A few months back or maybe even a few days back you were so ambitious. You had desires of traveling the world, moving to a new city, buying a new car, doing a skydiving, etc. And now you find yourself in situations just browsing through random blog posts, YouTube videos, quora questions, facebook posts, twitter, linked-in, tinder, and even your google+ account. And suddenly this question comes to your mind, “What am I doing with my life?” Found yourself too often in this situation, especially on Sunday night when you’re wondering how this weekend disappeared so quickly? This happens too often with some people and them most often end up wishing something to change their life dramatically. Well, it may work for some luckily but not for most of the people. Because things just don’t happen on their own. You have to make it happen. You have to spend energy to fight entropy change.
“To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities.” Bruce Lee
This at first doesn’t seem to be a serious issue but going into this thought cycle repeatedly can lead to a depressing state of mind, lack of energy, enthusiasm for anything, and ultimately waste of precious time. Believe me, I’m speaking from my own experience.
So, what’s the issue here? What is causal of this state of mind? Think about a minute from the perspective of neuroscientist (I’m not going into possible events causing this state like break-ups, poor performance in exams, etc.). The state of the brain is defined by the kind of neural networks that are showing strong connections at that moment. For example, there are areas of the brain which will be triggered when you’re sad, and your happy memories are subdued. Simply putting, your brain isn’t in the right state of affairs at that moment. So, can it fix it by itself? Surely it can. Our brain is so complex, it has been able to solve problems of quantum mechanics, astronomy, biology and what not. This simple problem of going into this loop of inactivity seems puny compared to those problems. Then how, can our brain get off this sad state of affair. Well, it will need some help. See, different people have different levels of self-awareness. Some people are aware enough to realize that their brain isn’t going in the right direction and they need to change things. And there are others that let things happen. I’m not saying they are less smart or less intelligent. In fact, they may have an awesome brain full of infinite potential wonders. But to unlock those wonders, their brain needs to move from this state I addressed before. Even a Ferrari engine without proper maintenance can under-perform compared to a well maintained Fiat.
So, your brain needs maintenance. You already probably knew that. What kind of maintenance? Your brain doesn’t work in isolation. Think of this way.Going back to the Ferrari example, if the tires of the car are torn off, the exhaust system is damaged, the body is damaged affecting its aerodynamics, then the engine won’t perform well. Prolonging this situation can further cause a long-term damage to the engine even though it started with other parts of the car. The same applies to your body. Almost every part of your body is controlled by your brain directly or indirectly. So, not only the brain can affect your bodily function, your bodily function can affect your brain too. An example, your eyes caught a glance of your crush, your brain got the signals and then rush of different chemicals leading to an exciting state of affairs. What does this example tell? It shows that certain events can trigger happiness and excitement in our brain with the help of our senses and can improve our current state of affairs. Hey, problem solved then. Find things that excite you and do those things at the time of depression. Um, not exactly. It isn’t that simple. See, the things that cause excitement most of the times are as a result of the release of certain sets of chemicals. Such events also happen with people into smoking, alcohol, drugs. See where this is going. Relying on orgasms to get out of depression. That won’t work in long term. Though it can certainly give an instant kick.
So we are back to where we started. What’s the permanent solution? I have already mentioned before. You have to spend energy to fight entropy change. For non-science people, let me explain what I mean by this statement with an example. Your room is a perfect example. Without spending much energy, with time your room will become a mess. That is an increase in randomness (entropy). Now coming to your brain, leaving it at such a state of mind with no efforts will make it even worse (the connections leading to the sad state of your brain will get stronger with time). You have to work to not allow the strengthening of this sad, depressing neural networks.
How to spend energy on the brain? Simply put, you have to do things that give you satisfaction on a regular basis. It could be anything: cooking, dancing, singing, running, football, chess, anything. The only rule is it should feel satisfying to you (there is a difference between satisfaction and excitement). This satisfying effect on the brain caused by this exercise will negate those depressing state of your brain. Another smart thing to assist your brain is a healthy diet. I’m not going into what’s a healthy diet for you and your brain. Just recall what your mom used to ask you (will still ask you whenever you meet her) to eat or drink. Moms are evolutionary the most important relation for a child. When she says something, you should listen. You will never be in such sad state of affairs.
Image sources: Google searches, public images