waste time on something which you might give up a month, a year or a few years later.

Go all the way, or don’t even start.

4. The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places – This gem is a by-product of an extremely troubled genius Ernest Hemmingway. 

Hemmingway is a legend. 

He shot himself. 

The amount of pain wrenching in his gut stole the better of him. Yet, what he achieved in one lifetime, millions of us collectively can’t in several lifetimes.

The world is a tough place. No one owes you anything. You are all by yourself!

Every experience makes you wiser. 

Failures pave the way for winning strategies. 

Tragedies prepare you to deal with tough days. 

Mistakes amount to limitless potential. 

Life will break you in unimaginable ways. 

Still, you have the mettle to emerge a winner.

Learn from your mistakes. 

Own your failures.

Embrace your misery.

Get better.

Get tougher.

Beat the shit out of life!

Remember, you must be broken before you can restructure the genius within.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t let heartbreaks fill you with resentment. Don’t allow poverty to be a hurdle in your path to greatness. 

You had a broken home, a drunkard dad, an overprotective mother, scoundrel siblings, exploitative bosses. It’s alright. Consider yourself blessed. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Let the world break you.

Let them burn you alive.

Rise from the ashes.

Remember, The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

5. Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky weaved this mighty word garland. Once upon a time, there was an exceptional writer called Dostoyevsky. And that’s all I have to say about him. No one ever was or will be able to even wander near the literary benchmark set by Dostoyevsky. The guy was an unadulterated genius. 

No one has ever described human suffering and misery in such an appealing manner. Dostoyevsky didn’t write stories. He handcrafted experiences. In my understanding, through this quote, he’s addressing a prevalent victim behavior in human societies. 

To escape responsibilities and avoid holding ourselves accountable, we embrace our misery and start adoring it. We all do that. I, too, have done that in the past.

Romanticizing our suffering makes us feel like an anti-hero. 

The concept of an anti-hero is compelling. 

A hero, despite every adversity, rises above himself and achieves grandeur. An anti-hero, on the other hand, loses everything and falls prey to vices. 

Heroes will always have the right set of habits. They are hard-working, responsible, and see things to the end despite adverse outcomes. An anti-hero has a grand lifestyle. He has money, women, and all the shiny stuff which blinds kids.  

What he lacks is courage.

He will blame the world for his failures while continuing to orchestrate his defeats. He will drink, dope, whore around, and be pitiful. Those who sympathize with anti-heroes are short-sighted. They fall for the glamor, ignoring the devastating outcome such irresponsible behavior attracts.

You could have been exploited as a child. 

Your girlfriend might have cheated on you. 

Your best friend could have stolen your wealth.

Your trusted ones might have backstabbed you.

You can’t allow these or even worse outcomes to romanticize your suffering. 

It is not a desirable state.

Your suffering is supposed to make you stronger and shape you for a brighter future. However, it requires tons of effort from your side. You will need to wipe off your tears and gear for the next awful event.

Being in love with your misery will only make you resentful.

Playing a victim will make you weak.

Being responsible will make you strong.

The choice is yours. Either you can add misery to your suffering or uplift yourself by taking action, you pick!

Remember, Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering. Also remember, such men, go nowhere. They step in the graves, which they have dug carefully for themselves.

6. A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. – The one and only William Shakespeare articulated this piece of wisdom. Shakespeare was way ahead of his time. Things he wrote in the 18th century are still valid and prominent in today’s times, which makes him far-sighted by at least three centuries. 

That’s something, man!

This is an interesting quote. 

Let’s tear it apart.

How many of you think that you are wise? Raise your hands.

Whoa! That’s a lot many hands!

How many of you think you are stupid as fuck? Raise your hands.

Well, I barely see one or two. 

Cool!

So, we all are under the impression that we are wise fellows. How cool is that!

Now, there is nothing wrong with assuming yourself wise. However, this opinion of yourself needs to be based on empirical evidence. 

How did you reach this conclusion? 

Have you achieved unparalleled milestones? 

Do you have concrete evidence for your brilliance?

Are you Elon Musk?

Are you Jordan Peterson?

Are you Fyodor Dostevoskey?

You must understand that it is effortless to assume that you are wise. 

Someone like Arnab Goswami also thinks he is intelligent. 

Trump thinks he’s a genius, for fuck’s sake!

People can make themselves believe anything without any practical evidence, which is damaging to them and others.

At the same time, when you think you are a fool, that’s a flawed outlook too. 

Even if you have a learning disability, you aren’t a fool. You just take longer than others. Similarly, maybe life has given you a tough run and broke you down. 

You have low self-esteem and no confidence. 

You see around, painted faces, brimming with too much certainty.

That makes you insecure, and you think you are suitable for nothing. 

A complete loser!

A fool!

But that’s not the case. 

No one person can be brilliant in every aspect of life.

If you are good at something, you are awful at other tasks.

I can write a little, but I can barely solve an algebra equation.

I know of inarticulate engineers who can’t even write a few lines for a leave request, yet they have built the most magnificent bridges. 

Wisdom is relative.

Someone who thinks they are wise, have flawed thinking.

You can’t be the smartest in the room.

If you are, then obviously you are in the wrong room. 

If I walk into a room full of government officials, I would be the smartest among them.

But, if I walk into a room full of artists, well, I would be insignificant, non-existent.

Many people constantly reach out to me, asking for life advice. I do my best. I use every possible resource available to me to solve their issues. Yet, my closing statement always is, well, I am not an expert here. I am just a chimpanzee in clothes. That’s all I am.

It is essential to understand that you cannot be the best at anything. Yet, you must strive to be the best at all you do. 

You don’t compare yourself with others.

You are a fool because till yesterday you were stupid. 

You are also wise because your today’s self is wiser than your yesterday’s self.

Every day you are a fool for your future self and a wise individual for your past self.

Nothing else matters.

Don’t compare yourself with others. 

Only compare yourself to your past self.

And, I hear someone at the back yelling, CLICHE!

Well, it seems like this fella is the wisest in the room.

Please leave, buddy!

Go where you belong.

Obviously, you don’t belong here.

And before you leave, A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

7. “The sadness will last forever.” ― Vincent van Gogh

Vincent!

O, Dear vincent!

How did you endure what you went through?

Vincent was one of the most talented and troubled artists this world has ever been blessed with. 

Tears are rolling down my cheeks while I type this. 

No ordinary person could have survived what Vincent experienced daily.

He had bipolar disorder. It’s a terrible disease to bear.

You will experience constant manic highs and lows.

During highs, you will experience supernatural strength and energy.

During lows, you won’t even be able to leave your bed.

Bipolar people are among the highest number of individuals committing suicide.

Vincent, too killed himself as the pain was unbearable.

Yet, he endured it for so long, none of us can.

Everybody rejected his ART.

He was way ahead of his time. 

Nobody could understand his art apart from him.

That must have been extremely frustrating at the time.

Imagine, creating masterpieces that will be admired for centuries to come, yet being stuck in an era with ape-like creatures who cannot even understand a single piece of work you create.

No one knows the name of those people who disregarded Vincent’s art as a child’s fantasy. 

Everyone today knows him.

He never died. He’s still among us. 

Jordan Peterson repeatedly says life is endless suffering.

This is what Vincent expressed in lesser words.

The sadness will last forever. A utopian world filled with happiness doesn’t exist. 

Yes, we will find tiny moments of happiness in our daily lives.

Yes, we will feel proud when we do better at studies.

Yes, we will be delighted when a member of the opposite sex considers us worthy of their affection.

Yes, we will be excited when we provide a better lifestyle for our family.

Seeing a bee on a flower will make us chuckle.

A Persian cat idling around will make us giggle.

A little baby drooling over a lollipop will delight us.

Yes, life is beautiful, and you are smiling.

But, the sadness will never go away.

The sadness will never go away.

8. The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius

This brilliant quote was written by one of the most exceptional people to ever walk on the face of the earth. 

Marcus was a divinely, capable emperor. He took Rome to unmeasurable heights. 

Never before or until today have we witnessed a personality of such caliber. He was one of a kind.

His personal writings referred to as “Meditations,” is one of the most widely read books ever. 

Through this quote, Markus is addressing the narrative which we tell ourselves. 

You broke your hand in an accident, if your first thought is – why did this happen to me? Then, you have lost the battle.

You could look at it differently – Oh, wow! I am alive. Let’s make the most out of it. 

If your partner leaves you and all you can come up with is finding their faults, you won’t gain much. You should introspect to identify what can you improve, rather than blaming the other person by playing the victim card.

If you fail, you can’t let yourself assume it’s an end. You need to treat it as a learning opportunity so that when you retry, you don’t end up making the same set of mistakes. 

Similarly, what you think, you become!

Our thoughts are potent. The way we think determines our actions, which in turn shapes our future.

It is elemental to be in touch with your thoughts, making sure that they are not a mere projection of someone else’s storyline forced into your psyche.

Many times our parents, teachers, friends, loved ones or any one close to us project their own insecurities on to us.

If you plan to quit smoking, your smoker friend might suggest you that it’s impossible and not even worth giving a shot.

If your father was a failed businessman, he might advice you against starting your own business.

If your partner is a petty person, they might stop you from achieving greatness because of their fear of the unknown.

Always be cautious to differentiate between your core thoughts & beliefs and projections of someone else’s insecurity.

Our thoughts are a mere extension of us, and we are a mere extension of our thoughts.  Think carefully, as the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.

So, these were 8 powerful quotes. 

If you don’t rule them out as cliche, these alone can help you be an unparalleled individual. But remember great things take time.

Rome was not built in a day!

Hope you enjoyed reading!

What’s your favorite quote?