I “I feel like shit,” I thought. Then I curled into a ball on my couch.
There’s a famous psychologist in Russia who is known for ‘6 rules of happiness’. I won’t go over all the rules (I think the guy is planning to start lecturing in English, so you might get to know him soon), but his #1 (and arguably most famous) rule is this: do whatever you want.
Confident and mentally healthy people do only what they want. And they never do what they don’t want.
What if you don’t want anything?
I never thought of myself as a ‘depressive’ person.
But once I learned more on the subject, I realized that most of my childhood (and now, early adulthood) problems exist because I am depressed.
Sometimes I don’t want anything at all. I cry in the shower for no apparent reason. I get irritated. I break things. My mind keeps telling me that I am going to die, or my mom is going to die, or something terrible is going to happen.
I can smile, but deep inside, I don’t feel the same joy that other people seem to be experiencing in similar situations.
Sometimes I just want to do absolutely nothing — and sit in stillness, have nobody around me, and be completely isolated from the world. But then I blame myself for not doing anything and push myself to ‘be productive’ (that’s my perfectionism talking).
I used to think that’s how life is for everybody.
Imagine not taking a shit for 3 years.
That must hurt.
The cause of all mental problems is holding your emotions inside of you. Not letting them out. Like poop that’s been accumulated over a long period of time.
Depression occurs when the emotions that had to be let out (e.g., you were very angry with someone and you had to scream at them), didn’t. Instead, you swallowed them and they started to grow inside of you.
If you don’t let out your negative emotions immediately, they might accumulate inside of you and then attack you. e.g., If you hated someone, you’ll now hate yourself.
4 natural anti-depressants
They are free. You don’t have to go and get them. Whether you’re depressed or not, they will help you. (If you are depressed, I suggest seeing a psychotherapist, though).
I found that whenever I do these things, I feel better. To steal from James Altucher, this is my daily practice.
Writing about my feelings, my pain, my experience, my situation — everything that I hold inside of me — helps me let my emotions out.
Any writer will resonate with this idea: when you write = you think.
I am absolutely stupid when I don’t write. I can’t come up with anything. But when I take a pen and paper or open my laptop, that’s when I start thinking and processing.
If you write daily, you won’t get depressed.
Writing will save you. Like Neil Gaiman said, “Whatever happens, make good art.”
You should read the books you love. In fact, only the books you love.
Don’t finish books. This is mostly about non-fiction. There are too many books out there and too little time to process them all. There’s no point in trying to finish something you don’t like because that’s how you were taught at school. I treat books like blogs — and skip around chapters, trying to find something I need right now.
Read fiction. We read too much non-fiction and have too many goals. We forgot the pure joy of reading with no strings attached. We forgot what it’s like to escape in the other world — the one the fiction writer constructed for us.
I know I forgot.
I try to read more fiction these days.
#3. Physical activity.
It used to be running. Now it’s swimming in the nearby swimming pool or going for a long walk in one of London’s Royal Parks. Ducks won’t feed themselves.
Physical activity is great for letting emotions. Especially anger, which, biologically speaking, is just energy.
It’s being around people you love, and people who love you back. It’s having sex. It’s spending quality time with those who matter.
A person needs a person.
You deserve this.
The key is to strive for having all of these practices in one day. They will save you.
Say, spend the morning writing, then cram an hour or so reading in the afternoon (maybe on your commute?) — podcasts and audiobooks also work — go for a swim or walk later, and spend the evening with your family or friends.
Whenever I do these, I don’t have difficulty answering the, “What do I want?” question. And it helps me be happier.
Thanks for reading. Too many books, too little time. Join my email newsletter and I’ll send you something meaningful to read each week. Talk soon.