An Exercise in Kickstarting Your Day for the Unenergetic, Unmotivated Dreamers

It’s a bright day, the natural light reveals all the outside world, and the birds are chirping. The world is alive. But you don’t know it, and you don’t care. You slouch on your couch hunched over with the blinds shut so not even a fraction of light shines through to warm your numb, expressionless face.

You have no energy to do anything today, and the meaning of “productive” has long been filed away in the deepest, forgotten crypts of your mind. So you sink into your couch, and hide behind your pillows – a false comfort – rationalizing, “Well, I deserve at least one more lazy day,” but we both know you said this yesterday.

And you know how dogs feed off their master’s energy? Max is sprawled on the recliner as if his muscles turned to jelly, looking around the room with slow, slow puppy dog eyes sighing and wondering, “When is something going to happen around here?”

You haven’t written a single word for your novel in weeks maybe months, and you stopped your small bout of exercising just short of it being consistent. Sometimes, you don’t even feel like going into work. And sometimes you just don’t.

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? You certainly aren’t thinking, “Man, what an amazing day. I feel so alive!” or “I have energy and momentum today! I want to get things done.”

But isn’t that what we should all be thinking?

What I described is a seemingly down, unmotivated, and numb human being. Someone merely existing, and not living. This was me two weeks ago.

I never thought or felt anything truly positive during those times, and I probably didn’t genuinely feel anything at all. There were so many things that I wanted to do, but I lacked motivation. I had no energy, no will, and no inner foundation of thoughts that set the base and mood for my day. But two weeks ago, I started my vacation from work with a purpose. I thought, “Okay, here’s 336 absolutely free hours of my life, what am I going to do?”

Sitting around playing video games and marathoning “Lost” was my first thought, but then the idea of using the 336 hours to do something extremely unproductive, in the biggest sense of the word, was appalling to me. I was ashamed that I had even given that notion a thought.

So what I decided is that I would use these two weeks as a sort of jolting, “Revival Retreat”. I wanted to shake my life up, I wanted to be progressive, energetic, and motivated. (Did any of those words come to mind when you pictured someone slouched on the couch in the dark?)

Of course, I know not many of you have this much free time, I am very lucky to have such a generous and flexible schedule, but I want to share the few little exercises that gave me the perfect kickstart to each day:

Now it’s your turn.

Close your blinds, make it very dark in the room, and get on your couch, your computer chair, or bed (wherever you lounge around). Now slouch over and wipe the emotion off your face, maybe even frown. Your eyes are only half open as you stare numbingly at your computer screen or television. You browse facebook for the fifth time today, and check your email for the sixth, and yet you’ve only been up for three hours.

Now a big, heavy, long sigh. Your energy is draining, and you may even yawn. What are you thinking? Can you honestly think, “It is the most gorgeous and magnificent day out today!” without feeling… weird?

While writing this, I did this exercise and the first thought that came to mind was, “Can I really finish this post in time?” It was negative right off the bat! I had to reassure myself that it was only an exercise.

Now, all of a sudden…

…you rocket yourself off the couch or chair, and make a beeline to the windows. Pull open the blinds all the way, and let the ALL the light shine in. Notice how you immediately feel better?

Your surroundings have an instant effect on your mood. (Especially light!) So now the light is shining on your face, and already you feel more energized.

Now lift up your head and straighten your back in the most perfect posture, your natural posture. Just think: You are an ancient god or goddess, and now you’re showing confidence to your people, assuring them that, yes, you can take care of things.

Channel your inner Nefertiti or your inner Julius Caesar!

Pretend that, in any moment, someone will make a bust of you to capture your confidence, brashness and boldness for years and years to come. Feeling any better? Good posture harbors more confidence. (And it doesn’t hurt to pretend you’re ancient royalty!) More about confidence and posture here.

Last, but not least, give a big, toothy, genuine smile. If it’s difficult to do, think of your favorite delicious dessert or your loved one unwrapping and freaking out over a thoughtful gift from you. Not only are you a confident ancient ruler, but now you are also charismatic, and people eat that up. Don’t worry about giving an inaugural wave or anything, because your smile alone is an instant pick-me-up. Biopsychology theorists call this “facial feedback“.

Me and my little sister.

Practice switching between these two dramatically different scenes, and try focusing on the outlook of your inner thoughts as you do so. Are they pessimistic? Optimistic? Did you feel a difference?

Any time that I find myself having an uninspired, stagnant day, I try to give myself and my surroundings a little jolt. Even if you don’t feel happy, confident, and charismatic, taking in the light, smiling, and straightening up will at least give physical cues to your mind telling it to “Get up and get going!”

photo credit (1) (2) (3,4) (5) (6)

A Different Perspective: You Are Everyone and Everyone Is You

Thanks to StumbleUpon I came across an interesting piece of writing by a man named Andy Weir. It’s a second-person narrative and concept dialogue that gives a different perspective on why we are here on this Earth and what happens to us after we die. And although I personally do not believe in any specific god, in reincarnation or any other concept stated in the story, I found it entertaining and a nice idea to ponder.

It’s called “The Egg”, and what takes place in this piece is a conversation between “God” and a middle-aged man in his afterlife. God tells him that the man is dead, and that he will be reincarnated to a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. Confused, the man asks why and how can he be reincarnated into someone who has already lived in the past (and even someone of a different gender). God states that time is just a man made concept, and that, to God, things are different.

The man then asks what many of us on Earth would ask if ever in this situation:

“So what’s the point of it all?”

Below is the conversation that takes place afterwards:

“The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

To read the rest of the story, go to Andy Weir’s website here: “The Egg” by Andy Weir.

So what if we, our individual selves, were everyone? What if everyone was simply a different aspect of yourself? I found it really interesting and began to wonder what my life would mean if I were everyone and if everyone were simply different reincarnations of me in different periods of time: past, present, and future.

Maybe we’re all just one universal being, and we live to learn and slowly mature at different times and paces. And everything that I know will not simply disappear after I die, because it lives on within everyone else. And as the universe matures, we will slowly grow from an infantile egg to something much grander.

Confusing, eh? Although this is an old and rather far-out concept, I actually found some peace in wondering if – somehow – every single person on this Earth is at least a reflection or symbol of some part of myself.

There are those people I fear, because they are similar to my own traits in which I fear. There are people I admire, because they reflect the traits in which I like, the traits in which I own or the traits that I want.

It gave me a strange, yet calming peace to think that maybe I have nothing to fear besides those darker parts of my own self. But ah… maybe this also means I hold the power to change me and, in doing so, I have the power to change the world. In keeping my mind open to this, I can face my fears one by one.

So, maybe we are all of the same universal being. Or maybe we aren’t! I felt “The Egg” was a refreshing, thought provoking look at the very meaning of life, and though it may or may not be true, I can genuinely say my mind is open to this exciting possibility.

What do you think, readers?

Update: A Fresh New Start

Some of you may have noticed my fairly large break from blogging lasting several months, and I apologize to my readers profusely for the unexpected leave. As some of you may or may not know, I’ve been in college (as an undergraduate) for two years now, and am now heading toward my junior year. Last quarter, (as a Psychology major) I registered for my first Behavioral Neuroscience class, this was a tough one that required the majority of my time, and part of the reason I had to halt writing articles for my blog. This quarter I took on an even tougher challenge, and one of the hardest classes I’ve had in my life: the Psychology of Perception.

This class focused on the processes by which we gather, interpret, and respond to environmental stimuli – the multitude of very tiny things that go on to transfer light and sound into neural messages the brain can read. It’s tough, and it’s known as one of the hardest psychology classes here.

My professor is a Harvard graduate, and a charming old man with a passion for auditory perception even when his own hearing has inevitably gone bad. In addition to auditory perception, he teaches depth, touch, and visual perception, the latter of the two being the toughest, in my opinion.

What’s most amazing about this man, is that all of his in-depth lectures are straight from his brain. He uses no notes, no book, nothing. He really knows his stuff, and reasonably requires that we know it as well.

In the beginning of the quarter, around 60 people registered for the class. At the end of the quarter and the year, there were 8. Eight! Over 40 people have dropped the class, some never showed up deeming it was too difficult. And at the end there was just a small group of Perception troopers left – we didn’t want to give up, and I am very glad that I didn’t.

Even though it’s been the hardest class, I can walk away and say I have learned more from this professor than I ever have. Truly. My perspective on learning, and how I – as an individual – learn and deal with difficult subject matter has changed for the better.

And now, with my Summer break coming back, I decided this was the best time to restart, regain my momentum, and give Deliciae another go. A brand new post is coming very soon. I’ve learned a lot about my potential integrity and perseverance during my last academic quarter, and now I want to apply that knowledge to my blogging life!

“You gotta keep on keeping on…”

-Bob Dylan and many others

Thank you so much for reading. I’m back! Please tune in for a long overdue new post soon.

Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

3534516458_48e4e8595fWhat is the one thing that drives you to live a better life and helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

It’s what you were encouraged to do in class and what you use in everyday situations to get you by. It’s what you do to banish confusion, protect yourself, and be all you can be.

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”

2614294143_186fc3b123The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

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Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone - has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials have been known to give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

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  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • If any statistics or claims have been made, look for a quoted source.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication would sometimes cause me to sleep eat, and it was only after doing some searching online that I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Of course, there are standard administrations like the FDA that help filter claims, but even administrations like this can be bypassed. Every month, there are recalled products found to be some kind of danger to consumers or found to give false claims.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

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ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha will help you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

I know it’s been a while, readers. School has started up again, and my schedule is as busy as ever. I’ve always dreamed of keeping this blog up to date every week with long and intricate posts, but I realized that it’s better to have sporadic small posts with bigger posts in between than no posts at all! So I’m going to stop trying to be a “perfectionist” and at least get some content out to you!

photo credit: Marco Belluci | kretyan
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Learning of Life From Death

Given the recent deaths of many known faces, I felt it necessary to remind us of what we can learn from our inevitable fates. Death is a scary subject, but why? The thought of one day losing your loved ones or embarking from your present life may sit in your stomach like a stone and send chills though your nerves.

You may not be here tomorrow. Anyone you interact with and see on a daily basis may not be here tomorrow. It is fact that many people living now will not be around the next day.

After the initial shock of fully realizing my own mortality, I have been teaching myself not to fear death. It is painfully difficult to accept, but I feel we must in order to appreciate life – and the word’s very meaning – wholly.

We are extremely lucky to be able to experience this complex array of emotions from love to hate to generosity and jealousy. As William Faulkner once said,

“Between grief and nothing I will take grief”

To be able to meet unique people of different colors and personalities, to see all the wonders and horrors we see, to even be given a chance at love and even loss is far greater than not to be able to experience it at all.

Your most valuable thing is not your house, your car, your mother’s ring, or even your children. Your most valuable thing is your life. Everything you know, love, and cherish falls under this. So instead of wasting your most valuable thing worrying about the inevitable, focus on how great it is to even have it at all!

Cherishing Life Now

If you’ve been taking your life for granted in the past, it’s not too late. I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes and that you should start exercising more, but I do highly recommend these things. However, living a healthy lifestyle is a separate topic plastered all over the internet already.

What I want to give you are some small, non-conventional ways for you to begin or to continue cherishing your life and focusing on the journey and not the final destination.

Laugh at Life
Laughing is a good medicine and great comedy keeps your mind down to Earth and in the present.

  • Find a new comedian that you like (there are many out there!) and share them with your friends.
  • Go to local comedy shows.

Be Silly and Have Fun
Life doesn’t have to be serious 24/7. You can do whatever you want with your most valuable possession so have fun with it.

  • Write fake journal entries about crazy adventures you went on and the people you met.
  • Mute the television and do voice-overs with your friends.
  • For a day, dress as someone different, take a new identity, and visit a town where no one knows you.

Observe and Appreciate Beauty

  • Sit in a public place and observe your surroundings. What kinds of people do you see? What are their lives like? What are they feeling?
  • Notice different types of architecture, different color palettes in art, and how much work and thought was put into everything you see.
  • Read up on the history of technology, art, or the country you live in. See how far we’ve come in such a short time. We’re still advancing.

Ask Why
Questioning the world around you can create appreciation for what is already here.

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • Why do we work?
  • Why do we take photographs?
  • Why do we celebrate?

Appreciate Yourself

  • Find your identity and what makes you you.
  • Take dozens of pictures of yourself doing anything anywhere and everywhere for a day. Don’t delete any of them and pick out only something you like in each.
  • This may seem morbid, but write an obituary for yourself stating your accomplishments. This can help you realize how much you’ve done already and what you want to do in the future.
  • Interview your friends and family and ask them what their favorite trait of yours is.

Other Ways

  • Celebrate anything – big or small- like reaching a goal, getting a day off, making it to Friday, or just a nice and sunny day.
  • Talk to people. We humans share the same world so share your life experiences. Have a conversation about anything, and dig deeper than the norm. Ask for their opinion, tell them what you know, and keep it flowing. The world is filled with endless conversation topics.
  • Treat others as if they will be gone tomorrow. It is possible and unpredictable, so watch what you do and say and how you treat people and do not do anything you feel you will regret.
  • Take in life through all five senses. Our senses are the doors we use to take in life as it is so take advantage of them and experience as many smells, feels, tastes, sights, and sounds as you can!
photo credit: allyaubry | 23am | L. Marie | EdenPictures
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Hello!

Readers, readers, readers! It’s been a while, but I finally feel I can dedicate more time to Deliciae. My laptop completely fried so unfortunately I’ve lost some content planned for the past month. Also in the past few months, I have taken a vacation to Cleveland (where I saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!), visited my family in Kentucky, became a counsel member of a Philanthropy club at my college, and worked hard at my new job.

Now I have a small, but steady income, and I feel comfortable enough to continue growing my blog and maybe getting it hosted on my own server at some point.

In order to do this, however, I’ve gotta continue with my articles, right? That’s why I’m back, and I’ll be delivering to you the same quality articles I’ve been dishing out long ago.

I’m back with a new, refreshed motivation and a huge yearning to write and help so please tune in and look for more and more content coming soon!

While I start this bad boy up again, I’ll leave you with a quote I love from Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom

Hiatus Update

Due to some small unforseen events, Deliciae will be on hiatus for a few more days. I apologize for the long wait, but I assure you that I’ll be back and posting regularly as soon as possible.

There have been a few small incidences (that seemingly all came up at once!) and once things have settled down, I’ll be back.

Sorry again, readers! Keep tuning in. Keep smiling.