You want to be productive, While being depressed? Read This.

The total amount of energy that sun produces through nuclear fusion could supply 22 trillion Earths with our current energy consumption every hour. Take away one resource that the sun needs for its chain reaction, and everything collapses. Why this analogy? We live in a truly information-intensive age of humanity. Still, we are not conscious of the elements humans need to thrive. Similarly, like the sun, if we take away one major component from our life, things can get really nasty.

Know Thyself.
Socrates

WHat A human being needs to thrive

What do I actually do here?

Let’s be honest: Do you believe to be a number in the system, or do you belong to something greater than yourself? Is there somebody waiting for your service, which you proudly engage in every day? Or do you solely do what you do to pay your bills? Even if you are a rationalist, nobody wants to be a number. Talk to people who love what they do. You will soon find out that even within the concept of being part of a system, you can create purpose and meaningful things. 

Who are the people you look up to? Who are or were your role models? What is your ultimate source of inspiration? Your children? Iron man? God? You can keep your dear belief to be a number, but be an extraordinary one. R2D2. 

Am I good for something?

Humans have a natural desire to feel capable and effective in their actions. Achieving competence in various areas of life, whether personal, professional, or recreational, contributes to self-esteem and satisfaction. Do you believe you are useless? Well, it’s time to become good at something. Are you good at something and still feel useless? Well, it’s time to consult an expert. 

Millions of people, including me, have a deeply ingrained feeling of unworthiness, which often can be traced back to our childhood. But knowing you are competent and useful for the well-being of others is a great asset. You will treat yourself much differently if you genuinely believe you are useful and worthy.

Pilot or passenger?

You need autonomy, even if you tell yourself that you don’t need it. We’re hardwired to work towards something, having a sense of control over our lives. Take that away, and you believe you are only a figure on a chessboard. Somebody else decides every move we make without our consultation, without our regard. The more events in life we expose ourselves to where we control the outcome, the more we believe we are the masters of our fate. 

Do we have to exaggerate? Of course not. Reserve some type of dependency for yourself. I love others to make decisions on leisure planning or cooking. Tell me what you’d like to cook, and I will join you! However, there are key events in life where we have to be the pilot. Where do you want to live, and why? What are your private or professional goals, and why? Who are the people you’d like to surround yourself with, and why? We need a degree of independence, no matter what the cozy bubble tries to convey.

 

Relatedness

I believe loneliness is the number one reason why most people feel depressed these days. Yes, we have never been more connected to others. But only on the surface. Below this shallow construct, we’re rotting like a pile of organic waste. We feel that something is not alright with us, but it’s hard to define what it is exactly. We want to become successful, have a relationship, and have a fulfilling job, but what does this matter if we’re thirsty as heck? If you don’t drink water, everything that used to be important once becomes insignificant now. 

Our basic needs are like gatekeepers to the more sophisticated aspirations we hold. Relatedness is one of these gatekeepers. You don’t hold a sense of relatedness? “I am afraid, then you shall not pass.” “But Instagram said…” you reply. The gatekeepers just shake their heads. Welcome to reality, dear reader. You are operating a living being with flesh and blood, not a robot.

Social connections and relationships are fundamental for psychological well-being. Feeling connected to others, experiencing love, belonging, and support from friends and family, and having a sense of community are all vital aspects of relatedness. I’d like you to set aside all your higher aspirations for a moment and evaluate thoroughly:

  • Who are the people you turn to when you’re not feeling well?
  • Who are the people you share success with?
  • Who are the people you offer a helping hand when they are in need?
  • With whom do you meet regularly to discuss trivial matters or the more sophisticated ones that really touch your heart?

Often it’s hard to find genuine friends, but it’s not something that comes without effort. You have to willingly engage.

  • Join a social club like basketball, toastmasters, or language exchanges.
  • Spend much time outside.
  • Do a course in something that you’re interested in.
  • Dare to ask for numbers! “Would you like to stay in touch?” “Great, let’s exchange numbers.”
  • Be happy that some people reject your offers of friendship. It’s like a filter that guarantees matching interests. You are also allowed to kindly reject potential friendships if you believe it’s not a fit. It’s natural and necessary.

Stimulation and Variety

Why do we feel so tremendously more alive when we are on holidays? A huge part of this feeling accounts for the distance from stress and problems. The other side looks more playful and exciting! The variety of food, environment, and activities make life compelling even without a holiday. 

We need it. Even if the bubble feels cozy, if we don’t stimulate our brain cells with fresh air, we become sluggish and depressed. Whatever challenge it is, whatever hobby you have, or food you cook, expose yourself to new, inspiring things and break out of the wheel. You’re not a hamster. Inspiration. Variety.

The Ying. THe Yang.

Buddhism calls for balance in all of life’s matters. The Buddha said that whatever you do, don’t go too high and don’t walk too low. Every imbalance will sooner or later be corrected. And the higher we are, the deeper we fall. What do you perceive as a healthy balance between leisure, work, and relationships? 

But also the micros are important. Balance of self-criticism, nutrition, sports, solitude, socializing, activities that trigger a large amount of dopamine, couching, time inside, time with your partner, time with your friends – you name it! Listen to your gut, recognize your emotions and thoughts in these matters. Everybody has a different preference within the range of balance.

Self-Esteem

We read and hear everywhere that self-esteem is critical. But what are the results that make you perform extraordinarily well? Two examples, one strategy:

  1. You allow yourself to be a fool and don’t try to cover up mistakes. This habit alone lifted so much of the weight I carried on my shoulders. You literally radiate the philosophy “I am not perfect and not afraid to make mistakes.” Not only will people recognize this divine virtue in you, but also your performance will tremendously increase over time because you finally dive into the lessons and skills your success craved for so long. No shame. No guilt. Sincere growth.
  2. You are able to stare down the devil. Productivity and accomplishment require bravery. The courage to face your challenges and tackle them. Most people out there know their weaknesses. Few of them dare to do something about it. It could shatter their fragile facade or confidence. But not with you. Genuine self-esteem, the one you strive for, allows you to see yourself from above like a video game character. It allows you to take on the quest of necessary improvement. Bravery.

How to establish self-esteem? Assuming that you had a healthy childhood and no trauma to work on, the easiest way is to become good at something that covers a large part of your life. Let’s say you spend 8 hours per week on martial arts. You become really engaged in it, educate yourself on how to get better, learn to control your emotions, manipulate your competitors, reach workout milestones, and so on. Slowly you start to believe in yourself, and this is the critical part. Believing in oneself. 

You can accomplish this with a lot of activities that require stepping out of your comfort zone and evolving. Will this work solely by becoming good at reading or playing chess? Unlikely. It has to be something that really challenges your limits. Something that makes you feel discomfort here and there. And the joy of accomplishment. Setbacks. Community.

Bravery is not being fearless. It is moving forward despite your fear.

Resilience and Coping

Developing resilience (the ability to bounce back from setbacks) and effective coping strategies for dealing with stress, setbacks, and challenges are crucial for psychological health. Parents who permanently fear the well-being of their children often engage in an overly caring parenting style. The agenda is clearly 

“avoiding unpleasant situations for my child.” 

While it may seem logical, these children pay a big price later in life. When they are finally exposed to life’s challenges, a Haiti-like tsunami of emotions shatters these young adults’ character. Utterly overwhelmed, they fail to categorize and deal with all these novel situations and emotions. It’s like buying a new car and deliberately crashing it into the next tree. Painful. However, not necessary.

We need frequent exposure to hardship, setbacks, time to work on issues, and find solutions on our own, guided by vigilant parents. Learning to overcome problems and coping with emotions appropriately are idispensable cornerstones of resilience.

Emotional Capabilities

Understanding Emotions

The alienation from our bodies concerns all of us. Not knowing where emotions come from and identifying with them creates recurring conflict and depletes a lot of our resources, which we need to get things done. Whenever a joyful or challenging emotion arises, try to define it and trace it back to its roots. Become the Sherlock Holmes of your mind and categorize everything that goes on between your ears. You feel frequent loneliness? Well, it was not always like that, was it? Go back in time and recall the moments where you didn’t feel lonely. What was different compared to now? 

Don’t mistake solitude with loneliness. Solitude is the choice of wanting to be alone temporarily. Loneliness is a feeling of isolation despite having people around you. Yes, you can feel lonely even if you are surrounded by family and friends. I personally overcame this feeling by finding people who deeply resonate with me. People I could talk about everything, even the complex matters that occupy my mind.

Dealing with Emotions

You are not your body. Learning to separate your body’s emotions from your self is a key milestone to stay energized. If you always jump with your emotions into the abyss, you will always remain the puppet of your body, without control over it.

I used to get mad at people who ignored my feelings. “How can they not care?” I thought. Today I know that it’s not other people’s job to satisfy my needs. They have to want it, without me forcing them. Also, some folks’ radar is just not that sophisticated. They don’t recognize subtle signs we try to give them. This always made my mood dependent on others. I stopped it. 

Of course, it depends a bit on the relationship with this person. If your partner seems to be careless about you, you could start a conversation by asking that you’d be delighted if he or she … However, don’t take it for granted. Nobody owes you anything. The moment you get into the game of entitlement, unhealthy soil will be spread in the garden of your relationships. Understanding. Compassion.

Interpreting Others’ Emotions

The vast amount of conflicts evolve through misinterpretation of others’ emotions. The first step to pinpoint emotions correctly is to understand one’s own emotions. Sometimes I hear “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others.” The same goes with emotions. Knowing that most humans identify with their emotions gives you a tremendous advantage. You know that rational arguments are rarely useful. Often, it’s most effective to give conflicts a break until the waters cool down and find the true, underlying issue behind the rational-looking facade.

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