Overcoming low mood

Depression is a shitty disease. It warps your perception of reality and makes you self-sabotage attempts at overcoming it.

Luckily there are ways to overcome it.

The most important thing to understand is that mood warps your perception of reality. When you are feeling sad you are experiencing a different world, a sad world where nothing is possible. Being in this world is not good for you and you should always do your best to improve your mood. There is nothing positive about being in this world.

Your mood shifts both during a single day and during a week, a month, a year and a lifetime. It is the same process on different timescales. Depression is what we call a sustained period of low mood.

There are many ways of overcoming depression and they all focus on the same thing. Experiencing more stimuli that will make your mind happy.

Stimuli can have many forms.

The famous example of the glass of water

If the glass is half full or half empty is similar to asking question as:

On a scale of 0 to 100 what is your belief in the goodness of life the universe and everything and are you a good person and is the world a good place?

Everyone makes mistakes but it is still important to keep a positive view of yourself and the world. Because the positive view is what gives you the energy you need to act as a good force in the world.

You should think about life as a million moments each day that each have a positive or negative charge.

When too many things have a negative charge our mood changes and we start to feel sad or depressed. If this goes on for too long we might become clinically depressed. Then the glass is half empty.

The problem is that when we are depressed almost everything that used to have a positive charge looses their charge, so it is much harder to overcome depression once we are depressed.

Water food and physical activation

Water, food and physical activation are stimuli that are needed for a healthy life that affects your body and in turn your mind. You should always first ask yourself if your physical needs are met when you are feeling sad.

The problem is that your mind isn’t very good at keeping track of this so you might have to keep telling yourself to eat, drink water and exercise. I would advice you to use reminders or notes to remind yourself of this.

Sleep

We also have a need for sleep. When we sleep our mind updates our view of the world and processes the things we experienced during the day.

Try to do things that are enjoyable before you go to bed. That way it is more likely that you feel better when you wake up in the morning. However try to make it no too exciting, otherwise you will struggle to fall asleep.

This is why we tell our children bedtimes stories. So they will wake up feeling happy. Grownups need stories too.

Once your physical needs are met we move on to the psychological needs. These are safety and love.

Safety

Safety is the feeling that our environment is without any dangers. The most important environment is your home. Make your home a place that you feel comfortable being at all times. Fill it with things you love, plants and perhaps a pet. Color and light matters when decorating a home. Avoid black and use bright colours to stay happy. Make sure there is plenty of light.

The reason why light is important is because this is a stimuli that is processed in your mind. The more stimuli, the more our mind will have to work. The more our mind has to work, the more computations it will perform. The more computations it performs, the more correct the computations. When a computation is correct, we feel happiness.

Like any computer your mind might need a moment to boot up. When you are starting out on a new task it is good to remember that it takes time for your mind to be ready.

Love

Love hurts the poets sang. The reason is that if we accept a person as they are our mind forms a mental model of them inside your own mind. They also shape our own perception of reality. When a person we love does something we disagree with we feel pain.

The good news is that friendship is also a bond held together with love. So is the bond between family members.

If you are searching for love you should first look in the places where you are most likely to find good people.

Psychologists give you love even though we have another name for it. We call it unconditional positive regard. It means that we support and help you no matter what you tell us.

Speaking with a good friend is also a process where you give and receive love. A milder form of love is called kindness. It is a great idea to be kind to everyone.

The reason why kindness feels great is because humans are programmed to be perfect empaths. That is why a baby feels sad if someone else is sad.

With time many forget this. It is a frustrating cycle because many are forced to focus on their own self-interest because everyone else focuses on their own self-interest.

Even though this might be how society works it is a reason why many feel bad. You might feel bad because you are frustrated that society is killing its poets, you might also feel bad because you are acting too much in your own self-interest. You might also feel bad because you forgot to eat a sandwich.

My advice would be to start with friendship. Find good people who encourage you and help them. Takes turn helping each other out.

Everything is temporary

Buddhist monks make mandalas in sand. One of the reasons is to remind themselves and the world that everything is temporary.  You should also remember this.

This too shall pass.

Work and happiness

In our professional life we sometimes have to make a choice between doing good and making money.

You are free to make any choice you want but understand that if you become successful millions have stayed behind to make sure society functions.

Social workers, nurses, teachers and construction workers are all examples of groups that forego financial success to make sure that society works.

Don’t be naive and think this is because they are foolish. Nothing can be more wrong. They give up their life for civil service because it is the right thing to do.

Achieving financial success and giving back can also be the right thing to do.

Remember everyone who helped you become who you are and then make a choice for how you want to shape society for the better.

If you need more help the wonderful non-profit 80 000 hours can help you make a decision.

Intimate relationships and happiness.

There is no greater source of happiness and sadness then an intimate relationship with another human.

A good way to build a solid foundation in a relationship is to talk continuously about your view of the world.

Work in progress

This post is a work in progress. It will be updated. Feedback is always welcome. This is version 1.0.

Always remember

How people respond to what you say and do is a reflection of their mind, not yours. Your words go into the world and a response is the reflection of your words touching another humans mind.
A response that isn’t calm is the response of a mind that isn’t calm.
A response that isn’t brave is the response of a mind that isn’t brave.
A response of love is the response of a mind filled with loved.
Responding with love is always better.
To respond with calmness you have to learn that you are a good person and the world is a good place.
To be brave you have to learn that you are kind, beautiful, strong and smart.
To respond with love you have to learn that your love for yourself is unconditional, that your love is a gift you give to the world and that the more love you give the more love you possess.
Love you.

A chance encounter

Just had a nice moment waiting for the train.

I was alone on the platform waiting and started talking to the only other person waiting for the train. A young well dressed handsome man.

He spoke with the elegant grace of a man with an american liberal arts degree. In excellent Swedish he told me he had studied Swedish for a single month. He fluently conversed me in Swedish occasionally used google translate for difficult worlds like twin. His grace reminded me of the late Muhammed Ali.

An intelligent man who refused to deceive the world by pretending he wasn’t. He told me he studied business before he came to Sweden. He came by way of Damascus 18 months ago. His name was John.

Technically he is a Syrian refugee but those words does nothing to describe him.

I asked for his number and he reluctantly gave it to me.

The person I met was me, only smarter and more well dressed. If you understand that we are the same it us much easier to  make the right choices concerning immigration and refugees.

The world is an extremely connected place where all cultures are merging. Sweden has done an excellent job of giving people a place to stay. It doesn’t matter if this is costly for Sweden because in the end all human beings have equal value. So of course we have the moral imperative to act to ensure that all people have the right to a good life.

I think immigration is great for a country and I believe that there is no choice but the choice to give every single person the same chance to live in country with liberty and justice for all.

Embrace the suck

I think one of the most important concepts for every single individual to grasp is the fixed and growth mindset view of intelligence.
 
There is very robust science that tells us that just by changing the way we view our own intelligence from something that is fixed to something that is able to grow and strengthen through practice we become smarter.
 
This is really exciting because it means that just by becoming an acolyte of the growth mindset (which can happen while you read this post) you have the ability to increase your intelligence.
 
In things I try the fear of failure always gets me before a hard-wired limit to my brains understanding and I think that this is true for most people.
 
On of my all time favourite people is the physicist Richard Feynman who describes how he through years of consistent failure finally managed to solve extremely complex problems in physics. Only by building a habit and a framework to deal with the constant failures was he able to finally make progress and he is considered to be one of the most brilliant physicists who ever lived.
 
In the past couple of years I’ve learned to program computers. A hard skill to learn and something I’m still a novice at compared to many. However I’ve amazed myself many times over by building things that I thought were outside of my own ability.
 
This I think is because we are terrible at making judgement about what we can and can’t accomplish. So we simply shouldn’t do it.
 
Instead we should master the art of doing things we are terrible at. Embrace the suck.
 
It doesn’t matter if you fail at doing things. It doesn’t say anything about your abilities or how you are as a person. If you instead view your failures as a learning experience you will in time grow and become better at things.
 
The article linked talks about how parents view of failure shapes their children’s view of intelligence.
 
If parents believe that failures are debilitating their children will view their intelligence as fixed rather than malleable. So don’t do it!
 
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/04/23/0956797616639727.
 
Embrace the suck!
 
Peace!

Starting a simple python server in terminal mac

The thing I google the most is the command to make a simple HTTPServer in python in the mac terminal.

So here it is. The command to make a simple server. Easy if you want to try out a simple website or small project on your localhost.

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8000