All posts by Yaga

A literary writer with a background in journalism, PR, philology studies and psychology. I was also teaching for a short while, but to be honest, I prefer cats than kids. Illustrator, herbalist, brand founder and entrepreneur, misanthrope, creepy stuff enthusiast.

How to want less (I)

I remember such a parable, although I do not remember it exactly – there was a man who found a beautiful, wild island. There he found a fisherman sitting thoughtfully by the seashore. “Old man, I want to buy your house and your land. I’m a rich man; I can offer as much money as you wish. Think, You can go anywhere and do whatever you want – what would you do if you have so much money?” “Well – fisherman answered slowly – I would settle on a small island and go fishing”.

What would you like if there was no one to show it off?

Too often, we strive to achieve things we don’t even need. We want newer phones, more expensive clothes, more cars, more fashionable furniture, expensive and sparkling jewelry (so that it does not hide from anyone’s eyes), the fifteenth bottle of expensive perfume, unnecessary gadgets, new headphones (because a famous rapper did not advertise the old ones). And this is only a fraction of what we can have. Why do we need all this?

It is a second lockdown for me, and if I ever learned something because of it, it’s a conviction that I don’t need much. I don’t need much stuff. I don’t need many things around me. Clear space around and clear space in my head it’s a real blessing – because everything we need is within us. If you don’t find happiness in simple things, you won’t find it anywhere.

When the world crumbles and the notion of normality changes, it’s good to find ourselves encircled by something that helps you get through these challenging times. And I’m not talking about cool stuff here – things people like to surround ourselves with because of the vanity – things that we want to collect or have because everyone else has; things that are used to express our social status.

Joy in ordinariness

Finding joy in ordinariness begins from appreciating what you have: health, food, peace, fit body and mind, free time, people and animals nearby, opportunities to come, a world waiting to discover more in it.

What I need during lockdown is a nice cup of tea drunk with my beloved one and confidence that everything will be fine. What I need it’s a good book to feed my brain and nutritious food to feed my body. All I need is a quiet moment in the evening when I can close my eyes and look inside myself.

People have too many things. It takes away your peace of mind if we have more around us than within us.

Minimalism is rebellious in a way because it means living a bit against the modern world, and declaring that our value does not depend on the amount and size of the things we have. Minimalism is a bit of contempt for contemporary values based on possession. And yet, when we are left alone in the walls of the house (if we are the lucky ones who have a house), all that surrounding, glitter, things on which we build our image, and which are not us, disappear. We are left alone with ourselves. And we only have this: ourselves and time; not even all the time, just a specific moment. Do we then think about having more things?

Instead of more things, we can have more time, space, love, friendship, peace, compassion, adventures, conversations, dreams, thoughts, emotions, ideas, walks, plans, fun. We should have plenty of this while we eliminating from life what we do not need, what is overwhelming and burdens us.

Do you suffer from excessive ambition?

Ambition can give meaning to life, but it can also take it away. It can add wings as much as it can clip them. How can we recognize if our driving ambition can be fatal? First, we need to know what drives our action.

Latin “ambitio” means a desire for recognition. We associate it with the desire to achieve success, goals, and development. And in fact, ambition is what motivates us, what makes us want more from life.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

When does ambition start to be a problem?

When, despite the achieved goals, we still feel empty and unsatisfied, and we try to fill this void inside us with something from the outside – e.g. with recognition or splendour.

Excessive ambition is usually caused by comparing ourselves to others and wanting to prove that we are better or at least equally valuable. It is low self-esteem that makes us continuously prove something – to ourselves and others.

Timothy Judge, professor of management at the American University of Notre Dame, states in his research that

“(…) ambition was positively but weakly related to life satisfaction, there may also be negative consequences of ambition for individuals when a variety of dimensions of satisfaction are considered.” *

Psychology distinguishes three types of “I” – “real self”, “ought self” and “ideal self”. The imbalance in our interior leads to the growth of excessive expectations. Tory Higgins’ research has shown that the more discrepancies between them, the more problems. The divergence between the “real self” and the “ideal self” can lead to sadness, depression and burnout. On the other hand, the discrepancies between the “real self” and the “ought self” lead to shame, anxiety and fears.

It is an imbalance in our interior that leads to the growth of excessive expectations – to toxic ambition.

In its extreme form, ambition can be destructive. According to psychologist Sheri Johnson, excessive ambition is associated with the risk of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Indeed, I can see this pattern among my friends or co-workers. I can see a lot of it in myself -the pursuit of the unsurpassed ideal. So many people broke their lives because their bar was set too high. You know this type of people – they are the ones who say “all or nothing”. If something spectacular was not achieved, they treated it 100% as a failure. And yet from 100% to 0%, there is a series of ninety-nine digits …Is the result not the highest, but on a level above average, also a loss? For many people, it is. And this is what we call a sick ambition. Great results, although far from perfect, do not satisfy them in the least. It’s like those kids at school who cry because they got A and not A +.

Excessive ambition is a way of dealing with complexes through overcompensation. We feel worthy only when we achieve something big.

The best solution to overcome the havoc caused by excessive ambition is to look inside yourself and cultivate who you are. At the opposite pole of sick ambition lies gratitude and self-acceptance. This is where you should direct your thoughts. It is also responding to internal motivation. Only what flows from within can fulfil ourselves. Only desire from within makes us strive in the direction we set for ourselves, not looking at external acceptance.

Each of us is different, and each of us has a different internal mission. Only we can answer what this mission is. So what you choose – the pursuit of recognition, or maybe something truer?

* (On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition )

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know direction

I know a lot of people who are driven by a desire for success. Most of them, however, can’t even define what success means to them. It’s like the biggest priority in life, but they can’t even describe it. I’ve heard so many times people saying things like “I need to achieve something”, or ” I want to be someone”. Well, the first thing on your way to achieving your goals is to determine what you actually want.

What is the success you want?

Success is a very tricky word, and sometimes I feel that would be favourable if we could redefine it for ourselves. Success is something different for every human being because our inner structures are different from each other. Unfortunately, the stereotype that success is related to money, social standing and power still linger. But it doesn't have to be that way. 

People don’t know what they want. They follow dreams of others; they fall into traps settled by social expectations or expectations of their loved ones. They are chasing a pattern of success set by other people, so even if they finally achieve it, they don’t feel happy neither fulfilled.

There is a reason for every one of us to be on this world. Fulfilling a person’s mission does not have to involve momentous things. Something that the world will not hear can also be a great success. Let’s not seek recognition in the eyes of other people, because everything we need to be happy is hidden deep within us. Let’s just look inside ourselves more often.

I had a friend who was obsessed with “achieving something”. I mean, she wanted social recognition so badly, that at some point it ceased to be important how would she achieve it. She struggled between opening ill-considered blogs and the Instagram pages where she wanted to become famous. Nothing worked as she wished. Why? After all, she was determined to be successful. Well, there was no direction in her chaotic activities. There was no vision.

Without vision, there is nothing.

As Stephen Covey wrote in his best-selling book, you need to begin with the end in mind. You need to have a vision which will influence your thoughts and actions. Knowing the direction in which you are going makes it easier to determine the itinerary.

Only specific actions aimed at specific goals can bring the intended effect. Otherwise, it is only drifting, bouncing off the banks.

Once we define our personal journey, we must realize that everything depends on us, on our proactivity. We must not fall behind in the phase of dreams and plans; we must take the first step, then the next and another.

It’s not enough to tell yourself – I want to be successful in life. You need to clearly define what this success supposed to be.

If you are struggling to define your vision, take it easy. The tension has never helped anyone. Start by reflecting on all the things you enjoy doing. Make a list of those things and a list of the things you dislike. Think about what makes you happy, what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Take a close look at your emotions. This is an excellent start to building the foundations of what you want to base your life on.

If you have a vision of your life, it defines you and your actions. Knowing where you are going makes you surely get there.

Know what you want.

Do it.

Feel great about it.

What years of dealing with anxiety taught me about self-love

Most families seem normal, but if we look closely, we will notice that they are indeed dysfunctional. Sometimes we are growing up in households where the pattern of anxiety and depression have been passed down from generation to generation. No wonder that we did not develop a healthy approach to life as a younger person. 

Don’t get me wrong – I have no desire to blame anyone for my mental state. Just need to outline the point that since I remember ‘loving myself’ was something unimaginable. Encouraging humility, modesty and putting the needs of others in the first place prevented me from developing the feeling that should be the most important thing for everyone – love for oneself. 

Our parents love us, but they don’t know how to teach us loving ourselves merely because they don’t know how to love themselves.

As a teenager, I put on a mask that didn’t show how vulnerable I was. The very thought of someone seeing that I was weak, fragile, scared and feeling unworthy scared me. Hence I played the role of someone who doesn’t care about anything. Sinking into neurosis accompanied by overuse alcohol and drugs made all the fears that consumed me from the inside grew. Because sometimes you think you’re killing fear with drugs, but you’re just feeding it. 

And then you enter adult life equipped with luggage filled with guilt, low self-esteem, fear of other people, fear of the death, lack of a sense of purpose, traumas, lack of self-confidence, timidity, toxic perfectionism, inferiority complex, comparing to others, self-harm, insecurity. It’s a lot to take for one person. Sometimes it seems unmanageable to find warm feelings towards ourselves among all these harmful emotions. But nothing is impossible.

Learning to love yourself is not about standing in front of a mirror and repeating ‘I love you’. It’s not about forcing yourself to take actions that you think you should do but don’t feel at all. In my experience, the smallest steps we take every day are the most important. Because self-love, among other things, it’s a mixture of everyday habits and small things you can do that make you feel worthy. 

Self-love is:

  • saying ‘no’ if you think ‘no’ and saying ‘yes’ if you think ‘yes’
  • limiting contacts with people who are bad for your well-being
  • removing someone from your life
  • knowing that it’s ok not being productive all the times
  • resting when you are tired
  • investing in your development
  • surrounding yourself with things that make you happy
  • not spending time on things and people that are not worth it
  • not meeting people if you don’t feel like it
  • pleasing yourself
  • make yourself feeling comfortable
  • applying for a better job and more money
  • taking care of your body – nourishing it with healthy food and keeping it in good condition
  • doing things you love to do
  • taking alone time when you need it
  • getting enough sleep every day
  • realizing that you don’t have to be nice to everyone
  • and that you don’t have to please everyone
  • knowing that it’s ok to make mistakes
  • reaching out for help and support
  • leaving an unsatisfactory relationship
  • not blaming yourself for your past
  • not explaining yourself to anyone
  • spending money on the things you desire
  • feeling good about receiving compliments
  • standing for yourself
  • nurturing dreams, even the craziest ones
  • admitting difficult emotions
  • expressing your own opinion
  • not living to people’s expectations
  • setting boundaries and sticking to them 
  • accepting not being perfect
  • be proud of your achievements

What would you add to this list?

Do you also fall into the productivity trap?

Not so long ago, I had a slight breakdown. It seemed to me that I no longer had room in my head for more thoughts. At the same time, space and time seemed to narrow – everything got less – everything except responsibilities, plans and things to do. My anxiety returned, I could no longer breathe, and slowly began spiralling into depression.

Be careful with recently so popular word – productivity -there is a monster inside. 

There was a time when my diary was filled up with goals or things to do, to this level, that I didn’t have a minute to do anything outside of my schedule. Moreover, If I didn’t check out all things from a to-do list I felt unworthy. 

Even if it gives you an illusion of fulfilment, a full calendar is not a definition of success. It becomes dangerous when we base our importance on what we have managed to do or achieve. Overlapping with too many responsibilities can lead to burnout. So can we talk about “tascoholism”? Yes, when we are only focused on the future and our life starts to be a nothing else but a project. 

Planning is good and it’s good to have goals, but real life isn’t a list of goals to tick off. This approach cuts us off from being here and now. After all, the most important thing is to be present in your own life. 

How not to fall into this productivity trap?

Let it go

Whatever it is – everything can wait. Close your diary and close your eyes. Find a peaceful place at this moment, inside yourself. Feel yourself here, in this space and time. Feel what it’s like to just be. 

Now, do something for yourself. Something which will change your vibrations and take you from stress to pleasure. And most importantly – absolutely don’t feel guilty about it. There is time in life for work, for achievement, and for rest, which is equally important. Time for pure joy of being, most precious manifestation of life.

How I rescue myself from situations when I feel like drowning in reality? I choose some long novel, or a horror story (this is my weakness) and dedicate a few evenings only for myself, scented candles, herbal teas and immersion in reading. I don’t take phone calls and I don’t use social media. It’s only me and my small peaceful world. Sometimes I let my cat get inside 😉

Go inside

Starting day from a great routine that includes meditation helps cope with any kind of stress. Making mindful mid-day stops is also a good idea. Try to find a few minutes between your daily tasks just to ventilate your mind, turn off for a while. Be aware of yourself and your emotions all the time. Pause during the day and notice what’s going on inside you. If you feel you need a break, that there’s too much of something, just do it. The world will not collapse. 

And go outside

Nowadays we have lost our connection with nature, with the energy that flows through everything. We have forgotten that everything is one, that we are made of the same elements and come from the same source. Reconnecting to this source allows you to see everything as it is. Realize that you are a piece in the puzzle of the universe. 

Notice the world around you – trees, plants, clouds, starry sky, moon, powerful sun, life-giving soil. You can draw energy from it. Sit on the ground, lean on a tree that has been here for hundreds of years and will continue to grow long after you are gone. Find this particular stillness which is the anchor for this moment. Isn’t it a great feeling – being a tiny part of something bigger. To me, night walk under the stars is the most purifying and building inner stability ritual. Unfortunately, clear, cloudless skies over Dublin are not often found.

Verify your priorities

Is everything on your to-do list so important that it can’t wait? Do you have to do all of these – start a business, enrol in another field of study, learn Portuguese, take a speed reading course, learn to play the violin, build an athlete’s body, write a book? Choose what matters to you and focus on it. Don’t get distracted – there will be time for everything.

I’ve noticed that lately when someone asks “how are you” it’s is in a good tone to respond “busy”. Is being a busy person the new definition of being a successful person? It sounds like bullshit. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to answer “I am calm, peaceful and in the right place”?

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

How to stop struggle with self-discipline

I am the type of reliable person. If I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it. Not necessary now. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in ten years.

As a person endowed with a hedonistic curse, I’ve always thought that self-discipline was almost impossible to master. Why? Because there was so many more pleasurable stuff to do around me. And another thing is that inurement of self-discipline can be unpleasant and painful.

And that’s what it is – because changing and leaving your comfort zone hurts like hell.

What are the mistakes we make when approaching self-discipline?
First, is to treat it as forcing ourselves to do things we don’t want to do. You can say: Hey, but isn’t that the case? I will put it this way – forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, would be eating a can of worms. It’s something different in case of struggling with discipline in relation to your goals. After all, you want to do it. You just don’t want to do it right now.

Deferred gratification is the key to self-discipline

Building self-discipline is more like overcoming the momentary reluctance and focusing on gratification, which we will not receive immediately. The impulse for an immediate reward is natural and it is because our organisms recognize it as something related to survival. (There is a reason why self-control seems most difficult in the case of food and sex).

According to Baumeister self-regulation theory, there are five domains of gratification delay: food, physical pleasures, social interactions, money and achievement.

There’s no easy way to dealing with a habit of instant gratification. Initially, we do have to force ourselves to something. To make things a little easier, do it with a vision of the end, with a vision of what you want to achieve.

How can you help yourself with that? Here are a few things that helped me climb out of a dark hole of laziness:

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH VISUALISATIONs OF THINGS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE

It can be printed photos of a place you want to go, so every time you are tempted to siphon off some of the money you are saving for your journey, you might think twice. You can change your screen saver to a picture including a version of yourself you want to become. I must admit that I myself signed my photo “a writer” and every time I was tempted to do something else, I thought about what Aga the writer would do. Then I sat down and started working on my project. My second book will be published next year, so I’m sure this tactic works! Same like putting a picture of a terribly obese woman on a fridge door while I started to spiral into another never-ending sugar high.

The thing is, you need to feed your mind with a vision that will absolutely kick of motivation.

START SMALL

Don’t overwhelm yourself with big tasks if you struggle with even doing your bed in the morning. Set one small thing for yourself and focus on it. Then gradually add more. If you want to write don’t throw yourself into a goal of 30 pages per day, you’re not fucking Stephen King! Make it real and achievable. for the start will be enough if you just sit and write something every day. No matter how long, it can be only a few sentences. The only important thing is that you did it. These are the foundations for your new, emerging habit.

KEEP A DIARY

Write down everything that needs to be done and tick off what you have done at the end of the day. You’ll see that your ego will want you to tick off everything from the list, so after a while, your “to-do ” list will be DONE every day.

Every day set one goal you absolutely must do and do it even if the world collapses. Just do this one thing and the rest will be easier.

TELL OTHERS ABOUT IT

If you commit yourself to something by telling others about it, it will be harder for you to get away from it. How would you feel telling your friends about your new ‘fit resolutions’, and then being get caught eating fast food? Not so great, right?

Self-control is a very extensive topic, so here I focused on what worked for me. And you have to know that I’m not an easy case;)

At the end one thing I’ve read somewhere and it sticks to my mind:
Be stronger than your strongest excuse.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Having addicted mind is like being trapped in self created illusions

According to World Health Organization around 31 million people have drug use disorders. Harmful use of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths each year, and it causes more than 5% of the global disease burden. These are bare facts. The thought? What the hell is wrong with us, that we do it to ourselves – committing a veiled, stretched over time suicide?

The image of addiction we have is twofold and depends on the context – on the one hand we see a tramp, and on the other, the tragedy of an addicted ‘great man’. We despise the drunkard, and we sympathize with the great addicted man. His drinking is somehow “better”, even sanctified in a way. Yet it’s the same addiction.

When I was a teenage girl we all were full of rebel and urge for an infinite freedom, which sense we actually didn’t understand. We raised our eyes towards Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and many long haired screamers from heavy metal bands, who replaced gods for us. We read Blake, Ginsberg and Keourac, thinking that we are the next great generation like them, the beatniks of 90’s. We skipped classes, drank cheap wine and smoked pot. We ‘expanded our awareness’ by reaching for heavier drugs. That was our ‘fuck you world’ religion. And we thought we were the smartest in the world.

In fact, we were just a bunch of lost young people unable to cope with themselves. Trapped into myths, overwhelmed by our own fears, sorrows and weaknesses. No one taught us how to deal with them. Reaching for stimulants made everything easier. Especially when we’ve seen those we admired would do the same.

The cult of intoxication is old, and its correlation with artistry and the avant-garde has always been strong. Have you ever wonder how Baudelaire’s ‘Artificial Paradises’ was created?

I can’t escape the impression that addictions, in a way, are glorified by our society. There’s so many biographies of great people that are build upon this fatal base. A story with a tragic background sells better.

There is nothing like an artist bending under the pain of reality. A brilliant creature who can only deal with himself through drugs and loses – world can only regret a lost genius. So moving and romantic, Right? Wrong. It’s total bullshit.

When we gaze at drunken idols, we see only the splendor of fame. We don’t see them hungover or be in a bad mood and sleeping all day. Or puking, stinging, gibberishing, smelly from not washing themselves. It’s hidden behind a veil of a ‘tragedy’. But we don’t need more tragic idols. It’s time to disenchant addiction.

Of course there is no rule here – there are people more and less susceptible to addiction. I’d say those more vulnerable or lost in their reality fall first. Those who carry a great void within themselves. How long does it take for them to understand that this hole cannot even be flooded with an ocean of alcohol? Sometimes whole life. Sometimes never.

Long time ago I had a friend who was type of a guy everyone wanted to hang out with. Super cool in every aspect of his nailing existence – from long hair and a leather jacket to the twisted poems he wrote while on high. I remember once we were sitting at the edge of the park, it must have been in the late 90’s. Drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, talking. Beautiful moment, one of those which would happened so often when you’re 15 and you had that feeling that everything can happen in your life. That absolutely everything was possible. Listening to The Doors and Janis, we missed times we never got to know. We didn’t give a shit about school, parents and the world. We wanted to live like them, listen to music, lie in the meadow, smoke weed and sleep under the stars.

Jack died at the age of 40 five years ago. Cirrhosis. We didn’t keep in touch, but when I’ve seen him for the last time he was a destroyed human wreckage. He stopped writing poems, but unfortunately continued on cheap wine and god knows what else. He was nothing like Jim Morrison. He was more like those people who gather at railway stations to collect some money for drugs. Hope he’s having amazing Woodstock now, wherever he is.

I’m only in my middle 30s, but I have several friends at similar age who passed away because drug overdose or drinking. Why this is happening to us, aren’t we thinking creatures?

We can explain a lot by psychology. Studies show that we are directed by many processes happening in our subconscious mind. In the case of an addicted mind we’re dealing with rationalization, projection (projecting their own problems into someone else) and repression.

The addict’s logic is twisted. It makes them not see things as they are. Gives them ability to explain away their behavior by denial and cognitive dissonance (holding two or more contradictory beliefs). I have focused on this issue deeper here: https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/05/19/dealing-with-an-addicted-mind/

Addiction mechanisms make us slide slowly, lose our sense of self while we spiraleing deeper into void. It’s unbelievable how addicts are good at creating a reality where their destructive behavior is never the fault of the substance they overuse.

Would it be easier to deal with an addiction if we did not reach for stimulants so thoughtlessly? I don’t know the answer for that question. What I know for sure is that there are many myths about this that need to be faced.

Don’t wait too long for the perfect life

When life suck people tend to create illusion zones, where they feel safe. Sometimes they lead a double life – one in reality and the other one that happens only in their heads. Why this is not a great idea and why it doesn’t help to reduce ‘suckiness’? Because running into fantasies when life doesn’t work out is not the solution.

Did you noticed how often we put dreams aside, for later? For distant time when we will be ready – and this could mean anything – time when we’ll be perfect, less fat, or less busy. So we are waiting. But usually we are not becoming perfect 55 kg creatures with lots of spare time. Same, our dreams get dusty, and then we forget about them. Or worse – we transfer them to an imaginary sphere of fantasy. A place where nothing happens for real.

I have a friend who dreamed of becoming animator. He studied hard and got better and better every year. Some of his college tutors worked for amazing animation company – I mean really amazing – one of those guys you can see at Oscars Awards. As they knew him well, cause he also worked part time in a market beside their office, they offered him a possibility to join them – first as a trainee of course. Do you know what’s happened? He decided that he was not ready yet, because to join them he had to feel that he is perfect – otherwise they could see that he sucks. He abstained. It happened quite a few years ago and he never had a similar opportunity again. The lesson here? First – that some occasions happens only once in a lifetime. Second – never wait to be perfect – you won’t be anyway! Waiting to become perfect hold you back from whatever you want to achieve. Instead, just go out there, make mistakes, learn, gain experience and work hard – this is how the path to success is paved.

Another thing that cuts our wings is that we are not commit to our goals 100%. We think that we dream big, but in fact we remain in our safe zone. We dream halfway, as if afraid of it. If you think seriously about your life and your goals you need to answer one question:

How bad you want it?

Are you ready to sacrifice your time and comfort to achieve it? Are you ready to loose something to get the thing you want? Do you want it so bad that you will agree to work hard while you could simply watch Dark on Netflix, or go out with your friends to this new fancy craft beer place? It is your choice, but keep in mind that sometimes success is about cutting back on pleasure in the present moment.

Psychologists and coaches talking about deferred gratification and it seems to me that ability to delay reward/pleasure is a key here. Without self-control and self-discipline, our dreams are houses of cards.

(More about self-discipline you can read here: https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/08/25/how-to-stop-struggle-with-self-discipline/)

And I know how hard is to seat at the desk to work on your dream project while you’re tired as hell because you just back from your 8-hours shift in the office. I know that when you back home and see cozy armchair, soft blanket, favorite book beside, scented candle on the windowsill, cabinet filled with flavored tea you don’t wanna go out for a jogging, even if you promised to yourself that you will lose this jelly like substance coating your thighs. And I know that it seems almost impossible to grab that language manual just like you planned it, because in a fact you don’t need to know that fucking German to watch those tempting you tube tutorials on how to build bird houses. Or how to replant flowers. Or trees. Trust me – all these are more exiting than learning German.

If you tend to lose your motivation, simply feed it! Get a journal and write everyday about all your dreams, even those crazy ones, that seem unattainable. Make a list of your dreams, read them over and over again and reflect on them – let your mind soak through it! Hang some inspirational pictures and quotes on your wall, in your wardrobe, even on your bathroom mirror – let everything around remind you about what you standing for. Meditate and visualize your goals everyday – remember that everything in your life starts in your mind.

You become better only by doing things, not by waiting for them to happen

Better doesn’t mean perfect. Your life doesn’t need to be perfect so you can feel joy, fulfillment and excitement. Success is not a finished thing, but the whole road that leads to it. What defines your success should not be based on what you have, but on the actions taken. Sometimes you may feel totally unprepared, but take action anyway. Start acting before you feel ready – the rest will follow. If you expect the best, it flows to you.

When I opened my small natural skincare company I had no freaking idea how should I do it. But I had that concept I loved and I’ve done it anyway – it was total improvisation, but it worked at the end! Same with this blog – as English is not my first language I worried a bit it would be hard. Of course I could spend a countless time on improving my grammar skills and wait for become better at it – and you know what? Probably I would never write a single word here. I said to myself fuck it, I’ll do it anyway! And this is how most of great things on this world works – if you don’t know how to do it, don’t wait – improvise!

Intelligent heart and coherence

Have you ever wondered what was the biggest breakthroughs of modern science? Do you think that was the discovery of planets from outside the solar system, dark energy, nanocircuits, or maybe quantum machine? There are certainly many impressive findings we have heard of. But what about the discovery, which not everyone has heard, but which turned our world upside down a little? Because the revelation of neuronal cells in the heart certainly mixed up a little on our approach to us as a human species. Wanna know why? Keep reading, but I’m warning you – it might blow up your mind.

Neurocardiology and the brain-heart connection

Not so long ago, in 1991, dr J. Andrew Armour published Neurocardiology. In this book, he proved that the heart has a complex nervous system consist of 40 000 nerve cells. Four years later dr Ming He-Huang discovered that these cells are identical to those found in the brain. What does it mean? This is the point that all of this start to be very interesting. Simply, the heart and brain have electromagnetic communication and send information to each other. And the heart has its own memory! But this is not everything. The heart sends much more information to the brain than the brain to the heart, also can ignore some information flowing from the brain and make its own decision. It looks like the heart has its own intelligence.

Heart is the organ that receives, sends and processes information received by brain

Many cases have documented people who started behaving differently after heart transplantation. It turns out that heart is a ‚storage’ for some information, and they can affect a person who received a new heart.

There are many amazing stories associated with the change in some aspects of the human personality after transplantation. There was a case of a homosexual woman, carnivore, who suddenly started date man and stopped eat meat. I don’t have to tell you that transplanted heart belonged to heterosexual vegetarian girl? Same happens to a man who received a heart of a man who committed suicide. Not only he married a widow (they felt in love right after they’ve met) but similarly ended his life. There was also an astounding case of a teenager whose new heart belonged to the murdered girl. The new heart owner began to have nightmares – based on a memory portrait the murderer of the heart donor was captured. It was a face from the teenager’s dreams.

Where does the soul live? Neuroscience confirms what the ancients believed

We have always been looking for the soul habitat, the immaterial element or, in other words, divine energy in the human body. Lucretius, ancient Roman philosopher and poet, as one of the first, put a soul in the heart. Also, the ancient Greeks believed that the soul lives in the heart. In Ancient Egypt, heart was not only the home of the soul but also a habitat of emotions and will. According to Hindu beliefs, the heart enabled contact with Brahman (Absolute) and was the seat of his opposition to Atman (self/ego). Ancient Buddhists and Aztecs also placed feelings and intellect the hearts.

How did they know what we had learned relatively recently? (And for what we needed complicated tools and vast knowledge, which we reached for centuries).

It’s amazing how much wisdom lies in ancient beliefs. Today we use science to discover the same things that were explained to the ancients through the prism of spirituality. Maybe it’s worth drawing from both sources?

Hearth-brain coherence

As research shows our health and life is affected by whether there is harmony between the heart and the brain. A coherence, state of optimal functioning. The heart generates the largest in the human body rhythmic magnetic field and this field can be measured. Coherence is a smooth, sine-wave-like pattern in the heart rate variability trace. All comes down to the emotions we experience – they directly affect our heart rhythm pattern. Every emotion sends a very different signal throughout our body and this is why it’s so important to learn control what we feel. Stress, anger, sadness, jealousy destroy harmony and lead to disturbances in the functioning of the body. Positive emotions strengthen coherence, lead us on the path of harmony.

Does this remind you of some Buddhist truths? After all, the right emotions are part of the Noble Eightfold Path.

An emotional shift is a key element of the techniques which allow us to create harmony between mind and body. And since we know about this amazing, electromagnetic ‚messenger’ that our brain and heart use, we can understand it on a deeper level. For the starter, we need to learn how to generate positive emotions within ourselves. Even if it seems impossible for some, we can trigger our emotional state whenever we want. All comes down to practice.

So how to shift emotional state?

Meditation and practising gratitude will be helpful here. First, you need to find that peaceful place within yourself. If you cannot find it, create it. Visualize, let imagination and good memories help. Once you have that safe place you can always back to it whenever you feel endangered.

Keep in mind all things you are grateful for. Do you think you have too little? I can tell you that there is someone out there who is happy having less than you have.

Practice awareness. Whenever you start to feel negative emotions, press the ‚cancel key’. Correct any unpleasant thoughts with positive thoughts. Keep doing this until you feel better.

To change your emotional state you can also adjust your body posture. As you know everything is connected, hence your body posture affects how you feel in the same way how your feeling affects your body posture. Not bad at all.

Once you master these basics, you will be able to evoke positive emotions on demand. And all because we are such great machine that we can program ourselves! All you need is already inside you.

More about emotions and energy they create you can find in one of my earlier pieces here https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/06/04/can-understanding-quantum-physics-help-you-create-your-dream-life/.

Photos by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash , David Matos on Unsplash

Trapped mind: quite different addictions

IF YOU ASK ME WHAT THREATENS OUR DEVELOPMENT THE MOST, I WOULD TELL YOU WITHOUT BLINKING. THE TRAPS OUR MIND CAN GET CAUGHT IN. AND THERE ARE MANY OF THEM SET UP: ANXIETY, DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS, DEPRESSION, OCD, PHOBIAS, PSYCHOSIS, MANIA AND THE BIG ONE – ADDICTIONS – DOUBLY DEVIOUS BECAUSE THEY CAN APPLY NOT ONLY TO SUBSTANCES.

Another kind of high – brain on an emotional boost

The mechanism of any addiction remains same no matter what is the substance. And what interesting, it is still same, if there is no substance at all. Well, not in a physical form.

Every addiction causes specific reactions in the brain and is associated with impaired function of neurotransmitters and hormones, mainly in the structures of the reward system. Simply speaking, even if you don’t supply the brain with a specific substance, such as a drug, brain can still make it. All you need is the right stimulus. In this case, we can talk about behavioural addiction. Gambling, sex, internet, food and even falling in love – it can all be related to our internal emotional catastrophe. 

Much of addiction issues I’ve touched on already here: Dealing with an addicted mind. As this is very personal topic to me, I’d like go deeper into in areas which are less talked about.

Erotomania is not only sex addiction. Its variation is the ailment of being addicted to being in love. This is where a person needs that specific kick of pleasure – dopamine secreted by the brain – which equates to being high. Think, when you are falling in love you feel that an amazing inflow of pleasure and ecstasy. In a healthy mind, this evolves into a deeper feeling or simply disappears. For some, there is that the irresistible need to re-trigger it. And here we have a problem.

The phenomenon of sex addiction we refer to people who need closeness very much and are just as afraid of it, so they meet their needs by entering into relationships with the body of another person, and not with the ‘whole’ person. A quite different variation is the addiction to emotions that occur when falling in love.

behavioral addictions can be as toxic as those of substances such as alcohol or drugs

Toxic passion

Why is the mind so vulnerable to all these pitfalls? It all comes down to this big, empty hole that we carry within us. Some trying to feel it by overusing alcohol or drugs, some by food, self-harm or uncontrolled shopping, and others trying to fix it with compulsive falling in love. As it might seem innocent, can lead to serious complications in various areas of life.

Firstly, it is difficult for a person with such a problem to build a solid, valuable relationship. Because if something begins to fail, she ( I use this pronoun, as this issue is most common among women) runs away and falls in love elsewhere. Here, the partner is not the most important – it’s addictive emotions that take over. Secondly, the person is susceptible to becoming obsessed. And this can be very damaging to mental health.

Love obsession is also an addiction that brings inability to focus on other areas of life besides the obsession object. We are missing something, and we think that only thanks to the other person we can become complete. And, I know – who read in the nineteenth-century literature may perceive it as something very romantic. But trust me on this – it is essentially unhealthy and destructive. Remeber, even Werter shot himself in the head!;)

Quick fix for the broken soul

Compulsive behavior is one that gives us emotional satisfaction. Is an easy, but ineffective way to deal with what bothers us. It’s like sticking a broken vase with adhesive tape – it seems to stick, but when you pour water into it and put flowers, it will fall apart immediately. For any emotional disorders, there is only one way – working on emotions.

Ways to reconnect with your emotions

When we lose contact with ourselves, we also lose control over our lives. To recover it, we can take steps that will allow to connect with what is happening inside us. Some of the effective techniques to help reconnect with emotions are:

  • Meditation – silencing the mind and putting it in an alpha wave state – you can start with a few minutes a day and gradually deepen your practice. Meditation is about clearing the mind of thoughts and focusing simply on ‘being’.
  • Mindfulness – practicing being here and now – focus on everything that is inside and around you, contemplate reality, see what is happening in your body – what you feel and how you experience it: smells, flavors, sounds, colors, touch …
  • Journaling – make contact with yourself by keeping a diary of feelings – do not focus on the form, just write what you feel, what you think – pour on paper everything that sits in your heart and head. Is a great way to cleanse yourself of overwhelming emotions, as well as to awaken creativity.
  • Exam yourself – as you might think you know yourself very well, there might be parts of you that you’re not aware of. Or parts of you that have changed over the years. Commit to a journey of self-discovery. Make list of questions and answer them. Write it down and come back to it in some time. You can make a list of things you love to do. Things you hate, things that makes you nervous, things that scares you, excite you, amuse you. Play with it!
  • Name what you feel – sometimes it’s not easy to recognize what we feel. Even if you struggle to define your own feeling and emotions, try to name them. If you are unsure what are you feeling make up a name for it. As example- jealove can be a feeling towards a friend you admire, but you also envy him a little. You can create your own personal dictionary of feeling and it could be a fun!

Problem of emotional addiction is not black and white. If you feel that somehow it may affect you, you should look closer at yourself. Even if it touches you slightly, you can still be exposed to its toxic effects. No better way to deal with it, as learning to recognize everything that takes place within you.

/main photo by Nick Fewins on Unsplash/ Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash/